HPD Blog

Monday, November 12, 2012

I Race a Honda: Carter Williams

I started racing karts eight years ago and won my first race on the second day of racing. Since then, I’ve won four state championships and last year won the TaG Junior class in the SKUSA California ProKart Challenge, which I backed up by winning again in 2012. I also won a pair of IKF Grand National titles this summer.

This year, I added SKUSA Junior Stock Moto, or S5, to my schedule. My S5 Tony Kart is powered by a restricted 125cc Honda engine. It’s essentially the same engine the older drivers use, but with restrictors on the intake and exhaust to reduce power. I have done well in that class, winning the California ProKart Challenge for 2012. Now, I’m looking forward to attempting to win a national championship in both S5 and TaG Junior at the SKUSA Supernats in Las Vegas in November.

I think we’ve got a really good shot at winning. We’re third in both championships, and we keep learning more and more every race. I race with the Phil Giebler Racing team, and they’ve been a big help. Not only is Phil an excellent kart racer, but he has a lot of open-wheel car experience as well, and that’s what I’m aiming for. Formula 1 is my ultimate goal.

I’m happy we added the S5 class this year, although my father made me promise that my performance in TaG Junior wouldn’t suffer if we did. My first Honda-powered kart was an 80cc shifter. I loved it and it was a really fun class. When they shut it down, I was disappointed.

When we moved to SKUSA and saw the S5 class, we worked for about a year to try and get an effort together and it’s been really fun. And the competition is only getting better. The drivers in S5 are really good. That’s pushing me to up my game and improve.

While I can’t let my effort in one class of karting take away from another, I also can’t let karting take away from the rest of my life. It’s been tough to be a good racer, play water polo and maintain a 4.0 GPA but, at 14, school has to be my main focus. That’s meant a lot of late nights and a lot of hard work. I’ve been studying on the road and doing homework in whatever time I can find.

Fortunately, we don’t have to do much with the S5 kart. The Honda engine has been so reliable that we haven’t even been able to take advantage of everything that HPD and the Honda Racing Line have to offer.

Perhaps we’ll make use of it more in the off-season. But I hope my biggest improvement will be attaching a No. 1 plate to my karts for the National races!

Look for Carter Williams and the rest of the Honda-powered racers at the SKUSA Supernats in Las Vegas November 14 - 18, 2012 and at California and national SKUSA events in 2013.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Koykka Wins Tight Eastern Battle, Ford Dominates West Coast

The tight battle for the F1600 Formula F Championship Series came down to the final race of the season, as Matias Koykka edged Brandon Newey for the title by a scant seven points after the pair traded wins at Watkins Glen to wrap up the 12-race championship fight.

One week earlier, Connor Ford concluded his dominating run to the Corsa Car Care Pacific Formula F Super Series by sweeping the doubleheader series finale weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The victories gave Ford nine wins out of 12 races in his PR1 Motorsports Mygale Honda.

At the October 19-21 Watkins Glen weekend, Koykka brought a 15-point lead into the finale and helped his cause by winning Saturday’s race in his Cape Motorsports Spectrum Honda after a race-long battle with Newey’s Bryan Herta Autosport Mygale Honda.

On Sunday, Newey had to win to maintain his championship hopes and did so, scoring his fourth victory of the year over Adrian Starrantino, making a strong series debut, and veteran open-wheel racer Neil Alberico. But Koykka came home fourth, and that was enough for the 19-year-old Finn to score his first North American racing title.

Koykka also posted four race wins, but a trio of second-place finishes – against just two for Newey – made the difference in the final points total.

“It was a team effort all the way,” Koykka said. “It was an eventful season, full of ups and downs, but the team made a fantastic job to make us fast all season long. I hope to get to more of what I enjoy [racing] next season. But for now, we’ll take a moment to enjoy, then head straight to next year’s preparations.”

In Las Vegas, Ford came to the final race weekend of 2012 having already clinched his second professional racing title, adding the Formula F crown to the Formula F2000 championship he won in 2011.

Making his Formula F racing debut, 16-year-old Cooper Tire Prototype Lights Champion and Team USA scholarship winner Tristan Nunez qualified second in Saturday’s opening race and battled with Ford throughout the 16-lap contest. After trading the lead with Nunez in the early laps, Ford edged out to a 2.5-second margin he held to the finish.

On Sunday, it was a repeat performance as once again, the duo traded the lead in the early laps before Ford once more edged away to a narrow victory.

Both Ford and Koykka plan to move up racing’s ladder in 2013, as do their rivals, Newey and Nunez. All four are drivers to watch in the future.

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