GALLERY: Luckless in Las Vegas - title heartbreak for Fenland karting ace after appeal drama
IT’S the city that creates winners on the turn of a card - but Fenland karting ace George Russell went from triumph to heartbreak in Las Vegas.
The 14-year-old, from Tydd St Giles, failed to retain his Super Karts USA SuperNationals title in controversial circumstances.
Determined to sign off his glittering junior career in style, Russell dominated the early proceedings by winning all three heats.
He looked in control of the grand final but, as the race settled down, rival Lance Stroll seized the lead and pulled away to take a shock win.
Second-placed Russell was ready to be hailed as vice-champion but as he took the chequered flag it emerged that the stewards had disqualified Stroll. The Canadian had an irregularity with his exhaust header, which delivered more power to the engine and gave him a speed advantage.
Just as Russell was about to begin his celebrations, there was a final twist. Stroll launched an appeal, which was upheld, forcing Forza Racing star Russell to settle for second.
Jamie Croxford, Forza team manager, said he was gutted with the result.
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“To me, the disqualification made complete sense as to how he managed to beat us so comfortably,” said Croxford.
“It is unlucky for Lance as he drove well, but the scrutineers judged the broken header as giving a clear power advantage hence the disqualification.
“This is not the way George, me, or any involved would ever want to win, and even had Stroll not managed to win his appeal the victory would still have been soured with us not crossing the line first.
“However, I am now assured that there was nothing more George or the team could have done to change the result.”
Russell said: “We did everything perfectly all weekend, and to the best of our ability. Unfortunately the result was out of our hands in the final but we can still hold our heads high.”