Moving on from Saturday’s unpredictable and wild weather, Sunday was a return to the norm, with very high heat and humidity and sunshine blazing down on the Finishline Performance Karting circuit in Biloxi, Mississippi. Culminating the most successful Rok Cup Festival to date was exciting with great races hitting the track throughout the day and local fans lining the fences to catch a glimpse of the speed and excitement.
In the four main categories, none of the pole-sitters were able to convert their heat race success into victory. With a challenging circuit that created very close racing, no drivers were able to simply check out early and cruise to victory. Champions took home tickets to the Rok Cup SuperFinal in Italy, while the remaining podium finished secured their entry to Rok the Rio in Las Vegas this fall.
Rok Senior was a throwdown all week between six drivers; Christian Brooks (Orsolon/TonyKart), Axel Cabrera (AKT/FA Kart), Arthur Leist (PSL/BirelART), Diego Ramos (REM/Kosmic), Nicholas Hornbostel (REM/Kosmic) and Thomas Nepveu (PSL/BirelART).
However, in their Final, they didn’t quite provide as much excitement as the heat races. Brooks and Leist got away cleanly from the start, leaving Cabrera in third. Ramos and Nepveu had a few spots to make up on lap one, and did so, before pursuing Hornbostel. Leist overtook Brooks for the lead on lap five and the duo began to gap Cabrera. Hornbostel slipped back to sixth on lap nine as he unfortunately just didn’t have the pace he found on Friday.
Out front, Leist built up and maintained a 3-5 kart length gap to Brooks that the California driver just wasn’t able to close before the checkered flag flew on lap twenty. Cabrera fell victim to Ramos with two laps to go as they scrapped with Nepveu for the final podium spot, which went to Ramos.
The best race of the weekend went to Rok Junior. The two fastest drivers started on the front row, Dale Curran (REM/Kosmic) and Luca Mars (Speed Concepts/TonyKart), but it was Joey Atanasio (REM/Kosmic) that made a brilliant move up the inside to grab the lead exiting turn one. Ryan Shehan (Crossline/Exprit) and Kyffin Simpson (Speed Concepts/TonyKart) were also in the mix early on.
The front two began to pull away from Atanasio until Mars made a move for the lead. It slowed them both up enough that Atanasio caught and overtook for the lead on lap nine. It was short lived as Mars went back to the point a lap later. With six to go, it looked like Mars was about to pull away to victory until Curran posted back to back fastest laps to not only catch back up but overtake down the back straight. With Mars having to get out of the throttle, that allowed Atanasio to take a shot down into turn one, but no luck. This opened almost a full second lead for Curran until Mars did the exact same thing. Back to back purple laps by more than three-tenths of a second brought him within striking distance coming to the white flag.
Curran dove to the inside to defend and with it, tried to stop at the apex. He stopped a little too hard and hurt his momentum, allowing Mars of to crossover and blow by for the lead. Atanasio had a look at Curran, but the Canadian held on. It was smooth sailing from there for Mars, who added the Rok Cup Festival win to his already impressive 2019 resume, while Curran had to settle for second and Atanasio third.
In the race for fourth, Simpson held the spot until the final corner, when his Speed Concepts teammate Luke Lange forced his way through to take the spot.
Some trouble in the wet heat races Saturday for fast qualified Danny Formal (Leading Edge/Formula K) meant he had to start the Final from P5 on the grid, with PSL Karting – BirelART duo of Davide Greco and Mathias Ramirez occupying the front row.
Ramirez got a great launch from the outside to lead down into turn one, with Greco holding second. Jimmy Cabrera (AKT/FA Kart) and Rory Vandersteur (Team Felon/TonyKart) both fell victim to Formal on lap one as he was on a charge.
Formal snuck by Greco on lap three in corner one and four laps later he pressured Ramirez enough before making his move for the lead. Cabrera and Vandersteur were still in the mix as well, until Cabrera spun exiting corner twelve when he tried to pass Greco, but caught his rear wheel. This left just two drivers to race for the win but with five laps to go, Formal really put his foot down, posting three straight fastest laps and opening up a gap good enough to take the victory unchallenged.
Ramirez crossed in second while Vandersteur used the chrome horn to get by Greco in the final corner to take third. It was short lived as he was accessed a two-position penalty for the contact, putting Greco back into third and moving Vincenzo Sarracino into a well earned fourth place finish.
In Mini Rok, Kai Sorenson (SuperTune/TonyKart) continued his domination of the category this season, taking the race win with ease over Liam Flanagan (Tanda/Praga) and Enzo Deligny (SuperTune/TonyKart). Sorenson got to the lead early and while he was chased all race long, the pair battled on the final laps for the second position and allowed the leader to get away. Canadian Ayden Ingratta (Speed Concepts/TonyKart) scored an excellent sixth place finish, charging back from outside the top-ten early on.
Other race winners from the Battle at the Beach were Danilo Ramalho in Rok Masters, Ryan Kinnear in Shifter Rok Masters, Carson Weinberg in Micro Rok, Chloe Chambers in 100cc Junior, Alexander Searle in Briggs Senior, Corry Sam in Briggs Junior and Austin Osborne in 100cc Senior.
Next up on the Rok Cup USA calendar is their recently announced Rok Festival in Amarillo, Texas on August 29 to September 1. It will be followed by their main event of the season, Rok the Rio in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 29 to November 2.
To learn more about Rok Cup USA and their events, visit their website, http://rokcupusa.com.