WKA: Gold Cup awards banquet

By Bruce C. Walls - Motorsport.com HICKORY, NC-Racers in the WKA/Horstman Gold Cup Series were recognized for their achievements in the 2000 season during an awards breakfast held Saturday January 27th at the Hickory, NC's Holiday...

By Bruce C. Walls - Motorsport.com

HICKORY, NC-Racers in the WKA/Horstman Gold Cup Series were recognized for their achievements in the 2000 season during an awards breakfast held Saturday January 27th at the Hickory, NC's Holiday Inn Select. Invader Kart pilot Tommy Van Cleef, of North Port, FL was the series only double national champion and his team was voted Best Appearing. The Advance Racing Engines powered racer ruled national points chases in Bandit Racing Chassis Briggs Junior Lite and McDonald Motorsports Briggs Restricted Junior.

"It takes consistency and smart driving to stay out of trouble," said the 14-year-old double national champion. Reflecting on the past season he said that the race at G&J Kartway in Camden, OH was his most memorable, "Me and Jerry Sharp had a really good race at Ohio." Rat powered Bandit kart pilot Justin Gumley, of Colts Neck, NJ, topped Garland Racing Engines Briggs Heavy. "It was dedication that got me here. I want to thank Jace Reynolds for great motors and Bandit Racing Chassis for a great kart," Gumley credited recalling the season opener at Palmetto International Kartway, "I'll always remember Palmetto. I got my first Heavy win there."

Coyote Karts factory pilot Anthony Forristall, of Bradenton, FL, earned Pi Research Briggs Limited Lite's national championship. "It took a lot of time and effort to win this championship," said the I Performance/Red Line Oil/Bonsignore Kart Supply/CMS Body Works sponsored champion who added a special thanks to his dad for all his help and support.

Eleven year old Dallas, NC native Evan Keresi captured SSC/CRG Briggs Junior Sportsman-1 Lite's title edging out Glen Burnie, MD Coyote Factory pilot Steven Axtell by just four points. Axtell, a 12-year-old Robinson Speed Shop Team driver, turned the tables on Keresi in King Automotive Briggs Junior Sportsman-1 Heavy where he beat Keresi to that title by 28-points.

Keresi thanked his sponsors Toroco and SMC and added thanks to Robinson Speed Shop for his motors. Axtell also thanked Robinson Speed Shop for his motors and added that, "it takes a lot of hard work and skill," to win a national championship.

Junior Sportsman-2 Lite and Heavy had Justin Bonsignore and Justin Larson reversing roles. Bonsignore bagged Coyote Products Briggs Junior Sportsman-2 Lite over Larson by 48-points and Larson took Bonsignore Kart Supply Briggs Junior Sportsman-2 Heavy's championship over Bonsignore by just 7-points.

"It took a lot of hard work to win this championship," said 12-year-old Holtsville, NY based Bonsignore who added that last year's Grand Nationals were his most memorable. "I'll always remember the Grand Nationals because I got the lead in the last corner in time to take the win. I want to thank Coyote for a great kart and Advanced Racing Engines for great motors."

Larson remembered the Summer Nationals. "I was leading at Camden and got taken out with two laps left," recalled the 12-year-old Pinellas Park, FL based Advanced Racing Engines powered Invader kart pilot. Mike Winterbotham, of Brooksville, OH bagged Custom Trophy Briggs

Amateur. The Rat Powered Coyote kart pilot took the title with a 32-point advantage over Pennsylvania pilot Chris Wramage who also fell second to Bowie, MD based Matthew Ploor in Strawser Racing/Circleville Raceway Park Briggs Amateur Medium.

"It took a little luck and a lot of hard work to win this championship," said Winterbotham. Reflecting on his past season Winerbotham recalled the Summer Nationals, "It was great winning at my home track."

Coyote factory pilot Travis Firing, of White Hall, PA was crowned CMS Body Works Briggs Controlled Medium national point's champion. "It took a lot of commitment and a lot of help from behind," credited the 16-year-old Coyote Products/Checkered Flag Fuels/Performance Unlimited North/Dunlop Tires/Horstman Mfg./King Dragon Racewear/ Douglas Wheel/RLV/Weso Brothers Body Shop/CMS Body Works sponsored champion who added thanks to Johnny Bartlett for great motors.

Firing was also presented with the George Kugler Sportsmanship award by WKA President Randy Kugler.

Garland Racing Engines powered CDR kart pilot Chip Disharoon captured Custom Trophy Briggs Controlled Heavy's championship. "It took a lot of hard work and a good engine builder and a good crew," credited the Salisbury, MD based champion.

Hurlock, MD based Coyote factory pilot Alan 'Bunky' Whiting won PKP Briggs Junior Heavy's championship beating Bellevue, OH based Jon Baker by 36-points. "Team work and confidence earned us this championship and I want to especially thank Kevin Colborn of Super Tech Racing Engines for great motors," said the 14-year-old champion who recalled the Grand Nationals as his most memorable race of last season. "I never won a Grand National race before and that was a great accomplishment," he added.

Washington, NJ based Eric Garland was crowned Power Products/Super Seat Briggs Limited Heavy champion. Garland grabbed the championship with a 26-point edge over Firing. "I had fun racing Travis (Firing) all year long especially at the Summer Nationals in Camden, OH," said the Garland Racing Engines powered Coyote kart pilot. "I takes consistency to win one of these championships, you've got be there in the top to get points," Garland added.

Super Tech powered Coyote kart pilot Doug McGiffin, of Fredrick, MD earned MCP Brake Systems Briggs Senior's national points championship. "It took a lot of hard work and a lot of luck," McGiffin said. Reflecting on his past season McGiffin said that his win at Palmetto International Kartway was his most memorable, "I got my first national win at Palmetto and I'll never for get it."

I Performance Racing Briggs Super Heavy's championship was captured by Elkart, IN based Coyote kart factory pilot Zach Esters. "It took a lot of hard work, dedication, a great crew and great power plants from SBR to win this," said Esters.

Turner Racing Engines powered Coyote Kart pilot Ryan Cassity, of Decatur, IL, dominated Advanced Racing Engines Briggs Medium's national points chase. "It took lots of time, effort, luck and good support," Cassity credited.

Cassity and his family were voted Karting family of the year. Other special awards were presented. Bobby Gettys was inducted into the WKA Hall of Fame. A slide show presentation and his whole family sneaking in the back of the banquet hall to celebrate his karting accomplishments added to his surprise.

Austin Hopper was voter Most Improved Junior Driver and Robert Strawser, Jr. was named Most Improved Senior Driver. North Port, FL engine builder Andy Van Cleef was voted Mechanic of the Year.

The Red White and Blue Trophy for the chassis manufacture with the most wins went to Coyote Products who's drivers earned 44-wins during the season.

WKA/Horstman Gold Cup Series Competitors begin their 2001 season with Winter Nationals March 23-25 at Jacksonville, FL's 103rd Street Complex. East Lansing Kart Track in East Lansing, MI hosts the second national on June 29th to July 1st. Summer Nationals will be raced August 10-12 at the legendary G&J Kartway in Camden, OH. This year's Grand Nationals returns to North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, NC November 22-24.

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Series Kart
Drivers Anthony Forristall , Jon Baker , Travis Firing , Jace Reynolds , Eric Garland , Kevin Colborn , Chris Wramage , Ryan Cassity , Evan Keresi , Chip Disharoon , Steven Axtell , Justin Bonsignore