Rocky Mountain Region Series Sees New Faces, Great Racing at Opening Weekend
Racing in Utah sign of big things to come for regional program in 2013
Quality over quantity. That was the theme of the weekend this past weekend at the Rocky Mountain ProKart Challenge opening two rounds in Tooele, Utah at the Miller Motorsports Park. Superkarts! USA and United States Rotax Max Challenge racers from Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Wyoming converged at the always impressive 1-mile facility outside Salt Lake City ready to do battle for the Rocky Mountain region titles.
The Rocky Mountain PKC kicked off its fourth season in Utah. While the entry numbers in several class were lower then expected, total entry count increased over 25% compared to last year’s opening round and is showing no sign of slowing down. The facilities at Miller Motorsports Park, as always left a great impression on racers just as the SKUSA crew managing the race. Staying on schedule, and getting through two full days of racing was completed with ease. Most importantly, drivers and crews alike left the opening two rounds excited for a season of close and exciting racing.
First on the track for two days of racing was the TaG Cadet class. Both days saw absolute domination from a driver new to the regional series this year. Payton Durant was ‘Mr. Perfect’ in Tooele. Sweeping both days in Cadet, Durrant didn’t give the competition a chance to doubt him a single time they hit the track. Saturday, Cody Dempster finished behind Durant with Noah Walter coming home in third. Durrant had an easy path to his four heat race wins, and back to back main event victories on the weekend thanks to starting on pole for every race. The main event on Sunday saw a formidable challenger in Grand Junction’s Tristin MacLeod as he grabbed the holeshot and took the lead from Durrant for the opening circuit. Durrant would reclaim the point and drive to the win. MacLeod ran second nearly the entire race before his axle shifted and he was unable to finish. Derek Deslauriers moved up to second with Riley Cook completing the Sunday podium.
Next on the track were the combined TaG Junior and Rotax Junior classes. In TaG Junior, the weekend and track belonged to Austin Versteeg. The SLC resident decimated the combined field both days, using his home track knowledge to his advantage. In Rotax Junior, the race was between Utah’s McKay Snow, and Colorado’s Grant Copple. Saturday, Copple took the pole and first heat win over Snow. The second heat however went to Snow, along with the pole for the start of main event, after Versteeg did not start the second heat. The main event saw close racing between the two racers. It came down to the final lap as Copple ran door to door with Snow through the last two corners, with Copple crossing the line first with Bruno Carneiro rounding out the podium. Sunday roles were reversed early on. In qualifying and the first heat it was Snow up front, with Copple getting the second heat race win. Snow ended up getting involved in a race with a TaG Junior entry, Angus Watkins, halfway through the main event allowing Copple to pull away to score his second main event win on the weekend. Max Fedler drove to the third position to complete the Rotax Junior podium.
The third race group of the day was the Mini Max and Micro Max racers. Micro Max was a duplicate of TaG Cadet as Payton Durrant dominated the class all weekend. Diego LaRoque and Alexis Apodaca made up the rest of the Micro Max podium in that order both days. Utah pilot Tevin Robbins was the early favorite both days in the Mini Max category. Both days, Robbins picked up the pole and the first heat race win. Saturday in the second heat race, Derek Deslauriers got around Robbins before the halfway point and went on to score the win, using the pole position for the main event to lead every lap of the feature. Close racing in the second half of the main took place between Cody Dempster and Robbins for second place. Dempster and Robbins came out of the last corner side by side. At the line, Dempster edged Robbins out by less than a tenth of a second. However, officials reversed the order following an issue with the placement of Dempster’s transponder location, moving him behind Robbins in the third position. Sunday again was Robbins early, leading the way through qualifying and both heats. Robbins was challenged by Deslauriers, as they exchanged the lead for about 13 of the 15 laps in the main event. Deslauriers was leading with three laps to go when they ran up to lap traffic from the Micro Max field. Deslauriers caught the lapper on the front straight and beat him in to turn one. Robbins was not as lucky, having to spend an extra corner to get around the traffic, losing ground to Delsauriers. Robbins could only watch as Deslauriers scored the victory. Robbins finished second with Everest Fedler coming home with a strong third place finish.
Shifters took to the track next with the group of S3 Novice, S4 Master, and S5 Junior shared the track. Lauren Stark swept the weekend in S3 as the lone competitor in the category. S5 was another single entry class, as Duncan Biles spent his first weekend in a shifter kart getting faster each time he went out, and leaving the weekend with maximum points. S4 Masters saw impressive racing from the weekend’s older drivers. Saturday belonged to Justin Peck as he scored a perfect day with the pole position, two heat wins and a half-second victory over Scott Clark with David Conyers in third. Sunday was a little more interesting for the S4 field. Peck would pick up the pole position in qualifying, but would be relegated back to second by Clark in the opening heat race. The second heat ended before it could begin for Peck, as his carburetor fell off on the warm-up lap, forcing Peck to watch from the back stretch as Clark scored the win over Conyers. In the main event, Peck drove quickly from his last place starting spot to join the race for the lead. 2012 series champion Jet Davis stepped up the pace, and fought with Peck closely as Conyers and Clark trailed. Davis had several openings to force the pass but thought better, driving a clean and safe race. Peck would hold on to score back to back main event wins with Davis in second and Conyers earning the third step on the podium over Clark.
S1 Pro Stock Moto and S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto ran together on the weekend. The S1 fight was a battle between three Utah regulars, Mike Beeny, Tyler Bennett and former SKUSA SuperNationals winner Bonnier Moulton. Beeny led things early, earning the pole position and the opening heat race, losing out in the second to Bennett. Beeny fought back in the main event to earn the victory ahead of Bennett, while Moulton was unable to finish the feature. The trio elected to sit out the action on Sunday, turning their attention to off-track duties. Saturday in S2 category, S3 graduate Chris Neria grabbed the pole position and heat one win over the stacked field. While racing for the lead with two laps to go in the second heat race, Jack Bradley made an attempt heading into turn one. Bradley’s measurements seemed to be a bit off as he slid out wide and collected Neria, forcing both drivers off the track and out of the race. This gave the win to Ben Schermerhorn. The main event was a battle between Colorado and Utah with Schermerhorn able to hold off advances from Zac Clark. Neria and Bradley started from the back in the feature, with Neria moving forward quickly. Neria ran the fast laps in the class, but ran out of time tracking down the top two and ended up third. Sunday began with a new name at the front with Tase Flores posting the fast lap in qualifying. His run at the front was short-lived as Christian Schureman and Neria drove 1-2 in the opening heat race. Schureman won the first heat race, but was being stalked heavily by Neria. Schureman would drive to a comfortable win in the second heat after Neria pulled off with two laps to go due to rib pain. After nursing his ribs between races with ice, Neria was good to go for the main. Charging from the back, Neria hung on Schureman’s back bumper till halfway when he completed the pass on Schureman and checked out. Neria drove a stellar race, battling the pain and the competition to earn his first S2 victory. Schureman came across the line a second back with Clark completing the podium.
TaG Master saw current SKUSA Pro Tour point leader Scott Falcone complete a clean sweep on the weekend, outrunning Bob Rodrick and Mike Urban both days. Max Mallinen drove unchallenged in the TaG Senior category with Rotax Master contested by Jason Dempster.
Following the racing on track, Rocky Mountain ProKart Challenge Series Director Stan Bryniarski handed out another batch of lucrative podium raffle prizes, including: 1 FREE race entry to the next RMPKC race at IMI, 2 FREE Honda Top End Kits & 1 FREE set of MG-SK tires. Miller Motorsports Park pitched in with 1 FREE set of MG- HZ Tires, 1 FREE Shifter Chain, 1 FREE Quart of Rotax XPS Oil, and 1 FREE 219- Chain and bottle of lube. In total, over $750 in products was gifted to racers in attendance.
The Rocky Mountain PKC is back at it in 14 days as the series resumes, racing at one of Colorado’s most storied racing facilities, IMI Motorsports Complex in Dacona, Colorado. The event will be a Friday-Saturday event on May 24-25, with just one round of racing scheduled on Saturday following a Friday practice day. To follow updates regarding the 2013 Rocky Mountain ProKart Challenge program, be sure to visit http://www.superkartsusa.com .