It was a weekend of highs and lows for Team Benik at the opening round of the ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour. Taking place on the temp circuit next to the Isle Casino in Pompano Beach, Florida, Team Benik scored one pole position, two heat race wins, a prefinal victory and a podium result as they showed their strength in both Micro ROK and ROK Junior at the barrier lined circuit.
Leading the way for Team Benik throughout the weekend was ROK Micro driver Troy Ferguson. Improving his race craft throughout the 2021 season, the 2022 ROK season started off well for the youngster with the pole position on Friday morning. Ferguson proved his speed was no fluke as he took both heat race wins in dominating fashion later that afternoon and continued his momentum into Saturday’s prefinal where he topped the results sheets. The only kink in his armor all weekend long came in the main event when contact early in the race sent him into the barriers and out of the race.
“I feel so bad for Troy,” explained Nick Mitchell. “He has worked hard and was the dominant driver on the weekend. His speed was no fluke as he proved it with each passing session. He will be a threat for race wins throughout the season so I am confident his time on the top step of the podium will be here in the not-so-distant future.”
Royce Vega joined Ferguson in the ROK Micro class and battled hard in the top-ten. Qualifying seventh and finishing sixth and fifth in the heat races, Vega continued his presence in the top-ten with a sixth-place result in the prefinal. Like Ferguson, Vega ran into some trouble in the weekend’s main event but proved he is another one of the Team Benik drivers that will be on the podium in 2022.
Multi-time 2021 ROK Mini winner Enzo Vidmontiene found his way to the ROK Junior podium in his first major ROK event since leveling up to the full-size chassis. After a disappointing ninth place qualifying effort, Vidmontiene proved he had what it took to run up front with fourth and tenth place results in the two heat races. A fifth-place finish in the prefinal set up a great starting spot for the main event, and Vidmontiene took advantage of that early driving to the lead and controlling the pace for several laps. Falling back to fifth as the Junior field attacked, Vidmontiene battled forward again to end his weekend on the podium with a third-place result. Following the main event Vidmontiene was given a penalty and dropped to seventh on the results sheets. Despite a valiant effort and spirted drive, Enzo’s podium result would be taken away.
Team Benik also entered Michael Costello and Gavin Whitt in the ROK Junior class and both drivers performed well. Costello ran in the top-ten throughout qualifying and the heat races with a best result of fourth in the prefinal on Saturday morning. A tough outside row two starting position cost Costello a potential top-five as he lost momentum and positions as karts piled through the first corner. Forced to rebound and work his way back forward, Costello salvaged an 11th place result. Whitt would turn his 16th place qualifying effort into a 12th place finish in both the first heat and prefinal. Like Costello, Whitt was caught up in the opening lap melee and eventually finished his weekend in 15th.
It’s a couple weeks off from national competition but not from the racetrack for Team Benik as they will begin testing and preparation for a pair of events in February. Are you are interested in being part of Team Benik? For more information on the BENIK Kart or Team BENIK, please contact Nick Mitchell via e-mail to Info@Benik-Kart.com or by phone at 561.348.4406. To keep up to date with news, photos, results, and information on Team Benik, please follow them on social media by searching ‘Team Benik’.
Photo: Canadian Karting News