Published on July 13th, 2017 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Challenging weekend for Radical Australia Cup in Sydney
Arriving at Sydney Motorsport Park [SMP] for their ‘home’ event, the Radical Australia Cup regulars were looking to lay some solid foundations in the race for the championship title, with the CAMS Nationals round the final event for the year on Australian soil ahead of the season finale at Highlands Motorsport Park in New Zealand in mid-November.
Coming into SMP for the penultimate round, reigning champion Peter Paddon held a slender 11-point margin over title rival and 2016 runner-up Oliver Smith, with Smith posing a real threat after a strong showing just the week prior in Sydney during the SuperSport championship, the Radical veteran the quickest Radical SR3 competitor across three races.
Ultimately though, in a weekend full of surprises, Paddon would record his sixth and seventh wins of the season as one-by-one, his title rivals fell by the wayside, handing the two-time title holder a strong points advantage heading into November’s final.
The biggest celebration of the weekend however was kept for long-time RAC competitor Sue Hughes who returned to the podium for the first time in many years on Sunday, whilst for RAC rookies Brad and Mitchell Neilson, the father-and-son combination’s consistency netting them second overall for the weekend against some seriously tough competition.
Friday’s opening practice in cool wintery conditions saw Phillip Island returnee and former SR3 champion Michael Shaw set the outright pace early in the day, before Le Mans prototype star and Radical Australia Cup driver coach James Winslow topped the second and third sessions in Kim Burke’s #68 entry as the Englishman worked with Burke to set up his updated SR3RSX.
By qualifying on Saturday morning the focus was on qualifying with former SMP RAC winner Michael Shaw claiming the top spot, his pole time of 1:28.7357 a quarter of a second faster than Oliver Smith, and just half a second shy of James Winslow’s SMP SR3 qualifying record.
Kim Burke took full advantage of Winslow’s Friday assistance to be third fastest, whilst Paddon claimed a starting position on the outside of row two with a time six tenths slower than Shaw, whilst new RAC recruits Brad and Mitchell Neilson shared the third row with the ever-improving Greg Kenny.