After three victories in the six events of the third Radical Carnival at Bushy Park Barbados (January 27/28), Suleman Esuf is the early leader of the 2018 Radical Caribbean SR3 Cup. Sean Maloney, who established a new Qualifying Lap Record on Sunday, won twice to lie second in the standings, with brother Stuart third, after a string of second-place finishes.
In the cool of Saturday evening, under the all-arena lighting, Mark Maloney had added a new Qualifying Record to the Race Record he set last year, although he was to hold it for less than 24 hours. His fifth SR3 Cup pole position, achieved with a time of 58.285s, lowered Kristian Jeffrey of Guyana’s time by 33/1000ths of a second, while the next three drivers on the grid, Sol Esuf, Sean and Stuart Maloney, also recorded personal best qualifying laps.
England’s Mark Crader qualified fifth and fastest of the visitors, while teenager Tremaine Forde-Catwell was an impressive sixth in his debut outing in the SR3 Cup, ahead of America’s James Parr – he also achieved a qualifying PB – and Italy’s Roman Aebi and Marcello Marateotto.
Contact as the tightly-packed field turned into the Dipper on first lap resulted in pole-sitter Maloney spinning out of the lead, which was assumed by ‘Sol’ Esuf, chased hard by Stuart and Sean Maloney. All three set PB lap times, Esuf’s just four-hundredths off Maloney’s lap record, as the chase continued throughout the 15 laps, Esuf claiming victory by just eight-tenths. While Mark Maloney retired after a handful of laps, there was a terrific battle between Crader and Forde-Catwell, the first of many over the weekend, the Englishman claiming fourth place after the teenager dropped back.
Parr was on pole for the reversed grid second race, but dropped back steadily as the race progressed; Sean Maloney made an early break and, despite brother Stuart lowering his PB again, Sean won by 1.2secs, with Mark completing a family lock-out of the podium. The day’s final race ended in almost the same way, although Sean’s winning margin was down to six-tenths and Esuf was third. Another good tussle between Crader and Forde-Catwell ended when the latter ploughed off at the Hammer with two laps to go, striking the barriers a hefty blow.
While everyone had expected Saturday’s night-time sessions to promote quick lap times, the pace was just as hot on Sunday afternoon, when Sean Maloney’s 58.221s shaved another six-hundredths off the Qualifying Record; Esuf lined up second, with Stuart and Mark Maloney on row two.
The pole-sitter made a excellent getaway, chased by Esuf and his two siblings and looked set to win an uneventful race . . . until the last lap, when he slid off at the Dipper, handing Esuf the lead, ahead of Stuart and Mark Maloney. Forde-Catwell, whose damaged car had been rebuilt overnight, and Crader enjoyed another spirited battle, the local driver prevailing. Esuf was then disqualified for a weighbridge infringement, which affected his grid position for the second race, but he was later reinstated.
The inexperienced Italian brothers Roman and Oliver Aebi elected not to start from the front row of the reversed grid, despite being within the 107 per cent rule, which put Crader and Forde-Catwell at the sharp end. As the lights went out, however, pole man Crader fumbled the start, allowing a quick-starting Mark Maloney into the lead . . . and that is where he stayed; Stuart Maloney and Esuf completed the podium.
With the day’s final grid based on points scored earlier, Esuf started from pole, ahead of Mark, Stuart and Sean Maloney. And that is how the race result looked set to be written as well, until Stuart retired on the Clubhouse Straight with an as-yet undiagnosed engine problem, leaving Esuf the winner, with Mark and Sean the other podium finishers. Once again, a highlight was the Forde-Catwell and Crader Show, with the Englishman eventually finding a way past to finish fourth.
Radical Caribbean SR3 Cup, round 1 (January 27)
Race 1: 1st Suleman Esuf; 2nd Stuart Maloney; 3rd Sean Maloney; 4th Marc Crader - ENG; 5th Tremaine Forde-Catwell; 6th James Parr - USA; 7th Oliver Aebi – ITA; 8th Roman Aebi - ITA; DNF Mark Maloney Race 2: 1st Sean Maloney; 2nd Stuart Maloney; 3rd M Maloney; 4th Forde-Catwell; 5th Esuf; 6th Crader; 7th Parr; 8th O Aebi; DNF R Aebi Race 3: 1st Sean Maloney; 2nd Stuart Maloney; 3rd Suleman Esuf; 4th M Maloney; 5th Crader; 6th Parr; 7th R Aebi; 8th O Aebi; DNF Forde-Catwell
Points after round 1: 1st Sean Maloney 65pts; 2nd Stuart Maloney 54pts; 3rd Esuf 50pts; 4th Crader 30pts; 5th M Maloney 27pts; 6th Forde-Catwell & Parr 22pts; 8th O Aebi 14pts; 9th R Aebi 12pts
Radical Caribbean SR3 Cup, round 2 (January 28)
Race 1: 1st Esuf; 2nd Stuart Maloney; 3rd M Maloney; 4th Sean Maloney; 5th Forde-Catwell; 6th Crader; 7th R Aebi; 8th O Aebi Race 2: 1st M Maloney; 2nd Stuart Maloney; 3rd Esuf; 4th Sean Maloney; 5th Forde-Catwell; 6th Crader; 7th R Aebi; 8th O Aebi Race 3: 1st Esuf; 2nd M Maloney; 3rd Sean Maloney; 4th Crader; 5th Forde-Catwell; 6th R Aebi; 7th Marcello Marateotto - ITA; DNF Stuart Maloney
Points after round 2: 1st Esuf 115 points; 2nd Sean Maloney 104pts; 3rd Stuart Maloney 90pts; 4th M Maloney 85pts; 5th Crader 58pts; 6th Forde-Catwell 52pts; 7th O Aebi 28pts; 8th R Aebi 24pts; 9th Parr 22pts; 10th Marateotto 8pts