Burgess takes the lead in Radical Challenge
Staunton in the Vale's Steve Burgess returned to his Radical Challenge winning ways at Oulton Park, taking double victory in the first two races of the weekend.
A dominant fight back from Dominik Jackson saw him chalk up win number four in the third and final endurance battle, however Burgess provisionally leads the title fight by two points heading into the second half of the season.
Following Jackson’s clean sweep at Spa last time out, Burgess made clear his intentions to claw back the top spot from the off, converting pole position into his sixth win of the season. The RAW Motorsports man did not have it all his own way as team-mate Jackson, who had led the standings heading into the fourth round, snatched the early race lead.
Running side by side from the rolling start and all the way round to Cascades, Jackson got the upper hand and streaked ahead in an effort to negate his maximum success second penalty.
Despite a blistering opening stint and pulling out a 5.2-second lead ahead of the pit stops, a spin at Cascades on his out lap cost Jackson dearly. Re-joining down in 10th with it all to do, he managed to catch and pass Marcello Marateotto to finish eighth and pick up two further points for the fastest race lap.
The only top title protagonist without a penalty to serve, Burgess streaked comfortably ahead while two new faces for 2018 completed the podium. Mark Richards finished second, capping his best performance since Spa last year, whilst Brian Murphy made his first visit to the Radical rostrum with a fantastic third from sixth on the grid.
Burgess made it two from two in the second battle of the day, but only just.
The 20-minute sprint race delivered a good dose of drama from the outset, with Burgess and arch rival Jackson once again battling wheel to wheel from the lights. Although it was Burgess that this time emerged from Old Hall with the lead, Jackson was rarely more than one second from his rear wing.
Jackson went for the lead with an ambitious move heading towards Hislops on lap nine. Although passing Burgess on the road, both drivers took avoiding action, with Jackson taking to the grass while Burgess utilised the escape road.
What could have been a five minute thrash to the flag was thwarted due to a red flag stoppage, caused by the stricken car of Italian Marateotto. With the results counted back to the previous tour, Burgess remained victor.
Burgess said: “It was close between me and Dominik at the start of race one through turn one, but I let him go as there was no point in tangling and I knew he had the 20 second penalty to serve.
"I got a flying start in race two and we went wheel to wheel in the first part of the lap. I pulled about a second gap but then I made a few mistakes and he stuck it up the inside and I had nowhere to go but straight. I was quite relieved for the red flag to come out to be honest.”
The tables turned again for the final 40-minute pit stop race, with Jackson returning to the fore. Getting the jump at the rolling start secured the lead into turn one and, with no pit stop penalty to serve, the Lincoln ace remained un-headed in a dominant run to the chequered flag.
Whilst Jackson streaked off into the distance with Guyana’s Jeffrey giving chase, Burgess found himself under fire in third.
Although he and de Sadeleer traded paint exiting Old Hall for the second time, Burgess held sway ahead of the pitstops, but a full success penalty from race one was always going to make another podium a big ask. Further time lost and a spin on lap 16 meant he had to fight back to bag points for a commendable sixth.
The Radical Challenge championship battle will resume at Snetterton on the weekend of August 11/12.