EKN Exclusive: SKUSA SuperNationals XIX – Preview Series – TaG Junior

Victory on SuperSunday could decide Fikse Wheels Pro Tour championship

(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

SKUSA SuperNats XIX logo-2015eKartingNews.com, the Official Media Partner of Superkarts! USA, is proud to present the Preview Series for the SKUSA SuperNationals XIX. In the coming days, EKN will preview each of the nine categories that will compete outside the Las Vegas Convention Center and Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino from November 18-22.

For complete coverage of the SKUSA SuperNationals XIX, visit the EKN Event Page and head to eKartingNews.com/live for live audio and live timing throughout the five days of competition.

Junior categories returned to the Superkarts! USA SuperNationals in 2008 when the event returned to the Rio with TaG Junior introduced that year. Every year, the division keeps getting more and more intense as these teenage drivers raise the stakes against one another, all trying to become part of history in Las Vegas. 2015 is going to be no different with nearly 70 drivers on the list to compete at this year’s SuperNationals, all vying to become the eighth different driver to claim the top step on the podium come SuperSunday.

Last year’s performance by American Logan Sargeant was one of dominance, earning his second victory at the SuperNationals, first in class. Sargeant went on to become the first American to win the CIK-FIA KFJ World Championship this September, joining Lake Speed as the only driver from the United States to claim a world title. His graduation to the Senior ranks leaves the top of the podium open for anyone to take it.

Fun Fact: Tony Kart chassis has won the TaG Junior main event in even number years, other brands in the odd years

Championship Chase: Lemke and Malukas – Head to Head Once Again

Brandon Lemke - David Malukas

Brandon Lemke – David Malukas

Leading the chase to be the next SuperNationals is last year’s champion David Malukas. Riding off the success at the Modesto Grand Prix, the Illinois driver finished runner-up at the 2014 SuperNationals to claim the Fikse Wheels Pro Tour championship. The title defense for the now CompKart driver is coming down to a duel with longtime rival Brandon Lemke. The Franklin Motorsports / Merlin driver is having a solid sophomore campaign in the Junior ranks, racking up championships on the east coast throughout 2015 and currently leads Malukas by 75 points heading into the series finale. Malukas got the better of Lemke and the rest of the IAME International Final field in France last month, becoming the world Junior X30 champion – the first United States driver to do so. Lemke however has beaten Malukas in the last three main events in SKUSA competition, including two wins and a runner-up.

The second fight is for the P3 position on the championship podium, should Lemke and Malukas both score enough points to remain in the top two spots. Anthony Gangi Jr. leads Zach Holden by just one point, making every session on course that important for the two east coast drivers. Holden moved over to the Tony Kart brand at the SummerNationals, winning his first major SKUSA feature race. Gangi (Tony Kart) performed well at the SpringNationals, but seemed to struggle at the familiar New Castle circuit in July. Gangi has the advantage in the experience column, winning the TaG Cadet division in 2012 and placing third in last year’s main event. Holden was among the contenders but retired early, and is looking to record his best finish yet in Las Vegas.

Who to Watch: Anyone’s for the Taking with Stout Field of Junior Drivers

CIK KFJ vice-champion Clément Novalak enters as a favorite in TaG Junior (Photo: KSP)

CIK KFJ vice-champion Clément Novalak enters as a favorite in TaG Junior (Photo: KSP)

A lot of graduation has occurred from last year’s class to this year’s lineup. The only returning top-10 finisher aside from Malukas and Gangi is Rasmus Lindh. The Swedish driver ran to a seventh place result aboard a Praga, trading in for a Ricciardo Kart this year. International drivers make up nearly half the 68-driver roster, with a number of notables coming from overseas. British driver Clément Novalak was vice-champion at the KFJ World Championship to Sargeant, joining Koene USA aboard a Tony Kart. Energy driver David Vidales just finished third at the WSK Final Cup as the Spaniard hopes to carry the momentum to Las Vegas. Leonard Marseglia is familiar with the bright lights of ‘Sin City’, and with success at the SuperNationals. The Italian won the TaG Cadet division in 2013, coming up short defending his win a year ago and is set to make his TaG Junior debut.

A number of rookies are making their first start as a TaG Junior driver at the SuperNationals. Jagger Jones and Michael d’Orlando finished 1-2 in the Fikse Wheels Pro Tour standings for TaG Cadet in 2014. Jones is the top rookie this year in TaG Junior racing under the Ryan Perry Motorsport tent aboard the familiar Tony Kart, entering the series finale seventh in the standings and coming off a B-Main victory at the Rok Cup International Final. d’Orlando was in contention for the title and the SuperNats win last year until contact took him out of the running in both. Back for redemption, the Tony Kart driver is looking for more success and another title to add to his growing resume.

Jagger Jones is among the many rookies that can make an impact at the SuperNationals (Photo: EKN)

Jagger Jones is among the many rookies that can make an impact at the SuperNationals (Photo: EKN)

Other rookies include the ‘calculated’ Dylan Tavella (BirelART), who is still working on the progression from the smaller size karts to the full size frames. Trey Brown, the 2014 California ProKart Challenge TaG Cadet champion adjusted well out of the gate, going to the podium right away on the west coast in 2015. The Ryan Perry Motorsport / Tony Kart driver nearly won the TaG Junior title in his first season, losing out to Nicky Hays. The Phil Giebler Racing / Ricciardo Kart driver won the crown with a victory at the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix, making the successful transition from S5 to TaG Junior this year. Also watch rookies Alex Bertagnoli from the successful Franklin Motorsports / Merlin tent, and Payton Durrant of Koene USA making his first ever TaG Junior start.

Podium Predictions:

Anthony Gangi Jr. is among the fight for the Championship Podium (Photo: EKN)

Anthony Gangi Jr. is among the fight for the Championship Podium (Photo: EKN)

Rob Howden – EKN Editor-in-Chief
1. Brandon Lemke
2. David Malukas
3. Clément Novalak
4. Rasmus Lindh
5. Anthony Gangi Jr.

This year’s TaG Junior battle on the Fikse Wheels Pro Tour was all about Brandon Lemke and David Malukas, and their photo finish at the SummerNationals in New Castle was the best snapshot we could ask for in terms of their equality.  The magnitude of the SuperNationals can pile the pressure on young drivers, but neither should be affected, even though they’re running for the national championship.  Malukas is fresh off a huge win in the IAME X30 International Final in France, while Lemke has both the USPKS and WKA Man Cup Leopard Junior titles in his back pocket coming to Vegas.  I think that the fight will continue, and on SuperSunday, it will be Lemke who takes the win and the title. A number of strong international competitors will be in town, include CIK KF Junior World Championship runner-up Clément Novalak and Swedish pilot Rasmus Lindh. Novalak will make his debut, but can expect him to be quick out of the box, while Lindh will be returning for his fourth SuperNationals start and will be primed to improve on his seventh place finish from 2014.  Anthony Gangi Jr. learned last year about getting into trouble in the heats, and armed with that knowledge, he will challenge for the podium, if not the win.  I also expect to see Zach Holden, JP Southern, Antonio Serravalle and Nicky Hayes in the lead pack fight as well.

Nicky Hays is among the wildcards in this year's field (Photo: EKN)

Nicky Hays is among the wildcards in this year’s field (Photo: EKN)

David Cole – EKN Managing Editor
1. Brandon Lemke
2. Clément Novalak
3. David Malukas
4. Antonio Serravalle
5. Nicky Hays

It has been a great season for Lemke, and it will only get better on SuperSunday. The fight all week leads up to the main event, when Lemke shines and comes away with the victory to clinch the title. Malukas gives up a great fight, however, battling with Novalak keeps him from attacking for the win and the title. Only two Canadians are in the field, with Antonio Serravalle (Tony Kart) a name to watch, spending much of the season racing in WSK and CIK-FIA competition. Hays seems to have the momentum, beating the best in the west at the SOLGP and ready to shine in Vegas on the podium. Those two final positions in the top-five will be hotly contested as I see the top three running away from the rest of the pack and host of drivers fighting for the fourth and fifth positions.


TaG Junior Provisional Entry List

No. Driver Team Chassis Engine Builder State Country
37a Bethany Abbott Motorsports Driver Development (MDD) Kosmic Ogden Motorsport GBR
24a Nicola Abrusci Team VemmeKart / Extreme Karting Vemme SwedeTech ITA
294m Sebastian Alvarez CRG SoCal CRG CRG SoCal MEX
88b Ethan Barrett Ethan Barrett Racing Kosmic Tru Tech Racing Engines CA USA
04j Alex Bertagnoli Franklin Motorsports Merlin Woltjer Racing Engines IL USA
30nz Josh Bethune Kartsport North America FA Kart NZL
243a Cameron Boedler Mach 1 USA Mach 1 BRA
23a Dmitrii Bogdanov Team Benik Kart FA Kart Supertune Racing Engines RUS
025a Callum Bradshaw Motorsports Driver Development (MDD) Kosmic Ogden Motorsport GBR
28b Trey Brown Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM) Tony Kart High-Rev Engineering CA USA
212n Dario Cangialosi Mike Doty Racing Deadly Woltjer Racing Engines NJ USA
99a Emilio Cipriani AM Racing CRG AM Racing Engines VEN
66y Wyatt Couch PKS Kart Supplies Tony Kart Fleming Racing Engines CA USA
95z Justin DeMars Black Flag Racing Products Tony Kart D Power Racing Engines OR USA
57n Michael d'Orlando Team Koene USA Tony Kart Team Koene USA NY USA
15y Colby DuBato PKS Kart Supplies Tony Kart P1 Racing Engines CA USA
81u Payton Durrant Team Koene USA Tony Kart Comet Racing Engines UT USA
221x Zoey Edenholm Relentless Motorsports Kosmic Woltjer Racing Engines AZ USA
76d Everest Fedler Unser Racing Tony Kart Tru Tech Racing Engines CO USA
03d Max Fedler Unser Racing Tony Kart Tru Tech Racing Engines CO USA
33a Maria Fernandez Team PDB Kart Gillard PER
70a Joshua Fife J3 Competition CompKart AUS
022a Declan Fraser Kartsport North America Arrow A1 Racing Engines AUS
07n Anthony Gangi Jr. GT7 Motorsports Tony Kart PSL Karting NY USA
14a Alessandro Ghiretti Team Praga Praga FRA
114a Dominik Goldschmied Energy Corse America Energy CZE
291a Pedro Goulart Piquet Sports Tony Kart BRA
210a Jacopo Guidetti EVO Kart P1 Racing Engines ITA
17a Dennis Hauger Team CRG CRG NOR
51c Nicky Hays Phil Giebler Racing (PGR) Ricciardo Kart Tru Tech Racing Engines CA USA
22t Max Hewitt J3 Competition CompKart Woltjer Racing Engines TX USA
222j Zach Holden Team Koene USA Tony Kart Comet Racing Engines IN USA
71a Dylan Hollis Kartsport North America Deadly Comet Racing Engines AUS
2a Lochie Hughes Ricciardo Kart AUS
177a Juan Ignacio Maceira Team VemmeKart / Extreme Karting Vemme SwedeTech ARG
099x Charlie Jafari Phil Giebler Racing (PGR) Tony Kart CA USA
98x Jagger Jones Ryan Perry Motorsport (RPM) Tony Kart High-Rev Engineering AZ USA
43a Niklas Kruetten Pserra Racing Tony Kart Pserra Racing DEU
32a Martin Lautaro Visser Team VemmeKart / Extreme Karting Vemme SwedeTech ARG
278a Arthur Leist Orsolon Racing Tony Kart BRA
01j Brandon Lemke Franklin Motorsports Merlin Woltjer Racing Engines WI USA
267a Rasmus Lindh PSL Karting Ricciardo Kart SWE
36a Cameron Longmore J3 Competition CompKart AUS
414a Christian Lundgaard Energy Corse America Energy DEN
16c Gary Lyles Nash Motorsportz Tony Kart P1 Racing Engines CA USA
216r Ryan MacDermid Rolison Performance Group (RPG) Tony Kart ON CAN
1 David Malukas J3 Competition CompKart Comet Racing Engines IL USA
128a Leonardo Marseglia Pserra Racing Tony Kart Pserra Racing ITA
52a Charles Milesi Team Koene USA Tony Kart FRA
40j Jack Miller Jack William Motorsports Tony Kart High-Rev Engineering IN USA
0a Lisa Mohr Top Kart USA / Grand Products Top Kart Top Kart USA / Grand Products DEU
250f Jett Noland Piquet Sports Tony Kart FL USA
021a Clement Novalak Team Koene USA Tony Kart Team Koene USA GBR
262j Sam Paley Motorsports Driver Development (MDD) Ricciardo Kart Ogden Motorsport OH USA
180a Gabriel Paturle NFSports Italkart IM Tuning BRA
? Vinicius Ponce Kosmic BRA
143a Jac Preston Goodwood Kartways Praga Bordogna Racing Engines AUS
13a Diego Ramos NFSports Italkart IM Tuning BRA
06s Myles Rowe Top Kart USA / Grand Products Top Kart Comet Racing Engines GA USA
106c Anthony Sawyer Nash Motorsportz Tony Kart P1 Racing Engines CA USA
118r Antonio Serravalle Pserra Racing Tony Kart Pserra Racing ON CAN
20j JP Southern Jr. Top Kart USA / Grand Products Top Kart Woltjer Racing Engines OH USA
89t Matt Stretch SodiKart Comet Racing Engines TX USA
214n Dylan Tavella PSL Karting BirelART Woltjer Racing Engines NY USA
08a Santiago Terife AM Racing Exprit AM Racing Engines VEN
05a Sergio Terife AM Racing Exprit AM Racing Engines VEN
121a David Vidales Energy Corse America Energy ESP
44x Dante Yu Nash Motorsportz Tony Kart P1 Racing Engines CA USA
82a Dick Yu Phil Giebler Racing (PGR) Kosmic HKG

EKN Global Members Discussion:

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