Teenage kart racing star Matthew Parry defied the misfortune that has plagued his last couple of outings to claim a brace of podium finishes at the BRDC Stars of Tomorrow’s overseas round at Genk in Belgium.

The Bury St Edmunds youngster travelled to the penultimate round – a double-header that could keep him in contention for a leading position at the end of the season – with some trepidation as his regular engine remained ‘missing’ and the subject of a police investigation, but buoyed by the efforts of team principal Kela Walsh to reform the Ultimate Motorsports outfit following recent upheaval, with new team manager Piers Sexton moving into his second meeting at the helm, and JM Racing on hand with a range of replacement engines for him to evaluate.

Despite a mixed forecast for the weekend, the two test days on Thursday and Friday remained largely dry and allowed Parry to get to grips with the internationally renowned ‘power’ circuit, although he continued to lack the experience of some Minimax class rivals who had been able to race at the circuit two weeks previously.

Saturday continued dry and, despite fears about his still less than perfect set-up, Parry performed well in his three heats, claiming two eighth-place finishes and a third, including a now familiar climb through the field from 21st on the grid.

To the team’s disappointment, the combination of results led only to eighth on the grid for the final, leaving the Ultimate youngster on the less advantageous side of the grid for the start. In true grit style, however, he moved quickly into third place and, having battled Ashley Hand and the ever-improving Louise Richardson throughout, eventually moved clear to claim a welcome return to the podium.

Sunday’s forecast was for a complete change in the weather, and proved correct with, at times, torrential rain sweeping over the Belgian venue. Undaunted, Parry set tongues wagging when he topped morning practice by more than half a second in the worst of the conditions, and then parlayed that performance into another three solid heat results.

His now familiar overtaking ability saw the Ultimate-run TonyKart rise from 20th to second and 16th to fourth, with fastest lap, in tricky conditions – despite the latter recovery being delayed by a moment over the kerbs and wet grass that demoted Parry to the rear of the field.

With the track drying rapidly in the run-up to his third heat, the teenager joined his rivals in a frantic change of tyres but, with staying on the dry line crucial, he slipped to a disappointing sixth place finish.

Ironically, however, that result ensured that he would start third on the grid for the final, rather than the supposedly less beneficial second, and Parry made the most of his position to move into an early lead. With the field snapping at his heels, however, he was unable to hold on and was quickly swallowed up by rivals Dalton, Bowyer and Richardson to run fourth with Jordan King also looking for a way past.

A mistake midway through the race saw Richardson take to the grass and allow Parry to close on second-placed Bowyer, whom he harried until a minor slip late on relieved the pressure and confined the Ultimate kart to third spot. A second podium result in as many days, however, was an excellent result given the trials and tribulations that had plagued Parry through the previous month.

“Things haven’t been easy in the past few weeks,” he confirmed, “but this weekend has gone a long way to making up for that. I honestly didn’t expect to come to Genk and do this well, but things have turned out well and I’ll take that.

“I’d like to thank Kela and the team for all they have done to get me back to a position where I can challenge for the podium, and I look forward to getting other opportunities to repay them for all their hard work.”

The podium double sets Parry up nicely for his next engagement, at the prestigious ‘O’ Plate meeting at Clay Pigeon in Dorset. The circuit provided the youngster with an early highlight as he dominated the pre-season ‘shakedown’ meeting, as well as being the scene of an equally successful, if contentious, Super One opener.


Article created by Craig Llewellyn.