Last Man Standing–The Eliminator Tournament Recap
Article written by Daniel Demaras
To cap off an exciting January at K1 Speed Toronto, the track held the inaugural event in its five-part Challenger Series for 2019; The Eliminator. Sixteen of K1 Speed’s best racers competed in an action-packed evening filled with fast times and hard racing.
The drivers were split into two groups of eight, based on their current K1RS point standings. For round one, each group was sent out for a fourteen-lap time trial, where every second lap was an ‘Elimination Lap’ and the driver with the slowest lap time would be knocked out. Drivers had to consistently set quick laps, as a fast time on lap one didn’t count on lap eight. A driver could even set the fastest lap of the session early on, and still get knocked out!
Points were awarded on the order drivers were eliminated. The last racer standing picked up 10 points, with second place picking up 8 points, then 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and finally 2 points to the first person eliminated. The combined points earned in the two heat races of round one determined who advanced to round two.
Logan Ploder was the quickest driver in Group B, taking 10 points in Heat Race 2, while Daniel Demaras picked up the maximum 20 points by sweeping both Heat 1 & 2 of the Group A session. Dawson Campbell also earned 10 points for being the ‘last man standing’ in one of the Group B races, showing great pace early on. Despite their efforts, Dan Balm, Peter Guatto, Ray Nicandro, Marjan Ahmed, Michael Kotsopoulos, Nicolas Maitland, Evan Safari and Alessio Alves were all eliminated in round one, cutting the field in half for round two.
Dawson Campbell swept round two, winning both heat races in dominant fashion. Nic Ramsey and Nuwan Wijeratne both picked up second place finishes in one of the two heats, but as competitors turned up the pressure by setting even faster lap times, Ramsey was eliminated from the competition, along with Victor Zdanski, Dennis Rak and Robert Warnes. From sixteen competitors, the final four emerged; Dawson Campbell and Nuwan Wijeratne along with Logan Ploder and Daniel Demaras would fight it out in round three, the semifinals.
In round three Campbell once again took both races, this time with a margin of seven tenths in the first race. Behind him, the racing was closer, with Ploder and Wijeratne separated by fractions of a second. Demaras edged out the competition by finishing second in both heat races, earning a spot in the finals.
For the final round, the pressure was ratcheted up. There would be no second chances. One race, winner take all. A 7-lap race, with one point awarded for fastest lap on each lap, determined the winner. While Daniel Demaras put up a strong fight, no one could stop Dawson Campbell from claiming victory. Dawson set incredible lap times, and was consistent throughout the night, taking wins in six heat races, including a victory in the Final Elimination round.
The podium saw Logan Ploder in third, Daniel Demaras in second, and Dawson Campbell, the champion of The Eliminator event, proudly stand on the top step. With friends and family members cheering on the podium finishers, the evening was extra special for Dawson, as his grandfather Bill made the trek to K1 Speed Toronto for the first time, to watch his grandson compete. He couldn’t have picked a better night!
It was a night of competition and camaraderie. Racers tried their hardest, many even posting personal best lap times at K1 Speed. But most importantly, even though the competition was fierce, nobody lost sight of what the night was all about; to have fun and enjoy the chance to compete against some of the best racers in the province. K1 Speed is quickly becoming a focal point for karting in Ontario.
After an exciting event like this, K1 Speed is sure to put on another dramatic and thrilling night at the next Challenger Series event in March 2019, so stay posted for your chance to compete, and possibly take home a victory.
Zero Emissions, 100% Adrenaline
Daniel Demaras is a 15-year-old karting enthusiast who shares his passion for karting on both the outdoor and indoor tracks, including K1 Speed. Daniel races for Professional Racing Ontario. Learn more about Daniel on his website www.demaras.com