After months of close racing, adapting to a whole lot of rain, bump drafting and first corner crashes, the MIKA season came to a close. Everyone wants to end their season off well, and Daniel Demaras is no different.
To get some fresh input on kart setup, Daniel turned to VRS teammate Keidon Fletcher. Keidon strapped on Daniel’s fluorescent yellow helmet and took to the track. What a sight! “It’s like seeing some other dude holding your girlfriend’s hand.” snarled Demaras, who looked on as Fletcher pounded out practice laps to gather feedback.
Fletcher set a 1:09.1 in kart #12 (running without ballast) which was marginally quicker than Demaras’ 1:09.3. Keidon helped to identify some issues with the kart, such as the overly sensitive brakes and loose handling on corner exit. With some nw perspective, Daniel hopped back into his kart, took his helmet from Fletch and clocked in some practice for the big day.
After a Thanksgiving party and a good night’s rest at The Hive Bed and Breakfast, the team arrived to a Mosport with clear skies, but wet track. The overnight rain combined with the cold conditions of the morning set up a very interesting day.
Daniel however, had practice…and was ready
Certain people (like VRS team principal James Treadwell) like to make fun of ‘arrive and drive’ karters, but he wasn’t laughing when Daniel set top-10 times in morning warm up on a very slippery track. Daniel did spin, but only to avoid other racers who’d stopped on the apex of corners.
For qualifying, Daniel didn’t do so well. He couldn’t seem to find the pace he had earlier in the day, and only managed 14th. So, the team changed the setup on his kart for the Pre Final.
Daniel moved up to 13th at the start, was overtaken, then became locked in an intense battle with Michael Nalli and Liam Woods for the remaining 7 laps. The three fought cleanly, with Daniel having to defend his position. The Briggs Junior drivers went three wide into turn one, pushing their luck. But mutual respect and competitiveness allowed the fierce battle to carry on without incident. Several moms were heard gasping as the boys entered the quick turn one, but thankfully Michael and Liam ceded the position to Daniel (who just kept the throttle pinned open).
Heading into the esses on the final lap, Woods attempted a pass, got up on the kerbs, and spun. It was a bitter-sweet ending to a race long battle, but Daniel was lucky to have ended up ahead. Liam woods was not happy, and would have another battle with Demaras in the finals.
“It’s always fun to have a battle, but it’s never fun to be a sitting duck. I just couldn’t get the kart to do what I wanted.” bristled Daniel.
This time, listening to the wise words of professional arrive and drive hater James Treadwell, further setup changes were made, despite the objections of lead mechanic Chris Demaras who complained “I just want to have lunch.”
Daniel got a much better start this time around, moving up into tenth. He looked quick, but teammate Ben Chaggares made a move on the inside of the final turn, which cost Daniel one place, and the loss of momentum cost him another.
Daniel’s mind was very much on the next kart up the road, but Anthony Garfalo and Liam Woods had different plans. Garfalo (a TRAK driver from Goodwood, making a rare appearance at Mosport) went full attack mode on Demaras. Woods, who’d had a great start, sat back and looked for an opportunity to pounce.
After three laps to go, Garfalo made a pass on Daniel’s inside at turn 7. Simultaneously, Liam Woods made a pass on both Daniel and Anthony. Demaras was now on the back foot. As the final lap started, Liam looked for a move on the outside of Garfalo into turn three. Daniel took advantage of the squabbling, made it three wide into turn three, and got passed both of them in one move. Daniel made sure to go full defensive in the final lap, and in the end, driver #12 came home in position 12.
In other news, the “veteran” senior VRS drivers had a strong challenge by part time VRS driver, Zachary Vanier in his Briggs Senior debut. Jon and Zach fought the whole race, until a mechanical issue sadly brought Vanier’s day to an end. This did however, mean that both Jon and Tyler ended up on the podium, and Tyler earned first, in the MIKA Briggs Senior championship.
With the season nearly over, it’s time to reflect back on the good friends and great racing this season, and looking forward to new challenges.