Josh White homes in on title after Whilton Mill victories

West Yorkshire-based youngster takes two more wins during rounds nine and ten of the 2011 Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone Formula One Management-backed Formula Kart Stars (FKS) series

Josh White took another step closer to championship glory following rounds nine and ten of the 2011 British Formula Kart Stars (FKS) series at Whilton Mill in Northamptonshire last weekend.

Josh, who went into the latest FKS fixture with a commanding lead in the MiniMax class for 11-16 year-olds, enjoyed another superb weekend, and hot on the heels of his victory seven days earlier in the prestigious stand-alone Gold Cup meeting at Three Sisters in Wigan, he once again set the standard. Indeed he won both finals at 'the Mill - increasing his tally to 1505 points and stretching his cushion over his closest rival to 64-points ahead of the final FKS meeting at Ellough Park later this month.

Josh had to work for it however, after a mechanical issue in qualifying on the Saturday, left him down in 16th and towards the back of the grid. He began the fight back in the very first heat though and while he got pushed off at the start, he soon stormed through the pack and eventually finished in fifth. In the second heat, Josh made a strong start and immediately moved up to ninth. He then brought his RL Racing Department Ltd-run kart home in third, gaining second when one of his team-mates was excluded.

For the round nine final of the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone Formula One Management-backed series, Josh started second after his success in the heats and immediately he took the lead on the opening lap, a position he was never to relinquish, as he utterly dominated, finishing 8 seconds up on the driver in P2.

“After winning the Gold Cup I was full of confidence and knew I had the pace to do well,” Josh said. “Qualifying was tough and we were forced to finish the session early due to a problem with the kart. I only did seven laps and so I didn’t get a good time. Then in the first heat everyone ran into each other at the start and I got hit off, so I was pleased to come back to fifth. In the second heat we got a better start and that allowed us to get a top-three.

“For the final I got the lead early on, after another good start, and was able to pull out a pretty big gap. I surprised myself a bit really with the margin I managed to pull out over second. Once I got into the lead though I had no trouble.”

The next day the Ilkley Grammar School pupil was seventh in the damp second FKS MiniMax qualifying session and the results in the heats pretty much mirrored that on the Saturday. Indeed he was sixth in the first heat - despite a crash that dropped him to 14th on the opening lap, and he then took the runners-up spot in the second heat, setting the fastest lap in the process.

The round ten final also brought another victory and from fourth on the grid, Josh moved up to third on lap three, second on lap eight and then first on lap 15, a position he held all the way to the ‘flag on lap 20.

“I didn’t quite get the right lap in during qualifying,” Josh continued, “but still seventh wasn’t too bad a place to start both the heats from, especially as I was down in 16th yesterday!

“In the first heat we again had quite a big crash at the start and it left the kart bent. That made things tough, so to get sixth was good. The second heat was a bit more straightforward and I finished right behind the winner. The final however was a lot harder than on Saturday. I had to fight my way through. But I managed to catch up with the leader with a few laps to go and got past and pulled out a bit of a cushion as the two behind me started battling.

“I’d like to thank RL Racing Department Ltd for getting the kart set up so well. It felt really good in both the finals and I think we could have won the heats as well had we had started a bit higher up. Overall though, I am very pleased with two victories. It has been a great weekend and we scored a lot of points.”

The concluding two rounds of the 2011 Formula Kart Series at Ellough Park now take place in three weeks time (September 24-25), although before that Josh will run in the British Super One Rotax Series, with the sixth and penultimate round of that championship taking place at PF International seven days before (September 17-18).

“For Super One I need get as many points as I can, while for FKS I have just got to stay near my nearest rival and just keep trying to beat him. That should help us win the FKS championship,” Josh added. “I didn’t have so much luck last year at Ellough Park. I think I had tyre problems. But it is quite a physical track and I don’t think I was quite ready for it. This year though I will be. We are due to test at that track this week. I want to make sure I am quick.”

RL Racing Department Ltd team owner Steve Armstrong meanwhile was delighted to see Josh come back and win both finals: “Josh just takes the bull by the horns,” Steve said. “On Saturday we made an error as a team in the qualifying session and he had to start way down. But he made good and got through to second and fifth in the heats and started nearer the front for the final. He then just reeled the leader in, caught him, passed him and pulled away massively. 

“On Sunday it was a difficult wet qualifying and in the first heat he had a big crash and had to come right from the back again. But he came back to sixth and then got a second in the other one. Then in the final he just really reeled the leader in and really showed his true pace. It was a very good move for the lead - he closed it off, shut the door and that was it.

“We will now go to Ellough Park aiming to win because it is our home circuit. Josh struggled a little bit there last season. But he has a year under his belt now and besides he is twice the driver he was twelve months ago. He will be fine. He is leading the championship because he wins races and that will be the target again. He will also be well ready for it with PFI just the week before.”

“After winning the Gold Cup the previous week, we seem to have hit the right sort of pace yet again,” added Josh’s father, Nick. “Whilton Mill is one of Josh’s favourite tracks and so we always expected to do well. Two more wins was exactly what we wanted.”