TEAM OLIVER RACING SUCCEED AT SILVERSTONE
Last weekend 13th/14th August TEAM OLIVER RACING (TOR) attended the sixth round of the British Truck Racing Championship (BTRC) event at Northamptonshire’s Silverstone race circuit, the home of British Formula One. Like at Donington Park a few weeks ago, both day’s the sun shone high in the sky.
Stuart, Shane and Michael had very open minds about the Silverstone event, this is largely due to the nature of circuit having few corners and very long straights, never the less the whole team were focused on scoring valuable British Truck Racing Championship points.
The meeting organisers (BARC) had incorporated into the timetable a short practice session on Saturday morning, this allowed the drivers time to do a few laps and check all the repairs and modifications undertaken following the arduous Donington Park event. Stuart and Shane had the advantage over Michael by having participated last year on the Silverstone circuit, as with at many circuits this year Michael has not experienced any problems and he very quickly learnt the best racing line.
Soon after the free practice session all thirteen Class A trucks of the BTRC went on track in a fifteen minute session to qualify for the first truck race of the weekend. At the session end Stuart was just pipped for pole position and had to settle for second place with a lap time of 1:13.627 an average speed of 80.21 MPH. Shane only two tenths of one second slower was fifth fastest, Michael posted a time that would see him starting ninth on the grid for race one.
The first of the five BTRC races got underway early on the Saturday afternoon, as predicted due to the circuit layout the race had very little overtaking action, to the point, Stuart, Shane and Michael all crossed the finish line in the exact same positions as they were on the start grid, this is not to say the race had no action, on many occasions overtaking attempts were being made by all three, unfortunately none came to fruition.
Race two on Saturday was when the weekend race action really started with the grid reversed from the previous race results, this meant Stuart was starting from the back row, Shane in the middle of the grid and Michael on the second to front row. As soon as the green lights went out on the rolling start the race action started with Shane and Stuart both making good progress to move up the field. By mid-race Shane was up in amongst the front runners and Stuart was very close behind. In the closing stages of the race Shane was in second place battling for the lead with Stuart still behind. Shane made a high speed class manoeuvre that allowed him to take the lead, unfortunately Stuart at the same time got pushed wide and back down into fourth, fortunately on the last lap Stuart managed an overtake manoeuvre to regain one place. The race result, Shane taking the win and posting the fastest lap time of the race, Stuart finished in third place and Michael eighth.
On Sunday morning the third race of the weekend got underway, again with a reverse grid, Shane starting on the back row, Stuart one row in front, Michael was starting from the third row from the front. The rolling start got underway as always full of action unfortunately due to an oil leak from another truck, on the second lap Stuart’s truck got hit hard from behind, spinning him around at Luffield, due to the impact Stuart’s truck was stranded mid-track causing a red-flag stoppage. After some quick teamwork safety repairs to the truck and after the circuit team treated the oil on track, Stuart was allowed to re-start the race from the back row of the grid. The re-start was no less spectacular and again Shane and Stuart were soon up amongst the front runners, Stuart‘s truck was carrying heavy damage but he still managed to post the fastest lap time of the race. In doing so, he managed to cross the finish line in sixth with Shane behind in seventh and Michael in eighth.
After some major repairs were carried out Stuart’s truck was ready for the fourth truck race of the weekend, again with a reverse grid and with Stuart, Shane and Michael all starting the race from the middle of the grid, things were looking good for a good result. As with many result predictions regularly the opposite prevails, this was to prove to be one of those times. Immediately after the green lights went out at the start and at the breaking point for Copse Stuart’s truck was hit again hard at the rear sending it into a spin and causing a puncture to the right rear outer tyre. Stuart quickly turned his truck around and made chase, Shane managed to avoid the first corner incident and was working hard to move up the field, Michael was also giving his opponents a run for their money. By the closing stages of the race Stuart with his heavily damaged truck had managed to work his way up into seventh place behind Shane in sixth. The result at the chequered flag was Shane sixth, Stuart seventh and Michael eighth.
Following the previous race, the team had to carry out again more repairs to Stuart’s truck, Shane´s truck also had a mechanical issue to resolve. As in true Team Oliver Racing style all three trucks were fully prepped and ready for the fifth and last championship race of the weekend. Again all three were starting in the middle of the start grid. The team were all concerned and anxious to see the outcome of the race start, as in the previous two races Stuart’s truck seemed very much to be a target. On the start Stuart, Shane and Michael all made blistering starts, this time Stuart avoided trouble and by the third lap was out in front, only one lap later Shane was behind and into second, Michael was also holding his own in fourth place. Stuart manged throughout the race to lap by lap open out a comfortable lead, Shane worked hard to stay at the front of a train of race trucks, including Michael. At the finish line Stuart secured a dominating final race win, Shane with a well-earned second place and Michael finished seventh overall and his best result of the weekend.
The team was delighted with the weekend’s results. Stuart had a win, a second and a third place, to maintain his championship second place, Shane had a win and a second place and maintained his sixth place in the championship, Michael’s consistent Rookie performance moved him up from tenth to eighth in the championship.
All the TOR members now have a few weeks to prepare the three trucks for the next round, at the fast and technical Snetterton circuit in Norfolk on 10th/11th September.