Strong UK results prepare Stuart Maloney for SR3 Cup return
Nine-time SR3 Cup race-winner Stuart Maloney heads into round two of the third Suzuki Challenge Series at Bushy Park Barbados on Saturday (July 1) off the back of a string of impressive results in the UK Radical Challenge Championship. Two third places were the highlights of a six-race programme that saw him finish outside the top 10 only once over back-to-back weekends of racing at Silverstone and Rockingham.
Maloney was joined by his brother Mark and Guyana’s Kristian Jeffrey, who won the SR3 Winter Cup at Bushy Park in January and is contesting the whole UK series and selected other European races. The grid of more than 30 drivers included names familiar to island fans, among them Brian and John Caudwell and teenager Jack Manchester, who made his circuit racing debut at Bushy Park at Radical International 2016.
On the first weekend (June 17/18), Stuart qualified 11th for the first two 20-minute races on the high-speed 3.66-mile Silverstone GP circuit, where the average speed for the Radical SR3s is around 105mph on a fast and flowing track almost three times as long as Bushy Park. He finished 11th and seventh, with Jeffrey 10th and eighth and Mark 13th and 12th. In the 40-minute race which finishes each Radical weekend, Stuart finished fifth, his best result at the home of the British GP, where he had previously raced last September; Jeffrey finished sixth, while Mark retired early in the race.
At Rockingham last Saturday (June 24), Stuart qualified ninth for the first two races on the 1.94 International Super Sportscar Circuit, which is unusual in being raced anti-clockwise, with a long banked curve in front of the main spectator area. He finished third in race one, with Guyana’s Jeffrey second, his first podium in the UK series. Another third place came Stuart’s way in race two, when Brian Caudwell was demoted because of a jump start penalty. Ninth in race three completed a sound weekend for Stuart, improving on his previous Rockingham record, seventh, eighth and 11th in May 2015.
Jeffrey’s second place at Rockingham was his best finish of the day, as he retired from race two following an altercation early on, then incurred a 30-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane in race three, which dropped him from fifth to 11th. Mark Maloney’s two eighth places at Rockingham were his best results of the two weekends.
Following two intense weekends with extensive seat time, the Maloney brothers return to Bushy Park this weekend ready for battle, which promises some close racing. Reigning Champion Sol Esuf leads the SR3 Cup with 58 points, Stuart and Mark each have 43, while Sean Maloney lies fourth with 42.
In the Swift Cup, although he has the same total of 58 points, Josh Read (Team Massy United Insurance) has a less comfortable cushion over the chasing pack, with former Champions Ryan Peyrau of Trinidad & Tobago (Team Simpson Finance) and Ryan Wood (Team ICBL) just three and eight points adrift respectively.
The July 1 race meet is organised by Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc (BPMSI), which will break new ground with a revised format for Practice and Qualifying, both for its own 2017 Championship and the Suzuki Challenge Series. As the Club aims to fit 13 races in to a fast-paced six-hour programme, officials have decided to combine what would previously have been two separate periods for Practice and Qualifying. Each group will have a 20-minute session in which to practice and set a time for grid position; in a change from the previous Qualifying format, in which only a driver’s first five laps were timed before the chequered flag was shown, the clocks will keep running, so every lap will be timed. Drivers will be allowed to enter the Pits to make adjustments, then rejoin the session, which should allow ample time for each driver to set an optimum time.
Suzuki Challenge Series
Swift Cup, round 2
Saturday, July 1: 12.40pm – Practice & Qualifying; 2.00pm - Race 1 (8 laps); 3.20pm - Race 2 (8 laps); 4.40pm - Race 3 (8 laps)
SR3 Cup, round 2
Saturday, July 1: 1.40pm - Practice & Qualifying; 3.00pm - Race 1 (10 laps); 4.20pm - Race 2 (10 laps); 5.40pm - Race 3 (10 laps)