London racer Oscar Joyce breaks Radical Cup UK SR3 podiums duck at Snetterton

28 May 2024 | adminleveridge

Richmond racer Oscar Joyce broke his SR3 class podiums duck in the 2024 Hagerty Radical Cup UK at a stormy Snetterton (25-26 May), a week after converting pole position into victory in the Zeo Prototype Series (18 May).

The 20-year-old has experienced more than his fair share of misfortune in the opening stages of a learning year with his DW Racing-prepared Radical SR3 XXR sports-prototype, but successes during back-to-back race meetings in East Anglia have placed him on a more upward trajectory.

Oscar said:

My learning curve with DW Racing and the Radical SR3 XXR ramped up with back-to-back race weekends on the Snetterton ‘300’ circuit, the second instalment of the Zeo Prototype Series (18 May) preceding Round 2 of the Hagerty Radical Cup UK (25-26 May).

Happily, I started by taking a clean sweep of Class C pole positions in the Zeo Prototypes, the 1m51.693s that gave me a P1 start for the first contest followed by a second-best time of 1m51.872s.

In race one, I led my division while chasing after faster cars from Class B, which were impossible to pass due to their superior straight-line speed, and I was delighted to head home a DW Racing one-two, with stablemate John Davis in my wheeltracks.

The second Zeo race initially panned out better than the first, as I managed to clear the Class B cars and get in some clean laps, which are at a premium during the busy and congested test days at Snetterton.

I climbed into the top five overall by getting past the much quicker #73 Radical SR10, before taking chunks out of an eight-second shortfall to the #99 Norma from the top Class A.

Unbelievably, though, a drop in fuel pressure brought my SR3 XXR to a halt metres from the chequered flag.

It was frustrating watching everyone fly by, but I managed to re-fire the engine and drag the car across the line for a respectable third place, before completely losing power.

Everything went well until the final corner, the Zeo Prototypes weekend serving as a very helpful precursor to Round 2 of the Radical Cup UK.

Any track time is useful, but to have an opportunity to race, figure out where you can pass and practice starts in live situations is invaluable.

There’s no doubt that I felt far more comfortable with my SR3 XXR at Snetterton than I would have if I had just rocked up and headed straight into Radical Cup UK free practice and Qualifying.

As a result, I was very much looking forward to building on what I had learnt and pulling off more strong performances in front of the tens-of-thousands of Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) fans at the track, as well as the millions who tune in to ITV4’s live television coverage.

Unfortunately, Qualifying was compromised by uncooperative rivals who were seemingly oblivious to the blue flags warning them of an approaching fast car, and then the session was red-flagged on what would have been my best lap, preventing me from improving on eighth overall.

However, our Snetterton weekend moved on with the reversed grid race that had been rained-off in the opening round of the season at Donington Park in April, and it was an all-DW Racing front row, with me alongside poleman Peter Tyler.

The circuit was damp, but my start was good and I used the grippier “karting line” to sweep around the outside of Peter at Riches, before being overhauled by the #32 and #20 Valour Racing machines.

A Safety Car threatened to screw up my race, as a drop in tyre pressures resulted in a loss of grip, but a drive-through penalty for a lead competitor promoted me to P2 and I held onto that position to the end, happy and relieved to have finally experienced some good fortune.

I intended to do the same in the remaining three races but knew podiums would be harder to come by from farther back on the starting grids.

On Saturday afternoon, I got the better of the #3 and #21 Valour entries early on but could go no higher than P5 overall, spending much of the race staring at the rear wing of the #14 RSR, which also proved problematic the following morning.

However, Sunday began with a controversial decision to amend the grid for the penultimate race of the weekend.

Contrary to the regulations, the race two grid at Donington Park was set by the fastest laps in the first Radical contest and the same approach was initially taken at Snetterton.

The error was recognised and the starting order was ultimately based on the second-best qualifying times, which meant I was demoted from fourth to seventh.

I was less than happy but tried to remain positive, although adverse weather conditions made car setup and tyre selection a bit of a lottery.

Early morning rain had subsided by the time the Radical field assembled for the race-start, and I took on a new set of wet weather Hankooks.

I did well to avoid a spinner at Turn 1 and, despite losing track position, the Safety Car bunched up the pack and I quickly recovered lost ground after the restart.

However, I began to struggle on my fresh treaded tyres as Snetterton dried out and found myself powerless to attack or defend against drivers who had gone for used wets, finishing where I started in P7.

A thunder storm brought torrential rain and caused some flooding that forced officials to pause the racing, and it was clear that making the right tyre choice for the fourth and final Radical race would be the key to a strong, representative result.

Used wet tyres were fitted to my SR3 because they had been so effective earlier in the day, but they afforded little grip and I completed a challenging and educational week in the East Anglian countryside on the edge of the top five.

On the whole, the back-to-back Zeo Prototype Series and Radical Cup UK rounds were a mixed bag, both on and off the track.

There are definitely areas for me and DW Racing to work on, but we tried to make the most of every racing situation and I’m happy to have come away from Snetterton with trophies.

I’m just praying for some clean, dry running next time out at Oulton Park (22-23 June).