After four rounds and 12 races, just two points separate Steve Burgess and Dominik Jackson in the battle for the 2018 Radical Challenge crown. Heading into the second half of the season, this is one intense title fight that shows no signs of abating.
The RAW Motorsports duo share all but one victory between them so far. Burgess holds the upper hand with seven wins to his credit but, since round three at Spa, Jackson has snatched four dominant victories from his teammate’s grasp.
A clean sweep in Belgium gave Jackson the advantage heading into the previous Oulton Park round, but a brake issue and race one spin left him salvaging points for eighth while Burgess took win number six.
A late red flag towards the end of race two brought a premature conclusion to that epic tussle, leaving the former champ to double-up before the tables turned again. Race three and Jackson returned to the fore for the fourth time while a spin and full pit stop success penalty left Burgess sixth.
So, with more of the same all but guaranteed for the rest of the season, who can get the jump at Snetterton? On paper, the 2016 title holder may have the benefit of experience and previous winner’s glory but Jackson can already lay claim to four from six podiums there last year, his series debut season.
“Snetterton is a strong circuit for me, so I hope to have the edge this weekend,” says Burgess. “This time, Dom will have the maximum success penalty for the first race, so I doubt we’ll be racing to the flag. But that situation could well be in reverse come race three! There’s nothing to choose between us, so the pit stop penalties will play a big factor in the final half of the season.”
“With the vast points range on offer, 80 points for each endurance and 40 points for a sprint win, the current difference is insignificant,” says Jackson. “We were a bit unfortunate with a brake issue taking us out of the race one lead at Oulton, so I’m hoping to get back to the top of the table.
“I feel like I’m in a better place for Snetterton this year, I know the circuit much better than I did Spa or Oulton. For me the key will be maximising my race one result whilst carrying the last round success penalty. It’ll be all about getting ahead at the start, pushing to build up a gap to negate the penalty and ensure a place on the podium. It should be fun!”
The other race winner so far this season, Jerôme de Sadeleer is locked in battle with Kristian Jeffrey for third with just 33 points separating the pair. Snetterton is a strong circuit for both drivers; it’s where de Sadeleer sealed his SR1 Cup crown while Jeffrey is a multiple podium finisher at the Norfolk track. Both are fully capable of upsetting the status quo.
Standout performances from Mark Richards and Brian Murphy saw two new visitors to the Radical rostrum at Oulton Park. Mark Crader and Marcello Marateotto can also be counted among the podium finishers this term, while Elliott Goodman edges ever closer to ranking in the top three.
Add to that Brian Caudwell, Challenge returnees Richard Baxter and Jason Rishover, plus Solo class entry switches for John Caudwell and Peter Tyler, and the midfield fight promises to be as equally fierce.
It’s back to a two-day programme of Radical action at Snetterton, with qualifying set to start at 09:00 followed by the first 40-minute endurance with compulsory pit stop at 13.20. Racing resumes on Sunday with the 20-minute sprint race taking place at 11:10 ahead of the final endurance battle at 16:00.
Follow the blow-by-blow action on the official Radical Sportscars social media channels. Live timing is available via www.tsl-timing.com while race highlights will be uploaded to the Radical Sportscars YouTube channel.
Radical Challenge Provisional Championship Standings (after 4 of 7 rounds)
1. Steve Burgess 654
2. Dominik Jackson 652
3. Jerôme de Sadeleer 522
4. Kristian Jeffrey 489
5. Elliot Goodman 365
6. Mark Crader 329
1. Peter Tyler / Tom Gladdis 331
2. John Caudwell / Stuart Mosley 160
3. Joe / Adrian Watt 90
4. Peter / Matt Brookes 70
5. Ted Murray / Dan Crossley 62