The Rok Cup Canada season continued on Sunday as the Champion Ron Fellows Karting Challenge took to the Canadian Mini Indy for stop number two of the series. Rain showers were in the forecast all afternoon long, but thankfully, Mother Nature held off on soaking the karting facility in Hamilton, Ontario under just moments after the podium ceremony.
Sunday’s action saw some familiar names finish atop the podium as Ryan MacDermid, Dale Curran and Frankie Esposito continued their impressive starts to the Canadian season.
In case you missed it, click here for our Hamilton CRFKC Briggs & Stratton report.
ROK Senior: MacDermid Extends Winning Streak to Three
The winning ways continued for Ryan MacDermid, who drove brilliantly on Sunday to score the victory at the home track of the Prime Powerteam. MacDermid joined Prime for the 2018 season and has been on the podium in each of the four major races in Ontario this season, and now rides a three-race winning streak in Rok Senior.
The racing in Rok Senior got off to a rocky start, as six drivers, including MacDermid, were penalized in the Prefinal as the entire outside line failed to find their starting lane, while MacDermid was deemed to jump the start from the pole position. This shuffled the starting order for the Final, which featured Nicholas Hornbostel (REM/Kosmic) leading the field to green.
It took a couple attempts, but when the green finally flew, MacDermid launched like a rocket to the lead as Hornbostel slipped back to second, followed by Cole Hooton (Prime/BirelART) and round one winner Chris Chanko (VSR/TonyKart).
In a rather uneventful Final that saw the front five separate quickly, MacDermid put down fast lap after fast lap to pull out to victory. Hornbostel would cross in second but was excluded after an issue was found in post-race tech inspection. Hooton crossed in third, but jumped up to second, with Chanko completing the podium to keep the championship race very tight between the top-three. Mark Davis (REM/Kosmic) and Kai Dalziel (PRO/Intrepid) finished up the top-five.
Racing amongst the Seniors, the Rok Masters drivers enjoyed their own battles on track. Leading every lap until the final one, Adrian Donkers (VSR/TonyKart) surrendered the lead to Joe Crupi (Goodwood/Intrepid) with only half a lap left, allowing Crupi to take his second CRFKC win of the year. Third went to Alexander Mankovski.
ROK Junior: Dale Curran in a Different Time Zone
Dale Curran Junior is two for two in CRFKC action thus far in 2018 as the young Junior Rok driver pulled away to victory on Sunday. Curran (REM/Kosmic) took the checkered flag by just under five seconds and his dominance earned him the Pfaff Automotive Junior Driver of the Day award.
The race for second went to Mackenzie Clark (Prime/BirelART), who had to overcome a very slow start from the front row. Clark’s kart bogged down when the green flag waved and he was swarmed by a number of karts entering turn one and two, finally slotting into the sixth position. Slowly working his way back to the front, Clark got by Liam Rhodes (Goodwood/Exprit) with two laps to go to regain second place.
Marcello Paniccia (Prime/BirelART) was the big mover in the Final, jumping up from tenth on the grid to the podium, as he followed his teammate Clark past Rhodes just before the finish. Rhodes had to settle for fourth after having the podium within reach with Jacob Miles (PRO/Intrepid) taking fifth.
ROK Mini: Esposito Remains Unbeaten in 2018
Racing at his home track, Frankie Esposito (Prime/BirelART) extended his unbeaten streak on Sunday in Mini Rok. In his sophomore season of Mini Rok, Esposito has gone unchallenged through the first three events, winning by large margins over his competitors.
Finishing second was Ayden Ingratta (AI Motorsports/Ricciardo Kart), who was debuting a beautiful new helmet at Hamilton. Ingratta was pulling double-duty on Sunday and came up just short of winning his second Final of the day to Esposito. Third went to Cooper Simpson (Prime/BirelART), followed by Cole Newton (Prime/BirelART) and Michael Ricco (Innisfil/GP).
ROK Shifter: First Big Win for Luik
Sunday was a very successful day for the Prime Powerteam, who call the Canadian Mini Indy home, as team drivers were able to secure a number of podium finishes. For Justin Luik, Sunday was incredibly special as the Rok Shifter driver scored the first major victory of career at his home track and in front of friends and family.
Luik started the race from the first position but slipped behind Stefano Lucente (AI Motorsports/Intrepid) on lap two. They waged a fierce battle for the lead while Tyler McCullough (VRS/Intrepid), who arrived Sunday morning with no practice for the race, ran third, and within a few lengths of the leaders.
Luik looked to the inside of Lucente a few times, focusing his attempts in the hard braking corner seven and he pulled the trigger fully on lap nine. Once in the lead, Luik was in full defense mode, doing all he could to hold off Lucente. The two raced clean to the finish line on lap twelve as Luik threw his arm up in the air to celebrate his first win. Lucente held on for the second spot while McCullough was third. Randy Tang (Prime/BirelART) and Max Preston (Goodwood/Intrepid) were fourth and fifth after tangling on lap one and getting stuck on top of each other. Paolo Gomes (Intrepid) won the Rok Shifter Masters race.
The Champion Ron Fellows Karting Challenge will resume in a months time as round three will run at Mosport Kartways on Canada Day weekend, June 30-July 1, in the first of many major events at Mosport this summer.