The first official race of the 2019 season hit the track in Homestead, Florida on Saturday as the SKUSA Winter Series kicked off the year in style at the AMR Motorplex.
Large numbers in the IAME X30 categories drew plenty of attention, with both Junior and Senior featuring more than 50 drivers each, packed with superb international talent. The first race was also the official debut of the new IAME 175cc SSE shifter powerplant.
Patrick Woods-Toth turned some heads on race day as he was able to drive home a fifth-place finish in the X30 Senior Final. It’s his first race weekend as a Senior driver and while early on he ran second and third, he slipped back to fifth when the checkered flag flew after five laps. Woods-Toth’s new Rolison Performance Group teammate Ryan Norberg led every lap but the last one as Italian Lorenzo Travisanutto slowly reeled in the leader is the second half of the race and then used an over-under in turn five to solidify the victory. Third place went to another rookie, as Arias Deukmejian stood on the podium in his Senior debut.
Thomas Nepveu finished one spot behind Woods-Toth to take sixth, while Cedrik Lupien was eighth at the finish.
In the Briggs 206 Masters race, Eli Yanko drove home the victory for Canada as he’s off to a great start in defence of the championship.
The Junior X30 Final was a wild one and it looked like Mackenzie Clark was en route to a top-five until the final lap. Holding the position entering turn one, contact from behind sent him and another driver hard into the barriers. Trouble getting his engine fired on the grid, Justin Arseneau had to start the Final from well behind the pack, surrendering his top-ten starting spot and only recovering to thirty-second on track. Luke Lange scored his first career victory, out-dueling Diego Contecha for the win, with Santiago Trisini third.
Cole Newton flew the Canadian flag in Mini Swift, driving home a twenty-first place result as he’s down south learning quick what it’s like to race in deep international competition. The Mini race was won by Miguel Costa, followed by Alex Powell and Caleb Grafrarar, the new recruit over at PSL Karting.
The drivers will get to do it all again on Sunday for race two of the weekend.