FIREWORKS ON AND OFF-TRACK AT BRANDS HATCH
Last weekend 4th 5th November at Brands Hatch was the date and venue for the season grand finale of the British Truck Racing Championship. Stuart and his team made the journey to the famous Kent circuit on the Thursday evening to set up and prepare the trucks for the Friday afternoon test sessions. Stuart was keen to set his truck up for the weekend ahead, this was mainly due to him participating in a sponsor promotion event at the F1 test track in Valencia, Spain doing passenger rides for four days, only just the week before the Brands Hatch event.
All went very well during the Friday test sessions and the truck performance and lap times were looking very positive for the weekend ahead.
On the Saturday morning it what was very wet and cold conditions, both Stuart and Michael went out on track during the fifteen minute qualification session to post lap times that would decide their start positions on the grid of the first race of the weekend. Stuart was only just pipped in the challenging conditions and missed out on getting pole position by less than four tenths of one second, Michael also did not disappoint the team and posted a lap time to secure his starting position on the fifth row of the grid for race one.
On the Saturday afternoon the first of the four Class A truck races got underway, in what was very wet and challenging conditions, during the race the weather conditions deteriorated even further, by the chequered flag Stuart had managed to hold onto fourth place overall, Michael managed to finish the race in tenth place overall.
By the time of the start of the second race on the Sunday morning the rain had gone and the sun was out. After a pre-race public grid walk for the record crowd in attendance the race got underway, unfortunately on the opening lap on Paddock Hill, Stuart’s truck received a hard hit from behind pushing him sideways into another truck, causing major damage to a front axle damper as well as also receiving a burst rear tyre. The damage caused Stuart major truck handling problems throughout the race, Michael managed to show good pace and held his own, at the chequered flag he crossed the finish line in sixth place and less than one second behind was Stuart in eighth place.
By the time of the third race Stuart’s truck was fully repaired and he was keen to better his previous performance. On the rolling race start, when the lights went out, Stuart immediately made headway through the field. By the start of lap two he was at the front and it was not long before he had pulled out a significant lead that he was never to lose. Michael however found himself tied up in a mid-field battle with six other trucks, resulting in him crossing the finish line in ninth place.
The fourth and grand final race of the weekend and the last race of the season got underway, with a twenty-truck grid and due to Stuart’s previous race success, the reverse grid format was not looking favourable, Michael started from mid-field and Stuart from the back. As with tradition the last race of the season normally is even more action packed than the norm. Without delay when the lights went out both Team Oliver trucks made haste to move up the rankings, after what was an all action fourteen lap race Stuart crossed the finish line in a commendable fourth place overall, Michael also after having another action-packed race crossed the finish line in seventh place overall.
Following the final race, it was not long until it was confirmed that Stuart had secured a well-deserved second place in the 2017 British Truck Race Championship, Michael also did not disappoint the team by finishing in ninth place overall in the championship standings.
Both Stuart and Michael overall are reasonably happy with the outcome of the season, Stuart’s only comment was that things could have been much better, if not for the mechanical gremlins that plagued his trucks transmission early in the season.
It is now time for the team to take a well-earned rest before the winter race truck rebuilds start.
Finally, Stuart, Michael and the team would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank all team sponsors and partners, who help make all the outstanding Team Oliver Racing achievements possible.