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Hatchets Curse!

Last weekend we were at the home of Welsh Motorsport – Pembrey Circuit for the penultimate round of the British Truck Racing Championship. With points close at the top of the table there was everything to play for, so all teams were ready to push hard. Stuart and Michael had some very good test sessions on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning all both were pleased with the trucks’ performance. A successful qualifying session followed Saturday morning for Stuart crossing the line in second place setting himself up for a second place on the grid for the first race and pole position for the second race. Michael was consistent qualified in a steady 7th place.

Race 1 of the weekend couldn’t have started better for Stuart. With a front row grid position, he set off flying into the lead straight away, but this unfortunately did not last! The first corner at Hatchets hairpin was a turning point for both the teams’ trucks as Michael approached the corner a push onto the grass caused him to come across the track with several trucks getting caught up with him, including Stuarts! The race was red flagged as the clean up operation and tow truck were required. This was the end of this race for Michael as the damaged to the front of his truck forced him to retire. Stuart headed off the track back to the team’s paddock to carry out quick repairs to the damaged bumper on the rear of his truck. Following the repairs Stuart was allowed to re-join the remaining trucks for the restart. Unfortunately, the other competitors’ trucks were already positioned on the grid which meant a pit lane start for Stuart. He had to join the race at the back of the division 2 trucks which meant he had an enormous task on his hands to get through both divisions! Of course, never defeated he began to work his way past division 2 pulling in some impressive lap times along the way till he was pack with the division 1 pack. Running out of time he managed to still get an impressive 6th place result!

Race 2 was a solo trip to the track for Stuart. With only an hour and a half since the last race where Michael’s truck suffered damaged to the front it was unable to be fixed in time. Stuart was determined to this time make the most of his front row grid position setting off in the lead again. This time that’s where he stayed for the duration of the race until it was red flagged with just 56 seconds left due to a stranded truck on the track. Stuart was awarded the victory and gets himself where he wants to be- back on the podium! He also claimed the fasted lap in this race.

Day 2 and the team had worked their magic yet again and Michael was back out on the track after the previous day’s collision. The race began but very quickly turned into a replay of Saturdays dramatic race 1! Stuart was again spun off the track on the first corner. The red flag made its appearance again and brought the race to a stop. A trip back to the paddock once again for Stuart as the back safety bar had taken another knock! A restart race again but you guessed it – Stuart was required to do yet another pit lane start! Certainly not want he wanted! 4 minutes into the restart race and yet another red flag was out due to an incident in division 2. Race officials ruled due to timing this race was to be abandoned and would be rerun at the end of the days schedule. No points for any teams here.

For race 4 the slightly bruised and battered trucks were led out onto the track. What we learnt from this weekend was the first corner seems to determine the race! That was true again for Stuart as it was that very corner where he was forced to retire early from the race due to electrical power issues with his truck. Michael lasted the duration of the race and fought a strong battle to push himself to the front of the pack, finishing overall with a fantastic 4th place.

Race 5 and both the trucks where back on the track. Michael had a second-row grid position and Stuart 5th row. Michael certainly made the most of this starting position and settle himself in 2nd position for the race. Although it was not an easy ride as there was some serious attacks from behind him putting that pressure on. Stuart also had a battle to get through as the trucks were tightly packed ahead of him. Again, the red flag made an unwelcome appearance especially for Michael who had just taken the lead. A 6-minute restart race was organised which was disappointing for Michael but gave Stuart another opportunity to make his move! The race began and it was not good news for Michael. A clip with another truck sent him spinning off the track which took him out of the race. Stuart carried on and pushed forward resulting in a 4th place finish for him.

A rerun of the disastrous race 3 was the last race of the weekend for the team just 10 minutes in length due to the fading daylight. Right from the start the pushing and shoving began with those championship points up for grabs the teams were not going to pass up this opportunity. Stuart and Michael both had a very strong start. Stuart managed to get himself up into 3rd position when his luck ran out! A heavy knock from another truck sent them both off the track and he ended up right to the back of the pack. Michael fought on and came home with a 5th place position at the finish line.

A dramatic weekend and not exactly how they planned but some great entertainment for the crowd was certainly had! We now have all to play for in Brands Hatch as this weekend threw that championship table wide open!


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