Florida Karting Championship Series Kicks Off with Record Number of Participants
Shifter kart and Rok classes prove to be strong in opening round
Under unseasonably cold weather and blustery winds, the 2013 Florida Karting Championship Series (FKCS) kicked off this past weekend at the challenging Orlando Kart Center facility in Central Florida with a record number of entries. With the addition of the Rok Cup USA program and a larger entry count in the shifter kart divisions, wheel-to-wheel action was at its finest in the tricky conditions. With the removal of some classes that had less than poor entry levels and the addition of others, field sizes grew and now the series will look to continue the momentum through out the remainder of the season.
“It was a great start to the 2013 season,” explained series President Eddie Gennaro. “The entire FKCS board has worked incredibly hard this off season to bring the racers a series that is made for them. Complaints always seemed to stem around track time and entry counts for some classes and we all pulled together to put a plan in place. With a record kart count for the opening round, the series is looking strong and we hope we can continue down this path for the remainder of the season and onwards into 2014.”
After unofficial practice closed on Friday afternoon, it was time to get down to business on Saturday for the first official day of competition. With eleven classes on the docket, racing would be fierce as drivers looked to start their season off right.
Devine Design – Kid Karts
Kicking off the start of racing competition was the future of the sport, the Kid Kart ranks. Always a treat to watch, some of tomorrow’s stars would circulate the Orlando Kart Center facility as they spent the rest of the day playing with their friends and watching their idols compete in classes higher up. Joining FKCS in the Kid Kart class were Jake Martin, Conan Ori, Francisco Porrata, Evan Hagberg, Akela Pacitto, Miguel Dimise, James Egozi, Gabriel Ciolino, Lucas Rodriguez and Jeremy Fletcher. Congratulations to them all.
Performance Plus – Senior Clone
Joe Miller would be unstoppable in the Senior Clone ranks as he dominated the field, taking the pole position, prefinal win and main event victory by more than 15 seconds. Standing on the podium with Miller was Doug Moff and Glenn Fichter.
Homestead Karting – Rotax Mini Max
Eleven hungry competitors would enter the Rotax Mini Max division with none stronger than Florida Winter Tour front-runner Mathias Ramirez. Claiming fast time in the morning qualifying run, Ramirez turned his pole position into a final victory at day’s end. Chasing Ramirez to the stripe and hounding him along the way were eventual podium finishers Ruben Grillet and Ian Keel.
Parazhino Chassis Works – Rotax Micro Max
A strong field of fifteen Rotax Micro Max competitors would look to start their season off with a win but it was Tyler Gonzalez who would outduel them all. Taking the checkers by less than half a second, pole position winner Arias Deukmedjian would cross the stripe in second while female driver Jordan Heffner would add another podium to her resume, coming home in third.
Connery Concrete – Rotax Senior
Some of North America’s heaviest hitters came out to play in the Connery Concrete Rotax Senior ranksand none more than the duo of Nick Neri and Oliver Askew. Consistent front-runners in some of the nation’s biggest events, both flexed their muscles in Orlando. Neri would top the blocks at the end of the day while Askew would finish a scant .271 seconds in arrears. Jonathon Kotyk would garner a podium result to stake his threat in the championship contention. Pole position for the day’s wheel-to-wheel action would go to Nick Neri.
RaceComplex – TaG Junior
The TaG Junior field would provide one of the largest classes of the weekend, as 22 drivers would battle in the multi-platform engine division. Flexing his muscles and having the speed to make it to the finish line first, Olivier Bellanger looked to have the race won before entering the post race technical inspection tent where he was disqualified for a clutch issue. This handed the win to Mason Carroll. Advancing forward to the second step of the podium was Ryan Norberg while Sebastian Sierra would claim the third and final podium position.
Rok Cup USA – Mini Rok
Vincenzo Sarracino would be awarded the Vortex Mini Rok victory after Mathias Ramirez would be penalized for blocking on the final circuit of the final. Looking to hold his competitor at bay, it was deemed that Ramirez made a double move, which is not allowed under FKCS rules, handing the win to Sarracino. Ramirez would be penalized one position to still stand on the podium in second while Mayo Livingston crossed the stripe third ahead of 16 other hungry competitors. Pole position was garnered by Phillip Varner who came home fourth.
Heffner Performance – TaG Masters
Thirteen competitors would enter the TaG Masters division in Saturday’s competition with none faster than Scott Roberts. Taking the win, Roberts would add to his win total from the 2012 season. Standing with Roberts on the podium was Mark Thomas and Rob Maier.
Rok Cup USA – Rok Masters
Ariel Castro took the maiden victory in the Rok Masters category as he out raced a small but talented field of masters drivers. Claiming the second position in the days main event was Darcy Marotta while Francois Brun-Wibaux would score a third place podium finish for his efforts.
Rok Cup USA – Rok Senior
After failing to finish the prefinal, Jose Zanella put on a clinic in Saturday’s main event after starting fromthe tail of the field. Slicing and dicing his way through 19 drivers, Zanella would take over the point and never look back taking the win and scoring the fastest lap of the main event. AJ Myers would add a second place podium effort while Dan Roeper would come home third. Quick time in the morning qualifying session would belong to Zanella.
NFKC – Junior Clone
Nash Duyn would be the man in the Junior Clone class as he would take the victory ahead of Jacob Howard and Benjamin Withers.
Rok Cup USA – Rok Junior
Making history, Kyle Kirkwood became the first career Rok Junior pole sitter and race winner in the Rok Cup USA program. With a strong field of drivers debuting in the class, Austin Garrison would finish on the heels of Kirkwood while Olivier Bellanger came home third. With free motors being given out to numerous entries, Rok Cup USA is working hard to develop and establish the class in the North American market and the future looks bright for the Rok divisions.
Holster Store – Rotax Masters
Doubling up on the weekend, Masters driver Scott Roberts would claim his second win in two days as heswept the day’s festivities in Rotax Masters. Dominating the prefinal, Roberts was hounded throughout the day’s main event by Rob Maier who would eventually finish second. Michael Auriemma would come home third, garnering an FKCS podium.
RaceTechDevelopment.com – Rotax Junior
One of the most exciting races of the day came down to the final circuit of the main event as Ryan Norberg led from the drop of the green flag. With a two second gap and only seven laps remaining, Norberg looked to have his first FKCS victory in hand until Kyle Kirkwood made his late race charge. Falling back from his second place starting position to fifth, Kirkwood battled hard to move back forward and close the gap in the late stages. Hounding Norberg on the final circuit, the current leader would drive a defensive line, but not defensive enough as Kirkwood slipped by with only two corners remaining. Crossing the line in second was Norberg while the third and final podium position as well as pole position went to Olivier Bellanger.
Rok Cup USA – Rok Senior
Moving to the senior ranks Saturday afternoon, female pilot Ashley Rogero took no time in taking her first senior win as she claimed the top honors in Sunday’s Rok Senior division. Saturday’s winner Jose Zanella would stand P2 while Dominic Tesoro would cross the stripe in third. Pole position would go to Dan Roeper.
Cadet Junior Sportsman
Adding another victory to his FKCS total, Mathias Ramirez was on fire in Orlando. Taking the checkers in the Cadet Junior Sportsman category, Ramirez started his season off strong and will look to fight for multiple championships. The always-fast Aidan Keel would stand alongside Ramirez on the podium in the second position while Mayo Livingston added his second podium of the weekend coming home third.
Rok Cup USA – Rok Masters
Showing he still has what it takes to wheel a kart, Ariel Castro would dominate Sunday’s combined Rok Masters wheel-to-wheel action claiming his second victory of the season. Darcy Marotta would add his second, second place result of the weekend while Tim Hannen would claim the third and final step on the podium.
K2 Trophies and Awards – TaG Heavy
Michael Webster would be the sole driver in the TaG Heavy division and was awarded the win. Running laps with the Rok Masters guys, Webster had the chance to race in FKCS competition.
Harvest Motorsports and Ocala Gran Prix – Shifters (ALL)
Nick Neri put on a display in the senior shifter class dominating all three official timed sessions. Taking thepole position and heat race win, Neri went on to add another victory to his resume as well as secure the Orlando Kart Center track record in the process. In his first ever shifter kart race, Oliver Askew was the best of the rest of the shifter kart pilots coming home in second while Jonathon Kotyk crossed the stripe in third. With more than twenty entries in the class, the shifter kart market in the state of Florida is growing fast.
Rok Cup USA – Rok Junior
Austin Garrison was the driver to beat in the Sunday Rok Junior division as he turned his pole position into a main event victory claiming the top step of the podium. Colin Warren would return to the seat after a scary crash in Rotax Junior earlier in the day to garner the second position while Sebastian Sierra added his second podium result of the weekend coming home P3.
RYSA Racing – TaG Senior
Competing on the national level for the past few seasons aswell as keeping sharp in FKCS competition, Jonathon Kotyk took the top spot in the TaG division sweeping all on track sessions. Pacing a field of 22 competitors, Kotyk was not the fastest kart on the track but was faster when it counted to take the win. Hunter Ceto would battle hard and narrowly miss the win to claim the second step on the podium while Brandon Salyer would add a podium to his FKCS results.
Rok Cup USA – Mini Rok
Always a threat each and every time he is on the circuit, Mathias Ramirez showed why he is one of Florida’s most talented drivers. Taking home a victory and podium already this weekend, Ramirez added the Sunday Mini Rok win to his overall weekend total outpacing Ruben Grillet to the checkers. Aidan Keel, always lurking around the front of the field, would cross the stripe in third.
Ocala Gran Prix – Junior Shifter
The last class of the day to hit the track was the new junior shifter division, which saw five entries in its debut race. Dominated by Kyle Kirkwood who claimed the pole position, prefinal win and dominating main event victory, second place would go to Austin Garrison while Justin Gordon would cross the line in third. The class sparked a lot of interest amongst junior level drivers and parents and series officials alike are excited about the potential growth of the division.
Vice President Vito Depinto added, “I would like to thank everyone who came out to the FKCS opener and made it a great event. A special thanks to all of our class sponsors and supporters as well as the officials and board members who make this possible. A big thank you to the Rok Cup USA crew for being on top of their game and providing exceptional trackside support and service to our customers, as well as the host track Orlando Kart Center for their exceptional hospitality and support.”
The next event of the 2013 Florida Karting Championship Series will take place at the Homestead Karting Complex on the grounds of the Homestead-Miami Speedway over the April 12-14 weekend. Please check the FKCS website in the coming weeks for registration, pit spot and hotel information.
2013 Florida Karting Championship Series Schedule:
Race 1: March 1-3 – Orlando Kart Center – Orlando, Florida
Race 2: April 12-14 – Homestead Karting Complex – Homestead, Florida
Race 3: May 3-5 – Race Complex – Ft. Myers, Florida
Race 4: June 14-16 – Monticello – Monticello, Florida
Race 5: July 5-7 – Ocala Gran Prix – Ocala, Florida
Race 6: August 23-25 – 103rd Street Sports Complex – Jacksonville, Florida
Please remember that all news and information regarding the Florida Karting Championship Series can be found online at http://www.FLWKASprintSeries.com . Series officials would advise all teams, drivers and family to check the website often for updates and information regarding the series.