Chris Glover drove 4,492 kilometres from his home in Vancouver to compete in the ASN Canada FIA National Karting Championships at Goodwood Kartways last Sunday and he could have saved himself the trip.
His race lasted less than two laps.
Glover, 29, was racing in the Rotax Senior class — one of seven classes in which national champions were crowned — and was hoping for a good finish.
When it didn’t happen, when he lost control and rode his kart into the boonies and was unable to get it restarted, all he could do was shrug his shoulders and get ready for the long drive back home.
Glover — a computer programmer of video racing games who once upon a time harboured ambitions of a professional racing career — didn’t have a lot of pressure on him, unlike most of the other competitors battling wheel-to-wheel and pedal-to-the-metal at the Stouffville-area track on the weekend.
He’d already won one of 10 coveted seats on Team Canada — the ASN Canada FIA-supported kart team that will travel to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in December for the world karting finals.
Glover earned his spot when he won the Western Canadian Championship in his class 10 days ago in Calgary.
Three other champions from the Calgary competition were also named to Team Canada, leaving the remaining six seats up for grabs at the national finals last Sunday.
So the competition was, as you can imagine, fierce.
For Glover, the seat on Team Canada is the dream of a lifetime.
“I’ve been in the sport for 20 years,” he said, “and I’ve never raced abroad. I’ve never been off the continent, actually, so I’m really looking forward to going.”
Glover said racing in the Rotax Senior class can be, for want of a better word, “interesting.”
“The minimum age is 15,” he said,”"so I’m out there against kids who are literally half my age. Some of them are very fast, but they don’t have the experience.
“It’s an interesting mix sometimes. You’ve got some experienced drivers running at the front of the pack mixed in with some talented kids who have a lot of raw speed.”
Glover was at Goodwood on Sunday with his brother Kevin — who once raced against Danica Patrick in a kart race and beat her, he says — and the father-son team of Murray and Daniel Burkett, who travelled to the nationals from Winnipeg.
They were among about 200 kart/driver combinations entered. Between 1,000 and 1,500 people turned out to spectate in glorious sunshine on Sunday afternoon.
- Most of the teams stayed at Goodwood during the weekend and camped out. Accommodations ranged from pup tents to house trailers to expensive motorhomes. And by the way: many of the transporters would not look out of place in a NASCAR or IRL paddock.
- Karting is not a cheap sport. To start out in the junior classes – kart, trailer, racing gear, etc. – will cost you in the range of $6,000. To race in the top divisions can cost $30,000-plus with an emphasis on the plus.
- Peter Klutt of Legendary Motorcar in Halton Hills was proud as punch Sunday. His two sons, Gary and Ryan, both won their respective races and are national champions in their classes – Gary in Canada Senior and Ryan in Canada Junior.
- Asked if there had been a carrot on a stick if one or the other won, Klutt laughed and said: "We asked what they wanted as a reward and they said they wanted to eat a McDonald’s so that’s where we’re going."
- I eavesdropped as one 8-year-old karter gave a fellow 8-year-old a pre-race pep talk: "At the start, stay right beside him through four and then dive-bomb him going into five. That’s how you’ll get him."
- Hugo Oullette, who won the Rotax Senior class, bumped wheels with his brother, former world champion Pierre Luc. Asked by a reporter from ekartingnews.ca about brotherly love, Hugo Oullette shrugged and said: "He was in the way, so I hit him."
(All from Ontario, unless otherwise noted)
Canada Senior: Gary Klutt, Kevin Monteith, Darryl Timmers
Canada Junior: Ryan Klutt, Bryson Schutte, Joshua Dunand
Rotax Senior: Hugo Oullette (Que.), Marco Di Leo, Massimo Scotti (Que.)
Rotax Junior: Garrett Grist, Steven Szigeti (Que.), Tommy Beshro (Que.)
Rotax Micro Max: Devlin Defrancesco (U.S.), Tyler Ripani, Austin Riley
Rotax DD2: Frank Launi, Daniel Morad, Sal Ditta; DD2 Master (over age 32), Mark Woyslaw
Rotax Mini Max: Samuel Fontaine (Que.), Lance Stroll (Que.), Jack West (U.S.)
Five Jim Russell Racing Drivers School scholarships (the school is at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Quebec) were presented by the Stroll family (Lawrence Stroll) to Darren White, Hugo Oullette, Steven Szigeti and Gary and Ryan Klutt.