BTRC produces Thruxton thriller at Convoy on the Plain
The British Truck Racing Championship produced five blockbuster races at Thruxton Circuit this past weekend (July 9/10) as the 2022 season recommenced for Convoy on the Plain - with seven drivers across Division’s 1 and 2 triumphing.
Returning to action after a two-month hiatus, thrills and spills were around almost every turn of the fastest circuit in the UK as thousands of fans flocked trackside to soak up the sun and some top-draw motor racing.
Being Convoy on the Plain, it wasn’t just the racing that kept those in attendance over the course of both days as more than 100 show trucks, live music, eating competitions, a kids funfair, trade village ensured there was fun to be had for all the family around the venue.
Division 1 saw four drivers score victory - two of which who did so for the first time this season - whilst the spoils of Division 2 were shared between three, with Luke Garrett emerging as one of the stars of the show as he claimed a hat-trick of wins at his home track.
Smith, Jenkins, Oliver and Powell charge to Division 1 glory
As was the case at Pembrey, Saturday arguably belonged to Ryan Smith as he took a clean sweep of results which included pole position, two race wins and two fastest laps - all of which served to further strengthen his championship lead.
Qualifying around the high-speed venue proved to be a frenetic affair however it was the reigning champion that ultimately reigned supreme, punching in a best time of 1:37.657 to edge out Stuart Oliver and David Jenkins.
Launching off the front row of the grid for the opening encounter, the Daimler Truck driver didn’t put a wheel wrong, leading every lap to score victory ahead of Oliver and Jenkins - both of whom were hot on his heels throughout.
Behind the top three an almighty battle raged for the remaining spots inside the top ten with the likes of Simon Reid, Richard Collett, Bradley Smith, Craig Reid and John Newell producing a plethora of wheel-to-wheel moments that had fans on the edge of their seats.
Race two proved to be far more comfortable for Smith as he broke clear of the chasing pack early on and went on to win by more than ten seconds ahead of Oliver and Simon Reid.
Oliver survived early contact with Jenkins and then drove masterfully for the remainder of the bout to fend off a raft of drivers which included Reid, Newell, Steven Powell and his son Michael - all of whom were once again in the thick of the action.
Sunday’s three races would be a different story as Jenkins kicked things off by making a welcome return to the top step of the podium. Starting midpack virtue of the reverse grid, the former champion wasted no time in scything through the order to move into the lead by lap two.
From there though the MAN racer didn’t have things his own way as he came under constant pressure from Simon Reid and then six-time title winner Smith - who was battling power steering issues - in the latter stages.
Michael Oliver became the latest driver to triumph in 2022 as he claimed a popular win in race four. In what proved to be a breathless encounter which was ultimately ended early due to a red flag, Oliver Jnr dug deep to fend off those behind him.
Moving into the lead on lap one, the Team Oliver Racing driver was perfection personified to lead home Simon Reid and Bradley Smith, sparking a wave of celebrations in parc ferme.
The weekend drew to a close with another first-time winner as Steven Powell took a popular maiden Division 1 victory in race five. Starting from pole, Powell served up one of the drives of his career as he went wheel-to-wheel with Oliver Snr for overall honours.
Powell’s resolute defence would finally be undone by Oliver in the closing laps however a red flag for an incident between Jenkins and Mark Taylor saw the result counted back a lap, giving the former Division 2 champion a breakthrough win in the top class.
Garrett makes home advantage count in Division 2
Arriving at Thruxton holding a slender advantage at the summit of the Division 2 standings, the big question for Luke Garrett was whether he would be able to stay there and make his mark at his local track; the answer come Sunday night was a resounding yes.
Jock Borthwick was the driver to beat in qualifying as he claimed pole position however the Scotsman could do nothing to stop Adam Bint from winning race one. Riding a wave of momentum after triumphing last time out, the bonneted Volvo driver hit the front on lap three and then didn’t look back.
As Bint cantered to victory, John Powell worked his way forward into second place whilst Brad Smith won a photo finish to clinch the final spot on the podium - pipping Borthwick to third place by a mere 0.080 seconds.
At the wheel of his MAN, Garrett came to the fore to clinch a popular win in race two and then doubled up on Sunday morning as he cruised to victory in race three.
Borthwick would bounce back in the penultimate race of the weekend to head Bint and John Bowler however Garrett soon returned to the front in what was a frenetic fifth and final contest.
The battle for supremacy at the head of the field saw plenty of door-to-door moments however when the dust settled it was former two-time champion Garrett that was able to thread his way through to the front and triumph ahead of Powell and Bowler.
To view the full classification of results from all British Truck Racing Championship sessions at Thruxton, CLICK HERE.
All five races from the third 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 August 20/21 when the series travels to Donington Park for one of the biggest events of the year, Convoy in the Park.