The final round of the Jul-Dec 2009 K1 Speed Irvine Challenge GP karting league took place this weekend and a new champion was crowned! There was a full grid for the race, and we were pleased to see that some new faces showed up to compete as well, including K1 Speed-sponsored driver Gustavo Menezes who recently earned two podium finishes at the SKUSA SuperNationals XIII event in Las Vegas, Nevada. With the caliber of drivers out on track, we expected an exciting race and the competitors did not disappoint!
After qualifying, Toby Rodriguez, Taylor Hays and Khalifa Alasiri led the front of the pack in the A Main race, with regular racer and defending champion John Tanaka starting back in seventh place. Gustavo Menezes was able to qualify in sixth in his first ever Challenge GP race and was able to compete head-to-head with some of our veteran racers! Clearly, Gustavo's skills in TaG 125cc karting helped him adapt to our high performance electric karts and our indoor go kart tracks quite quickly, as he was a rocket out on track!
At the drop of the green flag, Toby, Taylor and Khalifa quickly distanced themselves from the rest of the field after running consistently fast lap times. Back in the middle of the pack, Gustavo Menezes was on a mission to make up positions and he went to work quickly to gain ground. Gustavo's first pass was on Ahmed Alasiri; going into a hairpin corner, Gustavo slightly tapped the back of Ahmed's kart with a late braking maneuver which allowed both John Tanaka and him to take the inside line and make the pass. The next person in Gustavo's sights was Bill Kreig, who is a very fast and very consistent driver. Heading into a slow speed corner, Gustavo once again late braked and this time was able to pull off a clean pass free of contact. Unfortunately for John, he was not able to follow this time and would tail Bill for the remainder of the race. Toby Rodriguez ended up winning the last round of the season, ahead of Taylor Hays who finished in second place and Khalifa Alasiri who finished third. Defending champion John Tanaka could do no better than sixth and Gustavo Menezes was able to make his way up to fourth in his first ever event!
In the B Main race, Michael Arnold was able to climb to the top step of the podium ahead of second place Justin Davenport and third place Michael Tekstra. The B Main event was another exciting race, with veteran Michael Arnold once again proving his worth out on track. This sixth and final round of the season also produced some series champions though! The overall champion for our K1 Speed Irvine Jul-Dec 2009 Challenge GP season is Toby Rodriguez, who accumulated a total of 172 points over six races! Second place overall went to defending champion John Tanaka with 162 points and Bill Kreig claimed third place with 141 points. An honorable mention must also be given to Alton Arnold III who finished tenth in the A Main race but fourth place overall in the season with 138 points, just 2 points shy of Bill Kreig!
We would like to congratulate all of our winners, both our series champions and our individual race winnrers! Though we should probably be used to it by now, we are constantly impressed with how exciting our Challenge GP events are! We would like to thank all of our fans, supporters and competitors for a great race and a fantastic season, and we hope to see you again next year! Be on the lookout for our 2010 Challenge GP kart league schedule soon – our tracks will be run in the opposite direction next season so veterans and new racers alike will be on a level playing field!
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