Podium for RG Racing at 2012 season opener
Ben Willshire of RG Racing made a solid start to defending his national superkart title at Croft this weekend, securing 2nd overall at the 2012 season opener from a grid of over 22 drivers.
The 29 year old from Basingstoke qualified 2nd on the grid in difficult weather conditions around the 2.2mile Croft circuit, just 0.3 seconds from pole position driver Matt Isherwood but with a comfortable 3 second gap over 3rd placed Liam Morley and 2009 champion Danny Edwards in 4th.
The poor weather from the morning qualifying session soon cleared up over the Teeside circuit meaning all drivers would start on full slick tyres for the first race of the day. Willshire made a good get away from the line, pressuring Isherwood on the first lap and even looking to make a move for the lead as the karts exited the 120mph, 6th gear Barcroft corner. As the field headed towards the final sector of the first lap, it was clear that the top 4 drivers of Isherwood, Willshire, Morley and Edwards had broken well free of the rest of the field but as Willshire exited the final hairpin in 2nd place, he made a slow exit onto the start finish line; Edwards and Morley capitalised on this to pass Ben Willshire as they started lap 2. Willshire briefly recovered to 3rd, making a brave move on Morley at Tower corner, but Morley recovered quickly and Willshire had lost the ‘sliptream’ affect to stay close to the top 3 drivers. For the remainder of the race, Willshire maintained a healthy gap from the rest of the field and bought his superkart across the line in 4th place.
For Race 2 the team made some set up changes to the gearing of the RG racing superkart, which would optimise top speed around the Croft circuit. Willshire made a good start from 4th place and quickly demoted Morley to 3rd and after the first lap he was comfortably following the battling race leaders of Matt Isherwood and Dan Edwards. A few laps later, Edwards began to slow with an engine problem promoting Willshire to 2nd place however Isherwood had now pulled a large enough gap to secure the race win. Willshire comfortably finished 2nd,some 10 seconds ahead of his 2011 rival Danny Butler who had driven well from 10th on the grid.
Willshire left Croft with some more silverware for the team and stands 2nd in the BSA 125cc National Superkart Championship. He will be looking to go one better at Oulton Park on May 19th, where he secured the lap record, UK cup and tied up the championship back in August 2011.