Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals 2014 – Team USA – Friday Review

Nine drivers continue on to represent Red, White and Blue on Championship Saturday

(Photo: Studio52.us)

For complete coverage, visit the EKN Event Page or follow the Official Forum Thread

Team USA Rotax Grand Finals 2014 logoIt was ‘Decision Day’ at the Kartodromo Internacional Lucas Guerrero as the third day of competition set the stage for Championship Saturday at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. The threat of rain continued into Friday, finally arriving at the Chiva village located outside Valencia, Spain just before the beginning of the four Last Chance Qualifiers.  The rain certainly changed the complexion of the event, elevating the importance of racecraft and ability and eliminating the effect of any power deficiencies.

After what was a challenging qualifying session for a handful of Team USA drivers on Wednesday, wheel-to-wheel action began on Thursday with the high point coming via a Heat #2 victory by Senior Max driver Oliver Askew.  The Florida driver came back with an important runner-up finish in Heat #3, recovering from his DQ in the opening moto. Following the final round of heat races on Friday morning, six Team USA drivers locked themselves into the top-28 in their respective categories, which advanced them directly into the main events tomorrow. The top-six from the Last Chance Qualifier events would also move on to Championship Saturday, as three Americans earned transfer positions to continue their 2014 RMCGF adventure.

Rain began to fall before the Junior Max Last Chance Qualifier, and officials declared the race a wet weather event. Competitors scrambled in Parc Ferme to bolt on their Mojo wet tires in preparation for the seven-lap sprint. Ryan Norberg was the highest starting American in 10th, but he was spun around in the second corner, which dropped him to 30th, out of contention considering the short number of laps run in these races. Austin Garrison picked up the Team USA torch, but issues on the second lap dropped him from eighth to 19th as well, and while he put in a valiant effort to regain positions, he could only muster an 11th place result, nearly posting the fast lap of the race in the process. Austin Versteeg was well off the pace, and finished back in the 23rd position.  It was a tough result for all three drivers, who entered the event with very high aspirations as the top three finishers at this year’s US Grand Nationals.

The chance to move through to Saturday’s action was very real for Senior Max pilots Jake Craig and Dan Roeper, as both were starting inside the top-10. They each got through the crucial opening lap, and were into the top-six by the second lap, racing within the same group. Craig eventually climbed to third after starting eighth to transfer, while Roeper was as high as third at one time, finishing fifth at the checkered flag.  Mason Marotta started 24th and ended his first Rotax Grand Finals 21st in the LCQ.  Disappointingly for Roeper, and keeping in line with the theme of bad luck and harsh penalties that plagued him all week, the finishing order was adjusted after penalties were handed out, as he received a 10-second fine for contact, which dropped him out of the transfer position.

Troubles in both qualifying and the final heat race placed reigning Rotax Challenge of the Americas DD2 Masters champion Alan Rudolph on the 13th row of the LCQ grid. With the wet conditions, however, anything was possible for the veteran karter. By the end of the first lap, Rudolph was up to a remarkable 13th, already ahead of fellow Team USA drivers Mike Jones and Derek Wang. Rudolph continued to gain positions, and was ninth by the end of lap two. With over a two-second gap behind the fight for the sixth position, Alan kept smooth and fast in the wet to reach the group of karts battling for the last transfer spot. On lap seven, Rudolph went from eighth to sixth, locking up the final transfer position and adding another Team USA pilot to the list of competitor who will race on Saturday. Jones gained five spots to finish 11th, while Wang was shuffled to the tail of the field on the opening circuit. Ken Maxfield, the oldest competitor at the Rotax Grand Finals, finished off his first visit to the event with a 30th place result in the LCQ.

Two of the four drivers from Team USA’s DD2 roster found themselves in the Last Chance Qualifier as well. Nick Neri started 11th, and the driver in the final transfer position at the checkered flag. A good start saw the Florida Winter Tour champion up to ninth, but he was shuffled back to 11th on lap two. Neri was quickly back into tenth, and when two drivers made contact in front of him, he moved to seventh and then passed for the final transfer on lap five. Just like Rudolph, Neri made it exciting for all those watching. Jonathan Kotyk started 27th and finished with a valiant effort to end up 12th.

In total, nine Team USA drivers will compete on Championship Saturday, with the Prefinals beginning at 9:45am local time (3:45am Eastern Standard Time). Follow EKN’s Facebook or Twitter feeds for instant results posting, or head to our official forum thread to see all the Team USA results in one place.


Junior Max


#157 – Austin Garrison
Age: 16
Hometown:
Davie, Florida
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series:
North Florida Rotax Max Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
Ocala Gran Prix
Sponsors:
Ocala Gran Prix
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
None
Mechanic: Austin Miles

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Heat #3: 24th
Rankings: 43rd
LCQ: 11th – does not transfer

#161 – Ryan Norberg
Age: 15
Hometown:
Orlando, Florida
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series:
North Florida Rotax Max Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
Ocala Gran Prix
Sponsors:
Razor Image, K1 RaceGear, Ocala Gran Prix
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
2013
Mechanic: Robert Bujdoso

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Heat #3: 12th
Rankings: 38th
LCQ: 18th – does not transfer

#163 – Sting Ray Robb
Age: 12
Hometown:
Boise, Idaho
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series:
Rotax Can-Am ProKart Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
Black Racing Engines
Sponsors:
Red Apple Marketplace
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
None
Mechanic: Blake Choquer

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Heat #3: 8th
Rankings: 12th

#165 – Austin Versteeg
Age: 15
Hometown:
Sandy, Utah
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series:
MSquared Racing Rotax Max Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
Rolison Performance Group
Sponsors:
Litho Flexo Graphics, K1 RaceGear, ActivaDerm
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
None
Mechanic: Brian Fletcher

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Heat #3: 27th
Rankings: 57th
LCQ: 23rd – does not transfer

#168 – Christian Brooks
Age:
14
Hometown:
Santa Clarita, California
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series:
So-Cal Rotax Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
Nash Motorsportz
Sponsors:
MB2 Raceway Indoor Karting Centers, Nash Motorsportz, OMP, Bell Racing, DVS Shoe Co., Mechanix Wear, Precision Works Racing Engines, Replay, Kart FX Graphics
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
None
Mechanic: Colin McGinnis and Chris Brooks “The A-Team”

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Heat #3: 21st
Rankings: 22nd


Senior Max


#264 – Oliver Askew
Age: 17
Hometown:
Jupiter, Florida
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: North Florida Rotax Max Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
Ocala Gran Prix
Sponsors:
Ocala Gran Prix, Bell Helmets, Sparco USA, Swiftwick Socks, Studio52, Race Tech Development, Risk Placement Management, Racing Driver Management
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
2011, 2012, 2013
Mechanic:
Mario Ioffredo

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Heat #3: 2nd
Rankings: 16th

#255 – Phillip Arscott
Age: Newberg, Oregon
Hometown:
25
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: Rotax Can-Am ProKart Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
CMC
Sponsors:
Rolison Performance Group, CMC
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
2008, 2009, 2013
Mechanic:
Wes Boswell

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Heat #3: 7th
Rankings: 28th

#266 – Jake Craig
Age: 17
Hometown:
Mission Viejo, California
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: So-Cal Rotax Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
TruTech Racing Engines
Sponsors:
TruTech Racing Engines, 2Wild Karting, Complete Trailers
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
2011, 2013
Mechanic:
Kyle Kuntze

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Heat #3: 17th
Rankings: 36th
LCQ: 3rd

#259 – Dan Roeper
Age: 17
Hometown:
Delray Beach, Florida
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: South Florida Rotax Max Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
Ogden UK
Sponsors:
Oemetrix AAGM
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
None
Mechanic:
Bryn Nuttall

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Heat #3: 15th
Rankings: 38th
LCQ: 5th – 10-second penalty for contact (removed from transfer position)

#260 – Mason Marotta
Age: 20
Hometown:
Bakersfield, California
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: So-Cal Rotax Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
Ogden USA
Sponsors:
Parents and Grandmother
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
None
Mechanic:
Ryan Perry

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Heat #3: 35th
Rankings: 60th
LCQ: 21st – does not transfer

#267 – Ashley Rogero
Age: 17
Hometown:
Mooresville, North Carolina
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: GoPro Motorplex
Rotax Service Center:
AM Racing Engines
Sponsors:
Advance Automotive and friends
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
2010, 2012, 2013
Mechanic:
Jim Rogero

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Heat #3: 15th
Rankings: 64th
LCQ: DNQ


DD2 Masters


#456 – Bobby Greene
Age: 43
Hometown:
Fernandina Beach, Florida
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: N/A
Rotax Service Center:
Oakland Valley Race Park
Sponsors:
SKLTN
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
none
Mechanic:
Mike Ramirez

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Heat #3: 35th
Rankings: 70th
LCQ: DNQ

#467 – Erik Jackson
Age: 38
Hometown:
Long Beach, California
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: So-Cal Rotax Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
PSL SoCal
Sponsors:
Baldozier Racing, Motul, Gut Wrench Crossfit, HKE
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
2011
Mechanic: Francois Doran

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Heat #3: 26th
Rankings: 69th
LCQ: DNQ

#460 – Mike Jones
Age: 43
Hometown:
Union Valley, Texas
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: Dallas Karting Complex
Rotax Service Center:
Dallas Karting Complex
Sponsors:
Dallas Karting Complex, Sodi Kart, Bell Helmets, Alpinestars
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
2012, 2013
Mechanic: Sean Owens

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Heat #3: 32nd
Rankings: 44th
LCQ: 11th – does not transfer

#455 – Ken Maxfield
Age: 52
Hometown:
Salt Lake City, Utah
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: MSquared Racing Rotax Max Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
MSquared Karting
Sponsors:
Leading Edge Motorsports, KartSport North America, MSquared Karting
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
None
Mechanic: Garrett Maxfield

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Heat #3: 27th
Rankings: 59th
LCQ: 30th – does not transfer

#454 – Alan Rudolph
Age: July 4
Hometown:
Gilbert, Arizona
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: Bondurant Rotax Max Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
PSL Karting
Sponsors:
Michael Dobbelsteyn, Bondurant, K1 RaceGear
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
2012, 2013
Mechanic: Jesse Dunham

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Heat #3: DNS
Rankings: 53rd
LCQ: 6th

#461 – Derek Wang
Age: 36
Hometown:
Kirkland, Washington
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: Rotax Can-Am ProKart Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
Kevin Glover Karting
Sponsors:
Teleion Consulting
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
2010, 2011, 2013
Mechanic: Diego Valverde

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Heat #3: 33rd
Rankings: 41st
LCQ: 25th – does not transfer


DD2


#355 – Michael Ilavia
Age: 17
Hometown:
Houston, Texas
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: Burger King Rotax Max Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
J3 Competition
Sponsors:
Mom, Dad, Nana, and Papa
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
None
Mechanic:
Justin Stefani

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Heat #3: 10th
Rankings: 23rd

#359 – Jonathan Kotyk
Age:
20
Hometown:
Atlantic Beach, Florida
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: North Florida Rotax Max Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
Ocala Gran Prix
Sponsors:
Ocala Gran Prix
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
None
Mechanic:
Chris Enderlein

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Heat #3: 28th
Rankings: 55th
LCQ: 12th – does not transfer

#357 – Nick Neri
Age: 18
Hometown:
Palmetto, Florida
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: North Florida Rotax Max Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
Ocala Gran Prix
Sponsors:
Ocala Gran Prix, Bell Helmets, Razor Image, GO Designs, Dark Horse Pros
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
2009, 2010, 2013
Mechanic:
Alex Speed

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Heat #3: 31st
Rankings: 39th
LCQ: 6th

#358 – Gavin Reichelt
Age: 16
Hometown:
Rhinebeck, New York
United States Rotax Max Challenge Home Series: Northeast Rotax Max Challenge
Rotax Service Center:
PSL Karting
Sponsors:
N/A
Rotax Grand Finals Appearances:
None
Mechanic:
N/A

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Heat #3: 15th
Rankings: 25th

EKN Global Members Discussion:

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