Brands wins for Oliver & Jenkins – But Smith scores an easter Hat-trick!
Ryan Smith (MAN No.1) was on top form for the opening round of the 2018 BTRA British Truck Racing Championship – held at Brands Hatch over the Easter weekend – with some stunning performances on a treacherous track.
The first win of the season fell to Stuart Oliver (Volvo) on Sunday – holding off a hard-charging David Jenkins (MAN) to take victory by just 0.289s. with Summerfield taking the final podium spot.
Jenkins turned the tables to take the honours in Race 2 on Monday morning – heading home Smith and Oliver.
But in the remaining three outings on a wet and wild Bank Holiday Monday it was Smith who claimed the top honours – slicing through the field and pulling off his trademark move (diving inside on the entry to the demanding Paddock Hill bend) at least three times and completing a hat-trick of wins.
In one race the demon outbraking manoeuvre enabled him to pass main rivals Oliver and Jenkins at the same point on successive laps.
The final outing of the weekend saw Smith claw his way from the back of the grid through to the front again – shadowed home by his HRVS MAN team-mate Mat Summerfield.
For some others the new season didn’t go quite as smoothly; the unfortunate Richard Collett and newcomer Jamie Anderson suffering major damage as they tangled while crossing the finishing line in the very first race. Both teams worked late through Sunday night to get their MANs back on the grid for day two… but Collett was spun into the tyre wall exiting Druids hairpin early in Monday’s first outing, putting him out of action entirely.
Five Podiums for Garrett including three wins & one apiece for John and Steve Powell
Andy Lovenberry had already made a spectacular start to the season in Sunday’s first Qualifying session – getting his Renault onto it’s roof in the Paddock Hill travel trap. But this was a relatively gentle roll – and the green machine eventually emerged looking virtually unscathed.
Luke Garrett (MAN) dominated in the Division 2 category at Brands Hatch– consistently quick as he collected a trio of wins plus one second place and one third.
Brothers John and Steve Powell (DAF and MAN respectively) picked up a win apiece – but several other rapid runners finished well down the official results after taking enforced pit stops for strict smoke controls.
The marshals on the pit wall were kept extremely busy hanging out a succession of black and orange warning flags.
Next round of the 2018 BTRA British Truck Racing Championship: Pembrey Circuit, near Llanelli (South Wales) on April 21/22.