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Radical UK Cup - Oulton Park

Racers in the Dunlop Radical UK Cup braved challenging weather conditions at Oulton Park this weekend, to create two thrilling, close races.

With conditions swinging between bright sunshine and heavy showers during the rain, ominous black clouds overhead made tyre and pit strategy crucial, both in qualifying and the races. Damp conditions in qualifying allowed the nimble handling of the Supersport Class runners to shine, and in the first half of the session, it was the Radical Works Team SR3 RS of David Thorburn that set the fastest time, a 1:46.064 lap nearly half-a-second faster than Manhal Allos in the leading SR8. 360 Racing’s Derek Johnston was third fastest, with the next-fastest SR3 RS, Marks Electrical’s Mark Smithson, lining up alongside on the second row of the grid for Race 1.

Race 2 qualifying followed immediately, Shaun Balfe snatching a last-minute pole time from James Swift, his 1:33.998 lap a comfortable 1.1s faster. Swift held second on the grid, with Allos and Terrence Woodward (partnering Johnston) third and fourth respectively.

RACE 1

The superior power of the SR8s on a drying track meant Thorburn could only hold his lead briefly from the start of Race 1, with Johnston taking the lead, albeit a slender one. By lap nine he was only 0.38s ahead of Roger Bromiley chasing hard, with John Stanley, Allos and Smithson close behind.

Whilst Bromiley wasn’t able to pass Johnston before the pits, Balfe emerged from the put window ahead of Woodward, the pair now 8.1s ahead of third-placed Allos. It looked like this order would remain to the end of the race, but the late retirement of Woodward on lap 17, and a stop-go penalty for Balfe, meant Allos could take the lead, Balfe dropping to second and James Swift third. The victory was particularly sweet for Allos, his “first proper victory” as he described it on the podium.

RACE 2

Race 2 presented a real challenge for the teams, a shower during the pit window really mixing the order up as teams opted for differing strategies on wet or slick tyres. Balfe made a great start but was caught by Swift on lap 5, passing for the lead, built to three seconds by lap 10 and the opening of the pit window, with Allos third, Woodward fourth and Rob Wheldon, the leading SR3 RS, in fifth.

A dry race to this point, as the pit window opened so too did the heavens, light rain at first getting heavier, some early pitting teams then having to stop again for wet tyres. All teams made it through the pit window, but with the race red flagged for a car stoppage on the following lap, it was David Thorburn and Wheldon that won, electing to stay out right until the last minute before pitting.

Second place was taken by Allos, rounding off a great weekend for the Sollatek driver, with Stanley/Swift third.

The next round of the Dunlop Radical UK Cup takes place at Brands Hatch, on the world-famous GP circuit, on 04/05 June. Radical looks forward to its busiest-ever weekend of racing, bumper grids resulting in separate races for the Supersport and Masters Class drivers, shared with the Shell Racing Solutions Radical Masters. With the Performance Direct Radical Clubman’s Cup also in attendance, it’s going to be a great weekend of racing.