M&M Kart Racing's Michele Bumgarner clinched the 2003 Shell Super Kart Series Open title in true championship fashion when she finished first in the class' finale held at the Carmona Circuit Philippines recently.
The winsome 15-year old Brent student began her caper with a win in the 2nd qualifying heat that earned her the pole position in the finals. Focused on avoiding a repeat of her upset loss to Team Cebu-CRG's Matteo Guidicelli in the JICA finals in the Asian Karting Championships held last October, Bumgarner suited up in a more competitive mien.
When the red lights went off, Bumgarner drove like clockwork, traversing the track's sweeping turns, hairpins, straights and chicanes with precision to build up a huge margin over her Cebuano rival. Lap after lap, Bumgarner never backed off to eventually finish the race with a 4 second spread over Guidicelli.
Seasoned karter Allan Uy of Birel-A3 Motorsport salvaged third place. Birel-A3 Motorsport's youthful driver Marlon Stockinger taking 4th and Michele's younger sibling Mark Bumgarner settling for 5th place.
Edgesport's Ivan Carapiet's points from his victory in the KT Light finals allowed him to dislodge erstwhile series leader Blake Go of Team Cebu-CRG from the top of the championship roster and with it take the class title. Go, who opted to forego the finals in view of the opportunity to study abroad, ended up second in the title race.
Carapiet's win, however, did not came not on a silver platter but behind his no-nonsense drive in the heats which mattered most. After crashing out in the 1st qualifying heat, Carapiet started out the 2nd qualifying run dead last. The 16-year-old second generation karter fought gallantly and crawled his way up the field to finish the penultimate heat in third place.
In the finals, Carapiet battled with polesitter Maico Angeles and Intelco-PR Autosport's Daniel Cleak before taking the lead and keeping it all the way to the checkered flag. Cleak rode shotgun with Carapiet in the dying laps to finish a close second with Angeles crossing the finish line third.
M&M Kart Racing's Lee Bumgarner broke free from his chasers midway through the race to finish first with plenty to spare in the Formula Rotax 125 Expert finals. TRS-Smart Addict's JP Tuason, the winner of the Formula Rotax 125 Expert open class series opted to skip the finals and be team manager instead. Tuason along with Swiss expat of Marcel Thenu of Birel-A3 Motorsport earned berths to the Formula Rotax Max Championships slated in Egypt in 2004 by topping the local Formula Rotax 125 open and seniors series'.
AV Rubio of Intelco-PR Autosport meanwhile took second overall in the Formula 125 and first in the Formula Rotax 125 Novice race. Rubio's efforts however failed a tad short of the Novice title which went to Italian saloon car driver cum karter Ricardo Loi.
M&M Kart Racing's Mark Bumgarner completed a family reunion at the podium by topping the Formula Rotax 125 Juniors race with his sister Michele coming in a close second.
Team Cebu-CRG's Paco Rodriguez uplifted the Cebuano cause when he clinched the Cadet 85 title by edging his Manila-based rivals Brandon Angel and Buffy Laurel.