FLAT – OUT AT THRUXTON

Last weekend, 11th/12th June, was when the trucks and teams landed at the ex-World War II air base, deep in the Hampshire countryside a few miles along the A303 west of Andover, to participate in the third round of the British Truck Racing Championship on the fast and furious ex perimeter road race circuit.

With all forms of racing, good speed is the key to success and the drivers get no better opportunity than at Thruxton to race at high speed around the 2.35-mile circuit.

With no testing available on Friday the 20 minute qualifying session on the Saturday morning was the first time the drivers would get to try their machines on what was a damp and greasy circuit. Straight away all the drivers started to post respectable times in the difficult conditions, after the session the fastest three in Class A were Ryan Smith, David Jenkins and Stuart Oliver all with an average speed in excess of 82 MPH. In Class B the fastest three were Brian Burt, Trevor Martin and Simon Cole.

Race 1 on Saturday afternoon the trucks lined up on the grid in qualifying order for the first of the five weekends truck races. As always with the rolling start, the full twenty-truck grid charged off, with the expected race into the first group of corners. All twenty trucks were running in close order throughout the race and after numerous positions changes as the chequered flag fell at the end of the 15 minuet plus one lap race, overall and Class A victory went to Ryan Smith with Stuart Oliver 2.4 seconds behind in second and David Jenkins another 2 tenths of one second behind in third. In Class B Simon Cole took the win followed by Trevor Martin in Second and Brian Burt in third with all three finishing within 2.2 seconds apart.

Race 2 on Saturday evening the start was to be in reverse grid format set from the previous race result. Again with a rolling start the trucks roared off, it then took a number of laps for things to settle down and then the podium finishing drivers from race 1 started to slice through the pack. This time the overall and Class A race winner emerged to be Stuart Oliver followed by David Jenkins and Ryan Smith in third. In Class B Simon Cole took a second win followed by Adam Bint in second and Ryan Colson in third.

Race 3 mid-day on Sunday with the weather much better than was forecasted the trucks again lined up in reverse position of the finish order of race 2. As always the race got under way from a rolling start and with no delay the pack started to change places. By mid-race Steve Thomas and Stuart Oliver had a coming together that saw them head into the tyre wall at high speed, fortunately with the pair recovering and able to continue. Further back in Class B bodywork was getting a bashing as places were being exchanged lap by lap, it emerged at the chequered flag Class A driver Ryan Smith took the overall win followed by local driver Shane Brereton in second and David Jenkins in third. Class B saw John Powell take a class win followed by Brian Burt in second and Adam Bint in third.

Race 4 at this time the weather had changed to intermittent rain showers, this made things very interesting as parts of the circuit were wet and at the same time parts dry. The race got under way and the two who hit the tyre wall in race 3 made no delay in cutting through the pack with Stuart Oliver taking the lead followed by Steve Thomas and then David Jenkins. This was to be the Class A overall finishing order as the trucks crossed the finish line. Class B saw Adam Bint take the class win followed by Paul McCumisky in second and John Powell in third.

Race 5 the rain had moved on and as always all the drivers were eager to finish the weekend on a high. When the lights went out it was action as usual with the usual rubbing through the fast sweeping corners with the front running Class A drivers recording average lap times in excess of 86 MPH (139 KPH), this is with a truck that is restricted to a top speed of 100 MPH (160 KPH). First across the finish line to take the overall and Class A win was Ryan Smith with Mat Summerfield close behind in second and Luke Taylor in third. Class B Ryan Colson managed to hold of stiff opposition to take the Class win with Adam Bint second and Trevor Martin third, all three within less than 2 seconds apart when crossing the finishing line.

The teams now have only a short break before heading to the Nurburgring in Germany on the 2nd 3rd July to participate in two races on the famous Grand Prix circuit that forms part of the British Truck Racing Championship.

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Photography / Copyright by Andre Bartscher, Richard Kienberger, Melanie Derflinger