2019 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals – Preview

20th edition of event returns to Italy to crown this year’s Rotax world champions

Team USA: missing Jace Denmark-Gessel (Photo: Cody Schindel - CKN)

There is no other event like it in the world. The ‘Olympics of Karting’…where you have to earn your spot to compete against the best from around the globe. This week is Rotax week with the focus on the Circuito Internazionale Napoli with the 20th edition of the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. This is the second time the event has visited the Sarno, Italy facility, welcoming 360 drivers from 50 countries under one tent, vying to be one of the six world Rotax champions.

Competitors, families and Rotax distributors from around the world began gathering on Saturday for the registration process of the event with Sunday set aside for one of the most historic photographs each year – all 360 karts lined up on the front stretch. The six categories utilize brand new Rotax engines with chassis provided by Birel ART, Praga, Sodikart and CompKart for their respective categories. All karts have been raffled off today to each of the individual drivers. Action begins Monday on track with three rounds of practice before another three rounds on Tuesday. One final practice Wednesday morning sets the stage for qualifying before three rounds of heat races set the grids for the Prefinal. Mini and Micro Prefinals set the grid for their main events while the other categories will have those results added to the heat points to set the line up for each 36-kart field Finals.

In total, Team USA consists of 14 drivers in the six categories with a wide range of success, Rotax history and out-right speed. Joshua Bethune from New Zealand won his ticket at the Stars & Stripes Open in Pittsburgh and thus, his entry is also part of Team USA umbrella.

Event Information

Time Schedule

Live Timing


DD2: Birel ART (72 entries)

#413 – Max Hewitt

Hometown: Houston, Texas
Qualified: RTX All Star Finals (1st)
RMCGF Appearances: None


DD2 Masters: SodiKart (72 entries)

#507 – Tim Shutt

Hometown: Troutman, North Carolina
Qualified: Stars & Stripes Open (1st)
RMCGF Appearances: None

#514 – Derek Wang

Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Qualified: RTX All Star Finals (1st – Masters Max)
RMCGF Appearances: 8 – 2010, 2011 (DD2), 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 (DD2 Masters)

#527 – Nathan Mauel

Hometown: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Qualified: RTX All Star Finals (1st)
RMCGF Appearances: 8 – 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017 (DD2)


Junior: Praga (72 entries)

#202 – Joshua Pierson

Hometown: Wilsonville, Oregon
Qualified: Stars & Stripes Trophy (1st)
RMCGF Appearances: 1 – 2017

#205 – Luca Mars

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Qualified: Stars & Stripes Open (1st)
RMCGF Appearances: 2 – 2016 (Mini), 2018

#215 – Connor Zilisch

Hometown: Matthews, North Carolina
Qualified: RTX All Star Finals (1st)
RMCGF Appearances: None


Micro: Praga (36 entries)

#4 – Adam Brickley

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina
Qualified: Stars & Stripes Open (1st)
RMCGF Appearances: None

#9 – Ben Maier

Hometown: Stevensville, Maryland
Qualified: Stars & Stripes Open (2nd)
RMCGF Appearances: None


Mini: CompKart (36 entries)

#103 – Cameron Weinberg

Hometown: Carrollton, Georgia
Qualified: Stars & Stripes Open (1st)
RMCGF Appearances: None

#109 – Alex McPherson-Wiman

Hometown: Colorado
Qualified: Stars & Stripes Open (2nd)
RMCGF Appearances: None


Senior: SodiKart (72 entries)

#303 – Jace Denmark-Gessel

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
Qualified: Stars & Stripes Open (1st)
RMCGF Appearances: None

#304 – Ryan Norberg

Hometown: Orlando, Florida
Qualified: Stars & Stripes Trophy (1st)
RMCGF Appearances: 2 – 2013, 2014 (Junior)

#307 – Travis Wiley

Hometown: Austin, Texas
Qualified: RTX All Star Finals (replacing Nick Brueckner)
RMCGF Appearances: None


Team Canada:

Team Canada (Photo: Cody Schindel – CKN)

DD2

Davide Greco
Noel Dowler
Isaac Marritt

DD2 Masters

Alexandre Gautthier
Jared Freeston

Junior

Jason Leung
Justin Arseneau

Mini

Kieran Hartley

Senior

Griffin Dowler
Patrick Woods-Toth

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