Sanzaru Games Karting Championship Round Eight Report
Aaron Farris takes the GoPro Rotax Masters feature - HPD/Honda CRF 250 brings out the Pro's
With the coming of fall also comes the threat of early rain. Sanzaru Series Race #8 began the weekend with a dry Saturday, but light rain arrived midway through Sunday Morning’s Qualifying sessions which brought out a stop then start then stop again of racing. But by the end of the first set of Pre-Mains, the rain stopped and a dry track allowed the day to be completed not only on slicks, but also on time. The challenging Reverse Sprint track configuration brought out some strong and close racing. A few results helped solidify some of the final championship positions in the 2016 Sanzaru Games Championships but a couple of results will force the final results in a few classes to be determined at Race #9 on October 30.
GoPro Feature – Molecule Rotax Masters
The Masters drivers turned out to challenge for the GoPro Hero4 camera. One driver missing this race was Roman Alekseenkov who clinched the Masters Championship last race and chose to run Senior Rotax at Race #8. Kelly Heil took the pole in a semi-wet Qualifying session followed by Bob Olson and Kevin Moore. In the first heat, Heil took the early lead followed by Olson with Aaron Farris working his way past Moore to get into 3rd. Even tough Farris set the fastest lap in the race, he was not able to improve his position late in the race with Heil the winner, Olson 2nd, Farris 3rd and Gaudreau 4th . In the second Pre-Main, Heil again took control early with Olson falling back as he exited turn one after the green. Gaudreau and Farris chased the leading Heil but could not cut into his lead. In the end, it was Heil the winner, Gaudreau 2nd, Farris 3rd and Olson recovering to 4th. In the Main, Heil and Farris battled into turn one after the start with Gaudreau dropping into 3rd. Farris got by Heil and took the lead with Heil right on his heals to the late stages of the 15 lap Main. Farris did not make any mistakes and Heil was not able to see a way by, thus Farris took the win, Heil 2nd, Gaudreau a strong 3rd with Olson 4th. For the win, Farris took home the GoPro Hero4 camera along with $75 in Sanzaru Bucks. Sanzaru Bucks of $50 and $30 went to Heil and Gaudreau.
The Saturday Kid Kart program started the day with six drivers, but troubles with a couple of the karts dropped the number down once Qualifying came around. The remaining karts were all Honda powered. In Qualifying, Christian Cameron took the pole ahead of Sasha Ryabov and Gage Brockway. In the first Pre-Main, Sasha took the early lead out of turn one with Christian 2nd. Christian chased down Sasha and was right on Sasha’s rear bumper looking for a way by. But in the end, Sasha was able to hold off Christian to take the win, Christian 2nd, Gage 3rd and Gianmarco Rafacz 4th. In the Main Sasha again took the early lead at the drop of the green flag. Christian stayed close and unlike the Pre-Main, he made the pass that he was looking for to get by Sasha. Sasha was not done yet as he also stayed close and put the pressure on Christian all the way to the checked. Christian handled the pressure and came home 2 seconds in front of Sasha to take the win with Gage 3rd and Gianmarco 4th. Honda Bucks of $30/$20/$10 were awarded to the top three drivers.
Molecule Junior Rotax
Junior Rotax was the largest class of the day with eleven drivers. Grant Langon took the pole ahead of Colin Mullan and Brennen Stammer. In the first Pre-Main, Langon took the early lead and pulled out a small lead over Mullan with Bryson Lew getting by Stammer who was also under attack from Nick Persing. In the end, Langon took the win, Mullan 2nd, Lew 3rd, Stammer 4th and Persing 5th. At the start of the second Pre-Main, Lew got forced off the track before turn one and returned at the back of the pack. Langon again took the early lead, Mullan close behind with Stammer battling with Bijoy Gard and Nick Persing. In the end, Langon drove onto the win, Mullan less than 2 seconds back, Stammer holding off the challenges to take 3rd, Gard 4th, Persing 5th and Lew recovering to take 6th. At the start of Main, Langon again took the lead out of turn one, Mullan right behind. After a few laps, Langon pulled out a small lead and was able to hold it to the end of the 15 lap race. Mullan held a strong second position with Bryson Lew working his way into 3rd. The longer Main was an advantage for Persing who was able to make passes late in to race to work his way into 4th followed by Ryan Tate, Stammer and Garg. In the end, Langon took the win, his first Junior Rotax Main win, Mullan 2nd, Lew 3rd, Persing 3rd and Tate 5th. Sanzaru Bucks of $75/$50/$30 were awarded to the top three drivers. In the Championship race, Mullan has large lead followed by Lew and Tate with Stammer needing his best finish of the year in Race #9 to have a chance to overtake Tate.
A solid field of drivers took the green flag with John Collins taking the pole ahead of Charles Hastings and Roger Cornwall. The first Pre-Main was run on a wet track as a shower greeted the drivers after the start with all drivers on slicks. The race was ended after 4 laps since all the drivers were spinning and conditions were poor. Thus, after 4 laps, Cornwall was leading, Hastings 2nd, Holstein 3rd and Collins 4th. In the second Pre-Main, Hastings got the jump and led the pack through turn one, followed by Holstein, Cornwall, Provo and Collins falling to 5th and this is how the race ended with Hastings taking the win. In the Main, Hastings took the early lead and Collins worked his way into 2nd with Holstein 3rd. Collins chased Hastings for the entire race and was close but it looked like a runner up spot was his best outcome. But disaster hit Hastings on the last lap and his engine just quit with less than a half lap to go. Collins now looked to be in a good spot, but he clipped Hastings as he had to make a quick move to get by the slowing Hastings and spun. Holstein now came along and went into the lead, followed by Allen Miller, Geoff Provo and Collins recovering to get into 4th with Hastings classified in 5th. By taking the win, Holstein moves into first in the Championship with Hastings just 25 points back. Cornwall, Collins and Miller are all within 15 points for the last Banquet podium position.
Molecule Mini Max
Ten drivers took to the track with Aiden O’Neill taking the pole ahead of Garrette Randolph Jr and Jovy Levin on a damp track where Aiden and Jovy were on slicks and Garrette on rain tires. The first Pre-Main was run on a wet track with Aiden taking the early lead followed by Garrette and Jovy. Nolan Siegel worked his way past Jovy and Garrette into 2nd. In the end, Aiden takes the win, Nolan 2nd, Jovy got by Garrett to take 3rd, Garrette 4th and Matteo Sandoval 5th. Aiden did not make it through post-race tech thus all drivers moved up one position giving the win to Nolan, Jovy 2nd and Garrette 3rd. The second Pre-Main was run on a dry track with Aiden and Garrette taking the top positions after the start. Dustin Salaverria who had not run well in the wet now made his move in the dry and worked his way through the field to contend for the lead, but a problem ended his race on lap 7 and he had to park his kart. In the end, Aiden took the win, Matteo Sandoval worked his way into 2nd, Garrette 3rd, Nolan 4th and William Ferguson 5th. Unfortunately, Matteo did not make it through post-race tech which moved Garrett, Nolan and William up one position. For the start of the Main, Nolan and Garrett were on the front row with three very experienced drivers in Aiden, Dustin and Matteo behind them. As the field went into turn one after the start, Jovy spun and collected Maximillian Schmidt in the process, both drivers were out. Garrett took the early lead ahead of Nolan with Aiden, Matteo and Dustin working their way past others to start contending for the lead. Aiden’s race ended on lap 2 when he threw a chain. Dustin worked his way into the lead with Matteo right behind as the top two points drivers pulled away from the field. Behind them a great battle for 3rd was taking place with Garrette, Gino Sandoval and Nolan working on each other. In the end, Dustin salvaged a tough day by taking the win 2 seconds in front of Matteo, who put in an excellent drive himself. This was Dustin’s 6th feature win in a row. Nolan worked his way past his competitors to take the 3rd spot, Gino 4th and Garrette 5th. Sanzaru Bucks of $75/$50/$30 were awarded to the top three drivers. Dustin now holds a sizable lead over Matteo in the Championship chase, Garrette has a small lead over Aiden for 3rd and Nolan has good control of the 5th and final Banquet podium positon in the Championship chase.
HPD/Honda CRF 250
With some hot Pros and the series regular drivers, this was the largest turnout for the CRF 250 class this year. In Qualifying, Jason Toft took the pole ahead Hunter Pickett in his first 250 start with Alex Keyes 3rd. The first Pre-Main was run on a wet track and the torque of the 4 stroke 250 engines making things difficult to handle. Everyone had fun with their spinning, but the wise one was Richard Hilleman who just took his time, did not spin and came home the winner, Richard Stock 2nd and Ori Della Penna 3rd. The second Pre-Main was run in the dry and the three expert drivers in the field dominated the front of the race and came home 1-2-3 with Toft leading the way, Pickett 2nd, Keyes 3rd and Stock 4th. The Main was essentially a repeat of the previous heat, Toft taking the early lead but he was pressured by Pickett the entire way with Stock pressuring Keyes. But in the end, the result was the same, Toft taking the win, Pickett 2nd, Keyes 3rd and Stock 4th. Honda Bucks of $100/$70/$40 were awarded to the top three drivers. Stock has now locked up the class championship over Della Penna.
Molecule Senior Rotax
A quality field of ten drivers made up the field which included 2015 Junior Rotax Champion Carter Herrera and current Rotax Masters point’s leader Roman Alekseenkov. In Qualifying, Carter took the pole ahead of Enzo Prevost, Dominic Giansiracusa and Zach Pettinicchi. Entering this race, Prevost and Pettinicchi are neck and neck for the class points lead in the closest championship battle in the Series. Rain had a big effect on this Pre-Main with Herrera falling back early and Giansiracusa dropping out on lap one. Prevost and Pettinicchi battled it out up front with Prevost taking a slim win, Pettinicchi 2nd, Alekseenkov a strong 3rd , Alejandro Marquez 4th, Kyle Loh 5th and Herrera coming in 6th. The second heat was run in the dry with Herrera taking the early lead with Prevost right on his heels, Pettinicchi working his way into 3rd but not able to catch the top two karts. In the end, Herrera took the win, Prevost 2nd, Pettinicchi 3rd, Loh 4th, Marquez 5th and Alekseenkov 6th. Herrera again led the field out of turn one at the start of the Main with a big scramble right behind him. Alekseenkov was briefly in 2nd but Prevost soon got by him along with several of the other regular Senior Rotax young bucks. Herrera dominated the front of the field and Prevost likewise separated himself from the rest of the field. The battle for 3rd place was where the best racing was seen with Pettinicchi, Giansiracusa and Loh swapping positions. In the end, Herrera took the win 4 seconds clear of the field, Prevost 2nd, Giansiracusa emerged the winner of the 3rd place battle and took his first podium of the year, Loh got by Pettinicchi late to take 4th, Pettinicchi 5th and Alekseenkov 6th. Prevost now has a slim 35 point lead on Pettinicchi as they go into the last race of the season on October 30. Sanzaru Bucks of $75/$50/$30 were awarded to the top three drivers.
Stock Honda Masters
The Masters drivers showed up to have some fun and great racing. Eric Molinatti took the pole ahead of Justin Bennett and Kevin Woods. In the first Pre-Main, a dry track greeted the drivers with Molinatti taking the early lead and holding off a determined Woods to take the win just one tenth of a second ahead Woods with Patrick O’Neill 3rd and Travis Bowles 4th. In the second Pre-Main, Molinatti again took control of the race early with Woods and Bowles dropping out on the first lap. Bennett chased Molinatti but had to settle for 2nd two seconds back with O’Neill 3rd. In the Main, Molinatti fell back early on with Bennett taking the early lead with pressure coming from Woods. Bennett and Woods pulled away from the field and came home 1-2 with Woods just 2 tenths of second back at the end, with O’Neill 3rd, Molinatti 4th and Bowles 5th. In the chase for the Championship, Molinatti holds a slim 35 point lead over Woods with Race #9 being the deciding race for the top honor in Stock Honda Masters. Honda Bucks of $60/$40/$20 were awarded to the top three drivers.
Molecule Micro Max
Sebastiaan Mulder took the pole ahead of Christian Legaspi and Adam Freire. In the first Pre-Main, Sebastiaan took the early lead and was never headed. Christian stayed close but could never see a safe way by. Skyler Geczi pulled away from the rest of the field to take a solid 3rd with Ryan Persing winning a three kart battle to take 4th. In the second heat, Sebastiaan again took the early lead and this time pulled away from Christian to hold a comfortable lead. Ryan, Skyler and Adam all were battling for the 3rd spot. As Sebastiaan drove by the flagman taking the white flag, he looked sure to take the win, but . . . with one last turn to the checkered flag, Sebastiaan drove into the pits thinking he had won the race. In seeing this, Christian followed Sebastiaan into the pits. But the race was not over. Ryan did not make the same mistake and he drove on to the checkered flag to take the win, with Adam 2nd, Skyler 3rd and Ayrton Tyler 4th. For the Main, it was Ryan on pole, Skyler along side with Sebastiaan 4th and Christian 5th. At the drop of the green, Christian made a good move on the inside line and moved into 3rd coming out of turn one. He soon got by Ryan and Skyler to take the lead and started opening up a lead. Sebastiaan also started working his way through the field, but by the time he got by Ryan and Skyler, he was a few seconds back of his championship rival Christian. Ryan started pulling away from the others in the field and Adam got by Skyler to hold down 4th. Sebastiaan used his faster pole winning time to reel in Christian and going into the last lap he was now on his rival’s rear bumper and looking for the place to make his move. But Christian did not make any mistakes on this last lap and held off Sebastiaan to take the win, Sebastiaan 2nd, Ryan 3rd, Adam 4th and Skyler 5th. In the Championship chase, Christian added to his sizable lead over Sebastiaan but Ryan now is within 10 points of Skyler for 3rd in the Championship. Sanzaru Bucks of $75/$50/$30 were awarded to the top three drivers.
RES EVO Electrics
A smaller but fast group of drivers made up the field with Matt Cresci taking pole ahead of Enzo Prevost and Jimmy Casey. In the first Pre-Main, Enzo went into the lead early and was able to hold off Cresci to take the win with Richard Hilleman 3rd and Casey 4th in a less than optimum kart. In the second Pre-Main, Prevost again took the early lead and drove onto a 2 second win over Cresci, Hilleman 3rd and Casey dropping out on lap 4. In the Main, Prevost took the early lead once again, but Cresci and Casey both got by Prevost mid race to see if they could out pace Prevost. Late in the race, Prevost made his move to take over the lead and he out-paced his electric rivals to the checkered flag with Cresci 2nd, Casey 3rd and Hilleman 4th. In the Championship chase, Prevost has locked up the Championship but Cresci holds a slim 20 point advantage for 2nd over Casey, look for Race #9 to have some good racing from Cresci and Casey.
The last race of the year will be October 30 where the track configuration will be the Pro National Track and the GoPro Feature classes will be Stock Honda Masters and Pro Stock Honda.
All results and points can be seen on the series website at www.sanzarukarting.com.