23 October 2013

NEW NAMES and faces adorned the top of the podium at the final round of the 2013 Radical Australia Cup at Wakefield Park last weekend. John Corbett scored his maiden victory thanks to a storming 50-minute feature race that was filled with drama and excitement throughout. Meanwhile, the SR3 title battle went down to the wire with a last-ditch round victory from Simon Haggarty not quite enough to steal the title from Liam Talbot, in a thrilling decider for the four-cylinder class.

Wakefield Park welcomed a 17-car field and it offered some of the tightest racing of the season so far.

The weekend commenced with the closest qualifying session of the season, SR8 champion Neale Muston scoring pole position from the returning Tim Berryman by just 0.0085s.

Peter White was within seven-tenths of the fastest time in third place whilst Michael Shaw was particularly impressive in the SR3s, placing his No.2 car in the middle of six SR8s in the opening qualifying session – and quicker than eventual overall winner John Corbett.

Berryman’s comeback to the category after several years’ absence came in style as he quickly adapted to his new 430-hp SR8 following previous experience in the Radical Australia Cup driving an SR3 racer.

Berryman erupted from the front row and led the early laps of the first 12-lap sprint race on Saturday afternoon before Muston was able to squeeze past and take the victory.

Behind the SR8 battle a stunning fight for the SR3 class win was underway with WT Partnership driver Oliver Smith holding off relentless attack after relentless attack from a battling group, that included Simon Haggarty, Liam Talbot and Peter Johnston.

Smith held on until lap six before Haggarty could complete a successful pass to eventually take the SR3 fight.

Muston led lights-to-flag in the second sprint ahead of Berryman and Peter White – who finished third in each sprint – whilst Talbot held out Haggarty at the front of the SR3 fight.

Sunday’s feature race began in dramatic fashion when Berryman and Muston made contact in the braking zone into turn two just moments after the race began.

Muston was spun to the outside of the circuit and dropped to last while Berryman was rewarded with a drive through penalty by race officials thanks to his part in the contact.

Peter White then assumed the lead in his First Neon SR8 and looked in a commanding position, before he too was a victim of the challenging turn two – running wide on the exit of the corner and into the sand trap.

That handed the lead of the race to John Corbett, who became the third leader in the race’s first thirteen laps.

Muston’s charge through the field – he had climbed to second – ended on lap fifteen when he succumbed to damage caused in the lap one, turn two incident, leaving a group of drivers not at all accustomed to running at the front in charge of the race.

Berryman climbed to second by lap 28 and set about reducing the gap to the leader - getting to within six seconds at the flag but ultimately he would not have enough laps to get close enough to Corbett, who would go on to score his maiden victory in style.

Richard Kimber finished the race third in his best result of the season with the trio of Corbett, Berryman and Kimber also finishing the round first, second and third, respectively.

Kim Burke held out Peter Johnston by less than one second to win the SR3 battle in the 50-minute enduro; however a third-place finish from Simon Haggarty was enough to secure the driver of the No. 5 entry the round victory.

Liam Talbot finished one lap back in seventh overall (4th SR3) but did enough to secure his maiden series title in wrapping up the SR3 class by 21 points over Haggarty and Kim Burke. Muston had earlier wrapped up the SR8 battle, a strong season from Peter White securing the First Neon driver second. Chris Medland finished third in the final standings.

The Final Radical Australia Cup points standing are available by clicking here.

The post-season Radical Australia Cup awards will be held this Thursday evening, in Sydney. 

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