ROK Sonoma Presented by Sanzaru Completes First Event of 2021
It was a kickoff to a new season of racing at the ROK Sonoma Presented by Sanzaru and it was met with both joy and drama as the first event came to a close. Naming their 2020 perpetual award winners prior to the start of wheel-to-wheel action, a good day of racing was in store for nearly 100 West Coast ROKKERS. Utilizing the new Kart Pass App for registration, an easy online experience provided racers with simplicity and a touchless experience during these crazy Covid-19 times across the globe.
The opening weekend would be met with drama as a timing loop issue in the middle of the day put the competition at a standstill. The innovative ROK Sonoma officials went from their normal two pre main format to one as timing and scoring officials hand scored and used video footage to keep track of the on-track results and determine winners in a systematic format that provided very little issues, but a lot of work.
“Thank you to all the teams, drivers and supporters that helped us kick off our 2021 season,” explained Steve Cameron. “I know we had some speed bumps along the way, but that only helps us in getting better for the future. A huge thank you to our staff for soldiering through the event and big thanks to Mike Schorn for his work coming up with a solution to fix the problem before the Mains.”
Prior to the event, the recipients of the 2020 Perpetual awards were announced. Taking home the honors were the following:
Master Driver of the of Year – Steven Piggott
Senior Driver of the Year – Aiden O’Neill
Junior Driver of the Year – Christian Cameron
Rising Star – Brody Budelli
Mechanic of the year – Mike DeRosier
Memo Gidley Award – Gary Carlton
Once the wheel-to-wheel racing got started, there were close battles in many of the classes while others had dominating performances.
80 Masters & 125 Limited
It was Steven Piggott that scored the victory in the 125 Shifter LTD class as he secured the checkered flag by 1.761 over Richard Hilleman despite Hilleman earning the fastest lap of the race honors. Piggott swept the day with the pole position and prefinal win. Nicholas Colyvas scored the fastest lap of the one and only heat race and joined Piggott and Hilleman on the podium in the main event in third as Roger Cornwall and Dee Baldwin rounded out the top five of the eighteen lap main final. Tom Nelson scored the race win in 80cc Masters as he bested Dave Holstein
Junior 100cc / Master 100cc
Claiming the pole position by a scant .030, Alex Rantala would start the 100cc Junior prefinal from the pole position but could not hold onto the premiere spot. With Rantala falling to fourth, it was Preston Lambert that rose to the occasion as he earned the prefinal victory ahead of Christian Cameron, Anthony White, Rantala and Valen Venkatesh. A shakeup in the main event saw the top two swap positions as Cameron scored his first win of 2021 beating Lambert to the flag by .023. Venkatesh advanced forward to finish third, just ahead of White and Rantala who rounded out the top five. Jess Peterson swept the weekend in the Master 100cc class taking the pole position, prefinal win and main event victory with Arul Venkatesh coming home second.
Sweeping the day in the Master ROK category was Patrick Beckley as he was another ROKKER that was able to take the pole position, heat race win and top the podium blocks after the main event. Dominating the final to win by 12.791, David Palic was the best of the rest in second finishing just over one second ahead of the third-place driver, Daniel Jones. Hunter Hagenbuch crossed the line in fourth with Georgios Georgiou coming home fifth, despite turning the fastest lap of the day’s final.
Master ROK Shifter
Kevin Woods picked up where he left off last season as he was once again the driver to beat in Master ROK Shifter. Converting his pole position into a prefinal win, Woods went on to secure the victory by 4.052 in the main event, besting Neil Joseph and Adam White battled hard for the second step of the podium. Ryan Yop finished nearly 12 seconds in arrears of the race winner as Travis Bowles rounded out the top five to have a good start to his season.
Mini ROK & Micro ROK
Nico Sarphati was the driver to beat in Mini ROK earning his first ROK Sonoma win of the 2021 season in the opening round. Adding to his dominate weekend that included a pole position and prefinal win, Sarphati finished 6.276 in front of Devin Walz and Cypress Andruss. Turner Brown was able to earn the fourth position on track as he finished just ahead of the second Walz driver in the field, Drew Walz in fifth.
Mateo Calderon proved that he was the top Micro ROK competitor in the opening event sweeping the official sessions and earning a solid points haul in round one. Julian Sanchez was the best of the rest with a second-place result as Landon Cordero-Dolph finished less than five seconds behind Calderon to join the first and second place finishers on the podium in Micro ROK.
Pro ROK Shifter
Hunter Pickett proved why he is one of the top ROK Shifter drivers on the west coast sweeping the opening round of the ROK Sonoma program. Earning the pole position, prefinal win and main event victory, Pickett is a name that has become synonymous in winning at the ROK Sonoma events. Aiden O’Neill was the best of the rest in the sixteen-kart field as he scored the fastest lap of the final to finish second. Kyle Wick and Cole Shade crossed the line in third and fourth as Keawn Tandon finished fifth.
It was Jacob Hoover that scored the pole position, but it was Kyriakos Sioukas who reigned supreme when the final checkered flag flew in the Senior 100cc class. Sioukas climbed to the win in the prefinal and held his own in the main event to earn the win by 3.305 ahead of perennial front runner Macy Williams. Hoover was able to hold on to the third position narrowly beating Eddie Shimmon and Gabe Tesch to the line as the third through sixth place drivers were separate by less than four tenths of a second at the finish line
The next event in the ROK Sonoma Presented by Sanzaru will be April 17 – 18 as ROKKERS will compete on the Reverse National Layout. Be sure to login to the Kart Pass App and get registered today!
For more information, visit ROK Sonoma Presented by Sanzaru online via their Facebook page by searching ROK Sonoma or at their website www.sanzarukarting.com. The ROK Cup USA ROK Fest Wets event will take place this coming weekend and if you are not participating, ROK Sonoma officials would like to invite you trackside to take in the action and plan for the 2021 edition of the event.