After a strong showing at the opening round of the SuperSport Series at Goulburn’s Wakefield Park a month ago, a strong collection of Radicals - including some Radical Australia Cup regulars - made their presence felt during the second round of the season at Radical’s home circuit, Sydney Motorsport Park.
Keen to gain some valuable miles ahead of the Radical Australia Cup [RAC] round in early July, Oliver Smith, Rowan Ross and David Crampton in his new SR3RSX joined the field which included Brad Neilson in the car that son Mitch drove so strongly at Wakefield Park, Peter Hills in his SR8 and Radical rookie Jack Crampton in his father’s SR3RS.
Qualifying saw great conditions overhead, but plenty of challenges on the circuit as the PRB entries created a few anxious moments for the faster Radicals, Rowan Ross making contact with one, whilst Brad Neilson was thwarted on his fastest lap, catching a PRB on the run into the final corner.
Despite the challenges, reigning RAC #2 Oliver Smith broke the Brabham Circuit SR3 lap record in qualifying, lowering Peter Johnston’s standing lap record of 1:53.3119 to a best of 1:52.5178 in his new SR3RSX. Unfortunately he was unable to make it official across the three races, leaving Johnston to hold on to the title of fastest man around Sydney Motorsport Park in an SR3 just a little bit longer..
Rowan Ross and David Crampton made it three new SR3RSXs in the top five, whilst Brad Neilson very nearly upstaged Crampton for fifth. Peter Hills qualified seventh in his SR8 - improving with every lap - whilst rookie Jack Crampton took his father’s SR3RS to the ninth fastest time on debut.
Saturday afternoon saw the first of the three races for the weekend, and it was relatively processional with Ollie Smith following Darren Barlow and Alexander Kenny around in their more-powerful sportscars, the Radical driver though crossing the line right under Kenny’s rear win for third.
Behind him David Crampton, Neilson and Ross were having a terrific fight over fourth place, the two more powerful RSX models getting the legs on Neilson on the long run from the final turn to turn two, but the local driver was having none of it, mixing it with the Radical Australia Cup regulars across the rest of the lap. The battle went all the way down to the final lap, with Neilson forced into a spin within sight of the flag after pulling out of a move on Crampton at the last second. That allowed Ross to move through for fifth, Neilson recovering for sixth.
Peter Hills made hard work for himself off the start, spinning at turn 12 on the opening lap which forced the SR8 driver to work his way back through the field, he eventually crossed the line eighth, just ahead of debutante Jack Crampton.
Sunday morning’s second race saw more great action between the Radical regulars, with Crampton, Ross and Neilson right back in the thick of the action, whilst up front, a spin from Kenny in the LMP3 car allowed Oliver Smith to take advantage and claim second behind Barlow.
After a strong opening race, Neilson struggled with pace off the start on cold tyres allowing Jack Crampton to apply plenty of pressure, but the local driver was soon back up to speed to catch David Crampton mid race after Rowan Ross had dropped the new RSX driver back to fourth early.
A fantastic battle ensued between David Crampton and Neilson over the closing laps with Neilson looking every bit a contender, but just as the final lap loomed, Neilson lost air pressure in the pneumatic gearbox system, losing second and third gears allowing Crampton a reprieve on his run to sixth. Neilson crossed the line in P7 from the ever-improving Jack Crampton whilst Peter Hills endured another tough race with plenty of overtaking after suffering from a spin on lap four, he would eventually be classified 12th.
After two great races, the third and final race of the weekend was anything but, however despite what was a big accident on one of the fastest corners in Australian motorsport, both drivers walked away from their cars bruised but unhurt.
The start of the race had been clean with Ollie Smith once more locking in behind Barlow off the start. Rowan Ross was embroiled once again with Kenny in the LMP3 car, and again he was able to affect a temporary pass to move into third place.
Behind him the battle between David Crampton and Neilson continued, with Crampton through for position. The two continued their fight down to turn one to start lap three, but suddenly Crampton’s car lost grip in the rear, spinning into the path of the luckless Neilson who had no time to react, the two Radicals making heavy contact at over 190kph.
Fortunately both drivers extracted themselves unaided from their cars, Neilson’s SR3RS suffering damage to the front, whilst Crampton’s new RSX suffered damage to the left rear. Both drivers were transferred to the circuit medical centre for assessment, but were cleared soon after. The contact was again testament to how well built the Radical sportscars are, and how much emphasis the factory places on driver safety.
Ultimately the race was completed under Safety Car, with Smith classified second for the race and the weekend, with Ross fourth, Jack Crampton an impressive sixth on debut, and Peter Hills - who again suffered from an early spin - eighth.
Round three of the SuperSports season is again scheduled for RA Motorsport’s home venue at Sydney Motorsport Park on Saturday 1 July, just a week ahead of the penultimate round of Radical Australia Cup where a big field of Radicals is expected to join the Series for more valuable race miles.