Rotax crowned the Champions at the 2023 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals

Published on Saturday, December 9, 2023

Rotax crowned the Champions at the 2023 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals

And once again, another Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals comes to a close here, amidst the sands of the Persian Gulf in 2023, with the intense competition front and centre, with the drivers that had made it to Finals Day being the stars of the show and treating everyone to great racing.

384 drivers from 62 nations had accepted the invitation to be a part of the 23rd RMC Grand Finals, battling all week long to become winners. The weather has been sunny and warm every day we have been here in Bahrain, which tested everyone, including those competing in today’s Finals at BIKC.

The day started with Qualifying Practice for the first-ever E10 E-Kart Cup, before the Warm-Up sessions for all classes took place, followed by the final races for E20 Senior, E20 Senior Masters, E10 and Micro MAX before the lunch break, where we also made history with two new Champions, who were assisted by the power of simplicity.

The action continued into the late afternoon with captivating racing in all the other classes - 125 Mini MAX, 125 Junior MAX, 125 Senior MAX, 125 MAX DD2 Masters, with the 125 MAX DD2 closing out an intense and emotional day. The Sundowner Party and the Tyre Changing Contest Finals got everyone excited and helped them to look forward to the Podium Stage, where our 2023 RMC Grand Finals Champions were crowned.

We would again like to congratulate our winners here in Bahrain and are excited to see our Rotax family again, when we make our return to Sarno in Italy for the RMCGF 2024!


But who were our winners this year in Bahrain? Let’s take a look.


E20 Senior:

Germany would take their first RMCGF crown since 2018, as Mats Johan Overhoff (#601) took a commanding victory after 10 laps of the 1.414km circuit, taking complete control of the race to lead every single lap to win by 2.222 seconds. The UK’s Spencer Brougham (#602) in his début appearance would be a gallant runner-up, with the pair showing great sportsmanship in Parc Ferme after the finish, having started fourth on the grid after a difficult Pre-Final yesterday.

A dramatic last-lap incident between Switzerland’s Christopher Holst (#604) and Denmark’s Marius Lyager Rose (#607 at turn nine gave Denmark and Knud Nielsen (#606) the final step on the podium, 2.033 seconds adrift from Brougham. Thailand’s Siri Kongsiri (#613) would be the biggest mover up the order, gaining nine places to finish in a well-deserved fourth place.

Poland’s Piotr Borowczyk (#608) was in contention in taking a podium finish, but would have to settle for fifth place ahead of Switzerland’s Phillip Loacker (#605), who at one point was running as high as third. Hungary’s Dominik Deak (#615) crossed the line in seventh, ahead of Canada’s Yuchen Qiu (#610), Denmark’s Sebastian Bach (#603), and the UK’s Cameron Crockett (#612) completing the top ten.


E20 Senior Masters:

It was a delight for Brazil, as a clearly emotional Joao Goncalves (#705) would be the only unbeaten driver throughout the week to win the inaugural E20 Senior Masters Grand Final here in Bahrain by a margin of only 0.565 seconds in front of Germany’s Andreas Matis (#707. It would also see the South American nation take their first win in RMC Grand Finals history. Cyprus’ Igor Mukhin (#709) would round out the podium, after an initial exchange with Switzerland’s Gilberto Loacker (#703), with the latter finishing in fourth.

Portugal’s Joao Dias (#708) rounded out the top five, 0.284 seconds ahead of countryman Manuel Martins (#704), with Hector Ramirez (#702) from Chile taking seventh place at the finish, with Yi-Hsien Chu (#706 – TWN) and Chile’s Jose Luis Hurtado (#701) rounding out the nine-strong order.


E10 E-Kart Cup:

Finland’s Veeti Salmi became the first-ever E10 E-Kart Cup winner from 12 drivers by 0.572 seconds, all running identical powertrains and BirelART chassis. The #805, who started in fifth place, was able to take full advantage of a mistake under breaking from Serbia’s David Matlak (#807) at turn 12 on the final lap to secure the victory. Ireland’s Ben Mccloughry (#812) was very much in the mix for taking the win, but the Irishman also locked up under breaking at turn 12 on lap 3, dropping him three seconds further back, but would close up the distance to be within 1.208 seconds of Salmi at the finish.

Kyrgyzstan’s Prokhor Solukovtsev (#808) would start from the back of the grid, having been excluded for being underweight in qualifying to move all the way up to fourth place at the chequered flag, 0.815 seconds in front of Leopold Juch (#809 – CHE). The USA’s Gage Korn (#811) would start on the outside of the front row but would have to battle all the way through the race to end up in sixth place. Poland’s Aleksandr Rogowski (#802) completed the top seven, 0.406 seconds ahead of Bahrain’s Ahmed Alkhalifa (#804) at the chequered flag. Thailand’s Kamolphu Anuchatkul (#801) would start from 11th place and would move up two places to take ninth, as Natan Rybczynski (#803) completed the top ten.


Micro MAX:

The UK’s Jenson Chalk was crowned as this year’s RMCGF Champion in Micro MAX after 12 laps, ahead of Denmark’s Andreas Kjellerup (#19, who made his way up from 7th to take second, 0.073 seconds in front of the UK’s Edward Haynes (#4) who completed the podium.

Lucas Palacio from the USA (#12) was the initial winner but was excluded post-race for technical non-compliance, with Oliver Spencer (#9) second, but the Team UK driver would end up ninth after being found to exceed track limits.

Ecuador’s Julian Rivera (#14) would finish just over 1 second ahead of Daniil Nikulshin (#26 – KGZ) in the battle for fourth, with the latter making up eight places from 13th, whilst Croatia’s Vito Coza (#8) gained a total of 16 places from 23rd on the grid to finish sixth, ahead of Lithuania’s Jokubas Vaskelis (#18), who started down in 15th position. Portugal’s Afonso Lopes (#16) would begin the race from outside of the top 20 but surged his way forward during the race to take eighth, in front of Spencer and Thailand’s Posh Kongchol (#32).

Mini MAX:

Team UK would another RMCGF win to their current total, as the #135 of Cole Denholm initially crossed the line first, but it would be Rory Armstrong (#138) that would win the closest Grand Final this year by just 0.048 seconds, after Denholm was deemed to have gained an advantage out on track and received a five-second post-race penalty, ending up sixth. Armstrong would be closely followed by Estonia’s Nikita Ljubimov (#133) and Jacob Ashcroft (#122), with the trio being separated by a mere 58 thousands of a second after 14 laps.

The #130 of Albert Friend (GBR) started on the outside of the front row but would end up fourth, having led the race in the early stages with the Czech Republic’s Zdenek Babicek (#154) over a second behind him in fifth. Behind Denholm, Malaysia’s Travis Teoh (#169) was promoted to seventh, after the UK’s Charlie Woolfit (#119) was excluded for having an insecure exhaust post-race, and Daniil Voinov (#158 – KGZ) was given a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits and gaining an advantage. Rounding out the top ten would be Chile’s Vicente Garcia Briceno (#121), Lithuania’s Majus Mazinas (#151), and Belgium’s Alexander Van Meeuwen (#137).


Junior MAX:

Timo Jungling (#221 – GBR) would put Team UK on the top step of the podium once again, winning an exciting 18-lap race by 0.486 seconds ahead of Belgium’s Beau Lowette (#237), as pole-sitter Louis Comyn (#264) would be in contention for Team France, but would have to settle for the final step of the podium this year. Luca Houghton (#206) would keep the Bahrain nation holding their breath, as he would also be part of multiple drivers that did have a chance to secure the win, but took fourth, before being demoted to ninth after having been found to force another driver off track.

Finland’s Santeri Laitonen (#213) had one of the best comebacks of the 2023 RMC Grand Finals, having begun his race all the way down in 27th position on the rolling lap to end up taking fourth. Along with Laitonen, Ecuador’s Derek King (#212) would also move up the order 20 places to take fifth, ahead of the UK’s Thomas Bearman (#238), who started in 14th place. Latvia’s Toms Strele was one of many drivers that also were able to take advantage of other drivers’ misfortunes, as the #253 went past 16 drivers to take seventh, ahead of Japan’s Lu You-De (#204), Houghton, and Australia’s Max Walton (#242), who completed the top ten.


Senior MAX:

After a very exciting 21-lap race here in Bahrain, Serbia would take its first win at the RMC Grand Finals, as Andrej Petrovic (#329) would be declared the winner after a captivated and exciting race between 35 drivers around the 1.414km circuit here at BIKC, having started down in 23rd.

Initial race winner Kaï Rillaerts (#357 – BEL), Kai Hunter (#334 – GBR), and Ethan Jeff-Hall (#307 – GBR) would all be demoted following five-second penalties (front bumper – Rillaerts, gaining an advantage – Hunter and Jeff Hall), put them ninth, tenth and 11th respectively.

Hungary’s Aron Krepscik (#351) would take the runner-up step on the podium, ahead of the UK’s Macauley Bishop (#326) who took third, and his second successive podium at the RMC Grand Finals, having placed second in Micro MAX back at Sarno in 2019. The Netherlands’ Dion Van Werven (#305) made up an incredible 16 places to take fourth, 0.058 seconds behind Bishop, with France’s Adam Rahali (#359) completing the top five.

Sweden’s Simon Ohlin (#325) would finish sixth, in front of pole sitter Sean Butcher (#303 – GBR), with the UAE’s Theo Kekati (#367) making up ten places to finish in eighth ahead of Rillaerts and Hunter.



Estonia would have its first RMCGF MAX DD2 Champion in the form of Ragnar Veerus (#441), after the Czech Republic’s Jakub Bezel (#453) crossed the finish line initially as the winner, but was later found to have jumped the start. Veerus would finish 4.678 seconds ahead of Austria’s Philipp Moitzi (#401), who would also set the fastest lap of the race with a 52.600, with Bezel rounding out the podium. Denmark’s Rasmus Vendelbo (#460) was fourth, having moved up from sixth place at the start. Pole sitter Leonardo Baccaglini (#420) would not hold on to the lead for very long, as Bezel attacked the Italian early to take the lead over the first few corners. The #420 would end up fifth over the line but would receive a five-second penalty post-race, demoting him to ninth.

Martijn Van Leeuwen (#467) moved up 10 places to take sixth place at the chequered flag, ahead of Slovenia’s Xen De Ruwe (#409), who would challenge for the lead on lap three but would fall further down the order as the race continued. Gianluca Savaglio (#452 – Canada) would finish in eighth, ahead of Baccaglini, with Denmark’s Victor Frost Bay (#413) rounding out the top ten.


DD2 MAX Masters:

Canada’s Ben Cooper (#526) is now one RMCGF win away from equalling Cristano Morgado’s record of five, after New Zealand’s Mathew Kinsman won on the road, but would end up 3.027 seconds behind Cooper, following on from a post-race front bumper penalty, with both drivers equally deserving to win this year in DD2 MAX Masters. Argentina’s Matias Rodriguez (#527) would climb up the order by 14 positions to round out the podium. Italy’s Frederico Rossi (#503) secured fourth, whilst Slovakia’s Martin Konopka (#502) completed the top five.

Derek Wang (#504), would move up the order as some of the other contenders would end up retiring, including Martynas Tankevicius (#512 – LTU), Nicolas Picot (#513 – FRA) and Denis Thum (#508), with the American rounding out the top six. Chile’s Rodrigo Eckholt started fourth, and would be battling at the front, but would finish in seventh, ahead of Spain’s Javier Campo (#507), who would move up 11 places to end up eighth, as France’s Maxime Gravouille (#515) and South Africa’s Kyle Lawrence (#501) would complete the top ten.

It would also see Christophe Adams (#505) from Team Netherlands compete in his 16th and final RMC Grand Final as a driver, rounding out the top thirteen at the finish. He is still the driver who has qualified for the most RMCGFs in the event’s history since the first running back in 2000 at Puerto Rico.


Nations Cup results:

1. Team UK

2. Team Canada

3. Team Belgium


Team Video Contest Winners: Team USA

Some facts:

Over the course of all the races during this year’s RMCGF that all 384 drivers covered a total amount of 16,174 laps, which equated to a total distance of 22,870 kilometres.


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Author: Bas Kaligis

Categories: Rotax

Tags: Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals, Derek Wang, RMCGF, Micro MAX, 125 Mini MAX, 125 Junior MAX, 125 MAX DD2 Masters, 125 MAX DD2, Xen De Ruwe, Christophe Adams, Sean Butcher, Nicolas Picot, Mathew Kinsman, Max Walton, Matias Rodriguez, RMC Grand Finals, Macauley Bishop, Ethan Jeff-Hall, Edward Haynes, Jacob Ashcroft, Martijn Van Leeuwen, Zdenek Babicek, Leonardo Baccaglini, Theo Kekati, Jenson Chalk, Denis Thum, Andrej Petrovic, Albert Friend, David Matlak, Nikita Ljubimov, Luca Houghton, Kaï Rillaerts, Gianluca Savaglio, Philipp Moitzi, Gage Korn, Aron Krepscik, Toms Strele, Mats Johan Overhoff, Rodrigo Eckholt, 125 Senior MAX, Martynas Tankevicius, E20 Senior, Rory Armstrong, Jose Luis Hurtado, Majus Mazinas, Christopher Holst, Adam Rahali, Beau Lowette, Dion van Werven, Travis Teoh, Martin Konopka, Rasmus Vendelbo, Javier Campo, Natan Rybczynski, Julian Rivera, Cole Denholm, Thomas Bearman, E20 Senior Masters, Andreas Matis, Hector Ramirez, Igor Mukhin, Timo Jungling, Maxime Gravouille, Victor Frost Bay, Spencer Brougham, Gilberto Loacker, Knud Nielsen, Lucas Palacio, Ben Cooper, E10 E-Kart Cup, Louis Comyn, Marius Lyager Rose, Phillip Loacker, Sebastian Bach, Dominik Deak, Joao Goncalves, Oliver Spencer, Afonso Lopes, Vito Coza, Yuchen Qiu, Joao Dias, Kamolphu Anuchatkul, Daniil Voinov, Piotr Borowczyk, Manuel Martins, Alexander Van Meeuwen, Lu You-De, Simon Ohlin, Frederico Rossi, Jokubas Vaskelis, Cameron Crockett, Yi-Hsien Chu, Ben Mccloughry, Prokhor Solukovtsev, Ahmed Alkhalifa, Andreas Kjellerup, Posh Kongchol, Vicente Garcia Briceno, Santeri Laitonen, Siri Kongsiri, Veeti Salmi, Leopold Juch, Aleksandr Rogowski, Daniil Nikulshin, Charlie Woolfit, Derek King, Ragnar Veerus (#441), after the Czech Republic’s Jakub Bezel, Cristano Morgado, Kyle Lawrence