The penultimate Radical Challenge round of 2019 is poised to serve up a belter at Brands Hatch, as a three-way battle for the coveted championship crown heats up ahead of its inevitable conclusion at the Donington Park season finale.
After 15 races across five rounds, there’s still nothing to choose between defending Champion and current leader, Dominik Jackson, 360 Racing’s Jérôme de Sadeleer and top newcomer, Jac Constable. The same can be said of intense battles throughout the table, thanks to the fierce level of competition delivered by packed grids of identical SR3 RSXs – the most successful racing car sold worldwide.
Former SR1 Cup Champion, de Sadeleer managed to out-score Jackson by nine points at Silverstone to sit 37 points adrift of the top spot. Hot on his heels, 48 points behind, lies Constable. With 85 points separating the trio and 420 points still up for grabs this term, the championship could swing either way.
But how will they fare around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit? Jackson will be eager to return to race-winning form for the first time since his Spa hat-trick, whilst de Sadeleer feels he has a score to settle after a tricky Brands debut last year.
De Sadeleer says: “For me there’s unfinished business at Brands Hatch, as I crashed last year in the last turn there whilst trying to overtake for second. I’ll be pushing, but not too hard, just looking for opportunities to make up some places, but with all eyes on the points. It’s fine if Dominik even makes some points over me, as all it takes is a tiny error and I can get ahead.
“Brands Hatch is one of the most historic and exciting tracks in the UK. Racing there is exhilarating with no room for error and a mistake can put you straight in the barrier. It should be quite a level playing field as I believe a few of us, myself included, have had any opportunity to test on the GP circuit so it’ll be interesting come qualifying.”
Constable may be trailing on outright wins, but with two notched up in the last two rounds, the Fix Auto with Hart GT driver is eager to continue that winning momentum.
As Silverstone bore witness, fresh challengers are poised to steal high point-scoring results. Series returnee, and 2018 750MC Bikesports Champion, Joe Stables took his first Challenge win in the third encounter. Then there’s Valour Racing’s Marcus Clutton, who shadowed Stables to the flag after two previous charges from the back of the 26-car grid after issues in qualifying.
Clutton adds that he’s hoping for more big results at Brands GP: “The Brands Hatch GP Circuit is exceptional, probably the best track in the UK, but we so rarely get to race on it that it’s even more special when we do. I’ll be heading there with no testing time, but I’m hoping that I’ll be where I want to be within three or four laps of qualifying.
“With a one-day event, there’s no time to mess around or room for error. It’ll be an intense day for all the drivers and teams. What’s surprised me coming into Radical Challenge is that everyone is seriously competitive and wants to win. There are probably six or more drivers capable of the win and the rest are gunning to pick up the pieces. I think I can be pretty proud of what I’ve come in and achieved.”
John MacLeod leads the fierce fight for fourth by one point from RAW Motorsports teammate Elliot Goodman. Stablemate Spencer Bourne and Scorpio’s Brian Caudwell, who sit five points apart in sixth and seventh, could yet gate-crash MacLeod and Goodman’s party.
Like MacLeod, however, Le Mans Cup racer Mark Crader, LMP3 convert Jason Rishover, multiple rookie podium finisher Jon MacRae, newcomer Guillaume Gruchet and 360 Racing’s Mark Richards will all be eager for a strong showing on home ground. Rod Goodman, Brain Murphy and Oli Marateotto Jr will be aiming to spoil their plans. Another returning entry is Peter Tyler, who rejoins the 360 Racing team for the first time since the opening round of the year at Donington Park.
In Team Challenge, father-and-son duo Chris and Daniel Headlam head to Brands after another hat-trick of class wins to put them within striking distance of leaders Amir Feyzulin and Anton Zakharov. However, Chris will have to cope solo this weekend with Daniel absent.
The Radical Challenge competitors are again primed for three races across a single day, with qualifying scheduled to begin at 1000hrs before the first of two 50-minute endurance outings gets underway at 1210. The 20-minute sprint race is at 1500, with the final 50-minute contest set for 1730. Live timing will be available via TSL-timing.com.