Radical Australia Cup: Round 3 - Winton VIC
28 June 2011

Opie dominates round three of Radical Australia Cup Rnd#3 Radical Australia Cup Winton Motor Raceway, VIC (June 24-26)
There’s really no other way to describe the final outcome of a weekend where yet again, the bulk of the field had not turned a wheel in anger immediately prior to arriving at the northern Victorian regional circuit for round three of the Shannons Nationals.

As had been the case during round #2 of Radical Australia Cup [RAC], competitors were greeted by cold, damp, slippery conditions.

All the regulars were in attendance, with George Pethard back after missing Phillip Island, Steve Shelley returning after what for him was an outstanding debut in round two, and we’d gained another new competitor, experienced ‘journeyman’ and sportscar competitor Shane Otten joined the field although sadly his initiation was short-lived after running very competitively on debut.

“I’ve just recently had an elbow reconstruction,” he confirmed, “and despite advice to do just stretching exercises, I’ve gotten carried away, so feel it’s probably best to pull the pin now and not pay too much for it later.”

After running inside the top three during Friday’s practice, his pace dropped off slightly to seventh in the opening qualifier, shortly thereafter he elected to retire. Sadly, so too NEVCO Engineering’s George Pethard who was relishing the opportunity to return to Radical Australia Cup after missing Phillip Island, he would also be forced to retire with gearbox issues after comfortably qualifying inside the top ten.

“I could feel the gearbox starting to let go in qualifying,” he confirmed, “and it wasn’t great in race one, as it kept pulling up and down gears without my assistance. The team have looked at it and there’s an issue. Radical Australia have a spare in the truck, but I’ll have mine refreshed, as the gearbox is part of the engine and it doesn’t need replacing. Looking forward to a clean weekend though to backup the opening round at Wakefield Park.”

As was expected, reigning RAC champion Peter Opie was quickly on the pace in practice, but so too experienced drivers like team-mates Tim Berryman and Jonathan Miles, and RAC debutante, Shane Otten.

By qualifying though it was Opie who took the pole for the first ten lap sprint race, and Miles for race two, with the Berryman/Miles duo on combined times, scheduled to start Sunday's 50-minute enduro from the top spot.

In the opening Sprint race, Opie led from the green and took a comfortable victory over Berryman and the consistent Glyn Edis.

In race two, it was Miles who would start from pole, but a slow start allowed Opie to split Miles and fellow front row starter Edis to take the lead and race away to victory.

Behind him Edis held Miles at bay until the penultimate lap, the opening round co-winner admitting that Winton's short straights and sweeping corners made it difficult to overtake, and that the air off the rear of Edis' SR3RS made his car less stable and therefore limited his overtaking chances.

Whilst the two sprint race wins aided his championship points, and helped the Berryman/Miles combination build a recovery after the disaster of race two at Phillip Island (exclusion after spinning on the warm-up lap off pole position), for the man who led the points coming into Winton - Ed Singleton - Saturday had been anything but helpful to his title aspirations.

"I came here a couple of weeks ago and tested with Glyn and the boys, and whilst I was happy with my performance then, I've been struggling with brake bias this weekend, and it wrecked qualifying for me.”

Session one saw him down in 14th position, whilst a recovery for race two saw him starting from row two. Sadly he finished race one where he started, after coming into contact with round two sensation Steve Shelley in the closing stages, an incident which saw them both spending time with the Clerk of Course.

In race two he mounted somewhat of a recovery, but was still classified sixth at race end. Sadly for him, his lowly race one qualifying position would also force a start in the enduro towards rear of field, although if there's one thing we've seen from Radical Australia Cup this year, it's that anything can happen during and endurance race, and it usually does..

Off pole for Sunday's enduro, Tim Berryman elected to start as Miles admitted he'd struggled to get off the line on a number of occasions and that Tim was the stronger of the two in those situations. He duly delivered and stormed into the race lead with Opie in hot pursuit.

Further back Nathan Stephens was charging in Chris Medland's beautiful chrome 2011 SR3RS and was soon on the tail of the battling leaders to make it a three way fight for the lead before a spin on lap 11 dropped him back to fourth behind Singleton.

Opie applied maximum pressure but knew that the pitstops would provide an opportunity to make an assault on the lead, and once the window opened at the 20-minute mark, he was first in.

Two laps later Berryman pitted to hand over to Miles, the [at that point] leaders rejoining just as Opie approached the start/finish line, the reigning champion pulling alongside Miles on the run down to turn three, then going around the outside of him to turn four and through to the lead.

"I knew I had to attack and get through as soon as I could because the overtaking opportunities are pretty limited in one of these [Radicals]," Opie admitted afterwards.

Miles was quickly into attack mode though, and he spent the next ten laps applying maximum pressure to the rear of Opie's car before spinning at the turn ten left-hander with three laps to go.

"I went in pretty deep, but I didn't think it was any deeper than previously," Miles admitted, "and the rear of Peter's car was coming up pretty quickly, so I added extra pressure and locked the rears. I grabbed the clutch, but it must have been too late because it tore the middle out of the starter motor and I couldn't restart, that was it," he added afterwards clearly devastated after what had been another impressive drive with one small blemish.

That brought out the Shannons Safety Car, and the field bunched up allowing Glyn Edis, who had been a very distant third [almost 30 seconds back] to close on the leader, with just Chris Medland separating them. On the restart Opie made the most of his advantage and charged away whilst behind him, Edis was slowed by Medland's restart speed and the fact that he was unable to go around until they'd passed the start/finish line.

From there it was all over, with Opie recording a third victory for the round to claim the points lead, ahead of Edis, the impressive Simon Haggarty, a recovering Ed Singleton and the combination of Phil Anseline and Ollie Smith.

Round #4 for the Radical Australia Cup will, be run at Radical’s home circuit, Eastern Creek as part of a blockbuster round of the Shannons Nationals over July 14-17.

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

2011 Radical Australia Cup
Rnd#3, Winton Motor Raceway, Victoria
24-26 June 2011

1. Peter Opie - Radical Australia (1:23.2074)
2. Tim Berryman - Volvo Cars Australia (1:23.7059)
3. Nathan Stephens - Radical Australia (1:24.0121)
4. Glyn Edis - Interior Developments (1:25.1393)
5. Richard Bloomfield - Key Produce (1:26.2005)
6. Simon Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team (1:26.5492)
7. Shane Otten - Thetradeinnet (1:27.0539)
8. George Pethard - NEVCO Engineering (1:27.1810)
9. Tony Palmer - Radical Events (1:27.2023)
10. Greg Smith - Radical Australia (1:27.2805)
11. Steve Shelley - Deputy.com (1:27.7062)
12. Robert Baird - Radical Team Melbourne (1:27.7062)
13. Phil Anseline - WT Partnership (1:28.4264)
14. Ed Singleton - MPA Projects (1:28.5806)
15. Tony Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team (1:29.0041)
16. Sue Hughes - Navybox School of Motorsport (1:31.8256)

1. Jonathan Miles - Volvo Cars Australia (1:22.4696)
2. Glyn Edis - Interior Developments (1:22.7904)
3. Peter Opie - Radical Australia (1:23.2281)
4. Ed Singleton - MPA Projects (1:23.8245)
5. Simon Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team (1:23.8704)
6. Oliver Smith - WT Partnership (1:24.2715)
7. Tony Palmer - Radical Events (1:25.2591)
8. Richard Bloomfield - Key Produce (1:25.2714)
9. Byron Smith - Radical Australia (1:25.2902)
10. Chris Medland - Radical Australia (1:25.5968)
11. George Pethard - NEVCO Engineering (1:26.5204)
12. Steve Shelley - Deputy.com (1:26.6444)
13. Tony Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team (1:27.4894)
14. Sue Hughes - Navybox School of Motorsport (1:28.7604)
15. Gary Walker - Radical Team Melbourne (1:28.9838)

1. Peter Opie - Radical Australia
2. Tim Berryman - Volvo Cars Australia
3. Glyn Edis - Interior Developments
4. Chris Medland - Radical Australia
5. Tony Palmer - Radical Events
6. Simon Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team
7. Greg Smith - Radical Australia
8. Robert Baird - Radical Team Melbourne
9. George Pethard - NEVCO Engineering
10. Steve Shelley - Deputy.com
11. Tony Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team
12. Ed Singleton - MPA Projects  
13. Sue Hughes - Navybox School of Motorsport
14. Phil Anseline - WT Partnership (9-laps)
EXC. Richard Bloomfield - Key Produce
Fastest lap: Peter Opie (1:23.6624) - lap 8

1. Peter Opie - Radical Australia
2. Jonathan Miles - Volvo Cars Australia
3. Glyn Edis - Interior Developments
4. Simon Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team
5. Tony Palmer - Radical Events
6. Ed Singleton - MPA Projects  
7. Oliver Smith - WT Partnership
8. Chris Medland - Radical Australia
9. Richard Bloomfield - Key Produce
10. Gary Walker - Radical Team Melbourne
11. Sue Hughes - Navybox School of Motorsport
12. Tony Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team
13. Byron Smith - Radical Australia (8-laps)
DNF. Steve Shelley - Deputy.com (7-laps)
Fastest lap: Peter Opie (1:23.3342) - lap 5
Race#3 (50-minutes)
1. Peter Opie - Radical Australia (34-laps)
2. Glyn Edis - Interior Developments
3. Simon Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team
4. Ed Singleton - MPA Projects  
5. Phil Anseline/Oliver Smith - WT Partnership
6. Tony Palmer - Radical Events
7. Richard Bloomfield - Key Produce
8. Chris Medland/Nathan Stephens - Radical Australia (33-laps)
9. Robert Baird/Gary Walker - Radical Team Melbourne
10. Tony Haggarty - Haggarty Racing Team
11. Greg/Byron Smith - Radical Australia
12. Steve Shelley - Deputy.com
13. Sue Hughes - Navybox School of Motorsport
14. Tim Berryman/Jonathan Miles - Volvo Cars Australia
Fastest lap: Jonathon Miles (1:23.8320) - lap 32

Championship points (after round three of five)
1. Peter Opie (208)
2. Ed Singleton (185)
3. Glyn Edis (161)
4. Simon Haggarty (155)
5. Berryman/Miles (150)
6. Tony Palmer (101)
6. Richard Bloomfield (101)
8. Greg/Byron Smith (97)
9. Baird/Walker (85)
10. Chris Medland (80)
11. Phil Anseline (74)
12. Steve Shelley (71)
13. Sue Hughes (70)
14. Barton Mawer (62)
15. Brett Sutton (54)
16. Oliver Smith (45)
16. Jinadasa/Koustoumidis (45)
18. Nathan Stephens (39)
19. Tony Haggarty (36)
20. Bryce Moore (32)
21. George Pethard (30)
22. Bill Medland (12)
23. Davis/Jouy (3)
24. Shane Otten (0)

Article by Sean Henshelwood
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