HOMESTEAD, Fla. (January 6, 2019) - A short off-season brought racers to the opening round of the 2019 championship just days after the start of the new year. The Karting Challenge club series was invaded by national teams as many used the club date to prepare for the national season opener on the following weekend.


The level of competition in TaG Senior for Round 1 could not be overstated, as 3-time defending national champion Ryan Norberg was dressed in his new Rolison Performance Group colors for the very first time. He was joined by an army of Kosmic teammates in the form of Cedrik Lupien, Luke Selliken, and Jacob Gulick. Ultimately, though, his biggest threat came from long-time rival Austin Garrison who made his debut with CRG Nordam.

The two squared off briefly in the Pre Final, but a head-to-head showdown on the final lap of the Main Event put the grandstands on edge. Unfortunately, Garrison misjudged the exit of Turn 6 that caught the CRG driver on top of Norberg's rear bumper for a split second. He quickly got dislodged from the Kosmic, but his momentum was broken. Norberg cruised to victory with Garrison second and Selliken third.

"flipper" shines iame x30 junior

The quiet but fast Connor "Flipper" Zilisch from Lake Norman, North Carolina, put on an impressive showing in X30 Junior. He started the day with a decent run in qualifying in 7th and held that in the Pre Final. In the Final, though, he used his extensive international level experience to position himself for a chance at the win. A solid start quickly put him into the Top 5 before he reached the lead of the pack. Behind him, Liam Toco began defending for second a tad bit early which resulted in him getting spun on the final lap. Canadian Mackenzie Clark snuck through to second with Miami-based driver Santiago Trisini finishing third.

a high speed chess match in iame mini swift

Miguel Costa started his 2019 season on a high by snagging the pole award in qualifying over Jamaican Alex Powell. Just two and a half tenths separated the top six on the lap charts, though, and a tightly-packed battle ensued in the Pre Final. AKT Racing Team driver Nikita Johnson put on a heck of a move on the last lap to go from 4th to 1st, putting himself on the point to start the main event.

In the Final though, it was all Jakub Kolar as the "Kid from Key West" drove a flawless race by methodically cutting his way forward to the lead. After a brief battle with Powell, the 2018 vice champion pulled away to take the first win of the new year. Powell held on for second while Costa kept Max Garcia at bay for third.


While he most certainly had to earn this one, 2018 Class Champion Ashton Chilton put on one heck of a show to score his first victory of 2019. A near five-kart train made up the lead group, with a number of drivers taking the point throughout the day. Granger Perra, 2018 Vice Champion Alejandro Ramirez, Elio Giovane, and Vance Devine all put pressure on the reigning champ. Perra even led the field to the white flag, but a fantastic move on the final lap put Chilton back up to the top spot. Perra would hold on for second with Ramirez nabbing the final podium spot in third.


Branyon Tiner may have struck first with a pole in qualifying and the Pre Final win, but Flipper was not to be denied from sweeping the IAME Junior divisions on the day. He picked his way through the pack in the Pre Final to get to second, and then in the Final he went to the lead early. He was closely pressured by his Team Felon teammate in William Cox along with Tiner and Jimmie Lockhart, but he failed to make any mistakes and took his second victory on the day. Cox would end second with Tiner a close third.

breitenstein vs ulmen in lo206 heavy

Dan Breitenstein and Todd Ulmen proved quickly to be the class of the field in LO206 Heavy, as they put a whopping four tenths on the rest of the field in qualifying. A close battle between the two highlighted the Pre Final, but Ulmen found some extra speed in the main event and went on to a near 2.5-second margin of victory over Breitenstein. By the end of the day, Ryan Gordon had begun to close the gap to the leaders, and he drove through the grid to end in third -- right on Breitenstein's tail.

plenty of new faces in iame micro swift

A number of Florida kid kart drivers from 2018 made the jump to the IAME Micro Swift division for opening weekend. Texan Jack Iliffe scored the pole award in qualifying, but SuperTune USA's "Supergirl" Karsyn Walters quickly assumed the lead. Walters went on to win the Pre Final and dominate the Final, with more than five seconds back to the rest of the field. Iliffe would complete the day with a runner-up finish as Kai Johnson worked his way onto the podium in third.


The first officially-sanctioned IAME Bambino race in the state of Florida was held on Sunday, with five drivers making up the inaugural grid. Alessandro Truchot put on a clinic to take the debut victory, with Benja Fernandez coming home in second and Solomon Rodriguez finishing in third.

national champ in town in shifter

The local competition in the Shifter class was absolutely invaded by top-level talent, with National #1 plate-holder AJ Myers joining the grid. He was hunted closely by Max Hewitt all day long, but the consistency of the national champ held the Texan at bay. Hewitt settled for second with local driver Alan Isambard driving to a solid third place finish.

new year, same names up front in lo206 senior

It was a very familiar group of LO206 Senior drivers who took to the racetrack to close out opening weekend for the 2019 Karting Challenge presented by MG Tires. SLA Kart Racing driver Miguel Rivera took pole position in qualifying, with Senior rookie Frankie Barroso joining him on the front row. Rivera led every lap of the Pre Final, but the field shuffled behind him as RYSA Racing veteran Elvis Faria worked his way to second with teammate Jared Lee getting up to third.

In the Final, it was once again all Rivera out in front. The championship contender from 2018 saw numerous podium finishes, but he came out swinging in 2019 by putting on a dominating performance for his first career victory. Michel Garrido drove a solid race to get to and hold second place, while Franco Cipullo added another podium to his resume with a third place result.


Round 1 Results, Standings>>

Up next is Round 2 of the Karting Challenge presented by MG Tires on Sunday, February 25th.
For more information on the Karting Challenge club series, CLICK HERE>>