Northwest Gold Cup Chief Starter “Dr” Larry Seaunier at work.
Sept. 28, 2011– Round 8 of the NWGC for some was not necessary, but for Scott Barlee, Brian Green, Sting Ray Robb and Artie Carpenter it most definitely was if they were to capture the “The Gold” for 2011.
The Finale of the Northwest Gold Cup/RotaxMax Challenge series was up in the air as to where it would be held, as track rental for the hosting Westwood Kart Club just became too much and the club had some decisions to make.
Cancellation was a consideration, but soon ruled “Not an option” as the club was on a mission (No pun intended) to find a replacement. Several clubs offered their facilities, and it was decided that round 8 of the series would finish at Greg Moore Raceway in Chilliwack, BC. “We want don’t want to see any kart club not make it, and we don’t want to have cancel an event” said Bill Hettick Region 6 Sprint coordinator, “It just shows you the kind of racing family support our region has when clubs step up and offer their facility to help a another club.”
Many teams did not make the trip across the border because they didn’t need to, wrapping up the title mathematically in round 7 McMinnville, Or. For several others it was simply not an option, as the point battle was so close that missing round 8 would be giving away their championship hopes. There were two very close point battles that would be decided in round 8 one that you knew was close and one that was closer than anyone knew or expected..I most certainly was surprised and I followed the series all 8 events!
The battle that everyone knew about was battle that raged on basically from the drop of the green flag in round one between Veteran Brian Green and young stand out Scott Barlee. Going into round 8 Barlee had a significant but not sewed up 156 point lead over Green in World Formula Heavy, but in World Formula Masters it was the reverse with Green leading by a slim 15 point margin. Green just about had things tied up in Round 7 as Barlee had 2 engines “Cry Uncle” one of which let go while running second behind Green in World Formula Masters and finishing a heartbreaking 9th, allowing Green to win World Formula Masters…during the break the Barlee team pulled out engine number 3 and rolled up just in time for the start of the World Formula Heavy final, much to the delight of all in attendance…and followed Green across the stripe second setting the stage for the dramatic round 8 finale more on that in a bit…
Marco Eakins was a slim 11 points behind Black Flag teammate Artie Carpenter heading into round 8.
The sleeper of the point battles was between Black Flag Racing teammates Artie Carpenter and Marco Eakins. A slim 11 point margin is all that separated the elder statesman Carpenter and first year man Eakins. After taking what might be considered an “Eye Opening” almost six second loss to Luke Sellikin in round 7 (For the record that six seconds is usually the other way around), Both Carpenter and teammate Eakins looked awful good at the end of final practice in round 8…still anybody’s championship……
There was also another sleeper battle going on that had flown under the radar until rearing its head in round 8, the margin was larger at 85 points but either way there is still a shot so really 85 points or 1 point works out to be the same thing, and that is exactly the mind-set that Robb took against one of the most improved drivers in the series Matt Morgan. There was no easy around this one as female phenom Sara Brinkac was in attendance at what could be considered her home track and her tuner checkered Flag Racing’s George Fellner knows like the back of his hand…Throw in Morgan’s twin brother Mason and you’ve got yourself a “Barn Burner” more on this in a bit….
Black Flags Jacob Hudson wheeled to a 2nd place finish in round 8.
In Rotax MicroMax action it was CRG West’s Marco Kacic taking the win at his home track…Kacic had to battle a hard charging Jacob Hudson and new comer Jordan Novota…Kacic dealt with Hudson in the early laps as Hudson appeared to have a short set up under him…Kacic took his time and calmly waited for his CRG to take hold and then drove away from Hudson in the late stages..Hudson has improved greatly over the course of the 2011 season and has to be one of the favorites in 2012…Newcomer Jordan Novota had a great run for his first time in NWGCRCS competition and is planning on running more events next season, so the Rotax MicroMax is a class to keep an eye on in 2012…
Kyle Adams aboard his Interior Kart Center machine taking the win in Jr.1.
In Jr.1 action, it was New Westminster’s Kyle Adams aboard his Interior Kart Center KnK chassis taking the win. Adams had waged a hard-fought battle with Champion Sting Ray Robb, who with title points mathematically handled elected to focus on his Rotax MiniMax machine. Running second was Jacob Gulick on his CMC/Gulick Trucking/Swiss Hutless entry… and back running with a newly acquired package was T.J Madonna, a hard charging fun-loving kid who gave both Adams and Gulick a run for their money…and had the move of the day with bold and brave “split the seam” move at the start of final. 2012 should prove to be interesting with the return of the bandit Justin DeMars, Adams, Gulick & Madonna just to name a few…
CMC's hired house gun Phil Arscott swept Rotax Sr. Arscott IS the real deal.
In Rotax Sr action Don Holmboe brought out his house driver Phil Arscott for the final two events in 2011.
Arscott a regular in many of the National level Rotax events picked up where he left off in round 7 at McMinnville by sweeping the event after qualifying 3rd. Arscott rolls with a smooth effortless style and is amazing cool under pressure, a real treat for the fans but imagine it’s got to be a real headache for his competitors. Greg Moore Raceway President Chris Glover dusted off his Lewis Hamilton chassis and was on hand to give Arscott a run as a tune up for his upcoming trip to South Africa for a Rotax World qualifying event. Ace Bryce Choquer was on hand aboard his BBR racing machine and Choquer finished 3rd behind Glover and Arscott, Chad Grunow came on strong in the final (4th), followed by Devon Sandeen (5th), Darren Ward (6th)…Ward appears to have the runner-up spot in 2011 Rotax Sr championship points tied up behind re-defending champion Andrew Zimmer who was not in attendance having captured the Championship by math at McMinnville in round 7. Regulars Kory Estell and Kyle Byers were 7th and 10th respectively. Byers had a tough day fighting gremlin brake issues on his Byers Body and Paint machine…..I told you we’d be back in a bit to let you know the outcomes of the World Formula Heavy/Masters, Mini Max and Rotax Jr so here they are….
Scott Barlee captured both World Formula Heavy and Masters in round 8.
In World Formula Heavy and Masters it was Scott Barlee taking the win in both divisions to capture not 1 but 2 championship crowns, impressive to say the least, winning one is tough enough…but two?…Should tell you just a bit about the talents of this up and coming young talent…With only two of them racing in the final, it made things really interesting…it truly was a “do or die” situation for both Barlee & Green because with no other competitors for variables…it was Scott Barlee vs. Brian Green all the way… and boy did they put on a show…lap after lap in both divisions they were bumper to bumper and wheel to wheel in one of the best point battle finishes in recent NWGCRCS action. Take nothing away from Brian Green a champion competitor thru and thru…”I let him win” smiled Green at the trophy presentation…” I had to let him win something, cause I didn’t want his feelings all hurt” followed a still smiling Green. Barlee was all smiles and thanked his Dad Pat who is also his tuner, for everything over the season. Barlee was really testing himself and his chances when the team switched to a new Ital-Kart at just over the half way point in the season, but did not have many learning curve issues as most do when switching chassis…”I don’t think we could have won it with out it” stated tuner Pat Barlee “I was having to weld that ole’ arrow chassis after just about every event…it was just spent, we had a lot of hard racing miles on that chassis.”
What can you say about 2011’s new Rotax Jr. champion Artie Carpenter…a total class act, with a racing maturity that you’d expect from a racer twice his age and experience. Carpenter captured the Jr. 3 IAME Cup in 2010 even after losing his father during a test and tune session at his home track in Tri-Cities, WA.
Amazingly the young racer kept himself composed and poised as he finished out the year and taking home the championship in a fitting story book ending, In 2011 Carpenter and Andrew Zimmer switched from their Top Kart machines to Tony Karts when they joined Black Flag’s Racing Team as the house drivers. Carpenter was the guy to beat in Rotax Jr. as was his teammate Zimmer in the Rotax Sr. division…Back to back NWGCRCS championships for the teammate drivers and another Black Flag teammate Marco Eakins will finish second in Rotax Jr. championship points…and outstanding season for the young shoe from Beaverton, OR who had 8 top 5’s for the season, pretty tough to be much more consistent than that..Other stand outs in the division were first year runners Mike Guttenberger and Tyler Brown…Guttenberger who seems to be at home on whatever you put him on ran very solid with several top 5’s this season….and Tyler Brown who is a young gun with an enormous amount of just natural talent struggle a bit in his freshman year but still managed to come in to round 8 3rd in points before the throw a ways not knowing the exact numbers my guess is Brown with still make the top five..but again that is just a guess. There were so many standout drivers in this class and all of them are to be commended for their excellent talents and efforts…
The Rotax MiniMax Championship I know was won by Red Apple Racing’s Sting Ray Robb from Boise, ID. Robb was once again a stellar performer with the hands of ace tuner Blake Choquer from BBR racing tuning and turning Robb into the guy to beat in 2011…Robb’s numbers are just staggering check out these stats…40 starts, 30 poles (that is 75% of the time), and 20 wins (a 50% win percentage) add to that the fact that he has won two IKF (International Kart Federation) Grand National events which attained him “IKF Expert” status and all this BEFORE the age of ten…YES, 10!..Pretty impressive numbers and both the driver and the race team have equally impressive human qualities as well. They are some of the finest racers and people who you would ever want to meet…What about Matt Morgan, this guy right here is my pick for the most improved driver in MiniMax competition…Morgan grew greatly as not only a driver but a young man as well…Morgan scored his first win at Mountain High Raceway (his home track) back in July while running a solid third in the final, drove underneath both Wick and Robb who were tied up in a last corner, last lap altercation to the take the checkers…Matt’s twin brother Mason had a fine season as well, most of the time consistently in the top 5 to 8 spots and one that you could never count out of and event…This class may have the most “Winningest drivers with a Win” in any class when start looking at drivers like Rayce Spoor, Cole Franchini, Sara Brinkac, Seth Appel, Devin Smith, Adam Spikes all who are top contenders and are all still without their first win…after looking at the point standings…I’ve decided that I will be leaving all of that to the statisticians and will be back with complete run down of the final point standings for every class…The MiniMax class will be saying goodbye to one of the finest MiniMax drivers in the Northwest Kyle Wick, who I believe will be graduating and running in Rotax Jr. in 2012, and there is no doubt in my mind that Wick will be a top contender once becoming acquainted with his machine…and you can quote me on that…you heard it here first.
Hard to believe that the 2011 season has already come to a close…it seems like just yesterday we all were in Tri-Cities opening things up and re-greeting one another…one of the GREAT things that I love about our sport are the people involved and once again it has been a privilege and an honor to be a apart of the Northwest Gold Cup/RotaxMax Challenge series. I want to thank each and everyone you for ALL that you have done for me in the way of support, encouragement, and your wonderful hospitality…but most of all, you allowing me to share and be a part of your racing passion, in truly does mean the world to me. Hopefully 2012 will bring more of the same, but either way it has been a heck of ride, one that I will never forget. Thanks again and I hope to see you all at the Northwest Gold Cup Conference the second weekend in November…and remember this is YOUR chance to be heard, so make sure that you come and support the sport, but more importantly support yourself and your beliefs…it’s like voting, if you don’t vote you really can’t gripe. For more information about the conference or to purchase your awards banquet tickets you can contact Bill or Debbie Hettick at Bam Race Tech at 206-353-6569 or by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I encourage you to please leave your comments and thoughts on the comment section of this article and you can also leave a review on my Facebook page just click the link on upper right side of the menu. Looking forward to a great 2012 racing season…..Until next time I’m Terry Bridges and thanks for reading!