Photo by Todd McCall otp.ca
Nine year old Anthony Willis started his preparation for the SKUSA Spring Nationals early in the year. The Rotax Challenge of the Americas series hosted two races in Anthony's home state of Arizona and he took full advantage by finishing 2nd in the last race of the year, and 3rd overall in the Micro Max championship. He entered Tag Cadet in Tucson for the Spring Nats with many laps under his belt knowing full well the field was filled with older more experienced drivers.
With a shortage of pistons for the Vortex power plant Willis came in to the SKUSA event with a new OTK MiniRok motor. Doug Fleming added valuable trackside engine support to get the engine screaming for day one qualifying. Day one went well for Willis, qualifying a respectable 3rd and making it cleanly through the difficult starts and hard racing in the heats. Pure Karting's Cliff Kujala through extensive R & D and testing added a final touch to the Willis program and he was set for the main event. Willis stayed in the hunt for the final, battling down to the finish to capture 2nd place. “I really look up to Sting Ray Robb,” explained Willis after the podium. “Finishing just ahead of a great driver like him is really cool.”
Seth Nash had the DR kart dialed in all weekend but race day two didn't go quite as well for Willis. Anthony struggled a little in qualifying to find tenths, putting him further down the grid than he would have liked. The entire field was slower than day one's qualifying session, but Willis now had his work cut out after turning a time only good enough for P9. The starts again were critical as the ebb and flow of the inside and outside lines changed with every start. Willis fought his way into the mix for the final, but was involved in a crash at the finish line while running in 7th place.
“We had a good but disappointing weekend,” describes Stewart Willis, Anthony's father. “After running with the big guns on Saturday we were hoping for a better result on Sunday than what we got. T did a great job behind the wheel, we are very proud of him and look forward to the Summer Nats in a few months.”
Asset Preservation Tax & Retirement Services, New Era Insurance Marketing, DR Racing Kart USA
Engine Builder: Phil Carlson & Doug Fleming
Chassis: DR Kart
Tuner: Seth Nash
Look for Anthony at all PKC and and SKUSA ProTour events in 2013. For information contact: stewartAwillis@hotmail.com