Patrick Laperle and Jean-Francois Dery each took home American-Canadian Tour victories this past weekend as part of a doubleheader in Quebec.
Laperle captured the $10,000 top prize for winning the Bacon Bowl 200 in a barnburner at Autodrome Chaudiere on Saturday. He became the winningest Late Model racer in ACT history in the process. Dery then pocketed $5,000 for winning the Jean-Paul Cabana 125 at Circuit Riverside Speedway on Sunday.
Laperle came out on top at Chaudiere of one of the most competitive ACT Late Model events of the past few years. Samuel Charland, the defending Autodrome Chaudiere Late Model champion, started on pole and led the first 17 laps, but Laperle was right there with him. Following the first caution on lap 14 for Steve Godbout’s frontstretch spin, Charland and Laperle went back and forth, swapping the lead four times in six laps before Charland re-assumed control.
Laperle went back to work a short time later — the duo traded the lead six more times between laps 45 and 65. Behind them, the rest of the field was engaged in another battle, with cars routinely going three- and four-wide. Amidst the battling, Raphael Lessard was able to break out of the pack. The youngster muscled his way underneath both leaders to take over the top spot on lap 71.
Charland snatched the lead back seven circuits later, but Lessard remained on him while inaugural Bacon Bowl winner Jonathan Bouvrette also joined the fray. Following the third caution on lap 95 for Claude Leclerc’s stalled machine, Lessard put the heat on again and retook the lead on lap 106. But Charland got into Lessard entering turn three two laps later, sending Lessard spinning to bring out the fourth yellow and earning both drivers a trip to the rear.
As a result, Laperle suddenly had the top spot back. He remained in first place until the fifth caution on lap 142 when Lessard returned Charland’s earlier favor. Bouvrette got the jump on the restart, and after Christophe Paquet ducked under both to lead a circuit, Bouvrette swiped the lead back in search of his second straight Bacon Bowl win.
However, the sixth caution for Karl Allard’s broken right front on lap 166 proved to be Bouvrette’s undoing. Going toe to toe with Laperle on the restart, Bouvrette lost control going into turn one and went sliding off the track. Laperle once again inherited the point for the 18th lead change of the race.
This time, the veteran found himself facing off against Dery and Barre’s Nick Sweet, with Lessard soon rejoining the fracas at the front. Even with two more cautions, Laperle held off the challenges and edged Sweet at the line for the victory. He earned a Victory Lane kiss with Babe the piglet. It was Laperle’s 46th ACT-sanctioned Late Model win, breaking a tie with Brian Hoar for the most all-time.
Sweet took second, with Dery coming from 14th to win a late duel with Lessard for third. Lessard’s recovery to finish fourth earned him the championship in Autodrome Chaudiere’s Triple Crown Series. Alexendre Tardif, Mathieu Kingsbury, Paquet, Alex Guenette, Dany Trepanier and Michael Lavoie rounded out the top 10.
Dery earned some redemption from his near-miss on Saturday night with a victory in the Jean-Paul Cabana 125 on Sunday. The multi-time ACT winner grabbed the lead on the start from pole-sitter Bouvrette and held it through a competition caution on lap 50.
When the race resumed, Donald Theetge came to life by taking the lead from Dery on lap 54. But Theetge’s time at the front lasted only two laps before Bouvrette roared back to grab the lead. Dery got back past Theetge for second just before the second and final caution flew on lap 66. Bouvrette and Dery began pulling away when the green flag came back out, with the two former Série ACT champions going at it.
Dery finally got around Bouvrette with 25 laps remaining. Bouvrette chased him the rest of the way but couldn’t get back by as Dery took the victory in the first ACT event at Ste-Croix since 2015.
Bouvrette and Theetge came home second and third, respectively. Alex Labbe and Dany Trepanier completed the top-five, making it a clean sweep of former Série ACT champions. Sweet, Martin Goulet Jr., Marc Begin, Mathieu Kingsbury and Claude Leclerc also earned top-10 finishes.
The ACT Late Model Tour will return to action at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The Oxford Plains 150 is part of a huge “Night Before the 250” program.