Toby Sowery and Ash Hand make it back-to-back wins in two years for Tony Kart team
Well, that was quite good, joked Strawberry racing team manager Warwick Ringham after watching his two stars lift the coveted Kartmasters winners trophies and GP number plates twelve months after seeing drivers in the teams signature red, white and green colours do the same. It was the product of working hard, he added. Weve been making steady progression throughout the season and we were good at the Euro max round in Sweden and brought that pace to Kartmasters.
Strawberry fielded four drivers in the Junior Max class, after Guan Yu Zhou, or Joe as he is known in the teams awning, stepped up from the Mini Max class. He joined Sowery, Rob Holland and the ever-improving Jessica Backman.
Once the preliminaries, of timed qualifying and the heats, had been dispensed with Strawberry Racings line-up appeared to be in good shape ahead of Sundays finals. Toby would start the pre-final in 5th position with Rob behind in 7th, Joe on P18 and Jessica on row eleven. Sowery went on to win in convincing fashion with Holland scrapping hard for 9th, Zhou coming through the order to take 12th and Backman completing the top twenty.
Once he had got his nose in front and his nearest rivals clash had effectively ended the contest, Toby claimed his biggest win of the season and further underlined his reputation as a bona fide talent. Joe claimed an excellent 6th place against far more experienced opposition, with Jessica improving to 17th place after a hard-fought race. Sadly Rob completed his weekend on the sidelines after a crash put him out of the running.
We put Joe in Juniors to toughen him up a little and he had a really good race. He was knocked off at the start, so to race through to 6th was great. Jess has taken a big step forward this season. Shes done a lot of racing and you cant beat that for giving you confidence and experience. Rob had three proper, storming races after starting at the back of the grid for his heats. He crashed with another front-runner which was frustrating but you get that at Kartmasters; everyone wants to win so much that these things inevitably happen. As for Toby, I am absolutely delighted for him. He was terrific and did everything he needed to do. It was a very mature, intelligent drive.
Not to be outdone, the teams Senior drivers featured strongly throughout the event, with Hand finally breaking his 2012 hoodoo with a well-taken victory.
In qualifying, Hand had laid down a marker with the 2nd-fastest lap time and Andreas Backman posting the 6th-quickest. After the heats saw Ash ranked 2nd overall and Andreas 11th giving them these positions on the grid for Sundays pre-final. Another bruising race saw Hand take the chequered in 7th and Backman down in 21st spot.
In a dramatic Grand Final, Ash chipped his way up to 3rd and hit the front after the two leaders collided at the first hairpin. He was never headed again, despite him being any one of eleven drivers fighting for the victory in the latter stages. Andreas chances of a good result were denied by a last lap crash and he eventually crossed the line in 16th.
Andreas was always there, or thereabouts. His progression, like his sister Jessicas, is really good. Ashs win comes as a big relief for him as it has been a tough year. He took his chance brilliantly and was a worthy winner. His and Tobys success is all the sweeter as we werent going to race. A few of the drivers said they wanted to, so we entered at the last minute. I certainly didnt expect to have two drivers on the top step of the podium on Sunday, so that was a pleasant surprise, said an obviously delighted Ringham.