BTRA Finale - Brands Hatch Indy. 02-03/11/2013

Programme Chaos After Race Ender For Smith

The finale of the BTRA British Truck Racing Championship got underway at Brands Hatch in Kent yesterday with championship protagonists battling hard to claim title glory. By the end of the only race held on Saturday, one title had been all but decided but complications in the battle plan of defending champion Matt Summefield, left the class 1 battle even tighter.

In free practice the challenger, in the form of the #69 MAN TGA of David Jenkins headed the field by more than a quarter of a second from the TGS of #1 driver, Matt Summerfield. Steve Thomas’ TGX rounded out the class 1 top three and was the only other truck within a second, or even within four seconds of the pace laid down by the Digigraph sponsored machine.

A bumper crop of visiting trucks put further complications into analysing the results, especially in class 2 where the session was topped by the bonneted Axor of Sascha Lenz, who also took the honour of being the fastest of the visitors. The all-orange Benz was thirteen hundreths of a second faster than the T124 of Cees Zandbergen who races in the top class! The second T-Cab Scania, a T112 of Frans Smit came second in the class 2 battle ahead of the fastest of the BTRA full season runners, Graham Powell.#

Visiting friends made points analysis harder but really looked the part.

In qualifying the battle at the top switched, putting Matt Summerfield clear by three quarters of a second almost from the TGX of Thomas. Jenkins was still in third place ahead of the Dutch T124 and the Germanic Axor which again took the top spot in class 2. Graham Powell’s ERF entered, Renault bodied E C X took second in the class 2 order ahead of David Smith’s Foden Alpha.

Once the first race got underway, the action started in earnest with trucks on the grass even before they hit the famous Paddock Hill Bend. The #77 of James Aikenhead in the black Ford Iveco was out of the race before the class 1 trucks had even been given the green flag. Then out of turn two, the equally famous Druids corner, Matt Summerfield stuffed it. He lost the back end and impacted the Armco on the inside of the track, crumpling the front of his MAN TGS and forcing his retirement from the race after just one lap. His failure to classify would allow David Jenkins to close the points gap, though a shortening of the race restricted his ability to make up places.

Summerfield will be regretting this mistake which closed the points gap.

With two major hazards on the circuit the race was red flagged and the D&G Recovery wreckers set to work. Summerfield managed to recover himself to the pits before calling it a race, the Iveco came back on the hoist of D&G’s lovely new Stralis based recovery unit.

When the race got back underway it was business as usual for five laps, firm but fair was the order of the day even as the class 1 entries begun to carve their way through the class 2 action. Then the major talking point of the season happened as John Powell slammed the door on David Smith, the title challenger in class 2! When we say slammed the door we mean it too as the Ford Cargo battered the Foden Alpha onto the grass and into a roll. The Alpha was left on its side and Smith extracted himself from the wreckage, crossing the Armco on the Cooper Straight before the marshals had even radioed the accident in.

This accident delayed the second race and put’s Smith’s title challenge in doubt.

The damage to the truck was severe, with talk of it not racing again this year at least but the team are working hard to repair the machine for action. The first we will know if the title is all but won will be when the Volvo White of Brian Burt crosses the start line for race two, which was postponed to Sunday, without the Foden in hot pursuit.

The race 2 battle was postponed because of the damage to the circuit. Smith flattened the Armco for the better part of 100m when his truck came down on it but there was also work to be done on the drop from Druids to Graham Hill where Summerfield clipped the barriers too. Finally there was remedial work being done on the pit wall too as the #36 of Heinz-Werner Lenz, the father of Sascha in the bonneted Axor, put his all orange cabover Actros into the pit wall a lap before the action kicked off with Smith’s Foden.

The result was called with Ricky Collett’s #95 claiming the class one victory but being overshadowed. As the race didn’t manage it’s full distance Graham Powell was able to claim the overall race win, along with class 2 honours from Simon Ried’s Seddon Atkinson Strato. Frans Smit was third in class and on the track with Brian Burt’s Volvo in fourth in class and sixth on the road. In class 1 Steve Thomas took second from Collett’s MAN TGA with Cees Zandbergen in the Scania T-Cab in third.

Ricky Collett was in fine spirit yesterday evening after his win.

The title situation going into the final day of racing is close to say the least. In class 2 Brian Burt has extended his lead over both David Smith and Jim Bennett by seven points putting fifteen between himself and the Foden and 36 between himself and the Seddon Atkinson of Bennett. There is little chance that Bennett will overhaul though as his truck hasn’t been fast all season. In class 1 the cat is really among the pigeons. Summerfield still holds the title battle lead but his margin shrunk from thirty-five points to just twenty-eight. There are forty points left on the board in each class.

how did Ben Horne get on?

how did Ben Horne get on?

Sixth in class for quali (8th overall) and free practice (10th overall), didn’t get out for the race yesterday.

Seventh in class for race two which ill get written up in a bit for you!

ta :grimacing:

I will provide more on the Sunday of racing tomorrow when I am on my break. Im in the truck now but am shattered and up at 0430 for work. In the meantime, for Mr Spanker Horne was:

R2 7th in class 14th overall
R3 6th in class and overall
R4 5th in class 6th overall
R5 4th in class and overall and hanging his arse out round Graham Hill. Impressive.

BTRA Finale Brands Hatch. by, on Flickr

We saw the lot and then some! :stuck_out_tongue:

We had a great weekend, we’ll definitely be back for the April meet (if I haven’t gone bust before then) :wink:

A hastily replanted Sunday of competitive action commenced with the postponed race from Saturday. Almost against the odds, David Smith had managed to return his Foden Alpha to fighting trim, that is if fighting trim looks like the cab had already done nine rounds with Mike Tyson. It was a mess but a quick mess and the championship battle in class 2 looked to be back on.

No sooner had the championship battle resumed however; it was rocked once again by catastrophe in class 2. The victim in this assault wasn’t the Foden but the championship leader, which was involved in a scuffle with the #77 Ford Iveco of James Aikenhead and failed to make it past the entry to Graham Hill Bend on lap one of the race. Of course the red flag was thrown as not only the wreckers but the ambulance was called to the scene.

Brian Burt’s Volvo White was a mess but that was secondary, a mess the team can deal with. A broken wrist for the driver however seemed to put the nail in the coffin of Burt’s title dreams. Yes, Matt Neal contested the BTCC finale at Brands Hatch with a broken finger, but he a) didn’t win and b) had at least some time to heal. In the end it was academic however because during race three of the weekend the news came in that the Volvo had been loaded into the transporter for the return journey.

The writing was on the wall when the Iveco heavy wrecker brought the truck back and the Iveco car wrecker brought the off side front wheel and suspension back a minute or two later.

So the class 2 battle was decided, if Smith could keep the Foden on the track and out of the garage, he would be the champion. If his overnight bodge job on the Alpha failed, Burt’s Volvo would take the title from its hospital bed at the team base.

The race, once it was resumed, was claimed by the Foden after a textbook demonstration of how to win from down the field. Smith led a class 2 1-2-3-4 overall result which also included the Seddon Atkinson of Reid Freight’s Simon Reid in second, the old and bold Scania T112 of Frans Smit and Graham Powell’s RenERF. The class 1 battle was headed by the MAN TGA of David Jenkins in fifth place ahead of the TGX of Steve Thomas. Rody Smit’s aging Volvo F12 split second in the top class from the #79 ex-MKR Renault of Luke Taylor in class third.

Crucially for the overall title fight, Matt Summerfield’s MAN TGS took fifth place in class and six points, so only four were lost to the #69 of Jenkins in the class winning position.

Race three was a cracker, with minimal interruptions for the first time since the weekend got underway. A straight fight between the MANs of Jenkins and Summerfield, with occasional spice from the class 2 lead battle thrilled as a simple equation played out. Jenkins had to win, Summerfield needed to lose no fewer than four points to the challenger.

Summerfield started from the back of the pack, making his job the hardest and after Jenkins had battled the Renault of Taylor and the Mercedes of Sascha Lenz he had done all he could. The #69 would take full points but where would the #1 come?

Summerfield marched up the order with precision and skill, making his way to a championship winning fourth long before half way. Satisfied he was not however and he continued to make his firm but fair overtakes to find second place.
Surely he would be happy with second?

Not so, he pushed on and on the penultimate lap appeared to be pushing the #69 down the Brabham Straight, so close were the two MAN protagonists. In the end Summerfield was forced to conceded race defeat but he crossed the line a two times BTRA champion. Jenkins won the battle, Summerfield claimed the war.

Third in class went to Steve Thomas’ TGX which kept the Collett and HGV Direct liveried TGA behind him to secure third in the title fight. Simon Reid went one better and claimed the victory in class 2 from the ERF of Graham Powell and the so far embattled Iveco of Aikenhead.

A superb run for the Renault of Luke Taylor was brought to a halt with mechanical woes three laps from the end. He was joined in retirement by the T112 which had impressed in race two.

Race four would decide the class 2 title, as it was during this race the withdrawal of the Volvo White was confirmed. The Foden and David Smith however weren’t going to wait for any confirmations. Smith shot into the lead on lap one and held on to the position throughout the race, yet another clean one. He finished the race in fourth overall, with three class 1 trucks buffering him from the chasing horde.

The race also brought us a brand spanking new winner to the championship, with the addition of the bonneted Mercedes Axor of Sascha Lenz to the list of BTRA race winners. Lenz was never headed, and challenged only by his father Heinz-Werner Lenz in the cabover Axor variant before the orange #36 was mechanically retired. Newly confirmed double champion Matt Summerfield took second in the race ahead of the T-Cab Scania T124 of Cees Zandbergen.

Smith crossed the line after the Danish “rainbow racer” Scania with the class 1 MANs of Steve Thomas, Ben Horne and David Jenkins between him and his nearest rival. The win confirmed what we knew from lap two onwards, Smith would retain the class 2 title for 2013. Graham Powell and Simon Reid rounded out the class 2 podium as the circuit braced itself for carnage in the final race.

When the final race came, despite the release of tension which came from deciding both titles, it was by far the cleanest of them all. Only one DNF came by way of the class 2 entered Foden Alpha of Steve Powell who made it thirteen laps into the sixteen lap race before binning it into the gravel at Druids. The only other standout feature of the race was the horrific rapidity with which the class 1 runners caught, passed then lapped the Volvo FM of Wayne Eason. No explanation was readily apparent until lap five when it was noticed that the Volvo distribution machine was carrying punctures on its off side drive axle.

That would explain being a lap and a minute off the winners pace at the end of the race.

Victory went to David Jenkins who fought to the end despite knowing he couldn’t claim the title. Matt Summerfield took second place ahead of Ben Horne’s best result of the weekend in third. Cees Zandbergen took fourth as the best of the visiting drivers and the first non-MAN equipped man in the pack.

The class 2 field was bookended by little Volvos as the FM brought up the rear and the F12 took a class victory for Rody Smit. Graham Powell continued his consistent podium form with second place ahead of the new class champion, David Smith. With failing light and an imminent show truck parade and fireworks display, the BTRA season came to an end after thirty-seven rounds of action, three countries, one massive fire and a busted pit wall. Not a bad tally, roll on next year.

Photos to follow at the weekend as I can’t process photos from the steering wheel of a highline!

Harry, I shot the truck parade from the inside of Druids but don’t know how well the photos came out. Which was yours and Ill see what I have for you.

BTW. The Donnington Park meet is also a good one for show trucks. Only two laps and no fireworks but there are a fair few trucks turn up. You can read about the action in Decembers Trucking, I got the proofs for the print through yesterday. My first real publication!

Something seemed to go wrong with the response to Brian Burt’s crash on Sunday. Various bods, cars and recovery turned up once the race had been stopped, and eventually after a long wait, the medical car.

I was there all weekend with my moter all In all A really good weekend the racing was spot on as well this was my third time there and look forward to the fourth much better than truckfest by far

3rd time I’ve been and always amazed how friendly approachable and informative the race teams are. Even whilst preparing between races, they were friendly. You can tell it’s a passion for them and not a chore

Something seemed to go wrong with the response to Brian Burt’s crash on Sunday. Various bods, cars and recovery turned up once the race had been stopped, and eventually after a long wait, the medical car.

It was probably because it was just his wrist. The rest of him was working fine. So the curcuit had to be safed and marshalls had to get to him before he could say Awwwwww!

Smiths Saturday shunt was worse, the wreckers were rolling before they radioed it in to race control. The marshals didnt appear to notice.