Licensing Delays

A recent CBC news article touched on the challenges facing young drivers during the pandemic. Since the second lockdown started in December, nearly 40,000 driver’s licence road tests have been cancelled.

Throughout the summer, there were huge line-ups outside Ministry of Transportation offices in Toronto. Soon-to-be drivers had to line up from the crack of dawn to have a chance of getting in to do their written test (G1 licence) before the close of business.

The G1 permit used to be called the ‘365’ and was intended to last up to a year as part of the drivers’ education process. To get a G2 licence, young drivers have to pass a road test. Once they’ve reached this level, they can drive alone, without a licensed adult next to them, and can even travel on major highways. After one more year, a second road test is required to obtain a full G licence.

But with the recent emergency orders in Ontario, all in-vehicle road tests have been cancelled across the province – until further notice.

Before the recent province-wide ‘stay-at-home’ order took effect, drivers seeking to book their road tests found delays of two years for first available appointments. Once the restrictions are lifted, the backlog may be eve longer.

One would assume that the Ministry of Transportation will hire more examiners and increase the number of tests to clear out the backlog. It’s just not fair to make teens wait years for a road test they’ve prepared for.

The moral of the story is that teens should get the process started on acquiring their driver’s licence the second they turn 16. Enroll in driving school and get your road test booked, pronto. Even if teenagers today no longer view the Driver’s Licence as a ‘rite of passage’ into young adulthood, it is a life skill. Don’t waste the opportunity when it’s available!

FWT1 Sunday

Young Rocco Simone earned a Top 10 finish in Micro ROK against tough competition moving up to finish 7th in class.

Overall, In VLR Masters category, Intrepid karts took all three podium positions with Martin Stone (Goodwood Kartways), Anthony Simone (Goodwood Kartways / NSM), and Cayden Goodridge (Goodwood Kartways).

For more details about how local racers fared against tough international competition, check out

FWT1 Saturday

Keeping up to date with New Speed Motorsport’s father-son duo of Anthony Simone and Rocco Simone as they compete today in Round 1 of the 2021 Florida Winter Tour

Stay Safe

It’s been a strange news week.

On Wednesday came the announcement that the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Portugal had been cancelled. Considered one of the ‘world championships’ of kart racing, the event was scheduled to take place from January 23rd to 30th. Portugal has experienced a record-breaking surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases since the Christmas holiday. The small European nation of 10 million recorded 10,566 new virus cases, prompting a month-long lockdown of the entire country. Racing will have to wait.

On the weekend, the province of Quebec enacted an 8:00 pm curfew. At this time of year, there really isn’t much motorsports in Quebec. Entertainment facilities where large groups would normally gather, including indoor karting tracks, have already been shut down. But now, motorheads can’t even drive their trusty Subaru around town to pass the time. For context, Quebec has a population of 8.5 million residents, and reported 2,132 new cases on Wednesday.

Ontario’s 14.5 million residents were given a stay-at-home order by the Government on Tuesday, and the province reported 2,998 new virus cases today. Those of us living in Toronto can still drive our cars whenever we choose, although all motorsports are shut down by order of the province. Canadians interested in racing will have to go a little further south if they want to compete.

Florida has a population of 21.5 million (a little less than Ontario and Quebec combined) and the state reported 13,720 new cases of the virus on Thursday. That was also the opening day of the 2021 Florida Winter Tour!

The first round of the kart racing series runs from January 14th to 17th in Pompano Beach, Florida, continues in February on a temporary circuit in St. Petersburg, and concludes in March at Ocala Gran Prix in Ocana, Florida. 16 Canadians are racing this weekend, including New Speed Motorsports teammates Anthony Simone in VLR Masters and Rocco Simone in Micro ROK. Canadian teams who’ve made it across the border include Ben Cooper Racing, PSL Karting and REM – Racing Edge Motorsports. The other significant Canadian team competing is Goodwood Kartways! In addition to the father-son duo of Anthony and Rocco Simone, Canadian racers from the ‘home team’ include Jordan Di Leo and Cayden Goodridge.

There really is no consistent logic or reason to how provinces, states or countries decide when it’s OK to be open, or when a complete shutdown is required. From the complete lockdown in Portugal to the racing this weekend in the USA, these are confusing times.

Stay safe.

2021 Mosport Championship

It’s been more than a year since Daniel Demaras raced at Mosport. His old karting team PRO operates out of the Bowmanville track now, so there’s still plenty of old friends to keep tabs on in MIKA – Mosport International Karting Association.

To make things a little more interesting this year, Mosport’s top senior racers in 4-stroke (Briggs) and 2-stroke (ROK) will have an extra prize in store.

The 2021 M.I.K.A Championship in the Briggs & Stratton Senior and ROK Senior categories will win a test in BLACK STORM, Richard Boake Racing ‘s very own championship winning race car.

Full carbon fiber bodied 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STi ‘Time Attack’ car that raced at the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb

Richard Boake helps run the Mosport Karting Centre, and has been around the ‘big’ track for years. Here’s some video of his Subaru in action! For more information about the 2021 kart racing season, go to

If a Girl Can Do It

Here’s a copy of Road & Track from May 1968. To give an idea of how much things have changed, the magazine sold for $0.60 back then. But if you want to really see how things were in the good old days, just look at this ad:

Whoa! Can you imagine car companies running ads like this today? Thumbing through the magazine, looking at ads from Fiberfab and Arrow Gauges, the treatment of women was just horrible.

It’s easy to criticize attitudes from 50 years ago. But in today’s enlightened era, one wonders why there still aren’t more women in motorsports?

No Driving After Curfew

~ by Chris #16 Demaras ~

From the day I turned 16, one of my favourite things to do was to take a drive. Not necessarily with any specific destination. Just go for a drive. I read an article on Jalopnik today where the author describes the almost therapeutic value of driving aimlessly north of Toronto. So…I know I’m not alone in this custom.

As a teenager, I can’t count how many times I would get in my car with a buddy, drive downtown to Lakeshore Blvd, make the right at the base of Yonge St and just drive all the way to Hwy 7, past the city limits. During the earliest days of the pandemic, with not much else to do, my son Daniel and I would drive out to interesting roads around the GTA like the Forks of the Credit, or the Old Finch Bridge.

So when I heard about the curfew in Quebec, where citizens won’t be allowed out of their homes between 8:00 pm and 5:00 am (not even to go for a drive) it bothered me. I’m a freedom loving person; not quite a libertarian, but a strong believer in the rights of the individual. If bars, restaurants, gyms and movie theatres (where people congregate) have to be closed to prevent community spread, I reluctantly understand. But is it really necessary to prevent an individual from firing up their car and going for a drive?

Just the images of Montreal this weekend were haunting.

In Quebec, for the next month, acceptable reasons for being outside include:

  • People going to and coming from work, or a work-related activity.
  • Parents picking up teenagers from work.
  • People going to or coming from an education activity at a recognized school such as a night class or lab.
  • People who work in the transportation of goods sector.
  • People who are providing necessary health services to someone else, or attending the bedside of a sick family member.
  • Driving someone to a medical appointment, either a child or someone who can’t drive themselves.
  • People who require immediate medical attention, or have an appointment with a dentist or optometrist.
  • People who are dropping kids off to comply with a custody agreement or parental visitation.
  • People who are coming from or going to train stations or airports for travel.
  • People who are shopping for essential items that cannot be deferred (ex. pharmacies).
  • People who are walking their dog within 1 km of their home.

Those who are circulating during curfew hours may be stopped by police and asked to provide proof of their reason for travel.

Hope for 2021

As I sit in my living room at home in Toronto, I’m unable to even visit a local indoor track for some fun. Yet I know that there’s racing in Florida right now. Daytona Kart Week just passed, and many Canadians are preparing to compete in the Florida Winter Tour.

Yet this week, Quebec announced a curfew, preventing Canadians from even leaving their homes at night. Do I really expect spring training to begin in March or April when we could be facing a lockdown and curfew in Ontario as soon as next week!

People are willing to do their part to stop the spread of ‘the virus‘. But when increasingly strict measures are being taken, it’s disheartening to read that Canadian public officials (even hospital CEOs) are themselves ignoring public heath guidelines. A member of the province’s COVID-19 science table, who helped draft the ban on non-essential travel due to the risk of COVID-19, went to the sunny Dominican Republic in December. Yet regular Canadians who are being told to stay home, go out only for essential needs and even shop for groceries only once a week are now facing a curfew?

I’m not one of those yahoos who thinks ‘the virus‘ is a hoax, or one of those misguided people who sees wearing a mask as trampling on their freedoms. I’m willing to do my part to stop the spread, but if Canadian leaders lose the public’s faith in them because of hypocritical behaviour … nobody will be willing to follow public health recommendations. They must lead by example!

I just want to see my friends at the track. Spend another summer with other racing families. The question remains if and when racing season in Canada will begin.

95 turns 7

Happy birthday to our young New Speed Motorsports teammate Rocco Simone … Daniel Demaras’ ‘lil brother at the race track.