Megennis scores Nitro medal with incredible comeback drive
George Megennis showed resolve beyond his young years with a stunning charge from the back of the grid to second place at the seventh round of the NRX Next series at Glen Helen Raceway in California.
The 16-year-old was quick from the word go but faced a setback in the round seven semi-final, as he suffered a puncture that meant he would line up last on the grid in the eight-car final.
But a brilliant comeback drive from Megennis meant his lowly grid slot was quickly forgotten, especially as he’d climbed to fifth only three corners into the last Saturday race.
That became fourth after a well-calculated move on Conner Martell, carefully placing his car on the way into the third hairpin to get a run off the banking and fly past his rival on the exit.
It wasn’t long until Megennis was up into the podium places, easily dispatching Martin Enlund for third place. That became second when Sage Karam spun out on the last lap, giving the New York City native a chance to capitalise and nick second place at the end.
There was high hopes of more silverware on the second day at San Bernadino, as Megennis recovered from a spin caused by a damaged driveshaft in his heat to win the semi-final race on Sunday. Once again he came from the back and again he outpaced Martell in a straight fight, taking the lead after his rival’s last-lap joker lap was complete.
Early signs looked good for a repeat of Megennis’ result from a day earlier in the Sunday final, as he capitalised on a mistake from Enlund to take second place. But that didn’t last long, as he clipped a tractor tyre while pushing hard to keep up with race leader Casper Jansson and broke the front-left corner of his #YellowSquad Lites car.
Despite the disappointing end to the weekend it still marked the end of a successful two week spell for Megennis, scoring a trio of second places while being on course to make it four in a row before his minor misjudgement led to retirement.
Only two rounds remain in the Nitro Rallycross support category series, both taking place at The Firm near Jacksonville in Florida on December 4-5.
Megennis remains fourth in the NRX Next championship standings, 40 behind points leader Jansson. But with 100 points still to play for, anything can happen at the season finale.
George Megennis, Driver
“Oh man, it’s been a tough weekend but a good weekend. I’ve scored three medals in the last nine days – I’m so pumped with this run we’re on!
“I still can’t believe that I got all the way to second place on Saturday given where we started. Having that puncture in the semi leaving us starting last was a tough place to be but we pulled it out of the bag. I had a little bit of good fortune in that race, sure, but it felt good to race past some of those guys. I was especially happy with the move on Martell in that race, being able to line it up on the way in and zip past on the exit.
“Sunday was a really tough way to start but Eric Färén and the rest of the #YellowSquad team worked their butts off getting the car fixed, so a huge thanks to them. Being able to get first place in the next race shows how good a job the team are doing at giving me great equipment to work with.
“Not finishing the second final when we were in a place to get another podium is disappointing of course but I’m still feeling really positive. The last couple of weeks have gone really well thanks to all of the help I’ve gotten from Eric, Kevin, and the whole Hansen family, and I can’t wait to get back on track in Florida next month. Let’s go!”
Kevin Hansen, Team Principal
“This was a weekend of two halves. George did a great job recovering from his puncture in the Saturday semi-final to grab a podium finish. This was a drive he can be really proud of. To get second rather than third involved some good luck, sure. But in the Hansen family we have always believed that you make your own luck, and George did that! He did all the right things in this race and was rewarded for it.
“On the other side George has experienced the most painful part of our sport, how one small mistake can take away a great result. But all of this is a great learinng experience for him; mistakes make you stronger. His pace and consistency is improving all the time and he will continue to get better!”