Hard driving put Cameron Grimes-Hess on the top of the podium as the overall winner and the top finisher in the Ironman class for the second PGP Enduro kart race on Wednesday, Aug. 4.
Jerry Peterson, winner of the inaugural Enduro on July 28, and John Kabigting finished first in the team category and they were fourth overall in the 90-minute endurance event. In all 26 drivers divided into 19 teams competed on PGP’s .82-mile asphalt track, with the top-three finishers in the Ironman and team classes earning trophies at the end of the night.
Eric Franzen, who finished third in the first Enduro, won two of the three 30-minute segments to finish second overall and second in the single-driver class, while in his first Enduro PGP regular Stephen Greene (Team Standonit) completed the podium as the overall and Ironman third-place driver.
Mike Kinney (Team Alpha Speed) and David Speirs (Team Mach 1) rounded out the top-five Ironman finishers, while Joe Street and Derek Hanson (Team Jo Derek), Chris Blakely and Mike Norwood (Team RGC); Malon Brown and Neider Bell (Team Brown-Bell); and Kevin Mejia, Francisco Blas and Marcia Blas (Team Mejia-Blas) were the second to fifth placers in the team class.
“It’s been years since I last karted competitively, but that was awesome fun,” Speirs wrote in a post-race email. “It was well-organized and a great track to boot. I’ll definitely be a returning customer.”
Grimes-Hess, who teamed up with Jessica Dana to finish second overall in the first Enduro, finished on the podium in all three segments en route to winning the second. Grimes-Hess led much of Segment 1 before Franzen got past him after a spirited battle that saw the two running nose-to-tail. Franzen held on for the win with Grimes-Hess close and Greene finishing third.
The grid for the opening segment was set by random draw, but the lineup for the final two races was a full invert from the finish order of the previous event. To make things even more interesting, the track direction was reversed and karts were reassigned by inversion from the previous segment.
The field for the second race made it through the first few turns unscathed, but as they exited turn 4 the drivers battling for space on the track started taking more than giving, and a multi-kart collision resulted in turn 5. One of these drivers was recent Rental Kart Racing Series podium finisher and relative PGP newcomer Mike Kinney, who was looking to build off a fourth-place run in the first segment. Unfortunately, not only did he get collected in the mayhem, but he would fall nearly a half a lap back to the leaders, and in the last position. Driving hard, he worked his way up into the top 10, eventually settling into seventh.
Getting through the opening lap melee, Grimes-Hess led a parade to the front for the top finishers from segment 1, including Franzen, Peterson and Greene. With Grimes-Hess driving away to the victory and Franzen behind them, Peterson and Greene went back-and-forth in a battle for the runner-up spot, with Greene finally making a pass that stuck until the checkered flag.
With the field once again inverted, karts re-drawn and the race direction reversed, the final segment would determine the night’s winner. Thanks to a win and a runner-up finish in the first two segments, Grimes-Hess held a razor-thin lead over Franzen and Greene, but Team Peterson-Kabigting, Kinney and Speirs were also in the mix.
After a clean but congested start, Grimes-Hess once again drove his way through the field to take the lead. Franzen needed a bit more time to get through traffic to the front, but once there he began to cut into the margin Grimes-Hess had built. There were several tough battles behind the lead duo, including Kabigting and Speirs, who fought back and forth for the sixth spot all race long, with the latter finally finishing with the upper hand.
Cutting some of the fastest laps of the night, Franzen was able to take the lead late in the third segment en route to his second race win of the Enduro. A second-place result was enough to give Grimes-Hess the overall victory, and Greene’s third-place finish put him on the podium again.
“I had an absolute blast (Wednesday) night at the Enduro racing event,” wrote Marcia Blas in an email. “(It was) too funny that I got the pole position. As the green flag dropped, the visual sensation felt like a spaceship applying warp drive. On the visual periphery, this blob of movement comes into focus as all the fellows swooped in around me going into Turn 1. They warped and I realized I only had impulse power. Lol! It was my first time on the track. … It was incredible!”
The next PGP Enduro is scheduled for 6 p.m., on Wednesday, Aug. 18. The field is limited to the first 20 pre-registered teams of one, two or three drivers. Registration forms can be found at www.pacificgp.com