The 2021 season will be the 14th for Challenge of the Americas, one of the longest running series in North America. The international ROK Cup program welcomed record numbers in the first two events of the 2020 season before the COVID-19 pandemic put an early stop to the series. The summer series - California ROK Championship - resumed racing for the 2020 season, hosting four strong events from June to September, setting new record marks for the program to close out the year. Dates for the 2021 Challenge of the Americas schedule were released back in April, and now the series is proud to announce the three facilities that will decide next yearâ€™s champions.
The opening event of the 2021 Challenge of the Americas will open up in Southern California. The CalSpeed Karting facility in Fontana, California will welcome ROKkers on January 22-24, 2021. Last yearâ€™s COTA event at CalSpeed welcomed a record number of 141 entries, the highest total in the 13-year history of the program. Another record is anticipated for the 2021 opener outside the Auto Club Speedway.
Phoenix Kart Racing Association facility returns to the Challenge, hosting the second event of 2021 on February 26-28. PKRA was part of the Challenge for 10 years before it was absent from the schedule the last two seasons. The circuit in Glendale, Arizona is among the most challenging in the country, and welcomed a record number of competitors for the California ROK Championship opener in June.
â€œThe schedule may look slightly different to long time Challenge supporters, as the series begins with CalSpeed for only our second time in history,â€ stated series promoter Andy Seesemann. â€œMany organizations are moving races around for various reasons and NASCARâ€™s 2021 Fontana date ended up on our February weekend. Therefore, we moved the series opener to Fontana and slotted Phoenix to the second weekend for the upcoming winter schedule.â€
2021 marks the eighth straight year the Challenge will conclude in Sonoma, California. The Sonoma Raceway facility is set to host the final two rounds of the COTA championship on March 26-28 at one of the most picturesque circuits in North America. Sonoma was the recent host of the ROK Fest West event, and held two races for the California ROK Championship in 2020.
â€œAs far as changing schedules go, we understand that another organization moved their event on top of our March event when they released their schedule last week, even though ours has been out for several months,â€ added Seesemann. â€œWe have no control over what they do, we only control our program. We would hope that in these odd times, others would have a more â€˜world viewâ€™, but that is not the case. Unfortunately, there will be a conflict. Moving forward, we are confident in the program we offer for not only west coast racers, but competitors from all over North America competing for a chance to earn tickets to the ROK Superfinal in Italy.â€
When the winter program begins, the third season for the California ROK Championship will begin for the summer months of 2021. The details are still in the formation stages after a survey completed by competitors has helped to shape the schedule and format. The series will be a mix of two-day events and one big summer weekend, in addition of one combined round with the ROK Sonoma program.
â€œOur California Rok Championship program is also growing exponentially,â€ continued Seesemann. â€œStarting with just 27 drivers at the first event just 17 months ago, the CRC averaged almost 100 drivers in 2020, which is an incredible accomplishment.â€
One date that is already set for the California ROK Championship is the third stop, which will be the Mid-Summer ROK Party at the famed Patâ€™s Acres Racing Complex. PARC has hosted many major events during its storied history, with a large percentage of the current karting generation that have never competed at the Canby, Oregon facility. The race is scheduled for July 23-25, which will utilize the COTA format that includes a practice day and two full days of racing.
A completed schedule for the 2021 California ROK Championship will be announced in the next few weeks. On the horizon is ROK the RIO, set for November 4-8 outside the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Champions from both Challenge of the Americas and California ROK Championship will be competing, along with drivers from all-across North America.
For complete information regarding the Challenge of the Americas and the California ROK Championship, visit challengekarting.com. More information, videos and photos can also be found on the Facebook and Instagram page.