Menczer magic and Falb flawless at Road Atlanta
Rounds 4, 5 and 6 of the 2014 Radical Cup were spectacular with the twists and turns of Road Atlanta's 2.540 mile circuit generating the close racing that the Radical USA Cup is known for worldwide.

Jesse Menczer wove his magic to win two races in the SR8 class, effectively overhauling reigning champ Gerhard Watzinger in the points. Similarly John Falb had a stellar weekend to claim every possible point and all 3 victories in the SR3 class.

SR3 Class

After his perfect start to the season unravelled at Road Atlanta last year, John Falb was determined not to have history repeat itself.

The 2013 SR3 championship runner up again entered Road Atlanta with a perfect point score this year- three wins from the opening three rounds in Utah- but this time his weekend went to plan.

After qualifying on pole position with a solid half-second margin to nearest rival George Kurtz (1:25.459), Falb (1:24.944) led round 4's race start to finish.

Kurtz may have claimed his fourth consecutive podium with a comfortable second place, but he seemed concerned he couldn't match Falb's pace.

Third placed Slusher was happy with his Saturday performance after an issue with his usual #62 machine forced him to use a spare car. John Thompson and Lisa Merzon rounded out the top five.

Come Sunday morning Kurtz's concern had turned to visible frustration when Falb (1:24.453) qualified nearly a full second faster than the Team CrowdStrike driver (1:25.689) for round 5. Not only that but Slusher (1:25.731), now back in his familiar chassis, had closed the gap dramatically.

As Falb again won in dominant fashion, Kurtz relinquished second place to Slusher and finished third, while John Thompson gained another solid points haul with fourth.

Even the reverse grid race didn't prove any trouble for Falb. He retained his perfect point score with his six consecutive win of the season and the race's fastest lap. However, the same couldn't be said for either Kurtz or Slusher.

On lap three Slusher made contact with the wall after running wide in turn one, immediately bringing out the safety car. Unhurt by his shunt, Slusher joined Falb and Kurtz on the third step of the podium.

Even with the year-end round drops already applied, Falb's flawless run has him (96) streaking away in the championship by a solid 18 points. However, Kurtz (78) and Slusher (75) are only separated by 3 points and with 15 rounds yet to run anything can happen.


SR8 Class

After a nudge from Jesse Menczer in Round 3 in Utah prevented him from taking three wins in a row, it looked as though Gerhard Watzinger was well and truly back on track as the Road Atlanta weekend commenced.

Watzinger (1:20.905) dominated the SR8 class during Saturday's qualifying session to finish half a second up from his nearest rival, Ethan Stone (1:21.512). Stone was another to have a spectacular qualifying session after a late run saw him eclipse Menczer (1:21.519) by just seven thousands of a second.

Uncharacteristically though, Watzinger was unable to repeat his performance during Saturday's race, allowing both Ethan Stone and Jesse Menczer to slip by.

While Watzinger continued to struggle, Stone absorbed Menczer's pressure lap after lap. He looked set to take his first victory of the year until a small mistake sent him into a spin and out of contention on lap 18.

Released, Menczer went on to take his second win in a row, after having won round 3 in Utah. Stone's demise promoted Watzinger to second and Adam Merzon to third, while Jim Booth finished fourth.

Stone immediately set the benchmark during Sunday's qualifying session, before Menczer, Watzinger and Merzon all had their turn at the top of the time sheet. A fantastic to and fro battle continued between the drivers until Stone looked set to take pole- that was until Watzinger put in a brilliant lap to steal away the top spot in the dying stages of the session.

Well and truly returning to his championship winning form, Watzinger then added the round 5 win and the fastest lap bonus point to his pole position. Behind him, Stone this time stayed stoic in front of Menczer to claim second, while Merzon secured fourth.

As it happened, each driver's fastest laps in the race matched their finishing order meaning the round 6 reverse grid would be the exact opposite of round 5's results.

After drag racing each other down the start-finish straight for the first time, it was Menczer who finally got the advantage on Merzon as he drove around the outside of the polesitter through turn one.

The squabble allowed Stone and Watzinger to close and the four remained nose to tail for the entire race. With each lap it looked as though Stone or Watzinger may have had the pace to take the fight to Menczer, but Merzon drove a spectacular race to keep them at bay.

Pumping his fist as he took the checkered flag, Menczer took his second win of the weekend, from Merzon and Stone. More importantly Menczer had made it clear his victory in Utah wasn't to be considered a one-off.

While Watzinger (90) still has more points overall, when the three round drop is considered, as it will at the end of the year, Menczer's (92) Road Atlanta result has effectively put him in the championship lead by a mere 2 points. Ryan Carpenter (85) currently holds third.


 

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