Aluminos fielded three drivers in the S1 Pro Stock Moto category - Tom Dyer, Brad Dunford and Canadian Don McGregor. Dyer and Dunford qualified third and fourth to begin Saturday and fought through the heat races looking for a way to advance. Dyer clocked in the fast lap of heat one while Dunford did so in heat two. Starting the main event second and fourth, Dyer grabbed the lead and fought off early challenges. A sudden impromptu dust storm resulted in challenging track conditions, making it an inconsistent and tricky track to drive. Excelling in these variable conditions, Dyer stretched out to a sizable lead, while teammate Dunford reeled in the second place kart, ultimately assuming the spot. On Lap 13 of the 20-lap event, Dyer slowed on the course with a rare detached fuel line. He was able to assess the situation and reattach it, but only after falling down to the tail of the lead lap, eventually finishing in sixth at the checkered flag. Dunford, still pushing, assumed the lead to keep the Aluminos colors up front. Pressured to the checkered flag, Dunford kept up a consistent pace - posting the fast lap of the race en route to piloting his Aluminos machine for the first SKUSA Pro Tour victory of his career. McGregor put two Aluminos entries into the top-five, placing fifth after improving on each session on an unknown track.
The following day, Dyer and Dunford qualified third and fourth once again but once the heat races began, Dyer took off to the front. Scoring two heat wins, Dyer began the feature from the pole position while Dunford was unable to get started due to an electrical issue. Dyer was focused and showed why he was a two-time winner at the SKUSA SuperNationals - leading all 20 laps to his first victory of the season. Aside from Dyer, McGregor put in a stellar performance of his own. Benefitting from the troubles of others and posting laps within a tenth of Dyer’s times in the second half of the race, McGregor drove to his first Pro Tour podium finish in third.
“Taking the win both days in S1 is a great feat for our crew,” stated Aluminos owner Rob Soares. “I’m so happy for Brad and the effort he has put in working with us has been paying off. Dyer’s performance on Sunday show’s why he is one of the best in the business. And Don’s drive to the podium shows just how far he has come in the few events that we have had the opportunity to work with him. He obviously has the driving talent and we just need to keep helping him to acclimate to the S1 package. This weekend shows how well that process is coming along. We will continue to do our homework as we get ready for the SuperNationals in November.”
Aluminos continued its dominance in the S2 Semi-Pro category thanks to the performance of Colorado’s own Cory Milne and Kyle Hathcox. The two sat in the top-three following qualifying in to begin Saturday’s action. Hathcox set fast time while Milne was third. The two ran 1-2 in the heat races, setting up an all-Aluminos front row with Hathcox on the pole position. The two broke away from the field with Milne taking over the lead before the halfway point. From there, Milne went on to score his first SKUSA Pro Tour victory with Hathcox placing second. Day two put Milne and Hathcox in chase mode as the track conditions changed for qualifying, putting them fourth and 11th in the timed session. Both drove forward in the opening heat, Milne to the win with Hathcox to seventh. Milne went wire-to-wire in the second heat while Hathcox stalled on the starting line, unable to continue. In the feature race, Hathcox was moving forward after starting at the back but a mechanical issue put him back on the sidelines - still leading the Pro Tour standings at the conclusion of the weekend. Milne, however, was untouchable - driving off to lead all 20 laps of the main event to score the victory and position himself in the title hunt after sweeping the weekend feature races. Fellow Aluminos driver Christian Bird recorded his best finish of the season, 15th on Saturday but the Grand Junction driver was involved in an opening lap incident to remove him from the main event on Sunday.
“Our young drivers are really picking up what we have been teaching them over the last few months,” commented Soares. “Cory shined in his home state and that is a great confidence builder for him heading into the final stretch of the season. It was an up-and-down weekend for Kyle, but leaving the weekend as the point leader still is a great positive to build on. Right now he is still the guy everyone in the S2 class is focused on and measuring themselves against. And Christian continues to battle and learn each time out. He had one of those race weekends where things didn't fall into place like we all know they can. He's a talented driver and I know he will catch a few breaks in the very near future.”
The S4 Master Stock Moto contingent for Aluminos stepped up to the plate in Colorado as well. Phil Dunford led the way both days, challenging for a top-five finish each round. On Saturday, Dunford ended up sixth and came back for a seventh-place performance on Sunday. Dunford was followed on Saturday by Colorado’s David Conyers and Jonathan Allen. Both drivers recorded their best finishes of the season, placing seventh and eighth. On Sunday, Dunford was joined in the top-10 by Mike McDonough. The Colorado driver was unable to participate in Saturday’s action, making the short journey to Grand Junction for Sunday’s round for an eighth place run - his best of the season. Conyers and Allen went on to place 11th and 13th.
Soares continued, “These S4 guys are just awesome to work with. They all enjoyed their time in Colorado and put in their best performances of the season. While we haven’t hit the podium yet, all are reaching their own personal goals step by step and eventually, we’ll be able to provide them with even higher goals.”
TaG Master driver Larry Fraser put in a similar performance to his SKUSA SpringNationals results. Battling in the top-three all day Saturday, Fraser locked up the third spot in the main event. After getting shuffled outside the top-five following a second place in qualifying on Sunday, Fraser battled his way through heat two and feature to end up third once again, recording his fourth-straight podium finish on the Pro Tour season. Fraser remains in the championship hunt heading to the finale in Vegas. Arizona driver Peter Workum joined him in the category and recorded his best finish of the season on Saturday (ninth place). Workum was well on his way to improving on that finish on Sunday before he retired just three laps into the main event with a bent rear sprocket after hard contact with one of the curbs.
“Fraser has been very consistent this year,” said Soares. “We are working to find that extra edge to get him on the top of the podium. Peter has been put in a tough position. Trying to make the transition to the G1 category this season, he was forced to race another category. The TaG Master division has proved to be one of the most competitive of the season, and its great to see Workum improve each time out.”
Aluminos Driver Spotlight - Cory Milne
At just 18-years old, Cory Milne put his name in the hat as one of the rising stars in the shifterkart community. Getting his start in karts at just five years old, the Broomfield, Colorado driver made his way up the ranks from Junior 1 level to 80cc Junior shifterkarts. With a number of events at the regional level, Milne made the move into the S3 Stock Moto category and competed at his first SKUSA SuperNationals in 2008 (placing 21st). It was October of 2010 when Milne first contacted Aluminos about trackside support and driver coaching. Following a test session in California with Rob Soares, Fritz Leesmann, Tom Dyer and engine specialist George Tavares, Cory and his father were convinced it was the right choice.
“We sent our GP kart to Rob's shop where he and Fritz went through it and dialed it in for the Buttonwillow track,” reflected Milne. “Once at the track, I spent major time in the seat and a bunch of time working with Tom and Fritz. The one thing that I was really impressed with was the amount of knowledge that these guys had. After each and every session, the computer data was downloaded and compared with other drivers to see where I was and what I needed to do to get faster. Rob would talk with me about the chassis, and then he would make changes. Tom would drag me to the edge of the track and discuss entry, mid and exit of each corner. We went corner to corner dissecting each one until I could get through them properly. George would pull me aside and have me look at the computer data with him and he would explain why I was 1mph slower at the end of the straight. It was a long, long day. I probably put 100 laps in that day, along with questions from Rob, coaching from Tom and data classes with George. I think it was the test session that got us hooked on Aluminos.”
A month later, Milne drove under the Aluminos banner for the first time against a stacked S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto field at the SKUSA SuperNationals XIV. Milne recorded his best finish to date - 10th in the main event. Working with Aluminos this season on the SKUSA Pro Tour, Milne currently sits third in the championship standings thanks to his two victories at the SummerNationals.
“What have I picked up from the team…the question should be what I haven’t picked up from the team,” continued Milne. “These guys are at a different level. I have a dedicated chassis guy, a dedicated tire guy, a dedicated driver coach and one of the best engine tuners in the country. What else could a driver need? These guys have really taken me to a new level. They look at things differently and never quit until they know the kart is as good as it can be. It’s been an incredible learning experience for me. I have gained so much knowledge in such a short time I can't even explain it. These guys are always willing to help and the atmosphere under the tent is always positive, no matter what is going on. It has been great to be under the Aluminos tent and to work with such dedicated guys. They are definitely the top shifter team in the country."
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