Breaking Tuesday afternoon (May12th), the California ROK Championship announced it is crossing the border into Arizona to open the 2020 season. The regional program confirmed the opening round of the championship to be held on June 19-20 at the Phoenix Kart Racing Association facility in Glendale, Arizona. The event is set to be one of the first major events since the COVID-19 pandemic shut the sport and the world down in early March.
EKN spoke with series promoter Andy Seesemann regarding the event, which is scheduled to be a two-day race weekend with Friday-Saturday format. This schedule will allow racers to return home to enjoy the Fatherâ€™s Day holiday on Sunday. Track time will be focused on the afternoon and evening hours with the warmer temperatures already hitting the Phoenix area.
â€œOver the last month, weâ€™ve been working day-to-day with multiple facilities within our area to get back to racing,â€ stated Andy Seesemann of the California ROK Championship. â€œOf course, our goal is to provide a safe event and keep in line with local and state social distancing guidelines. We are working with PKRA to provide a safe, structured procedure from the time you enter the paddock to when you leave for home.â€
Seesemann stated the sale of pit passes will be removed from the event to limit the amount of contact between attendees and officials, as well as limit the number of people on the property Each driver who enters the event will receive their driver pass along with one other for a mechanic/helper. Drivers who are minors will be permitted an additional pit pass to allow a parent and mechanic or two parents.
â€œThe PKRA has been a partner for many years and I believe that theyâ€™re probably operating in a fashion that is closest to normal of the facilities in the area. Theyâ€™re taking the safety of their community and customers seriously and they have the most legitimate processes and procedures in place,â€ added Seesemann. â€œWhile I know that some tracks are operating â€˜under the radarâ€™ or offering practice for small groups, PKRA has explicit permission from the county to operate. They are on county land and already have protocols in place in terms of operation. When putting on an event in these uncertain times, we need to have assurance that a local political official or sheriff wonâ€™t come in and shut the event down. We cannot arrange events on a handshake or a wink. Going to PKRA removes this risk.â€
As the standard pit pass fees are removed for the event, the entry is a flat fee of $500 per entry in all categories. The entry includes Friday practice, Saturday racing fees along with one set of Bridgestone YLR tires for the category you compete in. Classes to be contested include the following:
Shifter Masters ROK
The Mini TaG and Micro TaG categories will be a combination of ROK and IAME engines permitted. â€œWe recognize that there are a lot of cadet racers out there that want to get back at itâ€, stated Seesemann, â€œboth 60cc engine brands run well together on track and therefore we welcome our IAME cadet racers to come to the party.â€
A weekend schedule is currently being constructed along with a registration page and other details to be published on the ChallengeKarting.com website. There will be no onsite entries, therefore all racers must enter online by the closing date of June 14 , as this will allow the series to properly prep for limited contact check-in. Racers are asked to bring their own VP C12 fuel and Motul oil. No fuel or oil will be available for purchase through the California ROK Championship onsite. CRC asks you to purchase these items through your team or favorite kart shop.
Seesemann also mentioned to EKN his mission to host a full four-event California ROK Championship. The schedule as of today includes this new PKRA event, a July weekend in Sonoma, Santa Maria in August, and back to Sonoma in September for the finale and warm-up to the ROK Fest West.
â€œOur goal is to utilize our existing CRC dates to run a complete four-race California ROK Championship program, even though we are starting outside of California. Hopefully, we can accomplish this, but some locations may need to change due to local restrictions. We will continue with our format of the best three rounds of results to crown champions at the end of the series.â€
Champions of the California ROK Championship program will earn tickets to compete at ROK the RIO in November. Vice-champions in each category earn a partial ticket to the Vegas event, which includes the entry portion, with those racers needing to purchase their tires for the event. Third place in the standings for the CRC program win a set of Bridgestone YLR tires.
Finally, anyone with an entry on account from the cancelled Challenge of the Americas finale simply needs to email [email protected] in order to apply that credit towards this or any future event.