A DAY OF firsts saw the Workhorse Radical Cup Australia deliver its 2023 season champions after another compelling year of one-make sportscar competition.
A remarkable day of racing saw outgoing champion Chris Perini score his first win of the season in the final race of his title defence, saw young rising-star from the West Cooper Cutts claim his first race and round victory overall and saw one of the youngest ever champions in one-make Radical competition crowned.
16-year-old Alex Gardner finished second overall in Sydney to cap off a remarkable five-round campaign as champion, edging out a valiant Elliott Schutte in their compelling season-long battle.
The three races on Saturday at Sydney Motorsport Park each featured a different winner.
Cooper Cutts claimed his first win in Race two, holding off a persistent Chris Perini for the duration to ultimately claim his first race win of his rookie Radical campaign.
It was a strong drive for the West Aussie and Arise Racing with Perini putting the young star under pressure for the entire 25-minute duration.
Peter Paddon finished third with rookie Brandon Duncombe and Simon Arthur rounding out the top five.
The race saw a controversial moment between title rivals Gardner and Schutte, the former making contact with the latter and causing him to tumble down the order.
Schutte would recover to eighth position while Gardner copped a 30-second penalty for his efforts, relegating him to 6th.
Race three would prove a clutch race for the championship as a resurgent Gardner struck back with a key victory over Schutte and Cutts in third, with Peter Paddon fourth and Perini fifth.
Josh Hunt, meanwhile, charged his #47 Volante Rosso entry from last to sixth in an epic drive after clutch failure saw him fail to finish race one on Friday night.
Gardner’s win ensured he went into the final race of the weekend with a comfortable, if not totally safe 30-point margin over Schutte in their ongoing battle for the championship.
That final race saw an aggressive Perini nail the start and race to the front within the opening few corners, assuming a lead he would never lose.
The outgoing champion proved his title-winning form again with a win, fending off Cooper Cutts for a majority of the 25-minute race.
Gardner finished a safe third – just two seconds behind Perini – to claim the title while Schutte was fifth, Peter Paddon in between the two title protagonists.
Overall, Cooper Cutts claimed his maiden Workhorse Radical Cup Australia Round victory in style with a narrow two-point margin over Gardner – his race three penalty a key factor in costing him a round win.
The Queenslander still finished second to claim his fourth podium finish of the season, with Chris Perini rounding out the top three for the weekend.
With Gardner the champion, Schutte finished a strong second in a strong sophomore season in Radical competition.
Cooper Cutts debut year saw him finish third, while Garnder also claimed the Rookie of the Year and Professional class titles.
His Volante Rosso teammate Peter Clare claimed the Radical Masters and Radical Challenge titles in a remarkable season for the Sydney-based team.