|Strawberry Racing dominated the Zuera podium after its drivers occupied four of the six steps available in the Junior and Senior categories at last weekend’s (30/31 October) Rotax International Open.|
Reigning junior Euro Max champion Joel Affolter underlined his quality by topping the rankings after the heats, but had to bow to his team-mate Jack Barlow in the pre-final. The Englishman won in fine style, with the Dutch star claiming 3rd.
Their positions were to be reversed in the Grand Final, as Joel made history as the first ever holder of the International Open title. Despite lacking bottom end revs, Jack drove a mature race to make sure he was again among the trophies.
Mats van den Brand, Barrie Pullinger, Ed Brand, new signing Berry Torenvliet and junior graduate Jack Marshall contested the senior class for the Tony Kart squad.
With the preliminaries completed, Ed had qualified on pole position for the pre-final, with Mats alongside. A controversial decision to declare tyre choice open handed the advantage to drivers at the rear of the field with seemingly nothing to lose. Consequently they gambled on slick tyres, whilst the front-runners erred on the side of caution and chose wet tyres. The track was certainly wet at the start, but quickly began to dry and the slick-shod runners carved their way up the order.
As the drivers lifted their karts off the trolleys for the main final, the track was now completely dry, creating a level playing field in terms of tyre choice.
From 22nd on the grid, Jack Marshall showed the quality that made him Super 1 vice-Champion as he stormed through to an eventual 4th place. Barrie Pullinger scrapped his way from 21st to 8th, whilst Mats and Ed pushed each other up to 2nd and 3rd. Berry’s debut with the team proved to be something of a baptism of fire as the young Dutchman fought hard in the midfield.
“It was a quality field, everyone was there” observed Strawberry Team Manger, Warwick Ringham. “Ed and Mats were on top of their game. Jack set the fastest lap, and considering this was his first ever senior race, he did remarkably well. Barrie did very well, taking another top ten finish and Berry learned a great deal - but unfortunately luck was not quite with him.”
Turning his attention to his junior star, Warwick said: “Joel is a fantastic little pilot. Given the level of success he’s achieving, it’s easy to forget that he is still very young. He just keeps on getting better. Jack really impressed me with his performance in the wet pre-final. He demonstrated great kart-control, used his head by picking his moment to take the lead and bring it home at the head of the field.
All in all, this was a very good warm-up for the World Finals (at La Conca) and next year’s British and European championships.”
To find out more about the championship-winning Tony Kart EVR chassis, visit www.strawberryracing.co.uk