A strong second place – right on the rear bumper of his title rival Stuart Oliver – was enough for Ryan Smith to secure the 2016 BTRA British Truck Racing Championship in the first Division One race of the weekend at Brands Hatch.
Smith arrived at the season finale with a healthy 49-point lead – and although Oliver powered his Volvo into an early lead Smith was soon on the charge and had his white MAN shadowing his experienced rival through every twist and turn of the Brands Hatch circuit.
Posting fastest race lap (1m.01.34s / Average speed 70.89mph) Smith was glued to the back of Oliver for almost the entire 16 laps – seeking every possible passing opportunity. But Oliver wasn’t going to let this race victory out of his grasp – and finally crossed the finishing line 0.421s ahead.
But Smith was more than happy with his runner-up spot; his PT Hire-backed MAN has already taken 17 victories this year and now the championship title was also safely secured – with four more races on Sunday to spare!
Outing champion Mat Summerfield finished a strong third – some 12 seconds back at the front of a hard fought three-way MAN battle with Shane Brereton and David Jenkins, just over half a second covering the trio.
Continental Visitors Steal Division 2 Silverware
In the two Division 2 races on Saturday the winners trophies were collected by Mika Makinen (Sisu) and Frans Smit (Scania).
The first outing – on a very slippery track – saw Flying Finn Makinen overcome early race leader Smit to grab his first-ever Brands win by 0.216s.
Rody Smit (Volvo) took the final podium spot with the top Brit being a very sideways Simon Cole (Mercedes).
In the second Division 2 event John Powell (Ford) was comfortably out in front for four laps before hitting mechanical troubles – which left Frans Smit to take the win ahead of Paul McCumisky (Volvo) and Rody Smit.