Local racing driver James Pinkerton remains in the hunt for championship success this year.
With six races complete, the battle for this year’s Radical SR1 Cup Championship is almost too close to call as both title rivals Pinkerton and Ryan Harper-Ellam took a win apiece during round three at Silverstone.
There was virtually nothing in it between the two championship protagonists in each session, with the pair taking it in turns to taste the winner’s champagne.
Qualifying gave a good insight of what lay ahead, with local driver Harper-Ellam (Brackley) securing pole position by just 0.1s ahead of Pinkerton (Ramsey St Mary’s), who upgraded his Gen1 SR1 with the more aerodynamic Gen2 bodywork in search of some extra performance.
While happy to continue his 100 per cent qualifying record this year, Harper-Ellam knew he had work on his hands, having lost a lot of Friday testing to a gearbox glitch.
“James is rapid here, so even though I’m starting at the front it’s going to be super tight around here,” he said.
The breathless finish to the opening race backed up that statement, with the two finishing just 0.006s apart in a stunning run to the flag.
Pinkerton made the better getaway from the rolling start, nipping ahead through Copse before defending sternly as Harper-Ellam fought back. The gap was never more than a few lengths, and things came to a head on the final lap.
Harper-Ellam made a dive into Luffield for the final time, and got the power down to drag alongside the leader on the run to the flag, but fell short by a tiny margin in the final drag race.
Will Hunt (Brighton) battled back from a tough start to secure the final step on the podium, and with it the Rookie Class victory. Hunt held off impressive newcomers Ross Elliott (Peterborough) and Adarsh Radia (London) to secure the final step on the podium.
Race two didn’t quite deliver the same thrilling finish, but did serve to keep the title fight finely balanced.
This time Harper-Ellam and Pinkerton ran side-by-side for much of the first lap before Harper-Ellam spotted a gap up the inside at Luffield and scraped past. Once ahead, he pumped in a string of fastest laps to pull a two-second advantage before Pinkerton answered with his own fastest lap to stem the gap.
The pair traded top times, but finished in formation. Hunt repeated his feat from race one, just managing to stave off Radia after working his way past his fast-starting rival on lap 18.
Elliott completed his weekend in fifth.
Pinkerton’s win and brace of fastest laps means he has extended his championship lead by two points, heading Harper-Ellam by 28 points with six races remaining.
Pinkerton said: “This weekend has been great for the championship. I didn’t expect to extend the points lead as it’s clear that Ryan was really quick here.
“I think the switch to the newer Gen2 design bodywork has helped as it’s made the car feel a lot more stable in the high-speed stuff. But I was speechless after race one – it was an insane race! We were both pushing pretty aggressively but giving each other enough room and those final stages were so tense as I nearly threw it all away on the final corner but just managed to come out on top.
“I pushed too hard at the start of race two and that cost me ultimately as I over-drove the car and went backwards. But this has still been a great weekend.”