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Promoted: Preen denies Lay a hat-trick on Silverstone Radical Cup UK fightback

Reigning champion James Lay entered the Silverstone Radical Cup UK weekend as favourite but was on the back foot from the start, after failing to complete a lap in qualifying.

Silverstone Radical Cup UK, Chris Preen

“I got as far as Stowe and the drive unit failed,” he explained. DW Racing’s Ben Caisley therefore secured pole, closely followed by ex-Formula 2 and F3 racer Hector Hurst on his debut with Scorpio Motorsport, and Valour’s Chris Preen.

Preen’s challenge lasted until the first corner, where there was contact from behind with DW’s Andy Lowe. As Preen spun, he also had contact with DW’s Peter Tyler.

With the safety car out, Caisley led from Hurst, 360’s Jason Rishover, Doris’s Mark Williams and Valour’s Haydn Chance, with Lay already up to sixth.

The green flag was waved as they started lap three, but Rishover lost out. “I just lost grip at the restart and they came by,” he said.

Both Williams and Lay moved ahead - “Jason hesitated through Maggotts and I got him onto Hangar Straight, then went side-by-side with Lay through Stowe,” Williams explained.

Caisley’s lead had grown, but Lay started to reel in second-placed Hurst and grabbed the place into the Loop after four laps.

But on the penultimate tour, Caisley suddenly slowed. “The actuator had gone and the gears wouldn’t engage,” he explained after heading pitwards.

Lay had the lead but after only one more lap the race was red-flagged, with Austin Riley in the gravel at Maggotts.

Preen succeeded in preventing a clean sweep for Lay

Preen succeeded in preventing a clean sweep for Lay

Photo by: Radical

From the back of the grid to victory by nearly five seconds, it was an impressive performance from Lay.

“I had to take the inside at Woodcote to avoid the start incident, then followed Mark through,” he said. “I thought maybe top five to be honest, so really pleased.”

Hurst was delighted with second in only his second race in nine years. “I tried to get Ben before the safety car but, when James closed in, I let him go,” he said.

Equally delighted with his third place was Williams: “I did think about trying to follow James after he got by, but I wanted to see the chequered flag, as it equalled my best result.”

Rishover retained fourth, but had John MacLeod closing at the end, while Chance just held off TGM’s Jack Tomalin to complete the top six.

Lay and Caisley soon went clear in Sunday morning’s second race, while Hurst led a six-car train for third, from Tomalin, MacLeod, Rishover, Williams and Chance.

After a brief safety car intervention, there were 13 minutes on the clock as the green flag came out, but for Tomalin it was race over. “It was a hectic restart and we were three abreast through Maggotts - Chance spun and I had nowhere to go,” he explained as both cars were out.

Up at the front, it was a comfortable win for Lay, as Caisley lost out at the restart with a slower SR1 between them, while Williams was both surprised and delighted to be in third again.

Hurst had also suffered on the restart but retained fourth, as both he and Tyler were threateningly close to Williams again at the flag.

Ben Caisley went on the attack at the start before conditions deteriorated

Ben Caisley went on the attack at the start before conditions deteriorated

Photo by: Radical

There was light rain for the longer final race of the weekend, but it soon got heavier after the safety-car start.

Lay led but Caisley was on the attack as soon as the race went live, sharing a couple of exchanges as Hurst looked on.

Lay was down to third just before Caisley was first to make his stop, which left Hurst out in front. Once the stops were complete, Preen had the lead, with Lay leading the chase from Hurst.

Conditions were making it difficult for any progress to be made. “I could see James in my mirrors, he was quick under braking but I didn’t really feel any pressure,” said Preen, after taking his first Radical win in the UK by 1.326s as Hurst held onto third.

SR1 class – Stoney's double

Championship leader Theo Micouris dominated the opening race of the weekend for RAW/Hart GT, with James Pinkerton and University of Derby’s Tom Wood holding station in second and third throughout.

Both Doris’s Shane Stoney and DW’s Oscar Joyce were delayed off the line, as their start caught the end of the SR3 incident ahead.

Stoney soon had fourth sewn up, while Joyce retained fifth from Track Focused’s George Knutton.

Micouris initially had the race-two lead - but it didn’t last long. “I couldn’t change down into Club Corner and was stuck in fifth gear, so I just did what I could to get a finish,” he said after coming home 11th.

Micouris had plenty to celebrate after winning the SR1 opener

Micouris had plenty to celebrate after winning the SR1 opener

Photo by: Radical

Stoney had the lead from lap three, after an early duel with Wood, but was later shadowed by Pinkerton in the works car, after Wood retired. “The front upright broke,” said Wood, after he went off at Luffield and brought out the safety car.

With the top two settled, third place went down to the wire. Knutton managed to hold off Valour’s James Ockenden until the last lap.

Stoney finished third on the road after another battle with Wood in the very wet finale, after Ockenden and Knutton had taken their duel for the lead to the flag.

“I had the lead, but it was hard work, then George got me when I made a mistake,” admitted Ockenden. Knutton was first over the line, but he had missed his pitstop window, dropping him to last place.

But Ockenden had also picked up a penalty for a short stop, which handed Stoney the win.

“I was challenging Tom and he went wide at the Vale, I got down the inside but there was a touch,” said Stoney, after it proved to be the decisive move on the last lap.

Micouris was classified second after a final-lap exchange with Valour’s Kristian Brookes. Wood recovered in fourth with Ockenden dropping to fifth.

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