Thrills, spills, red flags and a hat trick!
Last weekend saw the 5th round of the British Truck Racing Championship which took place at Snetterton Race Circuit in Norfolk. Snetterton is well known for being a particularly technical circuit with its long laps and many corners making it tricky for the trucks to overtake. As always both drivers were keen to get back on the track in Fridays practice sessions and Stuart especially as his truck had undergone some extensive repairs after the major incident at Donington last month. All the teams’ hard work certainly paid off as Stuarts truck performed very well in both sessions and no major adjustments were required.
The smooth running continued for the team into Saturday, qualifying kicked off the weekend and Stuart had some excellent lap times and came over the line fastest to give him pole position for race one and two. Michael also performed well securing a solid sixth place on the start grid.
Success continued into the first race of the day as Stuart started in pole position. He managed to hold onto this lead for the duration of the race securing himself firmly back on the podium in 1st place. Michael had a steady race mid pack crossing over the line in 8th.
Race two and Stuart was again back in pole position on the grid. Straight away he had a strong lead breaking away from the rest of the pack. He held this lead throughout as he continued his campaign to close that gap at the top of the championship table. He pulled in some impressive lap times which lead to a dominant win of over five seconds. Michael held his position by holding off several overtaking attempts and crossing the line in 7th place. A good result for him as this races results would set the grid for Sunday’s reverse grid places.
Sunday was not as smooth sailing for the team! Race 3’s grid was decided from Saturdays race 1 results with the top 8 drivers reversed. This meant that Michael was on pole position for this race. Michael took full advantage of this but unfortunately as the trucks behind him hit Agostini corner a group of them, including Stuart, were caught up in a heavy collision causing a lot of damage. This of unfortunately resulted in a red flag as a recovery operation was needed. Stuarts newly repaired truck lost some bodywork but apart from not looking very pretty it was mechanically fine to race and was able to join the 10-minute restart race with some other battered and bruised trucks! Michael started the chase at the front and fought an extremely close battle which was bumper to bumper all the way to the finish. He claimed a well-deserved podium place crossing the line in 2nd place. Plenty of pushing and shoving behind him was going on with Stuart finally crossing the line in 7th place.
All the trucks were repaired and back on the track for race 4 after the previous race crash although some with slightly less body parts than they started the weekend with! The grid was set from Saturday’s 2nd race with the top 8 again reversed. Michael once again was on the front row with Stuart a couple of rows back in 8th. Unfortunately, the front row start didn’t help Michael as he took a spin in the first lap and dropping to the back. He soon got himself back on the track and battled on managing to work his way to 8th place across the finish line. Stuart also had a battle throughout amongst the lead pack as they all fought for podium places. He worked hard and got himself up into 4th place over the line.
The last and 5th race of the weekend is notoriously the most dramatic and Snetterton was to be no exception! It began with Stuart on the front row of the grid and Michael on row 4. Both drivers had an excellent start and both were in the top 3. However this was not to last as an incident in division 2 resulted in a truck being stranded at the hairpin which led to the first red flag of the race. The trucks were again lined back up on the grid for a restart and Stuart again was quick to take the lead with Michael not far behind. After only a few laps disappointingly the race had again to be red flagged due to another truck coming to a stop in a dangerous position trackside. The race results were decided as they stood before the race was red flagged meaning Stuart got his hat trick of wins over the weekend after being awarded 1st place as well as acquiring extra championship point for posting 3 fastest laps, Michael also achieved a great result with 4th place, this also went helps his cause to move up the championship table.
Overall, Team Oliver Racing achieved a great weekend of racing with some great performances and plenty of trophies to take home and of course those all-important championship points!
We thank all our sponsors for their support and we look forward to the next race at Pembrey in October.