EKN Exclusive: Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 22 – Preview Series – Micro Swift

Youngest category set to make debut at Rio and welcome first-time winner

eKartingNews.com, the Official Media Partner of Superkarts! USA, is proud to present our Preview Series for the SKUSA SuperNationals 22. Leading up to the on-track action of the 22nd edition of the marquee SKUSA event, EKN will preview each of the 10 categories that will compete on the temporary circuit located just outside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino from November 14-18.

Complete coverage of the Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 22 can be found at the EKN EVENT PAGE. EKN Live will provide play-by-play and live timing from qualifying through to the final checkered flag on SuperSunday at ekartingnews.com/live


SKUSA Pro Tour champion Max Garcia is set to make his SuperNats debut (Photo: On Track Promotions – otp.ca)

The Micro Swift category made its debut on the SKUSA Pro Tour in 2016 and at the SuperNationals, as well. International drivers won the first two editions, with Brazilian Vinicius Tessaro and Great Britain’s Vinnie Phillips taking the victories. Both are moving up the Mini Swift ranks for 2018, which sets up the storyline for a third straight new driver to take the top step of the Micro Swift podium on SuperSunday.

You don’t have to look far to find contenders right away, beginning with the top-three from the SKUSA Pro Tour – Max Garcia (KSNA / Kart Republic), Caleb Gafrarar (Parolin), and Ben Maier (Nitro Kart). The trio combined for the six victories, with Gafrarar holding the advantage with three, Maier earning two and Garcia with one. Garcia’s victory was the biggest, as his Sunday win at the SummerNationals clinched the Pro Tour championship for the young Florida driver. Gafrarar also holds the advantage in the experience category, having competed in the two previous editions, placing fourth a year ago. Maier ended up 15th last November, while this year’s event will be the first SuperNationals for Garcia.

A number of regional champions and winners will be in the field. Rolison Performance Group’s Graham Trammell (Energy) scored the California ProKart Challenge title in 2018. The driver from Oregon won the first three races of the year, winning a fourth later in the season as he landed on the podium in all six rounds. Trammell’s top challenger on the year, winning twice, was John Antonino (Super Cadet). Antonino will be the youngest competitor at the SuperNationals, as he turned eight at the beginning of September. The Bakersfield, CA driver won the LAKC title, and scored a big win at the Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix.

Representing the east coast is Cameron Weinberg, the latest winner at the WKA Manufacturers Cup Series. Part of the Nitro Kart operation, Weinberg won two of the last three rounds of the series. Along with two-time WKA winner Gavan Boschele, Weinberg will lead the Nitro Kart contingent, as both will be making their SuperNats debut. Mexican driver Ivanna Richards (Tony Kart) is a Texas ProKart Challenge winner in 2018, and will be vying to improve on her 18th place-finish a year ago. Other notables include SKUSA Pro Tour podium finisher Ethan Ayars (Parolin) and California PKC podium finisher Logan Chambers (PKS / Benik).

Looking at the international contingent, two names stick out. Lewis Francis is making his way over from Australia. Francis (KSNA / Kosmic) is the reigning Cadet 9 champion. Brazilian Bernardo Gentil (Orsolon / Benik) is gathering a large following in his first year of Cadet racing. Gentil already has over 14k followers on Instagram. Other notable names in the field are Rocky Moran and Enzo Beltrao Nienkotter. Moran is a third-generation driver, son of motorsports driver Rocky Moran Jr. and grandson to Rocky Moran. The father-son duo created Moran Raceway in Beaumont, California – which was the premier circuit in southern California from 2003 until it closed in 2007. The third-generation Moran will be making his SuperNats debut along with Nienkotter, who is the son of three-time SuperNats winner and 2018 SKUSA Pro Tour champion Leonardo Nienkotter of Brazil.


Predictions:

Rob Howden – EKN Publisher

Caleb Gafrarar won three times on the season at the SKUSA Pro Tour (Photo: EKN)

I love watching racecraft develop in the Micro Swift throughout the year and, for the most part, the category provided us with the best wheel-to-wheel racing all season.  I think that experience plays a big role at the SuperNationals, although international drivers have taken the first two Micro Swift wins. Based on speed and development throughout the year, and his pace at the ROK the Rio event this weekend, I look for Gafrarar to improve on his fourth from last year’s SuperNats to be in the hunt all week and to come out of the pack on SuperSunday. Maier is incredibly hard to bet against, because he knows how to win and he’s an impressive talent. I slot Ben into second this year as part of a wild four-driver fight up front with Francis and Garcia. It’s going to come down to the last lap, that’s for sure. Based on the pace we’ve seen from Aussie champions in the past, who have come to the SuperNats, I expect Francis to podium.  I also like Julien to be in the scrap up front, as he’s shown great pace all year.

1. Caleb Gafrarar
2. Ben Maier
3. Lewis Francis
4. Max Garcia
5. Logan Julien

David Cole – EKN News Desk Manager

Ben Maier earned three different championships in 2018 (Photo: EKN)

Looking at the 2018 season as a whole, Maier has been the more dominant driver. Maier has won at least one main event at all major races in 2018 except for two, including racing at the SKUSA Winter Series, SKUSA Pro Tour, United States Pro Kart Series and WKA Man Cup Series. Maier earned the title at the Winter Series, USPKS, and WKA, and that’s why I’m putting him on top of the podium. Gafrarar is just as experienced as Maier, however, he will come up just short as he did in the Pro Tour standings. Garcia will make it six of seven podiums on the year to cap off his final Micro season. International drivers have won the last two, so I have to put one on the podium. That will be Aussie Francis. And who can deny the youngest driver at the SuperNationals from the podium. Antonino was impressive in his SOLGP victory and while he will be fast, I don’t think he has the muscle to reach higher than fifth.

1. Ben Maier
2. Caleb Gafrarar
3. Max Garcia
4. Lewis Francis
5. John Antonino


By the Numbers:

0 – Defending winners in the field

1 – Returning podium finisher

10 – Drivers who competed in 2017 SuperNationals

15 – International drivers

16 – Drivers who competed on the Pro Tour this season

39 – Drivers entered


Provisional Entry List – Micro Swift

No. Driver Team Chassis Hometown Country
93 John Antonino Super Cadet Bakersfield CA US
78 Ethan Ayars Parolin USA Parolin Weatherby Lake MO US
50 Gavan Boschele Nitro Kart Nitro Kart Kannapolis NC US
98 Cameron Brinkman Franklin Motorsports Merlin Springfield IL US
13 Logan Chambers PKS Kart Supplies Benik Bakersfield CA US
15 Caden Chrisman Formula Works CompKart Temecula CA US
22 Spencer Conrad Nitro Kart Nitro Kart Suffolk VA US
86 Ava Dobson Franklin Motorsports Merlin Franklin WI US
83 Lewis Francis KartSport North America Kosmic AU
2 Caleb Gafrarar Parolin USA Parolin Midland NC US
1 Max Garcia KartSport North America Kart Republic Coconut Grove FL US
18 Bernardo Gentil Orsolon Racing Benik BR
25 Alexander Gonzalez Nash Motorsportz Benik Pomona CA US
21 Aryton Grim CRP Racing LLC Nitro Kart Hilliard OH US
88 Salim Hanna Team Montoya Tony Kart CO
12 Javier Herrera Maranello Kart Maranello MX
33 Jack Iliffe Iron Rock Motorsports Benik Austin TX US
49 Kristian Janev Team Benik Benik AU
85 Logan Julien Franklin Motorsports Merlin Oconomowoc WI US
34 Keagan Kaminski Benik San Dimas CA US
55 Fernando Luque RPL Racing Tony Kart MX
3 Ben Maier Nitro Kart Nitro Kart Stevensville MD US
43 Alex Mercado Parolin Washington UT US
71 Rocky Moran Ryan Perry Motorsport Tony Kart Ladera Ranch CA US
77 Cameron Myers Margay Racing Margay Blue Springs MO US
14 Enzo Beltrao Nienkotter CompKart CompKart BR
26 Matias Orjuela VMotorsports Benik Miami FL US
20 Ivanna Richards RPL Racing Tony Kart MX
51 Maison Rudman Team Benik Benik GB
11 Mario Said Go Motorsports Tony Kart Culver City CA MX
19 Ragan Saville Trackside Karting Services CompKart Tomball TX US
27 Alfie Slater Team Benik Benik GB
57 Ethan Thorne VemmeKart USA Vemme PE
99 Graham Trammell Rolison Performance Group Energy Springfield OR US
97 Luis Umana AM Engines Parolin CO
42 Jay Urwin Benik NZ
95 Enzo Vidmontiene International Motorsport Tony Kart Boca Raton FL BR
37 Cameron Weinberg Nitro Kart Nitro Kart Carrollton GA US
46 Tristan Young Nitro Kart Nitro Kart Mesa AZ US

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