As Junior star Webb also maintains title push
Harrison Scott claimed consecutive 1st and 2nd place finishes at Wackersdorf last weekend (12/13 May) to strengthen his bid to win the Rotax Max Euro Challenge crown. His team-mate, Harry Webb, was also in fine form, taking 2nd and 4th respectively to go joint top of the Junior points table.
Strawberry’s exciting Junior Max squad experienced varying fortunes in the event’s preliminary stages. After timed qualifying, Webb had recorded the 6th-fastest lap overall, with Jay Goodwin 14th quickest, Guan Yu Zhou – AKA ‘Joe’ - in 18th position and Jessica Backman 36th.
Strong performances from each of the youngsters saw them all automatically make the cut for Sunday’s two main finals. Jay classified 6th overall after the heats, followed by Harry (7th), Jessica (19th) and’ Joe’ (23rd).
After being excluded for contact driving at the series opener in Belgium last month, Goodwin was left angry and frustrated when the officials failed to respond with similarly severe punishments that saw him “smashed off” at the start of the first final, as Strawberry’s Warwick Ringham observed. Jay’s demise allowed Harry to pounce and a terrific drive culminated in a well-earned 2nd for him at the chequered flag. ‘Joe’ powered from 23rd on the grid to take 10th with Goodwin clawing his way from the back of the field to an eventual 21st. Sadly Jessica was another driver to fall foul of an incident and was unable to finish.
The second final saw Harry lead, but a mistake allowed his rivals to push him down to 4th at the finish. Jay’s weekend was compounded by another startline collision, once again prompting a come-back drive; this time to 15th. Guan Yu Zhou’s earlier joy turned to misery as he trailed home in 28th place, eight places behind Jessica. “The first corner is terrible there,” said Ringham. “Admittedly this weekend was not as bad as previous years’ but when you start by going into a flat-out left followed by a flat-out right and then into a 180-degree hairpin, you’re always going to have accidents. People were guilty of much, much worse at Wackersdorf than they were at Genk. If you set a certain standard (with exclusions for even mild contact), then you have to maintain it. On a brighter note, I’m happy with my drivers. They all gave very good accounts of themselves and, in what is turning out to be a really hard season, they are all improving.”
The team’s senior stars were also experiencing mixed results. Harrison Scott had won three of his four heats, but a lowly 28th classification in one of his races saw him ranked just 8th after their conclusion. Andy King claimed a third row start for the pre-final, three places ahead of Harrison. Ash Hand had been made to fight hard in each of his races and qualified 17th for the pre-final.
Scott, in only his third outing as a senior driver, went on to demonstrate just why he is so highly-regarded with a superb victory. Having started from 17th place, Hand made up ground to cross the line in 12th but King found himself sidelined by an engine problem.
The second race saw Harrison unable to repeat his earlier result, but he was still able to scoop the runner-up spot. Similarly, Ash had to settle for 8th with Andy handicapped by starting at the back of the field and unable to make a greater impression than 22nd. “Harrison was one of two drivers in the finals that were the class of the field. It is hard to believe that this was only his third senior Max race. He did really well. Andy and Ash had a bit of bad luck and pretty much did everything asked of them,” Warwick said with obvious satisfaction, adding: “Overall we’re doing alright. In some cases, better than I expected at this stage of the season. There’s plenty more to come from us, our drivers, the Tony Kart EVRR and of course, Cream Racing Engines!”