Aussie IndyCar star Will Power crashes out of TaG Masters main event
Western Australian teenager Nicholas Rowe has secured the biggest win of his flourishing career with victory at the 17th Annual SuperNationals in Las Vegas.
Rowe became the first Australian winner in the 17-year history of the event outpacing 15-time National Champion David Sera to the chequered flag in the TaG Senior category. It is the second time in four years that Sera has finished runner-up at the world's largest karting event that this year attracted in excess of 600 entries, including a record 36 Australian drivers.
Sera started on pole position for the final race with IndyCar and NASCAR driver A.J. Allmendinger alongside him on the front row. After slotting into second place at the start, Sera moved his Australian-made Arrow kart into the lead on lap two. Following a red flag stoppage, due to a damaged track barrier, Sera led the way with Gold Coaster Ben Stewart in fifth and Rowe in sixth.
After dropping outside the top ten, Rowe meticulously worked his way up the order to challenge for the lead with a handful of laps remaining and claim the win ahead of Sera. In the process Rowe became the first Australian, and the youngest ever TaG Senior driver, to succeed on the temporary 1367-metre circuit adjacent to the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. Allmendinger was eliminated in an incident on lap seven.
“It's the best feeling I've ever had in my life, I dropped back to 13th after the restart at some stage and then clawed my way back. It's just unreal,” said 15 year-old Rowe.
“When I was catching Dave (Sera) I thought to myself that I'm catching one of the best drivers in the world and then I passed him, it was unreal. When I crossed the line I was overcome by emotion and then on my victory lap the emotions really flowed through.”
Continuing the success for the Western Australian drivers was the Kostecki drivers, Jake and Kurt. The pair were among the front runners throughout the weekend in the TaG Junior class, that featured some 62 competitors, before Jake finished in third place. Kurt crossed the line tenth but was given a ten-place post race penalty for a driving infringement. Victorian Luis Leeds was classified eighth.
Australian IndyCar star Will Power and five-time Australian Champion Kip Foster, were two of the serious contenders in the TaG Masters category. Unfortunately though Power was eliminated early in the race while Foster's wretched luck in overseas events continued when he was an innocent victim when the two drivers battling for the lead came together in front of him. Foster attempted to avoided the pair but got clipped, the impact damaged this rear axle and left rear tyre and forcing him out of the race.
Gold Coast youngster Jack Doohan led the way early in the TaG Cadets final before crossing the line fourth as Italian Leonardo Marseglia took the win by 0.063 seconds ahead of Malaysian Muizzuddin Musyaffa and Texan Nick Brueckner.
In the elite KZ2 category, that featured the world's top line drivers from the European factory teams, Kel Treseder and Jason Faint finished as the best of the six-strong Australian contingent. Treseder finished seventh to record the best finish by an Australian in the feature category, improving on 2012 CIK Stars of Karting Champion Chris Hays' tenth placing last year. He was also the first non-European driver across the line.
In true Vegas style, Faint took a gamble in qualifying when he fitted ‘slick' tyres to his kart when the circuit still slightly damp. He was one of only two drivers to do so, and the gamble paid off for him as he set the fourth fastest time.
He then ran strongly throughout his heat races before crossing the line 10th in the main event.
Frenchman Anthony Abbasse took the win, and the $10,000 first prize cheque that went with the victory, ahead of Dutch driver Bas Lammers and Italian Davide Fore.
Also competing in the S2 category (Stock Honda 125), Faint started on pole position for the final and was one of the favourites for the victory. Unfortunately an issue with the clutch on his engine would be his demise. He was slow off the start line and another competitor made contact with his kart forcing Faint out of the race.
Darwin driver Bryce Fullwood was the best-placed Australian driver in the Junior Rotax category. Fullwood started from 20th position in the main event before charging up the order and eventually securing a third place finish.