Stars and Stripes Trophy: Norberg, Pierson, Adams lead the way on Sunday
Four new drivers invited to the Grand Finals in Italy to represent the USA, Canada, and Belgium.
To the delight of everyone, the rain held off on Sunday for the final day of the 2019 Rotax MAX Stars and Stripes Trophy in Utah’s Toelle Valley, west of Salt Lake City. Although high winds showed up for the first time all weekend, the paddock laid witness to numerous battles in the dry for the coveted Rotax MAX Grand Finals and International Trophy tickets.
Ryan Norberg and Josh Pierson carried the banner for Rolison Performance Group in Senior and Junior, while Enzo Deligny brought the thunder in Mini for Supertune USA. David Greco will soon represent Canada in DD2 and Christophe Adams for Belgium in DD2 Master.
After a less than stellar qualifying run, Ryan Norberg turned in a near perfect scorecard the remainder of the weekend, picking up an enormous win on Sunday by six seconds in Senior MAX. The Floridian jumped out to a significant margin on the opening lap of the final which propelled him to the win 22 laps later.
Senior newcomer, Joey Brienza, impressed many with his run to second, his best result of the weekend when it counted the most. With the result, the 14-year old from Colorado earned the ticket to the new Rotax Trophy in France later in August. Finalizing the podium was Dante Yu who had to overcome a poor opening lap and rebounded to third.
Witnessing the racing in Junior MAX on Saturday, it would have been a good bet that the category would come down to the final lap on Sunday and that’s exactly what happened. Josh Pierson (RPG / Kosmic) and John Burke (Supertune / Tony Kart) competed intensely on Saturday and earlier in the day in the Pre Final, setting the stage for their afternoon engagement.
In the Final, a few leads were swapped, but they seemed to be biding their time until that final lap. On lap 22, as the two approached the final corners, Burke defended the lead into turn 11, but Pierson found a path underneath the Texan midway through the corner. The Pierson camp erupted when the young Northwest driver emerged with the lead and held on just a few corners later for the win. Frankie Mossman (Formula Works / Compkart) held his own in third, however, a distance back from the lead duo.
With the win, Pierson returns to the Grand Finals for a second time after he represented the USA in 2017.
Enzo Deligny (Supertune / Tony Kart) showed why he’s one of the top cadet drivers in the country with a drive-away win in Mini MAX ahead of teammate Xander Reed (Supertune / Tony Kart). With the win, Deligny earned an entry to Pennsylvania for the Stars and Stripes Open and a chance for the Grand Finals ticket.
In Micro MAX, Graham Trammell returned to the top position after looking out of sorts in the heats on Saturday. The Oregon driver notched another win for the RPG outfit and he too earned himself free entry to the Stars and Stripes Open later in August to fight for a position on Team USA. Colin Ruess and Kaden Dosmann fought until the bitter end for the silver medal with Ruess having the advantage by .268 at the stripe.
Master MAX was a two-headed race between two longtime frontrunners in the sport, Christophe Adams and Billy Cleavelin. With more than 5,500 miles between where the two drivers reside, they met in Utah for an epic battle. Both drivers took turns leading the 22-lap final, neither being able to shake the other. With five laps to go, the final pass was made by the Belgian in the back section of the circuit. Cleavelin had to check up, losing most of his momentum, allowing Adams to gain an advantage near one-second wide that would be enough to the finish. Chris Mann out-dueled Rob Kozkowski for third.
With the win, Adams earns his 14th consecutive trip to the Grand Finals, extending his own worldwide record.
For the second time in three years, David Greco will be representing Team Canada in DD2 when the Rotax World converges on Italy in October. Greco opened up a clear advantage early in the Final over Kyle Apuzzo and maintained that gap through the 22 laps. Nathan Martin comes away with third place after having led laps during the heats, but in the end settles for the bronze.
National-level Rotax competition returns the first weekend in August for the Rotax MAX Stars and Stripes Open organized by J3 Competition. The great Pitt Race facility in Wampum, Pennsylvania plays host to what should be a crowded field of the best in North America. Stay Tuned!