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Five Canadians En Route to Italy for ROK Cup International Final


Five Canadians En Route to Italy for ROK Cup International Final

Turning the calendar another page, the month of October is upon us and with it begins the international karting season. Like the leaves, the temperatures are falling and racing conditions have become less possible across the country, steering drivers who still want to compete to international events around the world, with four blockbuster international races upon us before the year is up.

The first on the schedule competes at the unofficial home of karting as the ROK Cup International Final invades South Garda Karting in Lonato, Italy on October 14-17. A unique event that invites competitors from around the globe who commonly race with Vortex ROK engine has grown in popularity over the past few years and once again has boasted a wait-list for those who did not confirm their entries early enough.

Five classes range from Mini-ROK for the youngest competitors all the way to ROK-Shifter and this year it will feature no less than 356 total drivers from 37 countries and five continents. 2015 is the thirteenth year for the ROK Cup International Final and undoubtedly the most popular for the single engine make event.

2015 will feature the largest contingent of North American drivers at the event as well with more than 20 drivers lining up after qualifying through different events throughout the year including the ROK Cup USA, Florida Winter Tour and Canadian National Karting Championships. Drivers could also enter the race as wildcard entries to help fill the grids.

Recently crowned KFJ World Champion Logan Sargeant, of Florida, USA in the only North American driver to have podium success at the ROK International Final, claiming the Mini-ROK title in 2011.

For the first time, CKN will travel to Lonato, Italy to be a part of the ROK Cup International Final, providing our fan-favourite photos, coverage and more!

Five Canadian drivers will roll out on track over the next two weeks as part of the ROK Cup International Final. The weekend prior to the official event on October 14-17, the Bridgestone SuperCup offers drivers the chance to a) get acclimated to the the South Garda Karting track and b) earn the required license to compete in the ROK Final. Many of those competing in Italy will do so for two weeks.

Here is a look at the five Canadian drivers competing for the ROK Cup International trophy.


Lachlan DeFrancesco (Photo by: Cody Schindel/CKN)

Lachlan DeFrancesco #536

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Category: Mini ROK
Chassis: BENIK Kart

After his short hiatus from karting in 2012-2013, DeFrancesco has excelled with the BENIK Kart racing team for the past two years and enters the ROK Cup International Finals as a class favourite in Mini-ROK. In what could be the most competitive class of the weekend, DeFrancesco will have a handful of very stout young drivers to compete against, but his impressive form in 2015 shows he is ready to take on the world and add another trophy to the collection.

Kris Hoffbeck

Hometown: Kamloops, British Columbia
Category: Super ROK
Chassis: Formula K

The lone ranger from Western Canada this year Kris Hoffbeck will team up with the Formula K factory team along with American Jake Craig in the premier Super ROK category. Hoffbeck has been developing his race craft with Steve Rickman of The Race Lab and is taking another shot at the ROK Cup International Final.

Michael Marjaba

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
Category: ROK Shifter
Chassis: TonyKart

What a comeback season for Michael Marjaba. A chance to jump back into a kart in and race in June turned into a full-fledged effort for a Canadian title and although he came up short to Pier-Luc Ouellette for that Canadian championship in Open Shifter at Mosport, Marjaba is representing Canada in Italy in ROK Shifter. With his international experience from a decade ago and his natural ability, Marjaba could be a dark horse for a run at the podium.


Michael Marjaba (Photo by: Cody Schindel/CKN)

Dominic LeGrand

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
Category: ROK Shifter
Chassis: TonyKart

Always jumping at the opportunity to compete on the international level in a new challenge Dominic LeGrand will compete in the ROK Cup International Final for the first time. Having supported the ROK Shifter category in Quebec all season, Dominic ended up fifth at the Canadian Championships in Mosport. It will be his first venture outside of North America after racing at prestigious events like the Florida Winter Tour and SKUSA SuperNationals in the past and it will be interesting to see how he adapts to a TonyKart chassis after competing aboard a CRG for so many seasons.

Michel LeGrand

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
Category: ROK Shifter (M)
Chassis: TonyKart

Like his son Dominic, Michel LeGrand loves the opportunity to race, no matter the category or car. He too will be making his first truly international start as well and is looking forward to lining up on the grid of the South Garda Karting track. Doing an Arrive and Drive package aboard a TonyKart will be new to Michel but his vast experience of racing shouldn’t make that an issue.

Team USA

A huge contingent of drivers from the United States of America will also compete in Italy.

Alongside Defrancesco in Mini ROK with be his BENIK Kart teammate Derek Carmenate along with Luca Mars and Jak Crawford. An impressive 120 drivers have entered Mini ROK for the race.

We are keeping a close eye on Junior ROK as a stellar group of drivers have entered from the USA. Anthony Gangi Jr (ROK Cup USA) and Mathias Ramirez (FWT ROK Cup) were crowned champions in 2015 and Dylan Gennaro, Jaggar Jones and Trey Brown all have the ability to blister off some impressive laps making up a powerful group of Junior drivers.

In ROK Senior Morgan Healey and Gonzalo Aponte have entered the Semi-Pro division of single-speed ROK Engines while Jake Craig, Kyle Kirkwood, Ryan Norbert and Ariel Castro are entered in the Pro Super ROK category. Kirkwood has been unbeatable at home and it will be interesting to watch him do battle in Europe.

Finally Austin Garrison and AJ Myers have entered ROK Shifter.

Qualifying gets underway on Thursday October 15. Heat races will take place on Friday October 16 and Championship Finals hit the track on Saturday October 17.

For those interested in following the action live on their cell phones, event organizers have developed a very nice mobile application. Just search for ‘ROK Cup’ on your iPhone, iPad or Android phones. 

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