THIRTY YEARS OF TRUCK RACING AT DONINGTON PARK
The August Bank holiday weekend was the date for the team to participate at what is their nearest to home Truck Race event and as always a very busy time for all the team both on and off the track. Along with the fact that the Donington Park organisers were using the event to mark thirty years of Truck Racing at the circuit the stage was set for a busy weekend for all the team.
The team arrived at the circuit early on Saturday morning to set up in the paddock and also get the truck ready for the first thirty minute free test session to be held at five o’clock. This would be the first opportunity to see how the truck would perform on the fast and technical circuit. Stuart was first out on track and straight away was recording very respectable lap times and at the end of the session he had recorded the third fastest overall time with an average speed around the track of over 80 mph within a field of sixteen trucks.
On Sunday morning Stuart had a second opportunity to better his lap times from the day before. Unfortunately on the exit of the chicane at the end of his second flying lap two bolts that secure the steering link arm to the axle broke causing Stuart to only be a passenger and land heavily into the tyre wall. It was a tall order for the mechanics to repair the body damage as well as extract the broken bolts out of the axle, source replacements bolts and put the truck back together to allow Stuart to get out on the grid for the first of the five races of the weekend and with only a few minutes to spare the truck was back together and out on the track.
Race one and Stuart had to start on the sixteen truck grid on the second to last row in fourteenth place, not to disappoint the vast amount of family, sponsors and friends who had travelled to the circuit to support the team, Stuart from the green light made early headway through the pack and by mid race had made his way up into fifth position. By the chequered flag he had moved up another two places to take a podium finish in third place. Stuart was delighted following the heavy damage earlier in the day as the whole team deserved the podium finish for their sterling effort to get the truck ready to race.
Race two, Stuart with the reverse grid format found himself again on the second to last row of the grid. On the green light again he made an excellent start but this time on the first lap at tight Redgate Corner Stuart’s truck was pushed wide and out onto the gravel Stuart managed to recover and he soon set about a charge to get through the pack, by the chequered flag he had gained enough places to finish in fifth position.
Monday morning the weather had completely changed from the sun and warmth of the previous day to a cold miserable wet day. Race three was to be interesting for Stuart and the team this was to be the first opportunity they have had to race the new truck on a wet track. Stuart was starting the race from a grid position one row forward from the day before. On the green flag all the trucks were finding it difficult to get good traction in what could only be described as very difficult conditions, Stuart made his way up through the field but at the chequered flag again had to settle for another fifth place finish.
Race four the weather conditions had not changed and at the green flag Stuart took a line that gave him slightly more grip and went past a number of trucks straight off unfortunately again at Redgate Corner Stuart was hit hard from behind and was sent spinning off into the gravel trap, this time it was not possible to recover and continue. Due to the trucks stranded track side position for safety reasons the race officials put out the red flags and stopped the race, to allow Stuart’s truck to be towed out of the gravel back onto the track. After a quick check over Stuart was back in position on the grid for the re start, this time Stuart made it around the first corner without any contact and was soon making his way towards the front, by the chequered flag he had managed to achieve another third place podium finish.
Race five Stuart was again starting on the second back row of the grid and the weather conditions had only got worse. The race start went without any drama and apart from some very sideways moves by a number of trucks including Stuart no heavy contact was made. By mid race Stuart was making very good progress in the worsening weather conditions, then the gremlins struck and the windscreen wiper linkage broke “a possible result of the heavy impact on Saturday”, this only slowed Stuarts progress very slightly but unfortunately he had to be satisfied with missing out on a podium finish and settle with a fourth place finish.
Stuart was happy with his overall performance of the weekend and that his points haul has closed the gap between himself in fourth to third position man in the championship, he was also in no doubt by the positive response from the many guests that attended to support the team over the weekend that they had all enjoyed the weekend.
Stuart and the team now have a few weeks to prepare for the trip to Snetterton in Norfolk on 13th 14th September for the next five race round of the championship.