MRFKC ROK Cup Report – The Season is Underway with Fresh Winners and a New Category
The Motomaster Ron Fellows Karting Championship hit the track over the Mother’s Day weekend to launch their 2023 season with the first of four weekends of competition at the Mosport Karting Centre. Perfect sunny skies, fresh green grass and more than 140 competitors took to the track over eight different divisions.
Featuring 73 racers on the weekend the ROK Cup Canada portion covered exactly half of the entries over four categories including the newest to the MRFKC, VLR Senior. Unfortunately, there were not enough registrations for the ROK Shifter division to be included in round 1. With coveted prizes up for grabs to the series champions, the opening weekend was loaded with exciting two-cycle action at Mosport.
ROK Senior – Woods-Toth remains on top
After arriving late to the event due to some testing in his F4 car, defending champion Patrick Woods-Toth proved that he didn’t need much practice to return to the top in Rok Senior.
An awesome group of 26 drivers took to the Mosport circuit with action up and down the entire grid all weekend long.
Ayden Ingratta (AI Motorsports/RedSpeed) led the way in Qualifying on Saturday and was able to pull out to win the Prefinal but from the drop of the green flag for the Final, it was all Woods-Toth (Prime/BirelART). Going side-by-side up the hill through corners one, two and three, Woods-Toth took the advantage and left Ingratta to fight with Nolan Bower (Prime/BirelART) and Alessandro De Tullio (Prime/BirelART). Bower traded the position with Ingratta on the opening laps and that allowed Woods-Toth to pull out a small lead and when the race started to settle down, there was no catching him. Ingratta did his best but never got any closer than five kart lengths.
De Tullio captured a podium in his first race in Canada since joining the Prime Powerteam with Bower taking fourth and Austin Boyle (Nash/EOS) completing the top-five.
On Sunday it was all Woods-Toth from Qualifying to the final checkered flag. He swept the day’s action and cruised to his second victory on the weekend. Bower and Boyle were able to stay ahead of the chaos that ensued behind to join Woods-Toth on the podium, finishing 3.8 and 7 seconds adrift of the leader.
In the throwdown for fourth, Gianluca Savaglio (PRO/BirelART) came out ahead of De Tullio and Ingratta with plenty of action happening in the second half of the 18-lap main event.
ROK Junior – Impressive Weekend for Burnett, Lemieux and Raducanoiu
A new season almost always means a new crop of Juniors ready to have a breakout season.
One of those drivers was Anthony Raducanoiu (Prime/BirelART) who started the weekend off with the fastest time in Saturday’s Qualifying session. He came under pressure from Jensen Burnett (REM/Kosmic) in the PreFinal with Burnett prevailing to take the pole position for the main event.
Burnett jumped out to the early lead while Raducanoiu had his hands full with Christian Menezes (KGR/CRG), Pearce Wade (Prime/BirelART) and Antoine Lemieux (REM/Kosmic).
Working his way back to second on lap six, Raducanoiu began to chase down the race leader and took the lead on lap twelve with a little contact. This set Burnett back a few kart lengths but he used the final five laps to recover the gap and on the final lap was right back on the leader’s bumper.
Pulling off a sneaky pass into corner three, Burnett exited the upper section of the track with the lead and held on all the way to the finish to capture the victory over Raducanoiu. Lemieux moved into third with four laps remaining and held on for the podium finish ahead of Wade and Menezes.
On Sunday it was Raducanoiu again putting in the fastest time in Qualifying but a slow start knocked him back early on. Burnett and Menezes jumped out to the early lead until Burnett hit a curb and popped a chain while leading to end his Prefinal early. This left Menezes to cruise to the PreFinal win with Wade joining him on the front row for the Final.
The battle at the front in the Final kept the crowd on their toes and it was exactly what Burnett wanted as well. From the back of the starting grid, Burnett worked his way forward and as the battles ahead of him continued he was able to chase down the leaders just after the halfway mark.
Raducanoiu, Wade and Lemieux were able to get a little separation from the pack but when they noticed Burnett was closing in, they began to swap the lead positions more. With six laps to go, Burnett had caught the leaders and he picked them off one by one on the next three laps to gain the lead.
The battle then shifted to second when Lemieux and Raducanoiu traded the position to give the leader a little breathing room. Lemieux was able to grab the position with two laps to go and closed back in on Burnett but wasn’t able to make a pass.
Sadly for Burnett, shortly after celebrating the last-to-first victory, he was disqualified for coming in one pound light on the scales and this elevated Lemieux to the top of the podium with Raducanoiu and Wade joining him in second and third place. Menezes and Major Makovskis (PRO/CL Kart) rounded out the top five.
ROK Mini – New Drivers on top
Similar to the Juniors, the Mini Rok division typically starts the year off with some new stars emerging in the category and those stars this weekend were Cole Medeiros (PRO/CL Kart) and Jackson Morley (Prime/BirelART).
The pair finished 1-2 in every session on the weekend with each scoring a pole position, a PreFinal win and a victory. It was a perfect split across the board.
Saturday was Medeiros’ day as he set the tone in Qualifying. Morley grabbed the PreFinal win after the group took a few attempts to get the race started but Medeiros came back in the Final with a brilliant drive to get his first MRFKC win. Hudson Urlin (Urlin Motorsports/Nitro Kart) posted the fastest lap of the race and finished in third place to take home a nice MRFKC trophy while Nicholas Lorusso (KGR/Exprit) and Marley Chaudhary (KGR/CRG) rounded out the top five finishers.
The roles were reversed on Sunday and Morley took a convincing victory in the Final. Medeiros had his hands full with Nicholas Lorusso (KGR/Exprit) and Decklan Deonarine (REM/Kosmic) putting on the pressure late in the race but held on for a second-place finish. Nicholas Lorusso joined the lead pair on the podium while Deonarine was fourth and Massimo Lorusso (KGR/Exprit) capped off his weekend with a solid fifth-place finish.
With 19 drivers in Mini Rok this weekend, the competition is only going to get closer this season and we’re excited to watch the future of our sport develop.
VLR Senior – Ramnarayan and Soumvalis win the first VLR Finals
The newest addition to the MRFKC is the 100cc air-cooled VLR Senior division which arrives from the USA. A number of Canadian racers competed in the category at the Rok Cup Florida Winter Tour and there was enough interest to add it to the MRFKC roster with 12 drivers lining up for its debut this weekend.
A little quicker than a Briggs but not quite like a ROK GP, the class is a great way to transition from four-cycle to two-cycle racing.
The weekend was led off by Aidan Shimbashi (VRS/CL Kart) taking the inaugural pole position but he had trouble leaving the grid for the PreFinal. Sebastian Matthews (NBM/BirelART) took the spoils and score the PreFinal win leading to an unpredictable Final.
Sadly, before the race even started, Matthews had to withdraw with a mechanical issue. Pouncing on the lead into corner one was Jared Ramnarayan (PRO/CL Kart). Ramnarayan was one of two drivers registered in ROK Shifter for this weekend but switched to the VLR category when he found out the class was being dropped.
Shimbashi moved forward early in the Final and took the lead on lap three but Ramnarayan stayed close. The lead changed back on lap ten with Ramnarayan getting and then made no mistakes to take the checkered flag. Shimbashi finished 1.6 seconds adrift in second while Joshua Soumvalis (NBM/BirelART) completed the podium with the fastest lap of the race.
Soumvalis used that momentum to post the fastest lap in Sunday’s Qualifying as the only driver to break the 1:00 minute mark. Unfortunately, he was only able to complete one lap in the PreFinal before having to withdraw and had to start the Final from the tail of the field.
Shimbashi and Matthews exchanged the lead right away in the Final before settling down until the halfway mark. That’s when Soumvalis had recovered to battle the leaders and he took only two laps to overtake the lead pair and grab the top spot.
Putting down great laps, Soumvalis was able to pull away while Shimbashi, Matthews and Ramnarayan battled it out for second place.
Matthews overtook Shimbashi on the final lap to score a NBM 1-2 finish while Ramnarayan also got by Shimbashi on the final lap and completed the podium. Fifth went to Mark Pavan (LN Kart).
For the official results, click here.
The MRFKC will return to the Mosport Karting Centre for round two of the series on June 3-4. Registration will open soon on the series website, http://ronfellowskarting.com.