The 59ers bagged the championship in the rain-delayed 3rd Annual HANMI Go-Kart Race held last Saturday at the Mariana Resort Seaside Circuit.
The winning team is composed of driver Masaki Kitami, Larry Castro, and Duke Malakai, and coach Max Castro. They prevailed in the finals against Tan Holdings, Team Century, and MRH Kamikaze. The finals featured the four teams that made the grade in the last of a series of qualifying races, which were halted several times by strong rain. The 59ers and Tan Holdings emerged as the Top 2 finishes in Group 2 semis, booting out Red Bull, which got a bad break in the final qualifier due to mechanical problems. MRH Kamikaze and Team Century were on Group 1 and advanced to the finals against one of the favorites, SPN Babe, which bowed out of competition after having steering wheel problems in the semis.
In the finals, Kitami started things off for the 59ers and completed the five-lap race (one mile per lap) in nearly five minutes to five his team a good lead. Race organizers did not keep track of the time as winners were only decided after all three members completed the course (five laps each).
The 59ers second driver, Larry Castro, was already heading out to the course when MHR Kamikaze’s Yoshiro Kitami entered the transition area to give way to their second rider, Yuta Kitami. Team Century’s Alverick Alvarez and his father Cuki of Tan Holdings made it to the transition almost together with the former overtaking his after despite a slow start.
Alverick had to wait for his car to get fixed before joining Kitami, Cuki, and Yoshiro at the starting line and the long lull did not suit well for the former as he was several seconds behind when the race kicked off before he managed to grab third place midway in the race. Misfortunes continued to hit Team Century, as its second rider Carlos Rivera went off the course and was later disqualified. Dan Sanchez was the team’s third rider. A bad break also caught MRH Kamikaze as its third rider, Faunni Jelulua, did not complete the last lap of the race due to mechanical problems.
With their opponents having a tough time in the finals, the 59ers secured the victory with Malakai making it to the finish line about one lap ahead of Tan Holdings’ Roman Alvarez.
Twenty-nine teams participated in the annual event, which started holding qualifying races since last Monday. Teams were down to 10, plus two wildcard entries. Tan Holdings got one of the wild card bets and went on to finish second behind the 59ers. Trophies and cash prizes were awarded to the 59ers and Tan Holdings, while Team Century and MRH Kamikaze split the cash prize and shared the third place award as they were rewarded with their efforts in the finals.
“We would like to thank all the teams for their patience and support despite a very long race and tough condition. Gratitude also goes to our sponsors and the spectators who came and stayed despite the rain,” said race chair Palik Thompson of Mariana Resort.