FLASHES AND BANGS - DAY AND NIGHT AT BRANDS
With a huge entry of 30 trucks competing for glory last weekend (4/5 November) in front of a bumper, record breaking number of British truck race fans held at the 2017 finally of the British Truck Racing Championship (BTRC) at Brands Hatch.
Heading up the 12 Division 1 trucks was Ryan Smith, from the outset of the weekend he was set to take his second consecutive BTRC title. His closest competitor in the standings was ten-time British and former European champion Stuart Oliver, the pair were set to continue their all season on-track rivalry on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit.
Also with a bumper grid of 19 trucks in Division 2 and with the 2017 championship being decided at the previous round with the title going to Finland's Mika Mäkinen who attended Brands Hatch with full intentions of adding to his considerable tally of race wins. Going into the event there was still a fierce battle brewing for the runner-up positions, between Tony Smith, Simon Cole and outgoing champion Adam Bint.
Many drivers of Division 2 truck racing class were out to impress their home (Kent) crowds as well as were all fighting for local bragging rights, these being double Division 2 champion Steven Powell, his brother John, Tony Smith, Simon Cole, James Aitkenhead, Andrew Fulcher and married couple Wayne and Joanne Eason.
Division 1 Race One
On the Saturday, the opening race of the day in the British Truck Racing Championship (BTRC) and Fireworks event got under way in very wet conditions, following the race the paddock was filled with celebration as Ryan Smith had sealed his 2017 BTRC Division 1 title following his race win. Starting from second on the grid, Smith was soon past pole position man Shane Brereton and headed towards a dominant win, over two seconds ahead of second-placed David Jenkins, with Brereton completing the podium. Title challenger Stuart Oliver took fourth, ahead of the battling Simon Reid and Mat Summerfield. Further back, Ray Coleman finished in seventh placed, having battled past Dutchman, Frans Smit, who had tried his hardest to keep most of the pack behind. Richard Collett also managed to clear the Dutchman in the late stages.
1, Ryan Smith, MAN, 11 Laps 2, David Jenkins, MAN, +2.205s 3, Shane Brereton, MAN, +3.902s 4, Stuart Oliver, Volvo, +4.349s 5, Simon Reid, Iveco, +6.997s
Division 2 Race One
Previously-confirmed Division 2 champion Mika Mäkinen looked set to hold on for race victory having survived two starts, despite being unable to break free from the top four. However, a late red flag and a restart proved his undoing, as he lost out at the restart to Tony Smith and Luke Garrett. Smith held the lead at Paddock Hill, but Garrett was soon through and won the race by just over three seconds as Mäkinen had to fend off Steven Powell and Adam Bint to take third place.
1, Luke Garrett, MAN, 5 Laps 2, Tony Smith, Sisu, +3.456s 3, Mika Mäkinen, Sisu, +7.651s 4, Steven Powell, ERF, +8.332s 5, Adam Bint, Volvo White, +8.988s
Division 1 Race Two
On the Sunday morning following a free-for-all grid walk that combined both truck Divisions and proved to be a huge hit with the large crowd. Luke Taylor started from the front row of the grid and won the opening race of the day in Division 1, Terry Gibbon led the early laps, but midway through the lead fight, he hit the barrier at the exit of Druids, fortunately able to continue to finish in ninth place. Taylor held on against increasing pressure from Mat Summerfield, whose race ended at Druids one lap from home following heavy contact with newly-crowned champion Ryan Smith.
1, Luke Taylor, MAN, 15 Laps 2, Ryan Smith, MAN, +0.792s 3, Richard Collett, MAN, +12.126s 4, Ray Coleman, MAN, +24.667s 5, Shane Brereton, MAN, +25.047s
Division 2 Race Two
Mika Mäkinen made up for his day one defeat with victory in the Division 2 race, followed to the line by Simon Cole, and John Bowler then followed an increasingly tense battle for fourth place, between Adam Bint and Luke Garrett and many more trucks. Garrett found his way past, Steve Powell and Tony Smith who then both tried to demote the outgoing class champion Adam Bint as they went into Graham Hill three abreast, there was inevitable contact. Fluid was spilt and as a consequence several trucks went off track, bringing out the red flag just after three-quarters distance.
1, Mika Mäkinen, Sisu, 9 Laps 2, Simon Cole, Mercedes, +3.706s 3, John Bowler, Foden, +19.036s 4, Luke Garrett, MAN, +23.186s 5, Adam Bint, Volvo White, +24.945s
Division 1 Race Three
Stuart Oliver in the opening laps managed to storm through to the front to take a dominant lead that resulted in a clear victory in the second Division 1 race of the day, Smith tried to hunt Oliver down but fell short by nearly 5 seconds. Ray Coleman managed to stay marginally ahead of Richard Collett and Luke Taylor to complete the podium.
1, Stuart Oliver, Volvo, 12 Laps 2, Ryan Smith, MAN, +4.903s 3, Ray Coleman, MAN, +25.628s 4, Richard Collett, MAN, +25.754s 5, Luke Taylor, MAN, +26.248s
Division 2 Race Three
Two starts were required for the final Division 2 only race, due to a first-lap incident at Druids. The five-minute restart saw Paul McCumisky take the lead and subsequent win, beating Mäkinen to the flag by two seconds. Tony Smith finished in third place. 1, Paul McCumisky, Volvo, 5 Laps 2, Mika Mäkinen, Sisu, +2.152s 3, Tony Smith, Sisu, +2.551s 4, Brad Smith, DAF, +6.569s 5, James Aitkenhead, Sisu, +13.212s
The Grand Final Race
The final race of the season, in this Ryan Smith celebrated winning the BTRC Division 1 Championship in style with victory in the Grand Final, the race combined Division 1 and 2 machines. Smith fought through the field in a pulsating race, which was led early on by Luke Taylor followed by Terry Gibbon. At the chequered flag Gibbon and Summerfield completed the winners podium. Luke Garrett won Division 2, ahead of Steve Powell and class 2 champion Mika Mäkinen.
1, Ryan Smith, MAN, 14 Laps 2, Terry Gibbon, MAN, +4.315s 3, Mat Summerfield, MAN, +5.142s 4, Stuart Oliver, Volvo, +5.598s 5, Ray Coleman, MAN, +13.452s
Following the on track race activities, was a spectacular 'big bang' fireworks display in conjunction with a full circuit, Show Truck parade, this ended what has been an action-packed season of truck racing of the British Truck Racing Championship (BTRC).
TRUCK SPORT UK would like to take this opportunity to thank all staff and team members, circuit management and staff who have worked hard throughout the season to make the 2017 British Truck Race Championship season into the huge success it has been. We at Truck Sport UK look forward to working with all again in 2018 to build an even bigger and brighter future in and around British Truck Racing.