CALABOGIE, ON, (August 26, 2018) – The beautiful natural setting and twists and turns of the challenging Calabogie Motorsports Park were host to the Ted Powell races, rounds 13-15 on the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship this past weekend.
The Britain West squad arrived with 4 entries for the impressive young Matt Gidman, 15 year-old Zacharie Vanier and gentleman drivers Jason Sharpe and Ross Smith.
No-one on the team has driven the track before so a full day of testing was in order for the Friday. An interesting twist for the weekend is two different track configurations so testing was broken up into long track in the morning and the short track in the afternoon.
When the race weekend got going on Saturday morning the sun was shining and the team was ready for some action against the super competitive field from all over North America.
Vanier would lead the team in qualifying, grabbing the 7th fastest lap, with Gidman and Sharpe in 11th and 12th respectively. Smith was 21st fastest.
It was hot and humid when the field took the green flag for race 1 and Vanier made quick work of the field and set his sights on being up front. He would cross the line in an impressive 3rd place, grabbing the hard charger award for the most advanced positions along the way at a track that’s very hard to pass on.
Sharpe and Gidman had a great battle back and forth and passed each other several times, eventually coming home 11th and 12th.
Smith had a bad accident with another competitor on lap 1 and incurred enough damage that he was unable to compete for the balance of the weekend.
Sunday morning the skies opened up and the first race of the weekend would be in damp, but drying conditions. The team split setups for the race based on driver preference. Vanier believed the track was going to dry and made the right call. He grabbed yet another podium position coming home in 3rd.
Gidman and Sharpe had another good fight, with Gidman’s car coming in halfway through the race with a dry set up and eventually walking away from Sharpe, who had a wet setup in the car. Gidman took home an impressive 9th and Sharpe soldiered on for a 10th place finish.
By race 3 it was sunny, hot and humid again.
Vanier was starting nearer to the front this time and was itching for his first win. He got off to a great start and had a monumental battle with several competitors, leading multiple laps and again coming home with a 3rd place finish – the only driver to finish each race on the podium for the weekend.
Gidman had a good run again with yet another top ten finish, surviving a late race half spin and bringing it home in 9th place.
Sharpe made his day a lot harder by botching the start and dropping to dead last on the field by corner 1, having to fight hard to drive his way back to a 10th place finish.
Next up is the final weekend for the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship, the BEMC Indian Summer Trophy Races September 15, 16 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.