Mike crowned BTRA Division 2 Champion!
Welsh wins for Steve Powell and Paddy McCumisky!
Mika Makinen secured another two wins at the penultimate round of the 2017 BTRA British Truck Racing Championship at Pembrey Circuit (south Wales) last weekend to secure the Division 2 title.
‘Flying Finn’ Mika’s points tally of 224 leaves him a massive 65 points clear of his nearest rival (Tony Smith) – and makes him the first Finnish driver to win a British Truck Racing Championship since Minna Kuoppala took the Class II BTRA title back in 1993 (also at the wheel of a Sisu).
“Onnittelut mestari” (as they say in Finnish)
With his two victories this weekend Makinen has taken a total of 13 wins so far this season (but these were his first visits to the top step at Pembrey).
The opening race on Saturday saw the Sisu driver lead away from the start but it was Luke Garrett who then took over and look set to collect the silverware until an air pipe went with three laps to go leaving him stranded trackside.
So Makinen inherited the lead and was joined on the podium by fellow Finn Sami Ojanen (Iveco) and a hard-charging Steve Powell (ERF). Adam Bint was a close fourth in his Volvo White.
Tony Smith championship chase was ended as he was pushed wide on the opening lap – although he fought back in the blue Sisu to claim 7th.
The second outing for the Division 2 trucks saw a bit too much action; Steve Powell and Andrew Fulcher were out in front when the red flags came out as Garrett crashed.
Bint and Tony Smith were both early retirements having clashed in the early stages of the first part of the race.
The re-run saw Powell in front again but he later fell back (and collected a 10-second ‘jump start’ penalty) – leaving Paul McCumisky out in front in his Volvo.
Ojanen ran a strong second to the flag – but was then judged to have ignored flag signals and excluded – which promoted Brad Smith (DAF) to the runner-up spot and Andrew Fulcher to third (his first podium result in the MAN).
For McCumisky the victory was very sweet; he calculated his last taste of the winners champagne was way back in 2003 – the year he won the Class II title!
Race 3 proved to be full of incidents too. Powell took the early lead but was passed on lap three by Tony Smith who stayed in front to take the chequered flag – only to receive a 10-second penalty for a ‘jump start’, which dropped him to third in the official results.
The race was stopped on 7th lap when the unlucky Garrett (who’d be running well in 4th) crashed heavily at the crossing, exiting Dibeni.
That left Powell to take first ahead of the Sisus of Makinen and Smith – with Trevor Martin scoring his best result since the April Pembrey event, bringing his Scania home 4th and narrowly holding off Brad Smith and Bint.
2016 Champion Bint led the final race of the weekend – for three laps –before ‘Flying Finn’ Makinen came steaming through. Binty then held on to second for a further seven laps before being relegated to 3rd as the Sisu of Smith muscled past – but Adam fended off Powell to keep the last podium spot by just 0.143s.
McCumisky was again running well in his Volvo to take fifth, just ahead of Brad Smith.
The Pembrey event proved to be a brash and brutal affair – with some ferocious ‘close encounters’ in Division One to entertain the large crowd.
Ryan Smith kept his nose clean and was on great form taking two wins in the BTRA Division One category to further extend his lead at the top of the championship. Fellow MAN driver Mat Summerfield performed strongly to take the honours in the other two Pembrey races.
Smith’s assured to retain the Number One plate in the final event of the 2017 season – at Brands Hatch on November 4/5 – but final points won’t be clarified until an appeal regarding the results at Snetterton last month is heard.