Closing out the 2017 CAN-AM Karting Challenge season at Pat’s Acres Racing Complex in Canby, Oregon on the weekend, a number of classes and Canadian drivers were taking part. The weekend format put all the emphasis on Sunday’s finals to help determine the class champions.
The weather wasn’t a factor until the main events on Sunday when on and off showers wreaked havoc on the racers and their mechanics, often seeing multiple tire changes on the grid just before a class was to hit the track.
We already covered the two Rotax Max classes with Rotax Grand Finals tickets up for grabs, so here is our rundown of the remaining Rotax, TaG and Shifter categories. Rotax Junior Report | Rotax Senior Report
Billy Cleavelin showed his dominance on the weekend in Rotax Masters. Taking on a class of 10 Masters drivers, Cleavelin was in a world of his own en route to a commanding 9-second victory. Chris Mann and Michael Groff completed the podium. Canadians Erik Gerlof, Chris Eagles and Aaron Thomas finished fifth, ninth and tenth respectively.
With Cleavelin only competing in the Finale, Mann brought home the championship over Groff and Chad Wallace.
Canadian Remo Ruscitti was lights out in the TaG Senior Final. Even after the TaG Senior’s started a distance behind the Max Masters, Ruscitti, who also races in the Porsche Gt3 Cup Canada series, tracked down and even passed Max Masters race leader Cleavelin to take the overall win in the Final. Randy Word and Zach Pettinicchi completed the podium.
Briggs LO206 Senior
On the grid for their Final, it was a mad scramble to make a tire choice and get ready for the final. A sprinkle had just dampened the track again and drivers did not know which way to go. When the whistle finally blew and the karts rolled onto the track, it was split 50/50 on who chose rain tires and who opted for slicks.
After a couple of pace laps to get the group together and with the sprinkle turning into rainfall, those on slicks didn’t stand a chance.
Austin Elliot led the way into turn one followed by Joey Wimsett and the rest of the pack. Quickly those on rain tires pulled away.
Wimsett wasted no time and got by Elliot early and Aaron Neliton also slipped by Elliot on the opening lap. Charging forward early was Brady Egger and on lap four he moved up to third. Wimsett and Neliton were lights out from there to break away, with Wimsett going unchallenged to the race win.
Brady Egger had to contend with his brother Cameron for the third along with Kyle Wick with the younger Egger emerging with the final podium spot at the finish line.
While the rain separated the group in the Final, all weekend long the 27 drivers put forth some great racing.
Brady Egger also celebrated the class championship.
Briggs LO206 Junior
After skipping the Prefinal to focus on her Rotax Junior race, Hannah Greenemeier had to start the Briggs LO206 Junior Final from the tail of the 13-kart grid. A chaotic opening lap for the leaders not only took out Josh Pierson, Ashton Torgerson and a number of other drivers out of lead contention, it allowed Greenemeier to move up to second before the lap was complete!
From there, she focused on race leader Cooper Becklin. Greenemeier took the lead on lap three but surrendered it on lap seven back to Becklin after she dropped a wheel and lost momentum.
Closing back in, Greenemeier snagged the lead back with two laps to go and held on through the final slippery lap to confirm the last to first victory. Becklin held to second while Pierson closed in on the leaders at the end, but settled for third at the line.
Pierson still celebrated the championship with four wins to his credit over Becklin and Carson Kunz.
Briggs LO206 Cadet
The Briggs Cadet class was minding their own business on track, completing their final on a dry track and slick tires when the skies opened up and rain began to fall with only four laps left. For the Cadet drivers, those final four laps were some of the most challenging of their young careers. Karts spun all over the track.
Finally getting to the finish line first was Graham Tramell. He was able to handle the conditions best, keeping all four wheels on track for the most part and taking a winning margin of just over six seconds. Second went to Trey Arnzen just ahead of third-place finisher Colton Molen. Parker Sellner and Preston Franzke wrapped up the top five, while Canadian Massimo Valiante, son of Michael Valiante was sixth in the ten-kart battle.
Valiante was also victorious in the TaG Cadet/Micro Swift Final.
Twenty-one shifter karts lined up for their Final with Kyle Wick on the pole-position. The recently crowned National #2 for the SKUSA Pro Tour then went to work when the green flag flew and Wick drove flag to flag for the race victory. Zach Pettinicchi cruised to the second place finish while the race for third was epic. Matthew Morgan eventually won the duel with Connor Wick and Cameron Egger.