July 8-10 Spanaway, WA- The NW Gold Cup/RotaxMax Challenge Series made its annual stop to the Historic Mountain High Raceway for round 5 of the 8 race regional touring karting series. Hosted by the Puget Sound Go Karting Association, the unique and technical “Rollercoaster” race track which offers elevation change and off camber turn backs within a high 30 to 31 second per lap size, was spic and span with a newly revamped pit area for trailer pitting and trackside grass that was groomed like a fresh haircut. The weather was perfect with high 60 to low 70 temperatures and nothing but sunshine all weekend. Return, redemption, and first wins would ultimately be the words of the weekend after some great racing & unbelievable finishes & this is how round 5 played out starting first with……
Rotax MicroMax- Like a run-a-way locomotive, Conner Robustelli continued his domination by taking fast time, heat one, the pre-final, and the final while tuning up for the Rotax Grands. Basically untouched and unchallenged all season chief tuner Mark Robustelli says it’s all about racing the clock the “We race the clock and the race track not the other competitors. For us it’s about challenging ourselves, getting better on the watch each and EVERY time we hit the race track.” The real story however was the performance of up and comer Jacob Hudson. Hudson who runs out of the Black Flag Racing racing stable had his best performance of the season. His bold end of the straight away pass of Conner Wick, (who by the way is one of the top MicroMax drivers in the NW) caught everyone by surprise and the attention of race officials who signaled Hudson to allow Wick his spot back….Wick and Hudson battled until on the last lap Hudson re-tried the same “Banzai end of the straight late brake” move again…this time without a touch giving Hudson second & relegating Wick to third. Elle Musgrave continued her solid improvement finishing fourth and the flashy and stylish newcomer Parker Robb (nephew of now IKF Expert Sting Ray Robb) finished fifth. FT- Robustelli 34.704 62.604mph SUMMARY- 1. Robustelli 2. Hudson 3. Wick 4. Musgrave 5. Robb
Rotax Senior- In his first appearance of the season in NWGRMCS action, Brandon Cusack aboard his USKarting News CRG took the win. The buzz was all about Johnny “The Sliver” Blair making his first appearance in NWGCRMCS competition in his new Seattle Kart Supply/Rotax powered machine at his home track..and in normal Johnny Blair style he did not disappoint qualifying second quick behind defending champ & Black Flag house driver Andrew Zimmer and taking heat one and the pre-final, tipping the odds in his favor. In the final, it was Cusack leading the first two circuits until Blair in a game of chicken out broke Cusack at the end of the of the rollercoaster and slipped underneath with Zimmer following suit. Blair lead the next five laps with all kinds of pressure from the defending champ Zimmer & Cusack, until late in lap seven Zimmer tried a deep brake on Blair at the end of the straight, and the two got together & spun giving the lead back to Cusack who drove the wheels off his US Karting News machine in hopes of trying to put the win away….Zimmer got going as did Blair only well back in the field. Zimmer catches and passes Cusack with 2 to go and takes the checkers, with Blair now in charge mode making up enough ground to salvage a top 5. The race finished under protest & Zimmer was docked a spot because of the earlier altercation with Blair, giving the win to Cusack. Also in a his first appearance of the season in Regional action, Marshall Peterson quietly slid under the checkers 3rd in an awesome first appearance drive. Another notable was the performance of 30 year veteran Doug Huggler who was a solid third in both the heat race and pre-final aboard his Huggler Racing Engines Top Kart and looked to have a shot until a broken Chain sent him out early in the final. Black Flag Racing owner, Luke Vasquez made his re-return finishing fourth. FT- Zimmer, 31.082 69.889mph SUMMARY- 1. Brandon Cusack 2. Zimmer 3.Marshall Peterson 4. Vasquez 5. Blair
JR 1 Animal LT & HVY- In Saturdays light action it was newly crowned GrandNational Champion and IKF Expert Sting Ray Robb once again piloting his Red Apple Racing Express to the win in both light and heavy. This is Robb’s fifth straight JR 1 light & heavy win. Canadian Kyle Adams who has cinderella’d to Robb most of the five events this season was closer than ever to Robb in his Interior Kart Center K&K machine, Adams has been solid all season while learning the brand new K&K chassis. Newcomer and most improved driver thus far Trey “Treydawg” Manker drove the wheels of all day long qualifying third quick and capturing third behind Adams. Jacob Gullick aboard his CMC swiss hutless finished fourth, and in their recent return after a season layoff, twins Blake & Austin Portalski finished fifth and sixth respectively in light and fourth and fifth in heavy after Manker drove the right rear wheel studs right off early in the heavy final and finished in the sixth postion FT- Robb 34.295 63.351mph, FT Hvy- Robb 34.593 62.803 mph SUMMARY- LIGHT: 1. Robb 2. Adams 3. Manker 4. Gulick 5. B. Portalski 6. A. Portalski HEAVY: 1. Robb 2. Adams 3. Gulick 4. B. Portalski 5. A. Portalski 6. Manker
IAME CUP/IAME CUP JR./ TAG MSTRS- Iame Cup action without Michael Valiante who was back east campaigning with his ROLEX roadracing team, saw the Scott Hargrove take the pole and the win in his Italian Motors/Ital Kart. The smooth and charismatic Hargrove who is also is competing in the Skip Barber Racing Series was flawless and when buckled down was virtually untouchable. The Iame Cup in its second season on the NWGCRMCS circuit is nobodies slouch with competitors such as David Jurca, Adam Isman, Remo Ruscitti, Paige Wallin & Valliante running regularly when their schedules allow. Isman followed Hargrove under the checkers for second, who was amazing all weekend & was rocket quick all weekend, followed by Rucitti, Jurca, McCallister, O’Farrell & Wallin. Paige Wallin the Northwest’s female phenomenon, fought chassis woes all weekend and never did find the combination that she liked. In Iame Cup Junior 3 it was Portland, Oregon’s Laura Freeman taking the the win in another fine display of sheer determination to improve. An independent, Freeman and her family are some of the hardest working competitors on the circuit and do a lot with a little, it will be neat to see Freeman start reaping the fruits of the teams hard work. It was the “ActionMan” Tim Moss taking the win in his Black Flag Racing Tony kart in the TAG Masters division. FT- Hargrove 31.244 69.537mph SUMMARY– 1. Hargrove 2. Adam Isman 3. Ruscitti 4. Jurca 5. McCallister 6. O’Farrell 7. Wallin Iame Cup Jr- 1. Laura Freeman TAG MASTERS- 1. Tim Moss
Rotax MiniMax- This was one of the best races of the weekend, exciting and heartbreaking all at the same time. Quick qualifier Sting Ray Robb captured heat 1 with “Wicked Quick” Kyle Wick second and without a doubt the most improved driver in MiniMax Matt Morgan third. In the Pre-Final Robb in a rare sight got in to hot in turn nine and looped his Red Apple Express and from there it was all Kyle WIck in his gorgeous green familiar Wicked Fabrication #9, Robb finished 11th. In the final it was Wick leading the way and Robb in pursuit after getting tangled up in a turn one start incident. Wick led every click of the final until Robb caught him and in a bold and daring move in the final turn, over drove the corner and got into the side of Wick taking them both to the very edge of the race track allowing third place Matt Morgan much to the delight of the capacity crowd to take the checkers in his first ever Rotax MiniMax win. Cole Franchini, Matt’s twin brother Mason, Rayce Spoor, and Seth Appel followed Morgan across the stripe. Wick and Robb finished ninth & tenth. Devin Smith who qualified third quick and was outstanding early on finished a dissapointing 11 after mechanical issues sidelined him early in the final. FT- Robb 32.349 67.162 mph SUMMARY- 1. Matt Morgan 2. Cole Franchini 3. Mason Morgan 4. Rayce Spoor 5. Seth Appel
JR 2 Animal Light & Heavy- It was David Schorn versus Myles pederson in light competition, with Schorn & Pederson taking turns exchanging the lead while Hailey Groff watch from the third spot “Catbird” spot. Groff had an excellent view as she watch Schorn and Pederson go at it like a UFC title bout, but at the stripe it was Schorn coming off a big runner-up finish at the IKF GrandNationals taking the win in the Pre-Final followed by Pederson, Groff, Michael Guttenberger who was really struggling after running some tires won at the GrandNationals that ended up being the wrong compound and Bryce Peterson who had 4 stroke ace Ricky Worley tuning up the #17 hoping to rid that team of its black cloud string of bad luck. In the final it was Schorn and Pederson back at it and Groff in third in almost a deja-vu feel of the pre-final…Schorn led laps 1 thru 4, Pederson led lap 5 until Schorn out broke Pederson to regain the lead and lead laps 6-7…Pederson with a “Two can play this game” late brake move on Schorn recaptured the lead and led laps 8-10 with Schorn getting back by to led lap 11 until Pederson re-took the lead for good on lap 12 but got a scare late from Schorn who did a back from the dead last gasp try for the lead coming out of turn four just before the rollercoaster, but Pederson held off the attempt & took the win with Groff in the third spot…again, followed by IKF Grand National Champ Guttenberger in fourth, and never did quite find the handle…until later finding the tire issue and Bryce Peterson who was a bit better, but still in struggle mode finishing 5th. In HEAVY action on Sunday it was ALL newly crowned Champ Michael Guttenberger as he set fast time and swept everything to take the win..It was Schorn who inherited Guttenbergers Saturday luck and struggled most of the day with an unknown at the time broken seat strut. Bryce Peterson improved and shook some of his poor luck to finish fourth in the Heavy final, the “You always know what you’re gonna get” Myles Pederson finished behind Guttenberger in the runner-up spot. FT Light- Schorn 34.111 63.692mph SUMMARY LT- 1. Pederson 2. Schorn 3. Groff 4. Guttenberger 5. Peterson FT Heavy– Guttenberger 34.215 63.499mph SUMMARY HVY- 1. Guttenberger 2. Pederson 3. Schorn 4. Peterson 5. Groff
Rotax Junior- Once again, the guy to beat was Artie Carpenter in this Black Flag Racing backed Tony Kart house car. There was a time when people said that Carpenter was only fast at his Tri-Cities home track…Now the critics have been silent as Carpenter has proven time and time again, that he IS the guy to beat, and it was no different in round five as Carpenter was the class of the field putting his kart on the pole and sweeping heat one, the pre-final, and the final. It really makes you wonder what it is that this kid has because he truly does not LOOK that much faster, but his when he crosses the stripe almost a half a lap ahead of the field, you know there is some magic in this talented young driver. From the drop of the green in heat one, it was ALL Carpenter with Guttenberger second and Carpenters teammate Marco Eakins third but the surprises were Kale Kunicki taking the fourth spot with a solid run and Tony Sisco rounding out the top five in his first regional race of the season, both drivers put in very impressive drives throughout the weekend…(Race Note: 2nd place Guttenberger was DQ’d for a rules infraction and relegated to last in heat one). In the pre-final it was once again Carpenter in command from the wave of the green, teammate Marco Eakins finished second Kale Kunicki once again was awesome finishing third, female sensation Brittany Zamora fourth and Tony Sisco again taking home fifth place honors. In the final, no surprise as Carpenter ran away and hid, Eakins trying to find his teammate finished second, proving that she is no fluke and can run with the boys, Brittany Zamora turned in one of her best performances of the year finished a strong third, with another female standout Hailey Groff starting to find her way around finished a respectable fourth, and Tyler Brown finally shook the luck gremlins and drove his way to the fifth spot….Kunicki and Guttenberger tangled while dicing for position with Kunicki finishing last and Guttenberger working his way back to salvage 7th. Job Kandris in his first outing in the series, struggled bit, but still managed a top 10 finishing tenth. FT- Carpenter 31.445, 69.092mph SUMMARY- 1. Carpenter 2. Eakins 3. Zamora 4. Groff 5. Brown
Shifters- Remo Ruscitti set his Italian Motors/ Ital Kart on the pole, captured heat one, the pre-final, and the final in route to a clean sweep in shifter competition. All three events were carbon copies with the exception of heat one, with Mike McGowan taking home fourth place honors…in the following events it was Meridian Idaho’s Myles Pederson on his 80cc machine capturing fourth place. Sensation Scott Hargrove and driver of the weekend Adam Isman followed Ruscitti under the checkers in second and third sport respectively in all 3 events. Ruscitti’s 30.565 qualifying time was the events quickest effort at an average speed of 71.082mph. FT- Ruscitti 30.565 71.082mph SUMMARY- 1. Ruscitti 2. Hargrove 3. Isman 4. Pederson 5. McGowan
World Formula Hvy, Masters, Medium- Vancouver BC’s Scott Barlee added two more to his win column by winning both Heavy and Masters. Turn-out was on the side of very poor with only Three racers in Heavy competition on Saturday, on Sunday it was down to two in Masters as the other entry ran medium…Where oh where have the all the four strokes gone?….But if your going to beat someone, you want it to be Brian Green from Portland, Oregon who captured the pole in both Heavy and Masters…. But it was the race gremlins that Green could not figure out as in the pre-final he lost a chain in the late going and coasted to pit road, Barlee coasted by to take the checkers….Thomas Wilson of Spokane and Elmer Patterson of Boise, Idaho followed Barlee’s #88 across the stripe. You NW karting history buffs may remember Patterson, as he was a former standout NW Gold Cup competitor and series champion. In the final it appeared as though Green might have things figured out and something for Barlee, until in almost a completely perfect “FlashBack” Green broke coming out the same turn, same spot, and coasted almost to the tire print to pit road, once again allowing Barlee to coast by to pick up his second Gold Cup win..Wilson played cinderella again finishing second and the wiley verteran Patterson wound up third. In Masters action on Sunday it was Brian Green again capturing the pole, the veteran IKF GrandNational Champ has fought of last years second half race gremlins and has been solid so far this year both regionally and locally….However, Green followed Barlee across the stripe in the pre-final with Thomas Wilson, Patterson, and Keith Land finishing third, fourth, and fifth. In the Final, Green and Barlee were nose to tail out of the gate and stayed that way until Barlee stuck a nose in at the end of the front chute and tangled with Green, both spun but it was Barlee who got going first and went on to win his second feature of the weekend giving him three notches in the win column. Thomas Wilson once again followed Barlee across in second and Green gathered and dusted himself off to salvage a third, Elmer Patterson brought his Race Inc. machine across fourth and Keith Land fifth. An FYI, Wenatchee’s Steve Adkins and Bellevue, Washington’s Jeremy Boldstad each won their Classes even though combined with the World Formula Heavy group on Saturday. Adkins took Yamaha “Supersport” while Bolstad captured the F-200 title. In Sunday’s action, runner up Thomas Wilson actually won World Formula Medium and fifth place finisher Keith Land captured the Gas Animal crown….due to the numbers or lack there of, all 4 four classes were combined and scored separately. FT WF HVY- Green 35.215 61.696mph SUMMARY- 1.Barlee 2. Wilson 3. Patterson 4. Green F-200- 1. Jeremy Bolstad Supersport- 1. Steve Adkins FT WF MASTERS- Green 35.527 61.154mph SUMMARY- 1. Barlee 2. Green 3. Patterson WF MED.- 1. Thomas Wilson GAS ANIMAL- 1. Keith Land
ROTAX/IAME CHALLENGE-Round #2…..”Zimmer redeems, takes round 2!”
Spokane, Washington’s Andrew Zimmer put his Black Flag Racing/ Tony Kart on the pole for the second straight time,with Italian Motors wheelman Scott Hargrove joining Zimmer on the outside of row 1. Row two had the “Silky Speedster” Remo Ruscitti and weekend standout Adam Isman. Row three was veteran David Jurca (Who by the way just graduated with his Business Finance degree from the University of Washington) and the hard charging independent Kory Estell. Row 4 was made up of Italian Motors drivers Scott O’Farrell and young gun Jaime McCallister. Row 5 was a surprise entry…..with “Mr. Excitement” Brandon Schreiber sitting in for Paige Wallin……Right out of the gate it was Zimmer taking the point and control early with Hargrove and Ruscitti taking turns trying their hand at wearing down ZImmer who is proving to critic’s that he is deserving of the hoopla given to him, as he led all but one lap, when on the last lap, Ruscitti tried a “Hero or Zero” move on Zimmer at the end of the straight, and oh boy was it close, but ended up to close as the two got together allowing Hargrove to snatch the lead and the win….Upon reveiw, drivers Scott Hargrove and Remo Ruscitti both agreed that they really had nothing for Zimmer and would not have gotten by without the contact. So in a class act, they gave Zimmer the well deserved win, with Hargrove second and Ruscitti third. During trophy ceremonies Zimmer thanked his team and then thanked drivers Hargrove and Ruscitti for “Making things right”….Round 3 of the Rotax/Iame Challenge is scheduled for August 7th as the Northwest Gold Cup RotaxMax Challenge Series makes its swing back north to visit the SIMA Motorsports Complex in Sumas, Washington for round six in the series on August 5-7th.
ProSoundAudioServices is proud to be the official announcing service for the Northwest Gold Cup/RotaxMax Challenge Series, and would like to congratulate all of the newly crowned Grand National Champions from the past weeks IKF 4 Cycle GrandNationals held in Redding, California. ProSoundAudioServices would also like to give a “BIG SHOUT OUT” to all of the great and quality vendors that put up the prizes for the Iame/Rotax Challenge…The vendors wanted ALL of the champions that ran the event to not walk away empty handed and gave everything from cash to apparrel for each and every champion that started the Challenge… So thank you Blake Choquer-BBR racing, Don Holmboe-CMC inc., Bill & Debbie Hettick- Bam Race Tech, Mark Robustelli- Little Rocket racing, Larry Robb- Red Apple racing, Luke Vasquez & Ben Eakins- Black Flag racing, Roger Semro- Kart-O-Rama, & The Northwest Gold Cup/RotaxMax Challenge Series for your tried and true support of the NW Gold Cup as well as the sport of Karting. ProSoundAudioServices would also like to recognize US Karting News (www.uskartingnews.com) for the great “race shots”, the nation wide, up to minute news, quality interviews and race links. Support the Sport!…See you in Sumas August 5th-7th.