SKUSA: Great Lakes: Gingerman summary

SKUSA GREAT LAKES COMPLETES ROUND THREE Sunny weather and great racing highlights Gingerman road racing round SOUTH HAVEN, MI - (May 14, 2007) - The third round of the SKUSA Great Lakes Pro Tour Presented by Bridgestone (GLSKUSA) was greeted...

Sunny weather and great racing highlights Gingerman road racing round

SOUTH HAVEN, MI - (May 14, 2007) - The third round of the SKUSA Great Lakes Pro Tour Presented by Bridgestone (GLSKUSA) was greeted with warm weather and clear skies for its third round of its 2007 season, which took place this past weekend at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, MI. The early-May event has had a history of rainy conditions over the past few years, although that streak came to an end this weekend as the sun blanketed the region, giving the competitors perfect racing weather. Like the temperature, the racing was hot as six drivers earned the top spot on the podium in the six different SKUSA classes taking part on the weekend.

The big class of the weekend was the popular G-1 category, featuring the 35 and older drivers aboard the 125cc shifter karts. A total of 14 drivers took the green flag, mixed in with the S-1 and S-3 drivers. It was a three-kart battle up front early, but attrition hit the field with only half the drivers completing the 25-minute race. Graham Wilcock, driving a rejuvenated 15 year-old CRG that he bought for $200, was the man to beat on-track as he went on to take the win by 10 seconds over the young 35 year-old former SKUSA SuperNationals FMX champion Tom Birchard (SKM). Unfortunately, at the scales, Wilcock would come in just a few pounds short of the minimum weight, removing him from the top classification. This gave Birchard the number one spot on the podium with Jim Kasperzak (Italkart) in second and Bob Monday (GP) in third. Rounding out the top five was Indy Pro Series team owner Michael Crawford (GP) and defending class champion Harry Alden (Arrow). During the awards ceremony, series director Terry Riggins commended Wilcock regarding the disqualification and asked everyone for a round of applause for his on-track performance and sportsmanship as he stood with the rest of the podium finishers.

In other Senior shifter action, Brad Greenup (GP) was the lone S-1 driver in the field, but he had a great battle amongst the G-1 drivers while Tyler Spitler (Birel) took the S-3 victory over Ryan O'Connell (Trinity) and Kyle Kettman (CRG).

Birchard's G-1 victory came directly after a hard fought 30-minute battle in TaG Senior class that ran just before the shifter categories took the track. The early stages of the race saw the Biland-powered karts of Brandon Dorris (GP) and Bill Wolters (Arrow) leading the way with Eric Chappell (Birel) in tow. After a slow start of the line, Birchard eventually worked his way up to lead group, creating a four-kart battle for the win. Eventually, the two Parilla-powered karts of Chappell and Birchard broke away from the other two to battle one-on-one. At the line, it was Chappell getting the checkered flag first by roughly a second over the double-duty Birchard. Dorris limped to third, having lost his nearly all his brakes toward the end of the race. Wolters fell out with a broken chain with three laps to go, moving David Cole (WildKart) up to fourth as Wolters held on to fifth, completing enough laps to hold the position.

The Junior drivers in the K2 (80cc shifter) class put on a great show for those along the fence. Matt Paderta (CRG) and Nick DeFronzo (Best Kart) went back and forth for the lead early on until Jeff Ruttan (TopKart) charged forward for the top spot and the victory. Austen Duncan (WildKart) was making his first K2 start and followed through up to second but came in just underweight at the scales. This moved DeFronzo up to second with Gabe Ensing (CRG) advancing to third. Jesse Hacack (Birel) was classified fourth while Paderta scored a fifth place finish after retiring from the race near the halfway mark. Two Cadet drivers made up the K3 (60cc shifter) division as Zachary Silver drove a clean and fast race to score the victory. Matt Paderta was sidelined at the start with troubles but got back on track to complete seven laps and take the checkered flag.

The series will now have just three weeks off before they head to Sheridan, IL for their second doubleheader of the year, contesting rounds four and five at the Concept Haulers Motor Speedway over the June 9-10 weekend.


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