It was a successful start to a new era of the Challenge of the Americas as the program run by Andy Seesemann kicked off season eleven this past weekend at the Phoenix Kart Racing Association. Using the Vortex Rok engine program is new for season eleven after ten years of product support for the Rotax Max engine platform and Seesemann was quite pleased with the reception of the change and how the first event went.
“I am very pleased with regards to how the weekend went,” explained Seeseman to CKN. “The Challenge started in 2008 with 75 drivers, peaked at almost 150 and ended with only 65 at the finale last year with the previous engine format.”
“My goal was to start at 75 again and start building from there. With 84 entries, we exceeded my goal by more than 10%.”
Fifteen entries in the Rok Junior class was the weekend high, while Shifter and Mini Rok had thirteen and twelve respectively. It wasn’t a sellout by any means, but it was a great restart to the program, with many curious minds showing interest throughout the weekend. We even noticed a number of missing race teams that have been series supporters for a number of years, including Nash Motorsports, Ryan Perry Motorsport, and Rollison Performance Group along with some small satellite teams as well.
For Seeseman, he too felt the curiosity throughout the industry and even felt there were a number of racers who sat on the fence leading up to the race and regretted not competing.
“Obviously the new engine program was an unknown and many racers were watching this weekend to see how the event went and who showed up to the race. I know that there were several people sitting at home on Saturday second guessing that decision and will certainly be at our next event at CalSpeed”
With a good start to 2018, it appears the momentum will carry to California for the final two rounds where Seesemann expects the entry count to grow and the competition to return to its glory years.
“The feedback from the racers and teams in the paddock was great and I am happy to say that the next chapter of the Challenge of the Americas started off well and will get better at each round.”
Round two will take place at CalSpeed Karting in Fontana, California on February 23-25. CKN will be back at the Challenge for the CalSpeed race.