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SKUSA Winter Series

EKN Trackside: 2024 Superkarts! USA Winter Series – AMR1 – Saturday Report
Sunday, 14 January 2024 04:45

Ryan Norberg claimed his first victory since the end of 2022 with solid run in Pro X30 (Photo: EKN)

The Superkarts! USA Winter Series kicked off the 2024 racing season on Saturday at the AMR Homestead-Miami Motorplex Presented by MG Tires with over 291 entries taking to the 0.7-mile, 12-turn in warm and windy conditions. With the mercury rising to the mid-80s in the high heat of the day and light showers making things interesting in between a few main events, Rolison Performance Group came away with a sweep of the headline Pro classes thanks to veteran performances by superstars Ryan Norberg and Danny Formal.

Heated early race action in the SpeedLab Racing Engines X30 Senior main event opened things up for a three-driver breakaway as top qualifier Ryan Norberg (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) led Austin Garrison (Speed Concepts Racing / Redspeed) and Alessandro de Tullio (Inter MS / Kart Republic) through the first half of the race. With Norberg beginning to stretch away from the duo as the race closed on the halfway point, de Tullio realized the situation and moved by Garrison in turn four to take up the chase. While he was able to build a little cushion on Garrison, de Tullio was just not able to reel in the five-time SKUSA Pro Tour champion. Norberg would cruise to a 1.164-second win. The fastest driver at the halfway point was top qualifier Jakob Kolar (Vice Racing / Kart Republic), who passed Canadian Thomas Nepveu (Trinity Karting Group / Kart Republic) for fourth as he put his head down to push for a podium finish.

Danny Formal came off his SuperNats 26 victory to win the first Pro Shifter outing in 2024 (Photo: EKN)

Over the final circuits, Garrison dialed up the intensity with Kolar pressuring him from behind. The race would come to a head coming to the white flag as Kolar got into Garrison as he defended in the final corner, sending him to the barriers on the outside of the track. Garrison was able to continue to finish eighth while de Tullio took second. Nepveu took advantage of the Garrison-Kolar contact to slip through for third. Kolar maintained his forward momentum after the contact to finish fourth while Harley Keeble (Sodi Racing USA / Sodi Kart) advanced to fifth. Prefinal winner Donovan Bonilla (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) slipped down the order early and fought back to sixth.

Like he did in the Prefinal, Danny Formal (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) grabbed the holeshot in the 22-lap PSL Karting Pro Shifter main event with a strong over-under move between turns one and two. Fast qualifier and Prefinal winner Alan Isambard (Piquet Sports / Sodi Kart) slotted into second to begin the fight. A late move to the turn one apex on lap seven put Isambard back into the lead, but not surprisingly the SuperNats-winning RPG driver parked himself on the bumper of the new leader. Formal went back to the point with a move into turn five just before the halfway point, and this brought PSL Karting’s Matheus Morgatto (Birel ART) into the fray. Gavin Bayliff (Trinity Karting Group / Kart Republic) was not far back either, having moved past Vincenzo Sarracino (Maranello Kart USA / Maranello).

Morgatto made his move on Isambard on lap 12, and this set off the fireworks that allowed Formal to get away. The fight for second got electric at this point, as Morgatto, Sarracino, Isambard, and Bayliff all started to get their elbows up. Thanks to all this action, Formal enjoyed a lead of over three seconds with five laps to go. Morgatto pulled out a little cushion in second over a fight between Sarracino and Isambard, but once the Sodi Kart driver was able to get back to third, he cut the gap down to just eight tenths at the checkered. Formal won by over two seconds with Morgatto and Isambard on the podium. Sarracino did well to hold off a charging Bayliff for the last lap for fourth. Bermuda’s Scott Barnes (Magik Kart USA / Magik Kart) won in the Inter MS Master Shifter class over Frank Runco (Magik Kart USA / Magik Kart).

Solid performance for Alessandro de Tullio for the victory in KA100 Senior (Photo: EKN)

Inter MS driver Alessandro de Tullio (Kart Republic) made quick work of the 45-driver Sodi Racing USA KA100 Senior field, picking up where he left off in the Prefinal, getting away early in the 22-lap main event to cruise to the win. De Tullio was up by over three seconds by the halfway point but backed off in the late going to win by 2.680 seconds, scoring the first major series triumph for the Inter MS operation with his sweep on the day. The fight for the final positions on the podium was waged by SuperNationals winner Ernesto Rivera (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic), Collin Lloyd (Inter MS / Kart Republic), and Junior rookie Steven Miller (Nash Motorsportz / EOS). Rivera left the trio over the second half of the race, leaving Miller and Lloyd to fight for third. As they scrapped for the last step on the podium, Donovan Bonilla (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) and Leonardo Escorpioni (Zanella Racing / Tony Kart) arrived on the scene, with Bonilla moving into fourth behind Lloyd. On the final run down the backstraight, Lloyd defended to the inside and contact from behind pushed both he and Bonilla wide on the exit, allowing Miller to over-under to steal away third for a podium in his Senior debut.

Late charge paid off for SuperNationals winner Turner Brown in X30 Junior (Photo: EKN)

Diego Ardiles (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) walked away in the Prefinal to start on the pole position for the Rolison Performance Group-sponsored X30 Junior class, pulling out to over a second lead at the halfway point. SuperNationals winner Turner Brown (Speed Concepts Racing / Redspeed) did not let up in his chase, as he worked to clear himself from Enzo Vidmontiene (Trinity Karting Group / Kart Republic). Over the final laps of the race, Brown had whittled the lead down to just under eight tenths and was within striking distance with two to go. The duo swapped the top spot to start lap 21 in turn one and two, but Ardiles was able to hold the position. On the final lap, Ardiles led by two kart lengths coming out of the turn four hairpin, but Brown lunged for the apex in turn five as Ardiles did not defend, taking a lead he would not relinquish through to the checkered flag. Brown celebrated his first SKUSA Winter Series victory as top qualifier Ardiles settled for second. The fight for third was equally as exciting between Vidmontiene, Alexander Vanchev (Zanella Racing / Tony Kart), and Jackson Wolny (Speed Concepts Racing / Redspeed). Like the battle up front, Wolny sliced his way to the podium in his SCR ride, finishing third with Vanchev in fourth and Vidmontiene in fifth. Post-race, Vidmontiene was hit with a five-position penalty for cutting the track, dropping him to seventh. Vanchev was also hit with a pushback penalty, dropping him to fifth and moving Sarah Bradley (Speed Concepts Racing / Redspeed) up to fourth.

Sebastian Garzon claimed victory in KA100 Junior main event (Photo: EKN)

With 63 drivers in the field, two Prefinals, and an LCQ, the Nash Motorsportz KA100 Junior category did not disappoint, as a four-driver group formed in the early going with Diego Ardiles (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic) and Sebastian Garzon (Orsolon Racing / Tony Kart) – the top qualifier in the field – joined by Enzo Vidmontiene (Trinity Karting Group / Kart Republic), and Walter Jenkins IV (Rolison Performance Group / Kosmic). Both Ardiles and Garzon had shown their pace with Prefinal wins, but with 22 laps of racing still to go, the main event victory was up for grabs. As often happens, the scrap for second got messy, allowing Ardiles to stretch out to a one-second lead at the halfway point. Over the final laps, Garzon began to close, eventually cutting to the gap to finally leverage the draft down Homestead’s long back straightaway. With four laps to go, Garzon was on Ardiles’ bumper and the game was on. Garzon stuck quickly, diving to the inside of turn five on lap 18. Ardiles returned the favor in turn five a lap later, and with two to go, the win was up in the air. Garzon went back to the lead in turn two, and this fight brought Vidmontiene back into the conversation. The trio was nose-to-tail to start the final lap and with Garzon defending, Vidmontiene stole second from Ardiles with a great over-under in turn five, but this allowed Garzon to get away and run to a 0.399-second victory. Vidmontiene held on for second while Ardiles notched his second podium of the day. Jenkins capped a strong day in fourth ahead of Alexander Vanchev (Zanella Racing / Tony Kart) in fifth.

Defending KA100 Master champion Michel Garrido was named winner following tech (Photo: EKN)

Light rain fell on the track between the Micro Swift and Alessandros Racing KA100 Master main event and flipped the script, as off-pole starter Miguel Mier (Orsolon / Tony Kart) was taken out in turn 2 in the slick conditions. This allowed Prefinal winner and defending series champion Michel Garrido (Alessandros Racing / EOS) to stretch away early ahead of Ruben Rovelo (Alessandros Racing / Tony Kart), who finished third in the Prefinal to start right behind Garrido on the inside of row two. Mier fell outside the top-10 due to the incident, but as the track dried, he immediately began his march back forward, eventually knifing his way back to the top-five. At the halfway point, Rovelo had arrived on Garrido’s rear bumper, bringing Diego Rodriquez (Alessandros Racing / Kosmic) with him. Rovelo eventually took the lead on lap 14 in turn five, and then things got aggressive between the Alessandros Racing teammates on lap 16. Rovelo held back an attack by Garrido in turn 1, and then Rodriguez got into the side of Garrido in turn three, sending him off the track. All this action gave Rovelo a 1.5-second lead with three laps to go, and while Garrido turned purple laps all the way to the checker, he came up just 0.747 seconds short at the line. Rodriguez finished the podium in third, while Mario Dominguez (Alessandros Racing / Redspeed) ran alone all race long to finish fourth. Mier closed steadily over the race to finish just over three seconds behind the former Champ Car driver. Post-race, Rovelo failed tech due to non-compliant reed petals, moving Garrido back to the win over Rodriguez and Dominguez.

Alessando Truchot began his Mini Swift title defense with a sweep in Round One (Photo: EKN)

After some chaos during the opening laps of the Trinity Karting Group Mini Swift main event, including a multi-kart pile-up in turn 1, Alessandro Truchot (Parolin USA / Parolin), Rocco Simone (Trinity Karting Group / Kart Republic) and Benja Fernandez (SLA Racing / Kart Republic) hooked up early to stretch out to a decent cushion. All three drivers batted in the Prefinal as well, and they re-fired their scrap in the 20-lap main event. Over the midway laps of the race, Truchot steadily pulled away, eventually winning by an impressive 8.275 seconds for a sweep of the opening round. Behind the 2022 SKUSA Winter Series Micro Swift champion and reigning Mini Swift title holder, Simone and Fernandez were locked together all race long, and they let it all go on the final lap. Fernandez found a way through in the inside of the double-right sweeper in the inside of the track, holding off his competitor at the line to take second.

Valentino Santillan (Sodi Racing USA / Sodi Kart) fought with Marco Summut (BJR / LN Racing Kart) early, but he pulled away to finish alone in fourth. The fight for fifth heated up over the last three laps as Parker Ives (Ryan Perry Motorsport / Nitro Kart) put on a tremendous show. Ives was not able to complete a lap in qualifying and started 30th in the Prefinal, powering forward to 20th. In the final, the Davidson, NC driver passed Sammut with two laps to go to cap the top-five, advancing another 15 positions. Ashton Woon (Supertune USA / Parolin) had a busy day as well, starting 32nd in the Prefinal after changing an engine. Woon advanced to 15th in the Prefinal and then worked forward with Ives, finishing seventh behind Julian Rivera (AKT / Energy).

Zayne Burgess fought off the competition for victory in Micro Swift (Photo: EKN)

A quick start led to some unfortunate action in the opening corner of the URACE Micro Swift main event, and over a dozen drivers were collected, including multiple racers who started in the top-10. Prefinal winner Zayne Burgess (Piquet Sports / Sodi Kart) got through the incident cleanly, as did Danny O’Gara (MPG Motorsports / Kart Republic). O’Gara went from off-pole in the Prefinal to the tail after an earlier T1 wreck, and drove back to 19th to start the main on the inside of the tenth row, but somehow he ended up as the first driver to clear the pileup in the main, quickly slotting into second ahead of Liam Nachiwati (Pole Position Motorsports / Parolin), who went from 26th to 12th in the Prefinal and then 12th to third. O’Gara and Nachiwati caught Burgess quickly, and they were nose-to-tail at the halfway point with over nine seconds on the field. After taking the lead on lap 10, Nachiwati dropped a wheel on the exit of the final corner, allowing Burgess and O’Gara to slip through but Nachiwati came back and pushed Burgess away to make it a two-driver fight. Over the final two laps, Nachiwati threw everything at Burgess, but the Sodi Kart driver did not falter outrunning his foe to the line for his first SKUSA win. A miscue for O’Gara on lap 15, climbing over the curb exiting T5, dropped him from the lead group but he closed over the final laps to earn an impressive third. Easton Kubinski (AEM Racing / EOS) and Parker Stewart (BJR / LN Racing Kart) capped the top-five.

With the first of four race days of the 2024 SKUSA Winter Series now complete, the teams will pour of their data all night, make the necessary changes, and come back on Sunday to do it all over again with an increased possibility of rain. Make sure to watch EKN’s social media accounts for insider coverage and our immediate top-10 results reporting.