Radical racer's title bid comes under attack at Spa weekend
Former double Radical sports car racer Steve Burgess did not have the best of weekends in the latest rounds of the Challenge Championship at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
Fighting hard to regain his title, Burgess, of Staunton le Vale, headed to the Radical Festival having won five out of six races so far this season.
But driving his 225bhp SR3 prototype, he was always going to be under immense pressure from other top-running drivers – including Lincoln's Dominik Jackson who cleaned up with three race wins.
Saturday's opening 40-minute endurance race saw Burgess qualify third on the grid, just 0.148sec behind pole man Jackson.
The combined field of SR3 Challenge and European Masters SR8 machines got away cleanly from the rolling start. Once the SR8s had streaked away, Jackson led the SR3s, with Burgess's conservative start seeing him sandwiched in a three-way fight for third.
The pit stop cycle complete, Burgess made a brilliant recovery from his maximum 20-second success penalty, overtaking two challengers in an awesome move to secure fourth in class.
Sunday morning served up a thrillingly intense 20-minute race.
Burgess battled at close quarters with Jackson in the opening stages of the race but the Lincoln man remained un-headed to the flag. Burgess lost second place to Marcello Marateotto on lap six but held on to the remaining podium place till the chequered flag.
Burgess said: “I had a little bit of contact with Dom [Jackson] at the start but nothing too major. I then tried to follow him for the first couple of laps but I think, for some reason, we were off his pace and so he crept away.
"Towards the end of the race I unfortunately had Marcello [Marateotto] come by as well, so I finished third."
The third and final race of the weekend was another 40-minute endurance encounter.
Burgess ran wide at La Source to gift Marateotto second place on the opening lap, and slipped down to fifth place.
Burgess got back into the battle for the two remaining podium places as Jackson streaked away to his third win of the weekend.
A spin at Bruxelles and a post-race penalty put the tin hat on Burgess's weekend.
Burgess said: "I seem to have been off the pace all weekend and I can't quite put my finger on why it is, so it's damage limitation to try and get a few points towards the championship.”