Since joining Speed Concepts Racing back in January of this season, Canadian Anthony Martella continues to battle at the front of several of North America’s toughest karting divisions. Taking on the final round of the ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour at the Orlando Karting Center this past weekend, Martella battled in both the ROK VLR Junior class where he earned a podium finish and the ROK Junior division where he made the biggest gains on Sunday gaining 15 positions in the championship finale event.
“It was a great weekend all around,” explained Martella. “While I had an outside shot at winning both junior championships, odds were against me, so I just wanted to do my best and see what would happen when the event concluded.”
Taking to the track mid-week for practice, official qualifying for the weekend took place on Friday afternoon prior to the first of three heat races. Showing speed in pre-event testing, Martella qualified fifth in the VLR Junior class before matching that performance in ROK Junior as both classes featured nearly 30 competitors.
Showing steady improvement through the heat races, the young Canadian went third, third and fourth in the three-heat race format in the VLR ranks to earn a P3 starting spot for the prefinal. Having similar success in ROK Junior, Martella hovered around the top-five finishing with a pair of sixth place results and a fifth to start Saturday afternoon’s prefinal from the outside of row two.
The VLR prefinal was first on the docket and starting from fifth on the grid, Martella was able to recover after a poor opening lap to finish fifth and give himself a shot at the victory on Championship Sunday. However, in the ROK Junior class, disaster struck on the opening lap as Martella was involved in opening lap turn two pile-up and failed to finish a lap. Classified in P28, he would have his work cut out for him Sunday.
Sunday brought cooler temperatures as a cold front and rain passed through the area overnight as teams and drivers went to work to adjust for the much longer main events. Starting fifth in VLR Junior, Martella was forced wide in the opening corner and eventually closed the first lap in seventh. Falling further down the order over the next two circuits, the Canadian ran 11th before regrouping.
Martella continued, “You can never give up. I put my head down and was able to gain back the positions I lost and then some. I managed to run down the two leaders and have a shot at the win. In the end, after all the penalties were sorted, I had earned my third career FWT podium and third in the past two events. I can’t thank everyone enough for the support and hard work. Thank you to my family, my team Speed Concepts Racing, Speed Lab Racing Engines and of course my long-time partner NIN Transport.”
With one more race on the schedule, victory was all but out of the question after Saturday’s contact and a starting spot of P28 in the main event. Pushing his Speed Concepts Racing machine forward, Martella was one of the biggest movers in the main event, gaining 15 positions to finish 13th.
Next up for Anthony Martella is a return to the Orlando Kart Center in two weeks’ time for the opening round of the Superkarts! USA (SKUSA) Pro Tour.
For more information on Anthony Martella and Martella Motorsports, please contact Tony Martella via email at Tony@SkilledLabourOfCanada.com or by phone to 647.564.0874.
Photos: Canadian Karting News