The final round of the Stars of PGP Kart Fall-Winter Series was one of the most exciting events held to date at PGP Motorsports Park. Track records, first-time achievements and fantastic on-track battles thrilled spectators at the track and watching online.
While the Fall-Winter Series has come to a close, the 2011 Stars of PGP Kart Series regular season is right around the corner with Round 1 on Saturday, April 23. If the competition and on-track action is anything like what the crowd saw during Sunday’s event, it will be a warm spring and hot summer indeed.
Several titles were clinched on the track on Sunday and a recap of the action is included below, but first PGP would like to recognize the champions in classes that had two or more competitors making starts in at least four of the Fall-Winter Series’ five rounds:
Ø Rental Kart (B-Spec) Fall-Winter Series Champion: Maurice Shawver.
Season Stats: 4 poles, 3 Pre-Final wins, and 2 Final wins.
No one has more experience in the B-Spec kart at PGP than Shawver, and he showed the extent of his experienced in a myriad of conditions through this series. Having won nearly everything there is to win in PGP’s rental kart ranks, Shawver is thinking of switching to competition karts in 2011.
Ø Stock Moto Light Fall-Winter Series Champion: Steve Perdue.
Season Stats: 1 Pre-Final win, 3 Final wins.
The owner of Northwest Race Karts and team leader for the Hammer Nutrition/NWRK team, Perdue led by example and twice climbed to the top step when his team swept the podium. The team has big plans for the upcoming season, and with a lot of talent on the roster, it will be interesting to see how Perdue and company back up a great winter season.
Ø Rotax Senior Fall-Winter Series Champion: Travis Henson.
Season Stats: 1 pole, 1 Pre-Final win, 3 podiums.
Though not scoring a Final win this winter, Henson came agonizingly close in Round 4 when his motor let go while he was leading. With a new motor package however, there is renewed pace in the No. 103, and his consistent results led to the Fall-Winter title and some momentum heading into the 2011 regular season.
Ø Briggs World Formula Fall-Winter Series Champion: Nick Larson.
Season Stats: 4 poles, 4 Pre-Final wins, and 4 Final wins.
In the debut of this class at PGP, Larson continued to set and then re-set the standard for the rest of the field to compare themselves to. Consistently getting faster and faster each round, Larson closed the gap between World Formula and other classes during combined runs, using them to find extra pace throughout the winter. Larson served notice that anyone wanting to win a WF championship at PGP would have to beat him first.
Sunday’s final round of the Stars of PGP Kart Fall-Winter Series started damp and cloudy, but the track dried quickly and the sun came out in full force to create a nearly-perfect day for racing. Like all PGP events, including the 2011 regular season, Sunday’s event can be viewed online by following the link at the top of PGP’s website, www.pacificgp.com.
Everyone at PGP Motorsports Park would like to congratulate and thank the competitors, friends and families who came out to race with us over the past five months.
B-Spec (Birel Rental Karts)
The day started out with B-Spec class regular Cameron Grimes-Hess scoring a convincing pole over closest rival Maurice Shawver, and continued with an exciting on-track battle between the two during the Pre-Final with Grimes-Hess coming out on top after Shawver was docked a position for passing under yellow.
This set the stage for a great battle in the Final between Shawver and Jerry Peterson, who had been waiting in the wings during the Pre-Final. Peterson had the pace to challenge in the final, and he immediately took the fight to Shawver at the drop of the green flag. While those two fought back and forth, Grimes-Hess was able to pull away to a comfortable lead, completing the sweep by adding the Final win to his pole and Pre-Final victory.
In the epic battle for second, Peterson and Shawver traded the position back and forth. Pushed off the track, Peterson came back on to take the spot back before getting passed by Shawver, who saw Peterson go back around him at the next corner. In the end, Shawver was able to make a pass stick to take home second.
Stock Moto Light
The energy started early as “Mr. Excitement” Brandon Scheiber clocked a new track record during qualifying on board a new Sodi package, the only driver to find the sub-60 second mark all day. Scheiber’s continued to dominate in the Pre-Final, but he was sent to the back of the pack for the Final after crossing the scales a pound light.
Scheiber’s relegation put Skyler Benoit on the pole for the Final, but Benoit uncharacteristically stalled at the green flag to give Steve Perdue the advantage off the line. Perdue held the lead through the first corner and then began to gap the field as the action heated up behind him.
There was a bit of bumping and banging in the mid-ranks as drivers fought for real estate, with some racers getting the short end and others making spectacular moves. At one time Derek Hansen passed two drivers at once, making it three-wide heading into the “Lightbulb” corner at PGP, much to the awe of those watching along.
As the laps wound down two racers on the move were Scheiber and Brian Frank, who was unable to finish the Pre-Final after contact in the first corner. Frank made a great start to move up to the top five on the first lap of the Final while Scheiber methodically worked his way forward. The two of them began to eat into Perdue’s lead, with Scheiber cutting the fastest laps of the race after getting past Frank for second.
That set up a last-lap pass attempt for the win, but in an incredible turn of events Scheiber’s fairing flipped up as he tried to get around Perdue, limiting his visibility and allowing Frank to re-pass him for second. That took the pressure off Perdue, who held on for his third Final win of the winter series.
Briggs World Formula
As has been the case most of this winter, Nick Larson again showed the way for the World Formula field in the final round. Larson won the pole and then back it up with the Pre-Final win after recovering from an incident in Turn 4.
The drama continued for Larson in the Final as he spun while leading and ended up third and well back of the. Jim Cambell inherited the lead, with Kevin Larson, Nick’s father, applying pressure from behind. Kevin Larson was able to make the pass for the lead but it wasn’t long before he had to contend with his son. Turning lap times nearly 2 seconds faster than the leaders, Nick Larson was able to catch and then pass both Campbell and his father.
While Nick Larson was able to stay out front for the win, the battle behind him it was anything but processional and the finishing order wasn’t decided until the final corner of the last lap. After a slight bobble by Kevin Larson going into the “Rollercoaster” corner, on the final turn Campbell made a move on the outside going in and then he went over the curbs coming out to snag the second spot in an incredibly exciting move.
Rotax Senior had been one of the most exciting classes during the Fall-Winter Series, and the finale was no exception. Seven drivers were entered for Sunday’s event, with “new” being a theme for the day: Travis Henson debuted a newly rebuilt motor, Cameron Grimes-Hess rode a new chassis, and Johnny Blair was a newcomer to the class after switching over from TaG.
For Grimes-Hess, the new chassis was just what the doctor ordered, as the teenager had a breakout round starting with a stellar pole run position over Rotax National standout Kyle Byers. Grimes-Hess maintained the top spot at the start of the Pre-Final before coming under fire from both Byers and Derek Wang, another Rotax standout. With Byers following him, Wang found an opening and got around Grimes-Hess en route to victory in the Pre-Final.
At the star of the Final, Wang got sideways going through the first corner, collecting Grimes-Hess in the process. Byers made it through unscathed, however, and cruised to victory unchallenged. For Grimes-Hess it was a race to remember as he rebounded from the early incident to march though the field en route to a runner-up finish. Hung up in traffic early, Travis Henson made some great moves to find the final podium spot and secure the Fall-Winter Series championship.
The Stock Moto Light track record was not the only one to fall, as a few more drivers joined Brandon Scheiber with the honor of a track record pinned on their resume.
Jeremy Bolstad brought the F200 mark down slightly, re-setting his own mark with a time of 1 minute, 07.662 seconds — the fastest of all 4-strokes at PGP.
In TAG Senior Jessica Dana re-set her old mark with a time of 1:01.739. She was joined on the podium by Seattle Karting Specialties’ Krissy Wells, who unfortunately couldn’t challenge Dana in the Final after an apparent engine failure during the pace lap.
Edward Portz and Caleb Daniells both eclipsed the previous track record on the last lap during their fight for the win in the Rotax Micro Final. While Portz would find a way past Daniels and cross the finish line first, it was Daniells who set the new benchmark with a time of 1:11.484.
The Fall-Winter Series finale also saw a couple of Rotax Mini’s take to the track, with Cole Franchini setting a blistering pace over everyone else in the combined run group while Matt Nelson steadily lowered his lap times during each session.
Rotax Junior had both Molly Helmuth and Tessa Daniells competing, with Helmuth cutting some of her best laps to date while taking the fight to some of the senior drivers she shared the track with. Daniells was also turning some solid times, but she was unchallenged for the win in the Final as Helmuth was forced to sit out with a cracked chassis.
Mechanical issues also plagued the Rotax Master duo of Jerry Peterson and Jim Nelson, and they even broke some of the same parts on their karts. In the end, Peterson won the battle of attrition, completing three laps in the Final before losing a chain while Nelson was unable to make the green and had to settle for the second step on the podium.