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SKUSA Winter Series

EKN Trackside: 2024 Superkarts! USA Winter Series – AMR1 – Sunday Report
Wednesday, 17 January 2024 13:47

Danny Formal locked up a double win weekend in Pro Shifter (Photo: EKN)

After a thrilling and competitive start to the 2024 season on Saturday, the Superkarts! USA Winter Series returned to AMR Homestead-Miami Motorplex presented by MG Tires on Sunday but this time in much different weather conditions. The rain that had been forecast hit the facility hard for the main events, giving those with wet weather prowess an upper hand. Coming off his Pro Shifter victory on Saturday, Rolison Performance Group’s Danny Formal extended his SKUSA event win-streak to three with a dominant triumph on a rain-soaked track. It’s been a little longer since Alessandro de Tullio has been on top of the box in a SKUSA event, but the Inter MS driver dominated the action in what was an action-packed X30 Senior final.

With pouring rain and standing water all over the track, SKUSA officials moved to set the main events by time as opposed laps. The early mains were set at 17 minutes plus a lap, and after a red flag in Micro Swift, that was decreased to 10 minutes plus a lap for the four three mains.

Alessandro de Tullio mastered the wet track to claim victory in Pro X30 (Photo: EKN)

Frenetic early-race action made the opening laps of the Speedlab Racing Engines X30 Senior main quite thrilling. Alessandro de Tullio (Inter MS / Kart Republic) was the fast qualifier in the dry and won the Prefinal on a damp track. He used the chaos of the opening lap of the Final to quickly pull away from his challengers. All the action occurred behind the talented 17-year-old and he never put a wheel wrong, conquering the conditions as he cruised to a 1.771-second triumph over British driver Brandon Carr (Trinity Karting Group / Kart Republic). Carr delivered an equally impressive performance in the wet, driving from 15th to seventh in the Prefinal and then he quickly worked forward and finished second. The final spot on the podium went to Homestead regular Jakub Kolar (Vice Racing / Kart Republic), who was on fire all weekend. Kolar started fourth and was in the early dice behind de Tullio and Carr, but eventually emerged to run down TKG driver Thomas Nepveu (Kart Republic) for third.

The scrap behind the lead trio was heated, primarily involving Nepveu and Saturday winner Ryan Norberg (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic). Nepveu had got into Norberg on the opening lap, when everyone had their elbows up. Adding to it all, Norberg was already visibly frustrated with those around him during the first minutes of the race, as instead of lining up to move forward, there were passes in every corner, much to the benefit of the final podium. Eventually, Norberg cleared those around him and reeled in Nepveu, who was running in fourth. Once they were wheel-to-wheel, Norberg returned the favor from the earlier contact in turn four. Nepveu replied immediately with another deep move in turn five that resulted in more contact, prompting Norberg to end the dance and even the score in turn 12, running Nepveu way wide. Austin Garrison (Speed Concepts Racing / Redspeed) was able to follow Norberg through for fifth, but Nepveu eventually took the spot back. A final note, giving top marks to Danilo Albanese (Inter MS / Kart Republic) who drove up 20 positions from 29th to 9th after penalties.

Ivanna Richards claimed her first Senior victory after penalties promoted her to the top of the podium in KA100 (Photo: EKN)

With the most horsepower of any karts in the paddock, you knew it was going to be a challenge for the drivers in the PSL Karting Pro Shifter main event to handle the wet track. Prefinal winner Danny Formal (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) got the holeshot but the battle heated up quickly in turn three as Alan Isambard (Piquet Sports / Sodi Kart) worked outside the SuperNats winner, eventually running out of room. Isambard went off track and through a big puddle, and with the power down, he went into a 360 spin. This allowed Formal to pull away and allowed Matheus Morgatto (PSL Karting / Birel ART) to follow. Formal drove to the win, unchallenged, by 10.191 seconds over the former world champion.

Cooper Becklin (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) turned in a fantastic performance in the wet, advancing to third to secure the final step on the podium. Isambard fought back after his opening lap spin and got into a spirited dice with Gavin Bayliff (Trinity Karting Group / Kart Republic). The duo went back-and-forth for two laps with Master Shifter winner Scott Barnes (Magik Kart USA / Magik Kart) in the mix until Isambard laid out a bump-and-run on Bayliff in turn 12, sending him into a spin. In the end, Isambard would finish fourth despite a penalty, while Bayliff was given a jumpstart penalty and then a DQ for his rear bumper being too wide for his track width. Barnes finished sixth overall, while Jared Ramnarayan (PSL Karting / Charles Leclerc) capped the Pro Shifter top-five.

Diego Ardiles went wire-to-wire in X30 Junior (Photo: EKN)

Hitting the track after the KA100 Junior main event, the drivers in the Sodi Racing USA KA100 Senior class were still forced to deal with rain, a soaked track, and standing water, which made things pretty wild. Ernesto Rivera (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) led the early laps with Alessandro de Tullio (Inter MS / Kart Republic) just a few kart lengths behind as they tried to pull away from their competition. The rain continued to hit facility hard during the race, the visibility was minimal, which made the drive of Noah Rosser so impressive. The Florida pilot started 14th but had climbed to third by the halfway point. The race’s complexion changed at the seven-minute mark when Rivera and de Tullio came together in turn four with Rivera’s forward progress disappearing as he came to a stop on the side of the track before turn five. De Tullio’s lead was now over 3.3 seconds from Rosser, who also had a comfortable cushion over a three-driver fight between Steven Miller (Nash Motorsportz / EOS), Leonardo Escorpioni (Zanella / Tony Kart) and Donovan Bonilla (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic).

Over the last five minutes, the fight for the final step on the podium changed completely as Ivanna Richards (HRI Mexico / Tony Kart) arrived on the scene, coming up from 11th. She first dispatched Bonilla of fifth and then was gifted fourth as Miller slowed on the front straight, likely taking water into his engine. Richards then reeled in Escorpioni and quickly rolled past him to move into third. From there, she was the fastest driver on the track and steadily cut into the cushion that Rosser had built, eventually passing him for second on the final lap in turn five. The last lap action continued with the fight for fifth. With Bonilla having locked down fourth, Chase Buscaglia (GWR / Gillard) caught Miller and passed him in turn one on the final lap, holding off all of Miller’s responses through to the checkered flag. In the end, de Tullio backed up his Saturday win, taking the on-track victory by 9.570 seconds over Richards. This result did not hold however, as a DQ for ‘rear protection past rear width’ moved Richards to the win. A start line penalty for Rosser dropped him two positions, which advanced Bonilla to second and Buscaglia to the podium in third. Rosser ended up fourth while Stephen Eisert (Piquet Sports / Sodi Kart) completed the top-five.

KA100 Junior saw Diego Ardiles control the field for the win (Photo: EKN)

In Rolison Performance Group X30 Junior, Prefinal winner Diego Ardiles (RPG / Kosmic) got a strong start in the tough conditions, pulled out to a three-plus second advantage by the halfway point of the shortened 10-minute race. Speed Concepts Racing drivers Turner Brown (Redspeed) and Jackson Wolny (Redspeed) settled into second and third, coming to grips with the improving conditions as the rain had halted 20 minutes earlier. No one had anything for Ardiles, winning by four seconds. Brown and Wolny completed their runs, putting a pair of Speed Concepts drivers on the podium. Fausto Arnaudo (Inter MS / Kart Republic) had emerged from a great battle with Ty Fisher (Racelab / Villeneuve) to run fourth on the final lap, but a minor miscue sent him into the barriers in turn one and then out of the race in turn four. This advanced Fisher to fourth, capping a solid day as he drove from 13th in the Prefinal to third, and then fourth in the final tally. Enzo Vidmontiene (Trinity Karting Group / Kart Republic) benefitted from Arnaudo’s error to complete the top-five. Alexander Vanchev (Zanella / Tony Kart) turned in a spectacular performance, starting the race from the 29th position. Vanchev was on fire during the short sprint, moving to a stunning seventh at the checkered flag, almost stealing sixth from Michael McGaughy on the final lap. Sadly, a full pushback bumper penalty dropped Vanchev to 10th.

The rain hit hard during the start of the Nash Motorsportz KA100 Junior main event, and while Prefinal winner Walter Jenkins IV (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) led early, it was Saturday victor Sebastian Garzon (Orsolon Racing / Tony Kart) who paced the opening laps. As the downpour continued, Diego Ardiles (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) moved to second and then reeled in the leader, eventually moving to the inside of Garzon in turn 5 just before the halfway point of the 17-minute race to take over the point. Just after the pass, Garzon spun turning into the double-apex inner carousel, dropping back to sixth. This moved Vidmontiene and Jenkins into second and third. As Vidmontiene put his target on Ardiles, Jenkins found himself embroiled in a fight with Alexander Vanchev (Zanella Racing / Tony Kart). Despite the fact that the rain eased up near the end of the race, standing water has developed is areas all over the track, making things treacherous. With Ardiles well out front, managing the conditions like a pro, Vidmontiene locked down his second-place finish, as did Turner Brown (Speed Concepts Racing / Redspeed) in third. Ty Fisher (Racelab / Villeneuve) may have turned in the drive of the weekend, advancing 31 positions from 35th to fourth over the short race. Despite his issues, Garzon still posted a solid result in fifth.

Redemption for Ruben Rovelo in KA100 Master (Photo: EKN)

The Alessandros Racing KA Master class was the second category to run the shortened 10-minute plus one lap main event, and it was Miguel Mier (Orsolon Racing / Tony Kart) who was gunning to sweep the day after topping qualifying and the Prefinal. Mier led the first four minutes of the main event, but Ruben Rovelo (Alessandros Racing / Tony Kart) made his move to take over the point in his effort to get retribution from the technical DQ that robbed him off a win on Saturday. Rovelo was masterful in the tough wet conditions, winning by 4.180 seconds. Mier held second until the final lap when Diego Rodriguez (Alessandros Racing / Kosmic) made a deep move in turn five to get alongside Mier, finishing the overtake as he entered the inner carousel. Rodriguez’s runner-up finish would not hold due to a full pushback bumper penalty, moving Mier back to second. Jesus Portillo (Alessandros Racing / Kosmic) finished fourth in the final results ahead of Lucas Iglesias (Alessandros / Kosmic) started 10th and handled the conditions well to advance to fifth. A pushback bumper penalty however dropped him to sixth moving former Champ Car driver Mario Dominguez (Alessandros Racing / Redspeed) into fifth.

Strong performance for Rocco Simone in his first Mini win (Photo: EKN)

As the first main event in the wet conditions, the young drivers in Trinity Karting Group Mini Swift were impressive. Alessandro Truchot (Parolin USA / Parolin) got out to the early lead but was quickly joined by Rocco Simone (Trinity Karting Group / Kart Republic) as a drizzle continued throughout the 17-minute main event. Simone made his move for the lead in turn 12 at the halfway point, as they were being chased by Team Benik drivers Royce Vega and Troy Ferguson. Over the remainder of the race, Simone was flawless, holding a gap over Truchot to win by 0.464 seconds at the checkered flag. Vega completed the podium in third with Ferguson right there in his rooster tail for fourth, while Woon backed up his tremendous recovery effort from Saturday with fifth-place result to cap the weekend. Julian Rivera (AKT / Energy) may have delivered the best performance in the tough conditions, climbing from 28th to a stellar sixth-place result.

Zayne Burgess doubled up in the win column in Micro Swift (Photo: On Track Promotions – otp.ca)

The rain was still coming down hard as the drivers in the URACE Micro Swift class hit the track for what officials had called as a 10-minute race plus one lap. With the rain lengthening the race times and the race with darkness becoming more of a concern, the drivers took the green and got to work. Prefinal winner Zayne Burgess (Piquet Sports / Sodi Kart) got out to the early lead, chased closely by Santiago Orioli (MPG Motorsports / Kart Republic). Midway through the race, Orioli slipped past Burgess for the lead. Things changed quickly however as the red flag came out before the end of the lap due to a wreck in turn five. With the race past the halfway point of the shortened 10-minute race, the final results reverted back a lap, giving Burgess the win over Orioli. Easton Kubinski (AEM Racing / EOS) finished third on the track, but like others, he was DQ’d for his rear bumper being outside his wheels. This moved Marcelo Flores (SLA Racing / Parolin) onto the podium in third and Jake Manalio (Team Ferris / Kart Republic) to fourth. Anthony Mazzoucolo (Team Ferris / Kart Republic) was promoted to fifth after penalties.

With the 2024 Winter Series now underway, the officials, racers, and teams will now look forward to capping off the four-race series back at Homestead on the February 9-11 weekend.