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SKUSA SpringNationals: Saturday Points of Interest

Above average havoc and weather plays spoiler on Saturday

SKUSA grid worker looks over a field of cadets
Photo Credit: Kart360.com

Saturday is now in the books and it was certainly action packed, both good and bad. We saw quite a bit of havoc, constantly changing weather, and delays, but were also welcomed with some intense main events in all sorts of conditions. For full results and race recaps of each Final, we encourage you to head to our On Location page for that coverage.

I was at a demolition derby and a kart race broke out

Right away to start Saturday there was a rather scary incident in practice involving a driver and SKUSA corner worker  that sent both to the hospital with some broken bones from what we’re hearing. It was an unfortunate event, but turned out to be a precursor for the entire day.

Every class had their fair share of accidents, but X30 Junior seemed to stand out amongst the rest. Outside of a handful of drivers, nearly everyone it seemed wrecked at least once in X30 Junior. In fact, their Heat 2 involved so many wrecks it was cut down to a 4-lap race.

What do we think is attributing to this madness? Well, to be blunt, the track configuration is not helping. Starting classes on the back straightaway into a 75-degree (or so) kink, then into a 180 hairpin, then into a single file-only chicane. This chicane seems to be where the problem lies. Trying to get 40 karts into single file after just one corner is never going to happen.

To combat these issues on the starts, SKUSA elected to start some (that’s the keyword) classes on the short front-shoot. This front-shoot is maybe 300 feet long and is bookended by a pair of fairly tight corners so you can’t get up much speed before the green. Not every class started there though, whether they had a reason for doing this, we do not know, but it seemed odd.

Nothing Stopping Norberg

It was perhaps the coming out party for Ryan Norberg on Saturday. Sure, he’s won his fair share of competitions but to the level of competition we have here in X30 Senior, I believe he elevated his status to a new level. And not only did he win, he took on challenges from the likes of Andre Nicastro, Kyle Kirkwood, Zach Holden, Braden Eves, and the rain, and none of them could stop him.

With that said, he still has work to do on Sunday. The weather looks to be near perfect, which means he’ll have the best in the country in ideal conditions looking to spoil his plans.

Tire choice makes all the difference

Billy Musgrave
Photo Credit: Kart360.com

Unlike other classes, S1 had a real decision on their hands before going out on track for their final. It had been raining, not heavily, but enough to wet the track throughout some of the main events before them. The dark clouds were clearly moving out of the area and that opened up the possibilities of a drying track, but how fast would it dry was the question. The entire top seven elected to go with rains, with Nic LeDuc, Luke Shanahan, Billy Musgrave, and Joey Wimsett the only drivers on slicks. These guys had nothing to lose though, as they started 8th place or worse.

The dry line appeared almost immediately into the 12-lap final and put those on rain tires at a huge disadvantage. As long as the drivers on slicks could keep their karts on track in that opening lap, they stood out from the rest each lap after. Shanahan retired part way through lap three,  but the other three continued their climb to the top. Musgrave got out to a big lead only to be pulled in by Wimsett with a few laps to go. As it turned out, Musgrave had some damage to his axle after a first-turn scuffle, but was still able to hold off Wimsett when it counted.

Starting Miscues for Sting Ray

For only a 14-year old, Sting Ray Robb made a big leap this year from a Rotax MAX Junior kart to a shifter kart. He’s been over to Europe several times testing with CRG Spa and is making big strides in his development. However, he’s been mainly on KZ equipment and that seems to be a big difference to the stock Hondas when it comes to starts. After qualifying pole, he sat in front of 30 karts in S2 on the starting grid and had a horrible miscue when the lights turned green -- he stalled the engine. Kart after kart dodged him somehow, until the last few rows of karts had low visibility and no where to go. Robb got railroaded by Kol Bailey which about knocked him out of his seat backwards and his head may or may not have hit his rear bumper from the force.

More issues with starts in Heat 2 and the Final kept String Ray from the podium, most likely. Once he got the CRG rollin’ though, he was lights-out-fast. Clocking in at almost 7-tenths of a second faster than anyone else in the Final, he gained 18 spots in 12 laps, finishing fifth. We’ll look to see if any improvements are made today on his starts and expect bigger things from the Idahoan.

Cadet racing belonged to Benik, once again

In another great showing for the Florida-based operation, Benik Kart picked up four podiums in the two cadet categories. Diego LaRoque is picking up right where he left off in 2015 with another win in his home state in the Mini Swift division. The Briton, Oliver Denny, was untouchable in the Final of Micro Swift, winning by nearly five seconds. Brandon Carr and Jace Jones joined their teammates on the podium of their respective categories.