HIGH-SPEED TOR SUCCESS AT THRUXTON
Last weekend, 11th/12th June, TEAM OLIVER RACING attended the third round of the BRITISH TRUCK RACING CHAMPIONSHIP at the high speed Thruxton circuit near Andover Hampshire.
The weather forecasters had predicted a rather wet and miserable outlook for the two days, fortunately this did not happen and at times the sun did make an appearance. Because of local environmental noise restrictions, none of the teams had the opportunity to test or have any practice prior to the Saturday morning qualifying session. Both Stuart and Shane had the advantage of previously racing around the fast Thruxton circuit unfortunately for Michael he had not had the opportunity to find his line prior to qualifying.
When the time came on Saturday morning to go out on track to qualify for the first race, the track was damp but the sun was out, so the conditions were to improve all through the 20 minute session. It emerged that for the whole of the session Stuart was constantly recording the fastest times, unfortunately coming towards the line to do a last flying lap the chequered flag came out not allowing him to continue improve his lap time and allowing two of his competitors to grab a faster lap by only 3 tenths of a second. Because of the changing conditions Shane was struggling with his truck set-up but at the end of the session he still managed to pull out a respectable time which put him tenth on the twenty truck grid. Michael, who had until the green flag never driven around the circuit more or less started to post lap times up towards the top of the timing board and at the end found himself recording eighth fastest time overall.
Race 1 on Saturday afternoon all twenty trucks lined up in qualifying order with Stuart in third, Michael in eighth and Shane in tenth. When the lights went out on the rolling start as expected all three Team Oliver trucks immediately started to make progress and by the end of lap one Stuart had moved up to second and Shane was up to seventh. Throughout the race all three drivers were engaged in battles to move up the rankings. On the second to last lap Stuart managed to pull off an overtake manoeuvre on the approach to the Club chicane that put him at the front, but unfortunately unseen by the officials he was overtaken by a truck that straight lined the chicane, Shane continued for the whole race to move up the field. At the chequered flag Stuart finished second, Shane sixth and Michael a respectable tenth, not bad for a rookie on his first outing to the circuit.
Race 2 on Saturday evening the reverse grid format meant Michael started on the front row, Shane in the middle and Stuart at the back. Immediately after the lights went out on the rolling start Stuart was on a mission to improve on the previous race finish position and by the end of lap one was up into fourth place behind Michael. Shane had also made up places and the scene was set for a positive result. By mid race Stuart was through to the front, Shane was up to fifth and Michael was in eighth, for the remainder of the race all three Team Oliver drivers held position and crossed the finish line with Stuart recording first, Shane fifth and Michael eighth.
Race 3 mid-day on Sunday again the trucks lined up on the grid in reverse of the previous race finish positions. This time Shane immediately made great haste and by mid race was at the front, Stuart also was putting pressure on the third place man unfortunately having a coming together sending them both off hard into the tyre wall. Stuart recovered and continued to recover from his off and at the chequered flag Shane crossed the line in second with Stuart in sixth and Michael in tenth.
Race 4 was the most difficult race of the weekend, the weather had changed to showers that left the track grip conditions different on every lap. Michael was starting on the front row, Stuart was mid-pack and Shane was at the back. Stuart was determined to overturn the disappointment of the previous race and with no delay when the lights went out Stuart and Shane started to move up through the pack. Stuart was quickly up to the front and Shane was also making good progress, Michael found himself in a mid-pack battle that took him off wide at the complex, re-joining down the pack, by the chequered flag Stuart had secured his second win of the weekend Shane was up to fifth position and Michael had recovered and made his way back up to eleventh.
Race 5 the sun was out and all the drivers were as usual looking to claim a good result in the last race. With Michael on the front row of the grid, Shane in mid-field and Stuart at the back things were not going to be easy and when the lights went out all the trucks as normal made the charge at 100 MPH up to the complex, unfortunately one over ambitious move by a competitor saw Shane being hit hard in the side also causing Stuart to go wide to avoid the incident, this meant both Shane and Stuart had to work hard to catch up to the front runners. Mid-race saw Michael have a high speed excursion off track but managing to re-join with only little damage. After a hard challenge Stuart managed to overtake Shane and close in on the front runners notching average lap times in excess of 86 MPH (140 KPH) and crossing the finish line with Stuart in fifth Shane in sixth and Michael in eleventh.
In summary the team were delighted with the overall results of the weekend and are now preparing for the next round at the Nurburgring in Germany on 2nd 3rd July.