2008 Season Finale - Knockhill
The fifth, and last round, of the British Superkart Championship 2008 was held at Scotland's Knockhill circuit on October 19-21st. RG Racing made the 8 hour journey to the event, where the Superkarts were in support of the Scottish Formula Ford Championship, the Mini Challenge, Legends Cup and Scottish Sports Car club. All races formed part of the regular Scottish Motorsport activities and the British Superkarts received a warm welcome along with coverage from Sky Television channel, Motors TThe fifth, and last round, of the British Superkart Championship 2008 was held at Scotland's Knockhill circuit on October 19-21st. RG Racing made the 8 hour journey to the event, where the Superkarts were in support of the Scottish Formula Ford Championship, the Mini Challenge, Legends Cup and Scottish Sports Car club. All races formed part of the regular Scottish Motorsport activities and the British Superkarts received a warm welcome along with coverage from Sky Television channel, Motors TV.
Heading to Knockhill, and with a successful last round at Darley Moor under his belt, Ben Willshire of RG Racing was lying 7th in the British championship standings but with plenty of points up for grabs in this triple header finale, Willshire was looking to capitalise on the opportunity of ending the season on a high. The driver's standings were so close that Ben could leave Knockhill with a championship position of anywhere between 3rd and 10th ....and who said F1 was close!
Saturday was spent testing at the circuit and after 2 sessions Willshire was confident with the kart set up on the pace set by competitors. The team tested various tyre compounds and prepared a wet chassis set up for the ever predictable rainy conditions that would lie ahead.
As a surprise to all of the drivers and teams, the paddock awoke to dry weather on the morning of Race Day. The British Superkarts were first to take to the circuit for qualifying and after 7 consistent laps, Willshire set a time which would see him start Race 1 in 4th position.
Race 1, fortunately, also remained dry which would provide an opportunity for some close, fast and exciting racing. That certainly was the case. A reasonable start from Ben saw him exit the 5th gear, downhill section of Seat Curve in 4th place and settle into the race chasing leaders James Irvine, Danny Edwards and Louise Colins. Former British Champion, Paul Platt, was making his charge from the rear of the grid having suffered mechanical problems in qualifying and was soon able to make a pass on Willshire but with James Irvine exiting the race early Ben still held onto his 4th place. A 3 way battle then commenced for 4th, 5th and 6th position between Willshire, Noel Lyndsay and Martyn Turner. Lyndsay eventually got the better of Willshire as the karts made the long climb up and over the start finish line to complete another lap but Ben managed to fend off a last lap attack from Martyn Turner to cross the line in 5th position whilst also managing to dice with some of the 250cc karts in the process! Paul Platt took the race one win and now had to win the remaining two races of the day to be crowned British Champion for the 3rd time.
By the time Race 2 came the weather mans predictions had come true. 60mph winds and heavy rain were to make for an interesting race. Ben knew that to secure a good result for the season two race finishes were needed so having managed to get a good start, despite visibility being extremely poor, he settled into the race in 5th position, following the 250 outfit of Tony Long. Willshire was lapping two seconds quicker than Lyndsday and Turner who were following him, meaning Ben didn't have to take any unnecessary risks. The Red flags were bought out after 80% race distance since the conditions were so poor, giving Willshire 4th position after Louise Collins span out. Paul Platt took his second race win of the day and was getting closer to grabbing the title lead from James Irvine.
Race 3 saw similar conditions for the Superkarts. With Willshire starting in 4th place ahead of Lyndsay and Turner, he knew a solid finish was what was required of him. A good start saw Ben maintain his 4th place position into Turn 1 but Colins made a good move on Willshire and Irvine into turn 2 to take 3rd, leaving Ben in 5th place, closely following James Irvine for several laps. Irvine and Willshire continued to set a good pace in poor conditions, stretching out 5 seconds per lap on 6th and 7th place drivers. Again, the red flags would mark the end of the race at 80% race distance following an incident which saw a 250cc kart collide with the pit wall on the main straight, after aquaplaning across the circuit. Willshire was classified 5th at the end of the race which gave him 3rd Overall on the day, with Paul Platt taking the win.
The season has been mixed for the RG Racing outfit of Ben Willshire with highs and lows but having looked back on the season Willshire had racked up 2 British championship podium finishes, 4th in the coveted UK Cup and would leave Knockhill ranked 5th in the British Championship.
"We have been making steady progress throughout the year with engine development work and we are now happy that we have the performance that we need to compete at the front. We've proven this in Ireland this year and today at Knockhill in the worst of conditions. Next year we will be starting from a good base and hope to continue our progress of success" concluded Ben Willshire.
RG Racing would like to thanks its partners for all their help during 2008 and look forward to working with them in 2009. These include Apex Circuit Design Ltd, Castrol, Trimedia, Arco, Interactive Marketing, NGK, Ferodo and Demon Tweeks. RG Racing will also be raising awareness for Naomi House and making donations throughout 2009.