GREAT Eccleston kart racing star William Taylforth has achieved his first ever podium finish in the national competition - and has proved he’s a genuine threat for British title glory this year.
William grabbed second place in the second final of the meeting at the ultra-fast Shenington circuit, following on from by his brace of top six finishes in the opening round of the karting series.
“The goal for the weekend was just to continue getting consistent results – maybe the top five – to try to improve my championship position and stay in the running,” explained the talented 13-year-old.
“I’ve raced around Shenington quite a lot – we’ve been there nearly every month, I think, getting practice in for the nationals and finishing repeatedly inside the top six or top ten – so I know it well and it’s a track that I enjoy. It’s very fast and demanding to drive.”
Fifth position in qualifying amongst the 32-strong Comer Cadet class field was a promising start, but William’s two heats would yield a distinctly mixed bag. An exclusion from seventh place in the first of them for his part in a collision was a frustrating outcome, but then the Hodgson High School pupil put that disappointment behind him to finish an excellent second in heat two – what he described as a ‘really enjoyable’ race until a subsequent five-place penalty demoted him to seventh.
He began the pre-final from right the way down in 28th spot on the starting grid - but would soon be making outstanding progress.
“I focussed on the start and looked a long way ahead to the hairpin, because I knew there would almost certainly be a pile-up there,” he recalled. “There was, and after that I just concentrated my efforts on going forward – and I managed to work my way right up to first with a couple of laps to go.
“I think I was in shock when I took the lead – it suddenly hit me that I had come from the back of the grid to the very front. Unfortunately, in the closing stages I got knocked around a bit and fell to seventh at the end. I was a bit disappointed because I knew I could have won, which would have been amazing given where I had started, but I still tried to look on the bright side and ahead to the second final.
“Starting from much further forward this time, I knew anything was possible,” continued William.
“Having gone from 28th on the grid to first, I knew it would be much easier from seventh. I got a very good start, and coming out of the hairpin on the opening lap I was up to fourth. I was in the top three for most of the race but about halfway through I got a bit bashed around.
“There was a lot of battling going on for the top positions, but I managed to get my head down and pull it back.
“I made an attempt to grab the lead going into the chicane on the last lap, but it didn’t quite come off so I just made sure I defended second place. My team-mate got a run on me and pulled alongside going across the finish line, so when I came back to the pits I had a little bit of doubt about whether I had actually finished second – but when I found out I had, I was really pleased.’’
With barely a tenth of a second blanketing the top three in a photo-finish at the flag and a much better fastest lap time than the race-winner, William was justifiably proud of his achievement.
William moved up from fourth in the title chase ahead of the weekend to third – and a mere three points adrift of the leader.
His next race is at his ‘home’ circuit of Three Sisters near Wigan for the second outing in the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone-backed Formula Kart Stars Championship.