Visiting Drivers Dominate Southern California Karting Championship
When the So Cal Oval Karters hosted the 1st Annual Southern California Karting Championship on September 8th, it paid to be a visiting driver. The outsiders won four of the five main events at SoCal Fair Motorcycle Speedway with Chris Gibb the only local to take home a main event win.
Scorching temperatures and a field of more than 50 entries put on an entertaining show that featured a purse of more than $3,000.00 in cash and contingencies. In addition to great racing, fans saw a frightening Chris Southern flip in the Open main. Fortunately, Southern walked away from the crash uninjured.
In the Burris Racing F200’s, heat race winners Buddy Shelton of Visalia and current SCOK F200 point leader Steve Juillerat of Whittier started on the front row. When the green flag opened the 20-lap main event, Shelton assumed the lead with Juillerat right behind. The Central California racer maintained his lofty position at the top of the heap until Juillerat took the lead away at the end of the 11th circuit. However, in turn four on the next lap Juillerat went around and handed the lead back to Shelton who took full advantage. Once he had the lead back, Shelton drove away from the field and won the race by nearly a half track. Juillerat raced back through the pack and finished second. Fountain Valley’s Scott Bohle, Emma Herzog of Anaheim and SCOK newcomer Norma Weatherbee of Torrance rounded out the top five.
In the Colt Group Open Class, Ryan Fernandez of San Jose made it two for two on the first-year track on the SoCal Fair and Event Center. He was on the front row with Lakewood’s Joe Gibb for the main event. Fernandez was going about his business when Southern decided to scare the crowd when the throttle stuck on his 500cc Jawa as he sped down the back chute while running second. Rather than take on the turn three bales head on, Southern pitched the white kart sideways and it violently flipped into the air. The kart tumbled to a stop and club officials rushed to check on him. Miraculously he walked away unscathed.
Once the race restarted it was all Fernandez and he bagged his second SCOK win of 2018. Fernandez teammate Derek Wallace of Merced finished in the runnerup-spot. Cherry Valley’s Steve Patton, who was making his first SCOK appearance of the year, took third with “Hubcap” Mike Collins of Lake Forest and former Washington State Cougar basketball player Justin Garcia of Riverside taking fourth and fifth respectively in the 11-kart field.
The Caltrol Incorporated Senior Clone main was a wild one with Wallace taking a hard fought for win. Shelton was the original leader over Fresno’s Rick Zanin and Wallace. Wallace worked his way up the point on the sixth circuit and then the leaders had to deal with heavy lapped traffic. Fernandez dreams of a double vanished when he was forced to the infield with mechanical ills in the middle of the race. By the time the checkered ended the racing, slide jobs and rubbing, Wallace was a half straightaway in front of the next four, which was comprised of Shelton, Fresno’s Rick Zanin, Jim Locey and San Diego’s Ronnie Benton.
The biggest class of the night was the Yamaha of America KT100’s with 15-karts taking the green flag for the 20-lap main. Anaheim’s Tim Erickson, who won both of his heat races, started on the pole for the main and led until Chris “Ready to Rumble” Gibb of Lakewood snatched the lead away at the end of the first circuit. Once out front, Gibb kept padding his lead. Erickson’s dreams of a sweep ended when he coasted into the infield with a tenth-place finish. Hesperia’s Thomas Southern, who won five of the first eight KT100 mains in 2018, tried to give chase, but nobody had anything for Gibb on the night. Southern maintained the runner-up spot until he was passed by the #999 of Kenneth Byers Jr. of Ventura with five laps to go. By then, Gibb was gone, but a late race yellow flag tightened up the field. Once the green came back out, Gibb stretched his advantage and won by a half straight over Byers. Southern finished third with Vegas karter Art Klein fourth and Steve Patton getting his second top five of the night in fifth.
Another visitor, Austin Pugh, took an immediate liking to SoCal Fair Motorcycle Speedway and swept the Fair Oaks Ranch Junior Clones winning both heats and the main event. Huntington Beach regular Shane Holt hung close until he got caught up in lapped traffic allowing Pugh to cross the line with a half straightaway advantage. Holt was second with Melinda Clay, Jonathon Clay and Madycen Mervini
The Ancon Marine Junior/Juniors were on hand and five strong with Nuevo’s Cash Culp, Zate Legend of Riverside, Banning’s Travis Gaynor, Tristan Juillerat of Whittier and Ryan Schank.
The SoCal Mowers were also on hand and Adrian Papps used a last corner pass to post the main event win.
The SCOK only has three races left in the 2018 campaign. The next race on October 13th at Wheel2Wheel Raceway in Victorville, will be the only one off the SoCal Fair and Event Center. The season will close with a road race in the Perris Auto Speedway infield on November 3rd and the finale at SoCal Fair Motorcycle Speedway during Oval Nationals weekend on November 13th.
The SoCal Oval Karters would like to thank 2018 series sponsors Yamaha of America, Burris Racing, Caltrol Incorporated, The Colt Group, Fair Oaks Ranch and Ancon Marine for supporting the 2018 championship season. If you or your company would like to join the SCOK as a sponsor, please call Matt Jones at (714) 614-8891 or E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org