“Seven pole positions and fifteen podiums cap off a great weekend”
Ocala, Florida – May 30, 2012 – Venturing an hour southeast to the newly renovated and repaved Orlando Kart Center, the Ocala Gran Prix (OGP) race team would compete in the penultimate round of the Florida Karting Championship Series (FKCS). With championship battles taking shape, the second to last event in the 2012 season was a successful one as Ocala Gran Prix would take home seven pole positions, eight main event victories and grand total of fifteen podiums.
Just like in previous events, it was an OGP sweep of the podium in the ultra-competitive Rotax Senior class, as Alex Speed, subbing for a kidney infected Andrew Evans, would take top honors. Recent World Karting Association (WKA) Manufacturer’s Cup podium winner Jonathan Kotyk would score the pole position in Orlando but fall to second when the final checkered flag was flown. Nick Neri and Brandon Salyer would cross the line third and fourth respectively while OGP employee, Mario Ioffredo traded in his tools for a steering wheel and drove to a very impressive seventh place finish.
Looking to repeat in Sunday’s TaG Senior class, Ocala Gran Prix drivers scored four of the first five positions at the end of the day. After garnering his pole position early in the day, Alex Speed drove to a solid victory ahead of Neri and Kotyk, who would cross the stripe third and fourth. Ioffredo, who consistently improved throughout the race weekend, would come home fifth while Brandon Salyer would claim the seventh position.
Mathias Ramirez would be on a tear this past weekend, as he would score a pair of victories, three podiums as well as a top ten in the four classes he would do battle in. Leading the way in the Rotax Mini Max division, Ramirez claimed the pole position en route to a commanding victory. Ramirez would also claim the top spot in the TaG Cadet class. Looking for a 1-2 finish in Mini Max, OGP pilot Olivier Bellanger would claim the second position on track, but later be disqualified for failing post-race technical inspection. Mikey Hornborg would narrowly miss the top ten with an 11th place result.
Bellanger’s bad luck would continue in the TaG Cadet class. After qualifying third in the timed morning session, Bellanger would score the fastest lap in the main event but fail to finish.
A trio of Ocala Gran Prix drivers would enter the Cadet Junior Sportsman division, as Ramirez would join a host of other competitors including Jake Knepper and Dylan Gennaro. While Ramirez would be the only OGP driver in the top ten with an eighth place result, Knepper and Gennaro would finish their days in 12th and 14th. Knepper would be back in action in the Rotax Micro Max division and remained consistent with a 12th place finish.
Gennaro would be back in action in two more divisions throughout the weekend as claimed a solid ninth place finish in the Rotax Micro Max class and a top five result in Yamaha Junior Sportsman. Jordan Heffner would claim her first FKCS podium result with a third in Yamaha Junior Sportsman while she continued with another top ten in Micro Max. Mathias Ramirez would cross the line in second after scoring the pole position earlier that day.
Ashley Rogero would provide the Ocala Gran Prix squad with a pair of victories as she continues to dominate the Yamaha Junior and KPP Junior divisions. Narrowly missing the pole position in the Yamaha powered class, Rogero came back with a vengeance in the final to take the victory. Having an easier time in the KPP class, the young female was untouchable throughout the day dominating all on track sessions to take home another victory.
Only a pair of junior drivers would make the trek to the Orlando Kart Center as defending Rotax Junior Florida Winter Tour champion Oliver Askew and Alex Hornborg would do battle. Starting from the tail of the field during Saturday’s TaG Junior event, Askew claimed a fifth place result while Hornborg would come home seventh. Back on track Sunday in the Rotax Junior class, Askew would again start from the tail of the field driving forward to a second place finish while Hornborg would battle back from a first corner incident while running second to cross the line in eighth.
A trio of drivers would compete in the TaG Heavy, TaG Masters and Rotax Masters classes as Jason Heffner, John Dalton and Jerry Brown would all see action. While Heffner would go on to score two second place results in Rotax and TaG Masters, Dalton would claim the victory in TaG Heavy and added to his yearly podium total with a third in Rotax Masters. Brown would have some solid runs to come home sixth and eighth respectively in Rotax Masters and TaG Heavy.
Nick Neri would flex his muscles in the Open Shifter class as he stole the show throughout the day. Taking the pole position with his Stock Honda powerplant, Neri went on to take another main event victory and add to his 2012 win total.