Mike Vincec Barrie Grand Prix Report225 laps! 2 Podiums! and a technical hiccup...The King of the Bay looks forward to Shining at Stars Stouffville, Ontario - July 02, 2006That's right & 225 laps and the Barrie Grand Prix, where racers navigate...
Mike Vincec Barrie Grand Prix Report225 laps! 2 Podiums! and a technical hiccup...The King of the Bay looks forward to Shining at Stars
Stouffville, Ontario - July 02, 2006That's right & 225 laps and the Barrie Grand Prix, where racers navigate streets along the city's waterfront, is not an enduro. But if you are 15 year old Mike Vincec, racing three classes in the Sunoco Ron Fellows Karting Championship's (SRFKC) premiere event, that is about how many tours of the temporary race circuit you need to do in practice, qualifying, pre-finals and finals. Mind you, Mike might turn almost as many laps during any SRFKC event, but at Barrie, the series_ main event where winners are crowned King of the Bay, every lap is fought on a bumpy, narrow track lined with unforgiving hay bales. Mike did not miss a beat all weekend and the rewards' and disappointment, came in Sunday's final rounds.
He would though, be crowned the "Ultimate King of the Bay" for his runaway win in the Formula Senior (ICC) feature.From the start of Friday practice, Mike was near the top of the charts in Formula Senior (ICC), Rotax Senior and F1-K Senior thanks to the efforts of a very busy tuner, Brian Bettencourt who also logged a lot of miles getting karts to and from pre-grid and his dad Drago for filling in the voids in between all the sessions.
"We had a lot of opportunities to play with setup under different conditions because of the extended practice on Friday," noted Mike. "Brian was a flurry of activity throughout the day."
Saturday was devoted to a warmup session and qualifying for the afternoon's pre finals. The pre final results would set the starting grid for Sunday's feature races.First up on Saturday would be Formula Senior and Mike, while turning consistent laps, could not manage to grab the pole. A solid pre final race would get him a spot on the second row, just behind pole. Things went a bit better in F1-K with a front row start and some great racing through the ten lap pre final.
Mike would come home second to keep his front row starting position on Sunday. It all came together in Rotax Senior where Mike would take the pole as the Pfaff Fast Qualifier and win the pre final to start P1 on Sunday. All in all, a good day for Mike.
"Brian did a fantastic job today to keep us at the front in all classes." Mike continued, "if we can put together as solid a day on Sunday, we will have to start including Brian in the podium presentations."
Sunday however, would have its moments but at the end of the day, Mike would come home happy. The Formula Senior feature would see the karts take a couple of warmup laps and come to the line for the start. First the pole, then off-pole karts would stall before the start on successive laps. This forced these two drivers plus the driver originally lined up alongside Mike, to the rear of the filed, effectively putting Mike on pole - with two veterans beside and behind him. When the lights went out, Mike launched into the first turn and although challenged in the early laps, eventually built up a commanding lead. He completed the 25 lap final with a solid 4.287 second lead to claim victory.
With the victory, Mike would be crowned the "Ultimate" King of the Bay, an honour that goes to the winner in Formula Senior. But with the new format of "A King in every class", Mike still had a shot at two more.In F1-K, Mike battled for and took the lead on several laps and you never knew who would come across the line first. Toward the end of the race, Mike's kart seemed to be a bit off. Whether the heat was affecting tires or engine performance, Mike dropped off the pace but still came home in second place for another podium on the day.
Two down and one to go... with maybe some good news about an "off track" competition with other racers.The Rotax Senior race seemed never in doubt as Mike ran away from the field and built a comfortable lead over the 25 lap final. Mike's quest for a second crown on the day would be dashed however when the kart did not pass technical inspection.
"The kart was just great in all respects", noted Mike, "but we were DQ'd on a technical infraction for some issues with our exhaust." It was a disappointing end to racing for the day, but Mike was still "King of the Bay".
This years race included a twist with Discovery Channel on hand to interview racers for a new series - Star Racer - to air this fall. Drivers would be picked based on both their on track and off track performance. Mike's impressive on-track performance certainly got their attention and he was interviewed on camera throughout the weekend.
Just prior to the podium presentations, Mike was informed that although he was a standout in all areas, he was in fact, 53 days too young to be eligible to participate this year. Disappointing, but something to look forward to in the future.
The day would end well though as Mike was awarded the GM Racing Award for outstanding skills. With the Formula Senior win and near perfect performance in all three classes, Mike received the trophy along with a cash prize. Mike is the only driver in the series to have received this award three times doing so in 2004, 2005 and again this season.
"It is really great to be recognized for this by GM Racing. We work very hard to put it all on the track and it is an honour to be rewarded for that effort." Mike went on to say, "I guess I will be taking Brian to dinner now."
Mike has enjoyed some time off before heading to Charlotte, North Carolina to compete in the next round of the Snap On Stars of Karting presented by Indy Racing League. Mike is in his first year of senior ICC competition and is coming off a very strong second place finish at the race in Newcastle in May.
"We are in the hunt for the championship in that series as well," noted Mike. "We are really looking for a strong finish in Charlotte." Mike's performance in the Stars series has moved him into a top driver ranking as awarded by Super Kart Magazine.