Last weekend 23rd/24th July was when the British Truck Racing Championship (BTRC) attended Donington Park, the circuit many call the home of Truck Racing, for the fifth round of the Championship. The weather was without doubt the hottest experienced at a Truck Race event for many years at the Leicestershire circuit. This being the case the public attendance numbers over the weekend were up towards those that attended early Truck Race events back in the eighties!
To compliment the truck races and the support races the circuit management had created what was a very popular in-field family fun zone, bringing a sea-side feel in land. Truck Sport UK organised the ever popular show truck display and competition that highlighted with a record breaking mid-day Sunday circuit parade: a 2-mile-long nose to tail moving line of some of the UK’s best presented show and working trucks as well as a number of vehicles from the British Army.
The Truck Racing on Saturday was as expected action-packed throughout all of the four races, (two Class A and two Class B). Prior to the actual races all the drivers had to qualify to decide the grid positions for race one in each class. Class A saw local man Steve Thomas in his MAN take his first pole position of the season, with a blistering lap with an average speed of 81.24 MPH. Kent based Simon Cole in his Mercedes took the Class B pole position spot with an average lap time of 75.22 MPH.
Truck Race one, on Saturday the Class A race had to be re-started after a red flag stoppage due to a truck stopping in a dangerous position in the opening lap. When all trucks were re-positioned on the grid, the race got cleanly underway in the usual manner with trucks swopping positions throughout. Resulting in Ryan Smith MAN taking the win followed closely by Steve Thomas MAN in second with David Jenkins MAN in third.
Truck Race two, the Class B trucks also as expected, only at a slightly slower pace got under way with a trouble free start, with plenty overtaking action throughout. Unfortunately, the mechanical failure gremlins were out inforce, causing a number of trucks to fail to cross the finish line. The result was Trevor Martin SCANIA in first followed by Andy Lovenbury RENAULT in second and John Powell FORD in third.
Truck Race three, the Class A trucks in the blistering heat started in reverse grid positions of the previous Class A race finish positions. In front of a very large and expecting crowd, the race got underway cleanly and again with no shortage of heavyweight and high-speed action. Stuart Oliver VOLVO took an early lead that he didn´t lose by pulling away from the main pack lap by lap, followed in second by Mat Summerfield MAN and then after a lengthy discussion in the race control office the third place was awarded the following morning to Ryan Smith MAN.
Truck Race four, the Class B trucks in the early evening sunshine got underway with no less excitement than previous. After a race long battle the race result was Trevor Martin SCANIA taking his second win of the day followed again by Andy Lovenbury RENAULT in second place and John Powell FORD in third.
On Sunday morning, the race organisers decided due to various terminal mechanical issues of the previous day they would change the Sunday´s race programme and amalgamate both Class A and Class B trucks in four races.
Truck Race five, all trucks started together with the Class A trucks grid reversed and in front of the reversed Class B truck grid, resulting in a full line up of more than in total 110 tonnes of trucks charging around the circuit at speeds up to the regulation limit of 100 MPH. All in front of the record crowd, the rolling start got the trucks underway. Just over the line and halfway down the start straight, a number of trucks including Steve Thomas, Shane Brereton, Ryan Smith and Stuart Oliver got tangled. When the dust and tyre smoke passed, it became apparent Ryan Smith MAN was left sitting on the side of the track and in a dangerous position causing the second Red Flag of the weekend. The officials and marshals quickly got all trucks back in place for a re-start. This time all trucks managed to start without too much contact, giving the crowds very good value and entertainment for the whole of the race. The end result was the winner being David Jenkins MAN followed by Ryan Smith MAN and in third Stuart Oliver VOLVO. The Class B win went to Ryan Colson FODEN, in second Andy Lovenbury RENAULT and in third Trevor Martin SCANIA.
Truck Race six, again with the grid reversed the rolling start was no less exciting than previous. All drivers, as always were intent to perform their best in front of the bumper crowds. Throughout the whole race positions were exchanged lap after lap, resulting in Stuart Oliver RENAULT tacking his second win of the weekend, Matt Summerfield MAN in second and Steve Thomas MAN in third. The unluckiest driver of the race was David Jenkins MAN who had for the whole race followed close behind the race winner but unfortunately a spin exiting the Esses chicane only 200 metres before the chequered flag put him down to sixth overall. The Class B win went to Andy Lovenbury RENAULT, in second Ryan Colson FODEN and in third Trevor Martin SCANIA.
Truck Race seven, the last of the BTRC point race started again in the now familiar reverse grid format and with no less excitement than in any of the previous races of the day, but unfortunately with some heavy contact early in the race two trucks had to retire from the race. This didn´t dampen any of the action resulting in the win going to Ryan Smith MAN followed closely in second by David Jenkins MAN and in third Mat Summerfield MAN. Class B saw a new class winner for the weekend Adam Bint VOLVO, in second Ryan Colson FODEN and in third John Powell FORD.
Truck Race eight, the Donington Grand Final was a bonus for the crowds and a none championship race for the drivers to go out and perform without any championship pressure. The race started this time with a full reverse grid with the Class B trucks in front. The rolling start was no less spectacular with the Class A trucks quickly closing up. Stuart Oliver VOLVO was on a charge, but during a move around a sideways Luke Garrett found himself heading wide letting Mat Summerfield MAN and David Jenkins MAN ahead. By mid-race the three were back close together and put on a performance that would rival any race car formula. With the three trucks nose to tail until the chequered flag, Matt Summerfield MAN took the victory, David Jenkins MAN was in second and Stuart Oliver VOLVO in third, followed in fourth with his best career result in his first ever race season Stuart’s son Michael Oliver SCANIA.