Rotax Challenge of the Americas Champions Crowned

press release 21 March 2015

Six drivers finish Sonoma weekend by claiming series championships - four earning spot on Team USA for 2015 Rotax Grand Finals

The eighth season of the Rotax Challenge of the Americas came to close over a picture perfect weekend at the Simraceway Performance Karting Center in Sonoma, California. The final two rounds of the six-race championship wrapped up, with four Rotax Grand Finals tickets, and two entries to the US Rotax Grand Nationals awarded to the six drivers that emerged as the top driver over the course of the past three months. Beginning in Tucson, followed up with Phoenix and the finale in Sonoma, the racing was spectacular, the competition was fierce, and enough excitement to make the racers looking forward to next year’s program in January 2016.

2015 Rotax Challenge of the Americas champions
Above: 2015 Rotax Challenge of the Americas champions
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As we saw last year, the Nash Motorsportz Senior Max title went down to the wire with second year Senior driver Luke Selliken scoring the championship by a slim four points over rookie Christian Brooks. Bryce Choquer became the fifth different winner of the season as he won a dramatic Saturday main event that ended in a three-wide photo finish. The Canadian scored the fast lap in qualifying, but was shuffled back in the Prefinal to fourth as Brooks scored the win over title contender Brenden Baker and Jake Craig. Brooks led the majority of the main event, with several lead changes taking place throughout the 25-lap event. On the final circuit, Brooks was leading with Choquer closing in. At the final turn, Choquer and Brooks were side by side with Selliken getting a slingshot on the outside to make it a three-driver chase to the checkered flag. Choquer had enough momentum to sneak on the inside for his first series victory while Selliken inched past Brooks for second.

Sunday was much of the same as the title was down to just three drivers - Brooks, Selliken and Baker. Qualifying went similar to Saturday’s session, until Baker edged out Choquer’s time to earn the fast lap as he took the checkered flag. More fighting up front continued with Baker able to secure the top spot on lap 12, and score the win to place himself at the head of the title chase. Brooks was fighting inside the top-five when late in the race he was sent off-course, aided by another driver and rejoined the race to finish 12th. The young 14-year-old title contender was not to be done, as he fought his way back into the top-five. At the time, Baker was leading a four-driver battle for the lead when on lap 16, Marotta and Selliken slipped past. Brooks attempted to move around Baker as well, and the two made contact. The race and the championship were finished for Baker, while Brooks continued on in the third spot, trying to run down the top two. Marotta would not be denied, becoming the only double winner in the six-round series. Selliken held second, and crossed the line as the series championship with Brooks completing the race podium, four points short of title.

Senior Max champion Luke Selliken
Above: Senior Max champion Luke Selliken
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Sting Ray Robb secured himself the Rolison Performance Group Junior Max title with his third victory of the series during Saturday’s action. After qualifying third behind local drivers Carter Herrera and Mason Cohen, Robb scored the win in the Prefinal and edged out Canadian Kellen Ritter and Trey Brown in the Final. Sunday, Robb came on late to steal the fast time in qualifying, and then sat out the remainder of the day, taking last place points as the championship was locked up. That opened the door for Michael Michoff. After qualifying fifth, the California driver fought his way forward and won a hard fought battle in the Prefinal. The main event was another war, this time against two-time winner Nick Brueckner. The two went back and forth on the final lap, with Michoff executing a great pass after the infamous Tic-Tac-Toe section. He held on to score his first series victory, with Brueckner placing second and Zoey Edenholm a career best third place finish.

Junior Max champion Sting Ray Robb
Above: Junior Max champion Sting Ray Robb
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The Cambrian Go-Karts Masters Max championship chase came down to just two drivers, however, Scott Falcone did his best to prove otherwise. The 2012 series champion dominated the weekend. After he swept the action Saturday, besting both championship contenders Paul Bonilla and John Crow, Falcone began his attempt to sweep the weekend. Scott posted fast time in Sunday qualifying, and was leading the Prefinal until a broken rear sprocket stopped his race early. He quickly made his way through the field, and was leading the Final by lap two. From there, he powered away to victory over Bonilla and Billy Cleavelin. With two straight runner-up finishes, Bonilla clinched his second class title, and his first ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals.

Masters Max champion Paul Bonilla
Above: Masters Max champion Paul Bonilla
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The CRG-USA DD2 title went down to the very end, and beyond, with the head-to-head battle between Sabré Cook and Michael Ilavia. Cook entered the weekend leading the championship, with Ilavia responding on the first day of competition. Michael swept the round, except for the fast lap bonus in the Final going to Cook. Ilavia once again won the pole position and the Prefinal Sunday, setting up for a winner-take-all scenario in the last Final of the championship. The two fought back and forth throughout the 25-lap event. Cook went off course on lap 11, giving Ilavia space midway through the race. She regrouped and cut down the lead to nothing, regaining the top position heading into the final few laps. The two made the last lap memorable fighting for the lead, with Ilavia making a last corner pass, and winning the drag race to the checkered flag. Following the race, a protest was filed and a penalty for contact while gaining position was handed to Ilavia, moving him down one position and handing the victory, along with the championship to Cook.

DD2 champion Sabre Cook
Above: DD2 champion Sabre Cook
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Five different drivers took the checkered flag over the six rounds in the PSL West Mini Max class. Payton Durrant was the only driver to win twice, scoring his first in Phoenix, and his second during Saturday’s action in Sonoma. It was a wild finish, that featured top qualifier Jak Crawford and Prefinal winner Sebastian Alvarez battling hard. Grant Langon and Durrant were right there at the end. Contact collected all but Durrant, as he knifed his way around the spinning karts to take the lead and go on to score the Final victory. Austin Torgerson came through for second with Hannah Greenemeier placing third for her first trip to the podium. That set up a number of drivers to be still in the hunt for the championship heading into the final round on Sunday. Alvarez made his bid known, posting fast time in qualifying. He would finish third in the Prefinal after another battle with Crawford. The winner however ended up being Langon, and he would not go away in the Final. The trio battled all race long, with Langon driving away to become the fifth different driver in class for his first series victory. Alvarez won the fight for second over Crawford, which awarded the Mexican driver enough points to earn the championship, the first of his career. Crawford tied Durrant in the point standings, however, the two wins by Durrant gave him the vice-champion position.

Mini Max champion Sebastian Alvarez
Above: Mini Max champion Sebastian Alvarez
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For the second straight year, one driver dominated the Motorsports Development Group Micro Max division. Duplicating the feat set by last year’s title winner Jak Crawford, Arizona driver Diego LaRoque won all six feature races on the season to score the series championship. The Sonoma weekend was the exclamation point, as LaRoque top the results sheet for every on-track session. A perfect score came Saturday, earning fast lap honors as well over Josh Pierson and Ashton Torgerson. Sunday’s racing was the same with LaRoque on top of the podium, this time having the fast lap honors stolen by runner-up Leland Honeyman with Torgerson in third.

Micro Max champion Diego LaRoque
Above: Micro Max champion Diego LaRoque
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The complete recap of the Sonoma weekend can be viewed in a digital magazine, along with complete coverage from For more, visit


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