It matters not whether the sun is shining or the rain is falling or whether the kart track in question is in Scotland, England or Wales, CRG drivers still find themselves in the same place: the top step of the podium.
Rising Senior Rotax star and current CRG UK driver Josh Collings and third place driver in the 2011 Junior Rotax World Finals James Singleton have kept the black, silver and orange express on the victory trail in the Formula One Management backed Formula Kart Stars Championship.
Between them, Collings and Singleton have guided their 2012 CRG chassis to victory in three of the last four FKS Challenge events with former kart racer turned television presenter Vicki Butler-Henderson also choosing the CRG chassis for her return to top flight kart racing for the first time in more than 20 years.
Following his triumph in the second FKS Challenge event at Kimbolton and a performance at the Welsh Championships at Llandow in June that netted everything, heartbreakingly, save for the coveted C Plate, Collings turned disappointment into double victory for his 2012 CRG at the Larkhall circuit in Scotland, which played host to the fifth and sixth FKS Challenge events of the year.
Taking advantage of his CRG’s handling on slick tyres in the damp but drying conditions Collings powered his way to the head of the field in the early stages of the fifth Challenge final and held off a late charge from a rival. In recording his second FKS triumph of the year the young Welshman praised the handling of his chassis around Larkhall’s fast, flowing, but treacherously slippery sweeps and bends.
“The handling was very good,” commented the CRG UK driver. “The track just dried out enough for slicks so the conditions were challenging but the kart coped really well with it.”
Sunday’s final saw no need for Collings’ slick tyres to emerge from their bags however as persistent rain made for a thoroughly wet race. Having been in the thick of the lead scrap throughout the heats Collings began Sunday’s final from the front, and stayed there for the entire race, taking his FKS win ratio up to fifty per cent with the most convincing win of the season yet.
“I’m very pleased with the result,” commented Collings, who led home his fellow Welshman James Singleton for a CRG 1-2. “Even though it was starting to dry out it was still very, very slippery. It’s great to see CRG staying on the top of the podium and I’d like to thank Steve Ogden for all the engines.”
Following their Welsh 1-2 in Scotland, it was only fitting that a CRG driver would be responsible for putting the ‘Red Dragon’ on top of the podium in its homeland and at the rolling, undulating Glan Y Gors circuit in North Wales, Singleton was the man to do it.
Fresh from his runner up effort in the FKS event at Larkhall and an equally impressive top five finish in the Super One event at the Scottish venue Singleton arrived at his home circuit in a confident mood following a string of glitches that had previously masked the incredible potential of the Singleton/CRG/Coles Racing combination.
A string of heat wins was followed by a glorious victory in Challenge eight, where Singleton calmly converted pole position into a win that mirrored his numerous triumphs en-route to the 2011 FKS Junior Rotax title in terms of its pace and precision.
After CRG driver Charlie Turner won at GYG in the pre-Super One warm up event in similar dry conditions to Singleton’s FKS victory, the CRG chassis is now established as the weapon of choice at a circuit regarded widely as a major challenge for drivers owing to his fast and flowing first half of the lap and slow and technical second half.
For Singleton it marked the biggest win of his Senior Rotax career to date.
“It’s been a really positive couple of weekends,” commented Singleton. “The best we’ve had in a while. We’ve known the pace has been there all year; it’s just getting the win at national level that has been elusive. But the pressure has eased because we’ve proved we can do it. Now we need to run with this momentum and keep our current form going.”
CRG now has four Senior Rotax wins in eight FKS events this year, a tally unrivalled by any other manufacturer.
As Singleton was celebrating victory, double Larkhall winner Collings was putting in another stellar performance to secure a double podium finish in the two finals but, at Glan Y Gors, his performances on the track were equally as impressive as his mentoring skills off the circuit as he was joined in the CRG UK camp by ‘Fifth Gear’ presenter and former kart racer Vicki Butler-Henderson.
Butler-Henderson, or VBH as she is known in motorsport circles, was a contemporary of David Coulthard in her earlier karting career but despite driving, racing and testing some of the world most exotic machinery in her time as a TV presenter, she hadn’t sat in a kart for more than 20 years until climbing aboard her 2012 CRG for Saturday’s Challenge event at Glan Y Gors.
With the Fifth Gear cameras filming every moment of VBH’s raceday, Collings, and the CRG team comprising Nigel Hughes and Daryl Henderson, played a pivotal role in helping VBH reduce her lap times considerably during the day until she was within three seconds of the FKS frontrunners, Collings and Singleton included.
“I wouldn’t say it was easy but it was definitely easier thanks to the kart,” commented VBH, who knows a thing or two about good handling racing machines. “I’ve got such a great respect for Josh, he was a great teammate and the whole group have such great fun but they also take it very seriously. Nigel [Hughes] was such an absolute superstar and kept sorting my kart out and I have so much respect and thanks for my team.”