Trans-West Radical 250 Enduro at Eastern Creek
09 March 2011

Radical Australia ran its first-ever Radical-only Enduro race on Saturday 11th December, to rave reviews from all participants. Designed around the successful European Masters series, the event gave Radical racers their first taste of endurance racing with pit-stops and multi-driver team formats. The packed schedule included two 20 minute practice sessions, two 20 minute qualifying sessions and two 50 minute races during the course of the single day. The format is representative of what the 2011 Industrie Radical Australia Cup will deliver during its five rounds/five tracks/five months calendar.
High profile drivers from a mixture of race categories joined the regular Radical racers as part of the “Pro Am” formula. Amongst the “Pros” were V8 Supercar stars Greg Murphy and Warren Luff, current Australian F3 championship leader Ben Barker, NASCAR Craftsman series driver George Miedecke and multiple Australian GT champion  Paul Stokell, just to name a few.

PRACTICE

Saturday presented perfect weather conditions – clear skies and hot temperatures.  Practice session one saw all the Pros on track.  Despite several of them having no experience in Radicals, all were quickly up to speed and raving about the grip and performance of the Radical machines.  Ben Barker and George Miedecke took top spots in their session while other outstanding practice performances came from Warren Luff, Trevor Gerber and ‘Key Produce’ team, Richard Bloomfield and Bryce Moore.   QUALIFYING

Qualifying session for the “Pros” saw Ben Barker showing great pace, qualifying behind Warren Luff by one tenth, then Greg Murphy followed by Bryce Moore in 4th.  Paul Stokell had a great qualifying session finishing in 5th position followed closely by Neil McFadyen and Anthony Robson in 6th and 7th.

Qualifying session for Driver B witnessed some solid performances from the “Ams”.  Greg Smith finished in 5th fastest, not far behind Nick Kelly in 4th and Trevor Gerber in 3rd.  Joseph Lenthall had a superb qualifying session, grabbing 2nd quickest but it was Ed Singleton who grabbed session fastest, in his brand new SR3 RS which hadn’t turned a wheel prior to the event. 

In between practice and qualifying, onlookers were treated to the first new look at the brand new Radical SR8 RX.  As part of the worldwide first launch, Nick Dove – Director of Radical UK, and Phil Abbott - Co-founder of Radical Sportscars, unveiled the amazing machine to a rapturous  audience.  Radical Australia factory test driver Garth Walden then hit the track for some demo laps, where he comfortably obliterated the Eastern Creek Radical lap record.   RACE 1

The Pros were slated to start Race 1, and they certainly delivered.  Ex-Australian F3 champ Neil McFadyen was quick off the start to pass all drivers at Turn 2, McFadyen lead the race, closely followed by Ben Barker for the next 5 laps.  Warren Luff emerged from a late start and was harried in Turn 2 by Murphy, Moore, Stokell, F3 star Mat Sofi and saloon racer Nathan Stephens.  Highly regarded instructor Anthony Robson was unlucky to suffer a mechanical issue which saw him having visit the pits form an adjustment, dropping him back in the pack.  Paul Stokell gave chase to the field after a stalled start.  But it was Glyn Edis and Ed Singleton, both of whom gambled on a single-driver strategy, who carried on to take out the top two podium spots.  Ex-Sports Car driver Chris Oxley, joining Mark Hurcum, took the last step on the dais, followed home by Sofi/Tony Palmer, Paul Stokell/Phil Anseline and an unlucky Murphy/Greg Smith.  Joesph Lenthall partnered Gordon Mellis to snare 8th behind Radical regular Peter Opie and Trevor Gerber, the first of the non-pro pairings home.  The Stephens/Medland pair took 9th just ahead of Brett Sutton who also ran this race solo.  Fuelling issues saw Moore/Richard Bloomfield get home in 11th, and the Robson/Tony Haggarty team pip Luff/Basil Mondello.  George Davis and Richard Crawshay were devastated to suffer an “off” on the very last lap, which put them out for the rest of the day.   RACE 2

The second race saw a reversal of roles, with the “Ams” starting and the “Pros” relieving.  No question all the drivers were nervous to ensure they delivered their team a great performance leading into the changeover for the “Pros” to bring things home.

Glyn Edis started well from pole, holding out Ed Singleton and Nick Kelly to the first corner.  Trevor Gerber was right in the thick of it, the four drivers battling it out.  The Mondello entry was left stranded on the start-line, but Joseph Lenthall was thrilling his team by getting to third by lap 8, improving two spots.  Greg Smith, who had started well out of sixth and was driving strongly, succumbed to a mechanical gremlin on lap 10 and was forced to retire.  But the real flyer was Mark Hurcum, who was rocketing through the field with his partner Oxley, ultimately coming from 12th to grab an amazing third position.  Neil McFadyen flew home in Nick Kelly’s car to take out second spot.  Honours for the race again went to Edis, however, who impressed all with his strategy and consistency to bring things home for a second race win.  With temps of 55 degrees track and 38 degrees ambient, no-one could begrudge his fitness!

“I have had a ball today.  The endurance and pit-stop format is fabulous, and driving with such great pros is a privilege and a thrill.  I can’t wait for next year”, said Edis.

Final race combined results saw Glyn take the win, followed by Hurcum/Oxley in second and Opie/Gerber in third.

Overall, a great day’s racing, and a wonderful portent of things to come in the 2011 Industrie Radical Australia Cup.
 
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