The 2018 Radical SR1 Cup title fight cranked up yet another notch at Cadwell Park this weekend. Double victory for Ryan Harper-Ellam at the challenging Lincolnshire circuit sees championship leader, James Pinkerton’s advantage slashed from 26 to 14 points, with just two rounds remaining.
There’s been nothing to choose between the two this season, each sharing the spoils so far. But with Cadwell ranking among Harper-Ellam’s favourite tracks, the 2017 Shootout winner held the upper hand against circuit debutant Pinkerton and planned to take full advantage.
Harper-Ellam got his Cadwell campaign off to a flying start by maintaining his 100 per cent SR1 Cup pole-winning record, turning that into an emphatic fourth win of the season. The Brackley ace managed to fend off a flying rolling start from Pinkerton, the duo running wheel-to-wheel before Harper-Ellam secured the inside line and the lead heading into Coppice.
From there, the 20 year-old set a blistering pace aboard the Gen 2, 175 bhp SR1. Despite running on old rubber and on the back foot in terms of circuit knowledge, Pinkerton from Ramsey St Mary’s delivered a faultless drive to a second place points haul, his best race lap just 0.103 off Harper-Ellam’s.
Will Hunt from Brighton scored his third consecutive outright podium having applied race-long pressure to Wolverhampton’s Chris Short. But a moment for Short approaching Barn in the final moments allowed Hunt to sneak through to the final step on the rostrum and cement his clean sweep of Rookie Cup class victories.
Slightly disappointed with his race one form, Pinkerton was determined to bring the fight back to Harper-Ellam around the tight, twisty and undulating Louth circuit. With Pinkerton once again nailing the start, the top duo ran millimetres apart down the pit straight and into Coppice before Harper-Ellam moved ahead.
Harper-Ellam may have taken the early advantage, but by lap four Pinkerton had posted the top race lap time. From there the pair swapped fastest laps as the gap ebbed and flowed by mere fractions of a second; Pinkerton edging within 0.6 seconds with six minutes remaining, before losing over a second lapping traffic.
Mounting a final push, Pinkerton posted one more purple lap on the penultimate tour before traffic looked to play a part once again, this time with Harper-Ellam losing ground. Although Pinkerton tried to take full advantage to draw alongside heading towards the line, Harper-Ellam hung on by 0.233 seconds.
Overcoming his race one disappointment, Short bounced back with a stellar race two start to overhaul and keep Rookie Cup rival Hunt at bay for third.
Julian Lay from Bampton sealed his fourth consecutive class win to move to the top of the Fangio class battle, whilst Mark Williams from Dalkeith took his second top-six finish of the weekend.
The Radical SR1 is equipped with the Quaife QBA7R Reversing Differential.