|James Appleton used the advice reigning Super 1 champion Chris Rogers gave to him in the best possible way, by winning the second round of the BRDC Stars of Tomorrow Championship at PFi yesterday (19/20 April). The 12-year old James – who races with the NJR team - took a convincing victory at the rain-soaked Lincolnshire circuit.|
He started his Stars campaign well on Saturday’s opening round, with an encouraging 6th place in the Final which convinced the team that they had a strong platform to build upon for Sunday’s racing.
And it certainly looked that way when James took a convincing win in his first race of the day. He said: “I started in 4th place (on the grid) and it was raining hard but I got to the front, pulled away and opened a massive gap to win.”
In his second heat, James started from 23rd place and tigered up to 8th place. Despite this, he wasn’t entirely happy: “I started dead last, but wasn’t quite quick enough to get further.”
In the third heat, another superb performance saw him muscle his way from 9th place into 2nd - “I got up to the front of the chasing pack in just two laps but the leader had got away and I just couldn’t catch him. Still, I was happy with 2nd.”
James’ results gave him pole position for the Final and prior to the start, he was very cool – but only about the race - “I was sat on pole and said “Dad I’m getting really stressed”. He said “Why?” and I said, “Because I haven’t done my RE homework.”
With the rain teeming down, Clerk of the Course, Nigel Edwards ordered a start at “jogging speed”, which James delivered. However, once the light had gone green, he rocketed away from his unsuspecting rivals. He explains: “Within two to three corners I was a second ahead. My team-mate, Jake Dalton, had got up to 2nd and was very quick. Unfortunately, he had a mechanical failure and that helped me to extend my lead. But I was really disappointed for him.”
However, a mistake midway through the race saw him lose time and the 2nd-placed man, Matt Parry close to within a metre. However, Parry too made an error allowing James to re-establish his lead and keep pushing to the chequered flag.
James was keen to thank Chris Rogers, Nick Jest of NJR and Ricky Grice for their superb help and support throughout the weekend.
Now lying at the sharp-end of the table, James is confident that he can build upon Sunday’s success: “I’m up there now (in the Championship standings) and want to be on top at the end. But I’m now one of the drivers everyone else would like to beat, so we’ll see...”