Daniel Demaras made his debut in Briggs Masters at the 3rd TRAK race of 2020.

Briggs Senior has a minimum weight of 340 pounds, including kart and driver, so any racer over 165 pounds is at a massive disadvantage, considering the Briggs LO206 motor produces only 10 HP. As a result, Daniel struggled with straight line speed in Briggs Senior. The move up to Briggs Masters, a change recommended by some of the most experienced figures in the paddock, eliminated any disadvantages for Demaras.

In morning practice, Daniel showed good pace on a circuit lacking in grip, spending most of the session P1, before Jeff Conte set a quick time in Daniel’s draft, and Eli Yanko bested Demaras by a tenth. In the unique random order Heat Racing format, Daniel was set to start sixth in Heat 1 and fifth in Heat 2. The combined results of the two Heat Races would determine the starting order for the Final Heat Race.

After morning practice, it started pouring rain at Goodwood, soaking the track and forcing everyone to switch over to wet setups. While Chris Demaras looked to the skies, New Speed Motorsports mechanic Leonard D’arrigo used the time between sessions to change everything on the kart for the rainy conditions. Lowering the axle, raising the chassis and increasing front track width for a full wet setup gave Daniel a fighting chance in the treacherous conditions.

Daniel got off to a good start, racing around the outside edge of the track in the grippy kart No. 457 to make overtakes early in the race, moving from 6th to 3rd on the first lap. The gap to Yanko in 1st and Conte in 2nd was too large to close up, but Daniel still pushed hard, laying down fast laps and opening a gap to 4th. Daniel had a ‘moment’ when he ran off track at Turn 3, but he kept the kart running and didn’t lose a position. A late race mechanical issue for Yanko caused him to slow on the last lap, and Daniel’s pushing earlier in the Heat Race paid off as he caught the veteran Yanko, passing him at Turn 10 to secure 2nd place.

To make the day even more random, the sun came out and the track dried up completely before Heat Race 2, and master mechanic Leonard had to quickly undo all the changes he’d made.

Odds on favourites Yanko and Conte, who had started on the front row for the first Heat would now be starting at the opposite end of the grid, making up the back row. Demaras had a real opportunity for a win. When the green flag waved, Daniel made a move up to 4th place at the first braking zone. But an overly optimistic passing attempt by a rival collected Daniel at Turn 5, both karts grinding to a halt off track in last place. Demaras got back on track, kept his cool, and went on the hunt. He caught the pack of drivers and worked his way through them, staying in the draft on the front straight before popping out at Turn 1 to make the pass, a move unimaginable to Daniel when racing in Briggs Senior. By the last lap, Daniel had moved up to 3rd place but was under attack from behind him. He had to fight to hold position, taking hthe line away from his rival to defend his position rather than making passes as he had all race long. Demaras held the place finishing the Heat Race in 3rd position. Quite an accomplishment considering Daniel was off track and stopped on lap 1.

Daniel started the Final Heat Race final on the front row alongside Eli Yanko, winner of Heat Race 2. Daniel and Leonard discussed the strategy before the race, deciding to slot in behind Yanko at the start (rather than going ‘outside suicide’ on Turn 1) and push away from the pack, then go for the lead in the closing laps. Demaras followed D’arrigo’s strategy, losing a spot at the start of the race but staying on the tail of the racer in front of him. After running in 3rd position for a lap, Daniel regained 2nd place at turn four.

The entire New Speed Motorsports team including Anthony, Leonard, Cale, Max and Rocco lined up at the fence to will Daniel on. They were alongside Daniel’s former PRO teammates Chad and Trevor, Logan and Tony, who were supporting Demaras, while Sue Taylor, mom to Daniel’s former VRS teammate Brennan, read live timing off Race Monitor, shocking Daniel’s dad Chris that his boy had the speed to catch the leader. Even TheMigster was at the track watching!

Having lost time to Yanko, Daniel got to work, lapping half a second faster than the field, catching the leader bit by bit. After laps of watching Yanko’s line, Daniel knew he had an advantage; he was faster out of Turn 4 into the hairpin at Turn 5, so Demaras used this exit speed on lap ten to get the No. 457 kart alongside the leader and dive for an inside pass. momentarily taking the lead. But the wily Yanko cut back and retook the lead. Daniel looked for an opening, attempting a passing maneuver at Turn 9 on the last lap, drag racing Yanko all the way to the finish line, finishing side by side, missing victory by only 0.096 seconds! Experienced Eli gave Daniel a thumbs up at the line; he’d enjoyed the battle as much as Demaras.

The New Speed Motorsports team were ecstatic as Daniel returned to pit lane, Anthony and Leonard waiting to congratulate Daniel on a great race.

The move to Briggs Masters was unquestionably successful. Having equal equipment, power and weight to the other racers meant racing without any disadvantages and it gave Daniel a chance to show his ability. Demaras even set the fastest lap at 43.747 seconds as he challenged for victory.

After a reinvigorating weekend, Demaras looks to return to the podium at the first KartStars Canada race in one week’s time.

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