Rotax US Trophy Series Round 1 Report
May 10, 2021
The 2021 Rotax US Trophy Series East kicked off at Oakland Valley Race Part (OVRP) this past weekend with mixed weather and a tremendous amount of success as drivers battled the challenging .7-mile circuit. The famed OVRP facility provided top-level staff to usher in the new and elevated Rotax Trophy series program alongside all the necessary amenities to make for an action-packed opening round of racing. The 2021 opening round witnessed immediate growth from the 2020 season as drivers competed in a total of five official Rotax ONLY categories with the ultimate prize at the end of the championship being a ticket to the 2021 Rotax Grand Finals and a chance to join Team USA Karting.
“With challenging weather in the northern region of the United States a targeted start date at the beginning of May for round one still found us with challenging rainy weather for Friday and Saturday however, Sunday the weather allowed drivers the opportunity to compete on the competitive MoJo slick tires. The racing action in both the wet and dry conditions were incredible proving a competitive spirit among the drivers alongside the strong Rotax Racing structure.” – Justin Stefani
The Micro Max field provided some of the best racing all weekend as drivers ranging from 7-10 years old battled wet conditions on Saturday in qualifying to then enjoyed a sunny dry track action on Sunday. The leader of the pack sweeping the weekend was Lucas Palacio who set fast time in qualifying and backed that result up with two heat race wins and a final win on Sunday. Followed closely behind was a pack of young drivers as, Marco Sammut (MDR-Kosmic), Sebastian Rist (LevelUp-Compkart), Nathan Holy (OVRP-Benik) and Phaethon Saradpon (AKT-KR) all battled in the first group with a constant swapping of positions providing a suspenseful end to the days first final as Palacio was joined on the podium by Marco Sammut and Sebastian Rist.
The Mini Max was the smallest of fields; however, the drivers form 10-12 years old provided arguably the most excitement as the top five drivers were separated by a mere few tenths in qualifying which lead to a constant battle of positions in each of the two heat races. The start of the final provided a spread out first lap which lessened the excitement from the heat races, except for eventual final winner Gavin Whitt. Whitt worked his way to the top spot in the final claiming the win along with the fastest lap in a solid effort while being joined on the podium by Ben Hernandez (KW-Compkart) and Vivek Kanthan (MDR-Kosmic).
The Masters category yet again proved that age is not a boundary when it comes to the competitive spirit. Poleman John Bonanno managed to win both heat races with little pressure as competitive early laps put Bonanno is secure position. Throughout the heat races it was apparent that if the start of the final was close the battle for the top spot would be competitive and that is just what happened. Bonanno was challenged in the final by Daniel Costa (OVRP-Solo) and Vincent Carey (CRM-Solo) with Costa taking the lead just under halfway and leading until a mechanical sidelined Costa, thus promoting Bonanno to the win with Carey in second and Paul Hart Jr. taking home a third-place finish.
The fourteen Jr. Max drivers turned up the heat right from the beginning of wet qualifying as the final grid wasn’t set until the final lap where Jake Walker (MDR-Kosmic) took pole position. The heat races were packed with action up front from second back as eventual event winner, Jake Walker was able to control the race pace and take the win. The weather provided a heavy drizzle for the final with all drivers on slick tires showing a tremendous amount of kart control as Ethan Goulart (CRM-Swiss) took second place with Arizona native Cooper O’Clair (TTech-Compkart) taking the final spot on the podium in third.
A wet qualification session did little to shake out the front row as it became apparent early on that the OVRP battle would come down to a repeat of 2020 with Justin White (KW-Compakrt) and Aidan Fox (Fox-FA-Kart) taking the front row. The heat races were a close battle between White and Fox for the top spot as action was constant throughout the second pack of drivers. With what could be call nothing short of “Rain” prior and durig the final all drivers took to the track with slick tires for the final. Directly after the green flag dropped, Fox saw his opportunity and pounced and took the lead at turn four where he managed to hold off White for the victory while White secured second place with Jack Hixon (OVRP-Solo) successfully managing the final step on the podium.
“With our escalating point structure alongside a revised system awarding points for heat race results this series will go down to the final event and the championship is already razor tight after the first round. The excitement is there and we are looking forward to continuing the racing action while offering a high-level, cost-effective and professional racing platform.” — Justin Stefani
Round 2: United Karting | 7206 Ridge Road Hanover, MD 21076
Full series information including entry details, prize package and regulations for the USA Trophy series along with all Rotax Racing activities in the United States will be easily accessible in one location at www.racerotax.com. Additional Rotax USA Trophy series will be announced prior to the end of the 2020 season presenting opportunities to competitors across America to compete in elevated Rotax event series with a chance to earn a ticket to the Rotax Max Grand Finals.