The 2014 Season started with a full day of rain on practice day, washing the racing surface clean of rubber. The 2014 field includes Marcos Ramirez, sporting the champion's #1. Richard Hilleman and Jon Horsley were returning, and Kenyon Kluge and Matt Cresci, both winners from other series were added to the grid.
Rich was piloting the brand new ultralight RS3, with big improvements in weight distribution and handling overall, but it didn't start well. The #51 missed the final corner in the first lap and found himself in the tires. Kenyon, Jon and Matt managed to complete qualifying, filling out the grid in front of Rich. Marcos was off the first week, leaving the field at four karts.
The starting position didn't seem to matter to Rich, taking the lead on the fifth lap of the first heat and walking off to a six second victory in its maiden race. Jon, Matt and Kenyon all had good first races, but couldn't seem to cope with the RS3.
The second heat showed the price of development. The RS3's water pump failed on the grid, and Matt managed to get by the RS3 to win the heat.
This set up the first feature of the year, with Rich on the pole, and Matt, Jon and Kenyon filling out the grid. Rich took the lead on the first corner, and never looked back. In spite of another water pump failure, Rich was able to maintain the lead and bring the RS3 its first feature win and Rich's record setting 5th career feature win.
It is a good start, but reliability and consistency make champions. This title will still have to go through the absent 2013 champion, and Marcos will be back in April.