The first race of the 2015 Florida Winter Tour finally kicked off at Homestead Karting facility. The FWT ROK Cup featured a full lineup of classes from Micro-ROK all the way to the resurgence of the 6-speed shifter karts, something that hasn’t been strong in East for a long time.
It was hot and sunny as per the norm in Homestead, Florida with drivers competing from different countries around the world.
Split into two groups for Qualifying, the UK’s Jonny Edgar (BENIK Kart) put himself on the pole-position just edging out Nicholas d’Orlando (KoeneUSA/TonyKart) and Arias Deukmedjian (Kosmic). The BENIK kart would earn three of the top-five spots with Lachlan DeFrancesco and Jak Crawford round out the top-five.
A vs B Heat
Crawford snagged the early lead in the A vs B heat race, but coming around the final corner to complete the first lap, he would high side on the exit curb and spin out in front of the lead pack. Edgar was challenged in the opening laps as he battled with d’Orlando and Jeremy FairBairn (BENIK Kart). The two would take the lead away from Edgar for a few laps, however their lead would be short lived as Edgar would retake the spot and drive away to a 1.3 second lead at the checkered flag.
C vs D Heat
In Heat B vs C, Deukmedjian and Matthew Latifi (Ferrolati Corse/TonyKart) had the lead at the start of the heat. Unfortuantely on the third lap both drivers crashed in corner 12 when Latifi stuck his nose to the inside, handing the lead over to Derek Carmenate (Team BENIK). Carmenate was in a heated race with DeFrancesco, Sebastian Montoya (BirelART), and Anthony Famularo (AM Racing/Exprit). Past the half way point in the race Defrancesco was shuffled back to fifth behind Ugo Ugochukwo (Team Koene/TonyKart) with Carmenate out front. But Montaya overtook for the lead on the final lap to take the heat win over Famularo, Ugochukwu, Defrancesco and Carmenate.
A vs C Heat
In the sound round of heats, Edgar confirmed another win, this time over Latifi and Deukmedjian with Pauly Massimino (KoeneUSA/TonyKart) and Fairburn completing the top-five. Montoya found trouble at the midway point, ultimately finishing the heat in 14th and hurting his point total.
B vs D Heat
Another close heat saw d’Orlando edge Famularo Reece Gold (TonyKart) by less than a second in the fourth and final Mini-ROK heat to help him earn a front row start for the Final. Carmenate and DeFrancesco rounded out the top-five again, setting up an excellent Final race.
Mini ROK Final
The big pack Mini-Rok racing continued in the Final as Edgar and Gold broke out with the early lead followed closely by d’Orlando, Carmenate, Montoya and Famularo. The lead group shuffled early on until the lead five when Gold was shuffled back and Edgar resuming the point with teammate Carmenate on his bumper. But d’Orlando wasn’t going to let the teammates push away as he was able to separate them and hold the second position as the checkered flag loomed.
Diving to the inside of the final corner coming to the white flag, d’Orlando took the lead and went untouched on the final lap by Edgar to score the win, his first in the category after a year in his older brothers spotlight. Edgar settled for second and Carmenate third while Montoya and Fairburn completed the top-five.
Latifi had a great recovery after starting deep in the field to finish sixth with the fastest lap of the race.