Radical's UK championship visited Donington Park GP over the weekend of 18-19 September, for the penultimate round of the Radical Challenge and the final round of the Radical SR1 Cup.
Matt Bell took a step closer to sealing the 2021 Radical Challenge title at Donington Park, with two class wins from his three races.
Michael Clark’s RXC Spyder was on pole for the first race, with 360 Racing’s Mark Richards alongside, while Mechtech’s Anthony Ayres was out in a brand new SR3 XX, heading row two from Works driver Jason Rishover.
Ayres managed to build a good first lap lead in the opening race, with RAW Motorsport’s Bell in third, pressing hard to find a way past Clark.
The straightline speed of the Spyder proved decisive when a challenge into Goddards on lap two saw Clark emerge as the new leader, having almost touched Ayres as he squeezed down the inside.
Rishover had also closed on Bell, and the top four pulled clear, with Chris Short heading the next quartet from John MacLeod, Dean Warriner and Jerome de Sadeleer.
But de Sadeleer was starting to lose touch, which allowed Richards to close, but after he went off at Coppice, Richards set Warriner as his next target.
While Clark took a comfortable overall win, Ayres was well clear in second overall and the Sprint Class winner. “The new car made all the difference, now I am doing the job I knew I could do,” said Ayres.
Bell managed to shake off Rishover to win his class from third, “Once I was clear of Jason it was okay, as I couldn’t have coped with him behind me the whole race,” he reckoned.
Rishover, Short and MacLeod completed the top six, with de Sadeleer having taken Warriner for seventh at McLeans on lap 11.
Chris Preen and James Winslow completed the top 10, after Richards recovered from a first corner gravel excursion, only to vacate seventh when “it died.”
There was drama at the start of the second race when MacLeod’s car wouldn’t start, and he had to be pushed away.
Clark led from the start with Bell and de Sadeleer duelling for second and Rishover under pressure from Short for fourth.
Short was through at Melbourne, but couldn’t shake off his rival. “I don’t know how he still managed to brake and get around the corner after that,” said Rishover.
De Sadeleer started to threaten Bell and managed to successfully squeeze down the inside at Goddards. “I knew he was coming for me, maybe I defended too late,” Bell admitted.
“I had managed to hang on to him and he made one mistake, so I was through,” de Sadeleer replied.
Preen was in sixth, but his race ended when Warriner lost it under braking at Goddards and contact was made.
Out came the Safety Car and from the green flag, Bell was alongside de Sadeleer down the Craner Curves, and back ahead going into the Old Hairpin.
Clark took his second overall win of the weekend, with Bell topping the SR3s, just 0.477 secs ahead of de Sadeleer.
Rishover, Short and Tyler were the rest of the top six, with Ayres seventh, after being squeezed out earlier at Melbourne.
Warriner was eighth, with Richards ninth having passed Elliot Goodman on the last lap, despite visiting the first corner gravel again and going agricultural at Coppice to avoiding a spinner.
The Final Enduro race was red flagged after six laps when the SR1s of Mark Williams and James Hadley crashed out.
From the restart Bell was under pressure from de Sadeleer, but Clark shot past them both into the Esses.
De Sadeleer lost out at Melbourne, “I had two wheels on the grass, just too greedy,” he admitted after dropping to fifth, behind Rishover and Short.
Due to the race distance being shortened Bell made his stop after three laps, but was run off the track by a backmarker after rejoining.
With Clark taking his third overall win, Rishover topped the SR3s for the first time. “I had a good first part and then no one could catch me, I was really on it,” he said.
Short just held off Macleod to complete the podium. “Lots of pressure at the end from John, we both had lock ups and I think he may have missed a gear,” said Short.
Bell finally came home in fifth, from Richards and de Sadeleer, with Elliot Goodman, Jacek Zielonka and Rod Goodman completing the top 10.
Richards received a post race penalty for not serving a stop go, dropping him to 11th behind Steven Lake.
Radical SR1 Cup
RAW Motorsport’s James Lay was crowned Radical SR1 Cup Champion after two entertaining scraps at Donington Park GP last Saturday.
Just a single championship point separated Lay and rival Will Hunt going into the contest, with both drivers eager to take home the spoils.
Polesitter Lay made the best of the start in race one, making an early break with only Daryl De Leon sticking with him.
Frazer McFadden was third, before Nick Zapolski led a four-car train for fourth, from Mackenzie Walker, Hunt and Andy Lowe.
Lay’s lead suddenly grew when De Leon lost drive and pulled off after three laps.
A two-lap safety car period followed but after shaking off a quick challenge from McFadden, Lay was soon back in charge.
Hunt had got Zapolski for fourth from the green flag and quickly closed in on Walker, sneaking past on lap nine.
Lay was clear to take the win, but as Hunt challenged McFadden’s second place into Melbourne on the last lap, Walker got alongside too.
All three were locked together as they approached Goddards. “When I went for the brakes I heard the rear lock up and knew it was over,” Hunt admitted after a spin dropped him back to fourth, behind McFadden and Walker.
“I had a good clean start and just watched it all happen in my mirrors,” said Lay. “My best result and I had some breathing space until the safety car,” McFadden added.
“The safety car helped me, brought me closer. I anticipated that last corner, so went in wide on the outside and it was okay,” said Walker.
Mark Williams got passed Zapolski to take fifth, with Ben Stone sixth, recovering from a first lap spin at Goddards.
Zapolski, Andy Lowe, James Hadley and Gavin McAlpine completed the top 10 on the road, but Lowe and Stone were both given track limit penalties, dropping them to eighth and ninth respectively.
Lay took charge at the start of race two but couldn’t shake off De Leon. Hunt was forced onto the grass on the first lap, but still managed to hold onto third, from Walker, Ockenden and Ben Caisley.
Into the Esses on lap four and De Leon emerged as the new leader, a position he would hold until the end. This victory was De Leon’s first ever in a car, coming just five races since he stepped out of a kart. “James made one mistake and I got him. I don’t think I would have got him otherwise,” he explained.
“I was happy to sit behind though, and now it’s over and I am the Champion, it’s a great weight off my shoulders” added Lay.
Hunt pushed hard and was a clear third. “I lost out at the start when Williams came across at Hollywood and I got on the grass. Then it was a do or die effort at Coppice at the end,” he explained after careering through the gravel and back on.
Walker was fourth throughout, while McFadden and Zapolski completed the top six, with Caisley, Lowe, James Ockenden and Hadley the rest of the top 10.
The Radical Challenge now heads to the final round at Spa Francorchamps over the weekend of 16-17 October, where the championship is set to be decided over the fast and flowing turns of the famous Formula One circuit.