LIFE'S A BEACH FOR MATT IN FLORIDA


Matt Parry’s first international outing of 2010 failed to yield the result he craved, but only after the young Briton had again underlined his front-running potential.

Making his first appearance on American soil after his Formula Kart Stars title triumph earned him an invitation to the second round of Florida’s Winter Tour in Palm Beach, Parry belied his lack of experience and familiarity with the kart which was supplied to him to immediately run at the front of the pack.

Despite arriving after most of his rivals, the 15-year old made short work of learning the Palm Beach International Raceway circuit, and was on top of the Junior Max timesheets by the third practice session. His form continued through to the Pre-Final where, having qualified a little down the field, he raced through to claim victory and pole for the first of the weekend’s two main events.

Starting alongside fellow Briton Jack Barlow, Parry again showed why he was the class of the field by pulling away at the front with only his countryman for company. Unfortunately, Barlow’s eagerness to keep tabs on the leader saw him make contact with the rear of Parry’s kart, causing both drivers to spin away their advantage.

While Barlow was able to limit his damage by resuming in fourth place, the luckless Parry was not so fortunate and dropped to twelfth, with any hope of a podium gone.

Although Barlow’s recovery had seen him cross the line first, race officials subsequently decided to penalise him eight places, putting him behind Parry in the revised result, as a consequence of the incident between them. Naturally unhappy with the outcome, the class graduate lobbied for Parry to share some of the blame for the incident and, under increasing pressure to ensure that Britain kept its victory, the Bury St Edmunds-based driver acquiesced.

“It was a very disappointing way to end the day,” Parry admitted, “We clearly had the pace to win the Final and, with Jack, could have secured an historic 1-2 for the UK. Sadly, there was a contact between us and I came off worst.

“What happened after the race was also disappointing, particularly as I received no thanks for accepting a share of the blame, but there was another day to set the record straight.”

Clearly unbowed by Saturday’s events, Parry returned to the track determined to prove a point, and was immediately fastest in warm-up for round four of the series.

Again he proved his racing ability by coming through to claim second place in the Pre-Final, behind only local favourite Nick Neri, claiming another fastest lap along the way and setting himself up for a shot at victory in the day’s main event.

Sadly, Saturday’s misfortune refused to disappear completely and, just seconds into the Final, Parry again saw his hopes dashed as an errant midfielder cut the first corner and slammed into the Fusion USA kart. The contact was enough to cause a melee that saw Parry relegated to 25th and with a mountain to climb simply to gain the sort of result his weekend’s performance warranted.

Despite the obvious frustration, however, Parry knuckled down to give his new American audience a demonstration of the overtaking ability that has been a hallmark of his European career. Racing from his lowly first lap position, the Briton made up no fewer than 18 spots in the next 19 tours, eventually ending the day in seventh spot and with the fastest lap of the race comfortably in his pocket.

“Once again, a promising starting position for the final wasn’t rewarded in the race, but that’s life I guess,” a phlegmatic Parry commented afterwards, “I couldn’t believe it when I was hit in the opening corner, but I just put my head down after that and tried to get the best result I could.

“Even though I was on an unfamiliar kart, I was clearly faster than anyone else in the race – as was the case pretty much throughout the weekend – and it was gratifying to get another top ten finish, even if I knew that the result could have been so much better.

“It would have been a fitting reward for all the help that I received from Maranello North America’s Mike Ferrucci, who was responsible for the service, back-up and team management this weekend.”

Parry’s performance did not go entirely unnoticed, however, as he had since been invited to return across the Atlantic to contest events at Trois-Rivieres near Montreal, the world-famous Rock Island Grand Prix in Illinois and the prestigious SuperNationals in Las Vegas. While he is unlikely to contest all three events, the youngster will break preparations for his impending GCSE exams to attend at least two as he seeks to make the most of a limited 2010 programme.

 

Article created by Craig Llewellyn.