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SKUSA Winter Series

EKN Trackside: 2024 Superkarts! USA Winter Series – AMR2 – Sunday Report
Monday, 12 February 2024 00:00

Brandon Carr became the fourth different winner in X30 Senior (Photo: EKN)

The final round of the 2024 Superkarts! USA Winter Series was completed on Sunday at the AMR Homestead-Miami Motorplex presented by MG Tires. The second of two weekends to open up the season for the organization wrapped up its time at the Homestead, Florida facility, welcoming over 200 entries in the nine categories. Weather was perfect until the main events began with a quick rain shower hitting the circuit to dampen things up for the first four race groups before the dry line was formed enough to put back on dry tries. The action on the day helped to decide this year’s champions in a best three of four format with most coming down to the final laps.

The X30 Senior presented by SpeedLab Racing Engines saw the aggression amp up with drivers knowing this was their final shot at a victory, or to further increase their chances of landing on the championship podium. Steven Miller (AM / Exprit) found speed overnight to claim the top spot in qualifying with a 47.672. He cleared Saturday winner Donovan Bonilla (RPG / Kosmic) by just 28 thousandths. Bonilla however was the quickest driver in the Prefinal, working his way up to the point and taking the victory by over a half second ahead of Miller. The start of the Final however cost Bonilla a chance at the championship as contact sent him around in turn two, dropping him outside the top-20. The scramble allowed for Canadian Thomas Nepveu (Trinity / Kart Republic) along with teammate Brandon Carr (Trinity / Kart Republic) and Round Two winner Alessandro de Tullio (Inter MS / Kart Republic) to run 1-2-3. They locked together and got away from the fight that was for fourth. Nepveu led the majority of the race until de Tullio took over the point on lap 17. He led until Carr grabbed the spot coming to the white flag. A defensive line into the first turn pushed him wide and de Tullio got a run on the inside. Nepveu got a run on both, and pushed Carr ahead just enough to clear de Tullio into the second turn from the outside. As Carr jumped back into the lead, de Tullio and Nepveu fought for position, allowing Round One winner Ryan Norberg (RPG / Kosmic) and Dalton Hanes (Piquet / Sodi Kart) to close in. Carr took the advantage and held on through the final corners to secure his first Senior victory. De Tullio held on for second over Nepveu with Norberg and Hanes trailing at the line. Bonilla worked his way up to 12th, but it was not enough as de Tullio would be crowned champion with Norberg third on the championship podium.

Round Four sweep by Matheus Morgatto earned him the Pro Shifter title (Photo: EKN)

It was a championship performance by 2022 FIA Karting World Champion Matheus Morgatto (PSL / Birel ART) in Pro Shifter presented by PSL Karting. A 45.506 cleared the 11-driver field by over three tenths in qualifying before he led all 12 laps of the Prefinal. The main event was down to him and two-time winner Danny Formal (RPG / Kosmic) along with the championship. Whoever finished ahead of the other won the title. Morgatto used the inside line to earn the holeshot through turn one and lead the opening lap. That was until Formal made his bid for the lead. He led the next four circuits before Morgatto slipped past for the spot. From there, Morgatto ran fast laps of the race, stretching out to a near six second advantage for the victory and the championship. Formal had to settle for second in both. Giorgio Carrara (Inter MS / Kart Republic) ran solo in third in his 2024 debut while Alan Isambard (Piquet / Sodi Kart) won the battle for fourth over Michael Riccio (Magik Kart USA). Scott Barnes ran uncontested in the Master Shifter class both days.

Three wins in four rounds for Alessando de Tullio in KA100 Senior (Photo: EKN)

Alessandro de Tullio (Inter MS / Kart Republic) showed once again as the standout driver in the KA100 Senior presented by Sodi Racing USA. After setting fast time in qualifying and winning the Prefinal in the dry, de Tullio showed his wet weather skills to lead all 17 laps of the Final for a third victory over the four rounds – clinching the series championship. He drove away to a 8.4-second advantage over Steven Miller (Nash / EOS) with the third spot on the podium going down to the final corners. Collin Lloyd (Inter MS / Kart Republic), Round Two winner Ivanna Richards (HRI Mexico / Tony Kart) and Valentino Garbarino (RPM / Tony Kart) were in a battle for much of the second half. Contact in the penultimate corner put Lloyd and Richards into the wall, allowing Garbarino to slip past for the third position on the podium. James Overbeck (BJR / Tony Kart) moved to fourth with Cameron Weinberg (Racelab / TB Kart) placing fifth. Richards continued to finish six while Lloyd was penalized down to eighth.

Victory helps Diego Ardiles claim the X30 Junior championship (Photo: EKN)

Three straight wins to close out the series gave Diego Ardiles the title in the X30 Junior presented by Rolison Performance Group. The first two wins were sweeps, while Sunday’s action began with Ardiles sitting second in qualifying as Max Weiland (Magik Kart USA) laid down a flyer – 48.062 – to edge out Ardiles by nine thousandths. Ardiles put himself into the lead by lap two of the Prefinal, driving away to the win over Jackson Wolny (SCR / Redspeed) and Weiland – who had fast lap of the race trailing the top-two. Ardiles used the pole position to assume the lead in the 22-lap Final, pulling away from Wolny just enough to not allow him to put any close pressure for the top spot. Wolny ran second, recording the fast lap of the race to put himself second in the championship standings. Weiland was running third and was caught by a group of racers. He eventually retired on lap 18. The race for third went down to the wire with Alexander Vanchev (Zanella / Tony Kart) beating out Ty Fisher (Racelab / TB Kart) for the spot with Junior rookie Michael McGaughy (RPM / Tony Kart) finishing fifth.

Jackson Wolny was named winner in KA100 Junior (Photo: EKN)

One of the craziest races of the season thus far came in the KA100 Junior presented by Nash Motorsportz. Sebastian Garzon (Orsolon / Tony Kart) did what he needed to do in order to help his cause toward the championship with fast time in qualifying and winning the Prefinal over championship rival Diego Ardiles (RPG / Kosmic). The 22-lap Prefinal began with dry conditions however the order was shuffled up with Enzo Vidmontiene (Trinity / Kart Republic) battling for the top spot with the two championship contenders. By lap 10, the clouds in the area began dropping rain. At first, it was a steady rain with a few of the drivers pushing wide and going off track, including Garzon. He had two incidents that dropped him down to 10th with six laps remaining. Up front, Vidmontiene was mastering the wet track with dry tires, fending off Ty Fisher (Racelab / TB Kart) before driving away to a two-second advantage at the checkered flag over Jackson Wolny (SCR / Redspeed). A DQ of the entire day for ‘manipulating/touching engaged pushback bumper’ took the victory away from Vidmontiene, handing the top spot of the podium to Wolny. Ardiles fell down to seventh when the rain started, but fought his way and was classified second, just ahead of Fisher. The runner-up finish was not enough to eclipse Garzon – who finished seventh and had fast lap of the race – with the two-time winner taking the championship. Max Cristea (Trinity / Kart Republic) and Luuk Taal (Piquet / Sodi Kart) complete the top-five in the race.

Michel Garrido used victory Sunday to claim a second straight KA100 Master title (Photo: EKN)

The track conditions for the KA100 Master presented by Alessandros Racing division was tricky. A drying line was forming and thus the drivers went out on dry tires, making for a couple of dicey opening laps for the Final. Miguel Mier (Orsolon / Tony Kart) went out with a chance to steal the championship based on his results and that of defending champion Michel Garrido (Alessandros / EOS). Mier, however, retired on lap two with a broken brake rotor, leaving Garrido only needing to finish fourth to claim the crown. Garrido kept pace with top qualifier and Prefinal winner Mario Barrios (RPG / Kosmic) until pulling the trigger on lap 17. Once out front, Garrido drove away to a four-second victory to clinch a second straight title. Barrios settled for second with Saturday winner Charlie Fonseca (Tony Kart) in third.

Benja Fernandez became the fourth different winner in Mini Swift (Photo: EKN)

It was a great battle all weekend long in the Mini Swift presented by Trinity Karting Group class. On Sunday, Royce Vega (Benik) started the action with fast time in qualifying, posting a 52.776 lap to clear Benja Fernandez (SLA / Alonso Kart) by 25 thousandths. The Prefinal was a battle, including five drivers with Marco Sammut (BJR / LN Racing Kart) repeating his win from Saturday, leading on the last lap for the win. The rain that hit the track for the KA100 Junior main event continued into the Mini Swift race. Vega paced the field for the first half of the 20-lap race before Fernandez took control of the point. Once out front, Fernandez was able to handle the wet conditions better – stretching out to a two-second advantage for his first Mini victory – becoming the fourth different winner over the four rounds. Vega had clinched the championship going into the race and settled for second on the track to celebrate the title. Ashton Woon (Supertune / Parolin) joined them on the podium in third, with Saturday winner Troy Ferguson (Benik) in fourth and Mini rookie Josh Bergman (Piquet / Sodi Kart) in fifth.

From last to first performance for Zayne Burgess to clinch the Micro Swift championship (Photo: EKN)

Once again, the Micro Swift by Team URACE put on another great show all day long. Leo Simone (Trinity / Kart Republic) landed the fast lap in qualifying for his first top qualifier honor. He slipped to third in the Prefinal as Santiago Orioli (MPG / Kart Republic) and Saturday winner Danny O’Gara (MPG / Kart Republic) went 1-2. The track was still damp for the Micro class, however the sun was beginning to break through the clouds. The drivers remained on wet tires hitting the track for a 17-minute +1 lap Final. Easton Kubinski (AEM / Kosmic) jumped to the front in wet conditions while eyes began turning to a charging Zayne Burgess (Piquet / Sodi Kart). The two-time series winner started last in the Prefinal after an engine change, racing up to eighth. He was up to second by the fifth lap and cut into the large lead that Kubinski had built up with fast laps of the race. Lap 16, Burgess was there and passed for the lead, which was winning move. Burgess went on to take the checkered flag by 1.2 seconds for a third victory in four rounds, earning this year’s series championship. Kubinski settled for second with O’Gara winning the battle for third over David Ramirez (RPG / Kosmic) and Orioli.

The 2024 SKUSA Winter Series is now completed, and the attention turns to the Superkarts! USA Pro Tour. The 15th season of the program begins with the SKUSA WinterNationals – scheduled for March 8-10 at the Orlando Kart Center in Orlando, Florida.