EKN Exclusive: Superkarts! USA SuperNationals 22 – Preview Series – X30 Junior

Two drivers with chance at repeat wins set to battle field of nearly 80 competitors

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


Tyler Gonzalez won in 2016, back aboard the OTK chassis in 2018 (Photo: EKN)

Junior-level racing has been part of the SuperNationals from its very beginning, back when the organization featured a heavy emphasis on 80cc shifterkart competition. Then, in 2006, Tom Kutscher took over ownership of SKUSA and focused on the adult classes only for the 10th running of the event. At the 2007 SuperNationals, SKUSA added the S5 Junior Stock Honda class, and then in 2008, TaG Junior made its debut. Every year since, a new driver has stood on top of the podium, representing four different countries. Among those to earn victory on SuperSunday are two current Formula 1 drivers – British talent George Russell in 2011 and the impressive Canadian Lance Stroll the following year.

During the first eight years of the TaG Junior category, which is now the X30 Junior class, no driver has repeated to log that second victory. In 2018, there are two drivers who have a chance to etch their name in the history books as the first two-time winner in the division. The first is 2016 victor Tyler Gonzalez. The Florida driver won in his SuperNationals debut, however, he was unable to compete for victory the following year, placing 15th. That checkered flag went to Texan Jak Crawford. The 13-year-old started on pole and duplicated Gonzalez’ feat of winning in his Junior debut at the SuperNationals. Both have even more experience under their belts this time around, with Gonzalez leaving his spot at CRG Nordam to run under the Team Benik program in Vegas. Crawford joins the same Nash Motorsportz operation that he has been winning with since his Cadet days.

Jak Crawford won in his Junior debut at the SuperNats in 2017 (Photo: EKN)

There’s also a new kid in town, and his name is Arias Deukmedjian. The Florida driver was solid all season long on the SKUSA Pro Tour, winning both finals at the SpringNationals to help earn himself the season championship, adding his name to a reputable list of former title winners in the category. In the last eight years, only one driver has won the SuperNats and Pro Tour title in the same year – Brazilian Yurik Carvalho – in 2013. Arias is also making the move to the Praga chassis after running OTK all season under the Leading Edge Motorsports tent. Among his top challengers on the season was fellow Floridian Jeremy Fairbairn (Supertune / Tony Kart). The tallest Junior driver in the field uses his height as a positive, moving his weight where it needs to be in the kart seat. Fairbairn – who will carry the SKUSA #3 plate – was solid over the summer months, winning a number of races and is attempting to improve on his third-place result from last year.

Arias Deukmedjian comes into the SuperNats carrying the #1 plate (Photo: EKN)

A total of four former SuperNationals winners are in the Junior field, including last year’s Mini Swift winner Connor Zilisch (LAK / Tony Kart). Zilisch has built up the momentum heading into the SuperNationals after a solid second half to the season. He leads a long list of first-time Junior drivers at the SuperNationals that include last year’s Mini podium finishers Diego Contecha (Orsolon / Parolin) and Santiago Trisini (KSNA / Kart Republic), along with USPKS IAME Junior champion Nicholas Terlecki (FMS / Merlin). Aussie driver James Wharton (KSNA / FA Kart) is among the youngest race winners in Australian karting history, making his Junior debut at the SuperNationals.

Thomas Nepveu (PSL / Birel ART) won the Mini class in 2016 and leads a strong Team Canada at the SuperNationals. Junior rookie Justin Arseneau (SCR / Tony Kart) and Mackenzie Clark (Prime / Birel ART) will fly the Maple Leaf flag.

A large majority of the field is international. Watch for Italian Gabriele Mini (Parolin), Brit Alex Lloyd (LEM / Formula K) and Dutchman Kas Haverkort (CRG Nordam) to make some noise on the week.

Sebastian Montoya is looking to double down in Vegas (Photo: On Track Promotions – otp.ca)

Aside from Crawford and Fairbairn, Sebastian Montoya (Tony Kart) is the third returning driver from the podium in 2017. The second-generation pilot won the SKUSA Winter Series program in Florida and is coming off victory at the ROK the Rio. He is not the only familiar name on the list as Fernando Barrichello (NF Piquet / Kosmic) is set for his SuperNationals debut.

Oliver Calvo (PKS / Parolin) came up one spot short of the podium last year in sixth after placing fifth in 2016. He is among the most experienced driver in the field, making his final Junior start. Others to keep on your radar during the week include California ProKart Challenge champion Jace Denmark-Gessel (RPM / Tony Kart), Texas ProKart Challenge champion Branyon Tiner (RPG / Tony Kart), CRG Nordam’s Tyler Maxson, Luca Mars (SCR / Tony Kart), Reece Gold (FA Kart), Joey Brienza (Nash / FA Kart) and Garrett Adams (Comet / FA Kart).


Predictions:

SKUSA SummerNationals winner Jeremy Fairbairn finished third in last year’s SuperNationals (Photo: EKN)

Rob Howden – EKN Publisher

As David has detailed, one of the factors that plays into a consistent streak of new winners in the Junior class is that many of the reigning champs or frontrunners each year either graduate to Senior or move into cars.  Over the years, the X30 Junior race has been a little chaotic at times, but the introduction of the pushback bumper has certainly cleaned up the contact, especially in the opening corners. Fairbairn has been incredibly impressive this year and I’ll tab this event as his breakout race, pushing his name to the top of the Junior class. Montoya continues to improve his racecraft and you can’t deny his aggressive nature, so I expect he and Duekmedjian to be right there. Crawford is continuing his move into cars and comes off his F4 debut in Mexico, so we’ll see if he can make the quick switch back to karts. I expect he’ll do so much little to no issue. Maxson’s fast, he’s settled into his position with CRG Nordam, and he could just as easily fight for the win as any place on the podium.

1. Jeremy Fairbairn
2. Sebastian Montoya
3. Arias Deukmedjian
4. Jak Crawford
5. Tyler Maxson

David Cole – EKN News Desk Manager

Crawford or Gonzalez…Gonzalez or Crawford…I’m going with neither. History says we don’t have repeat winners in the Junior class, and that includes the K2 or 80cc Junior categories along with the S5 class, where we had nine different winners in nine different years. One free beverage if you are the first to post on FB or Twitter who the last 80cc Junior winner was! Anyway, back to my prediction. The previous winners, and Pro Tour champion Arias Deukmedjian, are already looking to cars. Many know it’s tough to bounce back and forth, thus I put them out of the top-five. Montoya has the hot hand, winning in Vegas already and who knows, could be another former SuperNationals victor that ends up in Formula 1. With the tighter layout of the Rio, you have to have muscle, and Fairbairn is not afraid to flex them. Mars and Zilisch will stand out early on in qualifying and the heat races. Maxson, the former SKUSA Mini Pro Tour champion (2016), will be the silent assassin, sneaking onto the podium with a great run on SuperSunday.

1. Sebastian Montoya
2. Jeremy Fairbairn
3. Luca Mars
4. Connor Zilisch
5. Tyler Maxson


By the Numbers:

4 – Former SuperNationals winners

14 – Drivers racing both X30 and KA100

20 – Number of drivers who raced Mini last year

33 – International drivers

77 – Entered drivers


Provisional Entry List – X30 Junior

SuperNats22-Entry List-X30Junior

No. Driver Team Chassis Hometown Country
709 Garrett Adams Comet Kart Sales FA Kart Greenfield IN US
737 Ian Aguilera Team GFC Tony Kart MX
734 Pedro Aizza Rolison Performance Group Kosmic BR
773 Justin Arseneau Speed Concepts Racing Tony Kart Morin-Heights QC CA
735 Nicolas Baptiste Team Montoya Tony Kart Key Biscayne FL US
741 Fernando Barrichello NF Piquet Sports Kosmic Windermere FL BR
742 Felipe Barrichello Bartz Orlando Karting Center Tony Kart Orlando FL BR
791 Cooper Becklin Go Kart Hero Birel ART West Linn OR US
705 Aaron Benoit CompKart CompKart Jupiter FL US
793 Luka Berazategui SLA Karting Racing Tony Kart CL
717 Joey Brienza Nash Motorsportz FA Kart Golden CO US
744 John Burke Iron Rock Motorsports Tony Kart Carrollton TX US
798 Oliver Calvo PKS Kart Supplies Parolin Stockton CA US
726 Han Cenyu KartSport North America Kart Republic CN
722 Dylan Christie Mike Doty Racing Kosmic Princeton NJ US
765 Mackenzie Clark Prime Power Team Birel ART Campbellville ON CA
703 Diego Contecha Orsolon Racing Parolin CO
752 Jak Crawford Nash Motorsportz FA Kart Conroe TX US
716 Adrian Cruz Crosslink Competition Tony Kart Fort Worth TX US
702 Andres Perez De Lara RPL Racing Tony Kart MX
708 Jace Denmark-Gessel Ryan Perry Motorsport Tony Kart Phoenix AZ US
1 Arias Deukmedjian Leading Edge Motorsports Praga Merritt Island FL US
762 Nicolas Fabris NF Piquet Sports Kosmic BR
3 Jeremy Fairbairn Supertune USA Tony Kart Wellington FL US
730 Pedro Ferro NF Piquet Sports Kosmic BR
700 Gabriel Fonseca NF Piquet Sports Kosmic BR
779 Aidan Fox Mike Doty Racing Tony Kart Redding CT US
731 Alejandro Garcia HR Motorsports FA Kart MX
756 Jorge Garciarce Team Montoya Tony Kart MX
720 Jose Garfias RPL Racing Tony Kart MX
755 Reece Gold FA Kart Ft. Lauderdale FL US
757 Tyler Gonzalez Team Benik OTK St. Cloud FL US
719 Kas Haverkort CRG Nordam CRG NL
768 Ethan Ho APM Racing OTK City of Industry CA US
799 Alexandru Iancu Real Racing Maranello RO
704 Tymoteusz Kucharczyk Orsolon Racing Parolin PL
761 Luke Lange Luke Lange Racing Kosmic Camarillo CA US
775 Ricardo Lechuga Orsolon Racing Tony Kart MX
797 Alex Lloyd Formula K / LEM Formula K GB
733 Jalen Mack Mack Motorsports OTK Chino Hills CA US
711 Jonathon Marcusson Praga Praga AU
706 Matthew Marrocco OTK IT
747 Luca Mars Speed Concepts Racing Tony Kart Sewickley PA US
770 Joao Matos Kosmic BR
767 Tyler Maxson CRG Nordam CRG Lawrenceville GA US
750 Lucas Mendes Russo Racing Kosmic BR
746 Gabriele Mini Parolin USA Parolin IT
701 Gil Molina TB Kart Austin TX MX
758 Sebastian Montoya Team Montoya Tony Kart Key Biscayne FL US
763 Cole Morgan Ryan Perry Motorsport FA Kart Anahaim CA US
780 Frankie Mossman Formula Works CompKart La Verne CA US
724 Thomas Nepveu PSL Karting Birel ART CA
718 Aidan O’Neill Ron White Racing CRG San Rafael CA US
721 Maximilian Opalski FA Kart Conifer CO US
712 Diego Perez Petkova CRG MX
714 Josh Pierson Rolison Performance Group Kosmic Wilsonville OR US
749 Luke Pink Praga Praga AU
707 Jaiden Pope CompKart AU
778 Santiago Ramos Reynoso GP RACING GP Kart MX
715 Santiago Robles Orsolon Racing Tony Kart San Antonio TX MX
725 Maguet Sacha PSL Karting Birel ART FR
783 Dustin Salaverria Nash Motrosportz Tony Kart San Francisco CA US
727 Tagosam Salazar RPL Racing Tony Kart MX
771 Caleb Shrader Rolison Performance Group Kosmic Tigard OR US
759 Nolan Siegel Speedsense Motorsports Aluminos Portola Valley CA US
777 Kyffin Simpson Speed Concepts Racing Tony Kart Middletown NY BB
743 Alan Tang Parolin USA Parolin San Marino CA US
788 Nicholas Terlecki Franklin Motorsports Merlin Elgin IL US
769 Branyon Tiner Brash Racing Tony Kart Angleton TX US
723 Santiago Trisini KartSport North America Kart Republic Miami FL VE
795 Edoardo Ludovico Villa TB Kart USA TB Kart Orsenigo CO IT
751 Angus Wallace KartSport North America Kosmic AU
713 James Wharton KartSport North America FA Kart AU
710 Jacob Yesnick Yesnick Racing Fullerton Rancho Palos Verdes CA US
754 Nicola Zecchinato AKT Racing Tony Kart CR
772 Connor Zilisch Late Apex Kartworks Tony Kart Matthews NC US
760 Erick Zuniga Team Montoya Tony Kart MX

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