Talented American driver joins championship team after strong performances in Canada and New Zealand

London, England and St. Louis, Missouri USA (Friday, March 15, 2019) – Cliff Dempsey Racing is poised to continue its long-standing heritage in preparing tomorrow’s racing superstars with a full lineup of impressive drivers for the BRSCC Avon Tyres National FF1600 Championship and the team is pleased to announce its final driver, young American racing standout Spike Kohlbecker of St. Louis, Missouri USA.


On track at Teretonga Race Track in Invercargill, New Zealand.


Cliff Dempsey commented, “We are delighted to have Spike join our team for the 2019 season. He comes with a lot of FF1600 experience and no doubt his recent racing in New Zealand will serve him well. We are excited to have completed this partnership and now we can’t wait to get going. This is going to be a very completive field this year and we’re anxious to see Spike in the mix.”


Celebrating a double podium weekend. Post race interviews in "Kiwi"! 

Kohlbecker continues his 2019 campaign after joining the Motorsport Solutions New Zealand team in a partial season for the New Zealand National FF1600 Championship. Kohlbecker quickly adapted to completely new surroundings with limited track time as is evidenced by his double podium efforts in his first two race weekends. Kohlbecker, age 16, comes off a wildly successful campaign in the 2018 Canadian F1600 Toyo Tires Championship where he finished on the podium in both the Ontario series and the Ontario/Quebec Super Series. “Coming out of my successful rookie Canadian F1600 season as the youngest driver in the field I wanted to really challenge myself in the next step of my racing career and that’s why I went to New Zealand,” Kohlbecker added. “The New Zealand experience will no doubt serve me well as I now focus my attention on what will be a very competitive series in the UK,” Kohlbecker went on to say.


Spike saying one final thanks to his team owner, John Crawford, after the final race at Pukekohe Park Raceway in Pukekohe, New Zealand. After an exciting and successful trip Down Under Spike closed out the season with one more podium finish.


Spike with one of his Motorsport Solutions New Zealand teammates, Zac Stichbury, son of the legendary Kiwi driver Ashley Stichbury.


Kohlbecker will relocate to the UK later this month. “Deciding what to do after New Zealand was not easy for me, not until the partnership with Cliff Dempsey came together. I was fortunate enough to have several offers in various series, but I like the idea of finishing my racing foundation with a full season of FF1600 in a very competitive series. If you look at the drivers and teams that are set for this series it’s going to be tough but I’m not looking for anything easy, I want to be challenged,” added Kohlbecker.

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Cliff Dempsey Racing is a multiple Championship winning team which was set up 29  years ago by ex driver Cliff Dempsey, who raced Minis, GT’s and Formula Ford 1600.  In 2010 Cliff Dempsey relocated his race team from Ireland to the United Kingdom – the home of motorsport and has been very successful in Formula Ford 1600.

For the past ten years, Cliff Dempsey Racing has been very privileged to be the team selected for Jeremy Shaw’s Team USA Scholarship Programme where drivers such as Josef Newgarden, Conor Daly, Connor De Phillippe and Tristan Nunez have had successful wins at the Brands Hatch Formula Ford Festival and the Walter Hayes Trophy. We are also very proud to have been chosen by Brian Graham to run his  Team Canada Scholarship programme for the past eight years.


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Talented American driver joins championship team after strong performance in Canada

Christchurch, NZ and St. Louis, MO (December 18, 2018) – Motorsport Solutions is excited to continue its tradition of preparing tomorrow’s racing champions with a full lineup of impressive drivers in this year’s New Zealand Formula Ford National Championship Series and the team is pleased to confirm that young American racing standout Spike Kohlbecker will be relocating to New Zealand to join the team and continue his impressive debut in open-wheel formula car competition. Kohlbecker will be joining the team for round two of the National Championship at the famed Ruapuna Raceway in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Spike Kolhbecker celebrates another podium finish with a post-race handshake.


“Having the opportunity to further develop a young rising star like Spike Kohlbecker is indeed exciting for us, we have some experience with a number of other drivers from the states that have gone on to careers in racing,” commented John Crawford, team principal of Motorsport Solutions. “Spike has an impressive resume which includes 11 years of kart racing, and an obvious dedication and commitment to his motorsports career anchored by a remarkable run as a factory karting pilot for the US chassis manufacturer, Margay, and a breakout season in Formula 1600 in Canada. I am also thrilled that Spike is fully committed to not only racing with us but working in the shop to advance his understanding of the true mechanics of the car. Spike will surely benefit from the strong competitive tradition of Formula Ford racing in New Zealand,” added Crawford.


Kohlbecker begins his 2019 campaign after a wildly successful run in the 2018 Canadian F1600 Toyo Tires Championship where he finished on the podium in both the Ontario series and the Ontario/Quebec Super Series. “Coming out of my successful rookie Canadian F1600 season as the youngest driver in the field with only 1 day of testing I’m stoked to get back in a car,” Kohlbecker added. “In my first race in Canada I finished on the podium, in race weekend two I put it on the pole, and from there I was in the front battling for wins every race – that’s what I plan to do in New Zealand! I am excited to be launching the next chapter of my racing career with the Motorsport Solutions team and excited to get 2019 under way.”


Spike climbs the top step of the podium to celebrate another win at the legendary Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formerly Mosport).


Kohlbecker will relocate to New Zealand in early January. “I have so many people to thank – none of this would have happened without the amazing support of my racing advisory team, my sponsors and the team of teachers and administrators at Kirkwood High School. I’ll be the first student in my home state of Missouri to take the LAUNCH online school program from another country. I owe a special thanks to Dr. Mike Havener, my school principal, for allowing me to be the first student to test this program from another country.”

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About Autosport New Zealand:

Lead by team principal, John Crawford who started in Formula Ford in the late 70’s, Motorsport Solutions is dedicated to their customer’s success. After a successful career as a driver and then as an engineer running four international race teams both in the UK and USA, John and his wife Trish started the racing school at the famed Ruapana International Raceway in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1990. John would later turn his attention to engineering and car building in what would lead to the development of Motorsport Solutions NZ Ltd.

Spike Focused on Continued Success at Calaboogie


TROIS RIVIERES, QC (August 22, 2018) – American Spike Kohlbecker is enjoying a tremendous rookie season with Exclusive Autosport, and he finished on the podium in the opening race of the tripleheader, taking a strong third. After a valuable data review from the first race, the 15-year-old was ready to fine-tune his approach based on his experience. Once again, he delivered a solid start to slide into a position to run with the lead pack. In the end, he finished sixth, but he felt much better about his command of the track, applying key improvements that were identified in the team debrief.  The Quebec fans were out in force on Sunday for the final race of the weekend, and Spike was ready to move forward again as he was becoming more comfortable with the circuit’s walls, but a mechanical issue sent him to the sidelines early.

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