Paddock Insider: 2017 Challenge of the Americas – Tucson
Premier west coast winter series gets 10th season underway in Arizona
EKN’s Paddock Insider is a new Trackside coverage addition, bringing you notes, updates and breaking news as it happens. The article will be a timeline of events as they happen during the 2017 Challenge of the Americas opening event at the Musselman Honda Circuit in Tucson, Arizona. The information will not be seen anywhere else, including interviews and photos. Please feel free to comment and discuss our coverage and today’s action in the EKN Global Members Discussion area below: For complete coverage head to the EKN Event Page. Also, tune in all weekend long to the live audio and live timing at eKartingNews.com/live
West Coast Racing Underway for 2017
The start to the season for the last 10 years now has begun with the Challenge of the Americas. A program created and owned by veteran industry member Andy Seesemann, the premier west coast winter series is beginning its 10th season at the Musselman Honda Circuit in Tucson, Arizon. The weather this weekend is going to be a bit chilly then we are used to, with freezing temperatures overnight however bright sunshine to keep us warm throughout the day. The same friendly staff of the Challenge is here to welcome racers from numerous states in the United States, as well as the Providences of Canada, along with others from around the world. The numbers however do not speak to the volume that this program has been over the 10 years. The downfall of popularity for the Rotax engine, along with additional events added to the national and international karting calendar has helped to lower the entry total. The numbers in the three headline categories – Senior Max, Junior Max Masters Max – continue to be strong, and the addition of the Briggs 206 class also helps. No matter the size, the racing is going to be fantastic as the quality remains high at the Challenge.
First West Coast Outing for MaxOne
The opener for the Challenge of the Americas is the debut race for the new MaxOne by Vega for the Senior Max, Masters Max, Shifter Senior and Shifter Masters. The Florida Winter Tour was first race for the tires in the United States, including the Junior Max. The Challenge is sticking with the MOJO brand for the Junior Max here, utilizing the D2 compound similar to the Mini and Micro Max. The Briggs categories are competing with the MaxOne Green tire.
Talking with a few of the drivers and mechanics that have tested here, along with those racing at the FWT are happy with the tire performance. What the difference is the type of rubber getting laid down on the track surface. The mixture of Vega and MOJO makes for a change in how you tune the kart. Different tire brands handle differently out on the track. Overall, racers are happy with the added grip, and with the long distance of the Prefinal and Finals, we will see how tire management continues to be a factor when racing gets underway Saturday.
Briggs 206 Makes Debut
Grassroots racing is on the rise, thanks to the growth and enjoyment from the Briggs & Stratton 206 engine package. When TaG came into the United States, it was meant for the club drivers. That eventually went away as the different TaG categories are now the premier divisions in the country. Briggs has eventually drifted up from the club ranks to regional racing and now making its debut at the Challenge of the Americas – thanks to the support of APM Racing and M2 Image Solutions. About 13 drivers in a mix of Senior and Junior drivers are making up the race group here in Tucson, with a mixture of local drivers along with club drivers from different states and some Rotax competitors doing double duty. The great thing about the 206 package, is the engine is basically out of the box, putting more of the emphasis on driver and chassis tuning rather than a special engine page or trick.