There was a double celebration at Brands Hatch, as RAW Motorsports Matt Bell won both Sprint races in the Radical Challenge, and now lead the Championship.
It was very wet for qualifying but Bell overcame the conditions and secured pole position for the opening race of the weekend. “I was still disappointed with my time though,” he said.
As the race got underway Bell was never seriously challenged. “It was fairly calm, I just got my head
down and into a nice rythm. Because of the conditions concentration was fairly easy and never really saw another car, “he said after taking victory by over 14 seconds.
Team mates Elliot Goodman and John Macleod both made good starts too. Macleod was following Jason Rishover who spun at Graham Hill Bend. “I went on the grass to avoid him and then Elliot got me going in to Surtees,” Macleod explained.
Goodman ended the opening lap fifth, with Macleod recovering in 10th .
But as Bell drove away to claim his win, Goodman finally settled in fifth after an exchange with Rishover, and Macleod’s recovery was shadowed by fellow RAW driver Chris Short.
“I tried to make a move on Elliot for fifth into Paddock on the last lap, but I had damaged an upright earlier and ran wide over the gravel.
Short therefore claimed sixth, with Macleod dropping to ninth.
The second race was another cruise for Bell. “We were back on slicks and it was another good clean start. It was more physical in the dry and harder to concentrate, I didn’t push too hard, but was actually disappointed with my pace again,” he said after taking win number by 16.6 seconds.
Goodman was a solid fifth for most of the race, and after spending much of his race duelling with Peter Tyler, Short managed to consolidate sixth from lap 12.
After his damage from race one, Macleod was a late starter from the pitlane. “I had good pace though and we made some progress,” he commented after demoting team mate Peter Brookes four laps from home for eighth.
The final race of the weekend was the mini Enduro, with pitstops. Bell had qualified on the second row of the grid, but managed to split Jerome De Sadeleer and Mark Richards into Paddock Hill Bend on the opening lap.
“I knew I had to get Richards early on, as he would have no success penalty added at the stops,” said Bell.
The lead duo stayed close, “it wasn’t easy following Jerome on the Grand Prix Circuit, but I just had to sit there,” Bell explained.
But on lap 12 he had problems. “I couldn’t downshift and was stuck in sixth gear going into Druids Hairpin, when I wanted second, so went straight on,” he added.
He decided to make his stop as early as possible to rectify the problem, rejoining fifth behind Goodman.
He was into fourth from lap 20 and when Rishover had a late spin, came within a whisker of snatching the final podium place.
Goodman held onto fifth and after Macleod had held off Rishover for sixth in the first half, he lost that place during the stops, but came home right on Goodman’s tail, with Short equally close in seventh.