Matthew Parry appeared poised to add the annual Kartmasters title to his already impressive 2009 haul only to fall foul of an uncharacteristically below-par performance when it really mattered.

The Paul Carr Racing driver began the weekend at PF International as he has so many times this season, immediately running on the pace in practice and lapping consistently in the 46secs bracket, before going on to claim the fastest time in his qualifying group and earn pole position for the heats.

The advantage of top spot was enough for Parry to lead from the front in both of the twelve-lap races, and win comfortably against a field arguably as strong as those he faces in Europe, with the leading drivers from both the Formula Kart Stars and Super 1 championships – as well as a handful of international visitors – swelling a 56-kart entry.

The heat wins guaranteed the 15-year old pole position for the Pre-Final, and the form he showed at the recent FKS round at PFI again came to the fore, although Parry made life harder for himself by getting a poor start and dropping to third on the opening lap. Despite chasing season-long rivals Ash Hand and Andy King in the early stages, however, the Paul Carr driver passed both on lap six to claim a lead he would hold to the chequered flag some ten laps later and ensure another pole, this time for the biggest single race of the year.

Experienced enough at PFI to know that getting through the first two corners unscathed is usually the key to a good result, Parry was hoping that he could make a better getaway than in the Pre-Final in order to cement his advantage, but his bid was undone by contact from behind that sent the Kosmic kart down the order on the opening lap.

Recovering quickly from sixth to third, however, Parry appeared to still be on course for success, especially as he closed quickly on the lead pair of Hand and Ollie Varney, but the expected move to the front never came, and the pack slowly began to close the gap.

With Josh Webster homing in, Parry eventually launched a move on Varney, but failed to execute cleanly, allowing Webster to pass both at the second hairpin. Having run off-line as he attempted to defend his place, Parry’s dirty tyres prevented a swift riposte, and allowed Hand and Webster to extend a gap back to third place, while Varney hovered in search of an opening, eventually retaking third on lap 14

Varney’s move also appeared to strike a blow to Parry’s resolve and he quickly lost further places, dropping to tenth in the space of two laps. Despite his prospects of taking the prestigious GP plates being dashed, however, the youngster raised his game in the final laps, only for a frenetic scrap with Fraser O’Brien to end up in the barriers after a last lap move resulted in contact in the Mike Wilson complex.

“I don’t really know what happened today,” a disappointed Parry admitted afterwards, “I could have been forgiven for thinking that the race was mine to lose – and I certainly did a good job of doing exactly that!

“I think there are a lot of valuable lessons that I need to take from this weekend. Kart racing is so competitive – and especially in the Junior Rotax class – that nothing should be taken for granted. Perhaps I became a little complacent after my success earlier in the meeting, and disillusioned when things didn’t go my way in the Final. I simply can’t allow that to happen again.

“Similarly, I need to recognise that there are a lot of things that contribute to success, and my preparation off the track could have been better, especially as it was such a long day. Had I focused more on that, perhaps I would have had better energy and concentration in the race – and perhaps the result would have been different.

“There are still positives to take away from Kartmasters, however, as we were right at the front in every other session and won all three of the races before the Final, so our pace is still there. I just need to go away and look at what went wrong, talk with the team and come back fighting next time. I am sure that we will be back on form for the Formula Kart Stars event in Genk.”


Article created by Craig Llewellyn.