Jeffrey cops podium spots at Radical Challenge

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Guyanese Kristian Jeffrey copped two podium spots in the fifth round of the Radical Challenge Championship battle at Snetterton last weekend. Jeffrey finished third in race two and second in race three.

After the weekend of action Jeffrey said: “I had a mediocre start in race two, but we were four abreast into turn one! From there on it was a race with Jerôme, but he spun and we made slight contact. After that it was Elliot Goodman and then a drag to the flag with Richard Baxter so there was no rest, but that’s wheel-to-wheel racing for you! I had an incident at the end of race two so kudos to the guys in the team to get me onto the grid. We barely made it but I love this circuit and we got a podium, so it’s a great result.”

Meanwhile, Dominik Jackson doubled up with victory in the second and third races, closing the title fight with teammate Steve Burgess down to a single point with two rounds to go.

The closest qualifying of the season so far, with just 0.097 seconds between pole-man Burgess and second-placed Jackson, and 0.7 seconds covering the top six, served as a suitable indication of the level of competition to come.

Race 1

Clean away for the first endurance race of the weekend under sunny Norfolk skies, second row starters Jackson and Mark Richards proved to be the hard chargers, ensuring a four-wide run down the Senna Straight. With Jackson perfectly placed on the inside for Riches, the Lincolnshire ace seized the lead from Burgess (Nottingham) and Jerôme de Sadeleer (Gstaad, Switzerland), while Kristian Jeffrey (Guyana) made up two places to run fourth ahead of Londoners Richard Baxter and Richards come the end of lap one.

Although Jackson was out front, his plan to pull out the biggest margin possible to negate the 20 success seconds carried over from Oulton Park was soon scuppered, with the first 10 minutes spent under the safety car. With Spencer Bourne’s car cleared from the outside of turn one, Jackson pushed to pull out a two second buffer in the remaining eight minutes before the stops.

Pit stops complete, Burgess moved ahead to boast a healthy lead from which he was never headed. Richards looked set for a solid second place finish but a penultimate lap spin spoiled his chances for a repeat visit to the Challenge podium. That promoted Baxter to second spot after a stellar drive to keep Jackson in check throughout the closing stages.

Jeffrey came home a solitary fourth, doing well to overcome his 15 success second penalty, ahead of the recovering Richards and de Sadeleer.

Race 2

Pole-sitter Burgess got the better standing start on this occasion, however that didn’t stop a drag race with Jackson down to turn one, from which Burgess emerged the leader. Although Richards made another strong start to initially challenge for the top spots, his race ended following contact with Brian Caudwell at Agostini and the safety car was deployed.

With nearly half of the 20 minute sprint spent under full course yellow, racing proper got underway with 11 minutes remaining, by which time the odd spot of rain turned into a full-on shower.

From left: Kristian Jeffrey, Dominik Jackson and Steve Burgess enjoy the podium celebrations
(Photo credit: Ollie Read)

The Burgess-Jackson battle resumed at the restart, with Burgess afforded little more than 0.2 seconds of breathing space as the rain increased. Heading into the penultimate tour, the RAW Motorsports teammates both had a moment under breaking as Jackson challenged into Agostini. While Burgess spun in avoidance and immediately re-joined in second, Jackson stayed on course to take his first win of the weekend.

The fight for third was a similar story with Jeffrey under pressure from title rival de Sadeleer, which in turn allowed the leaders to pull clear. A spin from de Sadeleer at Murrays on lap six, however, granted Jeffrey little reprieve, as Elliot Goodman and Baxter took up where de Sadeleer left off, triggering a three-way fight for the final podium position.

A flying final lap saw Baxter find a way past Goodman and press on to challenge Jeffrey to the flag. Running parallel across the line, Jeffrey held on to finish 0.1 seconds ahead, with Goodman only 0.3 seconds further behind. Brian Murphy completed the top six.

Race 3

Picking up where they left off at the end of race two, once again it was Jackson and Burgess battling side-by-side from the rolling start. This time the pair remained glued wheel-to-wheel down the Senna Straight and through Riches before Jackson snatched the lead. But, what promised to be a blistering opening lap was called short when midfield contact resulted in a two-lap safety car to recover debris from the circuit.

Back to green on lap three, Jackson retained the lead from Burgess and with Jeffrey and Baxter jostling for third, the leading duo soon pulled clear. Behind them a seven-way fight for fifth began to unfold, joined by a hard-charging de Sadeleer scything his way through the field following his race two DNF.

With 20 seconds success penalty to carry over from his race one win, Burgess was the first to dive in for his compulsory stop. However, minutes later a second safety car to recover a stricken John Caudwell from Agostini meant the remainder of the field could pit under full course yellow.

Yet, when racing resumed with seven minutes remaining, Burgess found himself fourth and on the tail of the leading trio of Jackson, Jeffrey and Baxter, negating his 10 second deficit. Jackson wasted no time in dropping the hammer to pull just over a second clear of Jeffrey, whilst Sunoco Driver of the Weekend Baxter kept former Champ Burgess at bay right up until the penultimate lap.

Despite the looming threat of another shower in the final minutes, the order at the front remained unchanged. Murphy came home fifth and Mark Crader completed the top six. (Radical Sportscars)

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