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Bennett 20101Gavin Bennett-Lap record Silverstone

Superkarts break the lap records during Silverstone spring start
Gavin Bennett

Silverstone was reunited with the sound of Superkarts over the first weekend of April. It was a year ago since the first round of the FIA – CIK European Superkart Championships took part at the home of motoracing..

The testing on Friday afternoon proved popular with all the classes giving a chance to run engines in for the racing on Saturday and Sunday

The meeting was to see the first two round of the 125 Open and ICC championships get off to a sunny and cloudy start. Spectators were treated to broken lap records lap after lap and audacious moves from the Superkarts on the 1.63 mile National circuit. The width of the circuit allowed for multiple racing lines. On the Saturday the drivers hade a untimed practice and a times qualifying session. Malcolm Crowe in Div1 set a time of 55.001. In 250 National Paul Platt took the pole time with a 59.524. Ben Willshire was the quickest of the 125 Opens with a 103.327. And in the 125 ICC (KZ1/2) class Bruce Crawley took the honours with a 106.141.

125 Open

The bodywork alterations courtesy of visits to the wind tunnel at MIRA had been used on RG Racing's Ben Willshire's Anderson proved to be working. He finished second to reigning champion Danny Butler blaming a "bit of a bad start". Getting a face full of rubber near Brooklands didn't help either and by the end, only a litre of fuel was left in the tank. Three of the Open karts broke the lap record during the morning race. Butler won despite a thinning brake disc making the kart more difficult to stop towards the end of the race. "Brakes only slow you down!" Butler's mechanic laughed afterwards. His F1 also had older bodywork that required so updating.

For the second race, Willshire was raring to make amends and made a better start. He pursued Butler and reeled him in "waiting to make his move." Willshire had been testing his overtaking moves coming in to Booklands several times and was playing a waiting game. On lap 6 Butler made a mistake under braking spinning at the apex. Colin went to the inside and willshire went to the outside only to be collected by the spinning Butler. Louise Colins was in the thick of it as she described: "Ben was behind me and Danny came in too sideways. I aimed where he was and closed my eyes as I went past him! Ben just clipped Danny." To the sound of "Oohs!" from the Superkart fraternity watching from the grandstand overlooking the corner, both men spun onto the grass and fortunately avoided hitting the barriers. Willshire attempted to continue, but had suffered a puncture and a hole was left in his bodywork. Butler had a right rear wing torn off and soldiered on to finish 4th in class. "I could have won the meeting with that move," Willshire said. Nevertheless, he broke Nathan Freke's 2002 lap record by two tenths. Colins, having suffered a breakage in the steering in the morning race, won the afternoon race. She had made modifications to the front wheels by moving them forward which gave her better stability in the second race.

125 ICC

Usually the ICC's can rival the Opens in speed but at Silverstone they were expected to struggle due to the straights and they did. They were soon lapped by the Division 1 and the Opens. Bruce Crawley driving Energy explained: "They just stall out at the front-end." Crawley set his fastest lap for the class and it was 2 seconds slower to the Opens. During the morning race, he pursued contemporary Kevin Gray but found: "I couldn't outdrag him out of Luffield." The Luffield complex was also "really hard on the tyres." The other reason why was that the Ackermann steering when entering the complex was useful in getting the front wheels to turn in but at the price of increased wear on the inner shoulders of the rear tyres. Fortunately, Crawley had fresh rubber on hand for the second race and a cooler track for the afternoon which helped him win the class. He also called for more drivers to join the ICC.

250 Division 1

Another concern was whether reigning European Superkart Gavin Bennett would attend. A traffic accident near Cheltenham had left him with a twisted spine and prior to this event, he had done no testing. Nonetheless, armed with a new Anderson chassis, he was only 0.228 seconds behind pole-man Malcolm Crowe. Along with the Dunlop control tyres, the Superkarts had to deal with a new compound. At the start, Crowe led away but entering Copse, he ran wide due to cold tyres and in his words Bennett "took advantage of my misdemeanour." A spin at Copse and trouble stuck behind a backmarker meant Bennett won by 15 seconds. "I was getting tired towards the end due to the neck and back," said Bennett. Having run on different carburettor settings for the first race, Bennett made them the same to Crowe's for the second race. Despite not scrubbing his tyres prior to the start, Crowe led for two laps. "He had better speed on the straights," Bennett admitted and he found a way through to win the second race. "Malcolm pushed me hard all the way through." Crowe laughed: "It took him 16 laps to do a faster time than me!" Former World Superkart champion Trevor Roberts retired from both races, but his lap record of 58.66 from 2006 set when he was in Nationals still stands after this meeting. Bennett beat multiple champion John Riley's record set in 2004 by 1 sec and by 3.6 mph.

250 National

Following his win at Darley Moor, Sam Moss was relishing the handling of the SGH saying: "It has so much front end grip. It was if I was running on rails." He pulled into the pits at the end of the first lap of the morning race due to fuel mixture problems. Making it richer he said boosted the horsepower 6-62 horsepower. He retired again in the second race and so did Andrew Gulliford who was using the 450 motocross engine. During the first race he had experienced misfires when he was on the pit straight. Following his success as Driver of the Day at Darley Moor, Aaron Siftleet learnt the National Circuit "quickly" and finished fourth. The Redspeed duo of Stephen Clark and Paul Platt both won the class despite problems with a new ignition system which required the throttle to be feathered. Platt was also 5 mph down on Clark on the straights. Nevertheless, he relished the National circuit having driven the Grand Prix configuration last year. Clark entered the pits during the afternoon race after experiencing problems with the engine. He fought his way up to third before the engine seized. "That's motor racing. You win the first race and retire in the second!" he said with a smile afterwards.

Silverstone_ 2011Results

English tracks lap records

Race 1: Sunday 9:30am

1: Gavin Bennett (Anderson DEA) 17 laps in 15:52.445 (105.31mph) 250 Div1

2:Malcolm Crowe (Anderson DEA) 17 laps in 16:08.253 (103.50mph) Div1

3:Stephen Clark (Anderson Honda) 16 laps in 16:05:113 (97.81mph) 250 National

4:Aaron Sifleet (Anderson Honda) 16 laps in 16:19.893 (96.34mph) 250 National

5: Andrew Gulliford (Cyclone KTM) 16 laps in 16:57.935 (92.74mph) 450 National

6: Kevin Ridley (Jade Honda) 15 laps in 15:54.414 (92.73mph) 250 National

7: Paul Walley (Anderson Honda) 15 laps in 15:55.221 (92.65mph) 250 National

8: Danny Butler (F1 TM) 15 laps in 15:57.359 (92.44mph) 125 Open

9: Ben Willshire (Anderson SGM) 15 laps in 16:02.828 (91.92mph) 125 Open

10: Danny Edwards (F1-TM) 15 laps in 16:33.229 (89.10mph) 125 Open

11: Simon Rushforth (Spyda Pavesi) 15 laps in 16:35.891 (88.87mph) 125 Open

12:Chris Needham (Intrepid-VM) 15 laps in 16:45.896 (87.98mph) 125 Open

13: Gary James (F1-Pavesi) 14 laps in 15:53.127 (86.66mph) 125 Open

14:Louise Colin (Anderson-Pavesi) 14 laps in 15:55.584 (86.44mph) 125 Open

15: Gary Avrill (F1-SGM) 14 laps in 16:23.576 (83.98mph) 125 Open

16: Kevin Gray (Energy TM) 14 laps in 16:24.307 (83.92mph) 125 Open

17: Bruce Crawley (Energy TM) 14 laps in 17:11.584 (80.07mph)

Fastest Laps:

Bennett 55:37 (107.301mph) Div 1 – Lap Record

Clark 59:496 (99.17mph) 250 National

Butler 1:03.036 (93.60mph) 125 Open

Crawley 1:05.586 (89.96mph) 125 ICC (KZ1/2) – Lap Record

Race 2 Sunday 12:19 pm

1: Gavin Bennett (Anderson DEA) 16 laps in 15:00.394 (104.84mph) Div1

2:Malcolm Crowe (Anderson DEA) 16 laps in 15:01.088 (104.76mph) Div1

3:Paul Platt (Anderson Honda) 16 laps in 15:55:122 (98.84mph) 250 National

4:Aaron Sifleet (Anderson Honda) 15 laps in 15:15.010 (96.72mph)

5: Roy Bennett (Anderson Honda) 15 laps in 15:38.979 (94.25mph) 250 National

6: Kevin Ridley (Jade Honda) 15 laps in 15:45.171 (93.63 mph) 250 National

7: Paul Walley (Anderson Honda) 15 laps in 15:46.856 (93.47mph) 250 National

8: Louise Colin (Anderson Pavesi) 15 laps in 16:03.018 (91.90mph) 125 Open

9: Danny Edwards (F1 TM) 14 laps in 15:16.268 (90.15mph) 125 Open

10: Simon Rushforth (Spyda Pavesi) 14 laps in 15:21.863 (89.60mph) 125 Open

11: Danny Butler (F1-TM) 14 laps in 15:22.541 (89.54mph) 125 Open

12:Bruce Crawley (Energy TM) 14 laps in 15:50.676 (86.89mph) 125 Open

13: Gary James (F1-Pavesi) 14 laps in 15:51.291 (86.83mph) 125 Open

14 Gary Avrill (F1-SGM) 14 laps in 16:01.719 (85.89mph) 125 Open

15: Kevin Gray (Energy TM) 14 laps in 15:24.640 (82.95mph) 125 ICC

Fastest Laps:

Bennett 55:587 (106.14mph)

Platt 59:065 (99.89mph)

Willshire 1:02.976 (93.69 mph) – Lap Record

Needham 1:06.497 (88.73mph)

The first round of the MSA Superkart championship is at Snetterton 300 16/17 April

Report by Simon Stiel

Best Regards Rob Willshire

BSA Press and Media Office

Tel: 0044 1256 474067

Ansfone: 0044 1256 474067

Mobile: 0044 7770 280375

MSA British Superkart Championship

MSA British Superkart Grand Prix



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