HOMESTEAD, FL (January 21, 2008) --- The Group B schedule of the Florida Winter Tour (FWT) is based on a mixture of shifterkart, spec racer and junior categories normally found in the national STARS of Karting tour. Many use the series as a primer for that national series and several Birel drivers were no exception.
“Our team uses the FWT as a warm-up to the pro-level competition,” said Chris Lobaugh, Engineer for MRP-Birel AMERICA. “This certainly doesn’t mean these races are any less competitive. We have a good mix of international racers here and the fields are very tight.”
Alex Speed (MRP-Birel AMERICA) used the weekend to get his all new ’08 CR32 shifter-chassis up to speed and was rewarded with a solid 3rd place finish in Sunday’s Pro-Shifter final. Josh Schreiber (MRP-Birel AMERICA) return to the Birel team after several years and looked to have a top-5 finish locked in, even leading briefly before troubles would relocate him out of contention.
In the Masters Shifter class, it was a clean sweep on Saturday and Sunday as MKP/Birel’s, Jason Lee, stole the show. The Birel pilot took his ’08 CR32 shifter to top of the order in every session, taking both poles,
both pre-finals and both finals.
The largest class of the weekend, Spec Racer, saw the Birel team very competitive. In Saturday’s final, Zach Beard (MRP-Birel AMERICA) launched from his second row starting position to nab the lead for 19 laps. The young driver was struck from behind, but both racers were able to keep going and battled wheel to wheel for three straight corners where they got together, taking both out of contention for the win. MRP-Birel AMERICA teammate, Brandon Adkins, was able to get through the incident and place a solid 5th place finish. He would be moved into the 3rd position in the final tally as two drivers were DQ’d for illegal engine components.
Sunday’s Spec Racer final was equally exciting. This time it was Rico Racing’s Juan Valderrama (Rico/Birel) leading the way for Birel, with a strong 2nd place finish in the pre-final. A slight bobble in the final cost him a position and the driver would end up in 5th when the checkers fell. Beard and Adkins had great runs from deep in the field in the prefinal to score 10th and 7th place finishes, but both were plagued with problems in the final.
In Stock Moto, it was Michael Winchester (RYSA/Birel) taking a pair of 5th place finishes aboard his Birel.
In the JICA class, Sage Karam (MRP-Birel AMERICA) is doing a great job coming to grips with the higher-powered class in his rookie season. Using the FWT as a learning curve for the national season ahead, the young Birel pilot completed the Saturday final in a solid 8th place after starting in 11th. His Sunday was even better leading up to the final as he qualified in 7th and drove a great race to finish 2nd in the pre-final, leading briefly. The final was a struggle after a bad start pushed him back in the order and he was unable to finish the final.
The Cadet class has always been strong for Birel drivers as the C28 chassis has been class of the field of late. Jacques Saurino (MRP-Birel AMERICA) proved his point with a pole in Sunday’s qualifying. The driver would battle hard all weekend and be rewarded with a pair of 2nd place finishes. Austin Self (MKP/Birel) would also show well with 4th and 5th place finishes while Dore Chaponick (MRP/Birel) and Logan Beardon (MKP/Birel) both scored good results, a 7th and 8th for Chaponick and 9th for Beardon, to bring Birel seven top-10 finishes in Cadet over the two days.
For more information regarding MRP Motorsport, Birel or the MRP-Birel AMERICA race program, call (269-756-9133) or contact us online at http://www.mrpmotorsport.com/. Information regarding the Birel chassis line may be found at www.GoBirel.com.
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