Rising talent Matthew Parry enjoyed an encouraging weekend at Shenington as he secured third place overall in the BRDC Stars of Tomorrow MiniMax class.

The Bury St Edmunds youngster had suffered some ill luck in previous rounds, but was right back on form as the season drew to a close with a double-header event at the Midlands track, setting himself up for both a winter of testing and an assault on whichever category he decides to graduate to in 2009.

The Shenington weekend did not get off to the most auspicious start as wet weather dominated Friday testing, only for the sun to return for the two days of competition and render useless any data that had been collected.

The change of conditions appeared to hamper the Ultimate Motorsport team more than most, as none of its drivers produced their best form on Saturday. Although he managed finishes of second and fourth during his three heat outings, Parry was only able to finish eighth in the final, dropping valuable points in the battle for third overall to main rival Danny Harwood in the process.

The disappointment – highlighted by one of Parry’s team-mates failing to qualify for the ‘A’ Final on what was his home track – prompted team manager Piers Sexton to give his troops an evening ‘pep talk’ while the Ultimate mechanics works on altering the karts’ set-up for Sunday’s action.

Whatever was said and done before everyone went home that night appeared to work, as all three drivers produced better results on the final day. Inspired by seeing senior team-mate Macaulay Walsh head to his first win in the KF3 class, Parry responded in kind by taking a brace of heat wins, sandwiching another example of his overtaking ability as he rose from 20th to third in his other race.

The combination of results – all more in keeping with the rest of his campaign - was enough to give the 14-year old pole position for the last final of the Stars season but, having fended his rival off to claim his success – sometimes by a matter of hundredths - in the heats, he was to line-up with Harwood alongside him on the front row.

The pair held station at the start and, working intelligently together, managed to pull away from the chasing pack. With the MiniMax title having effectively been decided on Saturday – and champion-elect Callum Bowyer needing only to start the final to take the trophy – the main focus of attention fell on the Parry-Harwood battle, not only to see who would come out on top, but also to see if one or both could overhaul a demoralised Jake Dalton for second overall.

The lead pair worked in tandem for the opening eight laps, at which point Harwood ducked under Parry at the Stratford hairpin to claim the advantage. Again, despite their battle intensifying towards the chequered flag, the two karts continued to pull away, but Harwood’s defence proved resistant to Parry’s attacks, and they crossed the line just 0.16secs apart – but 1.2secs clear of third place.

Having shared their congratulations on the slowing down lap, Parry and Harwood could be found trying to work out whether they had done enough to improve their championship positions with Dalton finishing a lowly 21st. When the calculations had been concluded, however, Parry found that he remained third overall, albeit just six points shy of the runners-up spot.

The youngster’s achievement was put into perspective by the fact that, had it not been for the two exclusions he had suffered during the season, he could have been challenging Bowyer for the title, but he remained delighted with the way his Stars campaign had finished.

“I have to be happy with the way the final round has gone, with Sunday’s results especially encouraging,” Parry admitted, “Of course, there are always ‘what ifs’, but that’s racing, and I am looking positively at third in the championship.

“After some of the things that have set us back this year, the team has regrouped and pulled together well, and this is a good way to end the season. I have to say a big thank-you to everyone at Ultimate, as well as to everyone who has supported me this year, and I look forward to doing that little bit better next time.”

Parry’s tally of seven heat wins during the Stars campaign was second only to champion Bowyer’s eight, but the Ultimate driver suffered from not winning a final. However, his performances, notably those where he came through from low grid slots to top five finishes, caught the eye, especially as the MiniMax class remained among the most well-supported and competitive to the final round.

Having opted to miss the final round of the Super1 Series, Parry will now concentrate on his options for 2009, with evaluation outings planned in both Junior Max and KF3 over the coming weeks.


Article created by Craig Llewellyn.