Harper-Ellam keeps pace with leader in tight series

Ryan Harper-Ellam controlled race two but couldn't close points gap on his title rival James Pinkerton. Photo: Ollie Read
Ryan Harper-Ellam controlled race two but couldn't close points gap on his title rival James Pinkerton. Photo: Ollie Read

With six races complete, the battle for this year’s Radical SR1 Cup Championship is almost too close to call.

Title rivals James Pinkerton and Ryan Harper-Ellam took a win apiece during round three at Silverstone.

I think this is going to be the story of the season with the two of us trading points

Ryan Harper-Ellam

There was virtually nothing in it between the two championship protagonists in each session, with the pair taking it in turns to taste the winner’s champagne.

Qualifying gave a good insight of what lay ahead, with Brackley’s Harper-Ellam securing pole position by just 0.1 seconds ahead of Pinkerton, who upgraded his Gen1 SR1 with the more aerodynamic Gen2 bodywork in search of some extra performance.

While happy to continue his 100 per cent qualifying record this year, Harper-Ellam knew he had work on his hands, having lost a lot of Friday testing to a gearbox glitch.

The breathless finish to the opening race saw the two finishing just 0.006 seconds apart in a stunning run to the flag.

Pinkerton made the better getaway from the rolling start, nipping ahead through Copse before defending sternly as Harper-Ellam fought back. The gap was never more than a few lengths, and things came to a head on the final lap.

Harper-Ellam made a dive into Luffield and got the power down to drag alongside the leader but fell short in the final drag race.

Race two saw Harper-Ellam and Pinkerton run side-by-side for much of the first lap. Harper-Ellam spotted a gap up the inside at Luffield and scraped past.

Once ahead, he pulled a two-second advantage before Pinkerton answered with his own fastest lap to stem the gap. The pair traded top times but finished in formation.

Pinkerton’s win and brace of fastest laps means he has extended his championship lead by two points, heading Harper-Ellam by 28 points with six races remaining.

Harper-Ellam said: “This season is shaping up to be so tight and James is really making me work for the results. I think this is going to be the story of the season with the two of us trading points.

“To be only six-thousandths of a second behind in race one was mad. We touched a few times in that race and were often only centimetres apart. It was probably the best race I’ve ever had.

“In race two I learnt my lessons from the first race and knew I had to get the job done and get a gap early so when I saw a gap I just had to go for it. Once ahead I managed to pull a gap and control it.”