Race Report: Red Line Oil Karting Championship – Round 1
Brian Keck and Make-a-Wish the winners of the 'Go Memo' Pro Stock Honda race at Red Line Oil Season Opener with largest turnout ever
The season opener of the Red Line Oil Karting Championships had a couple of special circumstances that helped make the entry of 109 be the largest opener in the 5 year history of the RLOKC. This in spite of the weekend starting out with torrential rain that kept a few of the series regular drivers at home. Sunday turned out to be a sunny day resulting in some great racing.
First, the Pro Stock Honda was branded the ‘Go Memo’ Pro Stock Honda class in honor of one of Northern California’s most popular karting personalities, Memo Gidley. Memo was badly injured at the Daytona 24 Hour Endurance race and the RLOKC was going to take in contributions to help Memo in these difficult times. Memo asked that all contributions go to something special that he supports, the Make-a-Wish foundation. Memo joined all the racers on the grid just prior the first Pro Stock heat race to hear that over $2700 was collected from all the racers.
The second special aspect of this race was that it was running one week prior to the “Challenge of the Americas” final race at Simraceway track April 4-6. Several of the COTA racers joined the RLOKC regulars to get in some much desired tuning up. The COTA divers helped make the weekend be the largest Rotax turnout in RLOKC history. Junior Rotax and Micro-Max also had the largest fields in series history with 23 and 15 karts respectively.
‘Go Memo’ Pro Stock Honda
Ten karts took to the track and the action was both fast and competitive all day long. Veteran shifter Brian Keck took the poll ahead of Will Preston, 125 rookie Daniel De La Calle and Michael Ramies. In the first heat, Keck led the field out of turn one and never looked back. Daniel got in front of Preston and stayed close to come home less than a second behind Keck with Preston 3rd and Cabot Bigham 4th. Preston did not make it out of tech due to a slightly wide rear track and was moved to the back of the field. In the second heat, Keck again took the early lead and came home the winner, but this time Daniel was less than a half second behind to take 2nd, Preston 3rd and Bigham 4th. The Main started out just like the heat races with Keck taking the early lead, but Daniel, in his first ever Pro Stock race, stayed right on the veteran’s tail and got within 20 feet of Keck by lap ten. Kecks experience showed through as his kart worked better late in the race and he came home 1.6 seconds clear of Daniel who finished 2nd, Bigham in 3rd, Alex Keyes 4th and Hunter Pickett 5th.
GoPro Junior Rotax
What’s more fitting then to have the GoPro class be the largest class of the day, and the largest Junior Rotax field in series history. Twenty three karts took to the track with COTA regular Kyle Wick taking the pole ahead of RLOKC regular Enzo Prevost followed by Austin Versteeg, Corrie Hiatt and Horatio Fitz-Simon. After an outstanding start where the whole field made it through turn one without incident, Wick lead the field on a fast 8 lap dash. Austin moved into second and held it to the end, followed across the line by Prevost, Fitz-Simon and Hiatt. The second heat was similar to the first heat with Wick taking the win followed by Austin, Prevost, Jason Pettit and Hiatt. In the Main, Austin had to withdraw due to an airline flight schedule that was tight, thus Wick was on pole with Prevost alongside, Hiatt and Pettit in the second row. Wick took the lead out of turn one followed by Prevost. Christian Brooks moved up to 3rd quickly and the top three started to pull away from the pack. Brooks took over 2nd but Prevost quickly regained the runner up spot. Wick and Prevost then opened up some gap over Brooks who was now under pressure from Michael Michoff. Wick then over drove tic-tac-toe and Prevost used the mistake to overtake him for the lead. Michoff then got by Brooks and started to cut into the lead of the leading duo. Prevost went onto the win with Wick not able to launch a challenge for the lead, Michoff was less than a half second back with Brooks holding off Corrie Hiatt for the 4th spot. Enzo was the big winner ,taking home a GoPro Hero 4 camera.
Rotax Micro Max
With fifteen karts, largest ever in series history, the Micro Max class put on a good show. A long winter of practice paid off for Grant Langon as he took the pole ahead of Sebastian Davis and 2012 champ Dustin Salaverria. Grant took the initial lead in Heat #1 followed by Dustin and Sebastian. Dustin then found the way by Grant to take the lead and held it to the end of the eight lap heat with Sebastian coming home 3rd and Ethan Tavares in 4th. Grant took the initial lead in Heat two, but this time he opened up a gap and went on to a four second win, Dustin 2nd, Sebastian 3rd and Max Wright 4th. In the Main, Grant and Dustin battled for the lead early on with Dustin taking the lead and Grant right behind. While these two opened up a bit of a gap on the rest of the field, there as a great battle for 3rd right behind. Tait Blum started the Main in 12th because he had a post-race tech violation in the Heat two. He battled back and moved up through the field to take over 4th place on lap thirteen and was challenging Sebastian for 3rd on the last lap but had to settle for the 4th spot. In the end, Dustin took the win, Grant was 2nd and his first ever podium, Sebastian 3rd, Tait 4th and Max 5th.
80 Masters class looked strong with Charles Hastings taking the pole ahead of new comer to the class Kevin Woods with Tom Nelson 3rd. In the Heat one, Hastings took the early lead and was never challenged. Woods got away from the start line and was last after turn one and had to start the passing drill. Nelson followed Hastings through turn one and came home 2nd without any challenge. In the end it was Hastings, Nelson and Woods recovering for 3rd. In Heat two, Hastings again took the early lead and went on to a seven second win. Nelson moved into 2nd at the drop of the green but Woods made a good start and was able to get by Nelson and hold on to take 2nd with Nelson 3rd. In the Main, Nelson took the early lead and was being challenged by Woods and Hastings. Hastings tried a pass on Woods that did not go well and both spun. Hastings restarted but finished 5th in the end. Woods did not restart his kart and had to settle for 9th. Nelson held a comfortable lead but a mechanical problem ended his race on Lap 14. Roger Cornwall inherited the lead and went on to the win followed by Geoff Provo and Rob Mullaney.
Another big field of karts took to the track in qualifying, James Dix took the pole ahead of Andre Eriksen and Stephan Gaudreau. In Heat one, Eriksen took the lead out of turn one with Gaudreau following and Dix dropping back to 5th. In the end, Eriksen takes the win, Gaudreau 2nd, Andy Seesmann 3rd and Kelly Heil 4th. In Heat two, Donald Durbin tuned his kart in and charged through the field from his 9th grid position and was able to catch Eriksen at the end of the race followed by Gaudreau and Seesmann. The grid for the Main was Eriksen on pole, Gaudreau off-pole, with Seesmann and Durbin sharing row two. Eriksen took the lead out of turn one with the top four drivers controlling the front of the field. Durbin made his way to the front moving Eriksen back to 2nd. Gaudreau then gets by Eriksen and Seesmann dropping out of the race on lap six. Scott Ripslinger then moves up to 4th, but was able to reel in the top threesome. Late in the race Gaudreau got by Durbin and was able to hold off any challenges from Durbin to take home his best ever race in the series. Durbin had to settle for 2nd ,less than a second back with Eriksen a second back in 3rd , Ripslinger 4th and James Dix in 5th.
Stock Honda Masters and Junior Stock Honda
Stock Honda Masters karts and Junior Stock Honda karts were not as big as some of the other classes but the competition would still be tough. Nick Major (Masters) took the pole ahead Garrett Dixon (Jr 125) and David Arnstein (Masters). In the first heat, Major and Arnstein battled for the front. Dixon dropped out on the first lap, thus handing the Jr 125 win to Gigliotti who finished 3rd overall. In the second heat, Major took the early lead with Dixon battling him for the front position. Dixon got by near the end to take a one second win over Major with Rene Martinelli coming home 3rd. In the Main, the long laps seemed to favor the lighter Jr 125 karts. At the drop of the flag, Arnstein took the lead out of turn one with Major right behind. By mid race, Dixon got by Major and then chased down Arnstein. Gigliotti was first to get by Major then over hauling Arnstein to take over 2nd. In the end, Dixon took the win 4 seconds in front of Giglioti, these two taking 1-2 in the Junior Stock Honda class. Arnstein held off a strong challenge from Major to take 3rd and the Stock Honda Masters win, with Major 4th and Martinelli 5th.
With twelve karts, this class was one of the largest turnouts in Mini-Max history in the RLOKC. Clayton Williams took the poll ahead of Aiden O’Neill and Valdemar Eriksen. In the first heat, Clayton led the field out of turn one followed by Valdemar and Bryson Lew. Aiden was spun around coming out of the first turn and had to play catch up the rest of the race. Clayton pulled out a four second lead and went on to the win, Valdemar 2nd, Lew 3rd and Colin Mullan 4th. In the second heat, Clayton again took the lead out of turn one with O’Neill this time following in second. COTA driver Jacob Hudson started figuring out the track and moved up from his 10th starting spot to come home 2nd, followed by O’Neill. In the Main, the front row was Clayton and Valdemar with Hudson and Lew in row two. At the drop of the green, Williams lead the field through turn one with Williams getting by Valdemar and Lew spinning out of the race after some contact. First Valdemar started dropping back, then Hudson got by Williams to take over the lead and Matteo Sandoval started working his way through the field. Near the end of the race, Sandoval got by Williams to take over second and started chasing down Hudson. In the end, Hudson won by a mere .025 second, Sandoval 2nd, Williams 3rd, and Colin Mullan 4th. For the win, Jacob took home $100 worth of Sanzaru bucks.
ZERO “EVO” Electrics and DD2/DD2 Masters
In this combined class field there were five EVO electrics and one each of the DD2 and DD2 Masters. In Qualifying, Michael Ostrowski’s DD2 was first and David Palic’s DD2 Masters took 2nd, followed by the electric karts of Kenyon Kluge and Tristan Bayless. All the races were done using a standing start with the Electric karts in front of the DD2 karts since the EVOs come off the start much faster. In Heat one, Benjamin Ho (EVO) took the early lead and was never challenged to take the win ahead of Jon Horsey (EVO) and Ostrowski (DD2). In the second heat, Matt Cresci (EVO) took the early lead but Michael Ostrowski passed all the electric karts to take the win by 12 seconds, Cresci 2nd, Richard Hilleman (EVO) 3rd, and Palic (DD2 Masters) 4th. In the Main, Ostrowski passed all the electric karts to take a fifteen second lead over Hilleman 2nd, Cresci 3rd and Horsley (EVO) 4th. This was a great showcase for ZERO “EVO” karts as they were able to demonstrate how fast they are!
Several of the COTA drivers joined the Senior Rotax race making the field twelve karts strong. In Qualifying, Luke Selliken took the pole ahead of Zach Pettinicchi and Louie Pagano. In Heat one, Selliken took the win just one second ahead of Pagano with RLOKC drivers Pettinicchi 3rd and Justin Yanez 4th. In Heat two, the top three qualifiers battled the entire race with several position changes. In the end Pagano took the win 1 second ahead of Pettinicchi with Selliken less than a second back with Pablo Carballedo in 4th. In the Main, Pagano and Selliken checked out and battled or the lead for the entire fifteen laps. In the end, Pagano took the win a half second in front of Selliken with Pettinicchi 3rd and Carballedo 4th. For the win, Louie took home $50 in Sanzaru bucks.
The results can be seen at www.mylaps.com and the points can be seen at www.redlineoilkarting.com in the Results section.
The next Red Line Oil Karting Championship event will be April 27 where the track configuration will be the Sprint track. The GoPro featured class will be the 80 Masters.