The Golden Helmet weekend at Whilton may be on the horizon for the competitors in the inaugural Formula Kart Stars Senior Rotax season but before drivers can start thinking about the litany of prizes on offer in the Formula One Management backed Championship there was the small matter of Challenge events seven and eight at the spectacular Glan Y Gors circuit in North Wales.
Joining the grid for Saturday’s seventh Challenge was TV presenter Vicki Butler-Henderson (CRG UK) who was filming a future episode of Channel 5 programme Fifth Gear and the Welsh weather ensured that her return to kart racing after an absence of 20-years provided every sort of challenge imaginable.
Formula Kart Stars Senior Rotax Challenges
Sultry skies finally began spitting their contents over the circuit just as Saturday’s timed qualifying session began; leaving the field stranded on slick tyres and with the precipitation intensifying as the ten minutes progressed those who got an early banker lap in were left with the biggest smiles when the chequered flag flew.
Celebrating his first pole position of the year when the dust, or should that read spray, settled was independent driver Lincoln Newby, who outpaced Ryan Norris (TMR Developments), James Singleton (Coles Racing) and Josh Gollin by more than half a second.
Newby’s fortunes weren’t as great in heat one, which took place in full wet conditions with drivers properly equipped with the correct rubber. On his home circuit Singleton was untouchable and beat fellow Welshman Josh Collings (CRG UK) to the flag by more than a second with Norris, who celebrated his 18th birthday on the Thursday of race week, four seconds adrift in third.
Singleton also showed his prowess his heat two, which was held in dry conditions, beating Norris and Charlie Turner (Coles Racing) to secure pole position for the final.
Frustratingly for Singleton, his early pace in the final didn’t last and he was eventually overhauled by Norris and Collings with Gollin demoting him to fourth late on. At the front Norris held off a sustained challenge from Collings to score his first Senior victory while Butler-Henderson, who began the day eight seconds off the pace had reduced that margin to just three en-route to eighth place.
With Butler-Henderson absent from Sunday’s proceedings her place in the CRG UK team was taken by Nigel Hughes, who, at 56-years of age, became the oldest Formula Kart Stars competitor in the 16-year history of the series. Incredibly Hughes was mere 1.2-seconds off the pace of the leaders throughout the day although a first lap spin in the final ruined his chances of scoring a shock upset.
At the front of the field Singleton finally secured that elusive maiden victory as a Senior driver, taking a clean sweep of qualifying, the heats and the final although a determined chase from Norris kept Singleton’s winning margin down to a handful of kart lengths. After writing off his chassis in heat one, Collings surged through the field to complete the podium although Colombian driver Nicolas Morales (Vital Motorsport) starred in the early going before slipping back to fourth in the final reckoning.
For full race results from Glan-Y-Gors please click here