A week after the KartStars Canada series kicked off the 2021 season, it was back to club racing at Goodwood Kartways for Race 4 of the TRAK series. The bus stop chicane was added to the track configuration for the first time in 2021, breaking up the standard long-track layout.
Daniel looked to have a repeat of his race winning efforts from KartStars Round 1, but suffered a setback as soon as he left the pits for Free Practice. Leaving the pits, the kart would not accelerate, as if the clutch was slipping, not engaging. Then, on the out-lap, Demaras was passed by three karts by Turn 4, and it became clear that the wrong gear ratio was chosen for the lower-speed layout. Daniel completed an installation lap, then bailed out. In the pits, the team determined how to correct the issue for Qualifying.
There was no change of fortune in Qualifying. Despite running the ‘right’ gear, there was an obvious lack of power and acceleration. After a couple less-than-stellar laps, Daniel was given the black flag / orange disc, forcing him to pull off the track due to visible smoke. The team determined the clutch was not engaging properly, and installed a back-up clutch over the lunch break. While the parts weren’t new, the clutch ran trouble free the previous race weekend. Daniel was looking forward to the challenge of coming through the field, having managed to qualify P7 despite mechanical issues.
The green flag waved for the Pre-Final, and Demaras made up two places by Turn 4 on the opening lap, Despite the strong start, the No. 412 kart seemed to lose pace as the Pre-Final went on. Again, the kart lacked power and acceleration, so as the laps clicked off, Daniel lost the two positions he’d made up at the start. Just like in the Qualifying, Daniel was given the black and orange flag due to smoke coming from the Briggs & Stratton motor, not the clutch. Daniel was very angry with the decision to pull him off the track again, but it was necessary for the sake of safety.
Cale and Glenn performed an engine-swap before the Final race, meaning that according to the regulations Daniel would have to start last. Since the engine issue couldn’t be diagnosed and resolved in time for the Final, KartStars Round 1 winning engine ‘Uniqua’ was bolted back on the No. 412 New Speed Motorsports kart.
Daniel made a pre-race bet with Max Preston that he could move up to P5 by the end of Lap 1, Daniel was determined to cut cut the field in the Final. With all the mechanical issues (hopefully) sorted, a motivated Demaras prepared for battle!
A good start, elbows out driving through Turns 4 and 5. Then a late-braking maneuver into Turn 9 and sure enough, Daniel was up to 5th by the end of the first circuit. From there, Demaras began racing drivers in podium contention, and needed to swiftly get by them to run down pole-sitter and race-leader, Jeff Conte. After a few good overtakes, Daniel put the front bumper to the second-place driver in Turn 5, who in turn retaliated and turned in on Daniel at the corner exit. Demaras kept the position, and set his sights on Conte several seconds ahead. Daniel began his charge.
Demaras was taking 4/10th’s out of Conte’s lead per lap, but made a conscious decision not to push too hard, not to over-drive the corners. He relied on his speed and the power of Uniqua to close-up to within a few kart lengths at the start of the last lap. Within striking range, Daniel refrained from making a risky pass, and instead tried to drag race Conte to the finish line, but it was simply too late. Jeff Conte took his first win of 2021, and Daniel capped off a difficult day with a podium finish, only 0.105 seconds behind.
A post-race, one-position penalty for contact in Turn 5 demoted Daniel to 3rd, but the result was still impressive. The No. 412 kart had been nowhere all day long. Daniel’s father Chris even received texts from James Treadwell, racing in Hamilton that day, but still monitoring Daniel on Race Monitor. “What the hell is going on!?” Treadwell demanded, regarding Daniel’s lack of pace.
To start at the back, pass everyone in the field, and finish 1/10th behind the race winner…it was a real confidence boost for Demaras.
With one more club race before KartStars Round 2 at Point Pelee Karting in Leamington, the No. 412 New Speed Motorsports kart will look to take a fifth straight podium at TRAK Race 5.