Race week is finally here! Over 300 entrants are on their way to the RIO All Suites Hotel and Casino for ROK the RIO by ROK Cup USA and we can’t wait to get there too.
With the challenging global pandemic, there aren’t nearly as many Canadians competing this year compared to years past, but there are still 19 drivers ready to take on the best Rokkers from the USA and beyond.
The track build in the rear lot of the Hotel is nearing completion and practice officially begins on Wednesday, leading up to completion on Sunday with the crowning of ten ROK the RIO champions.
We’ve had a peek at the entry list and pulled each of the Canadian drivers that will compete this week and previewed who they are racing with, what class they are racing in and a short piece about each driver.
Alexander Berg – AB, 100cc Junior, Ryan Perry Motorsport/TonyKart – Only a week ago, Berg was in surgery having his appendix removed, now he is heading to Las Vegas looking to add another 100cc to his resume after winning Challenge of the Americas earlier in the year. He’s been a busy racer through this pandemic-affected summer, so we expect him to be up to speed quickly.
Mathieu Cousineau – QC, 100cc Junior, BCR-PSL Karting/BirelART – A season of Rotax Junior competition in Quebec has helped Cousineau adjust from four-cycle to two-cycle racing. Making his first start in 100cc Junior may be an eye-opener, but Cousineau has proved he’s a quick learner in his relatively short karting career.
Ayden Ingratta – ON, ROK Junior & 100cc Junior, Speed Concepts Racing/RedSpeed – Doubling down in Las Vegas, Ayden Ingratta is going to be busy this week. Two classes will surely help him with extra track time in practice and we know Ingratta has craved some US competition karting since the pandemic began. Look for him to be upfront this week.
Austin Boyle – ON, ROK Junior, Goodwood Kartways/Exprit Kart – Four dominating wins in four KartStars races showcased a great season for Boyle. Now, he will cap off his Junior karting career in Las Vegas hungry for victory.
Rocco Simone – ON, Micro ROK, NSM-Goodwood Kartways/Intrepid Kart – Racing alongside his father, Rocco Simone makes his international debut this week in Las Vegas. After a year of Mini ROK competition, he’s back in his rightful Micro ROK division and we’re expecting him to make some noise.
Jensen Burnett – ON, Mini ROK, AKT-Energy Corse North America/Energy Kart – With his quarantine over after racing in the ROK Cup SuperFinal in Italy, Burnett heads to Las Vegas to close out his season. With a great summer of experience under his belts, Burnett teams up with his old buddies at AKT Racing seeking the podium in Mini ROK after standing on it many times in Canada this year.
Pearce Wade – ON, Mini ROK, Prime-PSL Karting/BirelART – Another young Canadian making his first international start after a great summer season in Ontario, Pearce Wade will get a taste of what it’s like to in a full field of Mini ROK’s in Las Vegas.
Jordan Di Leo – ON, Mini ROK, Goodwood Kartways/Intrepid Kart – The KartStars Canada Champion didn’t get his chance to compete in Italy and instead heads to Las Vegas to get his international competition in. He competed in ROK the RIO last year, albeit as a Micro ROK and qualifying on the pole position, and that experience will be huge in helping him get up to speed and racing with the leaders this week.
Ryan Martin – AB, ROK Senior, Ron White Racing/CRG – Learning from the legend Ron White has been huge for Ryan Martin in 2020 and he has high expectations at ROK the RIO. He was very quick at ROK Fest West aboard his CRG. We shall see how it goes in Vegas.
Nolan Bower – ON, ROK Senior, Goodwood Kartways/Exprit Kart – Another KartStars Canada champion who had to miss out on racing in Italy, Bower heads to Nevada with a winter season of competition at the Florida Winter Tour under his belt and is ready to leave an impression in what is set to be a very competitive ROK Senior division.
Patrick Woods-Toth – QC, ROK Senior, Prime-PSL Karting/BirelART – 2020 started off strong for Patrick Woods-Toth, scoring a huge win in Florida, along with podium appearances. Coming home, he was nearly unstoppable in MotoMaster Ron Fellows Karting Championship competition to successfully defend his ROK Senior title. Absolutely, he’s a contender this week in Las Vegas.
Thomas Nepveu – QC, ROK Senior, PSL Karting/BirelART – Winner of the ROK Fest East in North Carolina, Thomas Nepveu has been very busy in 2020, racing both karts and cars. He will come directly from an F4 race in Mexico and like Woods-Toth, will be a contender this week.
Cedrik Lupien – QC, ROK Senior, Rolison Performance Group/Kosmic Kart – This entry came as a surprise to us as Cedrik Lupien hasn’t raced much in the past two years. Regardless, he was still active in the sport, working with young drivers at Ben Cooper Racing and joins the potent Rolison Performance Group race team. A strong result from Lupien wouldn’t come as a surprise at all.
Remo Ruscitti – BC, ROK Shifter, CDD-Italian Motors/ItalKart – Coming off a fifth-place result last year in the ROK Shifter Final, Remo Ruscitti is back on track and looking for victory against what is surely going to be the highlighted category of the week. Nearly 50 entrants in ROK Shifter is going to be epic and his ItalKart will be fast at the Rio.
Davide Greco – ON, ROK Shifter, PSL Karting/BirelART – Only a year after leaving the team, Davide Greco is back with PSL Karting and BirelART. A KartStars Canada title in ROK Shifter helped get him back to Las Vegas where he is aiming for a better finish than 2019, where his good speed was derailed by a DNF in the Final.
Nicolas Bedard – QC, ROK Shifter Master, PSL Karting/BirelART – The lone Canadian in ROK Shifter Master, Nicolas Bedard is another driver looking to improve on his result from a year ago. He finished an impressive seventh and is surely aiming for the podium this time around.
Anthony Simone – ON, 100cc Masters, NSM-Goodwood Kartways/Intrepid Kart – A year ago in Las Vegas, Simone was making his first karting start in more than a decade, now he’s heading back to Sin City with victory and the $2500 payday on his mind with a few more laps of experience under his belt from this season.
Jimmy Gregory – AB, 100cc Masters, MagicBox Motorsports/RedSpeed – Everyone’s favourite ‘Uncle Jimmy’ is driving down to Las Vegas from Alberta, ready to show off his MagicBox Motorsports RedSpeed package in 100cc Masters. Need some Fireball, he may have a little left by the time he gets to the RIO.
Cayden Goodridge – ON, 100cc Masters, Goodwood Kartways/Intrepid Kart – Making his international debut at ROK the RIO, Cayden Goodridge has quickly moved up from Briggs to VLR Masters this season and jumps into the deep end in Las Vegas looking to gain more experience. He will surely get it in Las Vegas and we will keep an eye on him.
*Daniel Fellows – ROK Senior, Prime-PSL Karting/BirelART – An honourable mention goes out to our friend Daniel Fellows, who suits up with Prime Powerteam and PSL Karting at ROK the RIO. Fellows competed in the MRFKC in 2020 and joins a potent Canadian roster of ROK Senior drivers in Las Vegas.