Radical Australia Cup: Round 2 - Phillip Island
30 May 2011

What a Radical weekend..! Round #2 Radical Australia Cup Phillip Island, VIC, May 28-29

Ed Singleton has emerged victorious from round two of Radical Australia Cup [RAC] after one of the most amazing and unpredictable race meetings in recent memory.

As the first of the ‘Biduro’ events scheduled in this year’s RAC, competitors would be faced with two 50-minute endurance events (both with compulsory mid-race pitstops), on a circuit where the bulk of the field had no knowledge outside telecasts of V8 Supercars or MotoGP.

For most of the Radical competitors entered for round two, Friday afternoon’s ten minute roadcar session (at 60km/h maximum!) was the first they had seen of the famed Phillip Island venue, with the event restricted to just two days of competition.

“We’ve done some pre-event induction and coaching,” reigning RAC champion Peter Opie admitted, “but there’s nothing like the real thing.”

Sadly for the true motorsport aficionados, Phillip Island’s changeable autumn weather would ultimately restrict the beautiful little SR3 from revealing its true potential, and also restrict the competitors from achieving the full Island experience.

“I can’t wait,” was the most heard response about to how they were approaching the weekend’s competition, a message delivered with a broad smile.

With just one scheduled practice session for every driver prior to two rounds of qualifying (session one to set the grid for race one, session two for race two), staying on circuit for maximum laps was going to be the key, but that didn’t stop some of the fancied frontrunners from starting the damp session on slicks.

“It’s been a while since I’ve done laps around here,” round one RAC winner, and former Formula 3 National class pilot Tim Berryman admitted, “but I’ve done them, and with limited practice laps we want valuable data for tomorrow. With the weather changing by the minute, we wanted to know just how hard it would be to run on slicks in slippery conditions and avoid a potentially unnecessary and time consuming pitstop.”

Aside from Berryman, the events two ‘pro’ drivers, Barton Mawer (sharing with Opie) and Bryce Moore (sharing with Richard Bloomfield) also started on slicks, with both turning laps inside the top five. At the top of the timesheets early though was a surprised and beaming Radical rookie, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge regular Jan Jinadasa. Jinadasa had sampled a Radical at Eastern Creek recently and was immediately impressed with the performance and grip. “When I heard they were coming to Phillip Island, I just had to be a part of the experience,” he grinned. Joining Jinadasa would be fellow PGT3CC pilot Dean Koutsoumidis, the two Victorian drivers both sporting wide smiles throughout the weekend.

By qualifying time things had really started to hear up. In session one Bryce Moore put in a late session blinder (1:33.0735) to just topple Bart Mawer (1:44.2954) from the top of the timesheets, with the impressive Jinadasa just half a second in arrears, still grinning like a Cheshire cat.

Fourth was Berryman, ahead of an impressive drive by Phil Anseline, with Radical Australia’s Greg Smith just hundredths clear of series debutante Steve Shelley.  

Shelley was amazed at the Phillip Island circuit, and in just his fourth competitive event, was surprised to be so close to the front. That surprise soon turned to disbelief, as the Sydney-sider carded P2 during the second qualifier.

“I can’t believe it,” he beamed, “that’s incredible.”

Setting the pole time for the second of the two enduros though was Berryman’s highly rated team-mate Jonathan Miles. An experienced historic Formula Ford pilot, Miles had done some serious laps of the Phillip Island circuit during the annual historic ‘Classic’ in March, so was quickly up to speed in the second session, which had started to develop a dry line.


Miles’ 1:44.5076 was quick, however it was hard to judge times against the first qualifier as the track were changing by the minute, and the corner..


Third quickest, but more than two seconds back in the inexperienced field, was Oliver Smith (Phil Anseline’s co-driver), from Bloomfield and Opie, with the conservative Simon Haggarty a comfortable sixth. “I’m new to the Island too,” he said, “so I’m taking it easy. Most of us are on the same learning curve, so I’d expect everyone to get quicker over the course of the two races, my aim is to be there in the end and complete all the laps,”


Race one was scheduled for 3:30 Saturday afternoon, and with showers crossing the circuit at regular intervals, tyre choice was going to be critical.

Despite the full Radical Australia team being on call in the pits, the challenge would be on should the entire field pit at once for a change (the compulsory enduro pitstops are for driver changes and safety observation only, not tyre changes or refuelling), so strategy was also going to play a part in the final results.

With the bulk of the field fitted on slicks for the start of race two, the flag dropped with the two pro drivers immediately running away at the front of the field. Behind them Tim Berryman’s weekend went from fantastic to disastrous in the space of 500 metres, the points leader spinning on the high speed run through turn one after a brilliant start saw him on the tail of the two leaders on the way into the fast right-hander.

“I could see an opening, and I thought the circuit would have enough grip, but the tyres take more than a single sighting lap to come up to temperature and around I went,” he admitted afterwards.

Fortunately he managed to pull the car up without either contact with the wall - or as had been the case during practice and qualifying offs - getting bogged in the damp outfield.

Whilst you couldn’t have been blamed for suggesting that the Berryman and Miles duo were now out of contention, you would have been wrong, as what unfolded over the next 49 minutes would show..

Next off was Phil Anseline who also suffered on cold tyres, although he managed to make the exit of Honda mid-lap, spinning on the exit as he applied the throttle, a disappointing end to a solid qualifying effort.

It wasn’t over yet, George Davis competing in his first Radical Australia Cup event was also caught on cold tyres and had a big off at the exit of Siberia which seriously damaged the rear of the car [which was returned to the pits and rebuilt on the spot to allow him to finish the event] and ultimately brought out the safety car on lap six - and that opened up a whole new can of worms..

By that stage Moore had pressed Mawer into an error, allowing the younger of the two pros through to a comfortable lead, the current Formula 3 front-runner opening up a two and a half second lead immediately after passing Mawer on lap four at Southern loop.

After both Anseline and Davis’ cars were recovered from the circuit, the field resumed, although not for long, with the pit window opening on lap ten. That brought in Mawer (to hand over to Opie) as Moore pressed on for two more laps before handing over to Bloomfield.

By this stage the race lead was a lottery, as during the opening lap, a handful of competitors had made an early dash to the pits to change to wets [tyres], amongst them, Glyn Edis who would declare afterwards that it was the worst decision he could have made as the weather continued to change. 

With Mawer and Moore in the pits, the lead fell into the hands of Jinadasa who was looking both fast and comfortable in the conditions, a sign of just how important experience was on the sometimes treacherous 4.4 kilometre circuit.

Jinadasa’s lead was relatively short lived as he also needed to pit for a driver change before the close of the pit window, handing over to Koutsoumidis on lap 14. The recipient of this, and the subsequent tyre change stops, was that opening round winner Jonathan Miles was now into the lead after a charging Tim Berryman had put the car back into contention prior to the stop. His recovery though hadn’t been completely without incident, the former F3 pilot spinning on the exit of MG. Fortunately the safety crew had just recovered another vehicle, so they returned to grab Berryman as the field circulated behind the safety car, allowing him to rejoin without losing a lap.

By chequered flag time, Miles was more than 12 seconds clear of the conservative but ever-present Ed Singleton, with the star of the race, Sue Hughes, right on Singleton’s tail. This condensed gameplay though doesn’t fully cover every element of the way the race played out, it was mayhem to follow, and was providing officials with a similar scenario, with incidents and potential penalties coming from almost every officials point on the circuit. The most challenged situation was cars overtaking whilst under Safety Car conditions.

Ultimately, stewards hearings would need to be conducted, with the official result not released until Sunday morning.

In the end, thanks in part to the conditions, and series regulations which had long been posted with CAMS - but as it turned out, not approved - the final result would go through a number of iterations as it also became clear the other factor playing a part was vehicle identification.


One car which was penalised early was the race winning entry of Berryman and Miles, who were handed a 34-second penalty for passing under yellows. That was appealed and subsequently overturned as it became clear that the wrong car was identified in a field where there are more than half a dozen white Radicals..


In the end, the Miles/Berryman combination were rewarded with their second endurance win of the season, with Singleton classified second, and Sue Hughes a popular third.

“In the end we elected to start on wets, and I stayed on wets right through,” she confirmed afterwards, in what was one of the best strategic moves of the race.

Fourth was the father-son combination of Greg and Byron Smith, one of the teams to pit for a tyre change on the opening lap, from Tony Palmer in his brand new SR3RS which for Tony sadly saw him fail to record a lap of the Phillip Island circuit prior to qualifying after a rare electrical failure ended his sole practice session before it had begun. 

“It’s rare that a brand new car straight from the factory has an issue like that,” Radical Australia Team Manager Garth Walden admitted, “but it does happen. It looks like the crank angle sensor has let go, which is unusual because the car was tested before it left England, and we gave it a full shakedown at Eastern Creek before we came here.”

Clearly the fix had worked as Tony was all smiles heading into the second 50-minute enduro on Sunday morning.

Whilst the series regulars were all smiles, not so the two pro drivers who had made a huge impression in the slippery conditions during the early laps.

Mawer was one of the first to pit once the pit window was open, handing the car over to Peter Opie, who rejoined mid-pack, but with an additional 30-second penalty as a result of his pairing with a ‘pro’ driver.

That didn’t stop Opie who charged through the field in the difficult conditions to be hard on Singleton’s tail with ten laps to go, the reigning RAC champion making his move with five to go as Miles started to get away in front.

Heading into ‘hayshed’ corner, Opie moved to the outside of Singleton as they went over Lukey Heights, Singleton protecting his line whilst hanging on in the slippery conditions which ultimately forced Opie out wide with two wheels on the grass as they came to the braking point of MG. The predictable result saw Opie spin off the circuit and back across MG, just missing the tail of the closely following Shelley.

Opie recovered but had dropped back to eighth, recovering for seventh at the flag.

Moore pitted to hand over to Richard Bloomfield, but like so many before him, the Phillip Island rookie spun on his out lap, and like Phil Anseline before him, remained stranded on the outside of Honda corner until another safety car period saw the #57 SR3 recovered from the bog. “I couldn’t believe it,” he said afterwards. “Watching Berryman pulled out without losing a lap, which allowed them to go on and take the win, whilst I just sat there and watched the field go around and around.. I messed up though. I just couldn’t turn it going into Honda so ran up the escape road, but got bogged trying to turn around. It’s disappointing, Bryce did a fantastic job and we were in the box seat - no-one in front of me, and no-one behind..”

Sunday dawned cold and overcast, but thankfully, dry, and with Saturday’s appeals and infringements now sorted, you could be forgiven for thinking that day two couldn’t possibly see a repeat of the opening race confusion.. you’d be wrong!

It started on the warm-up lap with pole-sitter Jonathan Miles working feverishly to get warmth into his green Dunlop slicks. A locked brake coming out of pit-lane started the drama, and a spin off the circuit at MG ended it despite the recovery crew getting him back on track within moments of the start.

He wasn’t the only one to suffer at the hands of officials, fellow front row starter Steve Shelley creeping forward before the green to be given an immediate drive through penalty. Behind the field Miles was back onto the black stuff and charging, being told to catch the field but be careful around the course cars following the field through turn one.

He quickly set about charging towards the front of the field before a black flag ended his run, officials citing a five second delay after the green was given as the end point for entry into the race, Miles crossing the line 15 seconds after the field was given the green.

“It was my fault,” he admitted with frustration afterwards. “After seeing Tim spin on cold tyres at the start of race one, I knew I had to do everything I could to get the tyres up to temperature to make the most of the. I’m just so disappointed for Tim and the team, they gave me the easy job yesterday, and I’ve thrown it away this morning.”

With Shelley gone and Miles back in pit lane, MPA Projects’ Ed Singleton inherited the lead but was under close attention from Peter Opie. With Saturday’s late race contact fresh in their minds you would have expected the pair to have left a comfortable gap, but no so Opie who charged around the outside of Singleton at the notorious Southern Loop to take the lead.

“I didn’t think we’d end up with the same incident happening twice,” Opie admitted afterwards, “and I knew if we were to have any chance, we’d need to charge early.”

Behind them Bloomfield had started strongly and was up to third before slipping off on lap seven, dropping back to eighth in the process, which allowed Glyn Edis through to second and then the lead as Simon Haggarty joined in the battle at the front of the field.

On lap 11 the pit window opened with Palmer and Bill Medland in brother Chris’ stunning new chrome SR3RS the first in. 

One of the last to pit was Singleton, who amazingly rejoined in fourth and set off in pursuit of new leader Edis, Shelley and the impressive Sue Hughes. Sadly for Sue, she fell foul of the slippery conditions nine laps from home, dropping from an almost certain fourth to rear of field.

Whilst all this was going on, a number of drivers were forced to return to the pits for drive through penalties - one of them Moore who was working his way towards the front, the Bloomfield/Moore entry judged to have been too fast on pit lane during the compulsory stop.

At the end, it appeared that Jan Jinadasa would be the first across the line, the Porsche regular enjoying a great battle with Singleton in the closing stages, but he was actually a lap down. 

Again, penalties and appeals saw some question over the final result, but once it was sorted, Ed Singleton was declared the victor over a stunned and surprised Steve Shelley, with Bart Mawer recovering from his penalty pitstop (90-seconds (pro driver) as opposed to 60-seconds for the bulk of the field) to grab third for the race, and third for the round. Simon Haggarty continued his impressive run to not just claim fourth, but a stunning second for the weekend, the look on his face as it was announced he’d grabbed the second step on the podium for the weekend behind Singleton, was priceless..

“Have you checked the numbers,” he quipped, still amazed to have recorded his first major podium result on a circuit he’d never even seen before. “My focus was just to stay on track and keep going around..” - it was clearly the right strategy.

Fifth in the end was Edis, from a hard charging Bryce Moore who had recovered from the mid-race drive through penalty to record the fastest lap of the race, and the weekend for Radical - 1:34.6391.

 

Round #3 for the Radical Australia Cup will, be run at Winton Motor Raceway on June 24-26 for round three of the 2011 Shannons Nationals.

 

The Radical Australia Cup is proudly supported by MPA Projects, Industrie clothing, Travelplan Holidays, Shell Racing Solutions and Dunlop.


Qualifying#1

1. Bryce Moore - Key Produce (1:44:0735)
2. Barton Mawer - Radical Australia (1:44.2954)

3. Jan Jinadasa - JJA Consulting/Equity One (1:44.7867)
4. Tim Berryman - Volvo Cars Australia (1:46.2246)
5. Phil Anseline - WT Partnership (1:50.1979)

6. Greg Smith - Radical Australia (1:51.2688)

7. Steve Shelley - Deputy.com (1:51.2873)
8. Simon Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team (1:51.3970)

9. Tony Palmer - Radical Events (1:51.5483)

10. Chris Medland - Radical Australia (1:52.2824)

11. Robert Baird - Radical Team Melbourne (1:52.7329)

12. Brett Sutton (1:54.8744)

13. Sue Hughes - Navybox School of Motorsport (1:55.6318)

14. Tony Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team (1:56.9818)

15. George Davis – Engineering Partners (2:03.4794)

DNQ. Ed Singleton - MPA Projects

DNQ. Glyn Edis - Interior Developments



Qualifying#2

1. Jonathan Miles - Volvo Cars Australia (1:44.5076)
2. Steve Shelley - Deputy.com (1:45.7976)

3. Oliver Smith - WT Partnership (1:46.7482)

4. Richard Bloomfield - Key Produce (1:47.4352)

5. Peter Opie - Radical Australia (1:47.5640)

6. Simon Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team (1:47.6011)

7. Ed Singleton - MPA Projects (1:48.0429)

8. Francois Jouy - Engineering Partners (1:50.2912)

9. Tony Palmer - Radical Events (1:50.3216)

10. Glyn Edis - Interior Developments (1:50.5582)

11. Sue Hughes - Navybox School of Motorsport (1:52.1544)

12. Brett Sutton (1:54.1253)

13. Gary Walker - Radical Team Melbourne (1:59.9801) 

14. Byron Smith - Radical Australia (2:00.4447)

15. Dean Koutsoumidis - JJA Consulting/Equity One (2:04.6968)

16. Tony Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team (2:05.4405)
17. Bill Medland - Radical Australia (2:14.9394)

 

Race#1 (50-minutes)

1. Tim Berryman/Jonathan Miles - Volvo Cars Australia (21-laps)
2. Ed Singleton - MPA Projects 

3. Sue Hughes - Navybox School of Motorsport

4. Greg/Byron Smith - Radical Australia

5. Simon Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team

6. Tony Palmer - Radical Events

7. Peter Opie/Barton Mawer - Radical Australia

8. Jan Jinadasa/Dean Koutsoumidis - JJA Consulting Group/Equity One
9. Steve Shelley - Deputy.com (20-laps)

10. Robert Baird/Gary Walker - Radical Team Melbourne

11. Brett Sutton

12. Tony Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team

13. Glyn Edis - Interior Developments

14. Chris/Bill Medland - Radical Australia

15. Richard Bloomfield/Bryce Moore - Key Produce (18-laps)

DNF. George Davis/Francois Jouy - Engineering Partners (6-laps)

DNF. Phil Anseline/Oliver Smith - WT Partnership (4-laps)

Fastest lap: Peter Opie (1:41.1653) - lap 21
 

Race#2 (50-minutes)

1. Ed Singleton - MPA Projects (26-laps)
2. Steve Shelley - Deputy.com

3. Peter Opie/Barton Mawer - Radical Australia

4. Simon Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team
5. Glyn Edis - Interior Developments

6. Richard Bloomfield/Bryce Moore - Key Produce (25-laps)

7. Jan Jinadasa/Dean Koutsoumidis - JJA Consulting Group/Equity One

8. Tony Palmer - Radical Events

9. Greg/Byron Smith - Radical Australia

10. Brett Sutton

11. Sue Hughes - Navybox School of Motorsport

12. Chris/Bill Medland - Radical Australia

13. Phil Anseline/Oliver Smith - WT Partnership (24-laps)

14. George Davis/Francois Jouy - Engineering Partners (21-laps)

DNF. Tony Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team (20-laps)

DNF. Robert Baird/Gary Walker - Radical Team Melbourne (5-laps)

EXC. Tim Berryman/Jonathan Miles - Volvo Cars Australia

Fastest lap: Bryce Moore (1:34.6391) - lap 23

 
Championship points
(after round two of five);

1. Ed Singleton - 140
2. Peter Opie - 132

3. Tim Berryman/Jonathan Miles - 118
4. Simon Haggarty - 99

5. Glyn Edis - 98

6. Greg/Byron Smith - 75

7. Richard Bloomfield - 71

8. Barton Mawer - 62
9. Sue Hughes - 58

10. Steve Shelley - 57

11. Robert Baird/Gary Walker - 55

12. Brett Sutton - 54

13. Tony Palmer - 54

14. Jan Jinadasa/Dean Koutsoumidis - 45
15. Chris Medland - 41

16. Phil Anseline - 35

17. Bryce Moore - 32

18. George Pethard - 24
19. Tony Haggarty - 14

20. Bill Medland - 12

21. Oliver Smith - 6

22. George Davis/Francois Jouy - 3

 

Article by Sean Henshelwood

 
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