MV Commercial BTRA Championship revved up for 2019 Brands Hatch curtain-raiser
23rd April 2019
After more than six months of quiet, the MV Commercial BTRA Championship will roar back into life this bank holiday weekend at Brands Hatch (April 21/22) for an on-track Easter extravaganza, marking the start of the 2019 season.
Coming off the back of a nail-biting 2018 campaign, the series is set to scale new heights this year with bumper grids in both Division 1 and Division 2 confirmed for the opening round around the iconic Indy layout of the Kent circuit.
Triple champion heads Division 1 ranks
Bidding to score a fourth consecutive Division 1 title, reigning champion Ryan Smith returns once again donning the mantel of defending champion. Aiming to etch his name into the history books further, Smith has been the man to beat in recent years and will be a hard man to stop once more.
Proving to be a one-man juggernaut in his trusty MAN, Smith retains the coveted number one on his striking machine and is bidding to rack up more success in the championship. Notching an impressive tally of 18 wins in 2018, the Mansfield-based racer will have his sights set firmly on surpassing that number over the course of the year.
Whilst Smith is the pace-setter, leading the chase to challenge him is former title winner and last year’s runner-up David Jenkins. Having been the main protagonist to the defending champion in recent times, Jenkins is back with his MAN and eager to go one better than he did last year, all in the hope of returning to the summit of the Division 1 mountain.
Ten-time champion Stuart Oliver will also be one to watch as he bids to bounce back from a rollercoaster 2018 campaign which saw him pick up just a handful of victories. In his bonneted Volvo VNL, Oliver can never be discounted from the action.
John Newell made a triumphant return to the series in 2018 after several years away and the MAN driver is back for more again, as is championship stalwart Richard Collett – who will bring a splash of colour to the grid with his distinctive livery.
After cutting his teeth in the FIA European Truck Racing Championship, Ray Coleman is a familiar face to fans and he’s ready to throw himself into the mix as he rejoins Division 1.
Mark Taylor is another driver back on the grid as well after getting a taste of the BTRA Championship at the final two events of 2018. Rounding out the Division 1 entry list will be Dutchman Clemens Hecker, who’ll be out to test himself too.
Garrett gunning for back-to-back titles
Division 2, home to more production-based machinery, has a stellar entry list for the Brands Hatch opener too – headlined by reigning champion Luke Garrett. After storming to the crown in 2018, Garrett is back once more and aiming for successive titles.
Just like last year the battle for supremacy in Division 2 is set to be wide open with a raft of contenders keen to displace the current title holder. Paul Rivett and WDE Motorsport have made the switch from the Renault UK Clio Cup to tackle a full season in the BTRA Championship for the first time and can’t be discounted over the course of the year.
Winning races in 2018, the quartet of Brad Smith, Steve Powell, John Powell and former champion Adam Bint have all returned and will all be hot on the heels of Garrett, bidding to dethrone him. Fan favourite Simon Cole is another driver that will be one to watch, with the Team HARD-backed driver back behind the wheel of his Mercedes Beast and hoping for better luck.
Jim Bennett, John Bowler, Trevor Martin, Andrew Fulcher and Eric Forstromm are familiar names to the BTRA ranks too and will all kick off their campaigns at Brands Hatch.
Division 2 will also boast a raft of top drivers who ply their trade in the European Champonship, specifically the Dutch, too, with Frans Smit, Willem Breedijk, Bjorn Tijuis and Nimda Kraal all keen to make their mark in front of what should be a bumper crowd.
Always a popular fixture on the calendar of race fans, the opening round of the MV Commercial BTRA Championship is one not to be missed, and those descending on the Kent circuit are set to witness an on-track Easter extravaganza.
Across Sunday and Monday a total of eight pulsating races are set to take place around the iconic venue, four for each Division. In addition to the bumper British Automobile Racing Club support bill, fans will be able to get up close and personal with the jaw-dropping array of Show Trucks, as well as a host of activities that are fun for all of the family around the venue too.