|November 13, 2011 News
|EKN Exclusive: SKUSA SuperNationals XV Preview Series - KZ2
On the week of November 16-20, Superkarts! USA will host the 15th annual SKUSA SuperNationals in the parking lot of the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Since 1997, the event has produced a bit of history for the sport, with the 2011 edition no different. A record-breaking number of entries, including over 500 drivers from across the world, will all be vying to become one of the 11 winners at this yearís event. eKartingNews.com - in conjunction with itís exclusive Trackside Live coverage - has slated the remaining days leading up to the event for an in-depth look at the entry list and the major contenders in each of the 11 categories.
Today, KZ2 takes the spotlight of the preview series, followed by the remaining group - S1 Pro Stock Moto.
For previous class previews and complete coverage throughout the event, visit the EKN Event Page.
| Marco Ardigo and Rick Dreezen return to Vegas after a 1-2 finish in 2010|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
If youíre a fan of karting, you understand just how important the SuperNationals are in the sport. The international names that many of you follow throughout the season will collide in the United States next weekend, as they battle for the $10,000 winnerís paycheck in the KZ2 category. Since 2007, many of the finest international karters have made the annual trek to Las Vegas to compete against Americaís best and this year will be no different. The 2011 edition will see a full field of drivers all looking to claim the cash on SuperSunday.
Entering the event, the favorites have to be two of the former winners - Tony Kartís Marco Ardigo and 2009 victor Bas Lammers. Ardigo is a two-time victor (2007 and 2010) and is among the most decorated shifterkart drivers over the past five years. 2011 has not been a typical season for Ardigo, as heís not been up front as we are used to seeing. A return to the Vegas Strip could change that. For Lammers, heís returning to the SuperNationals after missing last yearís event. He remains with the Intrepid group, this time piloting a Praga chassis.
The last American to win the category was Californian Gary Carlton. The multi-time US champion has spent the last two seasons racing in Europe, first with CRG and then with Chiesa Corse aboard a Zanardi. The top American finisher from one year ago will make the move to the LH Kart (Lewis Hamilton) - manufactured by the CRG factory - with the new Sargeant Motorsports outfit, which is based out of Florida. Carlton won in 2006 aboard a CRG and finished sixth one year ago.
| 2009 winner Bas Lammers returns after missing last year, this time aboard a Praga chassis|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Other former winners in the field include Ron White and Matt Jaskol. White was a SuperPro winner in 2002, the first year the event was held at the Rio, while Jaskol won in 1998 in the 80cc Junior class. Both are joining the new CRG-USA operation out of Colorado and are solid contenders to bring more Americans into the top-10. The remaining US pilots include Fritz Leesmann and Ryon Beachner. Leesmann is the defending S1 Pro Tour champion and will return with Aluminos aboard a CRG. Beachner comes into Vegas after his first year in the S1 division, moving up to KZ2 for Vegas under the Tony Kart America banner.
Flying the Canadian flag in KZ2 are five drivers. Michael Vincec is a former national champion in the category, the same year he finished fifth at the SuperNationals (2008). He passed up a chance to compete at the Rotax Grand Finals to represent PSL Karting in Vegas. Remo Ruscitti will make his KZ2 debut after running the last two years in TaG Senior. Under the guidance of three-time ICC winner Michael Valiante at the Italian Motors tent, the 17-year old could be a contender in his debut. Filling out the Canadian roster is Matthew Di Leo (Praga North America), Don McGregor (Italian Motors) and Zach Meyer (Innisil Indy Karting).
| 2006 winner Gary Carlton will lead the American contingent, making his debut on the LH Kart|
All but one driver from last yearís podium will return to battle for their first SuperNationals win and the $10k paycheck. Runner-up Rick Dreezen (Tony Kart) comes into Vegas following his best season to date. The Belgian earned the WSK Euro Series KZ1 championship over many of the same drivers competing in Vegas, including teammate Ardigo and multi-time world champion Jonathan Thonon, who will not be in Las Vegas. Scoring his best finish one year ago, SodiKart driver Anthony Abbasse has shown the speed to earn victory at the SuperNats, although he has come up short each year. 2011 has not been kind to the Frenchman in the Euro competition. Fellow countryman Thomas Mich scored a fifth place finish in his SuperNationals debut last year. The Birel driver returns looking for more in 2011.
Mentioned above, 2008 winner Thonon will be absent from the event again this year. In his absence, Italian Mirko Torsellini will lead the CRG international contingent. The season has been solid thus far, as Torsellini scored the vice-championship in the WSK Euro Series KZ2 category, third in the CIK-FIA European Championship and a win at the WSK Final Cup event. Torsellini is building a resume to take the seats of the current star-studded factory drivers at CRG.
Others to watch include the only female in the field - Beitske Visser. The rising Dutch star made her debut at the SuperNats last year, ending up in the barriers during the heat races, an incident that made her sit out the main event with an injured back. Returning after a solid season, watch for her Praga machine up front. Spainís Jeremy Iglesias is a two-time podium finisher at the SuperNationals. Keeping with the Intrepid brand, the odds are in his favor for a third podium finish in four years.
Rounding out the stars in this yearís roster is IZOD IndyCar Series driver Raphael Matos. The 2009 IndyCar Rookie of the Year returns to the SuperNats looking for redemption. His previous starts in Vegas have not been successful and the move to the Zanardi America tent could help that goal.
A full field of shifterkarts is always a crowd favorite at the SuperNationals. When itís the best drivers from around the world, it means that much more. Adding in the $10k incentive to score the win, you will be able to feel the tension and excitement along the fences when the KZ2 drivers line-up for the starting lights to go out and the 25-lap battle begins.
Provisional 2011 SKUSA SuperNationals KZ2 Entry List
|2||Raphael Matos||Zanardi America||Zanardi||ICC-TM||AZ||BRA|
|5r||Michael Vincec||PSL Karting||CRG||ICC-Maxter||ON||CAN|
|6||Rick Dreezen||Tony Kart America||Tony Kart||ICC-Vortex||BEL|
|9r||Remo Ruscitti||Italian Motors||Italkart||ICC-IAME||BC||CAN|
|11||Andre Sousa||PSL Karting||CRG||ICC-Maxter||BRA|
|13||Andreas Funkenhauser||Kartshop Ampfing||DR Kart||ICC-TM||DEU|
|14||Macauley Jones||Top Kart USA / Grand Products||Top Kart||ICC-TM||NSW||AUS|
|15||Matthew Wall||BRM Racing Australia||BRM||ICC-TM||AUS|
|16||Alberto Cavalieri||BRM Racing||BRM||ICC-Maxter||Mazzano||ITA|
|17||Matthew Hunt||BRM Racing Australia||BRM||ICC-TM||AUS|
|18||Hugo Valente||MRP Motorsport||Birel||ICC-TM||MI||FRA|
|20||Kip Foster||J3 Competition||Kosmic||ICC-Vortex||OH||AUS|
|21||Lucie Panackova||Praga North America||Praga||ICC-TM||ONT||CZE|
|23||Victor Carbone||Legree Motorsports||CRG||ICC||BRA|
|24||Michael Bo Andersen||Aluminos||GP||ICC-TM||DNK|
|25||Kristian Jeffrey||3-S Go Karts||MBA||ICC-TM||ONT||GUY|
|27||Thomas Mich||MRP Motorsport||Birel||ICC-TM||MI||FRA|
|28||Alessandro Piccini||Tony Kart America||Tony Kart||ICC-Vortex||ITA|
|49||Jordie Lindstrom||Vemme Kart||Vemme||ICC-TM||Victoria||AUS|
|50||Gary Carlton||Sargeant Motorsports||LH||ICC-Maxter||CA||USA|
|51||Marco Ardigo'||Tony Kart America||Tony Kart||ICC-Vortex||ITA|
|53||Andres Mendez||FA Kart||ICC-Vortex||COL|
|55||Matt Jaskol||CRG USA||CRG||ICC-Maxter||NV||USA|
|56||Matthew Di Leo||Praga North America||Praga||ICC-TM||ON||CAN|
|59||Stephane Stemper||Franklin Motorsports||Merlin||ICC-TM||FRA|
|61||Yannick de Brabander||Champion Racing / Formula K||Formula K||ICC-TM||OK||BEL|
|62||Nolan Manton||Champion Racing / Formula K||Formula K||ICC-TM||OK||ITA|
|64||Martin Doubek||Praga North America||Praga||ICC-TM||ONT||CZE|
|66||Zachary Meyer||Innisfil Indy Karting||GP||ICC-TM||ON||CAN|
|71r||Don McGregor||Italian Motors||Italkart||ICC-IAME||BC||CAN|
|77||Bruno Melo||PSL Karting||CRG||ICC-Maxter||BRA|
|78||Torsten Kostbade||Kartshop Ampfing||DR Kart||ICC-TM||DEU|
|99||Patrick Hajek||Praga North America||Praga||ICC-TM||ONT||CZE|
|107f||Roberto Lorena||Legree Motorsports||CRG||ICC-Maxter||FL||BRA|
|109||Bas Lammers||Praga North America||Praga||ICC-TM||ONT||NED|
|111||Mirko Torsellini||PSL Karting||CRG||ICC-Maxter||ITA|
|117||Ryon Beachner||Tony Kart America||Tony Kart||ICC-Vortex||CA||USA|
|127||Beitske Visser||Intrepid North America||Intrepid||ICC-TM||ONT||NED|
|139||Jeremy Iglesias||Intrepid North America||Intrepid||ICC-TM||ONT||ESP|
|161y||Fritz Leesmann||PSL Karting||CRG||ICC||CA||USA|
|171||Ron White||CRG USA||CRG||ICC-Maxter||CA||USA|