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SKUSA Pro Tour

EKN Trackside: 2024 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SpringNationals – Saturday Report
Sunday, 16 June 2024 00:00

Finnegan Bayliff earned his second KA100 Senior victory on the season (Photo: EKN)

The opening day of racing for the 2024 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SpringNationals went into the books on Saturday at the Motorsports Country Club of Cincinnati. The Batavia, Ohio facility has gone all out in welcoming the organization for the first time, welcoming over 200 entries in the eight categories. The Semi-Pro divisions completed the third round of the 2024 championship program while the Pro categories completed qualifying and two heat races to set up for their main event on Sunday. The highlight on the day was second victory in three rounds thus far for Trinity Karting Group driver Finnegan Bayliff in the KA100 Senior division.

Ohio driver James Overbeck (BJR / Tony Kart) led the way in the Sodi Racing USA KA100 Senior qualifying session, posting a 58.217-lap to edge out Steven Miller (Nash / EOS). They were among a busy front pack in the Prefinal that ended up with Miller escaping with the win. It was the same group at the front of the field in the 20-lap Final. Round One winner Finnegan Bayliff (Trinity / Kart Republic) was able to secure the top spot by lap 14, leading the remainder of the race to earn his second SKUSA Pro Tour race in the last three starts. Overbeck won the battle for second with Keagan Kaminski (FW / GFC) overcoming a wrecked chassis in Friday practice to end up on the podium in third. Miller and Connor Ferris (TFR / Kart Republic) – coming up from 17th – completed the top-five.


Joe Ruch secured his first SKUSA Pro Tour victory in Master Shifter (Photo: EKN)

It was a long time coming and finally the winning trophy on Saturday went home to Joe Ruch (Maranello USA) in the Fury Motorsports / GP USA Master Shifter class. Ohio driver Larry Pegram (Checkered / Magik Kart) showed the way at his home track in qualifying with a 53.771-lap. He edged out California driver Luca Bortone (Factory Kart) by only 45 thousandths of a second. It was them running 1-2 for the nine of the 10 laps before contact in turn one sent both Pegram and Bortone off the track. This allowed Brian Chatfield (Maranello USA) to take the race win ahead of defending SKUSA Pro Tour champion Luis A. Quinones (Factory Kart). Chatfield was slow off the line, allowing Quinones to take the hole shot, but it was short-lived as Joe Ruch (Maranello USA) from fourth was able to put himself into the lead by the end of the opening lap. Quinones slipped back to third behind Scott Barnes (Maranello USA) but later retired from a mechanical. As did Bortone and Pegram early. This left Barnes to chase Ruch the entire 20 laps. Ruch kept Barnes at bay, going on to score his first SKUSA Pro Tour victory. Chatfiled completed the podium sweep for the team as Mike Rivera (GFC Karting) and Michael Guasch (Maranello USA) rounded out the top-five.

Jackson Wolny drove his way to the top of the X30 Junior podium (Photo: EKN)

It looked as redemption would be fulfilled for Turner Brown (RPG / Kosmic) in the Rolison Performance Group X30 Junior category. Coming in with two DNFs in the final lap after contact at the WinterNationals, Brown set the stage with fast time in qualifying and winning the Prefinal. It was a battle in the 20-lap Final with a five-driver lead pack and multiple lead changes. Brown was leading at lap 11 when he nearly went off into the barriers in turn one while getting passed for the spot. He held on through the grass and was able to continue. This allowed Enzo Vidmontiene (Trinity / Kart Republic) to take over the lead before Jackson Wolny (SCR / Redspeed) took control. Once there, he was able to manage the final few laps, getting help with battling for second behind him, to secure his first SKUSA Pro Tour win of the season. Brown recovered to finish second ahead of Fausto Arnaudo (Inter MS / Kart Republic), who came in underweight. That promoted two-time race winner Diego Ardiles (RPG / Kosmic) to the podium in third ahead of Vidmontiene with Ty Fisher (Racelab / TB Kart) ending up fifth.

Last lap pass gave Diego Ardiles his second KA100 Junior victory on the season (Photo: EKN)

It was nearly a zero-to hero day for Turner Brown (RPG / Kosmic) in the Nash Motorsportz KA100 Junior class. Brown secured the fast time in qualifying ahead of the 40-driver field, only to have his laps taken away for a missing nut on his ballast. This promoted Diego Ardiles (RPG / Kosmic) to the top spot in the timed session ahead of Chace Gassiot-Lee (Nash / EOS). It was Gassiot-Lee that came through the battle in the Prefinal for the win to lead the field to the green flag, but the eyes were on Brown who advanced 25 positions in 10 laps to start the Final from 14th. It took only 10 laps for Brown to claim the top spot for the first time on the day, working past Ardiles for the lead. They were able to pull away from the field to make it a two-driver fight for the win on the final circuit. Ardiles timed his move just right, working past for the lead in the early part of the lap and held on through the final corners and at the line by only 28 thousandths of a second for his second victory on the season. Jackson Wolny (SCR / CS55) completed the podium in third as Payton Westcott (RPG / Kosmic) and Gassiot-Lee rounded out the top-five.

Ashton Woon became the third different winner on the season in Mini Swift (Photo: EKN)

The Trinity Karting Group Mini Swift division went down to the wire. Nicolas Orbezo (RPG / Kosmic) was able to lead the 33-driver field in qualifying with a 1:01.935 lap. It was second place in qualifying Maxwell Macha (SLA / Kart Republic) who came away with the win in the Prefinal just ahead of Ashton Woon (Supertune / Parolin). Macha led the opening circuit of the 18-lap Final before Woon took control. Macha and Marco Sammut (BJR / LN Racing Kart) made contact on lap four, dropping them back. A few laps later, Macha was black flagged off the track for dangerous incident responsibility, disqualified for the day. Up front, Woon enjoyed the lead with Nico Kotowski (URace / Sodi Kart) trailing. They ran 1-2 the remainder of the race as Woon became the third different winner in three rounds. Kotowski would celebrate his first SKUSA Pro Tour podium in second with Round Two winner Royce Vega (Team Benik) in third, just ahead of Rocco Simone (Trinity / Kart Republic) and Josh Bergman (Trinity / Kart Republic).

Zayne Burgess with a second victory on the year in Micro Swift (Photo: EKN)

Zayne Burgess (Sodi Racing USA) was able to secure his second SKUSA Pro Tour victory in the JNM Racing Micro Swift class. Burgess laid down a heater in qualifying to clear the 27 kart field by over four tenths. A group was able to run and battle with him in the Prefinal as he held off Round Two winner Santiago Orioli (MPG / Kart Republic) at the line for the win. It was both drivers at the front in the Final with Burgess leading early before Orioli took control for two laps. Burgess fought back to take the position, as they ran 1-2 for the remainder of the race. Orioli was able to make a big run on the final lap coming to the checkered with Burgess allowing enough room on the inside at the final kink. At the line, Burgess took the victory by 17 thousandths of a second. Contact between Wynn Godschalk (Team Benik) and Marcelo Flores (SLA / Kart Republic) with a few laps remaining allowed Jacobo Aguedulo (Team Benik) to move up to third ahead of Leo Simone (Trinity / Kart Republic) and Byron Borneman (Nash / EOS) – who came up 12 positions in the 18-lap race.

A sweep of the Saturday action for AJ Myers in Pro Shifter (Photo: EKN)

The SKUSA Pro Show featured a new format for the two categories, with qualifying and two heat races replacing the Prefinal that ran at the WinterNationals. AJ Myers (Magik Kart USA) swept the day in the PSL Karting Pro Shifter division, posting fast time in the Super Pole session and winning both heat races. WinterNationals winner Matheus Morgatto (PSL / Birel ART) was second in the opening heat with Kyle Wick (GFC Karting) taking the spot in the second moto. While Wick was third in the first race, Tahlon Yockel (Sodi Racing USA) was able to rebound from a terrible opening heat despite starting on the outside of the front row to finish third. Myers and Wick will start the main event from the front row with Morgatto and Jay Urwin (PSL / Birel ART) on the second row. Josh Conquer (JMF / Factory Kart) and Ian Quinn (PSL / Birel ART) start from row three.

Ryan Norberg continues leading the way in Pro X30 (Photo: EKN)

Ryan Norberg (RPG / Kosmic) continues to extend his championship lead with a perfect day on Saturday in the Speed Concepts Racing Pro X30 class. Setting fast time in the Super Pole session with a 55.960, Norberg went on to lead 23 of the 24 laps in the heats. The first was a wire-to-wire performance ahead of British champion Kai Hunter (RPG / Kosmic) and Diego Ramos (PSL / Birel ART). Oliver Hodgson (CompKart) led the opening lap of the second heat before Norberg reclaimed the spot and went on to win. Ramos finished second but was penalized for impeding, dropping him to sixth as Hunter and Hodgson were classified second and third. This puts Norberg on the pole position with Hunter slotted on the outside of the front row. Row two includes Hodgson and Ramos with the RPG / Kosmic machines of Hayden Jones and SuperNationals 26 winner Donovan Bonilla.