SMITH MAKES IT THREE FROM FIVE
British Truck Racing Championship leader Ryan Smith continued his scorching form to win three of five Thruxton battles.
The Mansfield driver led race one from pole but, by the Club chicane, was hounded by 10-time series champion Stuart Oliver. A dive up the inside of the same corner three laps later allowed Oliver to put his Volvo into the lead, but finished second after Smith outbraked him into the chicane.
Oliver took the race one disappointment into his stride though, and vaulted himself up the order from 10th to second in a single lap in the reversed second affair, ultimately winning by 0.264s ahead of the arguably faster David Jenkins.
Oliver went on to prove his racewinning nous again in race four with a victory from his sixth-place start.
Steve Powell had pole for the third contest, but Shane Brereton got a better run into Church for the lead. Smith had scythed his way from the back of the pack to reach third by lap three, and an opportunistic chance to outbrake Brereton at Campbell and Cobb allowed him to win again. Victory from eighth over Mat Summerfield in race five completed an impressive weekend for the Man TGA driver.
“This truck around Thruxton will look after its tyres – that’s what racing is all about, how the truck looks after its tyres,” he said. “It was an unknown quantity going into this season, but I knew if I bide my time I can outbrake them into the chicane.”
The Kumho BMW battle was a twohorse race between polesitter James Card and James Macintyre-ure in the A1 class. A strong exit from Club allowed Macintyre-ure to squeeze past Card for the win, flashing his lights furiously at backmarkers who looked to threaten his lead along the way.
Macintyre-ure again led Card away from pole in race two, but a power issue in the final chicane four laps in gave Card an easy win by more than 28s.
If Mark Armstrong didn’t have bad luck, he wouldn’t have any luck at all. Hoping to put the overheating issues that plagued him at the recent Silverstone Formula Ford 1600 round behind him, Armstrong put his Van Diemen RF80 on pole before a sudden rear wishbone failure caused him to retire from the lead, and left him unable to race on Sunday. “I’m not used to the Formula Ford heartache,” he joked afterwards. That enabled Nigel Lingwood to drink the champagne, while Charles Greenwood took a class win before passing the helmet to dad Jonathan for Sunday’s race. Lingwood won the Sunday sprint from pole with a comfortable 2.463s margin over Kevin Mansell. Ian Jeary was the class B victor on track but was excluded for being underweight, handing the win to Kevin Howell.
A healthy field of 70 Caterhams raced in three different groups. Graeme Smith led into the final lap of the Caterham Classic race one, but Peter Tattersall dived up the inside of Club, and a small tag between the pair ended up with Tattersall spinning and collecting Marc Noaro and Colin Jardine. Steven Mcmaster avoided the carnage for the win. It was a cleaner display in race two – Mcmaster sped off the line quicker than polesitter Smith to confirm his brace of victories.
In the first Caterham Super and Mega duel, series returnee Declan Dolan and Luke Cooper were dicing for the win when they touched, putting them both out of contention. Christopher Benfield made the most of a cracking start from ninth and stole the top step of the podium.
In a wet race two it was Oliver Gibson who claimed his first win of the season. “I love the wet conditions and I think that might have helped in the last couple of laps,” he said.
Dylan Stanley defied the slipstreaming conventions in the second Caterham Sigmax and Sigma race, taking the lead past polesitter and race one winner Lee Bristow into Allard after getting a better start. From out front Stanley built a 7.5s gap over Cedric Bloch and Bristow. Scott Lawrence spun out of the exit of Club on the final tour, which Bloch and Bristow narrowly avoided to take second and third respectively.
Twelve entrants lined up for Sunday’s Pickup Truck Racing Championship double-header, where Carl Boardley was denied victory from pole by David O’regan and Lea Wood. Boardley redeemed himself in the second race with victory over Wood and Mark Willis.
The sun broke through the persistent clouds just in time for the single Sports 2000 race. Over the course of 25 minutes, a host of podium challengers including Paul Martin, Patrick Sherrington and Colin Peach dropped back to leave Michael Gibbins winning by more than 25s from David Houghton.
In the Hyundai Coupe Cup Ian Goodchild made it two wins from two with only William Taylforth able to keep up. Taylforth was second in both.
James Raven’s Mygale won both National Ford 1600 races, after losing out to Niall Murray’s Van Diemen RF99 from both starts. In race one Raven led from lap three with Chase Owen’s Ray securing third from Patrik Pasma’s Mygale on the same lap. Tom and David Mcarthur’s Van Diemens rounded off the top six.
It was lap three again when Murray surrendered his race two lead to Raven. But after a safety car interlude, both Pasma and Owen usurped the former leader after Pasma had initially lost out to Tom Mcarthur too. Murray was fourth.
Nick Gwinnett’s guesting Renault Clio beat the Nippon Challenge/deutsche Marques Cup regulars in their first race, after James Janicki’s Nissan Skyline, Nerijus Zabotka’s Impreza and Richard Hockley’s Honda Civic all retired from the lead on consecutive laps. James Mumbray’s BMW M3 finally claimed a distant second, from Craig Tomkinson’s Opel Corsa.
Gwinnett led race two until Zabotka and Janicki made it through from the back. Zabotka led on lap four but couldn’t stop Janicki easing clear a lap later, leaving Gwinnett to keep Mumbray at bay for third.
The first Caterham Academy race was a duel between poleman Tom John and Peter Spencer. John held the early advantage, but Spencer squeezed ahead on the fifth lap, while Pete Walters snatched third from Steven Tozer on the last lap.
Jay Mccormack and Ben Gillias took their duel down to the wire too in the second race, after a fifth-lap slip from James Beardwell dropped him to fifth. But Beardwell managed to recover third with a couple of laps to go.
Robert Burkinshaw’s Integra led Mark Bennett’s S2000 and Paul Donkin’s Civic in a processional Honda Vtec Challenge opener, with Bennett heading Burkinshaw and Donkin throughout a similarly uninspiring race two. Martyn Clatworthy and Alan Palmer shared the concurrent 4 Two Cup wins.
After Dan Clowes retired from the lead of the first Formula Jedi race, Andrew Dunn took the win on the last lap after swapping and changing with Paul Butcher. Lee Morgan retired from the race two lead too, which left Robert Sayell in the clear from Dunn and Butcher.
The Tricolore Trophy gave Andrew Mitchell’s Peugeot 205 GTI a dominant winning double. He led race one from the Brook Esses on the opening lap, after Tony Hunter’s Clio led initially. It took until lap three for Mitchell to lead race two at Yentwood, but in the end the top seven was identical to the first race.
Jason Clegg’s Tuscan Speed Six was a double winner in the TVR Challenge, but only after Mike Luck’s Chimaera vacated the race one lead with a seized engine. Hugh Marshall’s Tuscan was second in both races.
Having shadowed Adam Lockwood for six laps, Nathan Harrison made the decisive move in the first Toyota MR2 race as they turned into Pif Paf, leaving Daniel Bryant holding off Daniel Farmer for third.
Harrison was never headed in race two, but Bryant had the legs of Lockwood for second, before Dave Hemingway and Arron Pullan demoted Lockwood further on the last lap.