Pole, Lap Record and Win at Oulton Park
Ben Willshire of RG Racing continued his form this season in the 125cc British Superkart Championship at Oulton Park on the 28th May 2011.
After a useful pre-race test day on the Friday, Willshire managed to secure pole position in the 125 open class on Saturday morning with a time of 1min31.4s, some 2 seconds ahead of his nearest rival Louise Colin. Meanwhile, reigning champion Danny Butler suffered mechanical problems after one lap of qualifying and would see him starting 18th on the grid.
At the start of Race 1, Willshire was forced slightly wide into Old Hall Bend and was running 4th after one lap of the race behind last year's Grand Prix winner, Danny Edwards, Ian Reid and Louise Colin. Knowing that it was a 15 minute race to the finish, Willshire drove an intelligent race to pick off his opposition and fight his way back to the front of the pack. Edwards remained close by throughout the race, with Willshire having to push hard but he was able to maintain a 3 second gap to the end of the race and take his 3rd win of the season. In the process Willshire also broke the 125cc Superkart lap record for the Oulton Park Island circuit with a time of 1min30.612s (88.43 mph average), previously set by Damian Sleep in 2007.
Race 2 saw a similar start from Willshire, this time managing to maintain 3rd place on the exit of Old Hall Bend. The race quickly turned into a 4 way battle for the lead between the current top championship drivers including Willshire, Colin, Edwards and Butler. Edwards led the pack for the first 3 laps of the race with his 3 rivals following close behind, before Willshire managed to take the lead for a further 2 laps. However, Colin was making good progress and took the inside line at the Island hairpin to take the lead from Willshire with 4 laps remaining. Willshire and Colin managed to break a 3 second gap from Edwards and Butler and the battle turned into a two way fight for the lead to the flag. Willshire was quicker than Colin in areas but the former 210cc national British Champion defended very well. Even an attempt to take the lead on the final bend wasn't quite enough so Willshire would have to settle for 2nd place, but only by 0.1seconds at the finish line as the duo crossed the finish line side by side! Ben Willshire described the race as his "most enjoyable superkart race".
Ben Willshire leaves Oulton Park in 2nd place in the British Championship, only one point from the top spot, at the half way point in the season but will need to maintain his pace at the double header at Cadwell Park on July 17-18th to retain his championship campaign.