Darley Moor Race Report
Rounds 9 & 10 British Superkart Championships - Darley Moor, 25th August 2008
The RG Racing outfits of Ben Willshire and Gary James were out competing in rounds 9 and 10 of the 125cc British Superkart Championships at Darley Moor, Derbyshire over the August Bank Holiday weekend. The event would see the British Superkart series support rounds of the Darley Moor motorcycle championships with a variety of motorcycles and sidecars in attendance.
Heading to Darley Moor for the first time, Willshire was placed 7th in the British championship and looking for a solid points finish to maintain or improve on his championship position. James was out to pick up some more championship points having missed the first six rounds of the championship and lying in only 16th place in the series.
The weather at Darley Moor is known to be unpredictable, so bearing in mind that it was an August Bank holiday, the team were prepared for the worst of the weather, and thankfully it did not come. The track stayed dry and qualifying on the 1.5.mile circuit was underway.
Timed practice resulted in Willshire qualifying 8th and Gary James, in 9th position for race 1. Both drivers reported potential areas for improvement on set up for the first race and the team worked on these with the assistance of Phil Featherstone of PFP Services and Bob Clowes of MOTIV to ensure the karts were ready.
The start of race 1 saw a clean getaway from the whole grid with the drivers managing to navigate their way through clouds of cement dust placed on the track surface to dry an oil spillage from an earlier motorcycle race. As the drivers exited the first corner (a fast sequence of S-bends) they headed into the first big braking zone where Willshire took a defensive inside line to maintain his position. He found himself exiting onto the back straight in 8th position which he maintained for the rest of the race despite suffering with minor engine problems. Gary James ran behind Willshire and put in some consistent lap times to bring the kart home in 9th place. A solid finish for both drivers but with plenty more speed still to come.
Race 2 saw plenty of action at the start of the race. As the drivers entered the first sequence of S-bends on lap 1 there was contact between several karts resulting in Noel Lindsay spinning in the middle of the circuit. Several drivers took evasive action and were lucky to narrowly miss the Irishman's kart but Ben Willshire had nowhere to turn and collided heavily with the stationary kart. Martyn Turner and Gary James were also caught up in the incident but fortunately all drivers escaped injury. The race was red flagged but unfortunately Lindsay and Turner were unable to take the re-start due to damage caused to their machines. Willshire was fortunate to sustain only a damaged side-pod and took the re-start in 8th place with James behind sporting tyre marks on the nosecone following earlier contact.
On the re-start of race 2 the pack were all safely through lap 1 and Willshire found himself lying in 7th position, with James running in 8th. Willshire's earlier engine misfire had been resolved and he was now putting in some quick lap times and started to gain on Ian Reid in 5th place and Louise Colin in 6th.
On lap 6 Willshire was able to get a clean exit from the final corner and drive alongside Louise Colin and take the quicker inside line into the next sequence of corners, allowing him to safely take 6th place. Willshire managed to pull out a comfortable gap to hold 6th place until the finish with Gary James taking 8th .
The team gained some valuable points which now leaves Ben in real contention of a top 5 British Championship finish while Gary moved up 2 places in the series to 14th. The season finale will take place at Knockhill in Scotland in October where the triple header will decide the fate of the 2008 British 125cc Superkart Championship.