By DON SIMPSON
The majority of us who are involved in the racing community have seen a young driver rise to the next level.
One driver engaged in this process is Even Racine, who is coming off a great season that advanced his racing program considerably.
The transition to full-time in the Modified category began in 2021, and this would be a challenging process due to health regulations. Due to COVID limits, the crucial seat time behind the wheel would be irregular.
This would continue throughout the 2021 campaign.
In an earlier text during the off-season, Jocelyn Bernard Even’s grandfather was cited as saying, “It will be important for Even to participate in as many races as possible to get more experience, to continually improve.” But as fate would have it, COVID interrupted this plan.
This season marked the return to regular operations at all circuits, allowing Even to drive his Modified for the entire season, which he sorely missed in the 2021 campaign.
As a result, Even began to capture attention with his competitive attitude on the track and pushed himself to the limit each time he was behind the wheel.
The confidence that continued to grow over the 2022 season was long-sown from his progression through his junior classes before joining the 358 Modified Ranks.
He began racing in 2014, and quickly progressed from Karts to Slingshots, and, by the start of the 2017 season, he was racing in the Sportsman division.
During the next four seasons, Even refined his skills and, along the way, captured two track championships, one in 2019 and the second in 2020. But it was the 2019 season that truly defined his direction in racing.
Evans’ previous experience would play well in 2019, a season in which he finished with seven victories and 14 top-five finishes, and the track championship at Le RPM Speedway.
The following season, 2020, despite the COVID restrictions, was very competitive, and Even would go on to win the track title at the Autodrome Granby.
The 2021 season was still under the COVID umbrella, but the switch to the 358 Modifieds division was made. Unfortunately, due to shortened race schedules brought on by COVID, that crucial seat time for experience was falling short, which led to disappointing results.
Things were back to normal in terms of racing with no health restrictions in 2022, which meant a full slate of competition for Team 54R.
The race plans for Team 54R at Autodrome Granby and Drummond did not go as planned due to the learning curve and some poor luck, but things would be much different at Le RPM Speedway.
At RPM Speedway, Even won two features this year and was in contention for the championship through the entire season.
Jocelyn Bernard explained, “The 2022 season was a good second year as he continued improving his driving skills. But at the same time gaining more knowledge about the car’s suspension and handling. But we could have had even better results if not for engine problems, which failed at least twice when he was running in the top five of a feature event. The main importance though is that Even is improving and getting better each time out. ”
As for Evens’ assessment, he said, “We had a big season this year with 46 starts, forcing me to learn every week and I am very satisfied with the results of our season. We showed that we are capable of racing with the best and even winning. So all the learning has motivated me to come back even stronger next summer!”
This season showed Even was more than capable of holding his own on the track, as evidenced by the fact that in his first genuine full season of racing in the 358 division, Even picked up two feature wins, a B-Main win, ten top-five finishes, and 23 top-10 finishes.
Given the positive results, this year Even will proceed with confidence, and the fact that his uncle Steve Bernard will be driving again the following season will inspire the entire crew.
Jocelyn Bernard is optimistic about the future and has a vision for next season. Jocelyn said, “For 2023 Even will continue to improve his driving along with his knowledge of the car and setup. Even strives hard to race clean, creating a good relationship with the other drivers on the track so the other drivers appreciate racing side-by-side with him, which is very important, for both him and me. But a win, say, at Granby or Drummondville would be great if all the cards lined up and we at least hope to finish in the top eight or better in the championship battle. As for RPM, we hope to match or better this season’s results.
Jocelyn added, “Even has performed incredibly well in such a short amount of time, in a division with so many great drivers and teams, that makes me proud of what he has accomplished.”