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SKUSA Pro Tour

EKN Trackside: 2024 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour WinterNationals – Saturday Report
Sunday, 10 March 2024 10:21

Finnegan Bayliff secured his first SKUSA Pro Tour victory in KA100 Senior (Photo: EKN)

A warm and sunny day kicked off the 2024 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour WinterNationals at the Orlando Kart Center. Saturday’s racing featured a full round of racing for the Semi-Pro categories while a new era began for the two Pro divisions with Qualifying, Super Pole and Prefinal sessions took place during the evening hours in Orlando, Florida. The highlight of the day was the KA100 Senior main event where Finnegan Bayliff won in a dramatic finish with the Trinity Karting Group driver securing his first career SKUSA Pro Tour victory.

The Sodi Racing USA KA100 Senior category began with rookie Steven Miller (Nash / EOS) leading the 40-driver field in the timed qualifying session with a 56.115 lap time, beating out Collin Lloyd (Inter MS / Kart Republic) and Stephen Eisert (Sodi Racing USA). The Prefinal was a precursor to what we would get in the main event with Lloyd winning on the last lap over Miller and Peyton Phillips (RPM / Tony Kart). The final was two drivers up front after the red flag for Mario Barrios on the opening lap and early shuffling on the restart. Lloyd and Fernando Leque (Supertune USA / Tony Kart) were nose to tail and able to get away from the rest of the field, including Finnegan Bayliff (Trinity / Kart Republic) in third. Once the top two began shuffling for the spot, this brought Bayliff and others back into the mix. As they made their way through the two hairpins at the start of the lap, Phillips moved up to second on the bumper of Lloyd. Entering the sweeper, Phillips made contact with Lloyd’s bumper, sending both sideways. Lloyd pushed to the outside while Phillips was in the middle of the track. Bayliff slipped by both as Luque slammed into Phillips. This allowed Bayliff to lead the final lap, securing his first SKUSA Pro Tour victory. Cameron Weinberg (CDR / Kart Republic) made his way through nearly the entire field after starting 35th due to a Prefinal incident. He was sitting fifth when all this was happening, and was able to knife through the wreck to finish second as Eli Warren (Redspeed) crossed the line in third. A pushback bumper penalty dropped him off the podium, putting James Overbeck (BJR-MDR / Tony Kart) into third after pulling off a 360 degree spin in the air earlier during the race. Kane Martin (Nash / EOS) completed the top-five.

Diego Ardiles held on to score his first X30 Junior SKUSA Pro Tour win (Photo: EKN)

The Rolison Performance Group X30 Junior class was a battle between two teams and five drivers. The RPG / Kosmic drivers of Diego Ardiles, Victor de Alencar and Turner Brown were up against SCR / Redspeed pilots of Sarah Bradley and Jackson Wolny – who spun in the Prefinal but worked his way back to sixth in the end. Ardiles set fast time in qualifying and won the Prefinal to lead the 20-driver field to the green flag in the Final. He and De Alencar swapped the top spot over several laps until Ardiles assumed the spot with six to go. As they were fighting, Brown was coming up from the back of the field after a Prefinal incident took him out on the last lap. Once into the top-five, he fought up into second spot to challenge for the lead. As they made their way around the last lap, contact sent Brown into the barriers in the final corner with Ardiles driving to the victory ahead of de Alencar. Bradley was able to come through in third ahead of Wolny while Alexnader Vanchev (Zanella / Tony Kart) completed the top-five.

Enzo Vidmontiene begins the SKUSA Pro Tour as race winner in KA100 Junior (Photo: EKN)

The fight in the Nash Motorsportz KA100 Junior class came down to a two-driver fight. Enzo Vidmontiene (Trinity / Kart Republic) and Jackson Wolny (SCR / Redspeed) – up from 13th – were the top two drivers in the second half of the 20-lap race. Vidmontiene led the first half with Wolny at the point in the second. Coming to the white flag, Vidmontiene took over the lead and the two were able to go back and forth, eventually with the Kart Republic driver reaching the flag first to claim the victory. Wolny settled for second with Ty Fisher (Racelab / TB Kart) winning the battle for third ahead of Turner Brown (RPG / Kosmic) and Diego Ardiles (RPG / Kosmic).

Scott Barnes swept the action in Master Shifter (Photo: EKN)

It was a sweep on the day for Scott ‘Skitchy’ Barnes in the Fury Motorsports Master Shifter class. Barnes (Maranello USA) set fast time in qualifying and won the Prefinal. After Joe Ruch (Maranello USA) led the opening lap, Barnes took over and they began working their way through KA100 Master traffic that was on track at the same time. Ruch kept the pressure on Barnes throughout the race until his pace began to drop, and eventually his left rear tire broke off at the hub. This gave Barnes a clear path to the victory with Juan Pablo Rico (URACE / Sodi Kart) in second and Luis Quinones (LFB / Tony Kart) in third. Attrition throughout the field promoted Ken Schilling to fourth and Fabio Mendonca (Birel ART) into the top-five.

Charlie Fonseca came through with the victory in KA100 Master (Photo: EKN)

Things shook up in the Inter MS KA100 Master class for the main event. Mario Barrios (RPG / Kosmic) suffering injuries in the a red flag during the KA100 Senior main event took him out of the class. This allowed Jakab Nyiri (AEM / Kosmic) to show the way in the main event for the first half until Charlie Fonseca (Zanella / Kosmic) came through to take over the point. One there, he went on to the victory over Nyiri. Diego Rodriguez (Alessandros / OTK) and Roben Rovelo (Alessandros / OTK) finished third and fourth after a heated fight, only to be removed from the results for engine tech and coming in underweight. This promoted Alfonso Santiago (Orsolon / Tony Kart) to third with defending champion Tom Gerstner (Magik Kart USA) fourth and Michel Garrido (Alessandros / OTK) completing the top-five.

A thrilling first SKUSA Pro Tour victory for Lourenzo Varela in Mini Swift (Photo: EKN)

It appeared to be an Alessandro Truchot show in the Trinity Karting Group Mini Swift class. Truchot (Parolin USA) set fast time in qualifying, edging out Lourenzo Varela (Sodi Racing USA) by just 18 thousandths. The Prefinal was all Truchot, winning the race by over three seconds. Varela was able to keep pace in the 18-lap Final, staying on Truchot’s bumper through the first half of the race. She took the lead on lap 15, leading for two laps before Truchot took the spot back. On the final circuit, Varela was able to grab the top spot from Truchot, reaching the checkered flag first to claim her first SKUSA Pro Tour victory. SKUSA Winter Series champion Royce Vega (Team Benik) came on late, slipping up to second in the run to the line and only 82 thousandths short at the line. This put Truchot third with Valentino Santillan (Sodi Racing USA) fourth and Marco Sammut (BJR-MDR / LN Racing Kart) in fifth.

Zayne Burgess held on to claim the win in Micro Swift (Photo: EKN)

Some of the best talent in North America battled for the victory in the JNM Racing Micro Swift class. SKUSA Winter Series champion Zayne Burgess (Sodi Racing USA) set fast time in qualifying until Santiago Orioli (MPG / Kart Republic) fought up to the Prefinal win. It was Orioli leading the first 10 laps of the 18-lap Final until Burgess took the lead and bringing Marina Brandad (Praga USA) with him. On lap 15, Brandad took the top spot over and led up to the white flag. On the final circuit, Burgess was able to steal the position away with a pass in turn 10, reaching the checkered flag first by 57 thousandths to claim the victory. Orioli finished third with Lucca Becerril (Orsolon / Parolin) in fourth and Liam Nachawati (Parolin USA) completing the top-five.

Alessandro de Tullio was strong in the Pro X30 Prefinal (Photo: EKN)

The first ever SKUSA Pro Show program took place on Saturday with the X30 and Shifter classes running Qualifying, Super Pole and an 18-lap Prefinal. Ryan Norberg (RPG / Kosmic) and Harley Keeble (Sodi Racing USA) were the two leaders in Pro X30 presented by Speed Concepts Racing qualifying, taking 12 drivers over to the Super Pole session. That is where Norberg posted a 54.139 lap to earn the first Super Pole top time with Dalton Hanes (Sodi Racing USA) ending up second over Diego Ramos (PSL / Birel ART). Alessandro de Tullio (Inter MS / Kart Republic) showed his strength in the Prefinal. He led the opening lap coming up from fourth before Norberg took back the position to lead until lap seven. De Tullio retook the top spot, with Hanes and Keeble dropping Norberg down to fourth. Leading the remainder of the race, de Tullio scored the race win ahead of Keeble with Norberg back up to third. Diego Ramos (PSL / Birel ART) pushed Hanes back to fifth to set the grid for the main event on Sunday.

Holeshot victory for Danny Formal in Pro Shifter Prefinal (Photo: EKN)

The PSL Karting Pro Shifter division was the last on the track at the end of the day with the sun setting for their Prefinal. Prior to that, defending SKUSA Pro Tour champion Marijn Kremers (RPG / Kosmic) and Matheus Morgatto (PSL / Birel ART) were the top two drivers in the split sessions for qualifying to determine the 12 drivers transferring to the Super Pole session. In the Green-White-Checkered session, Kremers was able to post a 50.759-lap to edge out four-time SuperNationals winner Danny Formal (RPG / Kosmic) by over a tenth. The holeshot went to Formal – who spent the day testing at Sebring for his sportscar program. Formal led all 18 laps to claim the win over Kremers as the real battle was for third. Giorgio Carrara (Inter MS / Kart Republic) ran third for the entire distance, but was challenged late by the 2022 FIA Karting World Champion Morgatto. The two battled throughout the lap, including a cut track by Carrara after contact by Morgatto. They would cross the line third and fourth with Carrara in third, however, penalties to both dropped them to seventh and eight respectively. This puts Kyle Wick (GFC Karting) to third on the grid for the Final with Jacob Gulick (GFC Karting) on the outside of row tow as Kiwi Jay Urwin (PSL / Birel ART) was classified fifth.

The action continues on Sunday at the Orlando Kart Center for the 2024 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour WinterNationals with Round Two for the Semi-Pro divisions and the main events for the new Pro Show.