For the first time, the Gatorz Karting Cup visited the Streets of Willow Springs in a combined event with the Pro Kart Challenge – putting on the biggest kart race at the ‘Streets’ in years. This event was also the third race of the 2010 Gatorz Karting Cup championship.
With the full slate of classes from both series competing, the decision was made to combine several classes together, leading to large fields and exciting racing across several classes throughout the day. True to form, the long straightaways and high speed of the ‘Streets’ meant the draft was everything – once a driver lost it, they were going backwards.
Minimax / MicroMax
Running on a shortened version of the Streets of Willow Springs track, the MicroMax and Minimax field would still make good use of the draft down the long, downhill front straightaway of the Streets of Willow track. Minimax driver Royal McKee figured this out early, as he ran in third place in both of the heat races until the final lap, when he used the draft to grab the win each time on the final lap.
McKee, Adam Iavelli, Jacob Drew, and Nicky Hays – moving up to Minimax from Micromax for the first time – put on a battle from the drop of the green flag in their Minimax main. With the four drivers putting on a drafting clinic, swapping positions each lap until the fifth lap when Iavelli assumed the lead – and was then promptly black-flagged when his neck collar fell off, another tough result for Iavelli who seems to have all the speed but none of the luck on his side. After his retirement, McKee took the lead and both Hays and Drew, running second and third, were unable to make an impression, and McKee took the checkered flag as the winner.
In Micromax, Annie Breidinger beat sister Toni Breidinger for the win.
Junior Rotax / Rotax Masters
This was the race of the day, as Rotax Masters driver Jim Busby, Jr. took on four youngsters – Nicholas Silva, Dakota Dickerson, Jeremy Kane, and Michael Davis – at the front of the combined group. Silva led the main early on with Busby and Kane right behind, but before long Kane was pushed to the lead by Dickerson while Busby was shuffled back. Behind them, Andy Seesemann led Paul Bonilla for second and third in Masters but Seesemann cut a tire on the second lap and pulled into the pits.
A few laps later, Dickerson and Silva drafted past Kane down the front straightaway, with Davis right behind in fourth. Busby had fallen to the back of the grid, content to stay there and stay out of the battle of the Junior Rotax drivers. Bonilla was running second in Masters, but was slipping back into a battle with Jarrod Bradley, Scott Falcone, Frank Powell and Scott Thompson.
With the laps winding down, Davis lost touch with the leading group when he cut a front tire, causing Busby to also lose touch – and it was now a shootout between Silva, Dickerson and Kane. Kane retook second place from Dickerson, but Dickerson took it back on the final lap and with the two of them battling, Silva crossed the finish line without too much of a challenge to take the win, with Dickerson second and Kane third.
In Masters, Busby took an easy win but Bonilla’s podium hopes went up in smoke – along with his engine – on the final lap, putting Bradley into second and Falcone into third.
Race Liberante led the final from start to finish, and the challenge from his closest competitor, Louie Pagano, disappeared on the warm-up lap along with the chain on Pagano’s kart. Two Masters drivers doing double duty, Paul Bonilla and Frank Powell, would finish second and third after a wild beginning of the race in which Bonilla and Efrain Olivares made contact as they contested second place, sending Olivares into a spin and out of contention.
As the only DD-2 kart entered, Matt Ostiguy started shotgun in a field of ProKart Challenge S3, S4, and S5 karts and raced his way up to twelfth overall in a field of twenty-six shifter karts.
The Gatorz Karting Cup competes next at the Grange Motor Circuit in Apple Valley, Calif. on June 19.