Clean Sweep at Mallory
RG Racing continued their 2011 form with a ‘clean sweep' at Mallory Park last weekend. Both drivers, Ben Willshire and Gary James were in high spirits after a promising opening round at Silverstone in April and keen to capitalise on the opportunity for more British Superkart championship points at Mallory Park.
The 20 minute timed qualifying session took place on Sunday morning in dry but breezy conditions, which would continue throughout the day. Drama was on the agenda within minutes, when Willshire suffered a puncture on his out lap and forced him to return to the pit lane for a tyre change, losing valuable time. Meanwhile, James had posted a best time from his 11 laps of 53.495s securing 8th position on the grid for Race 1, despite having the wrong gear ratio set-up. Willshire managed to re-enter the session but with a busy circuit was unsure that he'd managed a clean lap. However, on collection of the results sheet the team were surprised, yet delighted, to learn he had secured pole position by 0.3s from defending champion, Danny Butler. Throughout the session Butler and Willshire fought for pole position with time separated by just 0.009 seconds!
In Race 1, it was James' turn for some drama. From the start his RG racing outfit was suffering from a loss of drive and on lap 3 he was forced to retire with a broken rear sprocket carrier - an unfortunate, but repairable, incident. With James' watching from the sidelines, Willshire was making good progress. Having lost out to Butler at Gerard's Bend on lap 1, Willshire was hot on Butler's tail and chasing hard for the lead. With 7 laps remaining, Willshire got a good exit from Gerard's and was side by side with Butler along the Stebbe Straight and made a clean pass for the lead on the entry to the John Cooper Esses. Butler tried to fight back but Willshire had the pace to retain the lead and took the win with a gap of 11.6 seconds by the flag, with Butler losing power in the closing laps due to a broken exhaust pipe. Louise Colin finished 3rd a further 11 seconds behind Butler and just ahead of Danny Edwards in 4th.
Race 2 saw a better start from Willshire from the front of the grid, and he was able to comfortably lead the race in the opening stages. Butler was always nearby and momentarily took the lead by taking advantage of the back markers on the exit of the hairpin but it wasn't to last long as Willshire was able to regain the lead and take another win by 9.4 seconds at the flag and setting the fastest lap of the race with a time of 48.486s (100.23mph average).
Regular 250cc Superkart racer, Tony Long, had joined the RG Racing team for the weekend to engineer Gary James outfit and did a great job to prepare the kart in time for race 2. James made a good start from the back of the grid and had moved up to 8th place at half distance. He held off a late challenge from John Hutton and secured 7th position and a well deserved 14 championship points at the flag. Louise Colin finished in second place with Butler suffering from tyre wear and dropping to 3rd position in the closing laps.
With Willshire taking maximum points from Mallory Park, the team look to build on this momentum at Oulton Park on May 28th for rounds 5&6 of the 125cc BSA National Superkart Championship. Wilshire now jumps to 4th position on 85 points with James in 6th on 50 points (before dropped scores).