The 2023 California ProKart Challenge came to a close on the September 22-24 weekend with the final two rounds contested at the Adams Motorsports Park in Riverside, CA. This was a revised series finale for the 19th championship season when Hurricane Hilary forced Round Five in August to be combined with Round Six. The new three-day weekend avoided weather issues, with perfect racing conditions for the drivers wrapping up the 2023 championship program.
The HRT Driver Development KA100 Senior class featured one of the three double winners on the weekend. Ryan Persing was able to claim the fast time in qualifying on Saturday, posting a 44.374-lap to edge out Kane Martin by 86 thousandths. In third was Ethan Lampe, a three-time podium finisher over the season. He jumped out to the lead on the opening lap of the Prefinal, leading all 14 laps to beat out Persing. The 25-lap Final was all Lampe, leading wire-to-wire and driving away to a three-second advantage at the checkered flag. Persing trailed for his second runner-up finish of the season. Two-time winner John Burke improved four spots – seventh to third – while Izaac Gutierrez climbed 15 positions to finish fourth. Ayden Aquino rounded out the top-five.
It was a repeat of the action on Sunday, with Persing once again claiming the top spot in the qualifying session – improving his time to 44.314 with Lampe off by 84 thousandths. Persing and Jackson Menchu each led before Lampe took control in the Prefinal, leading the remainder of the 14 laps for the win. Lampe went on to control the entire distance of the 25-lap race to claim his second victory by over four seconds. Persing drove to second with Aiden Kempf joining them on the podium in third. Burke overcame his issues on the day to climb 16 positions to fourth, with Martin improving 11 spots to end up fifth.
The largest category of the weekend was the Speedsense Motorsports KA100 Junior division with 29 drivers. Payton Westcott led the field in qualifying, setting fast time of 44.776. She ended up slipping out of the top-five as Steven Miller took control in the Prefinal, earning the win. Miller led the first part of the 25-lap Final until retiring. That allowed Charlie Smith and Shea Aldrich to battle for the top spot. Aldrich took over with two laps remaining, holding on to the checkered flag for his first victory of the season. Smith finished second but was handed a three-second penalty, dropping him to sixth. Johnie Stamps was promoted to second for his first podium of the season with Alexander Gonzalez in third. Westcott and Tyren Scott completed the top-five.
Miller was able to top the charts in the Sunday qualifying session with a 44.790 lap time, edging out Jayden Johnson by 88 thousandths. The 14-lap Prefinal was a battle to the end, with Charlie Smith coming up from fourth to claim the win. He then led the first 24 laps of the Final until he was shuffled back to 12th on the final circuit. This allowed Miller to claim his first victory in his first series start. Alexander Gonzalez ended up second, with Jayden Johnson finishing in the third spot for a second podium on the season. Four-time race winner Keagan Kaminski improved five spots to fourth with Rocky Moran fifth.
The Superspeed Bearings Mini Swift category featured two different winners on the season. Round Four winner Troy Ferguson swept the Saturday action. After setting fast time in qualifying, Ferguson won the Prefinal and fought off two-time winner Matthew Cagle for the second victory of the season. JohnJohn McLellan gained nine spots to finish third for his first podium of the year. Two-time race winner McLaren Carroll finished fourth with Luca Popescu in fifth.
Ferguson was looking for a weekend sweep on Sunday. He set fast time in qualifying and won the Prefinal. In the Final, Ferguson and Cagle battled for the victory. In the end, Cagle led the final 14 laps after starting 11th. Luca Popescu finished third to claim his first podium on the season. Braydon Wagner and JohnJohn McLellan rounded out the top-five.
Drew Jensen claimed wins three and four on the season, leaving Adams with two victories on the weekend in the P1 Racing Engines Micro Swift division. Saturday racing was a sweep of the action for Jensen, claiming fast time in qualifying, winning the Prefinal, and then leading all 22 laps of the Final for the victory – while also setting fast lap of the race. Collins King was second, with Nathan Ramirez joining him on the podium in third. Aidan Go and Dante Rodrigues completed the top-five.
On Sunday, Byron Borneman was able to break up the perfect score for Jensen, stealing the fast lap in qualifying. Jensen won the battle in the Prefinal before leading all 22 laps of the Final to claim the victory. Aidan Go drove to second, beating out Borneman for the position. Nathan Ramirez and Collins King finished fourth and fifth.
Ronnie Swaim was able to double up on the weekend in the Empire Karts X30 Master class. It was Tony Rossetti that set quick time in qualifying before Swaim won the Prefinal and Final. Rossetti ended up second with Robert Switzler in third. On Sunday, it was Rossetti leading the way in both qualifying and the Prefinal. In the Final, Rossetti led the first 10 laps before Swaim took over. He led the remainder of the 25-lap Final for his fifth victory of the season. Rossetti and Switzler made up the podium. Swaim was able to add a third victory on the weekend with a Saturday win in the Nash Motorsportz KA100 Master category. Swaim swept the day over Craig Vasquez. He elected to not compete on Sunday with Vasquez running unchallenged in the final round.
The 2023 California ProKart Challenge championships were decided with the final laps on Sunday. The following are the top-three drivers in the point standings to close out the season:
KA100 Junior by SpeedSense Motorsports
1. Keagan Kaminski
2. Shea Aldrich
3. Alexander Gonzalez
KA100 Master by Nash Motorsportz
1. Ronnie Swaim
2. Craig Vasquez
3. Matthew Ostiguy
KA100 Senior by HRT Driver Development
1. Ethan Lampe
2. John Burke
3. Aiden Kempf
Micro Swift by P1 Racing Engines
1. Drew Jensen
2. Aidan Go
3. Byron Borneman
Mini Swift by SuperSpeed Bearings
1. Troy Ferguson
2. Matthew Cagle
3. McLaren Carroll
Pro Shifter by Factory Karts
1. Billy Musgrave
2. Keawn Tandon
3. Liam Jones
X30 Master by Empire Karts
1. Ronnie Swaim
2. Tony Rossetti
3. Robert Switzler