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Daily Report by: RTD Media
Photos by: RTD Media

With two days of practice in the books, teams, and competitors returned to the track Saturday with the first Rotax MAX Challenge (RMC) US Trophy Final wheel-to-wheel action set to begin. Under beautiful weather, 12 different nations of competitors took to the track for a short warmup session at the nine-o-clock hour before qualifying rolled off the grid mid-morning. With the ever-important qualifying session setting the grid for the three heat races, teams, and competitors were fully focused on single-lap speed to lock in the best possible starting position in Saturday’s race action.

Following the conclusion of Friday’s on-track sessions, the Mojo Tire Changing Competition was front and center as the Racers Grill at New Castle Motorsports Park was packed for the festivities. In a March Madness-style format, the field was drilled down to an eventual winner. Congrats to Francisco Zaratei who was crowned the Mojo Tire Changing Champion ahead of Rett Thomas and David Dodson who pushed one another to the absolute limit with the quickest time of mounting and dismounting four tires being less than 30 seconds.

Micro MAX

  1. Lucas Palacio (USA) – 1:12.952
  2. Lucas Tarrango (USA) – 1:13.098
  3. Conner Lypka (USA) – 1:13.433
  4. Hudson Howard (USA) – 1:13.590
  5. Enzo DiGennaro (USA) – 1:13.628

Heat Races
Lucas Palacio proved to be one of the drivers to beat in Micro MAX as he was able to convert his pole position into heat race wins in heats one and two as he jumped out to the lead in heat three looking to go perfect on the day. After the checkered flag flew, Palacio was able to accomplish the feat and earn the pole position for Sunday morning’s prefinal. With only two more official sessions, Palacio will look to continue his success and earn the RMC US Trophy Final Championship. Both Enzo DiGennaro and Lucas Tarrango were able to have success over the three heat races with Tarrango getting the edge in starting positions for Sunday based on his heat race results to line up on the outside of the front row with DiGennaro in third. On the outside of row four is the third-place qualifier in Conner Lypka while Sterling Mulata and Tyson Underwood will slot into row three. Sixth through tenth on the grid for the prefinal Sunday morning will be Tyson Underwood, Holden Myers, Cam Becker, Hudson Howard, and Danny O’Gara.

Junior MAX

  1. Diego Ardiles (USA) – 1:05.394
  2. Ty Fisher (Canada) – 1:05.412
  3. Wesley Gundler (USA) – 1:05.423
  4. Jackson Wolny (USA) – 1:05.465
  5. Simon Bulbarella (Argentina) – 1:05.517

Heat Races
Diego Ardiles earned the pole position but when the wheel-to-wheel racing action began, the Rolison Performance Group had a pair of second-place results in the first two heat races. Turner Brown won the second heat on the day and did so on a brand-new chassis after a first-lap crash in heat one all but put his Speed Concepts Racing machine in the garbage bin after only a few hundred feet of green flag racing. Wesley Gundler bookended the three heat races with a pair of wins on Saturday to earn the pole position for Sunday as he was able to get to the point on two different occasions and let the action happen behind him. With strength in numbers, Speed Concepts Racing had three drivers in the top-five throughout the heat races, with Brown, Nathan Dupuis, and Jackson Wolny all showing the pace needed to stand on the podium Sunday. Ty Fisher qualified second but when heat racing began, his results saw him fall back to seventh, eighth, and ninth in the three races. When the dust had finally settled and the heat race points were calculated, Gundler has earned himself the inside of the front row for Sunday’s prefinal with Diego Ardiles to his outside. Canadian Nathan Dupuis will start on the inside of row two in third, next two Nixx Eggleston, and ahead of Simon Bulbarella and Ben Hernandez. Sixth through tenth on the grid will be Jackson Wolny, Ty Fisher, Turner Brown, and Genaro Trappa.

Masters MAX

  1. Ben Cooper (Canada) – 1:04.671
  2. John Bonanno (USA) – 1:05.855
  3. Laurentiu Mardan (USA) – 1:05.308
  4. Mundy Loyer (Peru) – 1:05.424
  5. Billy Cleavelin (USA) – 1:05.453

Heat Races
It was Ben Cooper who went three-for-three in the heat races after earning the pole position in the morning session. Similar to Lucas Palacio in Micro MAX, Cooper enters Sunday as the only other driver with the opportunity to sweep the complete weekend of competition. Behind Cooper, Laurentiu Mardan had a trio of top-three heat races to be the best of the rest and looks to be Cooper’s main competition for the RMC US Trophy Final victory. However, Cooper dominated the third and final heat race to put some doubts in the mind of the rest of the competitors. 66-year-old Billy Cleavelin had a trio of races in the top-ten as he looks to earn a trip to the Rotax Grand Finals but will have to battle the likes of Mundy Loyer, John Bonanno, and Derek Wang who has already earned a ticket to Bahrain later this year. It will be Cooper and Mardan on the front row ahead of Bonanno and Wang in row two with Christopher Mann and Mundy Loyer occupying row three. Cleavelin will start his prefinal from seventh ahead of Vincent Carey in row four and ahead of Randy Nelson and Ray Banach in row five.

Mini MAX

  1. Oliver Warner (United Kingdom) – 1:08.674
  2. Gage Korn (USA) – 1:08.799
  3. Marco Sammut (USA) – 1:08.803
  4. Issac Malcuit (USA) – 1:08.847
  5. Jackson LaChappelle (Canada) – 1:08.264

Heat Races
Earning the fastest race laps in heats one and two, Issac Malcuit earned fourth and first-place results matching pole position winner Oliver Warner while Gage Korn earned a pair of second-place results heading into the third and final heat for the Mini MAX competitors. With the last heat, an important one that solidified the starting positions for Sunday’s prefinal, Warner led Korn and Malcuit early on.  It was Malcuit who was able to flex his muscles in heat three as he jumped to the lead and left the rest of the Mini MAX competitors behind him to battle. Taking the checkered flag by more than five seconds in heat three, Malcuit’s results rewarded him Sunday’s prefinal pole position just ahead of Korn, Earner, and Fion Shi. Marco Sammut will begin his quest for victory alongside Canadian Jeremy St-Cyr and ahead of Jackson LaChapelle, Matteo Quinto, Ryan Chandour, and Martin Bertocaccini.

Senior MAX

  1. Oliver Hodgson (United Kingdom) – 1:03.725
  2. Cooper O’Clair (USA) – 1:03.774
  3. Ryan Norberg (USA) – 1:03.873
  4. Diego Ramos (Brazil) – 1:03.894
  5. Ernesto Rivera (Mexico) – 1:03.901

Heat Races
It was Oliver Hodgson and Ernesto Rivera who split the heat race wins in heats one and two, but it was Ryan Norberg who crossed the line second in both heats. With a puncture in qualifying, Dalton Hanes was only able to go 18th quick in qualifying but scoring the fastest lap in heats one and two, Hanes finished fifth and seventh. Heat three was much of the same for Hanes as he was once again the fastest kart on the track pushing his TB Kart into the fifth position when the checkered flag flew but also was the biggest mover gaining 13 positions in only 12 laps. However, after the points were calculated, it was Hodgson who retained his pole position after the three heat races were complete with Rivera advancing from P5 in qualifying to start the prefinal in second. Ryan Norberg and Diego Ramos pushed their entries into the second row ahead of the fifth and sixth-place starters of Dalton Hanes and Cooper O’Clair. Looking to compete at the Rotax Grand Finals in 2023, Frankie Mossman will start seventh ahead of Chase Jones, Aidan Fox, and Canadian Griffin Dowler.

With three of four days complete, Sunday morning prefinals will set the grid for the RMC US Trophy Final main events with RMC Grand Final tickets and championships on the line. With Live Stream coverage available on the Kart Chaser YouTube channel, US Trophy Final followers can also visit for trackside coverage and for event information. Kart Chaser will livestream the prefinals for free with main events reserved for Kart Chaser YouTube Premium Subscribers.

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