RG Racing regain title lead at Oulton Park
Ben Willshire proved his worth as 2011 national superkart champion at Oulton Park this weekend, taking a fine victory in race 1 and a podium finish in Race 2, leaving him firmly at the top of the championship table.
The superkart qualifying session would take place around the undulating 2.2 mile Oulton Park island circuit early on the Saturday morning in wet conditions. Willshire took to the circuit on ‘intermediate’ tyres and completed 5 qualifying laps but was clearly struggling for optimum grip. He returned to the pit lane to change to a full wet tyre and found this to be quicker over the lap but ran short on time to set a flying lap on the full wet tyres - despite this Willshire secured 5th position on the grid for Race 1! Matt Isherwood, race winner from rounds 1 & 2 at Croft, secured pole position followed closely behind by local star and 2009 national champion, Danny Edwards.
With the track temperature as low as 8 degrees, circuit conditions remained wet for the start of race 1, but dryer than the earlier qualifying session. Given the low temperatures, Rob Willshire of RG Racing was confident that Willshire’s 125cc superkart would remain quick on a full wet tyre and this certainly proved to be the case. Ben made a good start, climbing to 3rd position at the first corner and then quickly overtaking Damian Sleep and Danny Butler before the end of lap 1. With Isherwood failing to make the start due to engine problems, Ben knew he only had Dan Edwards ahead of him. On the entry to Cascades corner at the start of lap 2, Willshire dived to the inside of Edwards to take the lead and from there in he controlled the race perfectly and extended his lead to take a win by 6.9 seconds at the flag.
Victory in race 1 meant Willshire secured pole position for Race 2 which would take place in dry conditions and on slick tyres. Willshire made an excellent start from the line, taking the lead and followed by 20 other 125cc superkarts behind him. On exit to the hairpin, Edwards and Butler pulled alongside Willshire and were able to out drag him into Hislop chicane. Willshire had lost the ‘slipstream’ from the front two drivers, costing him valuable time and leaving him to settle for a solid 3rd place at the flag, with Edwards taking his first win of the season.
Willshire’s results secured him 2nd overall at the Oulton Park event and he retains his 2011 lap record. Ben’s win and podium place him back on top of the British Championship table as the series prepares to head to Bishopscourt in Northern Ireland on 2nd June, where Willshire will be looking to extend his title lead and also defend his UK cup title.