2023 US Trophy West Series Concludes

Columns: Races
J3 Competition concluded its 2023 Rotax Trophy West series this past weekend by returning competitive Rotax competition to Musselman Honda Circuit in Tucson, Arizona.

Following an exciting Rounds 1 and 2 in Phoenix, AZ, the series witnessed a couple of first-time weekend final winners along with awarding the top three in each category with the championship podium and award packages. Competitors who competed in the entire Trophy West series will now be qualified to compete for a ‘Reserved’ RMC Grand Final ticket alongside the ‘Open’ RMC Grand Final ticket at the US Trophy Final event held later this year in September at New Castle Motorsports Park.

“Arguably no better racing than the Rotax platform amongst the picturesque backdrop of Arizona. Returning the marquee platform to the fantastic Musselman Honda Circuit in Tucson did not disappoint and the final rounds were some of the most competitive events we’ve had to date with photo finishes in multiple categories. As we awarded our deserving competitors on Sunday, we thank everyone who participated in the Trophy West series, stay tuned as we are already nearing completion of an enhanced and exciting 2024 Trophy West program.” – Justin Stefani

Junior MAX
The MAX Jr category saw an increase in participation at the final series weekend in addition to tighter competition throughout the entirety of the weekend. The weekend started off with championship points leader Nixx Eggleston as the one to beat, however, several drivers jumped in close competition with Charlie Smith, Kyle Drysdale, Boss Patel, Maddie Grace, and several others upping their speed and challenge at the Musselman Honda Circuit. Saturday’s events were run counterclockwise around the MHC circuit and in the end after some intense heat races, Nixx Eggleston was able to capitalize with the final victory and he was followed by Charlie Smith in second, and Xander Malatesa in third place.
Sunday’s action mixed up as the track direction rotated to clockwise with what looked like to be a repeat by Eggleston, however, Charlie Smith was able to best the series champion on the last lap with a deep move for the win in turn three giving the Californian the win with Eggleston in Second and young Killian Harris took third place at the line!

Senior MAX
The Senior Max category lost a few entries for the final rounds due to scheduling conflicts, however the class was able to pick up a few new participants to add to the mix. On Saturday the action proved to be electric, after a couple of great heats which saw a few usual suspects battling for top heat race honors joined by Zimming Wang and newcomer Lydia Small in the top five. The final looked to be a two-way battle between Cooper O’Clair and Griffin Dowler, that was until Macy Williams had something to say. Williams methodically hunted down the lead duo to showcase a battle for the win over the last three laps. With several clean lead changes, it was O’Clair on a late pass into the penultimate corner on Dowler giving the Arizona driver the victory followed closely by Williams in second and Dowler in third.
Sunday witnessed a mix-up as Tyler Ruth returned to the top of the class by setting pole position. Throughout the heat race, the competition was equally as close with O’Clair asserting pole position for the start of the final. With weather looming the final took the green in dry conditions, however on lap five the race was stopped due to rain. After a nearly one-and-a-half-hour delay due to lightning and the Race Director’s decision to return to action, the race resumed under a single file restart. Under tricky conditions with slick tires, competitors took to another fantastic final; O’Clair was able to win the final with a close battle for second third with Griffin Dowler in second, Williams in third, Liberante climbed back to the front in fourth with Lydia Small taking an impressive fifth place finish after a great outing in her first Rotax event.

Masters MAX
Racing alongside the Sr MAX drivers, the Masters MAX drivers again showed that karting truly does provide the only fountain of youth. Billy Cleavelin led the charge through Saturday’s heat races only to be challenged by top driver Derek Wang who ended up besting Cleavelin while Chris Mann took home the third position. On Sunday there was a shuffle throughout the heat races as a stoppage in the final due to weather tightened up the grid giving Cleavelin the opportunity to pounce in the final taking the
victory over Chris Mann with Derek Wang rounding out the podium in third place.

Mini/Micro MAX
Continuing to compete as one category in the Trophy West series the Micro and Mini drivers all utilizing the Mini Max engine kit continued close racing for the top spot as throughout the entirety of the group. Saturday’s final was a close three-way fight between Gage Korn, Matteo Quinto and Gage Grant until the final few laps where Korn was able stamp the victory after a close last lap battle that was decided in the Race Director’s office with Quinto taking second and Ryan Queen. In the Micro category Gage Grant came under heavy fire from young Troy Ferguson in the late stages and was able to barely hold him off for the victory with Ferguson in second and Lucas Tarango taking home third place. Sunday was equally challenging with a weather delay coupled by a dry but less rubbered track due to the rain fall the final started off close, however Korn ran into a mechanical issue relegating his chances for victory leaving a fast Matteo Quinto able to set sail for the final victory. The Micro category was a rinse and repeat from Saturday with Gage Grant besting Troy Ferguson for win with Lucas Tarango taking another well-deserved third place finish.

The Club MAX competitors proved that it doesn’t take a lot to put on a show as both days the competitors showcased some of the closest racing seen all day. With several drivers not able to make the trip with schedule conflicts the action for the weekend winner along with final championship was close. On Saturday, Lando Bily came around in the final to upset Cayden Spring and Jonathon Bischoff for the top spot. On Sunday the competition was even closer and it looked to be anyone’s race until in the later stages of the race when Cayden Spring took command for the victory followed by Jonathon Bischoff in second and Lando Bily rounding out the podium.

The remaining 2023 Rotax Trophy Events and venues follow:
Trophy East
Round 1 & 2: Pitt International Race Complex Wampum, PA | June 16-18
Round 3 & 4: New Jersey Motorsports Park Millville, NJ | August 11-13
Trophy Final
*12 Grand Final Tickets Available: New Castle Motorsports Park | September 14-17


Created by: fmarangon2 - 25/05/23

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