|Strawberry Racing dominated the opening round of the Rotax Euro Challenge at Zuera, Spain last weekend (28/29 March). In Timed Qualifying, the Senior drivers, James Greenway, Joseph Reilly and Luke Varley and Junior ace Josh Webster were all well within the top ten - with Greenway fastest in his group. This gave the team a solid platform from which to challenge for race wins.|
Reilly opened his account in the first heat with a well taken win. Not to be outdone, Varley won the following race to give the team a superb start.
If this put pressure on the young shoulders of Webster, he didn’t show it. Josh confidently took victory in the second Junior heat. He repeated this with metronomic efficiency in his following two races to head the intermediate classification with no penalty points.
Similarly, the rapid Londoner Reilly maintained his 100% win-rate – leading home a Strawberry 1-2-3 in heat six – to seal pole position for the pre-final. Varley and Greenway both ran strongly, but a DNF and a 23rd place saw the pair make the cut in 17th and 13th places respectively.
Team manager Warwick Ringham said, “At this stage, I was delighted. No one had to come through from the repecharges, and apart from the glitches for Luke and James, we couldn’t have asked for more. Our main job was to get the set-ups right to maintain Josh and Joseph’s pace at the front and give James and Luke the kit to come through the mid-pack traffic quickly, and then push for the top places”.
In the pre-finals it was business as usual for Reilly and Webster, who converted their pole advantages into straight victories. Greenway battled through to 3rd with Luke moving up to 11th.
So far, so good. However, Joseph’s fantastic weekend was about to hit the skids – literally. As he led the pack into the first corner, James was pushed past him by the fast-starting Van Splunteren. Pushed wide, Joe then had the inside line for the following left-hand corner - but found the Dutchman in unyielding mood. They touched and span, ultimately leaving the Englishman furious and out of the running. This left James leading, and behind him Luke was rocketing up the order. In this form, he was unbeatable and took a sensational triumph, with James sensibly opting for the points rather than risk a clash.
Josh had no such dramas and his subsequent lights-to-flag win was a fitting reward for his faultless performance in every race.
A delighted Warwick commented, “The results speak for themselves really. To win all our heats and both finals, well, it’s almost embarrassing. I’m disappointed for Joseph because he deserved so much more. But he’ll be back. Every one of the lads did all that we could ask of them – and more!”
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