Convoy in the Park!
Updated: Aug 18
Donington is always a highlight of the season for the team, but this year it was extra special! Not only was the ever-popular Convoy in the Park event taking place which always draws huge crowds to the venue but we also had two special guest drivers for the weekend who would also compete for the team! As well as the next round of the British Truck Racing Championship the track would play host to the all-new International Truck Prix where competitors from all over Europe were invited to enter.
Competing in the International Prix were our two guest drivers. First up we welcomed back Martin Gibson to the team. Martin had previously competed for Team Oliver in the British Truck Racing Championship from 2018-2021 collecting numerous trophies during this time. He finished off with achieving third overall in the Championship in his final season. He has since competed in the Funcup Championship and the Rallye Breslau in Poland.
Next up was Motorbike legend John McGuinness MBE. John is best known for being a specialist at the Isle of Man TT where he holds 23 wins and sits third in the all-time win list. He is also a vastly experienced short circuit racer having ridden in 24-hour Word Endurance races like the Bol d’Or and Le Mans, 500cc GPs and the Daytona 200. He is a former British 250cc Champion, has ridden in World Supersport and finished third in the 2009 British Superstock Championship.
Stuart and Michael Oliver were of course carrying on their campaign in the BTRC so the team had a busy weekend ahead to keep all four drivers on the track! Post weekend testing went well for all the drivers and the trucks, so we were ready to start the two day jam-packed schedule of racing!
Saturday morning started with a warmup session for the International Prix, which went well. This was followed by the BTRC qualifying session for Stuart and Michael which would set the grid for the first race of the day. A third place in this for Stuart and sixth for Michael. These results were replicated in the International qualifying with Martin crossing in third and sixth for John, again setting the grid positions for their first race.
First race for the BTRC and results from qualifying put Stuart on row two and Michael just behind on row three. Stuart kept a consistent second place throughout, holding off any attacks for the position and getting himself that first weekend podium place. Michael had a good race and kept in sixth place the duration.
The first ever race of the International Truck Prix’s grid was of course set by the days earlier qualifying. Martin took his place on the second row and John on third. It was wet start to the race with extremely poor visibility. These conditions caused Martin to slide off the track into the gravel at the first corner. Another truck also coming off the track resulted in a red flag and the race was brought to a stop. A reduced restart race of 13 minutes began and for this the weather had sufficiently improved. Martin achieved P4 and John P7.
The second race of the BTRC began with Stuart on row two and Michael row three on the grid. Stuart started the charge straight away which led to a close battle between the top three trucks throughout the race. He eventually claimed that second podium position. Michael had a battle further behind with some pushing and shoving as the teams fought for those championship points. He finished the race P10.
Race two of the International Prix’s grid was the top eight from the previous race reversed. This put John McGuinness on pole, with Martin one row behind. A slightly messy start as the trucks all jostled to get to the front. Three minutes in and the red flag made another appearance as a stranded truck needed recovery. The grid was reformed and a 12-minute restart race began. Martin used this opportunity to get another chance to push to the front which he did successfully. He held a strong second position for the majority of the race getting himself that podium standing. John had a strong race and crossed the line in a good sixth position.
Sunday morning began with a wet race three for the BTRC. It was a reverse grid with the top eight from yesterday's race one reversed which put Michael on the second row and Stuart forth. Michael made the best of his starting position and settled in with the leading pack. Unfortunately, he came off the track at the hairpin causing a spin on the grass for him. He got back on the track, but this resulted in him falling to the back of the pack. He crossed the line P11. Stuart also had a problematic race. An issue with the back wheel of his truck affected his performance and he crossed the line in P10.
It was another qualifying session first up for the drivers in the International which would set their next grid positions. Martin achieved P4 and John P8.
BTRC race four was another reverse grid. Michael row five and Stuart row four. The race unfortunately had a bad start. In the first lap three trucks got into a tangle sending one spinning into the tyre wall, a red flag followed. A recovery operation for the truck and wall re-build began which resulted in a delay. A restart race took place but due to mechanical issues Stuart had to retire early. Michael went on to have a good race and crossed the line in a strong sixth.
Race three for the International’s grid was set from qualifying so put Martin second row and John forth for this twenty-minute race. Martin held forth place throughout the race in the leading pack of trucks. Track limit penalties were issued to some of the drivers in this race which meant that he was pushed up into third place and got a spot on the podium again. John had a strong race round the track again, keeping up with the rest of the teams. He crossed the line P7.
The last race of the BTRC for the weekend gave both drivers work to do with starting positions at the back of the grid. Stuart row five and Michael row six. They both began to push their way forward. Stuart was hot on the heels of the leading pack throughout, undertaking some very defensive driving whist still trying to make his move. The five second track limit penalties were dished out again to some of the teams which would adjust the final finishing positions. Stuart crossed the line in P4 but after the penalties were applied he claimed another podium position in P2. Michael crossed the line a good sixth.
The final race of the weekend saw the final race of the International Truck Prix. This was a reverse grid which put John on pole and Martin on the third row. John had a good start and certainly put his newfound truck racing skills to use with some very defensive driving. He crossed the line P7. Martin was involved in a three-truck battle for the third position throughout. He finally crossed the line in forth but with track limit penalties issued to other drivers he got that P3 podium place.
An absolutely amazing weekend for the team! A great Convoy event, excellent racing and amazing support! Thank you to everyone who came to see us all and all those who followed us on the live stream. Thank you for our guest drivers for joining us and all our sponsors for making it possible. A special thank you also goes out to our amazing mechanical team who successfully took on the challenge and kept three trucks and four drivers on the track all weekend!
Onto Snetterton for the next round!