GoRotax.com Driver of the Month Presented by eKartingNews.com – October 2014 – Ugo Ugochukwu
A ‘Spin and Win’ unfolds for one of the youngest drivers in the US Rotax Max Challenge program
Thanks to the partnership between MAXSpeed Group and eKartingNews.com, a monthly program has been devised to promote outstanding drivers in the Rotax Max Challenge. The new program – GoRotax.com Driver of the Month presented by eKartingNews.com – is based off a similar program the leading karting website offers each month, focused on the United States ‘Rotaxians’. Each month, the staff at MAXSpeed and EKN will determine one driver to profile who promotes Rotax and karting in general in a positive fashion, along with standing out on-track. Each driver’s accomplishments will be highlighted, in addition to getting to know the Driver of the Month.
One of, if not, the most famous occurrences in the history of the Indianapolis 500 happened in 1985 with the ‘Spin and Win’ performance by Danny Sullivan. The feat cemented Sullivan’s name into the history books, and exemplified the ‘never quit’ attitude of a driver.
On October 19, 2014, a young driver by the name of Ugo Ugochukwu put a similar reference alongside his name, in the same regard as Sullivan, when he duplicated the ‘Spin and Win’ feat during the 2014 Cold Stone Pan American Challenge at the GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, North Carolina. The event featured 24 of the top international drivers in the Micro Max category, all gunning for a piece of history and a prestigious trophy to add to the mantle.
Ugo, relatively new to the sport of karting, has shown promise during his first full season in the Micro Max division. At the Cold Stone US Grand Nationals in July, he finished a hard-fought 12th after contending early on. Through the season, he raced at the Northeast Rotax Max Challenge program. The weekend before the Pan Am, Ugo placed second both days in a double-round event weekend at the New Jersey Motorsports Park. During the season, he never finished outside the top-four, earning two victories toward scoring the series vice-championship.
The Pan Am event began with Ugo qualifying inside the top-six to earn a spot in the Super Pole session. He remained in the fourth position after the two-lap fast time shootout, setting up for an outside row two start in all three heat races. A fifth place result in the opening moto was followed up with a win and runner-up result. Those finishes put him on the inside of row two for the Prefinal on Sunday morning.
A 12-lap battle ensued between Ugo and Reece Gold. Back and forth they went, until Ugo was able to edge out Gold at the stripe by 19-thousandths of a second to earn the pole position for the main event. Through the opening corners clean, Ugo led the field for the first circuit and was navigating the second lap when disaster struck. On the exit of turn three, leading onto the long back straight, Ugo’s kart twitched as they went over the rumble strip on the left side of the track. A slight tap on his rear bumper sent Ugo spinning. He did a complete 360 spin, was able to gather the kart and continue on, pointed in the correct direction. It seemed like the spin did not effect the kart, or his mental state at all, as it was still ‘go for the win’ focus by the young driver. From there, he laid down the fastest laps of the race, climbing his way back to the lead group after falling down to eighth. He was into third as the white flag waved, when the two leaders in front of him went side-by-side for the lead heading into the first corner. As they exited the turn 1-2 complex, Ugo slid past both to secure the lead. Never making a mistake on the final circuit, the Koene USA pilot crossed the line for the victory.
To experience again the amazing 14-lap performance by Ugo Ugochukwu, view the broadcast recording by Kart Racing Network.
GoRotax.com Driver of the Month presented by eKartingNews.com
October 2014 – Ugo Ugochukwu
Born: April 23, 2007 (Lagos, Nigeria)
Hometown: New York, New York
Parents: Luca Orlandi and Oluchi Onweagba
Height/Weight: 4’ 8” / 60 lbs.
Education: Second Grade – Scuola d’Italia Guglielmo Marconi (fluent in Italian, English, and Spanish)
Chassis: Tony Kart
Engine Service Center: Koene USA
Sponsors: Koene USA
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: Northeast Rotax Max Challenge
Years Karting: 2
How did you get started in karting? Began racing Kid Karts at Oakland Valley Race Park in Spring of 2013, moving to Micro Max in the fall of 2013
What has been the high point in your racing career? Winning the Rotax Pan American Challenge event
What are your goals in racing? To win as many titles as possible
In a few words, how would you describe your driving style? Fast and aggressive
2014 Accomplishments: Rotax Summer Shootout race winner, Northeast Rotax Max Challenge vice champion, Rok Cup USA Micro Rok champion, Rotax Pan American Challenge Micro Max Champion
Favorite Track: GoPro Motorplex – Mooresville, NC
Favorite form of professional motorsports: Karting
Favorite karting driver: N/A
Favorite professional driver: N/A
Favorite website: N/A
Favorite movie: Karate Kid
Favorite actor/actress: N/A
Favorite music/group: N/A
Favorite vacation/activity spot: St. Barth
Favorite food: Spaghetti al pesto and veal milanese
What do you do when not at the track? Plays tennis and soccer
What are your goals outside of karting? Enjoying everything one day at a time
What type of street car would you like to drive? N/A
What are your pet peeves or things that irritate you? Northing
What is your favorite aspect about racing in the Rotax Max Challenge program? He enjoys racing Rotax because the racing is always very close, full of drafting, bumping and passing.