Three 2017 Champions Triumph at So Cal Oval Karters Season Opener
A new era dawned for the So Cal Oval Karters club when it opened its 11th season last Saturday at its brand new home track, SoCal Fair Motorcycle Speedway, on the So Cal Fair and Event Center in Perris. New era or not, some old dogs used the same tricks as three 2017 class champions – Thomas & Chris Southern and Norm Reynolds – won their season opening main events.
Last season Thomas Southern, who resides in Hesperia, ran roughshod over the competition in the KT100’s winning six of the nine main events on the year. On Saturday he continued his reign of terror over the class by sweeping the show winning both heat races and the main event in the nine-kart field. Winning both heats placed him on the pole for the main and he outdistanced the pack and beat second place finisher Art Klein of Las Vegas, who started fifth, to the checkers. Los Angeles karter Tanner Smith, Ted Marshall and San Diego’s Ronnie Benton, the 2017 Clone Class Champion, comprised the rest of the top five.
Like his son who was dominant in the KT100’s in 2017, Chris Southern, who also lives in the High Desert in Hesperia, did likewise in the Open Class when he won five of the nine main events and the championship. On Saturday, the elder Southern captured one of the Open Class heats and won the main event from the third starting spot. Veteran “Hubcap Mike” Collins of Santa Ana moved from the inside of the back row to claim second with Cathedral City karter Dillon Hoffman, who won two main events last year, taking third. Gardena’s Nick Argo took the fourth place spot and Fountain Valley’s Scott Bohle placed fifth. Alta Loma’s Tim Hoover, who also races IMCA Modifieds, won the other heat race, but had mechanical issues and did not start the main.
Norm Reynolds of San Marcos, who turned 72 last November and who won the F200 2017 championship, got things off to a flying start when he started on the pole and beat 2016 champion Steve Juillerat of Whittier to the checkered flag in the main event on the brand new track. The champions split the two heats between them and they were followed in the main by Banning’s Scott Gaynor and Justin Garcia of Riverside.
In the Clone Class, Jeffrey Butler, a North Carolina native who lives in San Diego, captured one of the heat races and came from the outside of the front row to win the season opening main event. Pole sitter Tyler Hoffman of Cathedral City placed second with returning karter Carly Nigh of Camarillo grabbing third. Desiree Gaynor of Banning ended up fourth and Emma Herzog of Anaheim finished fifth.
Three Juniors raced on the day with the “Dynamite Kid,” Drake Cardey of Riverside, winning both heats and the main event. Shane Holt of Huntington Beach claimed second with A.J. Thornell of Riverside third. In addition to the Junior class, the Junior/Juniors were also on hand with Zate Legend, Whittier’s Travis Juillerat and Travis Gaynor of Banning all getting in their laps.
The SCOK is off the next two weeks, but will be in action on April 28th when it journeys north to Wheel2Wheel Raceway which is located on the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville.
After that it is back to the SoCal Fair Motorcycle Speedway on May 12th.
April 7 – SoCal Fair Motorcycle Speedway – Perris
April 28 – Wheel2Wheel Raceway – Victorville
May 12 – SoCal Fair Motorcycle Speedway – Perris
June 2 – Perris Auto Speedway – Perris
June 23 – SoCal Fair Motorcycle Speedway – Perris
July 21 – SoCal Fair Motorcycle Speedway – Perris
August 4 – SoCal Fair Motorcycle Speedway – Perris
September 8 – SoCal Fair Motorcycle Speedway – Perris
September 22 – SoCal Fair Motorcycle Speedway – Perris
October 13 – Wheel2Wheel Raceway – Victorville
November 3 – Perris Auto Speedway Road Course – Perris
November 10 – SoCal Fair Motorcycle Speedway – Perris
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