The start to the go-kart racing season may have been delayed, but it only took a few practice laps at the Lombardy Raceway Karting Club for Sylvain Coursol to get his driving legs back.
“Funny thing is, when I got to the track in Ottawa, they were practicing for about a week and a half before I got there,” says the 29-year-old Sturgeon Falls racer. “The guy there – we did a good race last year – I asked him ‘what kind of times were you doing that weekend?’ and he said he couldn’t get under 38 seconds (a lap). Well, I got on the track and my third lap was under 38 seconds.”
It’s always easy for Coursol to get back in the groove of things, even with the provincial shutdown setting back the start to this season: racing is in his blood after all.
His uncle Jean-Pierre was a stock car driver who travelled all across the province to races and his father Gaston worked as his crew chief. That always helped fuel Coursol’s automotive interests. Then 12 years ago, at age 16, he and his brother Martin got into racing of their own, smaller vehicles, and they’ve been hooked on the world of competitive go-kart racing ever since. Gaston became their crew chief, and the brothers would compete in races all around Ontario while attending post-secondary school, even making the trip to Mont Tremblant for nationals.
Martin has since stepped away from the sport, but Sylvain and his father are still going strong. Following that warm up in Ottawa, Coursol opened the season atop the podium in the first race of the 2021 Technica Mining Karting Championship at the Sudbury Kart Club. Racing in the senior category, Coursol has won the season-long series the past two years in a row, beating a field of 10 other drivers.
“It was a pretty close championship last year,” says Coursol, who bested second place by 36 points in the season-long standings. “This time, I’ve got one of my friends (Joey Haynes) that I’m helping him out and we had a good battle this weekend.”
Haynes returned the favour in the second race of the year, edging out Coursol for first place in the finals on July 18. Coursol was tops in the qualifying round and prefinals. After two races this year, the two are separated by less than 10 points in the standings.