First round of the Sodi World Series/LKMTL at ICAR Karting

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First round of the Sodi World Series/LKMTL at ICAR Karting
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May 7, 2019, 4:50 PM

A new era of kart racing using high performance rental machines began last Saturday at ICAR Karting in Mirabel, Quebec.

After several years of running the Sodi World Series (SWS) with 9-hp RT8 karts at SRA Karting, ICAR Karting decided to rethink the concept and use faster machinery on their High-Performance track sited on the ground of the Mirabel airport.

The SWS is the largest rental kart championship in the world. This arrive-and-drive style of kart racing allows the participants to compete in a most competitive yet safe environment aboard identically prepared rental machinery.

Track action

Track action

Photo by: Olivier Delorme

The international SWS and the LKMTL Montreal karting league now use the fleet of brand new Sodi SR5 karts powered by 420cc, Honda GX390 four-stroke engines that produce 13-hp at 3600 rpm. Oh, a different game this is.

“We decided to step up the game by running faster karts this year,” Michel Boisclair, director of ICAR Karting, told Motorsport.com. “These SR5s are really close in performance to genuine racing karts. It’s much, much easier to make driving mistakes. I’d say now racers have really competitive machine to handle.”

To give you an example, the new SR5 karts lap the 1-km High-Performance track 10 seconds quicker than the 9-hp RT8 machines! 

Track action

Track action

Photo by: Olivier Delorme

To make things as fair and equal as possible, there are two weight classes with the Seniors at 180lbs and Heavy at more than 210lbs. Smaller drivers – like myself – have to carry ballast in their karts. Competitors change karts every time they take to the track for the short qualifying session, the two qualifying heats and the grand finale.

The series is extremely well managed with three-time Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals Champion Ben Cooper acting as Race Director. A Series Director, officials, track workers and flaggers are also present and watch your every move out on the track. Penalties were given to a few drivers during that first event, showing that Cooper wants to keep the competition intense, but under control.

Yours truly competed in that opening event last Saturday. Participants came from all possible backgrounds. There were young kart racers as well as adults in the Forties and Fifties, but highly competitive. There was even a bunch of Brazilians, sadly just one girl, and one enthusiast who drove all the way from Toronto to take part in that race!

Yann Le Montreer, winner of the Finale of the B Group.

Yann Le Montreer, winner of the Finale of the B Group.

Photo by: Olivier Delorme

The 13-hp, SR5 kart is a blast to drive. It handles extremely well, and when it understeers a bit, just giving it a little more gas turns it neutral. Keeping as much momentum around the corners is the key to a fast lap time. It’s a track made of concrete, so braking hard takes some time to master. They’re fast: I carried my cell phone with my cycling app turned on during one heat and the best top speed was 102 km/h. Not bad for a rental kart!

The racing is extremely close and competitive. Most races were decided at the last corner. Down the pack, there was always the inevitable bumping and pushing, but things remained relatively under control.

Intense battle between Kristopher Ryan-Bissonnette (22) and Antoine Lacharité (25) in Group A.

Intense battle between Kristopher Ryan-Bissonnette (22) and Antoine Lacharité (25) in Group A.

Photo by: Olivier Delorme

The group of 40 participants was split into two groups, A and B, to have just 20 karts out on the track at the same time. Usually less than two seconds separated the faster driver from the slowest. Yann Le Montreer captured victory in the Finale of the Group B. I qualified third for the Finale, ran third but made a silly driving mistake which threw me off line in a slow corner, allowing two rivals to pass me in the blink of an eye.

Victory in Group A turned into an intense battle between Kristopher Ryan-Bissonnette and Antoine Lacharité. Three tenths of a second separated them at the end of the 12th and final lap, with Lacharité taking the win in the sunset.

Okay, so when’s the next race?

For more information about the SWS championship: http://www.icarkarting.com/sws-en.htm

The SWS-LKMTL series have their own Facebook page with the most recent news, photos and information: https://www.facebook.com/SWS-Ligue-de-Karting-de-Montr%C3%A9al-1867705916867608/

 

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Series Kart
Event Sodi World Series: ICAR Round 1
Author René Fagnan
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