Hot, Hot Heat! US Open Puts on Impressive Showing in Colorado
Temperatures soared over 100 degrees fahrenheit every day, but that didn’t stop the 140 competitors from doing what they do best as they chase the inaugural titles in the US Open Karting Championship. Under almost complete opposite weather conditions than the first round of the US Open in Dallas, Texas just over a month ago, drivers and teams battled extreme heat at the Grand Junction Motor Speedway to take part in round two of the new championship. From Micro-Max all the way to Elite Shifter, the competition was fierce and those on hand were once again delivered a great show all weekend long.
MaxSpeed Entertainment continues to impress as they develop a new championship model to their liking. The relaxed format was welcomed and an early finish on Sunday granted a much less stressful finish that many are accustomed to. Add in the annual dinner party on Saturday evening and a killer new podium format and many were once again impressed with the atmosphere that is created by the MaxSpeed Group. While it’s impossible to impress everyone, they are working hard to make their events as enjoyable on and off track for everyone.
While the wicked weather in Texas a month ago held organizers back from introducing their new podium celebrations, the wait for Colorado was worth it. Following each Final race on Sunday, the top-three drivers drove into the championship podium area to celebrate their finish with an immediate podium celebration. Emotions a little higher, celebrations a little more meaningful and a true feeling a victory, there were no complaints about the new procedure that really made the drivers feel like the winners they were.
From the youngest to the most elite, the race was impressive. Diego LaRoque (BBR/BENIK Kart) held off Ugo Ugochukwu (KoeneUSA/TonyKart) and a handful of others to win in Micro-Max, the first Final of the day and only a few hours later, Davide Fore (CRG USA/CRG) and Jordan Lennox (PSL Karting/BirelART) waged a battle for ages, that was ultimately won by an outside pass by Fore in the tight hairpin on the final lap. Other race winners included Jak Crawford (MIni-Max), Trenton Estep (Junior Max), Oliver Askew (Senior Max), Canadian Jeff Kingsley (Rotax DD2), Luis Zervigon (DD2 Masters) and Derek Wang (Max Masters) claimed the Rotax classes, while Darren Elliot (Shifter Masters), Luke Shanahan (Shifter Senior) and Luis Perez (Shifter Junior) topped the podium in the Stock Moto categories.
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Five drivers also earned a mid-season bonus as the championship leaders in the Rotax Max categories earned invitations to the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, held this November in Portimao, Portugal. Oliver Askew and his PSL Karting BirelART delivered one of the most dominating performances we’ve seen this year, never losing an official session all weekend and including his victory in Dallas he earned his ticket to the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals as the championship points leader after two races in Rotax Senior.
Like Askew, Trenton Estep (KoeneUSA/TonyKart) scored his second US Open win to confirm his entry to the Rotax Grand Finals, but it came after a spirited battle between Nick Brueckner (Orsolon Racing/TonyKart) and Sting Ray Robb (BBR/TonyKart), while well out front and only at the midway point, came together racing for the lead. A pair of passes before a late braking move by Brueckner slowed both drivers up enough for Estep to slip by and never look back. It is also worth noting that Canadian Matthew Latifi (Ferrolati Corse/TonyKart) drove a very strong weekend and initially finished in the third position, but an issue in post-tech removed him from the results with Robb and Michael d’Orlando, who had a massive recovery in the Final, completing the official podium.
Hungarian Ferenc Kancsar was the second PSL Karting driver to punch his ticket courtesy of a pair of second place finishes in Rotax DD2. Dallas winner Jake French (DKC/Sodi) was in the running for the ticket until he drove a little too aggressive into the tight chicane section in Sunday’s Final and caught a barrier, ending his race on the spot, retiring from the third position.
Finally, Derek Wang (BBR/TonyKart) will compete in Rotax DD2 Masters at the Rotax Grand Finals as the championship points leader in Max Masters after two rounds. He too has won both races and claimed the Grand Junction win after a tight race with Scott Falcone (RPG/Kosmic).
With Rotax Max drivers across North America now going back to focus on their respective National championships, the US Open will resume at the end of October with their season finale event held at the RIO All Suites Hotel and Casino. The event will close out on Halloween Saturday in what will surely be a thriller!