Race Report: IKF Northern California Sprint Kart Series – Buttonwillow Raceway Park

The IKF Northern California Sprint Kart Series (NCSKS) continued its season over the Memorial Day Weekend, heading to Buttonwillow Raceway Park and the 0.7 mile National layout. It was the furthest south many competitors had traveled in recent memory, with several making their very first laps at the popular karting track just outside Bakersfield, CA. This also brought several new faces into the fold for the series, and it was some of these new names sharing time at the front, and even walking away with some wins.

Junior 1 podium

The 4-cycle classes were the talk of the town all weekend, but hat tip to the 2-cycle drivers that made the trip, with Jeff Rice bringing home the first place trophy in KA Senior presented by Leading Edge Motorsports, Alex Rantala in KA Junior presented by Mega Power Racing Engines with Bristol Borneman in 2nd, and the podium of 125cc Shifter category presented by Driving Ambition: Seth Huntley (1st), Colby Romero (2nd), and Dan Laporta (3rd).

Masters 206 presented by Unleashed Power would share the track with the Legends group, and it would be Jesse Gwin with command of the class for the duration of the weekend. Coming off a win in Masters at round #1, Gwin backed it up with a sweep of round #2, although he was pressured by Zach Sanborn on Sunday, who came up just short in the drag race to the line. Charles Burtoff would complete the podium for the 30+ aged category.

Multiple drivers shared a moment at the front in the Legends class presented by Step Up Karting, with John Durden the first one to strike with a pole position in qualifying. He would back that up with a win in heat #1 over Paul Booher and Tom Agan hot on his heels, but then in heat #2 it was Booher that found his way by. Durden and Agan would both spin in that heat and slip down the order, forced to put in more work come the Pre-Final, and they were joined in their run to the front by round #1 winner Frank Chavez. Agan looked to have the pace to take the fight to Booher late in the Pre-Final, but in the Final the pace waned, and he slipped back from the other front three. Booher would hold off charges from both Durden and Chavez, with John Durden settling for 2nd just off Paul Booher’s bumper in the end.

Junior 2 podium

Jr 1 206 presented by Speedsense Motorsports would see racing all up and down the field, but three drivers really rose above the rest. Kayden Williams would score the pole position in qualifying with Aiden Go in second, while Miles Boertje held on for third after losing a tire with just two laps completed. Boertje would prove that there was more pace in the tank when racing began, getting to the lead and pulling away for a convincing win over Williams and Go. The second heat saw Go supply pressure on Boertje, foreshadowing a closer fight come Sunday – and they did not disappoint in the Pre-Final. Boertje would slip back to 3rd with both Go and Williams finding their way by, but Miles would fight back, retaking the lead and holding off multiple attacks from both assailants. In the Final it was again a three horse race, but things would get more spread out, as Go would have to recover from an off track excursion, slipping all the way back to nearly last inside the first 5 laps. With less pressure than before, Miles Boertje would be able to pull away to a string win with Willaims scoring a strong points weekend in third, while Aiden Go rebounded to snag the final podium spot.

Jr 2 206 presented by Cole Nelson Racing/Invader saw another Boertje in the conversation for the win, this time with Wade Boertje right at the sharp end right from the get-go. He was one of a handful of drivers that showed they had the pace to win early, as qualifying would see the aforementioned Boerte nipped for top time by Gavin McCune by just .015 seconds, and Stephen Searock third just .048 from the top time. Once racing began though it was clear Gavin McCune had a staying power at the front, and drove to a dominant heat 1 win over Wade, round #1 winner Derek Dimandja, Jameson Gwinup, and Searock. Heat 2 would see McCune score another convincing win, while Boertje had things all go ary by getting pushed off in turn 1 at the start. Fortune flipped in the Pre-Final, as Gavin McCune suffered a mechanical issue and fell out early, while Wade Boertje scythed his way through the field to score the win, with Nate Spitz putting together a rebound performance of his own for second. In the Final it would be a mano-e-mano fight between Wade Boertje and Nate Spitz, the pair going back and forth throughout much of the race, while the rest of the pack battled behind them. Boertje would get the job done on the final lap with Spitz settling for second for the second event in a row, while round #1 winner Derek Dimandja claimed the final podium spot as best of the rest.

206 Senior podium

The Senior 206 presented by GFC category once again put on an exciting show, with the closest finishes of the weekend. Round #1 winner Kade Godbehere would best VLR stablemate and veteran 206 racer David Vasquez by just .054 seconds in qualifying, and from there it was nearly a carbon copy from what we saw at the opener. In Prairie City it was Godbehere and Chase Hand linking uop for the duration of their races, saving the fighting until the very end, and this time it was Vasquez that offered the pushing to Godbehere. The duo was unmatched in speed while linked up, pulling away to unchallenged 1-2 finishes in each heat and the Pre-Final, with Godbehere besting Vasquez in all three. Come the final on Sunday and Vasquez showed just how strong he was, getting shuffled to just outside the top 5 at the start, only to claw his way through the pack and link up once again with Kade. At the end of the 22 lap final it was Vasquez in the lead, with it all coming down to the final corners: side by side entering the chicane onto the straight, a pair of crossovers from Godbehere, but Vasquez held him off by just .034 seconds at the line. Behind them a similar fight would be seen between two more VLR drivers, and again experience bested exuberance as Sophia Storey got the job done over William Wallis to bring home the final podium spot.

The IKF NorCal Sprint Kart Series heads to Medford, Oregon on June 24-25 for the third of five rounds in the 2023 season, with registration opening up on Monday June 5th! For more info on the series, championship points, full results and more, check out norcalsks.com!

Full Round #2 Results: https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Events/2230955

Championship Standings: https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Organizations/54390/Championships

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