Race Report: Last Thunder in the Valley

Best of Karting World descend upon Neeses for last chance at Thunder Valley titles

Snapshot - 1
Austin Banker wins the Last Thunder in the Valley

October 12-13, 2019-Neeses, South Carolina

The area around the cotton fields of Neeses rumbled one more time with the sound of hundreds of engines as Thunder Valley fired up for the The Last Thunder in the Valley, the Junior Champion of Champions, and many more action packed races across the Saturday and Sunday of the mid October weekend. Saturday was all sun for drivers and fans as close to 400 entries had already arrived on the first day. Sunday was a different story as heavy clouds rolled in and rain threatened the running of the Last Thunder in the Valley. The running order was shuffled and despite a grim weather report, all mains on the second day were completed and National Champions crowned one more time in Neeses. After two days of competition the entry count swelled to around 700. The support that was on display was very visible from all in attendance for such a marque event. Folks from Texas came, from Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Upstate New York all came to the sandhills of South Carolina to battle with the best kart races from all over the country.

Quick Hits

Day 1

Austin Yarbrough had the best first day with two victories in Pro Stock Medium and Senior Champ. Some names that should sound familiar would be Brad Scruggs who picked up a 6th place finish in Stock Super Heavy 400 with other Big 3 Series competitor Randy Moon coming in 10th. Justin Lamb had to race his way in through the consolation race and finished 19th. Logan Romney also raced his way in for Junior 3 Lite but retired early in the race. It was a good start to the weekend for some Junior racers from Foothills as Kayden Presnell (5th), and Brayson Riddle (9th) finished Top 10 in Junior 1 Lite. Dylan Dove finished 10th and Luke Cooper powered to a 4th place finish as well. Semi Pro Stock Medium had a stretch of Big 3 Series racers finish Top 10. Logan Tucker was 2nd, Colin Mize was 3rd, Wes Suddeth was 4th, Lee Higdon in 5th, and Luke Clements 6th. Bentley Cartee, who has also seen action at Foothills, had a fantastic run and came in 2nd in the Maxxis Kid Kart Race C. Coletrain Palmer also continued the youth movement with a 4th place finish in Junior 2 Lite. Luke Cooper also picked up a Top 10 in a caution wreck filled Junior Sportsman Champ main that ran close to half an hour. Jason Moates was also in the hunt for Senior Champ with a 4th place finish just a half a second off of the race lead.

Day 2

Cole Johnson would double down on the 2nd day as some drivers had trouble in the tech room and Johnson, who had strong runs all day, picked up wins in Pro Stock Heavy and Pro Senior Champ. Kyle Heitz who runs all over the place including the Upstate of South Carolina ran Top 10 with a 7th to start off the mains on the second day in Pro Stock Heavy and Devon Morgan who is normally behind the wheel of a dirt car ran 10th in Pro Stock Heavy as well. Brad Scruggs would  again run 6th for a Top 10 in Stock Super Heavy. One of the biggest successes though of the second day would be Junior 1 Heavy as Kayden Presnell went toe to toe with Connor Morgan but came up just short. However upon technical inspection, Morgan was disqualified and Presnell who had the fastest lap of the race was declared the Junior 1 Heavy National Champion. Luke Cooper had yet another strong run and wound up 4th. Cruz Mattison who had been battling hard through his Junior races would wind up 9th. Colin Mize and Logan Tucker remained up front both posting Top 5s in Semi Pro Stock Heavy. Junior 2 Heavy was the wild race of this day as the race time ran so long only 11 laps out of the original 20 had been completed by the time the timer ran out that had been placed to ensure the best possible chance to finish all events. The weather had caused a shuffle previously mentioned caused the Junior Champions race to be run third in the order. Landon Huffman, who already had a Junior win, struck at the right time and pulled away from Brysen Duncan and Ryan Joyner had run Top 5 in most of the Junior Mains. Huffman would also pass tech and earn the Junior Champions title. For the last Thunder in the Valley it would be the 07 of Austin Banker gaining the edge over Stephen Adams with Yarbrough in 4th. Rain would begin to fall toward the last few laps but the race would finish as planned. Thunder Valley will now fall quiet with a most uncertain future ahead. The Last Thunder in the Valley obviously mounting one last hurrah for the karting world with the support of so many from all over the country for the small town with the thunder.

Overall. . . 

Several drivers had stellar runs both Saturday and Sunday. Ryan Joyner consistently finished or was a threat to finish in the Top 3. Landon Huffman in the 77, your Junior Champion of Champions claimed victories on both days. Then Cole Johnson, who switched back and forth between flat kart and champ kart was the unique dual threat for his classes. Neeses onced again proved that Thunder Valley would establish the best of the best and why they were there.

Check below for the photos from the weekend.

Photo Gallery: The Last Thunder in the Valley Maxxis Championships


The Run Down

Stock Super Heavy 400

  1. 119 Tim O’Connor
  2. 505 Mitch Hendrix
  3. 7 Ryan Heavner

Junior 3 Lite

  1. 15 Ryan Joyner
  2. 16 Lane Kinlaw
  3. 19 Kamren Boyd

Junior 1 Lite

  1. 22 Clay Bellamy
  2. 54 Racyn Hayes
  3. 95 Connor Morgan

Semi Pro Stock Medium

  1. 75 Jared Pike
  2. 421 Logan Tucker
  3. 81 Colin Mize

Maxxis Kid Karts Race A

  1. 5 Camden Harp
  2. 7 Mason Harper
  3. 100X Declan Willis

Maxxis Kid Karts Race B

  1. 96 Lucas Amburn
  2. 18X Coltan Jordan
  3. 42 Wesley Roberson

Maxxis Kid Karts Race C

  1. 01 Carter Pitts
  2. 54 Bentley Cartee
  3. 1 Easton May

Junior 2 Lite

  1. 77 Landon Huffman
  2. 64 Ronnie Dawson
  3. 88 TJ DeCaire

Pro Stock Medium

  1. 40 Austin Yarbrough
  2. 86 Shay Chavous
  3. 119 Tommy Bauter

Junior Sportsman Champ

  1. 048 Chubbs Shockley
  2. 77 Landon Huffman
  3. 24 Chase Weibley

Junior Champ

  1. 77 Blake Cisneros
  2. 36 Ryan Joyner
  3. 18W Autumn Weaver

Senior Champ

  1. 75 Austin Yarbrough
  2. 67 Cole Johnson
  3. 12X Jared Jackson

Pro Stock Heavy

  1. 67 Cole Johnson-Hear from Cole
  2. 96 Daniel Armstrong
  3. 86 Shay Chavous

Stock Super Heavy

  1. 7 Ryan Heavner-Hear from Ryan
  2. 10 Jordan Brown
  3. 92 Ty Bennett

Junior 3 Heavy

  1. 15 Ryan Joyner-Hear from Ryan
  2. 40 Chase Stewart
  3. 771 Blake Cisneros

Junior 2 Heavy

  1. 24 Brayden Donaldson-Hear from Brayden
  2. M5 Blayton Massengill
  3. 43 Jarrett Edwards

Junior 1 Heavy

  1. 48 Kayden Presnell-Hear from Kayden
  2. 54 Racyn Hayes
  3. 14 Trey Mills

Semi Pro Stock Heavy

  1. 600 Carson Haulman
  2. 94 Cody Carlton
  3. 81 Colin Mize

Pro Senior Champ

  1. 67 Cole Johnson
  2. 94 Cody Carlton
  3. 505 Blake Lester

Junior Champion of Champions

  1. 77 Landon Huffman-Hear from Landon
  2. 505 Brysen Duncan-Hear from Brysen
  3. 15 Ryan Joyner-Hear from Ryan

The Last Thunder in the Valley

  1. 07 Austin Banker-Hear from Austin
  2. 92 Stephen Adams
  3. 75 Jared Pike

Leave a Reply