As the Hagerty Radical Cup UK made it’s debut on the BTCC support programme at Snetterton, defending Champion James Lay was back on form, taking his second triple victory of the season, his first with Doris Motorsport.
PRO SR3: Race One
Ben Caisley was on pole for DW Racing and made the best of the start, heading Lay and the Valour duo of Daryl De Leon and Chris Preen into Riches.
But Lay shot down Caisley’s inside at Agostini to lead out, with De Leon and Caisley sharing a couple of exchanges as Lay increased his lead.
Caisley had been given a 10 second penalty though for being out of place at the start, which left him playing catch up.
360’s Jacek Zielonka was in fourth but coming under growing pressure from Preen, while behind them Mark Williams, Jason Rishover and Peter Tyler disputed sixth.
Tyler had a spin after running wide at Oggies and Williams had managed to shake off Rishover for a while, allowing him to close in on the Zielonka and Preen duel.
Lay had a fairly comfortable run to his fourth win of the season, “I had good pace and once I had got Ben I was able to pull away,” he said.
De Leon retained a comfortable second with Caisley still managing to secure third, even with the penalty.
Only 0.170 secs split Zielonka and Preen in the fourth placed duel. “30 minutes of defending, so tired now, but a great race,” said Zielonka.
Williams held onto sixth too, with John Macleod snatching seventh with a couple of laps to go, after Rishover lost the rear end exiting Oggies, after a challenge on Williams.
Rishover, Sylvain Guintoli and Dan Headlam completed the top 10.
Lay just held off Caisley into Riches at the start of the second race, as De Leon and Rishover slotted into third and fourth.
De Leon started to lose ground on the lead duo as early as lap two, while Rishover and Preen settled into the top five.
Behind them Williams and Zielonka clashed at Agostini on lap seven, causing Tyler to go off in avoidance.
Williams and Zielonka were out of the race, promoting Guintoli into the top six, until he spun four laps later.
Caisley kept the pressure on Lay for the majority of the race, before the tow was finally broken in the closing laps, with Lay sealing his second win of the weekend.
De Leon retained a fairly lonely third, but Preen made it past Rishover on lap 10 for fourth, but was almost caught by the recovering Tyler as they raced to the flag.
A late spin dropped Rishover down to seventh, as Haydn Chance went by during his recovery, while Amir Feyzulin, Gavin McAlpine and Chris Headlam completed the top 10.
Lay was quickest off the blocks again in the final race, as Caisley and De Leon rounded Riches side by side, before De Leon finally edged ahead exiting Wilson.
The gap to fourth soon opened with Preen keeping Tyler and Chance at bay. But with a car off, the safety car was out for one lap, before racing was underway again.
Caisley was first to make his stop, while Lay and De Leon stayed out and finally pitted one lap apart.
With the stops completed Lay hit the front again, from Preen, Chance, De Leon, Zielonka and Lowe, while Caisley had managed to climb back to 11th before pulling off to retire five laps from home.
Lay had a clear run to the flag to complete his hattrick, “I couldn’t quite get the gap I wanted at the start, but with the penalties after the stop I was clear,” he said.
Preen had De Leon closing rapidly as the flag was readied, but his defence was strong enough to hold the place, after a terrific last lap. “I couldn’t get near James, but then I saw Daryl coming for me, so it made it a tough last lap,” Preen admitted.
Chance was fourth and Lowe sealed fifth with a brave move around Zielonka at Agostini three laps from home. Guintoli, Williams, Rishover and Feyzulin were the final top 10 finishers.
This was also the first weekend racing in the Hagerty Radical Cup UK for World Superbike champion Sylvain Guintoli. Run by North Motorsport, Guintoli achieved two top 10 finishes in his debut weekend: "What a weapon!" he said, "I've loved every moment of it, the downforce, the corner speed, the late braking and the close competition. Thanks to all the Radical team for the top class organisation and hospitality".
MICOURIS & WOOD SHARE THE SR1 SPOILS AGAIN
PRO SR1: Race One
Tom Wood just held off Theo Micouris to win the first of the weekends SR1 races.
The Derby University driver led from the start, with Micouris, James Ockenden and Oscar Joyce the early top four.
Wood had built a slight gap, but Micouris was soon back in touch and challenging. “He was so much quicker on the infield section though,” said Wood, after surviving tremendous pressure, taking the flag 0.740 secs clear.
They did have contact at Oggies on the last lap however. “I tried to switch back, but ran out of room. I had to try though,” Micouris replied.
Ockenden spent the whole race in a solitary third, while Joyce, George Knutton and Alex Spooner rounded off the top six.
Micouris had the lead in race two from lights out, as Wood and Ockenden tucked in behind. His lead then started to grow as the lead trio began to spread out.
It became somewhat processionary, with Wood unable to match Micouris’ pace. At the finish they were over eight seconds apart, with Ockenden retaining a distant third.
Joyce, George Knutton and Spooner rounded off the top six.
There was little to split Micouris and Wood at the start of race three, but Micouris had the lead on the run to Wilson, but spent the next few laps defending hard from Wood’s challenges.
George Knutton led for a while after the stops, but Micouris managed to take both Ockenden and Knutton to regain the lead by the end of lap 11.
By the flag he was over 10 seconds clear, with Knutton and Ockenden retaining the other podium places, while Wood’s success penalty proved decisive for him, leaving him with fourth, while Joyce and Spooner completed the top six.
Published by Peter Scherer for Radical Motorsport, May 23rd 2023.
Photos by Ollie Read for Radical Motorsport.