Paul Carr Racing’s Matthew Parry clinched the Formula Kart Stars Junior Rotax title with two podium visits in the final double-header event at Whilton Mill, earning the right to carry the prestigious #1 plate next season.

Indeed, such has been the 15-year old’s consistency in 2009, he merely had to sign on in order to confirm the crown at Whilton Mill, but insisted on racing and was rewarded with victory in Saturday’s eighth round and second place in Sunday’s finale.

“Despite knowing the risks that an exclusion would have meant to my title hopes, I entered this championship to race and I wanted to race to the end,” Parry explained, “I talked it over with my dad and the team, but I thought that being out there on track was the respectful thing to do for Formula Kart Stars and everyone involved in the championship.”

A dry weekend began with a day of testing on Friday that saw the usual suspects, including Parry, setting the pace around the bumpy circuit, regarded as one of the toughest on the Stars schedule. The same pattern continued into qualifying early on Saturday where, despite high winds blowing dust onto the circuit, the Paul Carr Racing kart posted the second fastest time to guarantee a front row start in the Pre-Final later in the day.

Crossing the line third after dropping a place on the opening lap, Parry was soon back into second spot but polesitter Lee Napolitano had enough of a lead to hold on to top spot despite the Bury St Edmunds youngster homing in with every lap. Parry eventually took the flag just over a second adrift after setting the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate tour, but the race had set the stage for the day’s main event.

Again, the #2 kart lost ground off the line, dropping to fourth as Napolitano again pulled out a lead but, just as quickly, Parry was back into second, having despatched both Ashley Hand and Andy King. From there, he produced a string of laps consistently quicker than the leader, edging visibly closer every time around, until, eventually, he was close enough to threaten. With his trademark incisiveness, Parry wasted little time in claiming top spot, diving up the inside of Napolitano through Whilton’s Boot section on lap 17 of 21, and opening out enough of a gap to ensure his fourth Stars victory of the season.

With Sunday’s final round featuring just qualifying and feature event, Parry opened in style, claiming pole position and, with it, confirmation that would take the title even if he was to be excluded from the results. As a reward, he was allowed to carry the coveted #1 plate for the remainder of the weekend – a feat rarely seen in previous seasons.

Again, despite the title being wrapped up, Parry was determined to see out the campaign on track and appeared on course for a dream result with which to end.

Making a good getaway from the pole, he opened out a lead on his pursuers and remained in the lead through the first 17 laps. However, just as he had with Napolitano on Saturday, Parry was being closed down, with 2008 team-mate Hand homing in on the back of the PCR machine. The lead first changed hands as Hand made a move through Christmas corner, only for Parry to respond immediately. Hand, however, was not to be denied and retook a lead he would hold until lap 27 of 28, when Parry again made a move at Christmas.

Throughout their duel, the racing had been clean and fair, and so it remained to the close, where Hand got the line and run out of Boot for the final time. Even then, however, the two protagonists refused to back down, briefly going wheel-to-wheel in the sprint to the chequered flag, where Hand got the nod by just 0.03secs.

“I really wanted to finish the season on a winning note and, while I was able to do that on Saturday, Ash deserved the victory today,” Parry admitted, “I was determined to race here this weekend, and was glad to justify that decision with my fourth Stars win of the year and the chance to carry the #1 plate today. Knowing that the title was safe, I was able to race without pressure, and it was great to go wheel-to-wheel at the front of the field once more.

“We’ve had a great year with Paul Carr Racing, and I have to say a big thank-you to the team for giving me a winning kart. Second overall in Super 1 and now champion in Formula Kart Stars…. what more can I say? I just hope that this form continues into the Rotax Challenge World Finals in December.”

After a hectic season, Parry has just a test on the Maranello kart mandatory in the World Finals scheduled during the weeks off before the trip to Sharm El-Sheikh.


Article created by Craig Llewellyn.