SMIT STARS WITH THREE TRUCK WINS
The highlight of the British Truck Racing Championship was the division two trucks, with six closely fought encounters.
Frans Smit was the class of the field taking three wins from five races. He could have claimed a fourth victory had an ECU issue not ended his race one duel with Adam Bint prematurely, allowing Bint to win by an impressive 23s from Ryan Colson. Andy Lovenberry had altered his tyre pressures in a bid to find the optimum set-up, but was visibly struggling for grip in race one. He admitted going from “hero to zero” when he spun from the lead on the exit of Brooklands and plummeted down the order.
Lovenberry was leading much of the second race, but a brave dive up the inside into Luffield by Smit meant the Dutch driver stood on the top step of the podium. Redemption at least came in the non-points race six for Lovenberry.
Smit followed up his race two victory with a pair of wins in races three and four, passing championship contender Bint in the dying stages of both.
Not to be outdone, in the final race Bint made several classy moves around the Brooklands-luffield complex to pass first Smit, then Marco Donk and Colson to win his second race of the weekend.
Smit was arguably the fastest on both days, but his part-campaign this year meant it was Bint who was all smiles by Sunday evening. “We have got to keep confident and keep earning the points. It’s really good close racing and that’s what everyone wants to see,” he reflected.
In the division one category, Ryan Smith followed up his quickest efforts in practice and qualifying to enjoy a faultless race one win, crossing the line 4.433s ahead of Stuart Oliver.
The reversed grid second race was closer all round with Luke Garrett, Simon Reid, reigning champion Mat Summerfield and eventual winner Shane Brereton all trading the lead.
Luke Taylor enjoyed a maiden win in a shortened race three following an early red flag for the stranded Oliver, who had spun at Luffield.
Summerfield held off a charging Smith in race four before Oliver won a quiet fifth race, making it five winners from as many races. Summerfield again won the non-championship finale.
The odds looked stacked against championship leader John Mickel in the UK National Legends Cars Championship when he was drawn to start at the back of the first race. A three-car spin going into Luffield on the opening lap involving Mickel added to his woes, but crucially he managed to keep going.
After a brief safety car period the Horsham driver fought through the field, reaching the podium positions by half race distance and trading the lead with Robert King for the remainder of the race. The result went in favour of King as the pair went three abreast with third-placed Connor Mills across the finish.
Mickel held on to the win in the second heat ahead of Paul Simmons and Stephen Whitelegg. The Saturday finale resumed the battle between Mickel, King and Mills, with the trio crossing the line in the same order as race one.
King continued his storming form with a win in Sunday’s first heat ahead of Mills. Mickel had been running in third before retiring with a propshaft failure, but bounced back to win races five and six, beating King’s points haul in fourth and third.
Former British Touring Car Championship driver Lea Wood claimed two out of three Pickup Truck Racing Championship wins as title leader Freddie Lee had to work hard to pick up points. Lee rapidly reeled in Paul Jones’ lead in race one and it was soon Lee and Wood contending for the win, seemingly changing the lead into Brooklands every lap. Wood held on to win that duel.
In race two Wood made steady progress from his third row start to grab a lead on lap six that he wouldn’t relinquish. Lee could only manage eighth after early contact with Antony Hawkins.
Wood almost didn’t make the start of the final race having still been up on jacks for clutch repairs just seconds before the green flag lap. It was all about Wood and Michael Smith at the front with the pair teasing each other with numerous lead changes that finished with a Smith victory.
The first Mighty Mini Championship race was a three-horse battle between Steven Dawson, Louise Inch and Adrian Tuckley, settled in favour of Inch in the Super Mighty Mini category.
Inch, Tuckley, Ian Slack and Steven Dawson seemed to be magnetically attached in the second race such was the closeness of their fight, but Dawson held on to take the win.
Sam Tomlinson and Stuart Coombs claimed the Mighty Mini class honours.