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STRONG RADICAL PRESENCE AT SMP FOR SUPERSPORTS THIRD ROUND

15 July 2017

Text/Photos: Motorsport Media

Rnd#3 – SuperSports Series

Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW

1 July, 2017

  SuperSports_SMP_Kelly_SR8_2_RB_010717_med SuperSports_SMP_Radicals_t2_RB_010717_med    

RA Motorsports were back in their own backyard for the third event on the 2017 SuperSports programme, with a strong field of Radical entries entered for the one-day Sydney Motorsport Park event in cool but dry conditions.

Keen to press home their strong start to the season, a number of SuperSport regulars were back in action, but so too some of the Radical Australia Cup teams looking for valuable miles ahead of the fourth round of the championship at SMP on 8-9 July, an event which could have big implications on the championship heading into the season decider in New Zealand in mid-November.

Leading the charge would be the returning Nick Kelly in his Industrie Clothing Radical SR8 and Radical Australia Cup front-runners Oliver Smith and Rowan Ross, joined by a big collection of Radical entries, some of whom were appearing for the first time in 2017.

Mitchell Neilson was back after a strong showing during the season opener at Wakefield Park, as was the impressive Chris Perini, whilst Peter Hills was also back in his Radical SR8. They were joined by new faces – John Beck, Steve Champion, Paul Braico and Darren Kurzok for the single day event.

Qualifying in the chilly early morning air at SMP saw the experienced Oliver Smith set the quickest Radical lap time, the Radical Australia Cup front-runner three tenths faster than the returning Nick Kelly to take a front row start, alongside reigning SuperSport champion Darren Barlow. Rowan Ross too put his Cup experience to good use to qualify fourth just ahead of Mitchell Neilson and impressive rookie John Beck, whilst fellow rookies Stephen Champion and Darren Kurzok also found a start inside the top ten.

Off the standing start for race one, Smith got away strongly with Kelly in close pursuit whilst for Rowan Ross, a slow start saw the Radical veteran drop down the order although he quickly recovered and worked his way back into the top ten.

John Beck’s stunning debut saw the Radical rookie hot on the tail of the leaders through turn one, but caught out on cold tyres in turn two, spinning towards the tail of the field before mounting a strong comeback to climb back through the 21-car field.

Ultimately Smith fell victim to the greater outright pace of the Chiron LMP3 and the Stohr of Barlow, whilst Nick Kelly too was able to nip through early with the more powerful SR8 to finish third, right on the tail of the leaders. Smith was comfortably the fastest SR3, claiming fourth position with Peter Hills working his way through to recover from a tough qualifying run to claim sixth at the line.

Mitchell Neilson was seventh, recovering from a big moment late in the race at Corporate Hill which allowed Rowan Ross to close, Ross crossing the line ahead of the younger driver before being handed a post-race penalty for exceeding track limits, handing Neilson the place, Ross credited with eighth ahead of Queensland rookie Darren Kurzok and Chris Perini.

After the standing start for race one, race two saw a rolling start with the race leaders quickly away at the front of the field, whilst Oliver Smith became embroiled in a close fight with Chris Sutton in his modified SR3.

Further back rookie Darren Kurzok was caught up in a close battle with Mitchell Neilson, before the former managed to make his way past to start after the top six. Rowan Ross was back in the action, this time in a fantastic battle with Chris Perini who was continuing to improve with each lap, the relative newcomer to Radical keeping the long-time competitor in his rear vision mirror until the end of the race, taking Kurzok too for position in the closing laps.

Neilson’s strong start slowly lost momentum after a problem emerged early in the race that inhibited his ability to shift down gears, ultimately bringing him under fire from Stephen Champion and John Beck, whilst up front the closely fought battle between Smith and Sutton ended with the latter spinning off the circuit looking for an overtaking move.

Ultimately at the flag it was Kelly who claimed the top spot for Radical, his SR8 crossing the line second overall behind Barlow, the former Cup regular taking the Chiron late in the race whilst Oliver Smith claimed fourth outright and lead SR3.

Peter Hills’ ongoing improvement saw him claim fifth ahead of the impressive Perini, Kurzok and Ross, with Neilson across the line ninth in his ailing SR3, just ahead of the recovering Sutton.

Stephen Champion claimed a solid eleventh placed finish, getting the better of fellow rookies John Beck and Paul Braico across the closing stages.

The final race again saw a rolling start but it was a short-lived battle before the appearance of the Safety Car for a spin by Darren Kurzok at turn two, the incident also forcing Neilson into a spin as the local driver tried to avoid him. Sadly it was game over for the Kode Access SR3, and for a number of race laps as the clock continued to wind down as the cars circulated behind the Safety Car.

One racing again, Smith and Sutton revived their race two battle whilst behind them Rowan Ross, Chris Perini, Stephen Champion and John Beck were doing battle in a freight train of SR3s who were not far off the tail of the fight between Smith and Sutton.

Sutton had taken advantage of the restart to take Smith for position, but he soon fell back into the pack after suffering a moment trying to break away from the Cup regular, Smith taking the opportunity with both hands to pull away and close onto the tail of Hills in the SR8. He ultimately made a move stick on the SR8 driver in the closing stages, but by then could do nothing about the three leaders, Barlow making it three-from-three with Kelly a brilliant second on return.

The Chiron was third for Kenny, with Smith across the line fourth as lead SR3 competitor. Hills claimed fifth ahead of the great battle between Rowan Ross and Perini, decided this time in favour of the more experienced driver whilst debutantes Stephen Champion, John Beck and Paul Braico made solid debuts to finish inside the top ten.

Round four of the SuperSports season will see the field head to the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit in Victoria on 19-20 August for the penultimate round, just a month ahead of the final round, whilst for the Radical Australia Cup regulars, they will have a second opportunity (or in some cases third) to run at SMP, with the penultimate round of their championship on 8-9 July.

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Qualifying (15-minutes)

  1. Darren Barlow (Stohr WF1) – 1:26.9132
  2. Oliver Smith (RA Motorsports Radical SR3RSX) – 1:29.3320
  3. Nick Kelly (Industrie Clothing Radical SR8) – 1:29.6137
  4. Chris Sutton (Radical SR3 – non-RAC spec) – 1:29.9004


6. Rowan Ross (RA Motorsports Radical SR3RSX) – 1:31.3492

  1. Mitchell Neilson (RAM/Neilson Race Team Radical SR3RS) – 1:33.2050


8. John Beck (Vantage Property Radical SR3RS) – 1:33.9551


9. Stephen Champion (Champion’s Business Radical SR3RS) – 1:34.8164


10. Darren Kurzok (Kode Access Radical SR3RS) – 1:36.5842


11. Paul Braico (GWR Radical SR3RS) – 1:36.9577


12. Chris Perini (RA Motorsports Radical SR3RSX) – 1:39.0382

  1. Peter Hills (RAM/Poseidon Tech Radical SR8) – 1:42.5242

Race#1 (8-laps)

  1. Alexander Kenny (Chiron LMP3)
  2. Darren Barlow (Stohr WF1)
  3. Nick Kelly (Industrie Clothing Radical SR8)
  4. Oliver Smith (RA Motorsports Radical SR3RSX)
  5. Chris Sutton (Radical SR3 – non-RAC spec)
  6. Peter Hills (RAM/Poseidon Tech Radical SR8)
  7. Mitchell Neilson (RAM/Neilson Race Team Radical SR3RS)
  8. Rowan Ross (RA Motorsports Radical SR3RSX)
  9. Darren Kurzok (Kode Access Radical SR3RS)
  10. Chris Perini (RA Motorsports Radical SR3RSX)
  11. Stephen Champion (Champion’s Business Radical SR3RS)
  12. John Beck (Vantage Property Radical SR3RS)
  13. Paul Braico (GWR Radical SR3RS)

Race#2 (11-laps)

  1. Darren Barlow (Stohr WF1)
  2. Nick Kelly (Industrie Clothing Radical SR8)
  3. Alexander Kenny (Chiron LMP3)
  4. Oliver Smith (RA Motorsports Radical SR3RSX)
  5. Peter Hills (RAM/Poseidon Tech Radical SR8)
  6. Chris Perini (RA Motorsports Radical SR3RSX)
  7. Darren Kurzok (Kode Access Radical SR3RS)
  8. Rowan Ross (RA Motorsports Radical SR3RSX)
  9. Mitchell Neilson (RAM/Neilson Race Team Radical SR3RS)
  10. Chris Sutton (Radical SR3 – non-RAC spec)
  11. Stephen Champion (Champion’s Business Radical SR3RS)
  12. John Beck (Vantage Property Radical SR3RS)
  13. Paul Braico (GWR Radical SR3RS)

Race#3 (10-laps)

  1. Darren Barlow (Stohr WF1)
  2. Nick Kelly (Industrie Clothing Radical SR8)
  3. Alexander Kenny (Chiron LMP3)
  4. Oliver Smith (RA Motorsports Radical SR3RSX)
  5. Peter Hills (RAM/Poseidon Tech Radical SR8)
  6. Rowan Ross (RA Motorsports Radical SR3RSX)
  7. Chris Perini (RA Motorsports Radical SR3RSX)


8. Stephen Champion (Champion’s Business Radical SR3RS)

  1. John Beck (Vantage Property Radical SR3RS)
  2. Paul Braico (GWR Radical SR3RS)
  3. Mitchell Neilson (RAM/Neilson Race Team Radical SR3RS)
  4. Chris Sutton (Radical SR3 – non-RAC spec)


DNF. Darren Kurzok (Kode Access Radical SR3RS) – 1-lap

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2017 SuperSports Series

Rnd#1 – Wakefield Park, NSW (Saturday, 1 April, 2017)

Rnd#2 – Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW (Saturday, 29 April, 2017)

Rnd#3 – Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW (Saturday, 1 July, 2017)

Rnd#4 – Phillip Island, Victoria (Saturday/Sunday – 19-20 August, 2017)

Rnd#5 – Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW (Saturday, 16 September, 2017)