The Florida Winter Tour (FWT) got underway last weekend and the young Jamaican go-karters have demonstrated that, once again, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
Thomas Issa turned in a dazzling performance to secure second place out of a highly competitive field in the Rotax Junior Class. "This goes to show you that we have the skill and, if we have more equipment, we would be able to compete successfully at the highest level. Last weekend was an impressive showing by Issa," argued Neil Williams, president of the Jamaica Karting Association (JKA).
A report on The Canadian Karting News website said, New York's Jack Weprin continued his speedy ways by qualifying on pole position for last Saturday's competitive Junior Class events.
At last Sunday's qualifying session, it was Jamaica's Thomas Issa, fresh off a trip to the grand finals, who took pole position with a quick time of 53.941 seconds. In doing so, Thomas was the only Junior MAX driver to officially get under the 54-second mark then.
The 2013 Florida Winter Tour was back on track at Palm Beach International Raceway for race meet two of the FWT Rotax Max Challenge. After Mother Nature rolled through with heavy rain and winds for Saturday's racing, Sunday saw sunshine and hot action on and off the track.
A wild start to the pre-final saw karts flying everywhere in corner one, disposing of many contenders early on. Juan Manuel Correa took advantage of this and moved from fifth to first, while Thomas Issa (Kosmic) and Oliver Bellanger (TonyKart) slotted into second and third, respectively. Issa moved to the lead on lap three, but Correa regained the position only a couple of corners later. While the leaders battled, Kyle Kirkwood (TonyKart) moved into third just past the half-way mark, while Weprin had worked all the way to fourth place.
With Issa now in control up front, Kirkwood overtook Correa for second, allowing Weprin to catch and move past Correa as well. Issa scored the win, with Kirkwood, Weprin, Correa and Bellanger completing the top five.
Kirkwood moved into the lead exiting corner one as the Rotax Junior Final rolled down the track's fast straights. But his lead wouldn't last long, as Issa moved into the lead on lap three. Kirkwood resumed the lead on lap four, but would again surrender it a lap later, this time to Weprin, who had now successfully passed the entire Rotax Junior field.
Issa and Weprin continued to trade the lead up front, and would actually pull away in the process, until Kirkwood received help from his OGP teammate Austin Garrison (TonyKart). Working together, the two were able to peg back the leaders and make it a four-kart race.
But it wasn't enough, as the two ran out of time. Weprin held on to take his second victory of the weekend, followed by Issa, while Dominic Tesoro moved to third on the final lap.