Allen Berg will preview the Calgary screening of SENNA

A very special and unique Canadian designed motorsport race helmet will be auctioned next week to raise funds for non-profit Calgary Kart Racing Club (CKRC) at a fundraising event being hosted by the club and presented by ex-F1 driver Allen Berg in tribute to the Formula One racing legend Ayrton Senna.

The Calgary motorsports community is abuzz with excitement for the city’s premiere of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Award winning film SENNA on Thursday July 21, 2011 at Globe cinema. The premiere is being held well in advance of the national release date. The UK film premiere event sold out within just 45 minutes of the tickets going on sale.

The movie has received worldwide acclaim by both movie critics and race fans alike. The film has an ability to grip the audience with special never seen before footage of the high octane life of the man who is widely considered to be the best driver who ever lived. Such was his stature in his home country of Brazil that after his death in 1994 at the San Marino Grand Prix the Brazilian Government declared three days of national morning. This is not a film just for motorsports fans rather it has broader appeal achieved through the way director Asif Kapadia has exceptionally told the story of Senna’s life to create a piece of cinematic artistry.

Canada’s very own Formula One driver Allen Berg will talk to the audience at this very special premiere event about his own experiences of racing against and standing on the podium with the legend Ayrton Senna in both Formula Three and Formula One. Allen now runs the successful Allen Berg Racing Schools throughout Western Canada and North America with his home being located in Calgary. Allen is an active member of CKRC and was quick to come on board to assist the club with this event. Allen Berg commented on his participation when he said: “Having started my career karting in Alberta it gives me great pleasure to support the CKRC and Canadian karting at this event.”

“We have been overwhelmed by the support that has been shown by the local community for this event with prize donations being received from Edmonton Indy, Exotic Car Club, and the Post Hotel to name just a few. In addition Allen Berg has donated a single seater race car experience that will be raffled during the event,” said Phil Haggerty, President of CKRC. 

He continued to say that the club is particularly excited to announce a special auction item that really reflects the local community spirit that is so evident in Calgary. Auction bidders will have the opportunity to bid for a fully customised race and road legal motorsport helmet.

The final helmet paint design will be decided through an artwork competition open to children who are resident in Alberta between the age of 5 – 16 years old. Competition details will launch through www.sennamovie.info on Friday July 15, 2011. The focus of the design will be the Calgary Flames colours/ logos and will include a tribute design element of Ayrton Senna.

The child with the winning entry will receive a signed youth Calgary Flames jersey and have their design painted onto the helmet by world famous Jason Fowler of JLF Designs and helmet designer to F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, F1 rookie driver Paul di Resta, and 2011 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon!

If that is not exciting enough for competition entrants after painting the helmet will be signed by Jerome Iginla and the entire 2011/ 2012 Calgary Flames hockey team!

KERN Partner Ltd. is sponsoring the helmet prize and Pentti Karkkainen, General Partner at KERN will announce the successful bid during the event on July 21, 2011.

This extraordinary one-off piece of sporting memorabilia art will appeal to both motorsport and hockey fans. Laurence Edscer of Laurence Edscer Motorsport Memorabilia has valued the item in the range of $5,500 – $6,500CAD.

CKRC also hopes that the event will be an opportunity to showcase the clubs activities and the availability of affordable yet competitive kart racing in the community.

Ayrton Senna drove race karts from the age of four years old. He spent his childhood building his race craft by driving many different types of karts and referred to kart racing as the perfect breeding ground for future race car drivers. It is quite astonishing that given all of Senna’s race experiences that when asked who was the best driver that he had pleasure of raced against, Senna cited his World Championship karting team-mate Terry Fullerton.

Today the Formula One grid remains filled with some of the world’s most talented drivers who all gained their motorsport foundation in kart racing. Lewis Hamilton for example won the Super 1 National Cadet Championship in 1995, the Kartmasters British Grand Prix in Cadet in 1996, and was both World and European Formula A champion in 2000 all in kart racing.

Yet kart racing is not a sport only for children who have their sights set upon a seat behind a Formula One car. The sport really does have broader appeal. CKRC has active male and female drivers ranging in age from 7 to over 60 years old. In 1999 the Rotax Max Challenge was introduced for ambitious leisure kart drivers. The series was oriented towards older people in their 20’s-50’s, who would remain in kart racing for longer periods of time. The strategy has proven to be successful around the world and in Canada the Senior Rotax Max class is the most strongly supported class of the four different Rotax classes. The Rotax 125cc engine is able to reach speeds of 100mph.

Each year Rotax hosts Grand Finals that brings together races from Asia, Middle East, Europe, North and South America. Seats at the world finals are highly sought after and drivers must qualify through race events to win a seat to represent their country. Success in the finals is sure to get a driver noticed on the world stage.

In 2010 the finals were held at international kart track La Conca, Italy. Team Canada had an outstanding record of success at this event. British Columbia’s Bryce Choquer finished an impressive 6th in the Senior Max final having battled through three days of intense racing against 70 other drivers. In the DD2 senior class Daniel Morad (ON) took victory in the final. Whilst Scott Campbell of Saskatoon won the DD2 Masters class for drivers 32 years old and over.

The phenomenal performance of Canada’s top kart racers proves that Canada has the ability to nurture and develop racing talent to dominate on the world stage.

On July 23 & 24, 2011 CKRC will host the final two rounds of the Western Canadian Kart Championship at their track at 12740 68th Street SE, Calgary near Race City Speedway. Spectator admission is free and the local community is encouraged to come watch the racing and learn more about kart racing. These final two rounds (#1&2 Chilliwack, BC and #3&4 Saskatoon, SK) will decide who will join team Canada in 2011 from Western Canada at the Grand Finals at the Al Ain Raceway, near Abu Dhabi.

In 2011 the drivers to watch are Parker Thompson (AB) and Gianfranco Sartor (AB) in Junior Rotax Max, Bryce Choquer (BC) and Chris Glover (BC) in Senior Rotax Max, Kyle Herder (ON) in DD2, and reigning World Champion Scott Campbell in DD2 Masters.

The North American racing community is eager to see how Alberta’s 12 year old Parker Thompson performs at the Grand Finals. Thompson secured his place at the finals through the 2011 Challenge of the Americas winter series in the USA. Thompson is in his rookie year in the Junior Rotax class but being new to the class hasn’t held him back. Thompson has had a truly spectacular entry to the class and is virtually untouchable both north and south of the border.

Team Canada will have high hopes for this young kart pilot in the UAE. Parker Thompson is certainly a name to look out for in the future in Formula One. Allen Berg watched Parker take the win at a major kart race in California earlier this year, “I vividly remember Parker and his father at our school and the great time that they had together. It is most satisfying to see a graduate of Allen Berg Racing Schools and a member of the CKRC doing so well at the international level.”

Event tickets are limited and are selling fast. Tickets to see the Allen Berg interview, the movie and a door prize entry are CAD$26.50 each. Tickets can be bought through www.ckrc.com or www.sennamovie.com 

To read our exclusive interview with Allen, click here.

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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