The Radical Challenge and Radical SR1 Cup returned to Silverstone GP for the fourth round of their 2021 season, with almost 40 entrants forming up for an exciting weekend of racing on the renowned British Grand Prix circuit.
In the headline Radical Challenge, Jerome De Sadeleer had secured pole for race one from Championship leader Matt Bell, with Mark Richards and Chris Short on row two of the 21 car field.
The track was mainly wet but drying in places as the grid assembled for race one. De Sadeleer and Bell elected to stay on wets, with James Sweetnam and Chris Preen making the bold move of starting on slicks, despite heavy rain falling as the cars were sent to form-up. With a drying track as the field completed its formation laps, Richards and John Macleod were among those who also changed to slicks and started from pit lane.
Preen didn’t make the start, hitting water just before the start line and making contact with the wall. As the lights went out Bell had the edge from De Sadeleer, with Chris Short, James Sweetnam, Jason Rishover and Peter Tyler the early top six.
“As I was on pole I knew Matt would have to match me on tyres,” said de Sadeleer. “It was an epic stint on worn wets, but I was bursting to come in and change to slicks,” Bell replied.
But Sweetnam had started on slicks and was ahead by the end of lap three, taking his maiden victory by over 16 seconds in his Radical SR3 XX.
Although Bell and De Sadeleer had continued to hold second and third, Richards had carved his way through the field and after taking third from De Sadeleer on lap six, made it past Bell one lap from home.
“It was great fun coming through, but I have to admit it wasn’t that difficult on slicks,” Richards admitted.
Bell still managed to hold onto third, but De Sadeleer’s challenge faded. “Totally the wrong strategy, I underestimated just how slow it would get on wets,” he said.
Elliot Goodman and Macleod had both started from the pitlane too, with Goodman up to fourth on lap seven, only to be pipped by the pursuing Macleod a lap later.
De Sadeleer finally came home sixth, with Short on wets too, Steven Lake, SR3 debutant Dean Warriner and Anthony Ayres completing the top 10.
De Sadeleer made amends in the second race, leading from pole and successfully fending off Bell for most of the race.
“I had a strong race but had lots of pressure from Matt. Then I made one mistake at the Hairpin, he was on me. But I stayed close to the finish,” De Sadeleer explained.
“It was a much a harder race, but I had sat behind Jerome for five laps. He made one mistake and I took it,” replied the victorious Bell.
Richards had led the chase throughout for a solitary third. “I just couldn’t catch them, so was on my own,” he admitted.
Macleod had a strong second half to his race, having demoted Jason Rishover from fifth on lap six. He then started to reel in Chris Preen and was only 0.351 seconds shy of snatching fourth at the flag.
Warriner held a racelong seventh, with Sweetnam seeing off Goodman and Jacek Zielonka early on, before consolidating eighth, as Goodman and Martin Plowman rounded off the top 10.
De Sadeleer finally got his win in Sunday’s 45-minute pitstop finale. After going wheel to wheel with Richards for the first half lap, he was never headed, leaving Richards to fend off Bell for second.
“A clean start, a clean stop and I didn’t know how far back Mark was really,” said De Sadeleer after taking the flag over 20 seconds clear.
“Jerome closed me out at the start as expected, after that we weren’t catching,” Richards admitted. “I thought I had Jerome at the start but got blocked, then with my success penalty and lacking pace at critical times, third was the best I could have hoped for,” Bell admitted.
Short had to fight hard to get past Preen in the first half of the race and then managed to jump Rishover at the stops for fourth.
Rishover held onto fifth, from Goodman and Preen, with Chen/Plowman and Zielonka completing the top ten.
Radical SR1 CUP
Not to be outdone by the SR3s, the Radical SR1 Cup had three different winners too.
Running a treaded Hankook control tyre, the strategy decisions affecting the slick-shod Radical Challenge cars were not applicable to the smaller SR1s on the drying track.
It was a first lap sort-out that gave James Lay his break in the first race. “I had a good start but Will Hunt was in front, until he was taken out and it put me down to fourth,” he explained.
“As I went into Vale I was battling with Mackenzie Walker, as I turned in Mark Williams was unsighted and tapped me into a spin, then I got hit as I recovered, so race over,” Hunt explained.
Walker was the new leader, but he was in trouble too. “I got a front right puncture after I had gone to the outside to avoid Will and Mark,” he said.
He briefly lost his first lap advantage to Nick Zapolski, but after regaining it a lap later, was forced into reluctant retirement.
Zapolski was then back in front from Ben Stone, with Lay closing. “I just tried to pick them off one by one,” said Lay after splitting the lead pair on lap six.
A lap later he was ahead and eased clear, with Zapolski retaining a clear second, while Stone slipped to fifth in the closing laps, as Andy Lowe and newcomer Daryl De Leon got by. James Hadley rounded off the top six.
Walker once again showed his pace from the start of the second race. “I had an early exchange with Lay on the Wellington Straight and then started to get away,” he said.
“I led to the first corner but had contact and spun at Village on the second lap, so had to fight back,” Lay added.
Hunt was into second, from Zapolski and the recovering Lay, but it was Walker’s win by over 2.8 secs.
Lay had managed to catch Hunt after reclaiming third by lap four. “I had a good start, but was forced wide by a slower SR3 at Abbey. Then Lay came back at me and the battle cost me.” Hunt explained.
De Leon was fourth, with Zapolski slipping to fifth, while Lowe completed the top six.
Lay had the best of the start in Sunday’s pitstop race, heading Walker, Hunt and De Leon.
Tyres became an issue though, “I managed to compensate as they went off and got the lead into Luffield,” said Hunt after ousting Lay on lap six.
Having lost out to Hunt three laps earlier, Walker ousted Lay to for a secure second. “Once the tyres had gone it was hard to make up ground, but a first and a second, I can’t complain,” said Walker.
“I was under steering everywhere once the tyres had gone, but still third,” Lay added.
Frazer McFadden was a solitary fourth, with De Leon and Sven Thompson the rest of the top six.
The Sunoco Driver of the Day was awarded to 16-year old karter Daryl de Leon for his incredibly competitive performance in what is his first ever car racing weekend in the Radical SR1 Cup.
Both Championships will be out again at Donington Park on the weekend of 18-19 September.