February 2, 2012 – In the hopes of gaining his second Team Canada berth at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, Canadian pilot Parker Thompson traveled to the Musselman Honda Circuit in Tucson, Arizona for the opening round of the Gatorz Challenge of the Americas (COA). Working with tuner Mike Speed aboard a BRK Engines powered Tony Kart, Thompson came home with two pole positions, a heat race win and a main event victory to start his chase for the title.
Fast right off the trailer, Thompson turned some impressive lap times during the opening day of testing and looked as if he was the driver to beat for the win. Working with long-time tuner Mike Speed, the duo showed the pace to run up front and began that with a good qualifying effort on Saturday morning.
Scoring the elusive pole position in a field of more than 30 drivers, Thompson was ready to get down to the wheel-to-wheel action that drives everybody in the sport. With the green flag for the start of the prefinal, Thompson was slow off the line and would be shuffled back a few positions but would work hard to get back towards the front. Showing his true speed and determination to win, Thompson took the point on the final circuit to secure the win and pole position for the main event.
Looking to make up for his prefinal start blunder, Thompson would get through the first corner of the main event safely in the top spot. Turning fast and consistent race laps, the Canadian driver drove away from the field and never looked back.
“This is a great way to start the season,” expressed Thompson. “Two top fives at the Florida Winter Tour and now a win here at Gatorz is great for my confidence and momentum. Hopefully we will be able to repeat tomorrow.”
Sunday would not go as expected for the Thompson / Speed duo. After testing equipment in the morning warm-up sessions, Thompson steered his Tony Kart to another pole position and took the top spot in the heat race. Trying to score the perfect weekend, Thompson took the lead in the main event and began to walk away from the field until lap seventeen.
“I am not sure what happened,” explained Thompson. “I know I hit something on the back straight and not sure if it was a rock or something. It hit the airbox and I began to lose power. I was caught quickly by the second place driver as I had slowed more than one second per lap.”
While running at the front, Thompson and a fellow competitor would make contact on lap 20 and go off the racing surface. Noticing that his airbox had been put in position to hamper the power of his motor, Thompson quickly put it back in place and reentered the racing surface. Gaining as many positions and championship points as possible, Saturday’s victor would cross the stripe in P7.
Thompson will now enjoy a few weekends off at his home in Canada before traveling back to the Sunshine State. As the current point leader in the Rotax Junior class at the Florida Winter Tour, Thompson will look to add to his 2012 podium and win total in the search for multiple championships.
Parker would like to thank his current supporters and sponsors: Tony Kart, RLV, Courtney Concepts, OMP, Sylvan Lake RV, BRK Engines and tuner Mike Speed for all their hard work and continued support.