The British Truck Racing Championship saw thrills, spills and plenty of edge-of-the-seat entertainment play out at Donington Park this past weekend (August 20/21) as the UK’s biggest motor sport series headlined Convoy in the Park.
Marking the half-way point of what has already proven to be an action-packed season, the battle for supremacy across five blockbuster races saw four different drivers triumph in Division 1, whilst the spoils in Division 2 were also shared between four.
Whilst the titans of truck racing stole the show on-track, the bumper crowd that flocked to the Leicestershire venue had plenty to see and do off it courtesy of the many attractions that were put on as part of the Convoy in the Park festival.
Almost 1000 show trucks, an all-action arena, live music and entertainment, outdoor cinema, trade villages and fun fair, as well as much more, made it a weekend to remember.
Smith, Reid, Jenkins and Oliver triumph in Division 1
Variety was the spice of life in Division 1 over the course of the weekend as Ryan Smith, Simon Reid, David Jenkins and Michael Oliver picked up wins.
Reigning six-time champion Smith - who entered the weekend with a healthy advantage at the summit of the standings - kicked off proceedings with a commanding lights-to-flag victory in the opening encounter.
Having stormed to pole position in qualifying, the Daimler Truck driver didn’t put a wheel wrong to clinch the first of two wins under the flightpath of East Midlands airport whilst Reid and former multiple champion Stuart Oliver followed him home.
Smith’s aspirations of repeating the feat in race two ended pretty quickly however as a mechanical issue brought him to a halt whilst fighting for the lead. Reid - who had already moved to the front before Smith was forced to pull off - produced a superlative drive to triumph ahead of Oliver and Jenkins.
Race three will undoubtedly be remembered for the resolute defensive drive of Richard Collett. Starting from pole, the MAN racer whipped the crowd into a frenzy as he fended off the chasing pack for a number of laps before Jenkins finally found a way past at mid-distance.
Jenkins hit the front on lap four and whilst Collett fought valiantly to hang on, he was able to make his escape and cruise to victory. John Newell and ten-time champion Oliver followed the former title winner home in second and third respectively.
The penultimate contest of weekend took two attempts to run and saw mixed emotions for the Oliver family. The original start saw a high-speed incident take place at the top of the Craner Curves as four drivers battled over the same piece of tarmac, with Oliver Snr coming off worst as he slammed into the barrier.
That crash would unfortunately see him join Simon Reid, Steven Powell and Bradley Smith on the sidelines for the remainder of the day. After a lengthy stoppage, the restart saw Oliver Jnr come to the fore for the second time this season.
Charging into the lead, the MAN Truck driver fended off the late charge of race one winner Smith whilst Richard Collett netted his first podium of the year after Craig Reid, who was third on the road, had been hit with a disqualification due to over-speeding.
Smith then closed out the weekend in the same manner upon which he started it, with victory. From fifth on the grid, the Mansfield racer found a way past race four victor Oliver in the latter stages to strengthen his stranglehold at the top of the points leaderboard.
Garrett, Powell, Smith and Bint star in Division 2
Division 2 mirrored Division 1 over the course of the weekend as it too saw four different drivers claim victory.
Arriving at Convoy in the Park holding a slender lead in the standings, former two-time champion Luke Garrett enjoyed a dream Saturday as he claimed pole position and then followed it up with a dominant double.
The MAN TGX driver comfortably lead home Brad Smith and Adam Bint in the opening encounter however things were a littler closer in race two, which saw Smith and John Powell put on a scintillating show for second and third on the final tour.
Powell’s time to shine came on Sunday morning as he claimed an impressive lights-to-flag victory. Converting pole position into the race lead, the DAF driver got his head down and pulled clear of the chasing pack, led by Garrett and Craig Evans, to take the chequered flag with relative ease.
Race four saw an overtaking masterclass from Smith as he powered his DAF from fifth on the grid to victory lane. Pulling off a number of scintillating early moves, the wily veteran soon settled into a groove and cruised to the finish line ahead Garrett and Evans.
The weekend’s fifth and final race then saw Bint make a triumphant return to the podium, although this time it was to the top step. In what was a true wheel-to-wheel battle with Garrett, the Volvo driver underlined his credentials with a perfect drive to the chequered flag.
To view the full classification of results from all British Truck Racing Championship sessions at Donington Park, CLICK HERE.
All five races from the fourth event of the season are available to view on the British Automobile Racing Club YouTube channel HERE.
The British Truck Racing Championship is next in action on September 17/18 when the series travels to Snetterton in Norfolk.