Sanzaru Games Season Ends With Titles On The Line
Ron White Out Duels Brett Buckwalter For GoPro 125 Pro Stock Honda Win
What better way to end a strong 2015 season than to watch several of NorCals best go at it in the GoPro feature 125 Pro Stock Honda race. Ron White out dueled Buckwalter in the finale with 8 other strong drivers right behind. Several other classes had championships on the line, many of these classes being extremely tight in the points. By at the end of the day, two classes ended the season with a tie for the championship and the class crowns had to be determined using ‘wins’ as the tie breaker.
The 2015 season ended with a growth of almost 4% in the overall from 2014 and a solid 7% increase in the Rotax entries over 2014. The Sanzaru Games Series remains one of the top two Rotax regions in the nation and may still close the year as number1.
Pro Stock Honda – GoPro feature class
This is the third year that the 125 shifter classes are featured at the season finale. Using the Pro National track configuration (no tic-tac-toe) and allowing the use of the MG Whites in this one race, top level Pro Stock 125 drivers showed up to go for the GoPro Hero4 camera, cash awards and the chance to size up the competition before the upcoming SuperNats. A class championship was also on the line with Pablo Carballedo holding 40 point lead over Hunter Pickett. Brett Buckwalter took the pole ahead of Ron White, Will Preston, Tom Dyer and Hunter Pickett. In the 12 lap heat race, White got to the lead early with Buckwalter chasing and the two pulling away from the rest of the field. White went on to the win, just 3 tenths of second ahead of Buckwalter with Dyer holding off a hard challenge from Pickett and Cabot Bigham, Preston falling to 7th. In the 20 lap Main, White again got the jump on the start and took the lead. Buckwalter stayed right behind trying to pressure White into making a mistake, but a mistake never materialized. Right behind, Dyer and Pickett went at it with the two swapping positions more than once. On lap 10 Dyer tried a pass at the end of the front straight but had to spin to avoid contact, Dyer was out. Jacob Neal worked his way past Preston to take over 4th but he had to pit with his radiator coming off on lap 17. In the end, White took the win just 4 tenths of second ahead of Buckwalter, Pickett 3rd in his best drive of the year, Preston a well-earned 4th and Bigham 5th. For the win, White took home the GoPro Hero4 camera and $275 in cash, Buckwalter $150 and Pickett $75 in cash. In the class championship, Carballedo took 8th place and used this race as one of his “throw a ways”. In doing so, he lost only 15 points to Hunter in the points chase and held onto the class championship, Pickett 2nd and Neil 3rd.
Stock Honda Masters
The Masters class also ran on the MG Whites with a strong field taking to the track. In Qualifying Rene Martinelli took pole ahead of Patrick O’Neill, Kevin Woods and David Arnstein. In the heat race, Martinelli and Woods battled up front with Jim Inglebright getting a good start into 3rd ahead of Arnstein and Justin Bennett. In the end, Martinelli held off Woods to take the win by just 6 tenths of a second, Inglebright 3rd another second back and Arnstein holding off Bennett and O’Neill for 4th. In the 20 lap Main, Martinelli and Inglebright lead the field off the line with Woods, Arnstein and O’Neill following. Woods spun in turn 4 on the 5th lap and Arnstein had no place to go and tagged the stalled Woods. Arnstein’s damage was too severe to continue. Inglebright went into the lead and then he was challenged by O’Neill who had passed by Martinelli. O’Neill had the speed but now needed patience to find a way past the experienced Inglebright. With the laps counting down, O’Neill saw his chance and made the pass for the lead, winning by just 1 second win, Inglebright 2nd, Martinelli 3rd, Eric Molinatti 4th and Travis Bowles 5th. For the race, cash amounts of $220, $120 and $60 went to the top three drivers. In the class championship, Bennett took the class crown with Arnstein just barely holding onto 2nd over Martinelli 3rd.
Dustin Salaverria took the pole ahead of Oliver Reed and Ryan Tate. In the heat race, Dustin took the early lead Oliver right on his bumper for the entire race. Reed just could not find a way to make the safe pass and the race ended with Dustin the winner, Oliver 2nd, Ryan 3rd and Matteo Sandoval 4th. For the 15 lap Main, Dustin took the early lead again over Oliver followed by Matteo and Ryan. Again Oliver stayed right on Dustin’s bumper but could not pressure Dustin into a mistake or find a way by. Dustin took the win, Oliver 2nd, Matteo 3rd, Ryan 4th and Nick Persing who was challenging Ryan at the end, took 5th. In the Championship, Dustin takes the Mini-Max class crown, his first championship in the Sanzaru Games Series, Oliver 2nd, Matteo 3rd, Bianca Bustamante 4th and Ryan 5th.
Honda/HPD CRF 250
This was the first year of the new 4 stroke Honda CRF 250 class, the engine produces great racing due to the drivability of the package. Two drivers were in the running for the class crown, Ori Della Penna holding a small lead over Richard Stock. In Qualifying, Richard Stock took the pole ahead Ori and Richard Hilleman. In the heat race, Stock and Ori went at it furiously with the two passing each other during the race. In one late race pass, Ori went inside Stock forcing Stock to the dirt at the turn’s exit. Ori took the win but was penalized for the pass on Stock, Hilleman took the win, Steve Cameron 2nd, Stock 3rd and Ori 4th. In the Main, Hilleman got into the lead early with Cameron right on his rear bumper. Stock an Ori both came through to Challenge Hilleman who slid wide late in the race. Now the battle for the win was with Stock and Ori, Ori tried a late pass at the end on the main straight but couldn’t make it stick. Cameron pressured Stock hard for the last few laps but Stock made no mistakes and held on to take the win, Cameron 2nd, Hilleman 3rd and Ori 4th. In the championship race, Stock and Ori tied for the class crown with Ori taking the class championship on the tie breaker, Hilleman was 3rd.
Molecule Rotax Masters
With 11 drivers in the class, Rotax Masters took the largest class award for 2015 season with an average of 12 drivers per race. Also on the line in the finale was the class crown with Kelly Heil and Roman Alexseenkov entering the race in a dead tie. In Qualifying, Josh Buttafoco took the pole ahead of Bob Olson, John Breidinger, Roman and Kelly. In the first heat, Josh took the early lead and was never challenged. Bob Olson held a slim lead over Heil who had worked his way past Roman and Breidinger. In the end, Josh took the win, Olson 2nd, Heil 3rd, Breidinger 4th and Roman 5th. In the Main, Josh again took the early lead and never looked back. Heil bravely squeezed by Olson in turn 2 to run 2nd, Roman then got by Olson into 3rd. Roman kept pace with Heil but could never get in a position to make a pass, he needed Heil to make a mistake. Josh took the Main in his first race appearance in 2015, Heil was mistake free and came home 2nd, Roman 3rd, Olson 4th and Aaron Farris 5th. In the championship, Heil takes the class crown, Roman 2nd and Olson 3rd.
Honda 80 Masters
The 80 Masters class ended the year with good sized field. Charles Hastings took the pole ahead of Tom Nelson and Dave Holstein. In the heat race, Hastings took an early lead but a strong start by Tom Nelson put him in a position to challenge Hastings late in the race. Nelson indeed made the pass and went on to the win, Hastings 2nd, Holstein a fine 3rd and edging out Roger Cornwall with Allen Miller 5th . In the Main, Nelson took the early lead, Cornwall got by Holstein and Hastings had problems and retired early. Miller then made his move and took over 3rd, then in a really great move got by Cornwall out of one turn then drove under Nelson on the next turn to take the lead. Miller was now rolling and opened up a small lead and went on to the win, Nelson 2nd, Cornwall 3rd, Holstein 4th and Geoff Provo 5th. In the Championship, Nelson took the class crown, his 6th in the history of the Series, Rob Mullaney 2nd and Cornwall 3rd.
Molecule Micro Max
Micro Max class had a strong year of participation, this race had nine drivers, all of whom are fast! Owen McAllister took the pole ahead of Garrette Randolph Jr and Skyler Geczi. For Owen to win the class crown, he needed to sweep the races and hope Garrette had a bad day. In the heat race, Owen took the early lead but was hounded by Garrette the entire way, Skyler was chased by Sebastiaan Mulder. In the end, no one made any mistakes and Owen took the win, Garrette 2nd, Skyler 3rd, Sebastiaan 4th and Gino Sandoval 5th. In the Main, Owen again took the early lead followed by Garrette, Skyler and Sebastiaan. Garrette made a pass on Owen to take over the lead with Sebastiaan also getting by Skyler. With a couple of laps to go, Owen tapped Garrette going into turn two and both karts spun. Sebastiaan and Skyler got by to take over the lead of the race with Garrette returning to the race ahead of Owen. In the end, Sebastiaan took the win, Skyler 2nd Garrette 3rd, Owen 4th and Gino 5th. It was Sebastiaan’s first win of the year and Skyler’s best finish of the year. In the championship, Garrette took the class win, his 2nd in a row, Owen second place, Gino 3rd, Sebastiaan 4th and Skyler 5th.
Molecule Junior Rotax
With a tight race for the championship between Carter Herrera and Mason Cohen, this race looked to be good. In Qualifying, Mason Cohen took the pole ahead of Colin Mullan, Pandora Garcia and Carter Herrera. In the heat race, Mason took the early lead and never looked back followed by Colin, Carter, Clayton Williams and Brennan Stammer. There was some battling but the title contenders kept out of trouble. In the Main, Mason took the early lead and again took control of the race with Carter doing what he needed by working up to 2nd, Colin 3rd, Clayton 4th and Brennan 5th and that is how the race ended. In the championship chase, Carter and Mason tied for the class lead with the tie breaker coming down to wins, Carter had 4 and Mason 2. Carter Herrera is the class champion, Mason Cohn 2nd, Colin Mullan 3rd.
EVO Electric Karts
Matt Cresci has dominated this class and would be the class champion at the days end. This class has seen a lot of growth and development in a short period of time. Many “guest” drivers have tried their hand in these karts this year and found not only are they fast but it takes some real power management skills to pull off a win. Five EVO karts took to the track with Matt Cresci take yet another pole ahead of Jimmy Casey and Charles Stimmler. In the 10 lap heat race, Cresci took the win followed by Casey, Marcos Ramirez and Richard Hilleman. In the Main, Ramirez would try and set the right pace in the 12 lap race, but Cresci waited patiently then made his move near the end to take the lead and come home the winner, his 6th Main win this year. Following Matt across the finish line were Casey 2nd, Ramirez 3rd and Hilleman 4th. Cresci wins the championship, Ramirez 2nd and Hilleman 3rd.
Molecule Senior Rotax
Nic LeDuc needed to finish the race in the top half of the field, but a thrown chain or other mechanical failure could have doomed his chances for the class crown. Zach Pettinicchi took the pole ahead of Enzo Prevost, Michael Avansino with LeDuc 4th. In the first heat, Nic moved his way forward coming out of turn one to take over 2nd place. Avansino took the lead and went on to the win the heat with LeDuc 2nd. But Nic’s aggressive move on the start got him a 4 position penalty thus Pettinicchi was given 2nd, Prevost 3rd, Sonny Cervelli 4th and LeDuc 5th. In the Main, LeDuc took his time getting through the field chasing down each adversary one by one until he passed Avansino for the lead. In the end, LeDuc took his 4th Main in a row and 5th win of the year, Avansino 2nd, Prevost 3rd, Pettinicchi 4th and Jarad Higham 5th. In the Championship, LeDuc takes the class crown, Prevost 2nd and Pettinicchi 3rd.
The 2015 season is now history, lots of great racing was seen this year with strong fields in all the classes. To all the racers, crews, parents and sponsors, thank you for a great 2015 season.
Next race will be in the spring of 2016. Expect a complete season schedule out soon. For more information about the Sanzaru Games Karting Championships, go to www.sanzarukarting.com.
Results and points can be viewed on the Sanzaru Karting web site at sanzarukarting.com/racing.html.