No Luck for New Zealanders In VegasTweet
Luck deserted Kiwi karters Daniel Bray and Marcus Armstrong in Las Vegas on Sunday (Monday NZ time) after the pair had been amongst the front-runners in their classes earlier in the weekend at this year's MG Tires 16th annual Superkarts USA (SKUSA) SuperNationals meeting.
Bray, 24, from Auckland, ended up in the fence and out of the S1 class early in the Final after a clash with fellow front-runner Fritz Leesmann, while Armstrong, 12, from Christchurch, limped around to finally finish his S5 class Final in 21st position after being hit from behind and turned around at the second corner.
Both drivers had shown impressive form earlier in the event, defending SKUSA Pro Tour S1 class champion Bray qualifying second and claiming a second and two thirds in the heats to start the 25-lap Final on the front row of the grid beside eventual winner, Lithuanian Simas Juodvirsis, and Armstrong qualifying fifth and coming back from a dnf (mechanical) in the first S5 class heat to claim a fifth in the second, and a third in the third to start his 20-lap Final from P7 on the grid.
Bray enjoyed a similarly strong run early on only to be sent spinning off the track in the Final at the World Cup - KZ1 and 2 meeting in Italy earlier this year but was philosophical about what happened earlier today.
"That's motor racing isn't it?" he said. "It's disappointing, obviously, but we were strong all weekend and we still ended up third in the championship so that's something."
Bray had set his works GP kart up to handle best towards the end of the Final and was battling with the driver who eventually finished second to Juodvirsis, Fritz Leesmann, when he and Leesmann tangled early on.
"Fritz and I were in a bit of a dog fight while I waited for the tyres to come up to temp," Bray explained. "We were battling for fourth place at that stage and went into a really fast corner two-wide. Unfortunately Fritz clipped the inside kerb, his kart bounced into mine and I ended up in the outside fence."
The force of the accident ripped the axle out of the kart but bar a sore arm Bray was unhurt.
Armstrong, at least, was able to finish his Final, though by the time he got going again he was out of overall contention.
"He got a pretty good start and came out of Turn 1 in about eighth place but then on the run down to Turn 2 he got pushed from behind and spun in front of the whole field," said Bray."
Like Bray, the young second-generation racer from Christchurch (his father is former Mazda RX7 and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge racer Rick Armstrong) would have preferred a better Final. But he was not dwelling on the fact.
"Really," he said, "we just had a bit of bad luck. We'll just have to come back stronger next year!"