Burgess Takes Final Win; Jackson Crowned Challenge Champion

Burgess Takes Final Win; Jackson Crowned Challenge Champion

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Dominik Jackson was crowned 2018 Radical Challenge Champion at Silverstone, his outstanding tally of seven wins and 14 podiums over 19 races securing the title by 53 points.

This season has seen one of the closest championship battles in series history, with only a handful of points separating RAW Motorsports teammates, Jackson and arch rival Steve Burgess. Heading in to the final showdown, just 76 points separated the pair and with 210 points still up for grabs, the title fight remained wide open.

Despite Nottingham-man Burgess re-igniting his title hopes with his ninth win this term on Saturday morning, the 2016 Champion was powerless to close the final gap due to no racing taking place at the circuit on Sunday. 

Lincolnshire pole-sitter, Jackson led the way for race one with Burgess in hot pursuit, the title protagonists initially pulling clear of Jerôme de Sadeleer and Kristian Jeffrey in the tricky, wet conditions. But, as the surface water began to disperse, it was de Sadeleer that was on the move and past Burgess by lap four.
A three-car fight between Marcello Marateotto, Jeffrey and Brian Caudwell unfolded for fourth, the latter outwitting both drivers and Burgess to sit third. Meanwhile, Jackson continued to edge out a 5.6 second lead in a bid to negate his 20-second success penalty carried over from his last round Rockingham win.
With de Sadeleer also serving an additional 10 success seconds, Burgess emerged from the pit lane in Jackson’s wheel tracks second overall on fresh slicks. His wet tyres destroyed, Jackson had no answer to his charging teammate, who moved into the lead come Luffield and never looked back.
Losing up to nine seconds a lap as the only front runner still on wets, Jackson became a sitting duck. Falling behind both de Sadeleer and Caudwell, the 2017 Vice Champion was then pipped to fourth on the road by Jeffrey at the line. 

With Caudwell handed a post-race 60-second penalty in lieu of a stop/go infringement, Jackson was promoted to fourth. That left Spencer Bourne to deliver one of his best drives to fifth ahead of Brian Murphy, who charged through to sixth from 12th place following the pit stops.

The weather put a further spanner in the works on Sunday morning, with prolonged torrential rain suspending all track activity before the meeting was abandoned at lunchtime.

Outgoing Radical SR1 Champion, Jerôme de Sadeleer rounded off his maiden Challenge season ranking third overall, 44 points ahead of his closest year-long rival, Guyanese ace Kristian Jeffrey. Youngest driver of the field, Elliot Goodman finished an impressive fifth with Mark Crader completing the top six.

Driver quotes:

Dominik Jackson, 2018 Radical Challenge Champion: “Wow! I think consistency has been key for me this year. It's pretty crazy to be within ten points of each other all season long, especially when there's so many races. It's been fun for everyone. I've had no mechanical issues and I haven't binned it myself either. It's taken me longer to learn the car after being away from racing for so long, but it's all come together now. It's a bit of an anti-climax with the meeting being cancelled, but the team has been great all year, it's been a great season with RAW.”

Steve Burgess: “It's been some of the closest and enjoyable racing of my career, to be honest. It would have been great to end it on a high, but it wasn't to be. For the championship fight to be so close, but then not be able to race due to weather when I had a chance of still winning is highly frustrating. That said, I agree with the decision to not race, it was the right call. The team has been great and done a great job all year.”
Jerôme de Sadeleer:
“I'm very, very pleased. I think I've worked out I have a 50% podium finish ratio for this season. The last two races, I feel like I've got the car set-up better than ever and made a big jump in my abilities to come back stronger next year. I'm going to train hard over the winter with the aim to come back and win the title next season. I'm excited for next year, for sure.”