BTRC RACE REPORT BRANDS HATCH EASTER SUNDAY 2016
Today´s first race day at Brands Hatch saw the A and B class trucks race for the first time competing individually, entertaining the spectators with four exciting races.
Rody Smit had the honour of being the first British Truck Racing Championship winner of 2016 in the opening Group B race. The Dutchman duelled with brother and polesitter Frans Smit after Adam Bint got the jump at the start. However the leader was unable to make the most of his break and was reeled in before mid-distance.
With intermittent showers keeping changing the track surface by the minute, a three-way fight ensued, with Bint having to alternately attack and defend from his Dutch rivals. Adam Bint tried to make a break in the second Group B race after passing early leader Trevor Martin, but was caught and passed by Rody Smit as they headed into Paddock Hill bend at mid-distance. He tried to fight back at Druids, running around the outside, but due to a steering problem he had to let Smit off the hook and the Dutchman took a second victory. Bint fell back into the clutches of Simon Cole and was passed on the run to Druids late in the race, eventually settling for third place.
Reigning champion Mat Summerfield opened the defence of his title with a win the first Group A race of the year. After two aborted starts that saw Shane Brereton and Steven Powell off at Druids, polesitter Stuart Oliver worked hard to defend his lead from a growing group of trucks that included Summerfield, David Jenkins, Ryan Smith and Steve Thomas. As Smith worked his way towards the front, Summerfield saw his moment at halfway distance, passing Oliver on the main straight. The ten-time champion then concentrated on keeping second place, as the trucks behind him squabbled in a tense encounter. Eventually Jenkins fell away from this group, then Thomas ran out of road at Graham Hill on the final lap following a clash with Smith, dropping to sixth place.
"It was hard work," said Summerfield. "Stuart wasn't letting an inch on the track. The track was getting slippier - these things have so much torque, you've got to feed the throttle in gently." Oliver got his revenge in the second Group A race, taking an early lead that he would not relinquish. Behind him there was an intense fight as Thomas broke through to second place and managed to hold off a tight bunch that included Jenkins, Summerfield and Ryan Smith. The race was red-flagged just before the scheduled finish, however, as Brereton hit the barriers on the entrance to Clearways, with no harm to the driver.
"That race was down to the start," said Oliver.
"I suspected everybody would bunch to the right, but there was a gap and I went for it. Credit to [early leaders] Ricky [Collett] and Luke [Colson], they were pedalling hard."
The action continues tomorrow (Easter Monday), with a further six races for the British Truck Racing Championship. There will also be seven support races from the Pickup Truck Racing Championship, Legends Cars, and the Quaife Motorsport News Saloons. Easter Monday also features a feast of off-track entertainment, including Monster Trucks, children's entertainment, a funfair, showtruck display and parade, VIP grid walk and go-karting!View the full gallery on our facebook page here
Photography by Dustin Schaber