Singleton seals stunning breakthrough Senior class victory

as he cracks British top ten

James Singleton has had double cause for celebration of late, after climbing into the top ten in the British Championship standings at Senior Rotax level with a superb weekend north of the border at Larkhallswiftly followed by his breakthrough national victory in his new class on home turf at Glan Y Gors.

James travelled to Scottish circuit Larkhallone of his favourites in the UKbidding to convert the raw pace he has displayed all season in the fiercely-contested Super 1 Series into solid on-track results, which he had hitherto been denied by a variety of misfortunes.

We were targeting two consistent top ten finishes, revealed the gifted young North Wales karting star. Weve not had the best of luck in Super 1 so far in 2012, but we always knew Senior Rotax was going to be tough with so many excellent and experienced drivers in the class, so we were treating this year as a learning year.

Larkhall doesnt have the longest lap in the country by any means, but you never get much of a break around ittheres always something coming up. You need to be switched on all the time, which is physically and mentally draining, especially in finals that last 20 minutes. Maintaining 100 per cent concentration race-long is key.

In changeable conditions in qualifying, the wrong tyre pressures left James short on grip and a lowly 18th out of the 34 contenders, representing the veritable crme de la crme of British driving talent at Senior Rotax level. From there, the Gwynedd Forklifts-backed, Conwy-based speed demon began his two heat races towards the foot of the top ten, and competitive performances in both yielded a brace of eighth places, in the latter encounter less than a second-and-a-half adrift of the driver in third.

That put me tenth on the grid for the pre-finalon the unfavourable outside lineand I knew I would need to get across to the inside as quickly as possible to avoid being hung out to dry, James recounted. Luckily, there was a gap that I was able to slot into and I came out of the first corner in ninth. As the race went on, my kart got better and better and I hauled the leading pack in and made up a few places to finish sixth. I was really pleased with that; it put us towards the front for the grand final, which is what we had been aiming for.

I lost a position at the start of that race, but considering I was on the outside line, that wasnt any major drama. We had maybe gone a touch too low on tyre pressures again, though, and it took a while for the kart to truly come on-formbut when it did, I had a lot more confidence and was able to go into the corners harder.

With a few laps remaining, I caught a couple of drivers ahead who were battling, but unfortunately I clipped a kerb and lost some time, so I had to settle for fifth. Still, we were less than a second behind the defending British Champion at the flag, and to be matching him for pace halfway through our rookie season in Seniors was really encouragingdefinitely more than we could have expected back at the beginning of the year.

Vaulting himself into the top ten in the title standings in the process, the highly-rated Penmaenmawr hotshot and MSA Academy member headed a week later to local circuit Glan Y Gors for the fourth outing in fellow national championship Formula Kart Stars (FKS), a series that is officially endorsed by both 2008 F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton and the sports influential ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone.

James has invariably been the quickest Senior Rotax driver in FKS all year aboard his Coles Racing mount, with two pole positions from four attempts prior to GYG and twice as many heat race triumphs as any of his rivals. He had, though, found himself routinely luckless in the finals, with the Kimbolton curtain-raiserbeing shunted unceremoniously off the track at the first corner before scything his way magnificently back through to finish second, almost within touching distance of the winnersomewhat symptomatic of his fortunes.

That theme continued on Saturday at GYG, as James FKS curse struck once again. After missing the best of the conditions in qualifying and consequently lining up third, the 16-year-old Ysgol Aberconwy pupil rapidly made amends with a pair of flawless lights-to-flag heat victories, only for a sticking power valve to scupper his chances in the final and leave him a frustrated fourth. The following day, however, nothing would stop him, as he dominated from qualifying right the way through to the final to seal a long-overdue maiden success.

We always turn up aiming to win, but to do so after everything that had happened in previous FKS finals this year was a massive confidence boost, he confessed. The monkeys off my back. Its been a really positive couple of weekendsthe best weve had in a while. Weve known the pace has been there all yearits just getting the win at national level that has been elusivebut the pressure has eased because weve proved we can do it. Now we need to run with this momentum and keep our current form going.

James is seeking sponsors to help support his burgeoning career; if you are interested in backing him, please contact his father Mark on 07795 297350 or at: gwyneddforklifts@ukf.net


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