Race Report: Sanzaru Games Karting Championships – Round Nine
Weather was the worry all week but Sunday race day turned into a great clear day, cool with great air and the drivers that turned out for the final race of the 2017 Sanzaru Karting Championships competed hard until the last checkered flag. The drivers raced on the Pro National configuration, the track layout without the infamous tic-tac-toe. At the end of the day, a set of Bridgestone tires, donated by USA RokCup, was raffled off and won by Senior ROK driver Dominic Divita. With this day being the first day of Standard time, the one heat race format was used for Race #9.
Featured Class – Honda/HPD Pro Stock Honda and Stock Honda Masters
10 Senior Hondas, one Junior Honda and one lone ROK Masters shifter made up the field. Since no class championships were on the line, the four different classes all competed in one large field and lining up as they all qualified or finished. In Qualifying, Ron White took the pole ahead of Hunter Pickett, Robert Tiftt and Kyle Loh, all Pro Stock drivers. Honda Masters top qualifier was Kevin Woods in 5th, Masters Patrick O’Neill in 6th and Junior Honda driver Aiden O’Neill qualified in 7th but would start all the races from the last row since this was Aiden’s first shifter race. In the Heat race, White and Pickett battled at the front the entire 12 laps with Hunter getting into the lead and holding off White to take the win. Brian Keck, who qualified a poor 11th, worked his way past driver after driver to come home in 3rd, Woods 4th, Loh 5th, Aiden O’Neill 6th and the ROK Masters Jeff Smith 7th. In the 20 lap Main, an anticipated exciting race ended early for Pickett who pulled off on lap 4. White was able to cruise after that and came home 12 seconds clear of Keck, Woods 3rd and the Masters win, Smith in the ROK Masters was 4th, Tifft had a good run and came home 5th, Loh 6th and Travis Bowles 7th and runner up in the Honda Masters class. Aiden O’Neill’s debut in Junior Shifter ended on lap 9 when he pulled off. The top three Honda drivers in Pro Stock and Honda Masters were awarded $60/$40/$20 in Honda Bucks. In the Championships, Zach Pettinicchi won Pro Stock Honda with Kyle Loh 2nd, in Stock Honda Masters, Patrick O’Neill took the class crown, Woods 2nd, Bowles 3rd, and Jeff Smith took the ROK Masters class crown.
Honda/HPD Kid Karts
The Only class with a Championship still undecided going into the final race was Kid Kart. The Kid Kart race was run as part of the Saturday Practice day program. Three drivers were in the running for the Championship and after the Heat race, the points tightened up even more with only 10 points separating the 3 drivers. In Qualifying, Andrew Freire took the pole ahead of Sasha Ryabov, Nico Sarphati, Casey Moyer and Christian Cameron. Christian had a 30 point lead coming into the last race with Andrew in 2nd and Casey 3rd another 10 points back. In the heat race, Andrew and Sasha lead the field out of turn one before the two tangled letting Casey by who then opened up a good lead on the Sasha and Andrew who were both faster in the race. Christian had problems and pitted on lap 2. In the end, Casey held on to take the win, Sasha 5 seconds back and Andrew 3rd. With only 10 points now separating Casey, Christian and Andrew, it all came down to whoever was the leader in the Main amongst these three drivers would then be the class Champion. Sasha, Casey and Andrew got away and battled at the front with Casey then Andrew working their way past Sasha. Andrew then dropped a wheel and Casey got by to take the lead. Andrew recovered his composure and was able to make a good pass to go back into the lead. Andrew then held off Casey to take the win with Casey just one quarter of a second back. Sasha held on to take 3rd with Christian in 4th one second back and Nico 5th. Thus in the championship, Andrew takes the Kid Kart class crown, Casey 2nd, Christian 3rd, Sasha 4th and Gage Brockway 5th. Honda Bucks was awarded to the top three drivers in the amount of $30/$20/$10.
With only two drivers attending this last race of the year, the two drivers agreed to just run the Main. Sebastiaan Mulder took the early lead at the drop of the green flag and drove onto the win with Derick Domingos coming home in 2nd. In the Class Championship, Nolan Siegel took the class crown with Derek taking 2nd place.
Molecule Rotax Masters
The final qualifying session for Rotax Masters saw Ron Jenkins taking the pole ahead of Arturo Pacifico and John Breidinger. In the heat race, Jenkins took control of the race coming out of turn one with Arturo right behind. Arturo put the pressure on the entire 10 lap race but just could not find the way by safely, thus he settled for 2nd three tenths of second back of Ron, with John 3rd and Vijay Nagarajah in 4th. In the Main, Ron was in front for the first 14 laps but on the last lap, Arturo found a way by and looked like his patience would pay off. But on the dash out of the last corner, Ron used the draft to sling shot past Arturo to take the win by just 33/1000 of a second. This was Ron’s first win in a Main. Arturo came home 2nd, John 3rd , Vijay 4th an David Palic 5th. In the Championship, Billy Cleavelin took the class crown followed by John Breidinger 2nd and Arturo Pacifico in 3rd.
HPD/Honda CRF 250
A modest group turned out for the 250 race with Ori Della Penna taking the pole ahead of Richard Stock and Richard Hilleman. In the heat race, Austin Elliott joined the field and started in the 5th position. In the race, Ori and Stock initially battled for the front spot but they were quickly joined by Elliott. Elliott and Stock then battled hard with Ori falling back a couple of seconds. The racing continued to be hard between Elliott and Stock but in the end, Elliott took the win just ½ second in front of Stock with Ori in 3rd and 2 seconds back, Hilleman 4th and Jourdan Johnson 5th. In the Main, Elliott and Stock went at if hard the entire way with the two drivers banging on each other and getting rolled up black flags shown at them to warn them of their rough driving. Elliott pushed Stock off the track at one point then allowed Stock by so as to avoid a penalty. The two drivers then resumed their epic battle with Elliott getting by, then Stock spun in his attempt to make a repass. Elliott drove away to take the win, Stock recovered to come home 2nd, and Johnson came home 3rd. Honda Bucks were awarded to the top three drivers in the amounts of $100/$70/$40. In the Championship, Richard Stock takes the class crown for the 2nd year in a row, Ori Della Penna 2nd and Richard Hilleman 3rd.
Enzo Prevost took the pole ahead of Jimmy Casey and Alex Keyes. In the heat race, the four drivers stayed close exchanging positions constantly but in the end, Casey was in front when the checkered flag dropped with Enzo 2nd, Mason Cohen 3rd and Alex 4th. In the 12 lap Main, the four drivers again all exchanged positions many times with Alex going into the lead on the last lap. But in the dash to the finish line, it was Enzo pulling out of the draft and just barely getting by Alex to snatch the win away, followed by Alex, Jimmy then Mason. For the Championship, Enzo Prevost wins the EVO class for the 2nd year in a row, Jimmy Casey was 2nd and Mason Cohen 3rd.
A solid group of drivers made up the field with Bryson Lew, just back from his ROK International Finals appearance, took the pole ahead of Brendan Ruzbarsky 2nd and his best ever qualifyinging effort followed by Brennan Stammer 3rd. In the heat race, Bryson got away in front of the field and started to pull away. Right behind, there was hard dicing between Brendan, Brennan and Bijoy Gard allowing Bryson to open up a 3 second lead at the end of the 10 lap race. Bryson thus took the win, Bijoy worked his way into 2nd, Stammer 3rd and Ruzbarsky 4th. In the 15 lap main, Bryson and Bijoy would battle for the front spot for the entire way with William Ferguson working his way to 3rd late in the race. Bijoy fell back late in the race with Bryson holding the front spot just ahead William. Coming out of the last turn on the white flag lap, William was right on the rear bumper of Bryson and for the third race of the day, William used the draft to sling shot past Bryson at the line to take the win. William takes the win, Bryson 2nd, Stammer 3rd, Ruzbarsky 4th and Christopher Martin 5th. In the class Championship, Bryson Lew takes the class crown with William Ferguson 2nd and Christopher Martin 3rd.
Senior Rotax/Senior and Masters ROK
With only 3 karts in the race, one driver in each class, this race was a just-for-fun end-of-year run. Eric Huang in his Senior Rotax was dominant in the speed department and took the pole position and won the heat race and Main. Dominic Divita in his Senior ROK was able to just stay in front of Aaron Farris in his ROK Masters kart. Aaron had also just returned from his travels to the ROK International finals.
Molecule Junior Rotax
Eight drivers turned out to challenge for the win for the last time in 2017. Junior Rotax turned out to be the largest and by far the most competitive class in the 2017 season. With the class Championship wrapped up, Aiden O’Neill chose to run in the Junior Honda shifter class for this last race of the year. In Qualifying, Dustin Salaverria took the poll ahead of Nick Persing and Jovy Levin. In the heat race, Dustin took control right from the start with Nick and Jovy battling for 2nd. Jovy got by Nick and opened up a small gap. Nick was now challenged by Dakota White and the two of them had a bump and grind battle that was very closely watched by the race officials. In the end, Dustin took the win, Jovy 2nd, Nick 3rd, Dakota 4th and Eric Moore 5th. In the Main, Dustin again took the early lead and was never really challenged. Jovy got shuffled back early on and Eric Moore worked his way past Dakota and Nick. As in the heat race, Nick and Dakota continued their bump and grind duel, this time the officials issued the rolled up black flag to warn them of their driving. In the end, Dustin took the win, Eric was 2nd with his best drive of the year, Nick held off Dakota for 3rd, Dakota was 4th in her best and toughest race of the year with Jovy 5th. In the Championship, Aiden O’Neill took the class crown, Nick Persing 2nd, Jovy Levin 3rd, Eric Moore 4th and Christopher Martin 5th.
Honda/HPD 80 Masters
The “Gang” was all here for the final race of the season with Charles Hastings taking the pole ahead of Mat Kattanek and Tom Nelson. In the first Pre-Main, Charles lead the field out of turn one and was never really challenged. Tom got by Mat and pulled away to take a comfortable 2nd with Mat finishing 3rd with Geoff Provo, Roger Cornwall and Allen Miller close behind. In the Main, Charges again lead the field out of turn one. Geoff and Roger tangled together early on, both able to restart but way back. Allen was able to take advantage of the two tangled karts and get right behind Mat and thus challenge for 3rd. In the end, Hastings cruised to 2 second win, Tom drove a strong race to come home 2nd, and Allen got by Mat to take 3rd, Mat 4th and Roger recovering to take 5th. Honda Bucks went to the top three drivers in the amounts of $60/$40/$20. In the class Championship, Charles Hastings took the class crown, Allen Miller 2nd and Roger Cornwall 3rd.
Molecule Micro Max
For the second race in a row, point’s leader Ryan Persing sat out the race. In Qualifying, Ayrton Tyler took the pole followed by Adam Freire and Harrison Marsh. At the start of the heat race, Adam got the best of Ayrton on the start, but that was short lived with Ayrton getting by to control the front of the race with Adam pulling away from the rest of the field to hold a solid 2nd. Derek Domingos made his way into 3rd but had lots of pressure from Dante Barrionuevo and Harrison Marsh. In the end, Ayrton took the win, Adam 2nd, Derek 3rd. In the Main, a lot of miscues at the start, some banging and the kart that came through it all in the front was Dante, leading the first lap for the first time. Ayrton and Adam were able to catch up and get by, but Dante was a driver possessed. He took all the pressure that Harrison and Derek could muster and held on for his first ‘earned’ podium of his young racing career. Ayrton came home the winner, Adam 2nd, Dante 3rd, Harrison 4th and Derek 5th. In the Championship, Ryan Persing wins the class Championship with a dominating year of racing, Ayrton Tyler 2nd, Adam Freire 3rd, Harrison Marsh 4th and Derek Domingos 5th.
Only one more thing to do to close out the 2017 season, and that is the Awards Banquet, to be held December 3rd, from 4:00 to 8:00 at the Rooster Run Golf Course in Petaluma.
All results and points can be seen on the series website at www.sanzarukarting.com.