Ryan Smith clinches third Division 1 title at Brands Hatch finale.
Ryan Smith wrote his name into the British Truck Racing Association Championship history books at Brands Hatch this weekend (November 3/4) after clinching his third consecutive Division 1 title.
Having been the benchmark driver in 2016 and 2017, the Mansfield racer underlined his star power throughout the 2018 season, at times finding himself in a league of his own.
On a weekend where fireworks were set to fly both on and off the track at the Kent circuit, Smith cemented his status as a now three-time champion in the opening encounter of the event.
Entering the season finale with just David Jenkins standing in his way of a third crown, the MAN driver produced a superlative lap in qualifying to storm to yet another pole position.
Starting on the front row of the grid, Smith converted pole position into a 21st victory of the season, however he didn’t have things all his own way. Coming under constant pressure from Jenkins throughout the 16-lap encounter, Smith withstood the onslaught to notch his latest victory and with it, wrap up the championship title.
Stuart Oliver rounded out the podium but all eyes were on Smith as celebrations began with friends and family in the pit lane.
After narrowly missing out on a podium in race one, Jamie Anderson made amends in race two of the weekend as he stormed to victory in emphatic style. Having climbed his way through the order on the opening tour, Anderson got the better of early race leader John Newell and soon made his escape.
Despite being handed a ten-second penalty for a false start, newly crowned champion Smith was doing his best to thread his way through the order and ran Anderson close at the flag, ultimately finishing second.
Jenkins salvaged third place whilst Martin Gibson scored an impressive fourth place finish, showcasing the improvements he has made throughout the season.
With a capacity crowd lining the spectator bankings around the 1.2 mile layout, ten-time champion Oliver made a welcome return to the top step of the podium. Having not won a race since the season-opener in March, the Volvo driver put a truncated campaign behind him to take victory in dominant fashion.
Launching off the front row of the grid, Oliver proved to be in a class of his own as he stretched his legs out front to triumph by more than 20 seconds ahead of Anderson and Jenkins.
The final Division 1 race of the season brought a fitting end to what was an enthralling year of truck racing as John Newell signed off the year by taking victory ahead of the chasing Simon Reid and the returning Oly Janes.
Luke Garrett savours Division 2 championship glory
Luke Garrett signed off the 2018 British Truck Racing Association Championship season in style at Brands Hatch this past weekend (November 3/4) as he wrapped up the title in Division 2.
Having been the benchmark driver in the more production-based category throughout a majority of the year, the MAN driver converted his healthy points lead into championship glory at the Kent circuit – becoming a champion in the category for the first time.
Sitting at the top of the standings since the opening round of the season, Garrett entered the weekend locked in a head-to-head duel with Brad Smith for the coveted title as a bumper grid of 17 trucks went wheel-to-wheel.
Garrett’s weekend didn’t get off to the best of starts after he qualified in ninth place on Saturday, ultimately watching on as Smith charged to pole position.
With a sizeable points difference to eat into, Smith did his best to keep the title fight going for as long as possible, doing so by scoring an emphatic win in the opening race of the weekend. Heading Eric Forsstrom and Mika Makinen, Smith prolonged the title battle as Garrett could only manage eighth.
His fortunes would turn in the second race of the weekend as Garrett put himself within touching distance of lighting the championship trophy. Starting eighth, Garrett produced a champions drive as he carved his way through the field to capture victory ahead of the Dutch duo Rody Smit and Willem Breedijk.
Eighth place for Smith was just enough to keep the title fight going however a handful of points for Garrett in the next race would be more than enough to put him out of touch in the overall standings.
The dawn of a new day on Sunday brought with it a bumper crowd and plenty of celebration as the chequered flag flew on the third race of the weekend. Coming close on a number of occasions, Eric Forsstrom became the latest driver to enter the Division 2 winners circle after triumphing in style.
Overhauling Adam Bint in the early stages, Forsstrom made his escape out front but Bint and John Powell kept the Dutchman in their sights. At the wheel of his Sisu RSM, Forsstrom held his nerve to ensure he topped the podium for the first time this year.
Despite finishing fourth and fifth, both Smith and Garrett found themselves excluded from the final result of the weekend, which was more than enough to ensure Garrett was crowned champion.
With the Division 2 title settled, the final race of the day at Brands Hatch served up a feast of entertainment as Garrett ended the year in the same fashion he started it, on the top step of the rostrum.
Making his way to the front of the order, Garrett overcame the resolute defence on John Bowler before setting off into the distance to sign off the season in style. Bowler prevailed in a drag race to the line to pip Steve Powell to second place – a fitting end to a breathtaking season of track action.