Series News: Checkered Flag Falls on GoPro Motorplex Karting Challenge Round Nine
Creating Single-Race Shootout for the Championship
Following the conclusion of GoPro Motorplex Karting Challenge Round Nine this afternoon, the 10-race series has dwindled to just a single-race shootout for competitors chasing titles. The season finale for the GoPro Motorplex Karting Challenge will be on Saturday, Nov. 9.
Alex Verhagen, Neil Verhagen, Brenden Johnson, Bradley Zilisch, Mark Gabriel, Mike Griffith, Dusty Davis and Justin Halliday all scored final wins in Round Nine of the GoPro Motorplex Karting Challenge this afternoon.
We are proud to announce that Jordan Heffner and Neil Verhagen earned a ticket to the Micro and Mini NOLA Invitational Rotax MAX Challenge that will run alongside of the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals on November 13-16 at NolaMotorsportsPark. Heffner and Verhagen were the champions of the special six-race mini championship held at GoPro Motorplex that concluded today. For the final Rotax Micro Max and Mini Max Points Standings for this additional Championship: CLICK HERE.
Alex Verhagen dominated the Micro Max 15-lap final race, following a close battle in a tight field of competitors. Verhagen led all of the laps in the final, but you could have thrown a blanket over the top-four drivers of Verhagen, Jordan Heffner, Pauly Massimino and Dante Tekampe. The drivers were bumper-to-bumper for the majority of the race. It was Tekampe who patiently waited to make his move from fourth to third in an impressive, last-lap, crossover pass in the hairpin. Tekampe stole the third spot on the podium from Massimino, while Verhagen took the checkered flag and Heffner finished in second. Verhagen leads the points championship.
In the Mini Max division, it was Neil Verhagen who took control of the division, winning the prefinal and the 15-lap final. Dylan Gennaro made his GoPro Motorplex Karting Challenge debut in the Mini Max division with a runner-up finish to Verhagen after making a last-lap pass on Blake Hunt in the hairpin. Hunt crossed the line in third, after closely battling for second place the majority of the race. Verhagen leads the points championship.
Brenden Johnson won the 20-lap Rotax Senior final. Johnson lead every lap of the final, setting the pace early and leaving Nick Losito and Sam Watson to chase his lead. Watson spun in the hairpin on lap two, moving Justin Neu into third position. With three laps to go, Lee Selbach took over the third spot, while Losito’s loose bumper held on to allow him to secure second place. Johnson took the checkered flag, followed by Losito and Selbach. Lostion leads the points championship.
In the Rotax Junior division, Bradley Zilisch grabbed the win in the exciting 20-lap final. Zilisch was able to capitalize on last-lap passes in both the prefinal and final race. Zilisch stole the prefinal and final win from Chase Acklam on the last lap. In the final, the top-three drivers of Zilisch, Acklam and Joey Essma patiently counted down the laps while playing a game of follow the leader.
With seven laps to go, the drivers turned up the wick, as Essma made an impressive move from third to first in the bowl turn. However, on the very next lap, Acklam took the lead from Essma in the same turn. Acklam held onto the lead until Zilisch passed him in the hairpin on the last lap. Acklam tried the crossover move, but collided with Essma in the process, knocking them both out of contention. Zilisch went on to take the checkered flag, followed by Acklam and Alex Sullivan. Essma leads the points championship.
In the TaG Senior division, it was drivers, Dusty Davis and Will Power who put on a show with their close battle for the top position. Davis was able to secure the pole in qualifying, beating out Power’s time by 0.050-seconds on the last lap of the session.
The close competition continued into the prefinal, with Davis winning by just a little over a second over Power after swapping position for the lead the entire race. In the 20-lap final, Power was able to take the lead in what appeared to be his strong point, Turn Four. However, Davis capitalized on his strong runs down both the backstretch and exiting the final turn to hold off Power’s charge, winning by just .288 seconds over Power. Travis Law was in contention for the lead for the first half of the race and rounded out the top three. Davis leads the points championship.
In the TaG Masters division, Justin Halliday dominated the field in the prefinal and 20-lap final. However, it was CarlosPlaza who had the fastest qualifying lap with a 50.149-second lap. Plaza and Kevin York battled hard for position at the beginning of the final. However, when the checkered flag came out, it was Halliday in first, followed by Plaza and Bob Speiss. Halliday leads the points championship.
Mark Gabriel dominated the Yamaha Junior division with his 53.859-second qualifying lap, prefinal and 15-lap final win. Abby Sinon and Ashlyn Breuer rounded out the top three. Garrit Speiss leads the points championship.
Mike Griffith won the Yamaha Senior division, followed by Christopher Hamilton. Sam Watson leads the points championship.
For a complete list of final results and points standings from Round Nine of the GoPro Motorplex Karting Challenge, CLICK HERE.
To view the album of GoPro photos from the GoPro Motorplex Karting Challenge, CLICK HERE. Please scroll to the bottom of the page for the most recent pictures from Round Nine.
The GoPro Motorplex Karting Challenge will be back in action on Saturday, Nov. 9 for Round Ten, the series finale! Each segment of the GoPro Motorplex Karting Challenge consists of two rounds of practice, qualifying, prefinal and final races for all 13 classes.
SERIES NEWS: It was announced at the drivers meeting that our GoPro Motorplex Karting Challenge championship banquet will be on Saturday, Nov. 9, at GoPro Motorplex, following the Round Ten racing action. We will recognize the Top-Three competitors in each division, as well as honoring both a Competitor Sportsmanship Award and Most Improved Driver of the Year Award. The banquet will include dinner, raffle prizes and the awards ceremony. Ticket prices and more information will be announced later this week.