Sacrifices turned into success and joy at the Franciacorta Karting Track last weekend. Circuit staff and drivers concluded the FIA Karting European Championship of the OK and OKJ 2022 classes in the best possible way.
As said at the presentation of the weekend, the Franciacorta stage has always been the great awaited event of the year, especially for a show that was announced and which, as it was meant to be, wrote yet another page of sporting history.
Raffella Giacomini and Stefano Bonara with their staff were the perfect hosts for one of the appointments that has meant the most for karting in recent years, from the organisation to the functionality of all the organs present, right up to the freedom of all the drivers in tackling all the sessions giving 100% by expressing themselves to the utmost.
The well-established harmony between the Franciacorta Karting Track, ACI Sport, James Geidel's RGMMC and the FIA then reached its highest expression on Sunday 10 July, the moment of truth. The fruit of meetings, quick organisation and tight schedules respected to perfection, gave birth to a memorable 'pre-race show'. After the entrance and the presentation of medals by the Franciacorta staff members, it was the young dancers of the Cus Bergamo Dance Section who opened the show with an enthralling choreography directed by Greta Pievani. Afterwards, and during the arrival of the first parachutists from the Skyteam Cremona skydiving school, to the applause of all present, the intonation of the Inno di Mameli by the splendid young voices of the Coro del Sorriso di Montello (BG), directed by Mariantonia Sarasin. Emotions were also aroused by other surprise elements of the show, such as the tricolour smoke bombs and the gliding passage over the starting straight by pilot Giovanni Bonafini aboard his own plane, after all the parachutists had launched. Also worthy of note was the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the circuit's second birthday, in the presence of the authorities, guests and owners (Joh Ryan, FIA Karting Vice-President, James Geidel, RGMMC President, Gabriel Barucco, Lombardy Regional Councillor, Deputy Mayor Cola, municipal councillors Zanini, Bettoni and Lupatini, Ettore Bonara, owner of the circuit, Carla Bono, Sabrina Bonara, Stefano Bonara, Raffaella Giacomini and Giulia Piva).
A greeting then arrived at the track from Ing. Leonzio, designer of the Franciacorta circuit, who was busy abroad at an international conference with FIM Europe.
Anticipation then skyrocketed with the first start on Sunday afternoon, the OKJ final. The last act of the Junior European Championship did nothing more than gather all the best elements seen during the season and put them into a single race with continuous twists and turns and reshuffling of the classification. Nathan Tye (Sodi Kart) and Anatoly Khavalkin (Parolin) led a tight race for the title, in some stages at a distance and later also in close contact. Khavalkin had literally dominated the heat phase in the previous days, managing to start on pole position and attempting a breakaway in the final as well. In the twenty laps planned, however, the Parolin team driver had to reckon with a tussle in the top positions and constant attacks from his rivals, including Tye, who had returned to the top after qualifying and heats that were not easy. The last part of the race then proved decisive with a Khavalkin attacked once again by the competition and also by Tye, who was constantly in the podium zone and on the edge of the scoreboard, always monitored by Khavalkin in close proximity. It was on the very last lap that the key episode occurred, with Nathan Tye crashing into an opponent and out of the race. With third place on the podium, Anatoly Khavalkin officially became European OKJ Champion, second place for Zac Drummond (Parolin), first FIA Karting victory for Jan Przyrowski (Tony Kart).
Less eventful but just as exciting right up to the last corners was the OK Senior final. With the leader Joe Turney (Tony Kart) stuck at the bottom of the standings after problems during Friday's qualifying and Saturday's heats, the concentration for the title fight shifted to Enzo Deligny (Parolin), poleman and winner of all the heats on Saturday, Kean Nakamura-Berta (KR) and Alex Powell (KR) all mathematically fighting for the success. Enzo Deligny was not able to have his say as many expected during the final, as he did not find the rhythm that had allowed him to dominate the competition despite starting in third position. It was the same for Nicolò Cuman (Forza Racing), the best of the Italians and starting in pole position for the final. Space then went to Alex Powell from the very first lap, perfect in recovering eight positions in a few corners and taking the lead. The Jamaican's leadership was never in question, uncatchable for everyone and unfortunately for him unable to obtain even more points to remain calm in the general classification. Just when it seemed to be done for Powell's resounding continental title, the key overtaking of Kean Nakamura-Berta three passages from the end, useful to regain those two points needed to become European OK Senior Champion for the first time in his career. Third place on the podium for Frenchman Evan Giltaire (VDK Racing).
The Franciacorta Karting Track would like to thank all its staff for their valuable work during the race weekend and beyond, ACI Sport, RGMMC, FIA Karting, all drivers and teams present, family members and fans, making an appointment for the next races in the programme and especially for the FIA Karting OK/OKJ World Championship 2023.