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SKUSA Pro Tour

EKN Trackside: 2023 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SpringNationals – Sunday Report
Sunday, 11 June 2023 00:00

Jacob Gulick completed the double in Pro Shifter with victory in the main event on Sunday (Photo:

While the potential for rain was in the forecast throughout the weekend at the Utah Motorsports Campus for this year’s Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SpringNationals, the wet stuff didn’t arrive until the second half of the KA100 Senior main event on Sunday, and even then, not in enough quantity to bring the race to a halt. After a short lightning break as the small storm cell passed through, the Mini Swift drivers took to a damp track, and the decision to go with slicks or wets made things intriguing. More on that later. Overall, the day’s racing was ultra-aggressive once again, and even the drivers commented on the poor racecraft in post-race interviews. Despite this aggression, or maybe because of it, the racing in the headline X30 Senior and Pro Shifter categories was edge-of-your-seat type of stuff.

In the Pro Shifter class, GFC Karting’s Jacob Gulick (GFC) backed up his breakout win on Saturday to score another triumph over the stacked field of gearbox racers, having to come back from a tough start that dropped him to third. The X30 Senior race was as wild as expected, and with six drivers in the hunt, J3 Competition’s Oliver Hodgson (CompKart) emerged from the inferno to score his first major national SKUSA victory in the United States. The day also saw new winners, as eight categories battled for wins in Round Four of the SKUSA Pro Tour.

Oliver Hodsgon was able to break through with that first SKUSA Pro Tour victory in X30 Senior (Photo:

PSL Karting Pro Shifter saw the top-three finish where they started, with GFC pilot Jacob Gulick taking the top step of the podium, sweeping the weekend in the top-level shifter class. Gulick had to do a little work this time around, as the drying track from the Mini Swift race left in the inside row of the starting grid rather slick. At the lights, Gulick struggled for grip which allowed his GFC teammate Kyle Wick to bolt away with the lead over former FIA Karting KZ World Champion and reigning SKUSA Pro Tour champion Marijn Kremers (PSL / Birel ART). Gulick went to work and found his way past both drivers to assume the lead by lap seven, eventually pulling out to a 1.444-second cushion to complete his stunning sweep of the weekend. Wick held Kremers at bay for the entire race, giving team owner Gary Carlton his second consecutive 1-2 finish on the weekend. Nic LeDuc (TKC / Sodi Kart) turned in a stellar performance, chasing his teammate Senna Van Walstijn (TKC / Sodi Kart) for much of the race until the Dutchman retired with a brake issue. This opened the door for LeDuc to run clear to an impressive fourth, finish ahead of gained Pro Tour Round One winner Danny Formal (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic). Formal was able to salvage a solid finish to cap what was a trying weekend.

British driver Harley Keeble secured his first SKUSA Pro Tour victory in KA100 Senior (Photo:

On a weekend where several drivers showed race-winning pace, and even more who could contend for a podium, Speed Concepts Racing X30 Senior put on a show once again. CompKart’s Oliver Hodgson was the driver to beat throughout Sunday, qualifying on pole and fighting through to the Prefinal win. The British driver backed that up with a victory in the main event after a wild battle up front, finishing just a few tenths ahead fellow countrymen Joe Turney (CDR / Kart Republic) after taking the lead away from him at the beginning of the final lap. Turney climbed up 13 spots in the Final from 15th after getting airborne in the Prefinal, gaining eight positions on the opening lap. Ryan Norberg (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) also had a mountain to climb starting outside the top-10, but he delivered an impressive performance as he fought his way forward to finish third in the final scrum, securing his third podium finish of the season. Prime Powersport had Alessandro de Tullio (Birel ART) fighting for them at the front of a stacked X30 Senior grid, ultimately finishing in fourth. Diego Ramos (PSL Karting) brought home a second top-five for Birel ART, finishing where he started in fifth.

Ernesto Rivera drove to his second X30 Junior victory on the season (Photo:

It was during the Nash Motorsportz KA100 Senior main event when the light rain arrived, which added another layer to the story line as the lap times dropped off considerably during the final laps. A four-driver group lined up for the fight over the last three circuits that included Peyton Phillips (RPM / Tony Kart), Saturday winner Collin Lloyd (SCR / Redspeed), Harley Keeble (Piquet Sport / Sodi Kart), and a rapidly closing Vinnie Meskelis (Tony Kart). Lloyd appeared to catch Phillips off-guard with a strong move for the lead in the Bus Stop, and while Lloyd led at the stripe to begin the final lap, Keeble crossed him over in Turn 1 and came out with the lead. The final lap and final corners were electric as Keeble was pushed wide slightly in Turn 13, but he was able to hold onto the lead while chaos ensued behind him. A two-wide and three-row deep scrap developed through the chicane and through the final corners, which saw Lloyd and Aiden Levy (Team Tarp / Alonso Kart) to finish second and third. Zak Meyer (RPG / Kosmic) was the huge winner of the final lap dice as he emerged in fourth, advancing a staggering 23 positions after starting 27th. Finnegan Bayliff (TKG / Kart Republic) was also a benefactor, stealing fifth as he moved up 17 positions through the 20-lap contest.

Rolison Performance Group took yet another win in the aptly named Rolison Performance Group X30 Junior class, this time with Ernesto Rivera (Kosmic) taking top honors. Rivera pulled away steadily in the race and ended up posting a 3.319-second victory. Anthony Martella (SCR / Redspeed) chased Rivera throughout the run and ended up alone in second, yet another strong finish. Jensen Burnett (CDR / DAP) wrapped up an impressive weekend in Utah with a podium run to third to put two Canadians on the podium. Behind the front running trio, RPG teammates Jackson Wolny (Kosmic) and Saturday winner Max Taylor (Kosmic) finished their day in fourth and fifth respectively, with Wolny laying down a purple fast lap in the main event.

Enzo Vidmontiene became the third different winner on the season in KA100 Junior (Photo:

Enzo Vidmontiene (MottazSport / Kart Republic) brought home the win in Greyhound Racing Seats KA100 Junior, gaining nine positions in the Final, but it was a battle for certain as the last two laps were thrilling. Vidmontiene had worked his way up the field from outside the top-10, giving the Floridian some much-needed points in the championship fight. The fight for the race win throughout the final circuits started with Ernesto Rivera (RPG / Kosmic) leading Vidmontiene, although the defensive tactics of the leaders brought more karts into the fray as they closed on the checkered flag. It all came to a head on the final lap in the Turn 13 left-hander as Rivera, Steven Miller (CDR / Kart Republic) and Keagan Kaminski (Formula Works / GFC) stacked things up entering the turn and pushed past the apex, which allowed Vidmontiene to drop a perfectly timed over-under to emerge from the corner with the lead. He’d cruise through the final corners to score an amazing victory. Behind Vidmontiene, Miller and Rivera were side-by-side through the last complex of corners and Rivera ended up being run out of room and was forced through the gravel. Miller was second across the line, but a jumpstart penalty dropped him to seventh. This advanced Kaminski to the runner-up position, which was a great result for the young Californian after dropping back to ninth on the start. Victor de Alencar (Zanella Racing / Tony Kart) was part of the group that came back into the fight when the leaders started battling, and he capitalized on the opportunity by taking home a third-place finish. Turner Brown (Speed Concepts Racing / Redspeed) took fourth; yet another impressive finish in his first full season of Junior racing. Behind Brown, Rivera ended up fifth as he came back on-track through the final corner.

Luis Quinones added a second Master Shifter victory on the weekend (Photo:

International Motorsport Master Shifter saw Luis Quinones (Factory Kart) back up his Saturday win on Sunday, sharing the podium with Indiana’s Robert Fiege (VTM / TB Kart) in second and Michael Guasch (Maranello SRP / Maranello) in third. Quinones did not have it easy, as he had a spark plug connection issue off the line, and fell to third ahead of Fiege. Determined, he put his head down and pushed back forward as Guasch took the lead from Luis Gautier (PSL Karting / Birel ART). Gautier pulled a big gap early, but an issue hampered his speed and Guasch took over the lead on lap eight, right before Gautier eventually retired. Guasch led the next seven laps, having pulled in early in the Prefinal to preserve his tires. This strategy worked to his advantage as he was quick through the middle laps of the race, but after hounding the leader relentlessly, Quinones finally made his way through on lap 15 with a move to the inside in Turn 1. Fiege slipped by for second in the waning laps as well to complete the podium.

Rain tire selection for the Final helped Lucas Palacio lock up a second straight Mini Swift victory (Photo:

The Evinco Tires Mini Swift main event was the highlight of the day when it came to excitement and intrigue as they were the first class after the rain and lightning delay. On the grid, several teams elected to make the move to slick tires, expecting the track to dry out. The front row was the perfect case study, with polesitter Lucas Palacio (TKG / Kart Republic) sticking with the wets and outside starter Michael McGaughy (RPM / Nitro) on the slicks. It became quickly clear at the green flag that the wets were the way to go as they were over 10 seconds faster in the immediate conditions, which allowed Palacio to run away and hide. While dries would eventually turn the tide and allow a handful of drivers to power through the field into the top-10 by the checkered flag, many of those who went with the slicks were quickly lapped and black-flagged off the track. In the end, Palacio drove away to a 10.921-second win over Ashton Woon (Supertune / Parolin), who needed to get around both Matteo Quinto (TBR / Tony Kart) and Bronson Koustas (Nash / Energy) to secure the second step on the podium. Quinto did an amazing job, gaining 25 positions in tough conditions to finish third. Koustas finished fourth while Alexis Baillargeon (PSL / Birel ART) was the star of the dry tire contingent, cashing in on the team’s bold call to finish fifth after passing 22 drivers as his tires finally came in.

A career first victory for Josh Bergman in Micro Swift (Photo:

Sodi Kart USA took home the win in Sodi Kart USA Micro Swift at the hands of Piquet Sports America driver Josh Bergman, who advanced three spots for the victory. Behind him, Saturday winner Juan Diego Garciarce (Orsolon / Parolin) came home in the runner-up spot after starting from the pole position in the Final. On the third and final step of the podium, Colton Schniegenberg (GWR / Energy Kart) made up two spots to secure a top-three finish. Just off the podium, Isaac Payn (MottazSport / Parolin) and Greyson Walcott (Pole Position Motorsports / Parolin) finish fourth and fifth, both gaining three positions from their starting spots. Any early-race incident dropped frontrunners Liam Nachawati (Parolin USA / Parolin) and Maxwell Macha (SLA / Sodi Kart) and deep in the field, although they fought back to finish seventh and eighth respectively. Garciarce and Schniegenberg ran away for a time, but their close racing brought Bergman back into the battle on the final laps. Bergman joined the fight to start the penultimate lap, but it all came down to the final three corners as Garciarce pushed wide in Turn 16 forcing Schniegenberg off-line. Bergman tucked low and as the first driver into the final complex of corners he emerged with the lead and only just nipped a charging Garciarce at the line by four thousandths of a second.

The weather that flirted with the racing all day arrived in force at the end of the day, with wind hammering the facility. As the teams worked in the driving wind to carefully disassemble their tents and awnings, SKUSA wisely cancelled the award presentations. From here, the Superkarts! USA Pro Tour focus will move to the SKUSA SummerNationals at New Castle Motorsports Park on July 28-30 in New Castle, Indiana to decide this year’s series champions.