Ramsey St Mary’s racing driver James Pinkerton began his quest for Radical SR1 Cup glory in sparkling fashion at Oulton Park in Cheshire at the weekend.
The 27 year-old speedster, who drives a 1340cc, 175 bhp SR1 prototype sportscar which hits 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds, won both races in the opening round of this year’s championship.
Last year, in his first year of racing, Pinketon was second and he clearly aims to go one better this time round.
Pinkerton converted two second-place starts into a brace of race victories after capitalising on start-line drama for chief rival Ryan Harper-Ellam in both outings.
SR1 Cup Shootout winner Harper-Ellam was a star of the weekend’s early running, securing twin pole positions. But he was let down by errors when the lights went out on both occasions.
In race one Harper-Ellam got away well initially, but too many revs both off the line and on the exit of Old Hall corner ultimately led to too much strain on his car’s chain and he lost drive on the opening lap.
With Harper-Ellam out, Pinkerton pounced around the outside of Old Hall before scurrying off into a comfortable lead. Behind him, newcomer Will Hunt annexed second, and even survived a high-speed spin down Cascades to hold the spot to the flag. The result also gave him the Rookie Cup honours.
Chris Short completed the podium after a solid drive, ahead of Mark Williams and Gavin McAlpine.
Race two was a thriller, enlivened by a stunning comeback drive from Harper-Ellam.
His second-fastest time from qualifying was good enough for his second pole, but once again a difficult start set him back. Harper-Ellam used too few revs when the lights went out and stalled, immediately handing Pinkerton the lead.
Undeterred, Harper-Ellam reset his Gen 2 SR1 and charged back through the order. By lap two he had chased down second-placed Hunt before pulling a stunning pass around the outside of Cascades corner to slip back into second.
Pinkerton’s lead initially looked comfortable, until light rain began to fall, making the grip levels unpredictable. The lead margin wavered as the top two battled through traffic, until Harper-Ellam latched on to the rear of Pinkerton’s Gen 1 SR1 entering the final lap. With just a few lengths between them, Harper-Ellam attempted to line up a last-corner lunge, but fell just short.
Hunt completed his weekend with a second rostrum finish.
Pinkerton said: “It’s been pretty much the perfect weekend. Ryan showed great pace in qualifying so I knew I’d have a fight on my hands. It was a shame he went out of race one early but after he did I couldn’t afford to relax because I could see Will pushing in my mirrors.
“Race two was really hard work. Ryan didn’t give me a moment’s peace once he got behind me and I had to work hard to defend, especially thinking about my line through the final corner. Hopefully I can carry this momentum into the rest of the season.”
Pinkerton is next racing on May 12 at Snetterton.