The opening weekend of the BNL Karting Series took place at Genk last weekend (20/21 April) and saw Strawberry Racings Swedish siblings Jessica and Andreas Backman competing in the senior and DD2 classes.
The BNL operates around a double-header format, with qualifying, heats and finals taking place on both Saturday and Sunday.A large grid had entered for the Senior Max class but reigning Swedish Junior Max champions Jessica was instantly on the pace, setting the 3rd fastest time in the qualifying.
She overcame her disastrous first heat by winning the second and making the cut for the A Final. A blistering drive, saw Jessica carve her way into the lead and from there pull away to win by over three seconds.
It was a fantastic drive, said Strawberry Racing team manager Warwick Ringham. Jessica made a really good start and slowly picked off the drivers in front of her. Once shed got to the front, she kept putting in really good lap times and just drove away from the chasing pack.On day two, two 4th place finishes demonstrated the young Swedes consistency and turn of speed. However, a tougher race saw Jessica pushed down to 8th position and in a lonely position of neither having an attacking opportunity or defend from the driver one second behind her. Her intelligent driving and keeping out of trouble meant that she banked more valuable championship points, explained Warwick. Jessicas now in a strong 2nd place in the championship and thats a great start for her.
With a different race schedule giving the DD2 class two finals - but no heats after time qualifying - on each day, Jessicas older brother, Andreas, was able to demonstrate that he is a rising star in the burgeoning twin-speed karts.
He claimed a fine 2nd in the first final and completed the day with 3rd in the following race.
Like Jessica, Andreas found Sunday a slightly tougher proposition. His Tony Kart EVK chassis with Cream-tuned motor ensured that he was able to compete at the sharp-end of the grid but he was unable to repeat the previous days results.
However, his 9th and 5th places combined with the points from Saturday put him in a strong 4th place overall with two rounds remaining. The next race takes the drivers to Ostricourt in France (11/12 May) before returning to Genk for the August (24/25) finale.
Andreas results did not do justice to his pace. If he can sort out his starts, then he will be in a better position to challenge for the wins that his natural speed deserves.