Article by Brentwood Gazette: 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 the Billericay's driver and Estonian Tristan Viidas, but Smith gained the upper hand from the word go, securing pole position for all four races at the Spanish Grand Prix track.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Bradley SMith"]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. I had sat back in the first session and waited too long, but it was still enough for pole. Then we made a slight set-up change for the second session, it was more stable and could have gone even quicker maybe.[/quote]
Although he made the best start in race one, he came under attack at turn one.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Bradley Smith"]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.[/quote]
The lead stayed intact for the whole of the first stint but Smith's hopes of building a large cushion to compensate for his successful ballasted pit stop were severely impaired.
The exhaust damage lost him some power and he wasn't able to push as hard. After the stops he was soon back into second, but Viidas was clear in first.
A final push reduced the gap to just over five seconds, leaving him secure in second.
In the second race Smith was beaten by James Littlejohn into turn one and shadowed him in second place until a broken gearbox put him out after nine laps. Once again the lengthier stop proved decisive as he came in from third place.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Bradley Smith"]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.[/quote]
Viidas again took the win by just over four seconds, but with Smith 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 soon as the lights went out on race three Smith was in the clear and his lead was still growing when the pit-stop window opened.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Bradley Smith"]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.[/quote]
His reward was an 11-second- plus victory and, with Viidas in fourth place, all that was needed to secure the title was fourth in the final race.
Once again Smith made the best start and built a lead as Viidas headed a three-car battle for second. They all held station for the first stint but Smith's lead had begun to reduce prior to the pit stops and he emerged in third behind Wells and Viidas.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Bradley Smith"]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," he said. "I was catching Viidas and was hoping to race with him at the end.[/quote]
But before the duo could get together, his rival had a front upright break and left Smith to take the win by 15 seconds and with it the 2014 title.