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springnationals - Rounds 3&4 June 14-16, 2024
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SKUSA Pro Tour

EKN Trackside: 2024 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour WinterNationals – Sunday Report
Monday, 11 March 2024 06:25

Matheus Morgatt led through only the final corners to secure his first SKUSA Pro Tour Pro Shifter victory (Photo: EKN)

What began as a wet and cloudy day at the Orlando Kart Center for the final day of action at the 2024 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour WinterNationals, the Sunday activities were greeted with warm weather and sunshine once qualifying began for the in the morning hours. The Orlando, Florida facility was wet for the opening warm-up sessions with the track drying just as the time sessions began. Those and the Prefinal runs were contested along with the Round Two main events for the Semi-Pro divisions while the Pro Show categories settled their WinterNationals with 25-lap main events at the end of the day.

The last main event of the day was the PSL Karting Pro Shifter Final, featuring 26 pilots from all over the world seeking to become the first Pro Show winner in SKUSA Pro Tour history. Prefinal winner Danny Formal (RPG / Kosmic) launched from the with Marijn Kremers (RPG / Kosmic) slotting in behind. Top contender Kyle Wick (GFC Karting) was third until he dropped to third behind a charging Matheus Morgatto (PSL / Birel ART) on lap four. Wick retired just after, suffering a mechanical issue. Morgatto – who finished the Prefinal in fourth but a penalty for contact dropped him down the order of the grid – quickly worked past Kremers for second. A few laps later, Kremers was under attack from Jacob Gulick (GFC Karting) and Kiwi Jay Urwin (PSL / Birel ART). They exited turn five with Kremers trying to hold the outside on Gulick when the two made contact, sending Kremers into the wall and out of the race with a broken front end. Urwin slipped past both to hold the third position. The action up front remained unchanged until the closing laps when Morgatto was able to close in late. On the final circuit, Formal went defensive into the turn 10 hairpin at the end of the straightaway. A slight bobble out of the corner brought on slight bumper to bumper contact, and when Formal’s power reignited it darted him to the left of the track and nearly off course. This allowed Morgatto to power away, but not before Formal dove in deep in turn 13, making hard contact with the rear bumper of Morgatto. The contact nearly sent Formal upside down, as Morgatto powered away to reach the checkered flag first for his first SKUSA Pro Tour victory in shifterkart competition. Formal continued on to second with Urwin bagging his first major podium in SKUSA competition. Gulick held onto fourth with Giorgrio Carrara (Inter MS / Kart Republic) making it five different countries represented in the top-five (Brazil – Costa Rica – New Zealand – USA – Italy).

Ryan Norberg defended his home track to claim the win in Pro X30 (Photo: EKN)

The race in the Speed Concepts Racing Pro X30 class was decided early. Polesitter Alessandro de Tullio (Inter MS / Kart Republic) led the opening circuit but was pressured as they completed the lap by five-time SKUSA Pro Tour champion Ryan Norberg (RPG / Kosmic). Norberg pulled along side de Tullio as he was defending into the first turn. The two made contact, spinning de Tullio around in front of the trailing pack behind them. Norberg continued, dropping to second with Harley Keeble (Sodi Racing USA) slotting into the lead. That lasted one lap before Norberg took control of the lead, bringing Diego Ramos (PSL / Birel ART) with him. They were able to get away from the rest of the field as they battled for third behind them. That spot was eventually taken over by Hayden Jones (RPG / Kosmic), making his first start of 2024. Jones was trailed by Donovan Bonilla (RPG / Kosmic). They eventually reeled in Ramos, that was until Bonilla retired on lap 20 with a mechanical. Norberg was able to put it on cruise control at this home track, driving away to a 2.7-second advantage at the checkered flag. Jones was able to pull an over-under on Ramos in turn 10 to make it an RPG 1-2 finish. Pauly Massimino (BJR / LN Racing Kart) came on strong, earning the fourth spot with Bonilla’s retirement as he worked by Dalton Hanes (Sodi Racing USA) prior to the white flag. Among the top contenders retiring early were Bonilla, de Tullio after working himself back into the top-10 with engine seizure, as did Keeble on the final circuit running seventh.

Peyton Phillips put in a perfect drive in the main event for his first victory in KA100 Senior (Photo: EKN)

It was a wire-to-wire victory for Peyton Phillips in the Sodi Racing USA KA100 Senior class. Among those involved in the last lap incident on Saturday, Phillips (RPM / Tony Kart) came back to qualify fifth overall behind fast time driver Steven Miller (Nash / EOS). Phillips worked up to the front of the field in the Prefinal, leading the 40-driver pack to the green flag. Alongside was Collin Lloyd (Inter MS / Kart Republic), who was spun sideways at the start, dropping him down the field. This allowed Phillips to get away early, and consistent lap times along with fighting behind him to pull away. After 18 laps, Phillips took the checkered flag by over two seconds for his first SKUSA Pro Tour triumph. The fight for second went down to the wire with Blake Nash (Nash / EOS) edging out Connor Ferris (TFR / Kart Republic) to round out the podium. Stephen Eisert (Sodi Racing USA) advanced five positions to fourth with Miller ending up fifth after starting eighth. Lloyd – who fell all the way to 35th in the opening lap, was able to drive forward with fast laps of the race to end up 10th overall.

A hard fought victory in KA100 Junior for Diego Ardiles (Photo: EKN)

Diego Ardiles was able to double up on the day in the Junior racing action. First was the Nash Motorsportz KA100 Junior class with Ardiles (RPG / Kosmic) qualifying first overall in the 49-driver field. He would finish second to Saturday winner Enzo Vidmontiene (Trinity / Kart Republic) in the Prefinal as the two driver led the field to the green flag. The race was stopped early as a red flag was displayed for Ethan-Sky Manjencic, who was transported to the hospital for observation. When the race restarted, a pack of about seven drivers formed before it was just two at the point with Ardiles leading Vidomtiene. Toward the end of the race, Ardiles began running the defensive line, which brought the pack back together. Despite the added pressure, Ardiles fought them all off, reaching the line first to secure his second career SKUSA Pro Tour victory in the class. Vidmontiene was second with SKUSA Winter Series champion Sebastian Garzon (Orsolon / Tony Kart) in third. Jackson Wolny (SCR / Redspeed) and Turner Brown (RPG / Kosmic) completed the top-five.

Two for two on the weekend for Diego Ardiles in X30 Junior (Photo: EKN)

The second victory for Ardiles came in the Rolison Performance Group X30 Junior category. Turner Brown (RPG / Kosmic) bounced back from the last lap DNF on Saturday to set fast time in qualifying. He was among the leaders in the Prefinal but the win went to Ardiles (RPG / Kosmic). Brown was penalized for a pushback bumper, dropping him from 5th, all the way down to 15th on the grid for the Final. Up front, it was Ardiles and Jackson Wolny (SCR / Redspeed) showing the way with four other drivers giving chase. One of them was Brown, who knifed his way up into the top-five by the halfway point and was running third at the white flag behind Victor De Alencar (RPG / Kosmic). They drivers fought through the opening circuit with Ardiles coming to the final turn with the lead. Contact between De Alencar and Brown locked them together, sending them toward the outside wall. This gave Ardiles a clean run to the checkered flag, securing his second straight victory in class for the SKUSA Winter Series champion. Wolny ended up second with Chace Gassiot-Lee (Nash / EOS) able to get through the incident in third for his first SKUSA Pro Tour podium. Sarah Bradley (SCR / Redspeed) was one spot short of another podium result while Ty Fisher (Racelab / TB Kart) advanced eight positions to fifth.

Charlie Fonseca doubled up in KA100 Master (Photo: EKN)

A wire-to-wire victory in the Inter MS KA100 Master class for Charlie Fonseca (Zanella / Kosmic). The Saturday race winner suffered a mechanical in qualifying and was not able to record a lap with last year’s race winner Michel Garrido (Alessandros / OTK) securing fast time. Fonseca drove up to the lead and the win in the Prefinal before he led all 18 laps in the main event for a second straight victory. Jakab Nyiri (AEM / Kosmic) drove to the second spot on track but was removed following tech with a carburetor infraction. Garrido was third on track but suffered a pushback bumper penalty to drop him to fifth, advancing Diego Rodriguez (Alessandros / OTK) to second and Roben Rovelo (Alessandros / OTK) to third on the podium. The 2023 series champion Tom Gerstner (Magik Kart USA) rounded out the top-five.

Joao Carlos Fregonezi was classified the winner in Master Shifter (Photo: EKN)

A wild day in the Fury Motorsports Master Shifter class from morning to the end. Juan Pablo Rico (URACE / Sodi Kart) set a blistering lap in qualifying to clear the nine-driver field by four tenths of a second. A bad start dropped him down to fifth on the opening lap as eventually Joe Ruch (Maranello USA) took over for the lead and the win over Saturday winner Scott Barnes (Maranello). The two left from the front row, and the two narrowly collected in the opening corner. Ruch was to the inside of the corner, jumping over the curbing and extra pavement and leaped into the lead ahead of Barnes. They ran 1-2 until Barnes came under pressure from a charging Juan Pablo Rico. After multiple attempts at a pass, he made a deep and late move in turn nine, resulting in driving over top of Barnes and into the wall. Barnes spun sideways, and jumped out to restart, rejoining at the tail of the field. With a large lead, Ruch settled in and took the checkered flag by over three seconds for what he thought was his first SKUSA Pro Tour triumph. Officials however laid down five-second penalty for cutting the track with the issue involving Barnes at the start. This took the win away and dropped him to second, elevating Joao Carlos Fregonezi (Kosmic) to the top of the podium. Defending series champion Luis A. Quinones (Factory Kart) worked past Michael Guasch (Maranello USA) late to secure the final step on the podium with Luis Quinones (LFB / Tony Kart) in fifth.

A first SKUSA Pro Tour victory in Mini Swift for Royce Vega (Photo: EKN)

New names stepped up to the challenge in the Trinity Karting Group Mini Swift class. Mikha Barroukh (Sodi Racing USA) maintained the fast lap in the slower group of the 41-driver field to set fast time overall. The Prefinal ended with SKUSA Winter Series race winner Rocco Simone (Trinity / Kart Republic) fighting through and holding on for the top spot in the Prefinal race. He led the early portion until fighting for the top spot began, including SKUSA Winter Series race winner Alessandro Truchot (Parolin USA), Troy Ferguson (Team Benik) and SKUSA Winter Series champion Royce Vega (Team Benik). It was Vega that secured the top spot late, holding off Truchot in a drag race to the checkered flag by 67 thousandths to earn a first SKUSA Pro Tour victory. Ferguson held onto third with Simone fourth and Barroukh in the fifth position.

Santiago Orioli drove his way to the front and the victory in Micro Swift (Photo: EKN)

The second round for the JNM Racing Micro Swift appeared to belong to Zayne Burgess once again. The Round One winner from Saturday set fast time in qualifying and was able to win the Prefinal by a large margin. The main event began with Burgess at the point, getting pressure from Wynn Godschalk (Team Benik) and eventually Santiago Orioli (MPG / Kart Republic) – coming up from 10th. An issue on track on lap 10 dropped Burgess down the order, allowing Godschalk to take the lead before Orioli assumed the top spot. From there, Orioli put down consistent lap times to drive away to a three-second advantage to claim his first SKUSA Pro Tour victory. Burgess fought his way back up to the second spot ahead of Godschalk with Sterling Mulata (Team Benik) advancing 15 positions in the 18-lap race to finish fourth ahead of Dutch Westbrook (Team Benik).

The focus now turns to the second stop on the Superkarts! USA Pro Tour 2024 program, with the Motorsports Country Club of Cincinnati hosted its first ever SKUSA event. The 2024 SKUSA SpringNationals will travel to Batavia, Ohio facility on Father’s Day weekend – June 14-16.