Matthew Parry cemented second position in the end-of-season Super 1 Junior Rotax standings with another podium performance at PF International, but knows that he had a slim chance to go one better.

The Paul Carr Racing driver headed to the finale leading the unadjusted standings by a single point from friend and rival Ed Brand, but faced a substantially bigger deficit when dropped scores were taken into account, leaving him requiring two equal performances over the weekend’s scoring races.

Practice on Friday and Saturday suggested that there was little to choose between the title contenders, with Brand and Parry both posting sub 46-second laps, but the situation got more interesting still during qualifying when Brand’s transponder failed, leaving him without a time and at the back of his group.

Parry, qualifying in the day’s second group, had a chance to capitalise and start his heats from closer to the front, but then found that the timing of his session – the second run after the Senior class had been out - counted against him, with the track slower than it had been earlier in the day, leaving him a season-worst 13th on the combined timesheets.

Parry shot into an immediate second place in the opening heat, but thereafter struggled to match the pace of the leaders and eventually had to settle for third place behind Lee Napolitano and Shaun Slavin, while Brand recovered to a solid ninth – results that, ironically, if replicated in the finals, would give Parry the title.

Heat two, however, showed Brand’s class as he rose from the back to claim 13 spots on the opening lap alone, and then continue to rise until he reached second place. Parry, too, made early ground, moving into the four, before rising as high as second in a typically frenetic race before being caught and passed by his main championship rival on lap eleven. The pair crossed the line a couple of tenths apart as Napolitano claimed a second heat win.

The results left Parry third on the grid for the Pre-Final but, once again, the pace of the PCR kart was not apparent and he dropped to eighth in the opening laps before mounting a comeback which took him as high as third on the road and fourth overall at the chequered flag. With Brand running ahead of him for most of the race, eventually taking second spot on the road, the championship was over, leaving Parry fighting for pride as well as second overall on the season.

With Brand opting not to start the second final, Parry rolled off from third on the grid and enjoyed a race-long battle with another season-long nemesis, Josh Webster. The pair had swapped places twice on the lap chart in the first four laps, before Parry dropped away to fifth mid-race.

The 15-year old refused to give up, however, and battled back into contention for a podium finish, repassing Jack Dex and Spencer Barrow to renew his tussle with Webster in the closing stages. Again, the two youngsters swapped places repeatedly before Webster got the nod, by just three-tenths, at the chequered flag.

Although Parry’s final points total saw him lead Brand 537-512, the dropped scores rule turned the tables to give Brand the title with a 13-point margin, 476-463, but the Paul Carr driver remained magnanimous in defeat.

“A small opportunity to take the title opened up early in the weekend, but we weren’t quite able to take it,” Parry admitted, “Ed held his nerve and did what he needed to do to with a great drive in the first final. I’d like to congratulate him on achieving the number one spot after carrying the #2 plate all year.

“Now it will be my turn to carry the #2 if I decide to carry on in Rotax Junior next season. At the moment, we are looking at the options for 2010, but have thoroughly enjoyed this year in the class.”

Parry’s season does not end with the Super 1 finale as, having already booked his ticket to the Rotax Challenge World Finals in December, he heads for the Rotax ‘O’ Plate meeting at Shenington this weekend, before leading the Junior Rotax standings going into the final Formula Kart Stars round at Whilton Mill on the first weekend of October.

“After a tense season, I am looking forward to going to the ‘O’ Plate and enjoy the racing without any pressure,” Parry admitted, “Obviously, I am going to Shenington to win, but will be treating it as a fun weekend before we get into the final event of the Formula Kart Stars season.

“Although things are looking good for us in FKS, I don’t feel like not racing at Whilton Mill. I want to go there and end the season in style.”


Article created by Craig Llewellyn.