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Radical UK Cup - Brands Hatch Indy

Terrence Woodward celebrated his first solo drive in the UK Cup, with a comfortable victory, having dominated the second half of the first race in his SR8 RX. But heavy showers proved an equaliser in the second race, and after finishing as runners-up on Saturday, Mark Smithson and Stuart Moseley celebrated their first outright victory together in their SR3 RS.

Race 1

It was panic stations in the assembly area for the first race, as the cars were all fitted with wets and the sun came out. Frantic work by the pit crews however had virtually everyone sorted as the grid lined up. Woodward’s SR8 was on pole and led on the charge through Paddock, from Roger Bromiley, Mark Smithson and Roger Green, but Bromiley soon took charge and started to pull away. Andy Cummings had spun at Graham Hill Bend and out came the safety car for three laps, to collect Joe Crook’s SR3 RS that crashed at the start.

Jonathan Wright had started on wets and elected to pit for slicks, but the stop left him out of contention. Just before the safety car David Thorburn had managed to oust Smithson for third, but from the green flag debutant Zac Chapman was a little over-zealous and jumped Smithson before the line. He was later penalised. Chapman was hot on the pace though and picked off Thorburn into Graham Hill Bend; with Woodward skirting the gravel at Paddock a lap later he was into second and reeling in Bromiley. Woodward reclaimed third from Thorburn a lap later as they crossed the line, but Chapman continued to make the most of his wet tyres and romped away to a healthy lead.

The battle for second heated up as Woodward was almost pushing Bromiley through Clark Curve at the end of lap nine. Thorburn was under pressure from David Jacobs for fourth followed fairly closely by Green, after Smithson had slipped to seventh. But as they arrived at Druids, Jacobs made a lunge and made contact with Bromiley as he turned in. “I was utterly gutted, we desperately needed a finish for the championship and that’s not what we got. He came from so far back to hit me,” said an irate Bromiley.

Chapman retained a substantial lead until he pitted, from where further penalties put him well down. “It was good, happy with my pace and only the third time in the car, just have to get the mistakes out of the way,” he said. Green had worked his way through to take the lead when Chapman pitted, but had Woodward close behind, while behind them it was a three-way scrap with Thorburn, Smithson and Tony Wells. Green came under enormous pressure from Woodward and despite running wide at Druids on lap 17, he held the lead just, before handing to Phil Abbott.

The lead duel had also allowed Smithson to close, after both he and Wells had ousted Thorburn from fourth. “We made the late change to slicks and I had second briefly at the start, but went wide. David squeezed me out a bit but I managed to stay with him,” said Smithson. “I thoroughly enjoyed that and it was OK once my tyres came in,” Wells added. Following the pitstops the order became considerably more settled. By lap 25 the top six were all evenly spread, with Woodward heading Moseley, Alex Brundle (taken over from James Abbott), James Littlejohn (in the Wells car), Phil Abbott and Manhal Allos.

Woodward kept a steady pace to collect his win by over nine seconds from Moseley. “I got into a nice flow but had a trip through the gravel chasing Roger Green, but made the decision to pit early and then dominated it,” said Woodward. “I thought Mark would get stitched up on slicks in the damp, for me it was a fear of the safety car coming out again,” added Moseley. Brundle had been closed on by Littlejohn in the final laps but was never seriously threatened. “I was ready to challenge Alex and couldn’t get past Nick Panteli, so lost my chance, “said Littlejohn. “I got in some traffic but didn’t expect to catch Stuart really,” Brundle replied.

Phil Abbott upped his pace again at the end to shake off any threat from Allos for his fifth place. “I didn’t intend Manhal getting me, but we really lost out in the pits,” said Abbott. “I was hit at the start, damaged the rear wing, lost the aero and spun off at Surtees,” added Allos. In seventh a lap down were Pete Osborne/Alex Kapadia, “I forgot to put my seat in and so couldn’t see properly. I was a bit over cautious too,” said Kapadia.  He had Bradley Ellis closing in at the finish, after sterling drive in the Cummings car.

Result

1 Terrence Woodward (SR8) 41 laps in 38m09.396s (77.87mph);
2 Mark Smithson/Stuart Moseley (SR3) +9.437s;
3 James Abbott/Alex Brundle (SR3);
4 Tony Wells/James Littlejohn (SR3);
5 Roger Green/Phil Abbott (SR8);
6 Manhal Allos (SR8);
7 Pete Osborne/Alex Kapadia (SR3);
8 Andy Cummings/Bradley Ellis (SR3);
9 David Thorburn/Rob Wheldon (SR3);
10 Jonathan Wright/Tom Ashton (SR3). 

SR8: 1 Woodward; 2 P.Abbott/Green; 3 Allos; 4 Zac Chapman; 5 John Lord; no other finishers.
SR3: 1 Smithson/Moseley; 2 J.Abbott/Brundle; 3 Wells/Littlejohn; 4 Osborne/Kapadia; 5 Cummings/Ellis; 6 Thorburn/Wheldon. Fastest lap: Chapman 45.780s (94.98mph).

Race 2

The rain was torrential as the grid formed up for the second race, but there was an immediate retirement when Ellis pulled off on the green flag lap with a broken driveshaft. Visibility was at a premium as Shaun Balfe headed a ball of spray into Paddock. Kapadia emerged in second, but Moseley then took him on the outside at Druids while Wheldon slotted into fourth, from Woodward and Littlejohn. “I got squeezed a bit and Stuart had me,” said Kapadia.

A lap later Kapadia slid off at Clearways and rejoined 11th, “I hit a puddle,” he said. But Balfe was under tremendous pressure, as Moseley and Wheldon were only inches behind. Moseley briefly led on lap three, but Balfe soon retook, but fourth placed Littlejohn took to the grass at Graham Hill bend and lost four places. “I had started well and defended from Tom, but just aquaplaned off,” said Littlejohn. Brundle had worked his way up to fifth behind Tom Ashton, but was caught napping into Paddock on lap five when James Birch took him around the outside.

Race one star Chapman made an early visit to the pits as Birch started to close on Ashton.  But it couldn’t have been closer at the front, with Balfe just holding on, and Wheldon alongside Moseley as they rounded Clearways, before making his move into Paddock. “I let Stuart have a go at Shaun, he didn’t manage it, so I had a go and didn’t manage it either,” said Wheldon. Wheldon continued to push hard for the lead, but Balfe managed to hold on before handing to Bromiley. “It was race of patience, them with me in the slow stuff, so it was lucky I had good drivers around me. I was determined not to lose places in the early laps though,” Balfe explained. Moseley retained a close third, with Ashton managing to hand his fourth-placed SR3 RS to Wright, after fending off Birch and the recovering Kapadia, who had retaken Brundle some laps earlier. “I kept with the lead group and pushed hard to stay there. Caught Tom but he kept the door closed,” said Birch. Brundle pitted in seventh, with Littlejohn on his tail, followed by Jeremy Ferguson and Allos.

Thorburn emerged from the stops as the new leader, from Smithson, Wright, Bromiley and Crook. But Crook was caught speeding in the pitlane and was called straight back in again. With sixth-placed Osborne hitting the barriers at Graham Hill Bend and James Abbott sliding off at Clearways, out came the safety car, after which it became a five-minute sprint to the chequered flag. “It was a fair bang and I had a problem there before, but just couldn’t hold it,” said Osborne.

Smithson was all over Thorburn from the green flag, he was alongside through Clearways on lap 36, but couldn’t get by. A lap later he tried again at Druids, but Thorburn defended only as far as Graham Hill Bend when Smithson made it decisive. “The pressure was on from the green flag, I didn’t think about Jonathan behind, just wanted David’s lead. He closed the door a couple of times, but can’t believe it’s my first outright win,” said a delighted Smithson.

A lap later Wright made an identical move to secure second and Bromiley followed to take a class win as they rounded Clearways. “This has been a long time in coming, although I was looking for Roger behind me at the green flag, absolutely brilliant,” said Wright. “Very sweet after yesterday, Shaun had so much pressure and we were jumped at the pitstops, but the SR3s have the advantage in this weather,” added Bromiley. Thorburn retained fourth from Wells, but Allos clinched sixth and second in class when Woodward slid off at Paddock. “We kept the anti rollbar connected as we thought it would dry out, I spun at Surtees, caught up and spun again at Paddock,” Woodward explained. “I was happy with that, only one problem when I lost it briefly at Clearways,” said Allos. Abbott/Green were seventh, from Ferguson, the recovering Woodward and Crook/Birch.

Result

1 Moseley/Smithson 40 laps in 40m09.673s (72.18mph);
2 Tom Ashton/Jonathan Wright (SR3) +2.499s;
3 Shaun Balfe/Roger Bromiley (SR8);
4 Wheldon/Thorburn;
5  Littlejohn/Wells;
6 Allos;
7 Abbott/Green;
8 Jeremy Ferguson (SR3);
9 Woodward;
10 James Birch/Joe Crook (SR3). 

SR8: 1 Balfe/Bromiley; 2 Allos; 3 Abbott/Green; 4 Woodward; 5 Chapman; 6 Lord.
SR3: 1 Moseley/Smithson; 2  Ashton/Wright; 3 Wheldon/Thorburn; 4 Littlejohn/Wells; 5 Ferguson; 6 Birch/Crook. Fastest lap: Wheldon 52.454s (82.90mph).