Sanzaru Games Braves the Wet to Open 2016 Season
Pandora Garcia takes nail biting Junior Rotax GoPro feature
The opening weekend started out with great promise, a dry track on the Saturday practice and a good turnout despite the threats of rain. All the drivers got a lot of dry track practice on the Reverse National layout, the layout that the Rotax Grands will run on later this summer. But the hope of a dry race day evaporated after the third class during qualifying on Sunday and all the crews had to change over to a wet set up and finish Race #1 on wet rubber. But Race #1 still produced some great racing, five of nine winners were all unexpected winners due to the rain conditions and the GoPro Junior Rotax Main ended the day with an exciting and tense race.
GoPro Feature Class: Molecule Junior Rotax
With ten drivers, the Junior Rotax class opened the session with a strong turnout with five of the drivers new to the class in 2016. In Qualifying, Nick Persing took the pole in his first Junior Rotax race after having moved up from Mini Max. Eric Moore took second followed by Colin Mullan and Brennan Stammer. In the Pre-Main, three drivers proved to be the masters in the rain and by the end of the 8 lap race, Brennan Stammer took the win ahead of Pandora Garcia and Bryson Lew with newcomer Bijoy Gard another 3 seconds back. In the Main, Pandora took the lead out of turn one with Brennan looking for traction on the slick inside line and getting shuffled back several positions by the time he got to turn two. Pandora was followed by Dakota White and Bryson Lew and the trio opened up a gap on the rest of the field. Brennan worked his way through the field to get hooked up with the front trio, his charge earned him the fastest lap of the race. Dakota was putting lots of pressure on Pandora when Pandora slipped a bit in Tic-Tac-Toe and Dakota bumped the leader just enough to cause Dakota to spin. Brennan got by Lew late in the race and was right on the tail of Pandora going into the white flag lap. On the last lap, Pandora drove an errorless lap and Brennan was not able to make a challenge for the lead. Pandora took the win, her first feature win, Brennan 2nd, Lew 3rd, Clayton Williams 4th and White recovering to take 5th. For the win, Pandora earned $100 in Sanzaru Bucks, $75 to Brennan and $50 to Bryson. Pandora also took home the GoPro Hero Camera.
Molecule Rotax Mini Max
A great turn out of twelve drivers showed up to start the season with 2015 class champion Dustin Salaverria taking the pole on a dry track ahead Aidan O’Neill and Arizona driver Cole Cinnulo. Mini Max was only one of three classes that were able to Qualify on a dry track before the rains came. The Pre-Main was run on a wet track with all karts using rain tires which changed the order of who was going to be the dominant drivers in the wet. Garrette Randolph Jr, two- time Micro Max champ rose to the top in the rain and worked his went from 6th to the front of the field and drove on to a 6 second win. Aidan O’Neill came home 2nd, Cole 3rd Matteo Sandoval 4th and Dustin 5th. In the Main, the track was even wetter and this brought out the best rain driving from other drivers. After the green flag, Garrette struggled in the very wet conditions, Aidan continued to be study in the rain, William Ferguson and Nolan Siegal moved up to contend. In the end, William went into the lead followed closely by Aidan with Nolan 10 seconds back and Dustin another 13 seconds back. In the end, William took his first feature win, Aidan O’Neill 2nd, Nolan 3rd in his first race in the class, Dustin 4th and Matteo 5th. Again, the top three took home $100/$75/$50 in Sanzaru Bucks.
RES EVO Electrics
The EVO electrics class had six entries to start the 2016 season. This class also qualified in the dry with Marcos Ramirez taking the pole ahead of Charles Stimmler and Matt Cresci. The Pre-Main was run on dry tires on a semi wet track and the drivers had to be extra easy on the throttle coming out of turns due to the extra torquey electric power. Cresci got the best of the field to take the win followed by Ramirez with Jimmy Casey 3rd. In the Main, the field was on rain tires. Cresci had problems on the first lap when he spun and took a lap to get back on the track. He rejoined the race right in the middle of the battle for the lead, yet a lap down. Ramirez took control of the race and drove on to the win, 18 seconds clear of Enzo Prevost in 2nd, Casey 3rd and Cresci 4th a lap down.
Molecule Rotax Masters
The Rotax Masters class was the last class to qualify in the dry, even though it took a while to get it done. The thirteen kart field was split into two groups with the first 6 karts running in the dry. Then a wet mist came in the all racing was stopped. Within 10 minutes, the mist stopped, the track dried and the second group was able to qualify on a dry track. In Qualify, Kelly Heil took the pole in defense of his class championship from 2015, followed by John Breidinger and Roman Alexseenkov. A break in the rain allowed the Rotax Masters Pre-Main to run in the dry. Heil took the early lead with Breidinger getting shuffled back from his off pole position. Roman worked his way into the lead with Billy Scott also moving up into the 2nd spot from his 6th place starting position. The race turned into a 4 kart race with Roman holding down the top spot with three karts right behind battling for the runner up position. In the end, Roman took the win, Scott second, SoCals Erik Jackson 3rd and Heil 4th. The Main was the first time the Masters field had to deal with the rain, and rain it was. Some drivers excelled with others falling back, typical effect in rain racing. Jackson went to the front early on and dominated the pace of the race. Aaron Farris worked his way from 6th at the start to hold down a strong 2nd spot. Scott had problems early and pitted on the second lap. Stephan Gaudreau worked his way up from tenth to 3rd with Roman falling back to 4th. In the end, Jackson took a convincing win and disproving the myth that SoCal drivers cannot race in the rain. Farris took a strong 2nd, Gaudreau 3rd and Roman 4th. The top three were awarded $100/$75/$50 in Sanzaru Bucks.
HPD Honda CRF250 and Molecule Rotax DD2
Four 250 karts and one lone DD2 took to the track. Richard Stock took the pole ahead of Alex Keyes and Ori Della Penna with the DD2 of Erik Jackson in 5th. In the heat race, some karts started on rains and some on slicks. At first the slicks were the way to go, but by the end of the race, the track got wet again and the rain tires were the winning combination. Stock took the win ahead of Keyes and Della Penna with Jackson’s DD2 in 4th. The Main was an all wet rain race with Keyes turning in a dominant performance to not only win the race, but to lap the field. Richard Hilleman came home 2nd, Stock 3rd with Della Penna and Jackson heading to the pits early on in the race. The podium drivers earned HPD Awards of $100 for 1st, $70 for 2nd and $40 for 3rd.
Molecule Rotax Micro Max
The Micro Max field was twelve karts strong with seven new drivers joining the series. It is always great to see new young drivers come into the series, but it is really tough that their first race is a rain race. In the Qualify, Christian Legaspi took the pole ahead of Ayrton Tyler and Adam Freire. In the Pre-Main, the more veteran drivers handled the conditions better than the newer drivers with Christian taking the win ahead of Adam Freire in 2nd, Sebastiaan Mulder 3rd and Colorado driver Enzo Swan in 4th. The Main turned in an exciting race with virtually every driver spinning, recovering well then continuing on. There had to be at least 6 different drivers that lead this race. With two laps to go, the race was a battle between three drivers. Ayrton was leading with two laps to go but coming out of the last turn before start/finish Enzo took over the lead. Enzo held the front spot to take the win, Aryton 2nd, Sebastiaan 3rd, Andrew Rivera 4th and Christian 5th. The top three earned $100/$75/$50 in Sanzaru Bucks. Sanzaru Bucks can be applied to entry and practice fees at future races.
Seven drivers showed up for the race, but two chose to withdraw once the rain came down. So five karts took to the track. Only three of them braved Qualify with Dave Holstein taking the pole ahead of Geoff Provo and Allen Miller. In the Pre-Main, Holstein continued to lead the way in the rain by taking the race well clear of the rest of the field. Geoff Provo was 2nd, Tom Nelson 3rd and Allen Miller 4th. In the Main, Holstein again dominated the race, becoming the true ‘rain mister’ in 80 Masters. Following Holstein at the checked flag was Nelson, Provo and Miller. This was Holstein’s first feature win in the 80 Masters class, he is probably wishing for rain the rest of the year.
Molecule Senior Rotax
Senior Rotax had a surprisingly small field of only 4 karts. Newcomer Brendan Fabular took pole ahead of Zack Pettinicchi with Enzo Prevost 3rd. In the pre-Main, Pettinicchi took the lead right from the green flag and pulled away quickly leaving the other three drivers to battle for 2nd well back. In the end, Zack took the win, Kyle Loh came home 2nd, Enzo 3rd and Brendan 4th. In the Main, the other three drivers improved a lot and Zach had his hands full. The four drivers battled all 12 laps swapping positions many times. In the end, Enzo took the win ahead of Brendan with Zack 3rd and Kyle 4th. The top three earned $100/$75/$50 in Sanzaru Bucks.
HPD Stock Honda Masters and HPD Pro Stock Honda
Seven Masters and one Pro Stock driver lined up for the first race of the year. Eric Molinatti took the pole ahead of 2015 Champ Justin Bennett and Travis Bowles. In the wet Pre-Main, David Arnstein and Patrick O’Neill went to the front early and pulled away from the rest of the field. Arnstein went on to take a 5 second win over O’Neill with Bennett in 3rd another 8 seconds behind and Bowles in 4th. In the Main, Bennett worked his way by Arnstein and pulled away from the field to take a 14 second win, Arnstein 2nd, Molinatti 3rd, O’Neill 4th , Kevin Woods 5th and the lone Pro Stock of Ryan Rudolph in 6th.The Masters drivers earned valuable HPD awards, $60 for 1st, $40 for 2nd and $20 for 3rd.
All results and points can be seen on the series website at www.sanzarukarting.com or on Mylaps at www.mylaps.com. The next race will be April 17 where the track configuration will be the Sprint Track and the GoPro Feature class will be 80 Masters.