From the Desert to the Mountain…NWGC Rolls West for Round Three


Dallas, OR-   With rounds three and four in the books, Northwest Gold Cup competitors loaded up and left the desert and made the long roll back west to the base of Mt. Rainer for rounds five and six, as they made way to Spanaway, Washington home of the Puget Sound Go-Kart Association. The PSGKA is one of the oldest standing and still running associations in the nation, with over 50 years helping aspiring racers in their steps to the big time. The weather was happy, allowing partly cloudy skies and balmy temperatures the entire weekend. Late Sunday morning it looked a bit “Iffy”, but by pre-final time the sun was back out giving a great Sunday of afternoon racing, and a perfect ending to a weekend of Northwest Gold Cup racing.

JR.1 Gas Animal kicked off Saturday’s round five racing action with Carson Kunz starting off what would be a sweep of the weekend with a pole, pre-final win, and a finals win. He battled a couple of hard charging brothers in Noah and Josh Holloway, Joseph Olsen, and Cam Raymond.  Olsen had a strong showing as did the Holloway brothers and Raymond struggle a bit in Saturday’s action, but he would regroup to take the runner up spot in round six on Sunday, making his first ever NWGC podium finish.  Kunz had a little trouble with the Holloways on Saturday and was unchallenged on Sunday in route to his sweep of Junior 1.

JR. 2 Gas Animal  rolled out seven very tough competitors for Saturday’s action, pitting the hottest two JR.2 drivers in the series Stafford Smith and first year man Tyler Besuyen.  Besuyen who won the series opening event back in April at Tri-Cities, has been a thorn in the side of four time NWGC winner Stafford Smith.  Smith came back from an altercation in the series opening round to win day two’s action and has went on to win the last three straight rounds, winning both rounds in Boise, ID and Saturday’s round in Spanaway, WA.  Besuyen has been right there however along with hard charging Adam Smalley, his teammate Spencer Kunz, Jacob Gulick, and IKF Expert David Schorn.  Schorn struggled most of the day Saturday and was never really a  factor. Teammate Jacob Gulick a tick better, but both drivers had a tough Saturday.  That left the quad of Smith, Besuyen, Smalley, and Kunz battling for the win. When the smoke settled, it was Smith on top with his fourth straight NWGC Junior two win and his nemesis Tyler Besuyen in the runner up spot. Sunday’s action started out a carbon copy of Saturday with Smith taking P1 in qualifying. Schorn found something overnight as he came back strong to take the final Sunday podium spot. Smith took the pre-final and looked poised to win a fifth straight,but had trouble going into turn one of Sunday’s final, and fell back as far as seventh before composing himself…handing the point to Besuyen who took full advantage driving wire to wire, capturing his second win of the season and the point lead heading into round seven. Smith drove his way back through the field to salvage the runner-up spot.  This is a class to keep an eye on, it’s a bit too early to say anything other than it’s going to be real interesting to see how everything turns out.

World Formula Heavy always “Brings it” as far as racing goes with a very strong and competitive field of quality competitors.  Myles Pederson who swept the weekend in world formula action in rounds three and four, would have a much bigger test in rounds five and six. Pederson did win Sunday’s World Formula Medium out dueling Justin Smalley for the top spot, Saturdays World Formula Heavy was a different story as Bryan Green re-emerged from a one race layoff to take the win.  Dana McDonald dusted off his machine and little rust as he came out of partial retirement and showed the field that he still had a little something as he ran solid all day long, but would have issues in Sunday’s action along with Mark Reese as both retired early in the SUPERHEAVY final.  Bill Gulick was third both days, Pederson in the runner up spot in Saturday’s heavy action and Mark Westcott making a quick Saturday night jaunt from Portland, Oregon for Sunday’s SUPER HEAVY action.  Westcott made the drive worthwhile taking the runner up spot behind Green, Gregg Wick had a nice run and finished fourth.

Rotax Mini Max was a run away with Auburn, Washington’s Conner Wick dominating Mini Max all weekend.  Elle Musgrave is determined young lady that has really made big strides behind the wheel and is on her way to what looks like a pretty promising career, with more seat and drive time being needed, as is the case with most all young up and coming drivers. She made the podium on Sunday.  Carson Kunz as well is promising young wheelman and he too had some issues that cost him a better weekend in Mini Max, after his stellar performance in JR. 1 Gas Animal.  Revolution Racing’s newest driver, Tanner McGuire continued his strong improvement in Mini Max as he captured a runner up podium spot on Sunday. A note of interest, Conner Wick is also attempting to capture a spot in the Rotax Max Invitational, and event for Mini and Micro Max drivers that is run in conjunction with the Rotax Grand Finals coming up later this season.

Rotax Jr. provided a first on Saturday as Bryce “No luck, but stick to it tough” Peterson was for the most part unchallenged as he dominated and took Saturday’s round five win.  It was such a deserving win for Peterson who has endured some of the most devastating and unbelievable luck ever seen in racing (Most would have tossed the kart first, and then jumped right behind it) but has fortitude of immeasurable amounts the way he has hung in and continued to compete.  It was Peterson’s first ever pole and win for the never say die racer, and it was awesome watching everybody help him enjoy his first win.  Peterson was in the runner up spot on Sunday,  as Adam Smalley took the win and Job “Peanut Butter” Kandris taking Sunday’s final podium spot with some “WOW WEE” moves in the final that might have made things interesting had he stuck them, but without question a very much improved and mature Job Kandris.

Rotax Senior was a clinic on how to roll Mountain High Raceway by clinician Brandon Cusack.  Cusack who has run a limited schedule in 2013, was for the most part unchallenged and swept Rotax Senior for the weekend. Andy Halbert had the house seat in Doug Huggler’s HRE Top Kart and was solid all weekend, just not enough experience to completely handle the roll by Cusack.  Might we see Halbert in a HRE Top Kart seat in the near future?..for right now we wait and see. Revolution Racing’s “Front Row” Joey Miller took Saturday’s podium spot, and Paige “They come no tougher than me” Wallin took Sunday’s podium spot in her first 2013 NWGC outing. Also notable was the run by Myles Pederson, who along with Jason G. Halls Team Xcell Racing warriors, stayed up most of Saturday night putting together a new Veloux Chassis complete with engine for a first time Rotax try.  Hall was very impressed with Pederson and offered him the ride if he could get it together…they did, and he rolled to a fourth place finish with less than 20 laps of practice.  Pederson is no joke.  He is very hard working, mature, and has extremely good decision making skills on the racetrack and I believe a talent if he chooses to stay with it.

Rotax Masters was a shootout between Tim Moss, Tim Rice, and new hot shoe Jonathon Brown.  It was Moss proving just too tough as he went on to win both Saturday and Sunday’s Masters events, with Rice and Brown respectively following Moss under the checkers.  Jonathon Brown brings a very interesting story to the series by being one of the few young drivers that pays entirely for his racing endeavors.  Brown, at 16 years of age has owned and operated his own window washing business for the past three plus years, and for that same duration entirely paid for all his racing efforts.  His Father Bill, (Who by the way is an outstanding cook) spots him a tank of gas to the event, but from there the young entrepreneur picks up the tab. He competes in both asphalt sprint and dirt speedway and from trailer to karts, from tires to his crew chief’s pit pass, this young man pays for it all.  It’s not surprising to see young athletes make commitments to their respective sports, but to have to keep that commitment AND have to pay for it through the ups and downs is a whole different story, however this hard working young man has lived and done it and should be commended for a remarkable achievement.  It is certainly something that gets easily overlooked or assumed otherwise…Congratulations Jonathon Brown on a remarkable racing journey thus far in your young career, I’m certain that there is more in store for this fine young man and racer. Mark Briant gets the weekend’s hard luck stick to it award as he battled brake issues all weekend but managed to make the final finishing fourth.  Paul Kandris did not start.

Last but certainly not least was the Shifters. Brian Nixon aboard his new Team Xcell Racing Veloux took the overall pole honors and ICC top spot.  Nixon a smooth, crafty driver was flawless all weekend and looked like he was molded into his new ride…Most definitely a plus for Team Xcell Racing Owner Jason G. Hall who has silently been working like a madman orchestrating and nabbing all kinds of quality drivers and getting them into the new rides that he is the new US importer for…You will be seeing much more of this unique racing effort and if curious can check them out on the web at, there you will find all the details on the Veloux chassis, ICC engines, as well as owner Jason G. Hall’s mission statements.  Ricky Worley struggled a bit over the weekend but still managed to pilot is ICC speedster to the runner up spot behind Nixon. Chris Worley started the final but got about 10 feet before trying to avoid 125 stock shifter driver Scott Little who had stalled collecting him ending both racers weekend. It was then the RB 31 Red Bull machine of newcomer Christian Carlson taking advantage of the mishap and holding off the charges of Travis Henson and taking the checkers for his first ever NWGC shifter win. Carlson gave a lot of thanks to SKS (Seattle Kart Supply) for their help… “I would really like to thank Greg and Jeff Garner as well as Tim Rice for making ALL of this possible for me…They have worked so hard putting in countless hours getting me to this point and I most definitely would not be here without them” 

Next stop on the NWGC tour is the Mac Track at McMinnville Raceway Park in McMinnville, OR. The Portland Karting Association is expecting a large turn out because it will be the last event before the Rotax Can/Am Pro Kart Challenge Series rolls into town as well as the IKF 4 Cycle Grand Nationals which are being held at the facility July 17-20.  They encourage racers to arrive as early as possible as pit spots  are first come first serve for all spots not already reserved.  If you would like to reserve a spot in advance or would like to find out more about the upcoming Grand National event, you can contact the Portland Karting Association at for more details.  Until next time…I’m Terry Bridges thanks so much for reading!

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Written By : Terry Bridges-Owner of The Northwest Race Report