K1 Speed in Northern California hosted the first round of its Challenge GP race series this past Sunday with a number of the top indoor kart racers from the Santa Clara area for the debut event. The course design proved to be a fast paced layout with with Nelson Rosa taking the pole position with a 21.924 second single lap time setting the pace for the nights main events.
With the dust settled after some fast qualifying rounds the B-Main would be out on track first to close out the night. Shawn Thompson would start on pole with local karting champion Max Gaxiola and local dirt kart champion Geon MacKenzie sitting just behind him to put on a great show for the spectators. Thompson would take advantage of the clear track early on and maintain his position for the duration of the race. Max would retire early in the race, which let local K1 driver John Fong move into second and Bill Belfield into third. The checkered flag would come out and the drivers would finish with Shawn Thompson taking the win, John Fong would hang onto second and Bill Belfield maintained his position in third to round out the top three.
A-Main drivers would be out on track next with pole setter Nelson Rosa leading the field for the green flag rolling start. There would be a great battle between Nelson and Steve Hoshi, along with Matthew Smith getting into the mix to make things interesting. Nelson would end up putting some distance between himself and Steve but Hoshi would end up having to work to maintain his position in second place with Matthew Smith, Eric Brockway, and Robert Nieves charging hard for the front. Half way through the main Robert would make his move and find himself up into third place with Josh Dunn coming from the back of the field and into fourth. Matthew Smith would end up losing a few positions after getting sideways out of the corner only to hold onto fifth once he got the kart collected, allowing Eric Brockway to take over second. With the checkered flag out It would be Nelson Rosa taking the win with Eric Brockway holding onto second and Robert Nieves closing out the top three in third.
With a great kick off to the inaugural race for the 2012 series for the K1 Speed Santa Clara location it will only grow in popularity from here as drivers all make a run for the podium and a shot at the overall points championship. Come out to our next race on February 19th for round II and see what the Challenge GP race series is all about.