US Trophy West Rounds 5 & 6 Report

Report by David Cole – | View Report HERE

Second half of program underway highlighted by return of Rotax racing to Texas

The 2024 Race Rotax US Trophy West Series entered the second half of the championship program with Round Five and Six contested at the Amarillo Kart Complex. The April 19-21 event marked the return of Rotax racing to the Lone Star State, visiting the Panhandle, Texas facility for the first time.

The Race Rotax US Trophy West Series features a unique format compared to other karting events with two different layouts utilized in the same weekend. The first three sessions of Friday practice were conducted in the clockwise direction – reserved for the action in Round Six on Sunday – before the track switched to the standard counter-clockwise layout – which was used for Round Five on Saturday. Race Rotax at the end of the weekend celebrated the ‘Weekend Trophy’ podium, awarding the top-three in each category based on the two Finals results over the two days.

The Senior MAX category featured new names at the top of the charts throughout the weekend. Texas driver Alex Stanfield opened up the action with fast time in qualifying – 1:02.775 – over Canadians Griffin Dowler and Frederique Lemieux. Fourth in the session was Theo Kekati – traveling from the UAE to compete in Texas. Stanfield led all 10 laps of the opening heat with Kekati up to second. It was a repeat result in Heat #2 before it was a three driver fight at the front with Lemieux in the hunt. She ran until lap seven when Lemieux retired early. Kekati was able to pull off a last turn complex over-under on Stanfield to claim the victory with Stanfield up to second after getting shuffled back to fifth early. Dowler completed the top-three.

Stanfield returned on Sunday to set the fast time once again for Sunday, laying down a 1:01.349 lap in the ‘backwards’ direction. Kekati was second on the time sheet, as the two engaged in battle over the two heat races. Both came down to the final corners with Kekati taking the win in Heat #1 while Stanfield took the second heat. The fight continued into the Final, featuring several changes for the lead over the 16-lap run. Stanfield was able secure the lead on the final lap, taking the provisional win until coming in with a loose rear bumper, removing him from the results. This promoted Kekati to the top of the race podium with Cooper O’Clair second and Lemieux in third. Clayton Kesler ran uncontested in the Masters MAX category on Sunday.

Familiar faces were battling for the top spots all weekend long in Junior MAX. Only 42 thousandths separated the top-three in Saturday qualifying, led by Gage Korn with a 1:04.920 lap. Archer Eversman and double Tucson winner Nixx Eggleston were second and third. Korn would not relinquish the top spot through the two heat races, leading green to checkered flag. The first five laps of the Final was Korn leading before Eggleston, Eversman and Lemieux all worked by. Eversman put himself into the lead on lap 10. He led until the final lap when Lemieux was able to work past for the spot and reach the line first by 84 thousandths to claim a third victory on the season. Korn was able to take third ahead of Eggleston.

Qualifying for Round Six was once again a close battle for the fast time with Eggleston setting the mark with a 1:03.164 lap to edge out Korn and Eversman by 90 thousandths. The three battled all 10 laps of Heat #1 with Eversman taking the win. The same for the second heat race as Korn fighting forward late to claim the top spot. Korn and Eversman fought for the lead during the first half until Lemieux joined in during the second half of the race. In the end, Korn was able to the lead the final seven laps to claim his first victory of the season by over one-second. Lemieux and Eversman completed the top-three.

Jaxon Porter extended his win streak to six by doubling up at Amarillo in Mini MAX. Porter secured fast time in qualifying for Round Five with a 1:07.974 lap. An issue with two laps to go in the opening heat race put Porter on the sideline. This promoted Nikkos Guillen to the race win. Porter returned to the top in Heat #2 before leading 13 of the 14 laps in the Final. Isaac Payn won the battle for second with Harrison Jeffery moved to third after penalties to Guillen for contact.

A solid lap in Round Six qualifying for Gage Grant gave him the fast time honors with his 1:06.538 lap. Porter was off by only 12 thousandths. Grant led the first few laps until Porter took control and the win in Heat #1 along with scoring the top spot in Heat #2. The Final was a wire-to-wire performance as Porter took the sixth victory of the season, winning by over four seconds. Payn repeated his runner-up performance with Gullien just back in third.

Two different drivers left Amarillo with wins in the Micro MAX class. Cam Becker was able to earn his third victory of the season with a sweep of Round Five action. A 1:10.930 was his fast lap in qualifying. He led 15 of the 16 laps in the two heat races, earning the win in both. The Final was all Becker, driving away to over a six-second advantage in the 14-lap race. Double Tucson winner Lucas Tarango was second with Paxton Romero in third.

Becker returned the following day for Round Six with fast pace, posting a 1:08.816 lap in the reverse direction. He led every lap in the opening heat and once again in Heat #2, however, was removed from the results of the second heat following tech. This promoted Paxton Romero to the top spot and in the lead position for the Final. It was Romero and Lypka at the front of the field as Becker began his run forward. Lypka led for a lap, however, Romero would hold on to claim his first series victory of the season. Becker was able to work past Lypka on the final circuit to claim the runner-up spot.

The Race Rotax US Trophy West Series is set to conclude on the May 10-12 weekend, traveling to the Grand Junction Motor Speedway in Grand Junction, Colorado, hosting Round Seven and Eight to conclude the 2024 championship chase. Eligible class champions will be awarded coveted tickets to the 2024 Rotax Grand Finals in Italy this October, adding even more prestige to the championship chase.


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