MATT BACK ON TITLE TRACK AT WHILTON MILL


Matthew Parry renewed his Super 1 Series championship ambitions with a storming performance in round three of the Junior Max campaign at Whilton Mill.

Having seen his perfect start to the season ended by a tough weekend at Rowrah last month, the Paul Carr Racing driver bounced back with a brace of podium finishes that left him within touching distance of the points lead – and a return to top spot once dropped scores are taken into account.

The Whilton weekend began with a typically strong Parry showing in pre-event testing and practice, but the reigning Formula Kart Stars champion came into his own in timed qualifying, where he edged his nearest rival by a scant hundredth of a second in wet conditions, and only just missed being the only driver to break into the 57-second bracket.

Fastest time meant that the Welsh-born youngster would start both his heats from top spot on the grid and, confirming the form he showed in last season’s FKS finale at the same venue, Parry led from lights to flag in the opening race of the weekend, resisting pressure from a squabbling group in his wake.

A winning margin of a couple of seconds added confidence to Parry’s armoury, and he appeared destined for a second heat win as he opened out an immediate gap. However, having crossed the line comfortably ahead at the end of lap one, the 15-year old’s race was ruined when he hit a patch of anti-freeze, dropped by another kart as the result of a first lap skirmish, and speared off the road at the start of lap two.

The moment dropped the PCR kart to eleventh by the time Parry had gathered it up and returned to the track, and the close-fought nature of the Junior Max class made rapid progress difficult as he attempted to atone. Nevertheless, he managed to pick off four rivals in the remaining laps, eventually taking the chequered flag in seventh spot, just seven seconds behind the winner.

Fortunately, Parry’s results were sufficient for him to avoid the need to take part in the repecharge, and his combined finishes saw him line up fourth on the grid for the first of the weekend’s two finals. Determined to underline his earlier dominance, it took just two laps for the Kosmic-mounted youngster to hit the front. This time, however, he was involved in a seven-kart battle that saw the lead change hands on a regular basis. With the constant place-changing, Parry dropped back to fourth at mid-distance, but again battled back to the front and remained in top spot for the final six laps, winning by little over half a second.

Final two took place under similarly cloudy, but dry, conditions, with Parry lining up in pole position courtesy of his earlier victory. Again, however, holding station was never an option as the leading group all proved evenly-matched. Despite being part of a seven-kart train, though, Parry spent the entire 21-lap distance swapping first and second place with Harry Crawley, while Jack Marshall, Andy King, Jack Barlow and Oliver Hodgson initially squabbled in their wake. The top five then broke away from the rest of the field, but Parry remained a contender for victory until the penultimate lap, when he put a wheel over the edge of the circuit at the hairpin.

With dirt on his tyres, the youngster knew that he would have to be circumspect over the final lap and, with one eye on the points as the leading title contenders filled the top five, decided not to challenge Crawley for top spot. Second place was enough to maintain Parry’s record of finishing on the podium in every final bar one this season, and hoisted him firmly back into championship contention after the frustration of race two at Rowrah.

“There was no point trying a move that could have ended in disaster,” Parry reasoned, his Cumbrian result no doubt still fresh in mind, “The top four on the road were the same drivers filling the top four places in the points, so a mistake would have been very costly.

“Winning the first final here was a major boost to my chances of taking the Super 1 title this year. With the dropped scores rule allowing me to discard the poor result from round two, I am still well placed overall, but the championship is extremely close this year, and I will need to be on top of my game at every event from here on.”

 

Article created by Craig Llewellyn.