It was the first day of wheel-to-wheel racing this weekend at the 2024 RMC Winter Trophy as cooler temperatures presented themselves at the Orlando Kart Center. With grids for Saturday’s prefinal set from yesterday’s qualifying, and points 150% more than in round one, it was time to go racing with prefinals beginning mid-morning and the main events rolling off the grid just after lunchtime.
Junior MAX - Prefinal
Junior MAX - Final
Courtesy of his prefinal win, Pearce Wade led the field to the green flag of the Junior MAX prefinal with Turner Brown to his outside. Fausto Arnaudo and Victor De Alencar occupied row two ahead of Charlie Smith and Jackson Wolny in the fifth and sixth positions. With the first start aborted, it was green on attempt number two as Wade jumped out to the early lead and opened a small gap on the opening lap. It was Smith ahead of Brown, Aranudo, and Antoine Lemieux to round out the top-five as the Junior MAX final was underway. Nathan Dupuis, who started ninth on the grid, was up to fourth by the end of lap two as he took advantage of some contact and loss of momentum in front of him. Charlie Smith took the point bringing Brown with him and pushing Wade back to third while Ty Fisher was making moves inside the top-ten and was up to sixth. Lap four saw Smith slow down the back straight as a mechanical issue took him out of the lead and the race. Brown was to the lead followed by Wade and Dupuis and Lemieux and Fisher were now inside the top-five with Lemieux the fastest kart on track. Lap five saw Dupuis by Wade into turn four to make it a Speed Concepts Racing one-two with Brown out to a 0.889 lead over the rest of the field. At the halfway mark, it was Dupuis who was chasing down his teammate Brown as Lemieux was by Wade for the final step on the podium. Ty Fisher was racing himself back into the mix with Salvador Della Vecchia setting the fastest race lap in sixth. With six circuits remaining, Dupuis had closed the gap to 0.781 and the very next lap, Brown had opened it back up to 0.847. Della Vecchia was by Fisher for fifth with Jackson Wolny coming with him as Brown turned up the wick up front to open the gap to second by more than a second. With two laps to go, it was all Brown up front as he looked untouchable. Lemieux was a little quicker than Dupuis but had to make quick work in short time if he wanted the second step of the podium. Brown took a commanding victory over Dupuis with Lemieux joining them on the podium in third. Pearce Wade crossed the line in fourth as Wolny was able to finish fifth.
Micro MAX - Prefinal
Micro MAX - Final
Up next was the Micro MAX main event as Dominic Vera led the field to the green flag courtesy of his victory in the prefinal over Marina Brandao. Bernardo Gubert and Zyne Burgess started third and fourth with Alonso Gonzalez and Joshua Bergman in row three. With the first two starts aborted, the field was stopped on the front straight via the red flag as the Race Director wanted to talk with the field of competitors and gave them their final warning. The third attempt was a success, and the Micro MAX drivers were racing as Gonzalez made big moves in the opening lap to climb to the lead with Vera, Gubert, Burgess, and Brandao rounding out the top-five. Vera was back to the point by the end of lap two bringing three drivers with him as Gonzalez fell to fifth behind Gubert, Burgess, and Brandao. In a quick 12-lap main event, the racing was fierce as Brandao was into a podium position in third by the end of lap three. Cristobal Ricci and Nolan Goulart were drivers who made moves on lap four pushing into fifth and sixth as Gonzalez struggled to keep pace with Vera and Gubert opening a more than one-second gap up front over the rest of the field. Gubert went purple on lap six setting the fastest lap of the race as Burgess was able to sneak by Brandao for the third position. With five laps remaining, it was Vera who led Gubert, Burgess, Brandao, and Nolan Goulart but that did not last long. Brandao was into third with four laps to go as Vera and Gubert made it a two-driver race up front leading by more than two seconds over third. It had settled down a little for laps nine and ten but with two to go, it was about to get serious. Vera went purple to open a three-tenths of a second gap up front as Gubert continued to give chase. Behind them Brandao and Burgess had set their fastest race laps as they ran nose to tail. With the last lap board displayed, Vera did not need to defend as he had a safe margin over Gubert to drive to the win. Behind Vera and Gubert was Joshua Bergman as he was able to make a big move from fifth to third on the final lap with Brandao in fourth and Burgess fifth after some wheel-to-wheel racing and contact.
Mini MAX - Prefinal
Mini MAX - Final
United Kingdom competitor Albert Friend occupied the inside of the front row next to Team Benik’s Royce Vega as they were just ahead of Jeremy St-Cyr, Alexis Baillargeon, Enzo Digennaro, and Julian Rivera. Friend, who drove from last to a podium result in round one, was in a better position here in round two as he led early. Baillargeon was into second with St-Cyr ahead of River and Oliver Chasse as Vega fell to sixth. Rivera was on a charge setting the fastest lap of the race so far on lap three moving into the second position, but Friend was out front by nearly half a second thanks to the racing behind him. Rivera was fast and proved that on lap four closing the gap to the leader and getting to the bumper of Friend with Vega by Chasse to move back into the top-five. Lap five saw Rivera fall to fourth as Baillargeon and St-Cyr were by and into a podium position. Baillargeon was now the fastest driver on track closing to the rear bumper of Friend as they pushed away from the drivers behind them to more than a one-second lead. With the front two leading and running together, third, fourth, and fifth were also running nose to tail as the battle for the win, and the final step of the podium, was on. With two to go, St-Cyr and River were running together, and faster than the leaders but behind by just over a second. If any sort of battle happened up front, they could be brought back into the mix for the win. Friend led as the last lap board was displayed and immediately went on the defensive to keep Baillargeon behind him as the battle for third was also on. Friend did a masterful job to take the win with Baillargeon in second and Rivera in third, St-Cyr fourth, and Royce Vega in fifth. Following the race, Vega was dropped down the running order due to a penalty with Martin Luis Bertolaccini inheriting the fifth position.
Senior MAX – Prefinal A
Senior MAX – Prefinal B
Senior MAX – Final
Mossman, Ramos, Keeble, Ingratta and Barrichello would make up the top-five positions for the start of the Senior MAX final as the fences were lined with people to watch what could be the best race of the weekend. The first attempt at a start was aborted but on the second time by the Senior drivers were green and racing. It was a good, clean start as Frankie Mossman led the opening lap with Harley Keeble by Ramos for second. Keeble made his bid for the lead on lap two entering the tight hairpin at the end of the front straightaway as Mossman fell in just behind. Ramos was fourth on track ahead of Austin Garrison and Ingratta. Keeble was able to break away on lap four due to some battles behind him as he opened the gap to 0.857 over the SCR duo of Mossman and Garrison. Keeble had his head down and was pushing hard to break away from the field and another lap saw him open a one-second gap on the rest of the field. With ten laps to go it was Mossman and Garrison who were slightly faster than Keeble up front as Ramos continued to run fourth, but it was Emma Scarbrough who was by Ingratta for fifth. Mossman went purple again on lap seven cutting the gap down to six-tenths of a second as he was hungry for the win. Lap eight saw Mossman check over his shoulder to see Garrison who had signaled to focus forward and work together to catch the leader. The note was taken well by Mossman as the gap decreased to just under half a second on lap nine as the race was now fully and truly on for the victory. 0.385 behind with three laps remaining, the pressure was coming from behind Keeble as he continually checked over his shoulder. Scarborough was the quickest driver on track on lap ten as the top-five were within 1.4 seconds with five laps to go. With four to go, Mossman was on the bumper of Keeble and made a move entering turn one on lap 13, disposing of Keeble. Keeble went back by on the same lap putting Mossman back to second and immediately went on the defensive bringing the top-five back into the battle. Garrison perfected the over-under on the top-two to take the lead with two laps to go as Mossman was able to get by for second as well pushing Keeble to third. With the SCR duo up front, Garrison was able to drive to the win ahead of his teammate Mossman and Keeble in third. Scarbrough survived to hang on for fourth with Nolan Bower in fifth, just ahead of Ramos and Ingratta.
Master MAX - Prefinal
Master MAX - Final
After some hard racing, contact and penalties in the Master MAX prefinal, it was time for the main event with David Laplante and Laurentiu Mardan on the front row. Danillo Ramalho and Matias Bonvin were in row two with Mundy Loyer and Rodrigo Martin in P5 and P6 respectively. Starting eighth and ninth were Nicolas Picot and Rubens Barrichello, who had been the fastest two karts in the field, but contact pushed them down the prefinal results order. Laplante led early with Ramalho in tow in second. Barrichello had a monstrous opening lap going from ninth to third at the start of the 16-lap Master MAX main event. Laplante failed to complete lap three opening the door for Ramalho to take the lead with Barrichello in second, Mardan in third, Loyer in fourth, and Picot in the fifth position. Lap five saw Barrichello take the lead as he looked to put his skills and speed to work and break away from the field. At the end of lap eight, Barrichello had a one second gap up front as Ramalho had the same size gap over Picot in third. Picot, Mardan, and Moyer all ran within a second of one another as the closest battle on track. With four laps to go, it was all Barrichello up front as he was clear by two seconds with the top-five remaining unchanged. Picot was able to close the gap and get by Ramalho with two laps remaining but up front it was all Barichello. The former Formula One driver drove to an easy victory of more than three seconds over Picot, Ramalho, Loyer, and Mardan.
DD2 MAX - Prefinal
DD2 Master MAX - Prefinal
DD2 Max and Master MAX - Final
Leonardo Reis was the driver who led the field to the green flag, but he was not the one to lead the first lap as that honor went to Oliver Bedard. Reis slotted into the second position ahead of Matthew Taskinen and Nicolas Guillaume. Harley Keeble was in the fifth position, just ahead of Ludovic Sabourin. A lap later, Keeble was into the third position and the fastest kart on track as he was only three-tenths of a second behind Reis, and half a second behind Bedard. Six laps down and ten to go, drama would ensue as Reis and Keeble were together running for a podium result. Bedard now had a lead of more than 1.5 seconds over Taskinen with Nicolas Guillaume in the third position. Reis was able to continue but back in fourth with Sabourin now in fifth. With six laps remaining, Reis was back into third and on the podium but there was still a long time to go. Taskinen was a little faster than Bedard up front and closing about two-tenths a lap with five laps to go. With the rest of the field spaced out behind them, the focus was on the duo up front. Decreasing the gap from 0.979 to 0.799 and then to 0.663 with three laps to go, Taskinen was pushing hard for the win. The gap remained the same with two laps to go but when the last lap board was displayed, the gap was 0.482 but Taskinen would run out of time. Bedard scored the win ahead of Taskinen, Reis, Guillaume, and Sabourin as Michael McLean finished sixth on track, but was deemed the winner of DD2 MAX Masters.
Only one day remains in the 2024 RMC Winter Trophy as championships and tickets to the RMC Grand Finals are on the line. With the threat of rain in the forecast, anything can happen on Championship Sunday.
For information on the RMC Winter Trophy, please email Julieta Fernandez at Info@RTXKarting.com.