Smith de­liv­ers the goods and claims Truck ti­tle with a win

Autosport (UK) - - CLUB AUTOSPORT/RACE REPORTS - PIOTR MAGDZIARZ

COM­ING INTO THE SEA­SON FI­NALE, Ryan Smith only needed a sin­gle point to claim his sec­ond Bri­tish Truck Rac­ing Cham­pi­onship ti­tle in as many years.

Stu­art Oliver was math­e­mat­i­cally in con­tention, but his chances were ex­tremely slim as he needed to win all four races, with Smith fail­ing to score at all, to claim the ti­tle. Come race one, Smith made it clear that he was not go­ing to play it safe and, start­ing from sec­ond on the grid, he went around the out­side of pole­sit­ter Shane Br­ere­ton as the pack stormed through Pad­dock Hill Bend and be­gan to open up the gap in an ef­fort to se­cure the ti­tle as early as pos­si­ble. His strat­egy worked out per­fectly and a win in the first of the week­end’s four races al­lowed the Mans­field-based driver to cel­e­brate win­ning the ti­tle on Satur­day.

De­spite be­ing crowned cham­pion, Smith’s ‘take-no-pris­on­ers’ at­ti­tude didn’t change on Sun­day and the 36-year-old pro­duced a stel­lar drive from the back of the grid to sec­ond, with a late com­ing to­gether with Mat Sum­mer­field re­sult­ing in the lat­ter bury­ing his truck in the gravel on the out­side of Druids. The race vic­tory went to Luke Tay­lor. Oliver took the win in race three, with Smith claim­ing the last race of the meet­ing as well as of the BTRC sea­son, the Grand Fi­nal fea­tur­ing a grid com­prised of trucks be­long­ing to both di­vi­sions.

“I’m a two-time cham­pion now, it feels great,” said the de­lighted Smith. “I have all my spon­sors, all my fam­ily and friends here. The spec­ta­tors have been bril­liant. Brands Hatch put on a good event. I’m very, very happy – it’s fan­tas­tic.”

In Di­vi­sion 2 Mika Maki­nen se­cured his ti­tle be­fore the sea­son fi­nale, but put his Sisu truck on pole, em­pha­sis­ing his dom­i­nance this year. The Finn was ini­tially in con­trol of a race that was red-flagged twice, but ul­ti­mately lost out on the sec­ond restart and came third, be­hind race win­ner Luke Gar­rett and Tony Smith. Maki­nen won in the sec­ond of the Di­vi­sion 2 races, held on Sun­day, with the re­main­ing two vic­to­ries go­ing to Paul Mc­cumisky and Gar­rett (win­ner in the com­bined-class race).

Three races a day and grid sizes ex­ceed­ing 30 cars is a recipe for a thrilling spec­ta­cle, and such was the case with the Leg­ends Cham­pi­onship. Stephen White­legg won twice, while

Guy Fas­tres, Will Gib­son, Se­bastien Kluyskens and Con­nor Mills all took a win each, but it was John Mickel who, thanks to a streak of con­sis­tent re­sults over the course of the week­end (10th, 11th, 10th, fourth, sixth and eighth re­spec­tively), se­cured the ti­tle.

Mills’ drive in the third of Satur­day’s races caught the most at­ten­tion. The ex-for­mula Ford racer was the class of the field in damp con­di­tions and, fol­low­ing a start from the back of the grid, made it all the way up to sev­enth by lap four and had a sniff of a vic­tory un­til a trip through the gravel at Clear­ways put

him on the back foot. The 20-year-old ul­ti­mately fin­ished fourth.

The one-off ap­pear­ance of Bri­tish Tour­ing Car star An­drew Jor­dan was the big talk­ing point of the Pickup Truck Rac­ing Cham­pi­onship, and in­deed the 2013 BTCC ti­tle-win­ner stole the show. In race one Jor­dan came home sec­ond af­ter start­ing from the back, pres­suris­ing for­mer BTCC ri­val Lea Wood for the win in the clos­ing stages.

In race two Jor­dan took a lights-to-flag vic­tory, pro­duc­ing a bril­liant dis­play of de­fen­sive driv­ing and keep­ing his ri­vals at bay while deal­ing with en­gine is­sues.

“It was re­ally hard, I had a mis­fire from lap two,” said Jor­dan, who didn’t put a wheel wrong all week­end, de­spite never hav­ing raced a Pickup be­fore.

“I was very vul­ner­a­ble; I was hav­ing a mis­fire in the cor­ners so I was just try­ing to get off the cor­ners well and de­fend where I needed to. It was some good, hard rac­ing. I loved it.”

Smith (l) bat­tles closely with Jenk­ins – but he was a com­fort­able cham­pion af­ter race-one win

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