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25/09/10

Outright winner at season finale


Willshire wins at Snetterton

After 12 races, 6 venues and a maximum of 360 points available throughout the season, the 2010 125 Open British Superkart championship was going to come down to the wire at Snetterton. RG Racing's (Basingstoke) Ben Willshire (Caversham) and Gary James (Ware) were both looking for a sweep of championship points to round off their season, with James capable of finishing 7th overall in the standings and Willshire needing to protect his 3rd place in the championship going into the race meeting.

Practice and timed qualifying would take place as one 20 minute track session, needing full commitment from the drivers to get straight onto a respectable pace. With rain the night before, the track was damp but fast drying and the decision to run on slicks or wets would provide crucial. On warm up for the session, James suffered engine problems and was forced to retire leaving him with a tough rear grid position for race 1. Willshire, however, was more fortunate. He opted to run on wet tyres proving to be a distinct advantage over the rest of the field in the early part of qualifying. With 23 karts making up the grid (10 of which were the more powerful 250cc machines) Willshire was top of the time sheets with only minutes of the qualifying remaining. In the dying minutes of the session, the circuit dried allowing Danny Butler to secure pole with a 1min 18s and demoting Willshire to 2nd spot on the grid with a time of 1min 20s for the start of Race 1 - a front row start nonetheless.

With James now solving his engine problems, he was able to take the start of Race 1, but was soon to be doomed by his Snetterton curse with his motor eventually giving in on lap 2. With engine damage beyond immediate repair, he would be forced to sit out of the rest of the racing that weekend - not the way he wanted to finish 2010 but no doubt he will be back in 2011!

Willshire, meanwhile had made a good start at the front of the pack and negotiated his way round an action packed lap 1. Butler had lead off the line, with current National Champion and British GP winner Danny Edwards, making his was into 2nd place, with Willshire closely behind in 3rd. As the top 3 rounded the 108mph Corum curve and into Russell's chicane towards the end of lap 1, Butler lost control of his kart as a result of brake failure and forced Edwards, Willshire and the remaining 21 karts to take evasive action. Fortunately the pack made it through without an incident but Butler was forced to watch from the sidelines as his championship lead was now under threat. Edwards continued to lead and pulled slowly away from Willshire to the flag to take the win but Willshire took an important and well driven 2nd place. Louise Colin (lying 4th in the standings but ahead of Willshire when accounting the dropped scores rule (best 9 of 12 races to count for the year)) was also forced to retire from Race 1 with an engine seizure.

So, the championship was now all to play for in the final race on Sunday morning and Day 2 of the race meeting. Butler led the points table, with Edwards close behind and needing to win the race to secure the championship. Willshire headed into the race in 3rd position in the standings but needed to finish within 8points of Louise Colin to secure that position. With similar conditions to that of Saturday's qualifying session, the race was always going to be interesting. Edwards made a good start and led the field for 2 laps, with Willshire closely behind. Butler drove an excellent 1st lap, progressing from the back of the grid to 3rd however his Snetterton misery continued and on lap 2 his engine began to ‘cough and splutter' forcing him to retire. With Butler out of the race, Edwards still had to win the race to take the title and Willshire needed to fend off Colin to maintain 3rd. But on lap 2, Willshire got a run on Edwards out of Sears's corner onto the Revitt straight. At the end of the120mph straight, Willshire tucked out of Edwards slipstream and took the lead of the race. As the 15 minute race continued, Willshire slowly pulled away and took the win comfortably by 12 seconds at the flag and setting fastest lap on the way, with Edwards driving a good race to finish 2nd.

This result gave Willshire the overall win of the meeting. Only one of the 250cc outfits driven by Toby Davis was able to make their way past the 125cc outfits of Edwards and Willshire, showing the true pace of these 125cc machines.

So, the 125cc British Superkart Championship 2010 was won by Danny Butler by 1 point! Edwards took a well deserved 2nd place and Willshire rounded off the top 3 in the National Championships in 2010. RG Racing is awaiting final confirmation of the championship standings but it is believed James finished 9th position in his 21st season of Superkart racing.

Well done to all of the drivers for a great season of racing. For more information on 125 Superkart racing visit www.superkart.org.uk

RG Racing would like to thank all of their partners for 2010 and hope to continue the relationship into 2011, where Willshire will be fighting for a championship win.