Richmond’s Oscar Joyce scales the Radical Cup UK podium in consistent Oulton Park performance

25 June 2024 | adminleveridge

Richmond’s Oscar Joyce returned to the podium in Round 3 of the 2024 Hagerty Radical Cup UK at the picturesque Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire (21-23 June), turning around the misfortune that plagued the start of his season.

Oscar said:

Luck had not been with me in the first two rounds of the 2024 Hagerty Radical Cup UK at Donington Park and Snetterton, but my fortunes took a turn for the better and I was able to produce my most consistent race weekend of the season to date at Oulton Park (21-23 June).

The misfortune continued when my engine failed in the most spectacular fashion during a day of testing at the picturesque Cheshire circuit, but my DW Racing team worked tirelessly to rebuild my Radical SR3 XXR’s power unit.

We rejoined the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) package for the third and final time this year, and I entered the weekend believing that things could only get better.

Frustratingly, a water leak was discovered moments before the start of Friday practice, which meant I could only sit on the sidelines for the duration of FP1.

With only one other 40-minute session on the schedule before we entered Qualifying and the races, it was a significant loss that definitely placed me on the backfoot for the remainder of the weekend.

However, I feel we made the most of FP2, doing our best to get up to speed while bedding in the rebuilt engine, and I went on to qualify fourth for Saturday’s first Radical Cup race and third for the second contest.

In the opening Radical encounter, I dropped a position in a relatively slow getaway from row two of the starting grid but was ultimately lifted into the podium places when both Jason Rishover in the #23 360 Competition and John Macleod in the #14 RSR were given time penalties for repeatedly breaching track limits.

I can’t deny that I was unable to unleash my true pace and go after the top two overall because my sluggish start put me behind slower drivers from the SR3 Fangio class, on a track where overtaking opportunities are few and far between.

However, it’s also fair to say I was a little compromised after hitting a dip in the road at the Knickerbrook chicane and bending my steering, although it was about playing the smart game once those ahead had been penalised, staying with them to ensure I locked in a decent third-place result.

It was a similar story in race two; the grid was determined by the second fastest qualifying times and I lined up third, but I once again lost track position into Turn 1 and was caught up behind the #14 RSR car for the duration.

I was rarely more than half a second adrift in a race-long tussle for the final podium spot but had to settle for P4, happy to have had an untroubled run to another solid points finish.

A front-row start for race three provided some hope of a truly representative performance, although I expected it be a bit of a scrap with a few fast cars out of position on the grid.

I got up alongside poleman Rishover as the fast-starting Chris Lulham in the #20 Valour Racing machine appeared to my outside, and we went three-wide into the right-hander at Old Hall.

Stuck in the middle, I got pinched and had to back out to prevent a multi-car collision that would have undoubtedly sent us all spearing off into the barriers, and I was later passed by Luke Hilton in the #32 Valour car at the Island Hairpin.

Unfazed, I kept up the pressure and Hilton eventually made a mistake that sent him wide onto the grass at Knickerbrook, which presented me with a chance to regain fourth position on the road.

I took the normal racing line through the chicane, only for the flustered Hilton to rejoin the racetrack in such a way that I was forced to take avoiding action, which allowed my opportunistic DW Racing teammate Peter Tyler through.

I classified fourth in the red flag-shortened race once track limits penalties had been applied, and it was a difficult result to swallow.

I’m certain I would have easily notched up another P3 result had I not been hindered, although everybody suffered with aero-wash that made passing difficult, and then I cooked my tyres as I recovered towards Peter after Hilton’s unsafe rejoin.

Nevertheless, I still earned points and that’s what was needed to balance out all of the bad fortune I’ve experienced to this point.

There’s still room for me to improve, as my race starts weren’t as strong as they could have been and I subsequently found myself in some difficult positions, baulked by slower drivers.

I truly believe the racing will be much improved when we move on to Circuit Paul Ricard on France’s Cote d’Azur in a couple of weeks’ time (6-7 July), as it’s a very wide track with long straights. Souhaitez-moi bonne chance!