There was no doubt that the Florida Winter Tour Rotax Senior field lacked the depth it usually features with many of the top drivers opting for the DD2 class, but Rotax Senior was still strong at the front end of the grid with new faces taking the opportunity to position themselves as podium threats in the new season.
The OTK chassis line continued to dominate in numbers with 66% of the entries on either a TonyKart, Kosmic, Exprit or FA Kart, but that didn’t stop the new BirelART, CRG’s and Compkarts from making a presence.
Oliver Askew made his debut with Anderson Racing/BirelART and showed plenty of promise but it was two of his former Ocala Gran Prix teammates that stole the show when the checkered flags flew. On Saturday Kyle Kirkwood was able to sneak away when the race for second opened up, while on Sunday it was rookie senior driver Austin Garrison who led Kirkwood to victory after Askew led the opening half of the race.
Joining Kirkwood on the podium on Saturday was Ed Brand (CRG USA/CRG), who marked his return to the Italian brand, and Dan Roeper (BN Racing/BirelART) who had a remarkable drive from deep in the starting grid to the podium. Askew was forced into a DNF after his rear bumper was knocked into his tire after contact with DeMelo as well as Kirkwood. Rookie Senior drivers filled the following four positions as Garrison, Canadian Gianfranco Mazzaferro (Ferrolati Corse/TonyKart), Cedrik Lupien (SH Racing/FA Kart) and Christian Munoz (V Motorsport/TonyKart) all enjoyed a solid start to the Senior Rotax career.
Saturdays Final featured plenty of excitement, many of which included Zachary Claman DeMelo (SH Racing/FA Kart). After bouncing around with the leaders, DeMelo had a flashback moment and made some regrettable decisions that ultimately got him disqualified from the race. Reflecting on the race after, DeMelo was very upset with himself and his actions and decided to sit himself out of Sunday’s racing to avoid any further possible consequences after officials made it very clear they would be watching his every move.
On Sunday it was a much of the same as early racing led to one driver being able to break free. Askew had a sizeable early lead diminish when Garrison and Kirkwood tracked him down. The OGP teammates worked by with relative ease and although Kirkwood appeared to attempt a move on the final lap, he played it safe and settled for second with Askew third and Brand fourth.