BOWMANVILLE, ON, (May 14, 2018) – The BEMC Spring Trophy Races and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park set the stage for the first three rounds of the 2018 Toyo Tire F1600 Championship and Britain West’s Canadian season.
New to the team is karting standout Zachary Vanier of Garson, ON. The 2016 Canadian National Jr Briggs champion has been honing his skills on kart circuits and snocross tracks for years but this was his first foray into open wheel formula car racing.
At just 15 years of age he is one of a number of rookies in the F1600 Championship this year and looks to take his shot at the Mazda Road to Indy Championship scholarship awarded at the season’s end.
Matt Gidman, of Toronto, ON returns after a partial season last year and will be competing in the full championship as well as several Quebec series races, including the season highlight Montreal Grand Prix in support of Formula 1.
Jason Sharpe, of Bolton, ON competed in 3 events with the team last season and has returned to compete for master’s honors.
After a full day of successful testing the race weekend started with practice and qualifying on Saturday morning. Vanier is a quick study and led the team with a lap of 1:31.119, good enough for an 8th place start in his very first car race. Sharpe was next in line with a lap of 1:31.800 and would roll off 11th. Gidman clocked a lap of 1:32.754 and would start race 1 in 15th place.
The sun came out in the afternoon for the start of race 1. Vanier made an impressive jump at the drop of the green flag and had himself in 7th early on. Contact with another car trying an aggressive overtake in corner 3 flattened his right rear tire and he was forced to pit, ruining his day and placing him in 17th position.
Sharpe was held up at the start when his line did not go and dropped 4 spots by corner 2. He made quick work of 3 cars by laps end and one more the next lap and had a great battle with Keith Lobban and Tony Cove for most of the race, which did end early under a red flag due to a car catching fire. He would run as high as 10th during the race and eventually brought the car home in 12th.
Gidman had an eventful race, being pushed off at the top of corner 4, spinning and saving the car but losing many spots. He recovered and had a good run and some fierce battles all race long making up the spots lost and two more from his starting position, bringing his car to the line in 13th, posting his fastest lap of the weekend in the process.
It was warm and sunny for race 2 and 3 on Sunday. Vanier picked up where he left off Saturday and moved up 3 spots during race 2, finishing in 6th place and sending notice he is going to be a force to contend with all season long.
Sharpe had a great start and a solid run, improving his standing in the order by 4 spots and finishing in 10th position.