Win passenger laps in a Radical at Brands GP!
6 June 2017
You could win laps with 3 x Radical Champion Bradley Smith at the famous Brands GP circuit on the 4th September! We are giving 4 people the chance to experience Prototype racing on one of the most exciting circuits in the UK
All you have to do is:
Vote for Bradley Smith in the United Autosport Driver Initiative on the link below! Like Mectech Motorsport facebook page and share the post on from the page
Competition winners will be announced on the 27th August and you must meet the passenger requirements on http://www.msvtrackdays.com/car/terms-and-conditions.aspx
Mectech makes it a double at Donington
24 April 2017
The Mectech Motorsport team starting its 2017 campaign at Donington park for Round 1 of the Radical UK Challenge with Bradley Smith at the wheel of the #21 Radical SR3 with fresh new look graphics.
The first round saw a packed grid of 32 Radical SR3 cars on track and in the first qualifying session of the year Bradley managed to find clear space to post the fastest time of the session at a time of 1.05.393 which was a new Radical lap record for Donington National.
The #21 lined up on pole position for the first race of the year. At the start Smith lost out on the first corner with too much wheel spin of the line which saw Steve Burgees nip past to take the lead going into Redgate. A close battle that lasted for 5 laps until Smith eventually found a way past coming down the Craner Curves into Old Hairpin. Bradley extended his lead and posted the fastest lap of the race, taking the first victory of the season.
For race two the #21 again was on pole position, but this time a cleaner getaway meant Smith held the lead going into turn one and retained position throughout the race to take a second victory of the day and again posted the fastest lap of the race.
The final 40 minute race of the day started with a endurance style rolling start in which Bradley took advantage of being on pole and held the lead coming out of redgate where he continued to pull a 2 second gap until the safety car was deployed to recover damaged cars on track.
Unfortunately whilst under safety car the #21 suffered a rear left hub failure which caused the car to loose drive and ultimately put the team out of the race.
Team Principle Mike Smith was reflective after the weekend.
"Its been a positive weekend from the team, All the staff have worked hard over winter and this weekend to provide one of the fastest cars out there and it was a shame that an unforeseen failure cost us the win in the final race. But still its great to come out with two wins and a new lap record"
Mectech Sign David Simpson for 2017 Radical UK challenge
15 November 2016
Mectech Motorsport announces that David Simpson will be their first signing for the 2017 Radical UK Challenge.
David made his racing debut in March 2014 and has since gone on to race successfully in his home country of Barbados and in select rounds of the UK and European Radical series. David will be competing in the championship in his Radical SR3 RSX
“David is a great addition to the team and we are looking forward to working with him and achieve some great results in 2017. We will start a testing program soon before going into the season to ensure we have the correct equipment to work with and give David time understand how the team operates over a race weekend.” Said team owner Mike Smith
In 2016 Mectech won 12 races and was on the podium 14 times in the Radical UK Series and for 2017 will be providing racing programs in the UK and European Series.
Mectech Motorsport has just 2 spaces remaining for 2017 Radical UK Championship. To join or test with the triple championship winning team contact Mike on 01277 372848 or email email@example.com
Mectech JOINS ELMS IN LMP3 FOR 2017
27 October 2016
RML Group, the European Le Mans Series LMP2 Champions from 2007 and 2010 are pleased to announce plans to enter the European Le Mans Series for 2017 in the LMP3 category. The plans are part of an initiative to develop a ladder to Le Mans for drivers wanting to progress to the top step of the podium at the most prestigious and iconic race of all time.
In collaboration with Mectech Motorsport, the multiple Radical championship winning team, a clear path for aspiring sports car racers will be available, from Radical’s to LMP2.
The first driver pairing of Bradley Smith and Evgeny Klyucharev will start testing in the next few weeks in a Ligier JSP3, before moving to Europe for further testing in preparation for an entry in the ELMS.
Bradley raced a Ligier in the inaugural Prototype Cup Race at Snetterton earlier this month, securing second place for his first outing.
Mike Smith, team owner at Mectech commented “we are very pleased to be working with RML on this project, we have achieved great success with Radical over the years and we see the LMP3 as the perfect platform for our drivers to progress, with the experience of ourselves and RML we are now in a position to take a driver from being a total novice to potentially racing at Le Mans ”
Simon Holloway, Commercial Director at RML, comments “We believe that LMP3 will be heavily contested in 2017 and to be competitive the driver pairing will be critical, with Bradley and Evgeny we think we have a great combination.
At RML we see this as a great opportunity to re-enter Sports car racing and have been monitoring the LMP3 category for a while. The ACO have done a brilliant job introducing a very cost effective formula that provides great racing for Pro and Am drivers.
With RML and Mectech the ladder exists for aspiring drivers to make it all the way from dreaming of racing to the podium at Le Mans.”
RML and Mectech’s plans extend to running multiple cars in Prototype Cup and the ELMS Series, to be announced in the near future.
Mectech Evaluates LMP3 for 2017
16 October 2016
Mectech’s Bradley Smith raced last weekend in the UK Prototype cup as part of an evaluation to entering a team in the 2017 championship. The weekend featured a one hour race on Sunday which saw Bradley Smith partnered with Christian England. The Duo eventually finished in P2 a solid result in what was a showcase event for the UK Prototype Cup.
“The LMP3 car is a brilliant piece of machinery that offers amazing performance for the costs. We believe the series is really going to take off in 2017 and are looking to be part of it. The format is perfect for Pro/Am pairings and will offer great track time next year.” Said Smith
For more information or to discuss LMP3 options for 2017 contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01277 372848
RACE WITH US IN 2017
1st September 2016
Mectech Motorsport has availability for drivers to compete in 2017 in the Radical UK and European Championships. Mectech is one of Europe's most successful Radical Sportscar teams with many titles and race wins over the years.
Mectech will provide meticulous race preparation at our workshop facility based in Brentwood, Essex to the highest standard with expert technicians, along with access to in depth tuition and data analysis with triple Radical Champion and ARDS "A" Instructor Bradley Smith.
Track side you will have access to our full race support vehicle and technicians providing a clean, tidy, efficient and friendly environment to race in under our race management to enable you to get the best on track performance.
For Enquires, contact us on 01277 372848 or email us email@example.com
Mectech takes victory with RXC Spyder
30th July 2016
Mectech were at the Radical European Masters at Silverstone running a RXC Sypder with Bradley Smith at the wheel. The team took the car on Thursday and quickly set about working on set-up and development throughout the two test days before the race weekend..
Saturday saw Smith take Pole in both qualifying sessions in the morning. Race 1 saw the team pull a 45 Second lead until the engine cut out on the last lap leaving Smith to fall back into the field.
“We worked hard to improve the car through the corners, particularly the slow speed with the SR8 has an advantage, we had made good gains over one fast lap but still needed to find some pace over a longer run. We paced ourself well throughout and made sure we had enough tyre left at the end and it was tough to take especially loosing the race on the last lap. The team worked flat out overnight and sorted the problem for Sunday”
Race 2 again saw the 91 car on pole and a controlled first half of the race Smith again pushed hard in the second half to take a win in the RXC Spyder. Race 3 was more difficult with an additional 25 Second success penalty to take in the pit stop, Bradley pushed hard in the opening stint and used everything to try and make a gap. After the pit stops Smith emerged 4th running with the leading trio of SR8's. A stop go penalty for one of the front runners saw Smith sneaking onto the podium in the last few laps.
“Its been a tough but great weekend for the team, great to get a win in our first weekend with the car. The Sypder is very different to the SR8 but we made massive gains throughout the weekend and still feel like there is much more to come from the car in time”
Mectech dominate at Oulton Park
20th July 2016
Changeable conditions made for a challenging weekend for Mectech at Oulton Park as Bradley Smith raced took three race wins in the Radical UK Challenge.
Warm weather mixed with showers throughout the weekend created a big challenge for the Radical grid but the weekend started with Smith claiming pole on a damp track by 0.687 seconds to Steve Burgess.
The circuit dried up for race one and Bradley made a great start and pulled an 8 second lead before the safety car was deployed for a stranded car which remained out for the end of the race.
“The car felt great, it was the first run on a fully dry circuit and the team got the setup exactly where it needed to be, the car came on very quickly in the race so I was able to push hard from the start” Said Smith.
Race 2 saw a downpour of rain before the start of the race, the team made a change to wet setup and Bradley started from pole. After a tricky first couple of laps with standing water on track, Smith again started to break away from the pack until another safety car re grouped the grid for a 4 lap sprint to the finish. A good restart saw Smith hold the lead to win race 2 and another fastest lap ensure a pole start for the final 40 minute race.
As race 3 drew closer the circuit was rapidly drying and the Mectech team opted for a dry setup as track conditions improved. The safety car was again out in race 3 as the Pit stop window opened and the team opted to pitted early and held the lead whilst the pack was still under safety car. With clear space in front Smith pushed hard in the final laps and took the third win of the day by 8 Seconds.
“The team have given me a great car this weekend and made the right calls every time the track condition changed. To get Pole, 3 wins and 3 fastest laps is brilliant”
STRONG RECOVERY FOR Klyucharev & SMITH AT BRANDS
17th May 2016
The team made their way to Brands hatch for the second round of the Radical Challenge Championship with Evgeny Klyucharev and Bradley Smith partnering again in the SR3.
Early morning Qualifying the Mectech car take pole position once more by half a second to the nearest car. “There was a lot of traffic with 30 cars on the Indy circuit all trying to find space to set a time, so I only got one fully clear lap but thankfully that was enough” Said Smith
Evgeny starting Race 1 in 25th place and after a steady initial few laps, began to make his way up the field eventually having to settle for 17th place whilst setting the 12th best time overall, showing improvement in pace throughout the weekend.
Race 2 saw Smith take the wheel and after a solid start from pole. Bradley led the pack from start to finish and setting a fastest lap in the process, despite a couple of safety cars in the race to clear stranded cars on circuit.
The final endurance race saw Evgeny starting from pole position and made a good start holding P2 for the first few laps before loosing a place to Steve Burgess going into paddock hill bend dropping him to 3rd. Despite pressure from behind Evgeny managed a good pace until a tap from the car behind sent him into a spin through clearways dropping him down to 18th place. The pit stop window opened and the team managed a smooth driver change over to Bradley for his stint. Recovering back through the field, Smith ended up bringing the car home in P9 overall and P3 in the team challenge. “The car has been great all weekend, it was a shame about the contact in the final race as we both felt like we both had the pace and consistency to win the team race” said Smith
Pole, Podiums and fastest laps at Snetterton
31st March 2016
Snetterton saw the start of the Radical Challenge championship and the return to the Radical paddock for Bradley as he partners up with new driver Evgeny Klyucharev the team class.
Qualifying in mixed condition saw the Mectech team stick with slick tyres in a damp session which ended with Smith taking a convincing Pole by 2.6 seconds.
“The car felt really good in those conditions and as the circuit improved I could push harder every lap, I just needed to make sure I had clear traffic on the last lap as I knew the circuit would get faster” said Smith
The team event saw Evgeny starting the race from P20, and after a good start was up to P18 before an early stop in the pit window to change over to Smith. A good out lap saw the team jump up to P12 before Bradley started working through traffic. Smith eventually ended up bringing the Mectech car home in 6th place overall and 2nd in the team class and taking the fastest lap of the race.
“The track was very busy with lapped cars and battling for position at the same time, we had great pace in the car so it was just a case of clearing cars as quickly as possible with putting the car at too much risk. It was a great race for us, especially as it is Evgeny first ever race. It gives us a good platform to move forward on and we know what we need to work on moving forward this year”
AYRES MAKES GINETTA DEBUT
9th November 2015
Anthony made his car racing debut at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk for the Ginetta Junior Winter Series.
Having only testing on a circuit for 2 days Ayres, 16, knew the weekend was more about completing laps and gaining experience as he prepares for the 2016 Ginetta Junior Championship which supports the BTCC Series.
“It was a great weekend in some very difficult conditions! I have never driven in the wet in a car before so it was a tough start but the Mectech team where great in helping me find lots of time in my driving every time I was on circuit”
Sundays racing saw a half wet and dry circuit which lead to a fantastic last race from Ayres, who showed a much improved pace, was battling nose to tail for 13th with 4 other rookie drivers until a mistake running wide cost him a few places.
“As the track was drying out I was gaining more confidence in the corners. I still have a lot to learn but it was great to battle with drivers who have had more testing so far than me. The car from Mectech was brilliant to drive and the support the team and my sponsors gave me was amazing.” Said Ayres
Ginetta Junior team manager and Ginetta GT4 Supercup race winner Bradley Smith was happy with Anthony’s progress.
“Anthony improved a huge amount throughout the weekend. The difference in track time to other drivers showed on the long 3 Mile circuit, but as the weekend progressed Ant was always improving and getting faster and I see no reason why he cannot race for rookie podiums come the 2016 season”
Mectech Motorsport has two team spaces available for the 2016 season and various testing dates for drivers looking to join the Ginetta Junior grid. For More information Contact Bradley Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01277 372848
Photo Credit Simon Ryder
AYRES HEADS TO SNETTERTON FOR GINETTA JUNIOR DEBUT
2nd November 2015
Anthony Ayres will make his car racing debut this weekend (7/8th November) at Snetterton in the Ginetta Junior Winter Series.
Ayres, 16, has competed with British and European championship winning team Mectech Motorsport in the karting academy for the past 5 years and will use the winter series as preparation as he continues on to race in the 2016 Ginetta Junior Championship.
“Its going to be a fantastic weekend, testing has gone well so far and I am learning lots every time I’m on the circuit with Bradley. It’s very different from karting but I can’t wait to get back out there and race!”
“Moving up to cars means this year all the circuits are new to me this year so it will be a big challenge, I will get time in the Pro-Sim simulator before to learn the circuits and work on my driving which really helps.” Said Ayres
Team manager Bradley Smith is hoping for a successful debut in what is a extremely competitive field
“It should be a great weekend for Ant, Car racing has so many differences to karting so to get the chance to experience the demands of a full race weekend is perfect preparation for him before we head into the 2016 season.”
Mectech Motorsport has two team spaces available for a testing program and 2016 championship. Mectech provides secure car storage, meticulous preparation and engineering, driver performance management programs and our own ARDS “A” grade instructors.
For more information on testing or racing with Mectech, contact us on 01277 372 848 or email email@example.com
AYRES STARTS JUNIOR GINETTA TEST PROGRAM
29th July 2015
Anthony Ayres started his test program at Rockingham Motor Speedway as he prepares for the 2016 season. The Ginetta Summer festival provided the perfect open pitlane format needed for Anthony’s first day on track with the Ginetta G40 Junior.
“It was really good fun, I was excited to get out on circuit. Racing cars is harder than karting, you have a lot more to think about like gears, weight transfer and getting used to the reduced visibility but I felt really good at the end of the day and cant wait to get racing!” said Ayres.
Ayres has previously raced with Mectech in the Karting team now makes the step up but continues his partnership with Junior Ginetta team manager Bradley Smith, who was on hand to guide Ant in the transition from karts to cars at Rockingham.
“Anthony drove very well today in his first day on circuit, not easy to stay focus when you’re sharing the circuit with faster cars from the Ginetta range, but he kept his cool and focus on improving and areas we wanted him to work on. He made huge progression and hopefully this can continue throughout the year, we should be in for an exciting and successful 2016.” Said Smith
Ayres completed his ARDS Test and will now begin a full program with the team before a full championship in 2016.
If your interested in racing, tuition or preparation by Mectech in the Junior Ginetta championship for 2016 Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01277 372 848
AYRES SIGNS FOR JUNIOR GINETTA WITH MECTECH
29th May 2015
Long time Mectech driver Anthony Ayres will race in the Kick Start Junior Ginetta Championship for 2016. Anthony has raced with the Mectech karting team for the last 6 years and will start a testing program towards the end of this year with the aim of competing in the winter series, before a full championship season in 2016.
Moving up from the karting team that he has previously raced with means that Anthony will continue to race under the eye of team coach Bradley Smith, something that Ayres believes will help him in the transition.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to make the jump to cars, and to still be racing with the team that ran me in karts means I feel very comfortable with the move. Having the same team around me really helps and it is not all too much of a shock, as racing cars is quite different to karting especially with the championship being on the BTCC package”
“I know I have a lot to learn but I am really looking forward to racing and cant wait to starting testing. I have to thank Claremont Eavs, Alpine Works, W. Portsmouth, F. J. Tate, Fowler Martin and my family for their support”
Team manager Mike Smith is looking forward to seeing him behind the wheel of his Ginetta and is keen to see how Ayres takes to the change from karts to cars.
“We have worked with Ant for a long time in karting and seen his progression, its great to see him make the transition into cars. Anthony is very hard working and I think the Junior Ginetta will suit his style very much, we should be in for a successful and exciting years racing”
BRADLEY SMITH JOINS GINETTA SUPERCUP GRID
18th March 2015
Reigning Radical European Masters Champion Bradley Smith is joining the Ginetta Supercup for this season, having secured a late deal after plans to graduate into LMP3 Sports Prototypes fell through.
The Billericay ace who has won title in the Radical Clubmans Cup, Radical SR3 Challenge and Radical European Masters over the last three seasons was due to race one of the brand new Ginetta LMP3 cars for Greaves Motorsport. “I was looking forward to my first full step on the international scene, learning new tracks and sticking to a defined career path. But we found out last month that their project had been put on hold for a year,” Bradley explained.
A last minute deal with Ginetta will now see Bradley on the Supercup grid for the opening rounds at Brands Hatch in two weeks with a G55 run by father Mike’s Mectech Motorsport.
Bradley had his first run in a G55 at the Ginetta media day at Silverstone. “I did a few laps on my own and then did passenger rides,” he said.
“The publicity on the Touring Car package will give me and the team a higher profile and hopefully attract some sponsors. Plus I will be racing at Rockingham, Thruxton, Croft and Knockhill for the first time too.,” he added.
Bradley is unlikely to have any time to test his new mount before the opening races but is impressed with the experience so far. “Making my debut at Brands isn’t so daunting as I have had a lot of success there. I just need to concentrate on myself and getting familiar with the car. A win at Brands would be great but I would be happy with top six in the first two and a podium in the third race. So long as we progress during the weekend,” he said.
“The car is nice to drive, responsive, but having less aero and an enclosed in a car of course is new for me. There is a lot to learn but I am looking forward to the challenge and have confidence that we will succeed,” he concluded.
BRADLEY SMITH EUROPEAN CHAMPION!!
Bradley Smith made it three championship titles in three years when he clinched the 2014 Radical European Masters Championship at the Catalunya Circuit last weekend.
It was a straight fight for the crown between Billericay’s Bradley and Estonian Tristan Viidas, but Smith gained the upperhand from the word go, securing pole position for all four races at the Spanish Grand Prix circuit. “I had sat back in the first session and waited too long, but it was still enough for pole,” he said. “Then we made a slight set up change for the second session, it was more stable and could have gone even quicker maybe,” he added.
Although Bradley made the best start in race one, he came under attack at Turn One. “I anticipated something at the start and didn’t see Calko coming at me, until he came off the grass and hit me in the side. There was cosmetic damage and it also affected the tracking and damaged the exhaust,” he said.
The lead stayed intact for the whole of the first stint but Bradley’s hopes of building a large cushion to compensate for his success ballasted pitstop were severely impaired. “The exhaust damage lost me some power and I couldn’t push as hard,” he explained.
After the stops he was soon back into second place, but Viidas was out of reach and he was still 12 seconds down in the closing minutes. A final push reduced the gap to just over five seconds secure in a solid second.
In the second race Bradley gave best to James Littlejohn into Turn One and shadowed him in second place until a broken gearbox put him out after nine laps. “I had a reasonable start but let James go as he was on new tyres and focussed in keeping Viidas behind me, so Alex Kapadia got by too.
Once again the lengthier stop proved decisive as he came in from third place. “I had a slight handling issue and chased hard, but it was frustrating when I had to sit in the pits and watch Viidas leave. All I could do was chase him and that became harder when my clutch began to slip,” Bradley explained.
Viidas again took the win by just over four seconds, but with Bradley second again the stage was set for Sunday’s final double header and it didn’t disappoint, as the tables were turned and Viidas had the longer stops too.
As the soon as the lights went out to start race three Bradley was in the clear and his lead was still growing when the pitstop window opened. Tom Jordan rejoined straight in front of him but soon surrendered the lead to into Turn 10 on the same lap. “I just went for it at the start, pulled a gap and concentrated on being smooth and conserving the tyres after the team had spent half of the night changing the clutch,” he explained.
His reward was an 11 seconds plus victory and with Viidas failing to make the podium in fourth place, all that was needed to secure the title was fourth in the final race.
Once again Bradley made the best start and was able to build a lead as Viidas headed a three car battle for second. They all held station for the first stint but Bradley’s lead had begun to reduce prior to the pitstops and he emerged in third behind Wells and Viidas.
“I had to defend from Littlejohn at the start, managed to pull an early gap but pushed too hard early on and my rear tyres suffered later on. I was catching Viidas and was hoping to race with him at the end,” he said. But before the duo could get together his rival had front upright break and left Bradley take the win by 15 secs over Wells and with it the 2014 title.
“It’s been a fantastic year but I couldn’t have done it without the rest of the Mectech Team, family, friends, sponsors and everyone else that had helped me throughout this year.
CONNOR JUPP JOINS MECTECH MOTORSPORT FOR FORMULA 4
Mectech Motorsport have confirmed Essex racer Connor Jupp, and will expand their line-up to two cars for the forthcoming Winter Championship, which commences at Snetterton on 8-9 November.
Jupp joined the BRDC F4 Championship for the second half of the 2014 season, showing good progress and making a breakthrough in the final events with several top-10 finishes.
Prior to his graduation to car racing, Jupp enjoyed a successful karting career, claiming multiple championships and racing both in Britain and internationally.
Mectech Motorsport, who could be crowned as Radical European Champions in Barcelona this weekend, joined BRDC F4 earlier this year and have tested extensively across the UK, gathering set-up data and familiarising themselves with the car.
Team Principal Mike Smith comented: “It’s great to welcome Connor to the team and we’re feeling very confident ahead of the BRDC F4 Winter Championship. Connor has demonstrated really strong potential in the four rounds he has competed in and we’re delighted he’s chosen to race with us for the Winter Championship. We’re hoping for regular podium finishes.”
Jupp said: “I really enjoyed competing in BRDC F4 this year and have been very pleased with my development. The Winter Championship is going to be very competitive, but I’m confident that with Mectech I can go on to take my first podium finishes in my car racing career. Mectech have demonstrated how competitive they are with their success in sports cars, and I’m sure they can further assist with my development.”
MECTECH MOTORSPORT JOINS BRDC F4 CHAMPIONSHIP
Mectech Motorsport has confirmed it will join the BRDC F4 Championship. The Essex-based team, established in 2011, has focussed mainly on sportscars until now, winning several Radical championships with BRDC Rising Star Bradley Smith.
Running in the Radical Clubman’s Cup in 2012, Mectech was crowned champion after winning nine races. Moving up to the Radical SR3 Challenge in 2013, the team tasted championship glory again, with 12 victories from 14 races.
Currently competing in Radical European Masters and holding second position in the standings, Mectech Motorsport is now expanding into single seaters.
Mectech also runs a successful karting academy, and it is anticipated that graduates from this scheme will move on to race in BRDC F4 in the coming seasons.
Team Principal Mike Smith commented: “We’ve been watching the BRDC F4 Championship closely and it’s the perfect series for us to expand our team and provide young drivers with a single seater option. The expansion into single seaters is a long term plan and the BRDC F4 championship has exciting and sustainable plans moving forward. We have raced with MSVR since we started, and are delighted to be staying with them as we step into F4. We’ve have won in every series we have competed in, and hope to do the same in F4 before too long!”
Drivers interested in competing with Mectech Motorsport in the BRDC F4 Championship should speak with Mike Smith on 01277 372848 or email email@example.com.
TWO PODIUMS FOR BRADLEY SMITH AT HUNGARORING
Two more podium finishers at the Hungaroring consolidated Bradley Smith’s second place in the Radical European Masters Championship.
Qualifying couldn’t have been much better as the Billericay driver was quickest in both sessions. But for race one he was forced to start from fifth place, after being given a belated penalty for an alleged infringement at Brands Hatch in the previous rounds. “It was hard to find clear track though and the tyres only seemed to work for one lap, plus I was bedding in new brakes in the first session,” he explained.
“I tried hanging back in the second session though, got a quick one and was going to improve on it at the end but got baulked,” he added.
As the lights went out to start race one Bradley was initially fourth, but squeezed out Kapadia into Turn 3, to end the opening lap in a challenging third. For the first nine laps he shadowed Viidas and Cencetti, until Cencetti crashed out and Bradley moved up to second, where he remained until the pitstops.
With championship leader able to take a much shorter stop, he was soon restored to the lead, with Bradley initially rejoining 11th, before climbing to fifth in one lap! “It would have been pointless chasing Viidas and my brake pedal had gone long, so I didn’t want to risk too much that early,” he explained.
Once the stops had been completed he was up to fourth and rapidly gaining on third placed Jordan. “I outbraked Tom at the chicane and then tried to close on Kronegard. We knew to be aware of Christian after the stop and I nearly got him into Turn 3. But the rear end stepped out and he got away again. Third was probably the best we could expect anyway,” he concluded.
Starting from pole in race two, hopes were a lot higher and with a lightning start to lead into Turn 1, there was no cause to change the opinion.
For a few laps Viidas and Littlejohn remained close, but before long it was down to two for the lead. “Yes it was a good start, but Viidas did his best to put me off. I stayed consistent and kept him behind me, but the brakes started to go as early as lap three, so I had to pump them and couldn’t build a gap,” he explained.
Once again the stops proved decisive and once Littlejohn had made his stop, Viidas was in the clear with Bradley chasing Calko for third. “I was struggling for race pace and just thought about getting points. I knew it was going to messy in front, it did and I gained by it,” he said after Calko received a drive through penalty, moving Bradley into third again.
“I am happy to get two podiums and with a reduced stop penalty for the next rounds at Silverstone, we are looking forward to it,” he concluded.
PLATO'S TITLE HOPES TAKE A HIT
A promising start gave little reward for Lewis Plato at Oulton Park last Saturday in the latest round of the Radical SR3 Challenge. Having spent half of his race shadowing his rival in second place, he was poised to challenge for the lead when his Mectech SR3 broke the paddleshift and put him out of the race at half distance.
Following the morning qualifying session Lewis was third overall and second in his class for the afternoon’s 90 minute race. “I was very happy with that, but hoped that the SR8 in front of us wouldn’t mess up my start. The car felt fantastic, so leaving it alone for the race,” said the young Billericay driver.
The race started well, a good clean start and as expected the SR8 shot ahead with Lewis pressing Bell for the class and championship lead, but second overall. There was no real hurry as it was the first of two 90 minute races due this season
The cars behind soon began to lose touch so while Lewis looked at the quest ahead, he had little pressure from his rivals following, so his full concentration was on the task ahead.. One mistake from Bell and Lewis would have been through and a couple of times he appeared poised to challenge.
But as the pit stop window opened Lewis was an early stopper, but from there it started to turn sour. A bearing had gone in the paddleshift and the cylinder had dropped leaving him stuck in gear.
“It was so frustrating after a good start, I did as Vic my engineer told me, just showed my cars nose to Bell and hoped for a mistake, but he didn’t make any. It’s not helped my championship with another retirement, so just do the best I can,” he said. “I knew I was in with a chance of winning by staying with Bell as Harvey the other driver wasn’t as quick,” he added.
Although he rejoined a couple of times he finally retired to the pits after 28 laps. Having run two consecutive weekends the championship now takes a month’s break before Lewis will be back in action at Snetterton on July 19/20, where Lewis made his car racing debut back in 2012.
Lewis’ racing season is backed by BML Utility Contractors, M.J.Quinn Integrated Services Ltd and Brookvex Group.
THIRD PLACE FOR DAN VAUGHAN ON DONINGTON DEBUT
Dan Vaughan opened the season for Billericay based Mectech Motorsport with a third place finish on his Radical Clubmans Cup debut at Donington Park.
Having been a regular podium finisher in the SR1 Cup last year, Dan was straight on the pace in qualifying, lining up fifth and sixth for his two races.
He was comfortable in fifth at the end of the opening lap and piling the pressure on Butterworth who then ousted Macleod for third with Dan following. The pressure was still on Butterworth and on lap nine Dan went for it on the inside of the chicane. It was tight but he emerged with the place secured, only to leave the door wide open at Redgate a lap later and allow him to repass.
Fortunately another challenge at Redgate a lap later restored third place and with Butterworth taken out by a backmarker, he remained secure on the podium for the remaining laps. “I had a good start and had to change my driving style a little to get close enough to challenge. It was my mistake at Redgate, I had just lapped someone and just left the door open. But after I got him back I gained in confidence and pulled way,” he said.
Third place and another podium were soon on the agenda in race two, when after only two laps he was all over Macleod. He made it by into third on the ninth lap, but so too did race one rival Butterworth, who was threatening once more.
On lap 14 of 18 having kept Butterworth at bay, Dan’s race came to a sudden end when he went off backwards at the chicane after spinning. “I caught a kerb on the inside, just braked too late and spun as a consequence,” he admitted.
Lewis Plato secured fourth for the first of the following days Radical SR3 Challenge races, before clinching pole for the second.
At the start of race one he spent the first eight laps chasing Keen from a strong second. But with the leaders line compromised into Coppice, Lewis got a run down the straight and led into the chicane.
The lead had begun to grow when Lewis was sidelined after nine laps. “A fuse had gone connecting the battery and alternator. So we lost charge and I couldn’t change gear,” he explained.
Starting from pole in the second race he had opted for wets on a drying track. After initially losing out to Cummings he led out of Coppice but remained side by side to the chicane before shaking off is rival on the exit.
The lead grew quite quickly but the tyres were overheating. Belshaw got ahead at the chicane on lap 13, “I just wanted the pit window as I had no grip left at all,” said Lewis.
At the stop he changed to slicks and the settings were altered too, but the time lost proved too much to claw back and he had to be content with sixth place at the finish. “We got the decision wrong this time, but it could so easily been the right thing to do,” Lewis concluded.
BRADLEY & LEWIS AT DAYTONA
The UK motorsport season may still be a few months away, but for Mectech Motorsport Team mates Bradley Smith and Lewis Plato it’s only a week before they take to the world famous Daytona Speedway in Florida.
A successful 2013 saw for Bradley take the Radical SR3 Challenge title and Lewis runner up in the Radical Clubman’s Cup, which won them both prize drives at the Daytona 24hr race.
While Bradley races with ex Grand Prix driver Max Papis in a Marsh Racing Corvette, Lewis will take the wheel of a Mitchum Motorsport Chevrolet Corvette in the supporting Sunoco 200 Challenge.
Bradley had already tested on the daunting banked circuit before Christmas, but for Lewis the recent test weekend known as the “Roar” was his first encounter.
Both drivers are quick to accept what a privilege such a high profile prize is, but realistic on what the outcome may be. “I am staying open minded, but I feel I need to finish and just enjoy the whole experience for what it is,” said Bradley, who is yet to confirm his racing plans for 2014.
Lewis, who is currently mixing his education with his racing is also philosophical about the experience. “I have had two tests in the car now, it’s just such a great prize and wonderful experience. I am staying open minded too, but you can’t under value such a great experience really,” Lewis explained. He already has plans to race his Radical SR3 in the SR3 Challenge in the UK this year with title holders Mectech Motorsport.
Not only are the duo team mates, the first to win the prizes, they are both from Billericay and the youngest participants too.
The Daytona 24hrs takes place on the weekend of January 24-26 and is due to be shown Live on Motors TV as well as highlights on Eurosport.
CELEBRATIONS ALL AROUND
With Billericay’s Lewis Plato securing his Class title in the Radical Clubmans Cup and securing the runner up spot, plus Bradley Smith having already taken the SR3 Challenge crown, it was celebrations all round again the Mectech camp as both drivers left the Snetterton finals meeting with another win under their belt.
After qualifying for Saturdays Clubmans Cup finale Lewis was fourth and second in class, which lost him vital points towards his outside, chance of the overall title. “It wasn’t a bad session but had just started to spit with rain. Then I missed out on a quick last lap, but overall fairly happy and quite confident,” he said.
From the start Lewis was into third, chasing Westerholm and Burgess through Riches. As they headed past the pits to complete the opening lap Burgess was squeezed and Lewis secured the room to take second place around the outside at Riches.
Westerholm had quickly built a sizeable lead but with the safety car called into action, the gap was eroded and Lewis was left poised to attack as the green flag was readied. Although Westerholm held on initially. Lewis dived ahead into Montreal Hairpin, but after staying close, they swapped again two laps later at the same point.
It stayed close for the remaining laps, but Westerholm took the win by 0.4secs. “The safety car helped me get the lead but the PR6 had more pace on the straights. When I had the lead I tried to defend, but couldn’t make the break,” he explained.
With inches to spare at the start of the second race Lewis edged ahead of Burgess through Riches, with the PR6’s of Kruger and Westerholm both fighting their way past Burgess, before making it a three way fight at the front.
Kruger and Westerholm exchanged places on lap four and although Westerholm closed in and began to threaten, Lewis kept his nose ahead and celebrated the end of the season with another win, but overall the title was Westerholm’s. “I got a good start and the rain threats made it exciting. A fantastic end to the year too,” he concluded.
Having suffered only one defeat in his Radical SR3 Challenge title winning season, Bradley Smith had only one thing on his mind and that was winning.
Securing a double pole position after qualifying stood him in good stead and both races started fairly well. Despite a safety car intervention after the opening lap, he led the opening part of race one from the start, despite a tap on the rear from McClughan at Agostini’s on the opening lap which affected the handling “The safety car again, nothing I could do, but it stopped me getting a lead I wanted before the stops,” he explained.
After the stops he charged back into contention from seventh place, but looked destined for no higher than fourth as time began to run out. But race leader Abbott had to pit for a penalty and rejoined with Bradley closing in. “There was too much to do but I got James around the outside at Riches,” he confirmed after snatching third on the last lap.
Normal service resumed however in the second race, when he held off a determined challenge from Ellis and Kapadia during the opening stint, to pit with a healthy lead. He rejoined in third and soon picked off Jordan for second in the Kapadia car.
Cummings had taken over from Ellis and retained a good lead until the closing laps. “Tom went wide and it made it easy, but Andy was consistent and harder to catch, but we went side by side through Hamilton and I was ahead at the exit. A great way to end the season to, but safety cars cost me a 100 % record,” he concluded.
SMITH & PLATO TEST GT3 MCLAREN
With the Radical SR3 Challenge title already secured, to add to his Radical Clubmans Cup 2012 crown, Billericay’s Bradley Smith is already looking to his future, which may include the British GT Championship.
Bradley and team mate Lewis Plato both had the opportunity to test a works GT3 spec McLaren at Snetterton recently and proved to be straight on the pace.
Team development driver Rob Bell bedded in the tyres and brakes before handing the car to Bradley for his experience of the current GT3 spec car.
“I did five laps familiarisation laps, checked the car over and then 10 laps where I could go for it,” he explained. “There were so many electronics on the car, but you forget how heavy it is, compared to my Radical. If you get oversteer or a slide the electronics kept it stable, a fantastic experience,” he added.
Bradley is hopeful that his performance impressed the team and he felt the benefit of a test to give some insight into his personal racing target. “It’s where we would like to be next year, or even if we had to wait a year to do it right,” he concluded.
MORE CELEBRATIONS FOR MECTECH
There were more celebrations in the Mectech camp after the Donington Park weekend, with Billericay boys Bradley Smith and Lewis Plato proving unbeatable. Having sewn up his class title at Donington last weekend in the 750MC Bikesports Championship, Lewis secured a double pole for the two Radical Clubmans Cup races at the Leicestershire circuit.
In the first race he was lucky not to get involved in a first corner clash which brought out the safety car. He wasn’t the quickest away and lost out to Burgess and Kruger who then touched. “It was one of my better starts actually, but I just kept my head down and just got Burgess before he went off,” he explained.
From the green flag Lewis was left to chase Kruger and had a couple of attempts before taking the lead into Melbourne Hairpin on lap nine. He continued to push hard for the remaining three laps and took his first win of the day by well over eight seconds. “I just nailed it,” he said after a perfect start to race two left him in the clear as they turned into Redgate. “No one got near, my times were good, the car was good and just got faster. I still have my joker to play too for the extra championship points, so I can start thinking about the title and Snetterton is my most familiar circuit,” he concluded.
With Lewis having taken a double pole, double win and double fastest lap, it was down to Bradley to emulate his performance as they went into Radical SR3 Challenge qualifying late on Saturday afternoon. He took pole for the first race fairly comfortably but lost out to Phil Keen in the second by 0.010s. “I got delayed on my last lap in the second session as cars were already slowing down. “Then I braked too hard at Goddards Hairpin and missed out on pole, but it was still my quickest lap,” he said.
From the start of race one it was a good clean getaway and Bradley’s lead continued to grow during the first stint. With a longer stop required due to his pro driver status, he didn’t expect to retain a racelong lead. “When I rejoined I didn’t expect Paddy McClughan to be so far ahead of me,” he explained. After closing in gradually they arrived at Goddards on the 22nd lap side by side. But Paddy defended and it wasn’t until McLeans that Bradley went through and was able to build another decisive lead. “I was playing it safe,” he added.
By the flag the lead had grown to 2.5secs and apart from the one defeat in the safety car farce at Oulton Park, he remains undefeated.
It was hectic start in race two and Bradley had to give best to pole man Keen. The gap stayed fairly dormant until the pitstop window approached and Bradley began to close. Belshaw took over from Keen and retained their advantage but Bradley was soon closing in and was ahead within four laps. The lead continued to grow over the remaining eight laps to a dominant 17 secs, but more importantly the championship title had been secured. “Nice to feel I have the title now, but have to thank all those people who helped me. The team and my Dad for all the late nighters in the workshop and my sponsors Eneos and Momo for their support too.
The final rounds of both championships takes place at Snetterton at the end of October.
TRIPLE SUCCESS AT DONINGTON
Billericay’s Lewis Plato made it a triple success at Donington Park’s 750 Motor Clubs Bikesports races.
His first was to the reap the rewards for the hardworking Mectech crew, who had turned his brand new Radical SR3 into a race winning challenger after his original car was written off at Cadwell Park.
His second was to take a double class win and fastest lap to make it six wins in the championship and secure the class title. More importantly and finally he outpaced the PR6’s of Westerholm and Kruger, his rivals for overall wins in the Radical Club Cup, which is back at Donington this weekend.
Sunday’s morning qualifying had been preceded by a pre race test at the Leicestershire circuit, which was the first time the new SR3 had run. “We tried a few changes for qualifying and they didn’t work, but we treated it as an extended test session. The new car feels stiffer and I need to get used to it,” he said.
He secured fifth in class for the first race and sixth for the second, but more importantly was second in class for both. The opening laps of race one were spent only inches from Cummings SR3’s rear in a duel for fourth, while the lead trio began to make an escape. But a slight mistake at the Old Hairpin on lap four allowed Westerholm through before the Swede took Cummings too on the run into McLeans. As Cummings was forced off line, Lewis had to bake hard and temporarily lost ground on his rival.
But with added determination Lewis made his move at McLeans on lap eight and started to make immediate inroads on the trio ahead, after Westerholm had gone off too.
Time appeared to be running out but with five laps to go he was not only on the tail of the lead trio, but picked off third and second before the end of lap 13.
Kruger’s lead had suddenly gone and it was nose to tail again to the flag, just missing out on the win by 0.22secs. “I had made a slower, safer and more cautious start with the clutch and it paid dividends. I had been too patient behind Andy Cummings and should have gone earlier and then ran wide at the Old Hairpin. But the tyres came in late and just got better. I had a chance when Kruger locked up at McLeans, but the yellow flags were out,” said Lewis after a rewarding opener for both driver and team.
There was a frustrating start to race two when it was red flagged, just after Lewis had taken Cummings for fifth into the chicane. He was behind Cummings again at the restart, but after his rival went off on the second lap, it was former Grand Prix designer Adrian Reynard that became the obstacle to further progression. “He was quicker on the straights and I was all over him in the corners,” he explained.
After a couple of laps of frustration it was determined move at McLeans that netted fifth, but once again the gap to the lead trio looked out of reach.
Setting the fastest race lap in the closing stages he was suddenly in sight of the leaders. He claimed fourth on the last lap and was only 0.46 secs off another podium finish. “The race was really good it helped me and the team learn the car a lot and overall very pleased with the day,” he said.
The team now look forward to returning to Donington this weekend for the penultimate rounds of the Radical Club Cup.
SECOND OVERALL AFTER SHUNT
Billericay’s Lewis Plato had to battle back from a heavy testing shunt to take a hard fought second overall and class win in the opening race of the day, despite using a borrowed car.
With his own car virtually destroyed after a pre race test at Cadwell Park when he hit an oil patch, Lewis had to quickly acclimatise to a borrowed SR3 from the Radical works team.
“Not bad, a new car and the handling obviously felt different. Just relieved to be out there and we can make a few changes, so still feeling confident,” he said after qualifying a magnificent second overall and first in class.
Team mate Paul Marsham also qualified well up in sixth overall, fourth in class. “I like this circuit and the car is set up within inches of its life. I was wringing my neck before the car did,” he said.
At the start of the first race Lewis held onto his qualifying position but was unable to match poleman Westerholm’s pacey PR6.
Gradually the gap started to open but Lewis’ cause was helped as Burgess and Kruger fought over third. But after 10 laps Kruger was into second and immediately started to close. He edged closer and closer to Lewis’ second place, but time ran out before a challenge was mounted leaving him only two tenths behind at the flag, but leaving Lewis secure on the second step of the podium. “I got a good start, but the changes we made didn’t quite help as we had expected. Still just pleased to have been there, but felt the pressure at the end,” he said.
Although Paul had lost a place at the start, he was still in a train of cars until he spun on lap two. “I went into Hall Bends too hard and lost the back end. After that the car felt great,” he said after fighting his way back into 13th place.
It was a disaster at the start of the second race however, with Lewis stalling and been left to last place. Paul had started well and was in a fighting sixth when Jordan’s car came careering across the grass at the Mountain and rejoined directly in front of him. Paul was forced to back off and spent the race of the race shadowing Jordan in vain, still looking for a place to pass on the narrow Lincolnshire circuit. “It was a bit tight when Tom came back on, but he wouldn’t give way. I did enjoy that race a lot more though,” he said.
Lewis was left to try and fight his way back through the order, but it took until lap seven to break into the top ten. He managed to snatch ninth from Wells into Coppice on lap nine, but spent the remaining seven laps shadowing Mark Abbott. He still netted fifth in class and counting himself fortunate to not have been hit at the start. “I was very lucky I know, it was a silly mistake and I shouldn’t have done it. The car fine and anything was still a bonus after Friday’s crash,” he concluded.
BILLERICAY BOYS AT THE DOUBLE
19th August 2013
It was a double celebration for the Brentwood based Mectech squad on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, after Lewis Plato secured a winning double in Saturday’s Radical Clubmans Cup, which was followed up by another double for Bradley Smith in the SR3 Challenge.
Lewis secured pole position for the first race by 0.566s over the Swedish duo of Kruger and Westerholm, but although quickest in the second session too, he was to start tenth as the top ten were reversed. “I was happy with that and the set up we tried in the tests really worked,” he said.
Team mate Paul Marsham proved his consistency qualifying in 13th place in both sessions.
At the start of race the nimbler PR6’s had the edge over Lewis’ SR3. Kruger led with Westerholm in second, but Lewis was on the attack straightaway and head second place into the Loop.
Having immediately closed down on Kruger’s lead he tried an identical manoeuvre at the Loop three laps later and emerged with the lead.
But a five second penalty had been added for exceeding the track limits, so Lewis had to continue to push hard and after the penalty was added, his victory was confirmed by 0.315s. “I nearly got second into Copse at the start, but those PR6’s are so quick off the line,” he explained.
Paul moved into 12th on the second lap, but had a lonely race, too far back to challenge and too far ahead to be challenged in return.
It was more of the same in race two, but whereas Lewis started from 10th on the grid, Kruger was on the second row and had the lead on the opening lap. Lewis was into third and hunting down Westerholm, but before the challenge was made Westerholm retired and left Lewis clear to chase Kruger.”I was seventh into the first corner, so pleased to get through them,” he said
It took until lap eight to get ahead, but by the flag he had pulled out a four second lead and was left to celebrate a fine winning double.
Paul was on the verge of breaking into the top ten too, when his race came to a premature end after five laps.
It was rare for Bradley not to be on pole for either of the SR3 Challenge races, but showers and tyres caused havoc in all of the teams tactics. He was still second best in the first session, “I only got one flying lap though, as we spent too long changing tyres. But in the second the new wets felt more like balloons,” he said after qualifying tenth.
As the field came through for the rolling start in race one Bradley got a run on poleman Broad and led into Copse. He continued to push hard, determined to build a decisive lead during the first half of the race. “I got a really good start and needed a clear break before we made our stop early,” he explained.
He re-emerged from the pits in second place, 0.827s down on new leader Allison, who had taken over the Broad car. The advantage lasted only one lap, before Bradley returned to the fore and claimed victory by well over 12 secs.
“I was determined to get ahead as soon as I could and then just look after my tyres,” he explained.
But from tenth on the grid it was to be a totally different strategy in race two. “It was difficult but I made a good start, but was determined not to get involved in any first corner stuff,” he explained.
Seventh at the end of the first lap and fifth by the end of the fourth, but with 2012 rival Matt Bell next in line, it was time for a rethink. “I had got through fairly easily until I caught Matt, he defended well so I backed off and decided I would just have to work harder in the second half,” he said.
He rejoined in sixth after the stops, but progress was fairly rapid. There was an element of luck when second placed Belshaw broke a front upright, which gave Bradley second as the clock ran down.
Only Tom Jordan lay between him and another double win and when Jordan ran wide at Club Corner Bradley pounced and was soon in the clear and preparing for the victory champagne once more.
BRADLEY SMITH RISING STAR
18th August 2013
As well as celebrating yet another double victory in the Radical SR3 Challenge on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, Bradley Smith had a double reason to celebrate.
Having only started car racing in 2011 after distinguished karting career, the Billericay driver won the Radical Clubmans Cup in 2012.
Having graduated to the SR3 Challenge for 2013 he has so far only suffered one defeat and currently heads the SR3 Challenge points table with four rounds remaining. It was this success that brought Bradley to the attention of the Silverstone based British Racing Drivers Club, which have now included him in their Rising Star Scheme for young drivers under the age of 24.
MECTECH CHARGES TO THE WIN
29th July 2013
Bradley Smith and Lewis Plato proved to be a formidable duo at Snetterton, taking their Mectech Motorsport Radical SR3 to a comfortable victory in the second of this seasons Radical Feature races.
The Billericay boys only missed out on pole position by 0.085secs, and that only to a more powerful SR8. “I bedded in new brake pads and tyres for Bradley, then he went for pole and I finished the session off. Very happy with it and we traded pole with the SR8,” Lewis explained.
“I could have gone quicker and maybe taken pole, but the whole day is really big test for us,” Bradley added.
The start was quite confusing when the third placed SR8 of Marateotto rocketed into the lead, but outbraked himself at the first corner. Bamford’s pole sitting SR8 emerged in front, with Lewis in second.
Over the next few laps Lewis began to come under pressure from BRDC McLaren Autosport award winner Jake Dennis, taking time out of his Formula Renault Eurocup campaign.
Dennis made it by on lap six but Lewis remaining in touch and they became the lead duel when Bamford hit trouble and pitted. “The start had been difficult and then Jake got me on the straight when the SR8 in front made a mistake, but it was close,” said Lewis.
They ran nose to tail for nine laps until Lewis seized his chance. “I got alongside Jake a few times but he seemed to slide a bit into Murrays as he maybe missed a downshift. I stayed on full throttle and got him, looked in my mirrors and he was way back,” Lewis explained.
But the recovering Marateotto had also closed and charged ahead into Riches, where he stayed until pitting for his driver change.
Lewis stayed out for another seven laps, before handing to Bradley and restoring Dennis to the lead once more. But to Bradley’s surprise he rejoined in third, as Abbott had got into second during the stops. When Dennis made his stop Abbott was the new leader, with Bradley 18.7 secs adrift.
The race was on and lap by lap the gap came down. “Yes I was surprised that James was in front us, but I had the gap and chased him down. I knew we had about 20 minutes left and so just made sure it was safe when I did make the move,” Bradley explained.
It was seven laps from the end that victory was claimed, having sat patiently for a couple of laps he was ahead into Oggies. The gap began to open immediately and he finally took the flag nearly 13 seconds clear. “When I took over from Lewis the car was fine, but the handling started to go after I caught James, but the dirty air didn’t help. He didn’t make it easy and he tried defending so I swapped sides and we did it,” he concluded as the victory champagne caught Lewis unawares.
STRONG SECOND, STRONG CHAMPIONSHIP POSITION
28th May 2013
Having grabbed two class wins and an overall victory in the opening Bike Sports meeting of the year at Brands Hatch in April, Billericay’s Lewis Plato arrived at Snetterton in good form for the second round.
Going into Sunday’s pair of races on Snetterton’s high-speed ‘200’ layout, Lewis felt well-prepared for the challenges ahead; “we did quite a bit of testing earlier this year, so we've got a good set-up on the car” he confirmed.
Although the weekend wasn’t Lewis’ first visit to the Norfolk track, it was his first time on the 200 layout. He raced the longer 300 configuration on his car racing debut last year and recorded two podium finishes despite struggling with his starts. " I’d never done a race start before, but we've done some practice starts since. It's quite a tricky car to get off the line."
Although he didn’t test on Friday, he was right on the pace from the start of qualifying, and his four quickest laps would all have been good enough for pole in both races. “The track was quick and we went well in qualifying - I got a few clean laps in the car and there wasn't much traffic. We've made a few handling changes since qualifying to calm the rear down a bit, but otherwise it looks good”.
Although race one saw Lewis slip to third at the start, behind the Radical PR6s of James Breakell and Jon-Paul Ivey, he didn’t let it faze him. “I got a good start – the PR6s are a bit lighter so they could get off the line a bit quicker - I was expecting it” he explained. “I dropped to third but overtook one car into the hairpin to be second. I drove consistently until I got an opportunity to get the lead. After that it was just a case of putting in consistent laps and managing the gap.,” he said. Thereafter, he was in control, reeling off the final few laps to complete an impressive victory.
After a few tweaks to the car, and still with relatively fresh tyres at his disposal, he was all set for race two. But when the red light went out, a relatively slow getaway left him once more playing catch up to Breakall and Gray. “It wasn’t the best start,” Lewis conceded afterwards. “It took a couple of laps to get by Breakall in third, and gradually close up to the leader,” he explained.
With two laps left, he had the gap down to just 1.5 seconds, with a second win in sight. Sadly the backmarkers didn’t fall kindly for him in the final two laps and he couldn’t get close enough to mount a challenge.
Nevertheless, he finished a strong second overall, leaving Norfolk in a strong championship position, and looking forward to the challenges ahead. “It’s been a very good start to 2013” he enthused. “I'm doing a lot of racing this year - I've just finished University so I've got more time to focus on racing”.
WIN NUMBER FOUR
13th May 2013
The celebrations continue in the Mectech Motorsport camp after Billericay’s Bradley Smith retained his 100 per cent record in the Radical SR3 Challenge, with another double pole and double win on the Brands hatch Grand Prix circuit.
The weekend started with Bradley’s protégé Lewis Plato in the Radical Clubmans Challenge. The fellow Billericay teen had his first win prior to the latest rounds, when he took part in a recent 750 Motor Club meeting.
With a massive 39 car field, Lewis knew it would be a challenge, not only to get a clear lap but more importantly to qualify well. He secured sixth place, but was far from disappointed. “No I am really happy and just didn’t think about the others. I had done a track day on the GP circuit but no more than that. So I pushed hard at the start in case it rained, then got stuck in traffic at the end,” he explained.
Team mate Paul Marsham decided to withdraw after hitting the pit barrier on his way out to qualify.” I need to get myself sorted out, and wasn’t in the right mind to race,” he said.
From the start of race one Lewis was into sixth and then ousted Andy Cummings from fifth as came into Graham Hill Bend. But a lap later a push for third into Druids didn’t pay off, he failed to gain a place and allowed Cummings and Swedish teen Westerholm to repass.
Making up for lost ground Lewis then came under pressure from Chris Headlam, whose efforts to challenge left him spinning at Druids, where he was then hit and called the safety car into action.
From the green flag Lewis found himself back on Cummings tail for fifth, but red flags brought an early finish before a further challenge could be made. “That was definitely a much better start than I have had before. I had Andy Cummings but then he came back at me and I felt the effect of dirty air. Maybe I would have got him back again if the race hadn’t been red flagged,” he reckoned.
The second race was soon following the safety car after a backmarker had gone off at Paddock Hill. Lewis was holding fourth, but leader Westerholm lost out massively from the green flag, which promoted Lewis into third spot.
He began to push hard to take the experienced Tony Wells for second, before coming under attack himself from James Abbott. He was forced to give best after five laps and gradually dropped back to consolidate fourth in the final laps.
“It was a good race, the start again in particular. But I think I might have had too wet a set up for the drying track. Abbott got me into Clearways, as I had tried to make a move on Wells into the previous corner. It held me up as it compromised my speed and then lost me the place. I couldn’t get back in touch then as the handling seemed to go off a little,” he said.
Although Bradley had to work hard to secure pole for the SR3 Challenge races, he did it fine style once more. “I had messed up the second session after being steady in the first, but kept it in one piece. I almost lost it twice so decided I must kept my head,” he explained.
An excellent start to race one left the others in his wake, but a safety car immediately prior to the pitstops eroded the hard earned advantage. “It messed it all up for me so I came in first for my stop and rejoined third,” he explained.
After quickly regaining second, he next 10 laps were spent frustratingly shadowing Abbott. “He made a couple of little mistakes and I finally got him at Stirlings Bend with a lap to go,” he confirmed.
Having held the fast starting Bradley Ellis at bay at the start of race two, the lead was only briefly surrendered during the compulsory stops. “I made sure I didn’t get mugged at the start as I knew they would be pushing hard too. The safety car wasn’t my friend again though,” he concluded after taking win number four by over 5 seconds from Abbott.
THE ONLY WAY IS ESSEX
29th October 2012
The wintry weather did its best to put a dampener on the final round of the Radical Clubmans Cup at Snetterton last Saturday, but Essex boys Bradley Smith and Lewis Plato conquered all before them.
Bradley celebrated clinching the championship title for Mectech Racing in the best possible way, with another double win while Lewis secured two podium finishes on his first weekend of car racing.
It was the first time Mectech had fielded two cars and despite the inclement weather, morning qualifying could hardly have gone better for the Billericay duo. Bradley secured pole position with Lewis in second. While the second fastest lap of the session counted for the race two line up, with Lewis taking pole from Bradley by 0.731secs.
“I had been an interesting session, so cold and wet and hardly any grip. I tried to keep some heat in the tyres when the safety car came out and although we were bunched up afterwards, I got pole and hadn’t really planned the lap,” Bradley explained.
“I was just driving within my limits, not sliding and saw other people going off. My pit boards kept me well informed, I had hoped to be in the top 10 so this was a real surprise,” Lewis added.
The start of the race was delayed when a car went off on the green flag lap, but when the lights did eventually go out Bradley had the lead immediately, with Lewis slotting into third as they exited the first corner. But with his rival running wide a couple of corners later, Lewis was back into second and chasing hard.
By the end of the opening lap Bradley’s lead was already 2.3 seconds and growing. Lewis responded and began to close the gap as their rivals were left trailing.
It was almost nose to tail for the Mectech pair on the last two laps, but Bradley took the win by 0.367 seconds. “It was so wet and cold still, but I could see thankfully and just concentrated on keeping it on. I saw Lewis pull out of the spray a couple of times and just wondered if he was going to try a late cheeky move on me,” he said.
For Lewis it was fantastic debut, “A good start and I retook second when Matt Bell went wide, then just did my best to latch onto Brad and we drove away. I did pull out a couple of times, but just to get to clear air, I was trying anything,” he explained.
The showers had briefly ceased but it was still wet for the second race. Bradley again made a good clean start and left the rest to do the chasing.
Lewis had lost out to Bell on the opening lap but soon managed to consolidate his hold on third.
The lead continued to grow and not only did Bradley secure his second win of the day, he was crowned Champion. “We had no team rules, so if Lewis had a better start I would have let him go, but I did it. I pushed hard again from the start, but the track conditions had changed a lot. It’s been a brilliant year all round though. When the flag came out I wasn’t even sure it was the last lap, then it started to sink in, I was champion. I really need to thank Corbeau seats, Mectech Racing, my family and girlfriend and all the support from my fan base too,” he concluded.
Two podiums for Lewis too gave him a firm foundation for him to go for the title in 2013. “I didn’t really know how hard to push in those conditions, so I kept a comfortable pace and just made sure of my place. A great experience,” he said.