The greatest number of race trucks within the last 25 years attended the final round of the 2016 British Truck Race Championship last weekend 5th/6th November, at the famous Brands Hatch circuit. To compliment the large number of race trucks the promotors had organised a high-profile display of quality Show Trucks.
This gave the huge number of visitors that attended over the weekend the opportunity to view the opposite extremes of what can be achieved with a truck. To facilitate the large number of entries including teams from, Finland, Holland and France, the promotors, Truck Sport UK had organised practice sessions on the Friday to free up the extra track time required to allow an all action eight Truck Race programme over the weekend.
On Saturday morning, all the drivers in both championship classes had the opportunity during a split thirty-minute qualifying session to post a time to determine the grid in the first race in each class. With the Class A championship still to be decided and the runner up spots in Class B also available the qualifying session was crucial to many drivers to ultimately get as far forward as possible on the start grid. In what was very damp, cold and changing conditions Stuart Oliver in his VOLVO managed to post a pole position time well over half of one second faster than Ryan Smith MAN in second, the then championship leader. They were both followed a further one and a half seconds behind by Mat Summerfield MAN. Class B pole position went to Dutchman, Frans Smit in his SCANIA, followed in second place by the Finnish driver Mika Mäkinen SISU and the third spot on the grid was secured by the now crowned 2016 Class B; Champion, Adam Bint VOLVO.
Truck Race one of the weekend was for the Class B trucks only. The weather had not improved from qualifying and as expected, the action was plentiful throughout the whole race with many of slips and slides changing the race positions throughout. At the chequered flag the Finn, Mika Mäkinen SISU took the win followed very closely in second place by Dutchman Frans Smit SCANIA, with his brother Rody Smit VOLVO in third place.
Truck Race two was the first outing for the Class A trucks and with the championship still up for grabs between Ryan Smith MAN and Stuart Oliver VOLVO. For Ryan to secure the Class A; championship win he had to finish the race within the points, for Stuart’s championship hope to survive he had to win with Ryan scoring no points. When the lights went out, the trucks sped off and Stuart Oliver secured first position into the first and fast Paddock Hill bend with the charging pack all close behind. Very soon Stuart and Ryan broke away from the main field and provided great entertainment by having a nose to tail battle throughout the whole race, resulting in Stuart winning the race with Ryan less than half of one second behind in second place, doing enough to secure the title of becoming the 2016 Class A British Truck Race Champion. The third and final podium place of the race went to Mat Summerfield MAN who crossed the finish line more than twelve seconds behind the lead pair.
Truck Race three, the second of the Class B races was no less exciting than the previous. This time old hand Paul McCumisky VOLVO was showing the young guy’s the way, by holding on to the race lead until the closing laps when he was overtaken by Dutchman Frans Smit SCANIA who went on to take the race win, Paul McCumisky taking second place and Rody Smit VOLVO close behind in third place.
Truck Race four, the first of the Class A races on Sunday was this time held on a dry track and with the famous reverse grid start format coming into play the on-track action immediately started as soon as the lights went out. Throughout the whole race positions were exchanged throughout the duration of the race. Ryan Smith securing his newly crowned championship title by taking a comfortable race win, followed in second place by Oly Janes FREIGHTLINER and Ray Coleman MAN taking third place.
Truck race five, the third of the Class B races was again a great spectator spectacle with the flying Finn and the two flying Dutchmen all starting from the back of the grid and with the Brits in no hurry to let them through, this resulting in a very hard fought race. Frans Smit SCANIA took the race win followed by Mika Makinen SISU in second and Ryan Colson FODEN in third place.
Truck race six, the second Class A race on Sunday was very short and not so sweet. Immediately after the trucks crossed the start line, an incident occurred that resulted in several trucks heading off hard into the armco on both sides of the track some at various precarious angles. Immediately the red flags came out, to allow time for the clean up the race was subsequently abandoned. Fortunately, all the drivers involved were unharmed.
Truck Race seven was the first race of the weekend that was a mix of both Class A & B trucks. Again, with a reverse grid start the action started immediately when the start lights went out with an all action race from start to finish, resulting in Class A Ryan Smith taking his second win of the weekend, followed close over the finish line by Shane Brereton MAN in second place and even closer behind in third place Stuart Oliver. In Class B John Powell FORD took the win followed in second place by Dutchman, Marco Donk VOLVO and in third place Brian Burt VOLVO.
Truck race eight, the final race of the 2016 championship again with both Class A & B trucks was one to remember with the light fading very quickly and to add to the excitement for the record-breaking number of visitor, the rain had returned. As history tells us the last race of the season always brings a surprise, this year it was Simon Reid in his all new IVECO storming off to a comfortable lead, with a squabbling pack of trucks falling behind and exchanging positions lap by lap. By the final chequered flag of the season the light had all gone. Simon Reid was uncatchable to the extent David Jenkins MAN crossed the finish line in second place behind Simon by more than twenty six seconds, with Stuart Oliver VOLVO one second behind in third place. In Class B, Adam Bint VOLVO confirmed his Class B championship title taking the class win with Manuel Rodriguez VOLVO in second place and Paul McCumisky taking the final podium spot in third place.
Championship result summary:
1st Ryan Smith, MAN
2nd Stuart Oliver, VOLVO
3rd David Jenkins, MAN
1st Adam Bint, VOLVO
2nd John Powell, FORD
3rd Paul McCumisky, VOLVO