Reilly and Strawberry begin new season

where they left off

Exactly four months after they wrapped up the British Super 1 Junior Max title together, Strawberry Racing and Joseph Reilly again returned to winning ways with an emphatic victory at last weekend’s (14 / 15  February) Rotax Winter Cup.

And what made Joseph’s victory all the more remarkable, was that this time it was in the Senior class.

Billed as the ‘ice-breaker’ for this year’s Euro Max Challenge, the event had attracted a strong field to the impressive Campillos track, near Malaga in Spain.

After setting the pace in testing prior to the event, Strawberry’s pairing of Reilly and James Greenway were confident that they would be able to maintain this early pace through timed qualifying and into the racing.

This certainly proved to be the case, with James fastest in the warm-up prior to the first heat and Joseph close, setting the 4th quickest time.

Joe opened his account with a win in his first heat, followed by a 2nd and another victory to put him top of the intermediate classification. James meanwhile took 3rd, 6th and 1st place finishes to rank 4th place overall.

From pole, Londoner Reilly was the class of the pre-final. After getting the hole-shot over his rivals on the run into the first corner and allowing the field to settle, Joe extended his advantage to over half a second and secured a comfortable win.

Skipton-based Greenway faced a tougher scrap - but sensibly opted to drive for a good top five finish and conserve his tyres for the main final.

Team Manager Warwick Ringham was pleased with his young drivers’ saying, “I was delighted. We’d come through the heats and pre-final intact and both the boys were in the top three rows and on the inside line for the first corner of the final.”

Again, Reilly aced the start and delivered a perfect lights-to-flag victory in the feature race. Greenway briefly ran in 3rd but found that his kart’s tyres were not offering the expected levels of grip and ran just a fraction off the front-runners’ pace as a result. Nevertheless, he was pleased with his eventual 6th place, believing it to be a strong platform from which to build a successful 2009 campaign.

James said, “I’m pleased and yet disappointed. I’ve been rapid throughout but when it mattered, my tyres just didn’t quite deliver. But I’ve got great expectations for the year after this performance.”

Warwick acknowledged, “Joseph’s effort and concentration throughout was fantastic. The kit’s quite good too! Both the lads are progressing amazingly well. They were up against a high standard and were amongst the fastest at the start of the week and maintained that pace and pressure until the end. It’s an encouraging start to the season for us all.”