In recent years, the famous Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières (GP3R) has expanded and now extends over two weekends, driven by the FIA Rallycross World Championship which has given an international dimension to the event. The Rallycross part ran from August 2 to 4 and hosted the McGregor series as well as the Elka Superquads race.
This year, the McGregor series brought some SxS, along with MX PRO 2 trucks that won the public’s heart even if it missed two jumps that were planned on the Gilles Villeneuve straight. These 700 hp V8 engine rear-wheel propelled desert trucks were enough to ensure the show. Only four vehicles were departing; this is just the beginning, and it is obvious that the starting line will be expanded next year.
The big surprise was the presence of Marc-Antoine Camirand, Nascar Paillé’s driver, who never misses an opportunity to make a podium here at the GP3R. He added a 23rd podium to his list of hits by taking the third place in a hotly disputed race.
It all began with a false start from Guillaume Michaud. Patrick Denis was leading in a heavy cloud of tire smoke. Marc-Antoine Camirand took the lead at the first corner. But soon both were battling on the dirt track. Camirand found himself at 90 degrees in the nose of Denis, who pushed his V8 to pass in force. Marc-Antoine now in the wrong direction had to start all over at the back of the pack, but still ready, willing and able to fight. Power and speed were evident at every turn and the rear wheels of the trucks were all slipping. Tires were installed on the straight line to slow down the powerful cars; on the final lap, Guillaume Michaud entered the straight stretch hitting the tires as if he were in a bowling alley. He lost momentum and Camirand took this opportunity to grab the third position, behind winner Patrick Denis and second place Serge Michaud.
As for the Side by side, this is the fourth year they are presented in Trois-Rivières, but with different promoters. They run on the same course as the Rallycross, and have to do at least one Joker Lap in the race: this section is a bit longer but can be effective if there is traffic on the main track. There was one SxS Pro class for turbo engines and SxS N.A for atmospheric engines.
Special vehicles made in Trois-Rivières, the RallyKarts, were also added to GP3R this year. These tubular vehicles are equipped with a Kawasaki ZX10 four-cylinder 1000cc engine. They should have competed in the atmospheric class, but they performed so well that they were outclassed to ride with the turbo side-by-sides. TV host Carl Nadeau is involved in the company that builds them and he was proud to be able to display the Rallykarts on the turbo side-by-side starting line.
In my humble opinion, the Rallykart is a totally different machine and it deserves a separate class in the future. This is a very interesting vehicle and the Americans are looking at it; this would be a good opportunity for the company in Trois-Rivières. Two drivers took part in the race, Yvan Joyal and Charles Leclerc.
On the Can-Am side, Simon Belzile gave us some information on Andrew Ranger’s racing car. Can-Am engineers created a prototype based on the 2020 Maverick Turbo RR which develops 195 hp in its stock version. The turbocharged three-cylinder Rotax 900 ACE engine is prepared to be optimized with an oversized radiator and the chassis is lowered for better aerodynamics and better handling. The suspensions are reworked and adjusted for asphalt track.
Yani Desjardins, the leader of the McGregor series on his Can-Am Maverick X3, knew he could not compete with Andrew Ranger, but he was ready to fight for a podium. Serge Michaud, co-promoter of the McGregor series, took part in the race, as well as Patrick Lessard, world speed record holder, and Michel Milette, who participated for fun according to his own words. Andrew Ranger got the best start in the SxS Pro final. He was chased by Charles Leclerc on the Rallykart, and Serge Michaud. Soon, Michaud was passed by Joyal on Rallykart, then by Yani Desjardins. Lessard on Arctic Cat had to give up on the final lap due to mechanical issues. Andrew Ranger led until the last lap and made his Joker lap. He was overtaken by Leclerc who crossed the finish line in the lead but had not done his Joker. Andrew Ranger was victorious in the race, before the other Rallykart of Yvan Joyal. Yani Desjardins finished third on the podium, ahead of Charles Leclerc penalized by 11 seconds, Serge Michaud and Michel Milette.
In the SxS N.A atmospheric series, we applauded the victory of Grégoire Michaud, 15, son of Serge Michaud, in the race too! He was followed by Sylvain Massy and Simon Levesque, while Bertrand Lambert closed the march.
The Elka Superquads series was very spectacular too. It was organized by ATV legend Sylvain “Arsène” Arsenault, who is a strong defender of the four-wheel machines with more than thirty years of experience. He had put aside his # 56 ATV to take care of the organization and the animation of this new event. He chose the drivers and was able to detect new talents like Gérémy Pichette or Danick Tremblay. Unfortunately this year no American drivers could make it to Trois-Rivières, but the competition level was high because the selection aligned fabulous drivers. Jasmin Plante has just won the famous American race of Pine Lake, which celebrated its fiftieth birthday. Dany Fiset, also a formidable pilot, had something to say, not to mention Steeve Bizier (head of McGregor Pro class), Mickael Lanthier, Raphael Barette the winner of the first edition, or Nicolas Mathard, second at the GP3R last year.
Steeve Bizier and Jasmin Plante could not take the start of Sunday’s Pro final, due to technical problems with their Panthera engine.
Richard Pelchat had not been able to race the Saturday final because of an engine coolant problem. Pelchat also operates RP Evolution, a company which manufactures exhaust systems that are very popular with racing pilots. He equipped his ATV with a Yamaha 450 YZ motorcycle engine. He took his revenge and made a holeshot, closely followed by Raphael Barette-Savoie. Both would lead from start to finish. Behind them, the battle was raging and the young Geremy Pichette held tightly to the third place, sometimes cornering on two wheels. In the middle of the pack Samuel Raymond, winner of Saturday, could not escape, but he was standing up to Nicolas Mathard and Michael Lanthier. As usual, the jump part of the race was very spectacular. The first dive broke the rhythm, then the other jumps were made in double or triple: MX drivers had an advantage. Tomy Boisvert, the winner of the first edition of Flat Track at a nearby racetrack, was experiencing it for the first time here.
Richard Pelchat crossed the finish line with more than 11 seconds ahead of Raphael Barette-Savoie, who had also managed his lead over the fiery Geremy Pichette, third.
The McGregor series will stop at Pont-Rouge on August 17 and Thetford Mines on August 31.
Texte: Francois Cominardi
Photos: Claude Prud’Homme, Studio-017