Robert Soroka and the team at Racing Edge Motorsports made the trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, for the prestigious ROK the RIO kart racing event. Hoping to carry their momentum from an already successful season, the team was prepared for an excellent showing.
Unfortunately, it was not to be.
The issues began early in the week for Soroka and REM. A faulty wiring harness would be the first issue to befall the team, followed by subsequent engine issues during practice sessions. The REM team banded together and got the engine running up to its full potential in time for qualifying, granting Robert the ability to secure a respectable starting position of 16th for the first heat.
A great getaway in heat one saw Robert make up four positions, only to enter the first corner and discover that he had nowhere to go. A brake lockup by another driver further ahead in the pack would trigger a pileup that would collect Robert, seriously damaging his kart’s chassis and ending his chances at a good finish. Focused on the heat races that would follow in the coming days, he persevered and finished the race.
The progressive heat grid structure meant that Robert would start 28th in the second heat race of the weekend. Robert hit his stride, gaining an amazing sixteen positions in under ten laps. His performance showed the competition that he could be a threat to win. Unfortunately, passing that many karts in a hurry is risky. Soroka was sideswiped during an attempt to pass, resulting in a disappointing DNF.
In heat number three, Robert and REM decided to use a different strategy: stay cautious and make it to the finish line. Starting at the back of the pack once again, Robert methodically worked his way through to the top fifteen before dropping a chain with less than two laps to go.
Heat number four provided some respite for Robert and the team. After being forced to start in the back for the third consecutive time, Robert drove a fantastic race. He kept his cool and gained an impressive 17 positions, battling through a red flag restart and a bent axle; the result of tight, competitive kart racing. This reinvigorated Robert, giving him the confidence that he could run fast enough to compete with the top drivers in the final.
With the finals on the horizon, the heats were tallied up and had Robert starting 23rd on the grid. When the green flag dropped, Robert went on attack mode and gained ten or more positions, battling for a top ten position. However, bad luck would strike again as Robert’s brakes eventually failed, sending him headlong into the barriers. He would walk away under his own power, but his race was over.
“It was my first time in Las Vegas and, despite the terrible luck we had throughout the week, I still love it here. The Rio hotel was beautiful and the track was something very special. The racing was amazing and the atmosphere gave it a unique experience. I guess it’s Vegas and I just wasn’t lucky this time.”
With the disappointment of ROK the ROI behind him, Robert is looking forward to his upcoming test in a Formula 4 car with Jay Howard Racing. His first test date is set for December, 2018.