BTRA TRUCK RACING: Down to the wire at Brands Hatch Finale 2015
Last weekend saw the final round of the 2015 BTRA Truck Racing Championship at the famous Brands Hatch circuit in Kent. The stage was set for an exciting weekend where the overall championship winner would be decided. This was to come down to the last race of the day where the leading duo went into the race separated by only two points.
On Friday afternoon, the team had the opportunity to set up the truck in the two testing sessions scheduled for that day. Due to heavy rain, several teams had significant problems finding the right set-up, however, the weather conditions were no real challenge for Stuart as he is known to cope well with changing situations. The truck performed well and the team were pleased with the set up they had chosen as the Kelsa backed Volvo continually produced the fastest lap times during the two sessions.
Saturday morning again saw heavy rain and a wet track, however this did not phase the team and they were confident that all the hard work done the previous day would pay off. They were not to be disappointed as Stuart set by far the fastest lap time during qualifying session.
As the starting grid of the first race was decided by the ranking of the overall standings, Stuart started the opening race alongside Summerfield. The first corner at Brands is notoriously difficult under pressure and as the lights went green the pack charged hard for the first bend. Stuart settled in behind Summerfield and started to race. The second lap saw Summerfield run wide which gave Stuart the opportunity to come up the inside and take the lead. Soon the leading duo were battling hard and as they caught up to the end of the Division 2 trucks Stuart went wide to avoid a back marker which left the door open for Summerfield to take the lead. Again the duel continued with Stuart hard on the heels of the blue MAN. On the last corner before the finish lane straight Summerfield again ran wide allowing Stuart to get his Volvo up alongside, unfortunately contact was made between the two trucks and the Volvo was pushed on to the grass where it lost traction. This sent the Volvo into a 360 degree spin and saw Stuart lose valuable positions and points. He finally finished the race in 7th position.
The second race of Saturday again saw a wet track and the Volvo started in the middle of the pack. The team knew that it was all to do and were not to be disappointed. Stuart settled in and began to pick off his fellow competitors one by one with an outstanding performance. At the end of the 15 minute race the Volvo was finally brought across the finish line in first place and 7 points behind the championship leader at the close of the day.
Sunday morning’s weather proved a little better with cloud and wind but thankfully no torrential rain. The crowds started to pack in and the air of anticipation was great as they knew that the third races planned for the day would finally see the overall championship winner. Stuart and the team were confident that they would be able to bring home the Volvo and give the crowds what they had come for, an exciting race weekend.
The first race of Sunday was a tough race and Stuart managed to bring home the Volvo into second place after some exciting racing but more importantly close the gap to five points with two races to go.
The reverse grid saw Stuart starting fourth, again the pack started hard and charged for the first corner. The packed crowd on Druids were then witness to a collision between the two leading trucks which saw both Stuart and Summerfield spin off track. Stuart managed to regain control of the Volvo and re-join the race however Summerfield had become lodged on the Armco barrier. The race was red flagged and Summerfield was allowed to re-join the grid after having his tyres changed. The race restarted and Stuart made the perfect start and to the delight of the packed crowd was soon leading the race. He held the lead to bring home the Volvo in first place again and reduce the championship lead to just 2 points with the final race planned for 3.15pm.
You could actually feel the suspense in the paddock and around the circuit as the fans that had travelled from all corners of the country waited to see the outcome of the last race. Stuart started one row behind Summerfield and again he accomplished a great start. By the first corner he had passed two competitors and was flying. Unfortunately, however, the race was stopped just one lap in as a truck had come off the track and was deemed as being in an unsafe position. The race was actually meant to be restarted, however due to failing light and a BMW race to run the decision was made to cancel the race and not allow the champion to be decided on the track which meant Stuart had to settle for runner-up position in the Championship. The disappointment and disbelief was apparent among the many thousands of fans that had waited for the showdown.
Stuart would like to thank all his sponsors for their support throughout the season and also would like to say a huge thank you to everyone in his team. Without them none of this would be possible. The dedication and determination from them all has helped him achieve by far the most race wins in 2015.
He would also like to thank all the fans that have supported us along the way and say a big thank you to those of you that had travelled down to the circuit and battled through the rain to watch the finale. Unfortunately we were not given the chance to decide the Championship on the track and we would like to say thanks to all of you that came over and wished us well. Without your support none of this would be worth it.