Podium at the UK Cup in Ireland
RG Racing travelled to Bishopscourt circuit in Northern Ireland to compete in Rounds 5&6 of the British Superkart Championship and the UK cup
RG Racing travelled to Bishopscourt in Northern Ireland this weekend to compete in Rounds 5&6 of the British Superkart Championship and the UK cup, the winner of which holds the right to display the prestigious ‘0' number plate for the season.
With the Irish weather blessing the paddock with sunshine, the scene was set for some quick racing around the 2.5 mile circuit located on the former Bishopscourt RAF base. Following a podium finish at Silverstone in rounds 3&4, Ben Willshire was looking to maintain his pace and improve on his championship standings for the team in the 125 Open Superkart class.
Free testing on the Friday proved useful and after finding a comfortable set up and gearing ratio, which allowed Willshire to set some race pace lap times, the team were confident going into race day on Saturday. It was straight into a 15 minute open qualifying session on Saturday morning and Willshire set a time of 1min 14.0s in the opening laps which would secure him a place on the second row of the grid and 3rd position.
In Race 1, Willshire lost out to Dan Edwards and James Irvine on the opening lap leaving him in 5th position and some work to do. However, Willshire managed to reel the pair back in throughout the 10 lap race - a move on James Irvine (2006 & 2010 ‘0' plate winner) was made into a fast chicane complex after sitting in his slipstream on the back straight. Dan Edwards (current National Champion), who was struggling with under steer after having to raise his front nosecone due to bottoming out on the circuit, was relegated out of the top 3 by Willshire who managed to take the inside line at the late apex hairpin of Turn 3. Willshire finished a comfortable 3rd with Daniel Butler and Louise Colin finishing 1st and 2nd respectively.
Race 2 saw the same problem for Willshire of the start line, relegating him to 5th from 3rd (confirming to the team that the engine was likely running too ‘rich' at bottom end). As the pack spread out over the course of 10 laps, the top 2 of Butler and Colin pulled away leaving Edwards, Willshire and this time Lee Morgan to fight for 3rd. However, with these 3 contenders all lapping within a the tenths of one another's time's there was little Willshire could do other than watch frustratingly from 5th place as the gap remained consistent between the 3 karts until the flag. Butler took a deserved second win of the day with Colin as runner up. Edwards finished 3rd, Morgan 4th and Willshire 5th.
Race 1 and 2 has provided the team with some valuable championship points and are likely to have moved Ben up from his current 6th place championship standings.
Race 3 was the coveted UK cup race where all drivers would be racing for the ‘0' plate (non championship points race). Butler, Colin and Edwards battled it out at the front and slowly pulled away from the rest of the pack as Irvine, Morgan, Willshire and Irishman Joey Daly battled for 4th. Willshire, who was running 6th for most of the race managed to dispose of Daly and Morgan with 3 laps to go and pull a comfortable gap to finish a solid 4th place at the flag. This is the 3rd year in a row that Willshire has finished 4th in the UK Cup plate race - maybe a curse but one which he hopes to dispose of one year!
All in all a good weekend with a 3rd position overall on the day. A big thank you to RG Racing, Phil Featherstone of PFP services for his data support and advice throughout the weekend and a well done to Bishopscourt Kart Club for making the British Superkart fraternity welcome.