Having won last years SR1 Cup James Lay made it two in a row, with two wins at Donington Park to secure the Radical Challenge crown.
Lay had qualified his RAW Motorsports SR3 on pole, with teammate Dougie Bolger splitting him from title rival Noah Degnbol, all covered by 0.497 secs.
Degnbol grabbed the early lead into Redgate from Lay, but there was contact at McLeans and Lay was in the gravel. “I got a tap from Anthony Ayres, but managed get out of the gravel again but a lap down,” he said.
There was chaos behind however, after Jason Rishover had contact with Chris Preen, which also took out Ben Stone and Mark Williams too.
Bolger was in third, from John Macleod, Andy Lowe and James Sweetnam, but the safety car was out for two laps to clear the track.
After three laps the safety car was out again, but Bolger had managed to take second from Ayres, as the rest held station.
It was green again from lap seven but Degnbol’s lead was under threat from Bolger. “I had lost out at the start when Noah made his move on James, but the safety car helped me,” said Bolger.
“I wasn’t ready for the green flag and so Dougie was close and got me into McLeans. I just didn’t see him coming,” Degnbol admitted.
The young Dane charged back ahead on the straight a lap later and secured the win, as red flags brought an early end after Jack Leese and Sweetnam had collided at Goddards.
Ayres had pitted a lap from home so Macleod completed the podium, with Lowe, Peter Tyler and Elliot Goodman completing the top six.
Degnbol tried an identical move on Lay into Redgate at the start of race two, “it wasn’t my best start as it didn’t work, James saw me and blocked the move,” said the Breakell Racing driver.
“I was so busy defending from Noah and delayed myself,” Lay added, which gave Tyler the lead exiting Redgate. “Eighth to first in one corner, it just opened up so I drove past them all,” Tyler explained.
Lay was still in second from Macleod, Preen and the recovering Degnbol, with Bolger completing the initial top six.
The lead changed on lap two and Lay gradually eased clear to take the win, but Tyler managed to hold onto second until lap 14. “When James got by I realised I had the pace to stay with him for a while, then Noah caught me and got by into Melbourne,” said the DW Racing driver who retained the final podium place.
Degnbol still kept his title hopes alive after carving his way through to second, while a second half charge from Bolger took him passed Macleod for fourth on lap 14, with Preen following a lap later. “It wasn’t bad, but every few laps it cut out with a fuel problem,” said Preen.
“I had a good start but when Noah ran wide at the first corner I lost out too, but had a great fight with Chris Preen,” said sixth placed Macleod.
It was another lightening start from Macleod that gave him the lead through Redgate at the start of the final race, with Degnbol and Lay fighting for second.
“I got the cut back on John at Melbourne and led back up the hill,” said Lay, with Degnbol having got by too to lead the opening lap.
But into the Old Hairpin it was almost side by side for the lead, with Lay down the inside. “There was no contact and Noah went wide onto the grass,” said Lay.” He forced me out onto the grass and it broke my car,” Degnbol replied after continuing to fall down the order with a broken rear driveshaft.
After a couple of safety car laps when Lowe went off, Macleod was slowing too. “Great start and was OK in third, but after the safety car I couldn’t turn right or brake properly, so I just had to try and finish,” he said.
Bolger was into second from Stone, Ayres and newly crowned SR1 Champion Daryl De Leon on his SR3 debut, with Bolger the first of the leaders to make his stop.
Lay had built sufficient lead to retain after the stops, “then I just had to manage the gap,” said the 2022 Champion.
De Leon emerged in second and closed on the lead too. “The drive was a present from my Dad, I hadn’t even sat in the car before qualifying, but I think James saw me and pushed on a bit,” he said.
After a pitlane start Alice Powell had handed the SR10 to Abbi Pulling who completed the overall podium. Williams was having a duel with Stone for fourth, “Ben had good pace and I could see him coming for me, but then I got a stop-go penalty for a short stop so didn’t defend it,” Williams admitted.
Stone had recovered from a brief trip through the Coppice gravel but was a solid fourth, “I just went in at the wrong angle and ran out of tarmac, but felt great and a much stronger race for me,” he said.
Tyler and James Pinkerton completed the top six, “I was catching Ben but not enough, the car was just great again,” Tyler concluded.
SR1 CUP: DE LEON TAKES TITLE
Ben Caisley was a double winner in the Donington SR1 Cup finale, but second place in the final race was enough for Valour Racing’s Daryl De Leon to take the title.
Caisley had led from the start of race one with Tom Wood heading De Leon for second. “I had a great start and was starting to manage the gap, but then two early safety car breaks bothered me,” said Caisley.
De Leon was one of the casualties, “we went into Melbourne four wide and then as I turned into Goddards I felt an impact on the left side of my car,” he explained.
It finally went green from lap five and both Caisley and Wood went clear again, but on his home track Wood had no answer to the DW driver, who took a 3.534 secs victory.
Frazer McFadden had been an early casualty too, which left Sven Thompson and James Ockenden duelling for third. Ockenden was through from lap six, but then retired three laps later, leaving Thompson to complete the podium. “I think it was by default, as the rest were throwing themselves off,” said Thompson.
Paul Denning, James Hadley and Paul Atherton completed the top six.
Season long frontrunners De Leon, Caisley and McFadden led the way at the start of the final race. “I was sitting behind behind Daryl but then saw Frazer closing so decided to get the lead and manage the gap,” said Caisley.
”I didn’t defend when Ben challenged, as I only needed third for the title and it felt comfortable,” De Leon replied.
While the lead duo held station, Wood ousted McFadden from third a lap from home, with Denning and Ockenden completing the top six.
Published by Peter Scherer for Radical Motorsport, September 19th, 2022RADICAL CHALLENGE RESULTS 2022