Shane Stoney extended his SR1 Cup championship lead at Cadwell Park this weekend, adding a further two wins to his season tally, but the Yorkshireman had it far from all his own way.
In race one, the Quattro Motorsport man from York was pushed every inch of the way by reigning champion James Pinkerton in the closest race of the season so far. Although a spin in the wet for Pinkerton in race two took him out of the equation, deteriorating conditions while running on a dry set-up meant Stoney had to work hard for maximum points in Lincolnshire.
The battle between the top two contenders commenced as Stoney and Pinkerton ran wheel-to-wheel down the straight and into Coppice before Stoney edged into the lead at Charlies, Pinkerton glued to his rear wing and Chris Short not far behind.
Avidity Motorsport’s Pinkerton proceeded to pile on the pressure throughout the 20-minute race, setting numerous fastest laps as he chipped away at the gap to Stoney, who was rarely allowed to get more than a second clear. Ultimately, with passing proving tricky around the tight and twisty Lincolnshire track, Stoney refused to be swayed and retained the lead to the flag.
Short, meanwhile, delivered an awesome come-back drive in the spare Radical Works car following a heavy testing accident yesterday, taking the final place on the race one podium and Fangio Trophy win. Shadowing the leaders from the start, Short had to switch his focus to defence to keep Will Hunt at bay after his strong start from sixth on the grid. Despite the reigning Rookie Cup champion’s every effort, lining up overtakes around the 2.18-mile circuit until the final corners, Hunt was unable to find a way past the unflappable Short.
The fight for fifth was another battle to go down to the wire between series newcomers Ross Elliott and Matt Jones. Climbing the field from seventh and eighth on the grid respectively, Elliott managed to hang on to a hard-fought fifth place while Jones took second in the Fangio class as consolation.
With the mid-field fight intensifying with every round, it was the same story further back. David Tagg and Scotsman Mark Williams jostled throughout for fourth and fifth in Fangio Trophy, 10th and 11th overall, while the closest finish came between 360 Racing’s Paul Clark and Rookie Cup contender, Simon Bailey for 12th.
Race two began under stormy skies and, as the SR1 Cup field embarked on the green flag lap all sporting a dry set-up, the rain began to fall.
In a repeat of race one, this time with Pinkerton on pole and Stoney alongside, the two ran side-by-side before Pinkerton edged ahead at Coppice. But he didn’t stay out front for long, as the damp conditions caught the Peterborough champion unawares leading the field into Park and spun out of the race under braking.
That left Stoney to take the helm in the deteriorating conditions, while the battle for second raged behind. With a sense of déjà vu, Short headed that fight and once again sustained concerted pressure from Hunt and Dean Warriner, until Hunt’s decisive move on the approach to the Mountain saw him steal second and take off after Stoney at the halfway mark.
Although the Rookie Cup champ looked to threaten the Quattro Motorsport man, Stoney immediately upped the pace to peg the gap and take an unchallenged run to the flag. Short, meanwhile, clung onto third until the final five minutes when Jones found a way through to claim the first outright podium and Fangio Trophy win of his maiden SR1 Cup season from eighth on the grid.
An off for Warriner at the Mountain with two laps to go promoted Elliott to fifth. Julian Lay, who nailed the best start of the field from the fifth row to run third on the opening tour, only to then drop down the order, recovered well to complete the top six.
Mark Tranter polished off his second race weekend in the series to take his fourth Rookie Cup class win.
Shane Stoney – Quattro Motorsport (Winner races one and two): “It was very close. James was all over the back of me for the whole of the first race. I think there's still a little bit more to be found. It's hard work around here, you don't get a break. I can't complain about race two, but it was incredibly hard. The rain starting halfway around the first lap wasn't ideal. I feel sorry for James, he didn't do anything wrong, he was just the guinea pig who caught the wet first and braked a little bit too late and I did too, just not quite as late. The team did a cracking job all weekend so I can't thank them enough.”
James Pinkerton – Avidity Motorsport (Second race one): “I've definitely closed the gap since Oulton Park. I think Cadwell is the toughest track on the calendar. I do love it though, it's an awesome circuit! I think there's more speed in me and the car so we'll see what we can do.”
Chris Short – Radical Works Team (Third race one): “Yesterday wasn't a good day for me, I ended up having a really bad shunt and the car is no more. The factory guys did amazing to get me into their spare car. They did a load of work on it to get it close to the set up I needed. Will was all over me for the whole race, with no let up at all. It was tough, but to come in third is fantastic.”
Will Hunt – Scorpio (Second race two): “It's great to be back here on the podium. I had to fight hard for it. The conditions towards the end of the race were really difficult. I knew Chris was going to be tough to get past. I thought he was a bit slower in the third sector and managed to make a clean move on the run to the mountain.”
Matt Jones – Privateer (Third race two): “It's pretty surprising to be here, to be honest. I wasn't expecting to make the progress I did. We seemed to find some good pace and the team did a really great job giving me a car I can trust. It was a case of just tip-toeing home trying not to think about being on the podium!”