TEAM OLIVER RACING – SUCCESS AT SNETTERTON
Last weekend 10th/11th September TEAM OLIVER RACING (TOR) participated at the fast and technical MSV Snetterton 300 race circuit, located deep in the Norfolk countryside. Stuart and Shane had the advantage of participating previously at the circuit, Michael unfortunately, like at all events to date had to adopt a steep learning curve.
To help Michael, both he and Stuart attended the truck test sessions on the Friday afternoon, which were very successful in the bright Norfolk sunshine.
On Saturday morning it was straight out on track for all nineteen truck in attendance, to try and post the fastest lap and claim pole position for race one. Unfortunately, the truck set-up work that had been done on the Friday went out the window, the weather had turned and the black clouds were delivering heavy rain onto what was now a very slippery circuit. In the fifteen-minute session Stuart managed a time to secure third place on the start grid, Shane secured fifth and Michael surprised all by securing sixth place. The whole team was delighted with the achievement in what could only be described as very difficult conditions.
Race One; on the Saturday afternoon the weather had not improved and the windscreen wipers were working overtime. All TOR drivers had a very good first race start, unfortunately on the second lap the Red Flags came out due to a stranded truck and the race was subsequently stopped. All trucks were re-gridded and a race re start took place. Again all three TOR drivers had good clean starts with Stuart soon moving up into second place, Shane had a coming together causing him to drop a number of positions, Michael avoided any contact and got his truck around the 3 mile circuit trouble free. By the chequered flag, Stuart had secured second place, Michael crossed the finish line in his best race career position, a well-earned fifth place, Shane recovered and fought hard to finish in seventh.
Race Two; due to a number of race delays and an 18.30-time curfew, the race was moved to the first slot on Sunday morning. Fortunately the rain had stopped and the sun was out, but the track was still very damp. Stuart was starting on the grid from the back row with Michael two rows ahead and with Shane one row in front. On the rolling start all drivers were very cautious because of the unknown level of grip, as the race settled down all three TOR drivers started to work up the field. Stuart passed Michael on the second lap, unfortunately on lap three Michael had contact from another truck pushing him wide, leaving him stranded in a dangerous position causing a Red Flag race stoppage. Due to the need to be recovered, Michael was not allowed to re-start the race. On the re-start Shane and Stuart both made good progress and were soon moving up the field again, because of the stoppage the race was cut short with Shane crossing the finish line in second and Stuart in fifth.
Race Three; the track now was completely dry and the team could adopt the truck set-up’s from Fridays test sessions. With both Michael and Shane starting at the back of the grid and Stuart in the middle of the grid all three drivers had allot of work to do. As soon as the lights went out all three were on a charge to better their positions, Stuart had a hard race and managed to work his way up into second place at the chequered flag, Shane and Michael both also worked hard and stayed out of trouble to finish seventh and ninth respectively.
Race Four; Shane was starting from mid-grid with Michael one row behind and Stuart on the back row. The conditions now were perfect and the large number of spectators that attended were seeing truck racing at its absolute best, the previous races had provided plenty of overtaking action and things were not about to change. At the start Shane quickly made his way to the front and was in full control of the race, Michael was holding his own, Stuart was working through the field and by mid-race he had come behind a train of nose to tail race trucks that were not to be moved. At the finish line Shane had secured a well-deserved race win, Stuart crossed the line in fifth still stuck very close behind three trucks, Michael managed to move up from his start position, to finish in eighth.
Race Five; the last truck race of the weekend, it is always the one the drivers want to win, as it is seen as the finale of the weekend. Stuart was behind Michael on the grid with Shane on the back row, when the pace truck pulled off and the lights went out the action started. Stuarts truck was hit hard in the side pushing him wide approaching the first corner, fortunately he managed to hold station and stay clear of a spinning truck, heading for the Armco. By lap two Stuart was up into second and putting pressure on for the lead. Shane also was working through the field followed closely by Michael, halfway around lap three Stuart had an opportunity to get ahead and take control of the race, then after a hard defensive remainder of the race Stuart crossed the finish line the race winner with Shane in fifth and Michael in ninth.
The whole team were delighted with the overall team performance over the weekend, with five podium finishes including two race wins. The team are now working hard to prepare for the penultimate round of the British Truck Racing Championship held at Pembrey, South Wales on 15th 16th October.