Lochie Hughes Wins At ROK Cup USA

press release 12 March 2014

Young Queensland racers Lochie Hughes and Sean Bolger have returned to the USA for three weeks to race at 3 consecutive events to be held at the Orlando Kart Centre in Florida.

To kickstart the trip the boys raced at the Rok Cup USA in the Mini Rok class racing the Vortex Rok engine against a field of international drivers.   Lochie and Sean are racing in Praga Karts with Bordogna Engines, pitting with Marco and Frank Di Leo from Goodwood Kartways.  The boys have Ken Bensley and Josh Hart from IPKarting Australia to work with them on race and technical support.   

Lochie Hughes leading the pre-final at the Orlando Kart Center
Above: Lochie Hughes leading the pre-final at the Orlando Kart Center

The team has had an amazing start to the trip with Lochie dominating the Mini Rok class from qualifying through to the Final.  Sean has shown great ongoing improvement after working with Peter Crossingham (KAOS Karting) last trip and Josh Hart this trip.  In the Final Sean was racing with the front-running pack in 5th and taken out of the race by another driver.  Lochie continues to turn heads and is well-prepared and highly suited to the high powered Vortex engines.  

Below is Lochie’s race diary for his first big international win.  Huge congrats and the team looks forward to a few days R & R in Miami before getting back on track for the final round of the Florida Winter Tour with the Formula Cadet class this weekend again in the Vortex Rok engine followed by their last weekend in the states in Rotax Mini Max.

Lochie Hughes P1 in Orlando!
Above: Lochie Hughes P1 in Orlando!
pic - ROK Cup USA

Race Diary – Lochie Hughes

ROK Cup USA – Mini Rok

The Weather was perfect on Saturday morning, and the forcast was for the great weather to continue all weekend.  Great for us to finally have a racing weekend free of wet weather as our prior visits to SuperNats, Las Vegas last year and the last rounds of Florida Winter Tour had been hampered by lots of rain.

The racing schedule for the weekend was as follows:  Saturday, 2 official practice sessions, Qualifying, Heat 1 and 2.  Sunday, warm up session, Heat 3, Pre-Final and Final.

In Official practice, Lochie went well finishing 4th fastest, which we thought was very good, given the class field of international drivers.

Lochie with Dany of Bordogna Race Engines
Above: Lochie with Dany of Bordogna Race Engines

Qualifying was next, a five minute timed session.  Lochie let all the karts go out of the pits before him, so as to ensure a clean lap.  As qualifying was only 5 minutes, it meant Lochie would only get 4 timed laps.  On lap 2, Lochie drove just about the perfect lap, setting a lap time that was almost half a second faster than the second fastest driver.  This put us on pole for each of the three heats.

Heat 1, Lochie got an average start and was shuffled back to 4th during the first lap.  He then fought his way through the pack to win the race, just in front of Arias Deukmedjian as they crossed the finish line.

Heat 2, Lochie got off to a great start, coming out of turn 1 in first place.  Lochie led the race for the first couple of laps, and was then overtaken by Lachlan DeFranchesco.  Lochie drove a very smart race and sat on DeFranchesco's rear bumper for the rest of the race, as they built a big gap away from the rest of the field.  Then on the last lap Lochie made his move and overtook DeFranchesco down the straight.  Coming into the final corner Lochie drove narrow, defending the inside line, this gave Lochie a poor exit, and in the drag to the finish line DeFranchesco won by .03 of a second.  2nd was still a great result for heat 2.

Heat 3 on Sunday morning was a cracker for Lochie.  He led out of turn 1 by about 4 kart lengths, and just drove away from the field with a 2 sec buffer, leaving the rest to battle for the minor places.

With famous company - watching the racing alongside Mike Wilson
Above: With famous company - watching the racing alongside Mike Wilson

Podium congratulations from Praga owner, Petr Ptacek
Above: Podium congratulations from Praga owner, Petr Ptacek

Pre Final, as a result of the two firsts and a second in the heats, Lochie was to start on pole for the pre final.  Once again Lochie got a great start, and drove away to achieve a commanding victory over the rest of the field.

After some words of advice from 6-time world karting champion Mike Wilson, Lochie lined up on the grid in pole position for the Final.  

Kenny had prepared the kart to perfection, once again, allowing Lochie to get a great start and repeat his dominating display from the Pre-Final.  Lochie drove to victory with Brazilian champion Gianluca Petecof taking second position on the podium.  

This was Lochies first overseas victory, and was a great achievement against a quality field of experienced drivers from around the world.  It was only possible with the great support from Goodwood Kartsports from Canada, Kenny Bensley for preparing a sensational Praga Kart, Bordogna Engines for the best Mini Rok Engine, Praga for the great racing kart, and rest of the team behind the scenes, especially Dad for making all this possible.

Lochie now looks forward to round 3 of the Florida Winter Tour, with practice starting on Thursday.

Lochie with his dad Howie (left) and Ken Beasley from IPKarting Australia
Above: Lochie with his dad Howie (left) and Ken Beasley from IPKarting Australia


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