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SKUSA Winter Series

EKN Trackside: 2024 Superkarts! USA Winter Series – AMR2 – Saturday Report
Sunday, 11 February 2024 00:00

Matheus Morgatto claimed his first victory in Pro Shifter (Photo: EKN)

Perfect weather greeted the drivers of the Superkarts! USA Winter Series on Saturday at the AMR Homestead-Miami Motorplex Presented by MG Tires as blue skies and temperatures approaching the high-70s made it an ideal day. It was definitely ideal for the winning drivers in the Pro categories. PSL Karting’s Matheus Morgatto (Birel ART) turned in a masterful performance in Pro Shifter, sweeping all three sessions to win over Rolison Performance Group’s Danny Formal (Kosmic). In Pro X30, RPG’s Donovan Bonilla (Kosmic) got away from the pack early and stretched away for yet another top-level national win, despite being chased down aggressively in the late going by Sodi Racing USA’s Harley Keeble. The Englishman’s impressive pace has set the stage for what could be a big fight for the title on Sunday.

Morgatto dominated the action all day in the PSL Karting Pro Shifter category, qualifying on pole to take the inside of the front row for the 12-lap Prefinal. Morgatto was caught napping on the Prefinal start which allowed Formal to grab the holeshot, but the Italian would not be denied as he eventually passed the Costa Rican for the win to lock down the pole for the main event. In the 22-lap Final, Morgatto got a solid start this time but Formal’s monster launch was still enough to grab hold of the lead as he dove straight to the turn one apex. Formal did his best to keep Morgatto at bay, but he could not, and once the PSL driver was past, Alan Isambard (Sodi Racing USA) and Giorgio Carrera (InterMS / Kart Republic) arrived in the mix. After a few laps of hectic racing, Formal took control of second and finished 3.529 seconds behind the eventual winner. In the midst of the lead pack chaos, Isambard damaged his nose and it would eventually lose the body part and be forced to retire. With the challenge from Isambard, Carrara cruised home to finish in the final step of the podium in third, ahead of Michael Riccio (Magik Kart USA) and Justin White (Maranello USA). With his runner-up finish, Formal has all but locked up the Pro Shifter title and will finalize it all on Sunday.

Donovan Bonilla swept the action in X30 Senior (Photo: EKN)

SuperNationals winner Donovan Bonilla (RPG / Kosmic) made his intentions known in SpeedLab Racing Engines X30 Senior, topping the 29-kart field in qualifying over teammate Ryan Norberg (RPG / Kosmic) and Nicholas Terlecki (Hotz Driver Development / Gillard). Bonilla handled the Prefinal to start the main from the pole, and just like in Las Vegas in November, he leveraged a great start and chaos behind him to walk away to a dominant victory. Sodi Racing USA’s Harley Keeble started seventh and began a steady march forward, but after working his way to second, Bonilla’s cushion was just too much to overcome. Keeble pushed hard over the final laps to whittle away at the gap to the leader, but would cross the line 1.423 seconds behind Bonilla. Not surprisingly, the race featured a ton of action, including January winner Ryan Norberg (RPG / Kosmic) who was caught up in an incident mid-race. PSL Karting’s Diego Ramos (Birel ART) emerged from the fight to finished third, five seconds ahead of a heated battle between Pauly Massimino (BJR / LN Racing Kart), Dalton Hanes (Sodi Racing USA), and Thomas Nepveu (Trinity / Kart Republic). The trio scrapped aggressively over the final laps but it was Massimino who took control on the final lap to finish fourth ahead of Hanes.

A second win in three rounds for Alessandro de Tullio in KA100 Senior (Photo: EKN)

Steven Miller (Nash / EOS) was the first to make an impression in Sodi Racing USA KA100 Senior, qualifying on the pole by 0.058 seconds over Alessandro de Tullio (Inter MS / Kart Republic) and Donovan Bonilla (RPG / Kosmic). The battle upfront in the Prefinal was dynamic with multiple leaders, but in the end, Miller again came out on top after making an impressive pass on de Tullio for the lead in the final complex of corners on the last lap. De Tullio went from first to fourth over the final two corners as Bonilla and Mick Gabriel (AEM / Tony Kart) followed Miller through. Over the course of the 22 laps in the main, Miller led a majority of the laps, although Gabriel paced a lap early and looked poised to fight for the win. De Tullio was the driver on the move as he eventually grabbed the lead on lap six, only to see Miller take it back. The final laps were lining up to be thrilling as de Tullio positioned himself on Miller’s rear bumper. The move for the lead and the win was an aggressive one, with ADT forcing his way through to the apex of the hairpin turn nine. Miller was forced to the outside of the exit curbing and he was never able to mount a challenge. De Tullio won by 0.846 seconds over Miller, while Gabriel won a drag race to the line with Bonilla for third. Chase Busaglia (GWR / Tony Kart) completed the top-five.

Charlie Fonseca became the third different winner in KA100 Master (Photo: EKN)

Veteran Charlie Fonseca (Kosmic) proved to be the driver to beat in the Alessandros Racing KA100 Master class after qualifying fifth to start the day. Fonseca marched forward quickly in the Prefinal, taking the lead from Mario Barrios (RPG / Kosmic) on lap nine. Point leader Miguel Mier (Orsolon / Tony Kart) led the opening lap but fell to third early in the run, but eventually got back to second to start the main from the outside of the front row. In the Final, Fonseca led from the green flag but he and Barrios would swap the point throughout the race and the battle went all the way to the checkered flag with Fonseca taking a 0.488-second victory. Mier scrapped for a majority of the main event with his primary title challenger Michel Garrido (Alessandros / EOS) and was able to come away with the position, strengthen his grip on the Winter Series title. Grace Hemmerde (RPG / Kosmic) ran with Mier and Garrido for many laps, but faded in the late going to take fifth in the final tally.

A second straight win in X30 Junior for Diego Ardiles (Photo: EKN)

A comeback performance in the main event by Diego Ardiles (RPG / Kosmic) gave him a second victory on the series in the Rolison Performance Group X30 Junior class. After setting fast time in qualifying and winning the Prefinal, he led the opening two circuits until getting shuffled back to sixth as Enzo Vidmontiene (Trinity / Kart Republic) took over the lead. Ardiles put in work, climbing back up the order and eventually taking back the lead on lap 10. He would lead the remaining 12 circuits for his second class victory. Jackson Wolny (SCR / Redspeed) ran second with Vidmontiene in third. Alexander Vanchev (Zanella / Tony Kart) and Sarah Bradley (SCR / Redspeed) rounded out the top-five.

A late charge propelled Sebastian Garzon to the victory in KA100 Junior (Photo: EKN)

It was a two-driver fight in the Nash Motorsportz KA100 Junior class with January winners Diego Ardiles (RPG / Kosmic) and Sebastian Garzon (Orsolon / Tony Kart) out front. Ardiles set fast time in qualifying and won the Prefinal with Garzon trailing. The two exchanged the top spot several times before Garzon controlled the top spot. Once there, he led the final eight circuits for his second victory of the series. Ardiles settled for second with Jackson Wolny (SCR / Redspeed) in third. A number of pushback bumper penalties mixed up the final results behind them, moving Fausto Arnaudo (Inter MS / Kart Republic) into the fourth spot ahead of Naomi Jade Garcia (Piquet / Sodi Kart).

Troy Ferguson became the third different winner in Mini Swift (Photo: EKN)

The Trinity Karting Group Mini Swift category welcomed a third different winner on the series. Benja Fernandez (SLA / Alonso Kart) was vying to be the driver to beat, setting fast time in qualifying. He slipped back to third in the Prefinal, which saw Troy Ferguson (Benik) as the leader for the majority of the 10-lap race until slipping back to ninth on the last lap, allowing Marco Sammut (BJR / LN Racing Kart) to take the win. The top-five broke away from the rest of the field in the 20-lap Final, including Ferguson. Sammut, Royce Vega (Benik), Julian Rivera (Energy) and Ashton Woon (Supertune / Parolin) all led at one time. On lap 16, Ferguson put himself into the lead. Shuffling for second behind him allowed for some distance out front as the California driver went on to claim the victory by four tenths of a second over Sammut. Vega completed the podium with Woon in fourth and Rivera in fifth.

The first SKUSA victory for Danny O’Gara in Micro Swift (Photo: EKN)

New names were at the front of the Team URACE Micro Swift for Round Three. Wynn Godschalk (Benik) shocked the paddock with fast lap from the B group in qualifying and held on to the top spot in overall to lead the field to the green flag. He fell back to Prefinal as Santiago Orioli (MPR / Kart Republic) took the top spot in the Prefinal. The main event was brought to a stop after lap three due to a red flag. An opening lap incident collected a number of drivers in turn two. Officials attempted a full course caution however the drivers did not obey, and thus the race was brought to a stop so everyone could be lined back up into their proper positions. Once restarted, a group of about six drivers led by Orioli broke away from the pack. He led until Jake Manalio (TFR / Kart Republic) made a move for the lead. A late move at the first hairpin brought contact between the two, allowing Danny O’Gara (MPG / Kart Republic) to take the lead. He led for a lap until Godschalk took the top spot. Coming to the white flag, O’Gara was able to take back the top position, and hold on to the checkered flag to earn his first SKUSA victory. Godschalk came across the line in second but was penalized six seconds for contact with Orioli. That promoted Lawrence Peremen (BJR / LN Racing Kart) to the second spot with Manalio completing the podium. Orioli recovered to fourth with Easton Kubinski (AEM / Kosmic) rounding out the top-five ahead of Godschalk.

After a perfect day of weather and racing at the Homestead facility, Championship Sunday will confirm nine SKUSA Winter Series champions. The forecast promises sun and clouds with a high in the low-80s, but it will be the racing that heats things up as several of the title races will require a driver to step up and take control.