Birel ART Unstoppable in Phoenix

2018 SKUSA SpringNationals race report.

Ryan Norberg
Ryan Norberg /On Track Promotions

The BirelART North American team attacked rounds 3 & 4 of SKUSA SpringNationals with confidence this weekend, hosted at the famous PKRA circuit located in Phoenix, Arizona. Blistering hot temperatures forced drivers and teams alike to maintain composure and isolate engine temperatures to normal operating ranges. Despite PSL/BirelART having a strong track history of winning at the PKRA circuit, the team was faced with challenges in this very competitive series and overcame them with great success.

X30 Junior saw the likes of Mackenzie Clark (Prime Power Team) and Thomas Nepveu lead the way together on Saturday with Clark (P5) and Nepveu (P11). The prefinal was tough with Clark getting pushed back to 18th but Nepveu found worked his way to 9th. The final was a great success for MacKenzie Clark, as he finished a career high P4 in the SKUSA Pro Tour while Nepveu finished P37 as a result of a competitor putting Thomas off track. Sunday, Clark qualified P7, and Nepveu P9, finishing P5 and P6 in the prefinal with both drivers really putting in impressive runs. The final would see Clark again finish an incredible P4 and team mate, Thomas Nepveu P5. A notable performance by Cooper Becklin in his first ever SKUSA event, managing a very respectable P15 in Sunday’s final. In Mini-Swift, rising star Aiden Rudolph, made some great moves on Sunday to finish P13 from 23rd on the grid.

X30 Senior had Ryan Norberg qualifying pole, with team mates Jake Drew (PGR Racing), Ryan MacDermid (Prime Power Team) and Nicky Hays (PGR Racing) securing P9, P11 & P20. The prefinal was a different story, as Nicky Hays was able to move up 10 positions to P10, with MacDermid finishing P9 and Drew P11. With some ideal grid positions secured for the final, Norberg cruised to victory, leading every lap of the main, with MacDermid crossing P9 and Nicky Hays a strong P8 amongst the mayhem. Sunday, Norberg qualified P4, only 0.059 off pole, MacDermid P7, Drew P8 and Hays P22. Going into the final, the grid would be set with Norberg starting P3, MacDermid P6, Drew P11 and Hays P14. With a good start, Norberg would sit P2 for half of the race until lap 11, to finish P3 and earn valuable Championship points, while MacDermid would cross P5 , Drew P10 and Hays would DNF on lap 9 of 20.

X30 Masters had Jess Peterson and Vatche Tatikian leading the Birel ART / Ricciardo team qualifying P3 and P10 respectively for Saturday’s round 3. With a strong prefinal result, it would set Petersons final grid position at P3 and Tatikian at P9. In the main event, Peterson would get pushed back to P10 in lap 3 to eventually settle with P7, while Tatikian showed great improvement with a P4. Sunday has Peterson qualifying P6, and Tatikian P9. With an interesting prefinal, Peterson would cross in P11 and Taitkian P5 to set the grid for the final. The main event would be tough, with Peterson finishing P8 and Tatikian P6.

With two drivers entered in the S2 and S4 Stock Honda Shifter category, Michael Ilavia (Racing) and veteran racer, Jordan Musser (3G Racing). In the S2 class, Ilavia qualified P1and Musser P1 in the S4 class. Prefinal, both drivers would push with Ilavia finishing P3 and Musser P1 with a large lead. The final, Musser would carry on to win by 4 seconds and Ilavia would put himself on the podium with a very solid P2. Sunday, both Musser and Ilavia would claim the pole in their respective classes. The final would see Musser cruise to another Victory, while Ilavia would be taken out at the start but finished P5.

Dominic Labrecque, President Birel ART N.A. - “We worked a few different combinations of setups with our drivers during the weekend compensating for the abnormally high engine and track temperatures; it’s absolutely necessary with extreme conditions in Phoenix. In the end, our efforts proved strong as we demonstrated what our shifter and senior chassis karts are capable of. I would like to thank all our partners and drivers for their support.”

For more information about Birel ART N.A. and the race team, contact info@pslkarting.com. To become a dealer or shop for Birel ART and Ricciardo Kart products, visit www.pslkarting.com.