2012 ACT Headlines
The 2012 American Canadian Tour season was one for the ages with one of the most thrilling point battles in the history of the Tour, but 2012 was more than just a two-horse race. Below are the major storylines from the 2012 ACT Championship season.
Helliwell VS Hoar
The biggest story of 2012 was the dethroning of legendary eight-time Champion Brian Hoar. To put the RPM team’s dominance into perspective, RPM won the ACT championship with Jean Paul Cyr five years straight from 2003-2007 until Quebec’s Patrick Laperle claimed the championship in 2008. In 2009, RPM returned to the top with Brian Hoar, and won in 2010 and 2011. Helliwell and Hoar’s heavyweight battle at Airborne was exactly that. It marked only the second time in a decade that an RPM team had not won the championship. Helliwell had an average finish of fifth, flew to nine top tens in ten races and seven top fives. He only finished worse than seventh one time, and yet still had to pull off a win in one of the greatest duels in American Canadian Tour history to claim the title.
Rookie Jimmy Hebert got off to a rough start in 2012, but after the halfway point showed he has the grit and determination to become one of ACT’s rising stars. After failing to qualify for his first two events of the season, Hebert recovered in the second half of the season to finish tenth overall in his first full year with The Tour. Hebert nearly won the Bond Auto ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and also turned heads at Thunder Road’s 50th Annual Milk Bowl. Hebert improved leaps and bounds late in the year, and will continue to grow in 2013.
Tiverton, RI’s Ray Parent may have been the biggest surprise in the 2012 season, taking the Bond Auto ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September. In just his second season, he averaged his best position from the previous year, finished seventh overall, and picked up a top five and four top tens in the season, not to mention winning the biggest race of his career in only his second season on the Tour. Competitors will be careful to watch for Parent in 2013.
First Time Winners
Four first time winners rose to the top on the American Canadian Tour in 2012. Wayne Helliwell, Jr. picked up his first of four wins on the Tour that led him to the 2012 ACT Championship. 18-year old Fort Kent, ME sensation Austin Theriault also won his first ACT race at Beech Ridge in July on his way to a third place overall finish. He was the only driver on The Tour to never finish outside in all ten events. Rhode Island’s Ray Parent picked up his first win in the Bond Auto ACT Invitational, and another Mainer in Ben Ashline picked up his first victory in dominating fashion last May.
ACT Returns to Sanair Super Speedway
In 2012, The American Canadian Tour returned to the tricky 7/8 triangular oval for the first time since July of 2006. The beginning portion of the race was run under the lights for the first time in history before rains postponed it to the next day. Eventual ACT Champion Wayne Helliwell, Jr battled Série ACT Castrol Champion Patrick Laperle in the early going until he took a commanding lead midway. Late in the race, Helliwell held off a last lap dive from runner up Brian Hoar, and third place driver Austin Theriault who had started 38th on the grid, to win his first race at Sanair Super Speedway.