Perini stands tall after epic Radical season finale in NZ
October 9, 2019
Neilson takes top points for Radical at Phillip Island
June 25, 2018
Rnd#4 - SuperSports Series
Phillip Island Circuit, Victoria
23-24 June, 2018
Mitchell Neilson cemented his position as the likely NSW SuperSports Class 1 champion for 2018 after a solid weekend in challenging winter conditions at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit, the Radical Australia Cup regular using the recent Cup experience at the Island to great effect to claim maximum points in all three races across the weekend.
With title rival John Beck sitting out the weekend after a crash during practice, Neilson’s greatest challenge came from fellow Cup regular Greg Kenny, whilst Darren Kurzok and local driver Philip Hughes put in some impressive drives to also claim finishes inside the top three.
Qualifying set the tone for the weekend with intermittent rain mixing things up for the teams, but by the close of the session it was clear experience was going to play a part in the weekend, Mitch Neilson qualifying on top, although some five seconds slower than his RAC time three weeks prior however still 1.3-seconds up on Philip Hughes, with reigning Class 2 champion Darren Barlow an unfamiliar third, more than two seconds back from the #38 entry.
With a dry line starting to appear on the circuit for race one, Phillip Hughes had the better entry to turn one off the line, dropping pole-sitter Neilson to second by Southern Loop. Sadly for Peter Hills, he didn’t get any further than turn four, with a spin ultimately ending with a failed starter motor. That saw the immediate introduction of the Safety Car, whilst for Greg Kenny and Steven Champion, they came together at MG in a battle for fourth, Champion later penalised for the incident.
On the restart Hughes was so eager to get going that he very nearly tagged the Safety Car as it pulled down pit lane, stewards judging afterwards that the Victorian was too quick on the gas, penalising him 65-seconds which ultimately dropped him from a seven second victory, back to tenth position.
That handed Neilson the outright win, ahead of Barlow and the impressive Darren Kurzok who enjoyed one of his strongest runs of the year to defeat Paul Braico and Greg Kenny for third outright, and second in Class 1.
Sunday’s two races saw dry conditions for the SuperSports field, but again it was Neilson who took home the silverware for Class 1 with two wins, although his race two victory over Hughes was by the narrowest of margins whilst race three provided an epic battle for the lead that came all the way down to the final corner..
A clean start for race two saw Barlow power past Neilson on the run into turn one on his way to a comfortable outright win, whilst behind him Neilson held second comfortably until the dying stages when the recovering Philip Hughes charged onto his tail to cross the line a mere three tenths of a second off the Class 1 victory.
Darren Kurzok again pocketed a strong haul of points, whilst behind him, Greg Kenny got the better of a brilliant battle for sixth over SR8-driver Peter Hills, Stephen Champion and Paul Braico.
Race three though was the standout for the weekend, a race that will likely be talked about for months to come.. Another clean start saw Barlow charge away at the front of the field with the potent lightweight Stohr WF1, whilst behind him an epic battle for the Class 1 lead began at turn one on the opening lap and carried on until the final corner of the tenth lap..!
Mitch Neilson had taken second off the start, but was quickly under fire from Hughes with Kurzok close behind.
With Barlow gone, the focus was very much on the battle for second, which changed at almost every corner before Darren Kurzok threw his hat into the ring, ultimately taking both Neilson and Hughes at one point before it all played out on the final lap.
Coming over Lukey Heights, Neilson managed to get around Kurzok to take the position away on the run through MG, Hughes poking his nose down the inside on the exit, the two though making contact with Hughes tagging the left rear of Kurzok as they negotiated the run onto the main straight, spinning the #29 entry allowing Peter Hills through for fourth.
Hughes was excluded post race, elevating Greg Kenny to second and Stephen Champion third in Class 1, the pair having enjoyed their own on track battle with Paul Braico throughout the ten lap journey, whilst for SuperSports rookie Robert Hayden, his initiation of fire which saw him miss action in both races one and two, ended after just five laps in race three, although with renewed enthusiasm ahead of the return rounds in NSW over the coming months.
The penultimate round of the SuperSports championship will see a return to Wakefield on Saturday, 8 September, two weeks prior to the final official round of the 2018 Radical Australia Cup at Sydney Motorsport Park (21-23 September).
6. 34. Stephen Champion (GWR/Champion’s Business Radical SR3RS)
7. 80. Paul Braico (GWR Radical SR3RS)
DNF. 29. Darren Kurzok (Kode Access Radical SR3RS) - 9-laps
DNF. 9. Robert Hayden (Radical SR3RS) - 50-laps
NSW SuperSports Series - Class 1 Championship Points (after four rounds of six)
1. Mitchell Neilson (176-points), 2. Greg Kenny (130), 3. Stephen Champion (116), 4. Paul Braico (113), 5. John Beck (105), 6. Darren Kurzok (71), 7. Rowan Ross (66), 8. Mark Brame (40), 9. Chris Perini (35), 10. Peter Clare (35), 11. Philip Hughes (24), 12. Chris Sutton (10)