2017 BTRC GEARS UP FOR EXCITING SECOND CHAPTER AT PEMBREY
The British Truck Racing Championship heads to Pembrey this weekend (22nd-23rd April) for it's second meeting after an exciting curtain-raiser at Brands Hatch that saw four different drivers take victories.
Ten-time champion Stuart Oliver makes the journey to south Wales in the ascendency, with his modified, American bonnet-styled Volvo RH13 taking four top five finishes across the weekend in Kent, including pole position on it's maiden run and the first race victory of the new season.
His closest challenger is reigning champion Ryan Smith, who overcame disappointment in qualifying on the Saturday to score a hat-trick of podiums, including a victory on the Sunday. Smith sits just two points behind Oliver in the standings, with his MAN a proven quantity around the 1.4 mile circuit. Smith's last visit to Pembrey saw him all but seal his maiden crown – this weekend he'll be aiming to take a similarly significant step towards retaining it.
Level on points with Smith is the man he deposed as champion, four-time winner Mat Summerfield. He capped off a consistent opening meeting with the final race win at Brands Hatch, capitalising on misfortune for Oly Janes to lead home a thrilling six-truck scrap for the honours. Summerfield had a challenging time at this meeting last season, but equipped with a new MAN truck for this year the signs are there he will be a force to be reckoned with come the finale this Autumn.
Shane Brereton and David Jenkins round out an extremely close quintet at the top of the standings, with just five points covering the top five runners. Brereton scored arguably the most impressive winning margin of the weekend during race three at Brands, whilst Jenkins' consistent front-running pace has thrown him well into the mix for honours.
Ray Coleman and Luke Taylor will also keen to build on podium-scoring starts, as will Michael Oliver after taking a career-best fourth at Brands in this, his second season of racing. Frans Smit will be absent this weekend. Oly Janes, Rick Collett and Terry Gibbon round out the Division 1 runners.
Mika Mäkinen proved unstoppable a month ago, dropping only a single point as he stormed to three race victories and a second place in the Division 2 contests. Reigning class champion Adam Bint did what he could to hang on to the coat-tails of Mäkinen's Sisu SL250, but an eleven-point advantage heading into round two makes for healthy reading for the man from Finland.
Only John Powell halted Mäkinen's winning charge at Brands, and he sits fourth in the standings behind consistent top-five finisher John Bowler. Tony Smith was unlucky not to come away with more after taking pole position at the first event but will no doubt be in the hunt this weekend. Andrew Lovenbury and Paul McCumisky are also men to watch.
With qualifying for both classes plus a scintillating four races in each division, this weekend's timetable also includes support races from the American-style Pickup Truck Racing Championship after their maiden Oval meeting at Rockingham last weekend, a packed timetable of Caterham Graduates events and the opening meeting of the year for the Welsh Saloons.