Hamilton's Sunday Second After Torrid Modesto Grand Prix

press release 6 August 2014

Kiwi karter Matthew Hamilton has claimed his second podium finish of the US season with second place in the S4 Masters class at the fourth round of this year's SuperKarts USA (SKUSA) Pro Tour series in Modesto in northern California over the weekend.

The 31-year-old New Zealand champion from Christchurch had a winning start to his 2014 US campaign in Texas in May, claiming a first up class win on the first day of the double-header round competition only to be forced out of the Final on the second day when a reed block on his kart's engine worked loose.

This time he struggled on the first day of the double-header (Rnd 3 on Saturday, Rnd 4 on Sunday) round but came good on the second.

Matthew Hamilton on his way to his heat win at the fourth round of this year's SKUSA Pro Tour at Modesto in northern California on Sunday
Above: Matthew Hamilton on his way to his heat win at the fourth round of this year's SKUSA Pro Tour at Modesto in northern California on Sunday
pic - Fast Company/Todd McCall

The meeting was the first on a fast new temporary street circuit in downtown Modesto with the Finals both 'days' run under lights at night.

The meeting was not without controversy with red flag finishes in most of the heats and Finals on the first day, leading to a schedule which saw karters on the track till well past 1.00am on Sunday.

Hamilton was one of two New Zealand drivers competing, Aucklander Aarron Cunningham joining him on the Aluminos squad in the TaG Masters category.

On Saturday Hamilton qualified third but struggled with mechanical issues in both heats before putting in a storming drive to work his way from P34 on the grid to P11 at the flag in the Final.

"It was a shocker," he said," I didn' t get to turn a lap in either heat but did get a better run in the Final." 

He got  a better start on Sunday, too, qualifying quickest and winning the only heat race on the shortened race programme...only to get turned around whilst leading the Final.

Fortunately he was able to get going again, a comeback drive from fifth seeing him third at the line but second on the podium after the driver who has crossed the line in second place, Italian Mirko Mizzoni, was given a time penalty for jumping the start.

Both class Finals were won by Italian GP Karts ace Gian Cavaciuti, Saturday's from Americans Daniel Elliott and Jordan Musser, Sunday's from Hamilton and Mizzoni.

Aarron Cunningham found the going harder on his debut drive on the Pro Tour, though he says he was pleased with the way he got quicker as the weekend progressed.

On Saturday he qualified 11th, finished the first heat race 10th and the second ninth, before getting as high as fifth in the Final then being shuffled back to seventh and throwing a chain over one of the many bumps in the track to eventually be classified 12th.

He then qualified 10th on Sunday,  but was taken out in a first corner accident in the heat race and after starting from the rear of the field got up to seventh place within a couple of laps of the Final only to tangle with a track barrier and block one of the chicance, the front end damage to his kart putting him out on the spot.

"The unforgiving nature of the track certainly made any problems you had bigger, particularly on Saturday but It's something I'd definitely do again, despite the cost of the crash damage," Cunningham said on arriving back in Auckland.

" The big thing I'll take out of the meeting is that I kept getting better each time I went out, better on the track, better on the tyres and getting more and more confident with the barriers.

"I'll be going up to SuperNats (the meeting in Las Vegas which hosts the final two rounds of the 2014 Pro Tour series) feeling a lot better about what to expect."

Cunningham also said that despite the teething troubles on Saturday a crowd of around 10,000 watched the racing and event organisers and city officials considered it a success.

2014 SuperKarts USA Rnds 3 & 4 Save Mart Supermarkets Modesto Grand Prix Modesto California USA August 01-03

S4 Masters
Rnd 3 Sat
1. Gian Cavaciuti
2. Darren Elliott
3. Jordon Musser
4. Rob Logan 
5. Richard Heistand
6. Mirko Mizzoni
11. Matt Hamilton

Rnd 4 Sun
1. Gian Cavaciuti
2. Matt Hamilton 
3. Mirko Mizzoni
4. Rob Logan 
5. Darren Elliott 
6. Chris Jennings

TaG Masters
Rnd 3 Sat
1. Ethan Wilson 
2. Billy Cleavelin 
3. Kevin Manning 
12. Aarron Cunningham 

Rnd 4 Sun
1. Billy Cleavelin
2. Ethan Wilson 
3. Jim Russell Jr.
DQ. Aarron Cunningham


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