RG Racing clinch 2011 BSA National Superkart title and UK Cup victory in Season finale
Ben Willshire of RG Racing rounded off his 2011 BSA National Superkart Championship in fine style at Oulton Park this weekend, taking victory in both races, and becoming the 2011 National 125cc Superkart Champion in the process. His team mate, Gary James, was unable to compete in the final round of the season but was trackside to support the team along with friends and family.
Willshire headed to Oulton Park lying second in the championship standings, with the other championship contender, Danny Butler, leading the points table. However, championship rules mean that dropped scores apply with the best 9 of 12 races from the season contributing towards the final standings. With this in mind, Willshire was effectively leading the championship and Butler needed to win both races to prevent Willshire from being crowned champion. The race was on....
Qualifying proved to be very close with Willshire and Butler battling for pole position. Eventually Butler had the upper edge and claimed pole by just 0.134 seconds from Willshire. The 2009 National champion, Danny Edwards, qualified in 3rd position just over 1 second behind Willshire.
At the start of Race 1, the more powerful 250cc Superkarts would start in front of the 125cc superkart grid so, potentially, there would be more to contend with than just a clear track ahead for both Willshire and Butler at the start of the race. Sure enough, this was the case and as the lights went out both Butler and Willshire had to navigate through a busy 250cc grid but both drivers got away well and eventually found some clear track to battle it out. Ben Willshire and Danny Butler were then matched for pace and almost glued to one another throughout the first 6 of the 9 lap race, the lead changing several times across each lap. Eventually Butler’s pace began to fade and with 2 laps remaining Willshire was able to take the lead and retain a gap of around 1.5 seconds, which was extended to almost 3 seconds at the end of the race.
Willshire had won the championship in what was a spectacular wheel to wheel race. In fact, the commentary team at Oulton Park even commented that it was the best racing they’d seen at the circuit all year – a compliment to all of the British Superkart drivers.
With the championship wrapped up, Willshire headed into race 2 slightly more relaxed. The winner of this race would be crowned with the UK Cup Trophy and the right to display the prestigious and coveted ‘O’ number plate for a full season. (quite an honour in British karting). Yet again there was a scramble through the traffic off the start line but this time Willshire lost out and was in 5th position at the end of lap 1, with Louise Colin, Matt Isherwood, Danny Butler and Dan Edwards all dicing for the lead. Unfortunately Colin and Butler soon became victims of mechanical problems and were forced to return to the pit lane, promoting Willshire to 3rd but some distance behind the 2 remaining leaders, Isherwood and Edwards. With the leaders battling it out, Willshire slowly reeled them in and with 2 laps remaining was able to make a move on both drivers to take the lead. Isherwood fought back bravely and momentarily re-took the lead from Willshire at Hislops chicane, but Willshire with better drive up Clay Hill regained the lead with two corners to go. The trio crossed the line with Willshire taking a close victory, Isherwood in a well earned 2nd place only 0.1seconds behind the leader and Edwards claiming 3rd.
Overall it has been a fantastic season for all of the team. Despite not competing at Oulton Park, Gary James had also retained his 7th place position in the championship standings, achieving his best ever national championship position. RG Racing will be attending shows and karting events during the off season to promote the team’s success. RG Racing would like to thank everyone involved in achieving their goal of becoming National champions.