He's Guan and done it!
1st June 2012
'Joe' takes maiden Super One victory.
Guan Yu Zhou grabbed the first big win of his fledgling career by a narrow margin at Glan Y Gors (26/27 May). Buoyed by his triumph at the track's club meeting a month earlier, the exciting Chinese prospect was a threat throughout the meeting. A 2nd and 1st in the heats were sufficient to land him a front row start for the first final and he made short work of seizing the advantage from the start. Once ahead, he stuck to the task in hand and completed each of the following twenty two laps with his nose in front.
In the second final he was unable to repeat his earlier success, but nonetheless earned a return trip to the podium with 2nd place. His 1-2 scores also gave him the championship lead. "I'm really delighted," said Strawberry Racing team manager Warwick Ringham. "'Joe' has come on loads and he absolutely deserved his win."
In the Junior class, Toby Sowery had been tipped by many onlookers to echo his team-mate's achievements. The reigning Junior TKM and Easykart champion was also displaying some fine form and duly took 2nd in the first final. A controversial decision following a coming together in the main final saw Sowery excluded, despite protesting his innocence.
"He should've won," Ringham observed with a shrug. "Toby's not a dirty driver and I know people have said it was a racing incident. Before the crash he was trading the lead and looked to be the stronger driver, but it wasn't to be…"
Rob Holland's twin podiums gave the phlegmatic Ringham another reason to be cheerful, as he assumed the points lead following his 3rd and 2nd place finishes. Jay Goodwin - the winner of the club race at GYG in April - looked set for another strong weekend after taking 6th in the pre-final. A coming together in the second race caused his motor to cut-out, dropping him right down the order and prompting a gritty drive back up the order to an eventual 12th at the finish.
Sweden's Jessica Backman's upward learning curve of the British style of racing saw her battling in the midfield throughout the weekend. It was a brave performance given her lack of experience on UK circuits.
With Andy King 2nd, Ash Hand 3rd-fastest after qualifying , Harrison Scott not far away in 6th and series rookie Andreas Backman 14th overall, the Tony Kart team looked set to dominate the upper order of the Senior Max category. Scott maintained his starting grid position to place 6th in the first final, the best Strawberry finisher in that race.
King came from P9 to take 6th in the second final, with Hand charging from the back of the grid to a creditable 13th. Ahead of him, Backman thrilled his team boss with his best finish to date, 10th - prompting Warwick to exclaim: "Andreas was a superstar! He did really well and is beginning to get the hang of life in what is a very tough class."
Harrison Scott's 11th place was indicative of how competitive the class has become. Just as Mark Webber became the 6th different Grand Prix winner at Monaco, so the Rotax Winter Cup champion was made to work for each and every place at Glan Y Gors.
The series moves to Rowrah for the third round, a venue that has traditionally been kind to Strawberry. "We'll do the club meeting there beforehand and see how we get on," says Warwick. "GYG highlighted that you can't let up for a moment. This is proving to be one of the toughest seasons yet, especially in Senior Max, which makes it all the more satisfying when you get it right."
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