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Jun 2, 2013

MUSTON WINS DESPITE WINSLOW SETTING THE ISLAND'S SECOND FASTEST LAP

Round 3 of the Radical Australia Cup has again been won by Neale Muston, despite a strong challenge from Aussie F3 champ James Winslow, sharing with Chris Medland in the works SR8 RX. In the series first visit away from Sydney Motorsport Park for 2013, the high speed and recently re-surfaced Phillip Island circuit offered a more significant advantage for the 2.7L V8 powered SR8 RX class over the 4 cylinder SR3’s. This was clearly displayed by the time sheets as James Winslow set the second fastest official lap time ever recorded around the famous motorcycle venue.

Saturday’s first sprint race entertained from the word go as Muston squeezed the SR8 of pole-man Winslow onto the grass in the run to turn 1 and down to 5 th spot, with only 8 laps to recover. By lap 3 the Englishman regained second spot and went about setting his record lap - a stunning 1min 25.929s! Unfortunately 8 laps proved insufficient as they crossed the line only 0.2s apart. Ross Lilley, having not turned a wheel in his new SR8 RX before this weekend, took advantage of others mistakes to be the 3 rd SR8 past the post.

In the SR3 battle, Ben Porter took an expected win ahead of points leader Liam Talbot and a fast charging Greg Smith in the works SR3 RS, as a five car train of Robert Baird, Tony Haggarty, Simon Baxter, Kim Burke & Kosta Pohorukov battled hard for the mid field positions.

Muston followed up with another victory in race 2 ahead of Nick Kelly and Chris Medland. Liam Talbot was this time at the front of the SR3 pack from Andrew Macpherson, Oliver Smith & Simon Haggarty – the three entertaining with a race long battle for second spot which Macpherson eventually won. Further down the field great friends Andy Plummer and Rowan Ross, two permanent members of the grid since the early days of Radical racing in Australia, battled hard with Plummer eventually getting the better of Ross in Race 2, despite and Rowan’s brand new SR3 RS Cup Car.

The heavens opened overnight so Sunday’s race started in wet conditions, albeit drying in the closing stages. James Winslow took a strong early advantage in the works SR8 from pole and pulled out a 25 second lead ahead of Muston. Behind them Ash Samadi, Nick Kelly and Ross Lilley enjoyed an epic battle for 3 rd spot – Lilley’s stunning chrome green SR8 RX getting the better of the two Corse Motorsport drivers before the stops.

Behind the faster SR8’s, Greg Smith kept Liam Talbot at bay as the SR3’s of Andrew Macpherson and Peter Johnson swapped places multiple times before Simon Haggarty jumped between them on lap 6.

The compulsory pit stops commenced as the track began drying - Smith, Lilley, Ash Samadi and Richard Kimber all gambled on an early change to slicks which unfortunately proved the wrong move, as a mix of low track temperatures & a wet track off line meant wets were the safer bet.

Winlsow’s pro-driver penalty proved too much for him and Medland to overcome, despite Winslow’s early charge as Muston again took the flag for the race victory, ahead of Nick Kelly and Peter White. Both Kelly and White recovered well from mixed sprint race results, White also missing his correct P5 grid spot due to a last minute change.

The SR3 lead battle was again a close affair going into the closing stages as Talbot, Johnston & Haggarty bunched together for a 10 lap dash to the finish. Haggarty passed Johnston with 6 laps to go – Talbot his next target. Coming onto the start finish straight with 2 laps to go Haggarty positioned himself under the Queenslanders wing, moving to the outside and struggling for grip before running wide - losing any chance of victory as Talbot went on to take the class top spot.

Muston’s consistency again proved too good for the rest of the pack as he took his 5 th straight outright round victory, from works drivers Medland / Winslow and Peter White in the works run First Neon SR8. In the SR3 class Liam Talbot made it back to back round victories from Simon Haggarty and the Macpherson / Porter pairing.

The series visits the Island again in late September, before that the unique First Neon Radical 250 event takes place on July 13-14 at Sydney Motorsport Park.