British Trucks and Pickups produce thrills and spills

The British Truck Racing Championship was in action at Brands Hatch last weekend, alongside the Pickups which returned to the Kent venue for the first time since 2019. Elsewhere, the Historic Sports Car Club had a meeting at Cadwell Park and the British Hillclimb Championship visited the iconic Shelsley Walsh

British Trucks and Pickups produce thrills and spills

Reigning champion George Turiccki and Michael Smith had plenty to celebrate after scoring a win each when Pickup racing returned to Kent for the first time since the end of 2019.

Two hard-fought but clean races also provided an example of how to do it compared with a lack of track discipline displayed by a number of other series, including the headline British Truck Racing Championship on a 23-race weekend. Four drivers took turns in the lead of race one of the Pickups and, although Turiccki spent the most time in front, it was only in the last lap or so that he had a significant advantage. Mark Willis, Reece Jones and Smith filled out the top four, although for a while a dozen cars were nose-to-tail.

Smith’s foot was in danger of being roasted by a hot exhaust in race one, but suitably bandaged, it didn’t slow him down on the way to victory at the second attempt. This time Willis, Daniel Petters and Turiccki were filling the winner’s mirrors. Bidding for his sixth British Truck championship in a row, Ryan Smith was easily quickest in qualifying and won an unusually dull opening race. He finished ahead of Stuart Oliver and Martin Gibson, with David Jenkins in fourth.

From that point on, the fastest trucks started at the back. If a fully-reversed starting order for race two might have been asking for trouble, it duly arrived at the first corner where both front row starters and Oliver were shunted into the gravel, causing a temporary halt. Smith wasted no time in the re-run, hitting the front on lap five of 14 and leaving Jenkins, Gibson and Oliver to squabble over the minor placings. Division 2 produced a close contest between winner Adam Bint, Brad Smith and Craig Reid ahead of Steven Powell, who had triumphed in race one.

The situation descended into a farce on Sunday morning with two first corner red flags before race three finally got underway. “Everyone is trying to win on the first corner,” said Smith, before apologising to organisers and spectators for the repeated interruptions. The race itself was all too easy for the reigning champion, who jumped into second place with a spectacular first lap, before passing John Newell for the lead on lap three and disappeared. Newell, Mark Taylor, Oliver and Jenkins were best of the rest.

George Turiccki, Pickups, Brands Hatch 2021

George Turiccki, Pickups, Brands Hatch 2021

Photo by: Gary Hawkins

Stern defence by Oliver delayed Smith’s charge in race four, but he passed on lap six of 15 and squeezed ahead of Jenkins on the last corner for second, a manoeuvre that left Jenkins slightly miffed. Gibson won from a front row start.

Taylor and Oliver headed the finale from start to finish. Newell was third under pressure from Smith, who survived a lap two spin and near-miss from following trucks, and inherited fourth place when Gibson and Jenkins clashed at Paddock Hill Bend. Division 2 was again closer, Reid taking the spoils ahead of Powell but was demoted to second due to gaining an unfair advantage. He had taken the win in the morning result, although Powell had the better of the second Sunday encounter.

Normally guaranteeing excellent entertainment, the Legends’ Saturday outings were spoiled by a succession of safety car interventions and red flags. Multiple champion John Mickel and Will Gibson were the heat winners. Paul Simmons was ahead in the final when two stoppages ended the action, but was excluded for failing scrutineering, which promoted Stephen Whitelegg to the win.

Both of Sunday’s heats were interrupted, the first going to Mickel and the second to Gibson, the latter hounded to the flag by Miles Rudman, defending champion Dan Clark and former Pickup star Scott Bourne.
Simmons won again in an exciting Sunday final, helped by a front row start but then handicapped by a mid-race caution period. However, he clung on for the win despite the top men charging through from the back of the grid. Rudman, Mickel and Gibson finished second, third and fifth as 0.816s covered the first five.

John Mickel leads Legends field at Brands Hatch, 2021

John Mickel leads Legends field at Brands Hatch, 2021

Photo by: Gary Hawkins

Matt Hammond’s dream start to 2021 in the Mini Challenge Trophy turned into a nightmare when the points leader rolled out of Saturday’s second encounter in a race-stopping incident. Hammond beat Louie Capozzoli and defending champion Harry Nunn in race one, which ended early after a collision at Paddock.

Hammond lined up seventh on a partially-reversed second race grid, but he and two others were out within less than a lap. This gave Capozzoli a chance to shine, but he’d no sooner taken the lead in the re-run when a gravel trap visit dropped him down the order, eventually to finish seventh. Joe Wiggin had problems at Snetterton and missed Thruxton, but rewarded his team’s recovery efforts with a win at Brands. Ricky Page, Morgan Wroot and Charlie Mann all finished within a second of Wiggin.

Four other races, like the Minis, were exclusive to the Saturday programme and included a pair of Intermarque Silhouette outings. The Ginetta of Ray Harris had pole with multiple champion Malcolm Blackman alongside in his Vauxhall Tigra. Blackman did most of the leading in race one, but it was second row starter Steve Burrows (Tigra) who was ahead when it mattered.

With the top 10 reversed for the second race, Burrows retired and Harris this time beat Blackman. Daniel Smith (Mercedes SLK) caught the eye after suffering a broken half-shaft at the start of qualifying. He rose to sixth from 26th in race one and moved up further to finish third in race two.

Brad Sheehan was a double Kumho BMW winner. Poleman James Card led race one but headed for the pits when an oil pressure warning light appeared. This proved to be a false alarm and, after starting last in race two, he caught but couldn’t pass Sheehan.

Steve McDermid (ZR) continued his winning ways in the first of the weekend’s MG Owners’ Club races, but faced a much harder task in race two in a closely matched quartet of cars. William Sharpe, second at the first attempt, grabbed the race two lead and defended it under massive pressure. McDermid took second from Steve Darbey a lap from the end.

Cadwell Park HSCC: Jackson flies to a quartet of Formula Ford wins

Cameron Jackson (Winkelmann WDF2), Cadwell Park, 2021

Cameron Jackson (Winkelmann WDF2), Cadwell Park, 2021

Photo by: Mick Walker

Four Formula Ford wins for Lincoln speed merchant Cameron Jackson and three each for Benn Simms and Kevin Kivlochan characterised the Historic Sports Car Club’s annual Wolds Trophy event.

Jackson knew he’d been in a fight though, for young Yorkshireman Sam Harrison pushed him incredibly hard over the Classic and Historic era races. Indeed, Harrison had nosed his Elden ahead of the Winkelmann driver moments before he crashed out of their final scrap at Charlie’s.

Jackson and Harrison were separated in Saturday’s Historic set when the latter’s left-rear wheel came loose. Merlyn men Matt Wrigley and Horatio Fitz-Simon (pursued by a light oil haze) led the chase from Over 50s victor Brian Morris (Lola T202) and Danny Stanzl (Elden), who brushed Horatio’s rear tyre in a massive moment during lappery at Charlie’s. “I thought I was going over him so stood on everything,” he said. Fitz-Simon and Stanzl completed Sunday’s podium, while Wrigley staved off determined Over 50s topper Ross Drybrough, fighting back after a spin.

Rick Morris (Royale RP29) chased ‘The Cam and Sam Show’ home in Saturday’s Classic FF1600 bout. He split them at Sunday’s start, but sportingly waved Harrison past onto lap two, Harrison setting fastest lap while catching Jackson. Cam’s father Simon – debuting Bill Bray’s newly restored Lanan 1604 in the Heritage quintet, which joined Sunday’s race – re-passed rapid local Tom Roark’s lilac Van Diemen RF92 for gold.

A 36-car FF2000 entry warranted a qualifying heat per day, won by Ben Glasswell and 1979 Euroseries champion Adrian Reynard in Reynards. Returning champion Andy Park stalked Ben Simms during Saturday’s final then skittered past, appropriately into Park, during a traffic-affected last lap. Graham Fennymore was third, from Paul Allen, debuting the ex-Ian Briggs/Callum Grant Delta.

Simms blitzed Sunday’s sequel from the start, collecting a wild twitch at the Gooseneck, with Park his closest rival. Glasswell and Reynard finished sixth and seventh, ahead of Ben’s father Stephen. Antony Raine (Merlyn Mk28) and Fraser Collins (Lola T580), shared the early class successes.

Julian Barter (TVR 300M), Cadwell Park, 2021

Julian Barter (TVR 300M), Cadwell Park, 2021

Photo by: Mick Walker

Saturday’s Road Sports dominator Kevin Kivlochan fancied his chances of doubling-up in Sunday’s ’70s set. Will Plant, whose Morgan was silenced by coil failure while leading on day one, had other ideas. From 25th on the grid, he thundered through to second behind Julian Barter, who jumped poleman ‘KeKi’ at the start as front-row partner Howard Payne (Lotus Europa) couldn’t find second gear thus was swamped by the pack.

Barter had topped the TVR trio with Dave Karaskas and Antony Ross in Kivlochan’s wake on Saturday, while sixth-placed Jim Dean (Europa) set fastest lap. Plant’s Sunday pace was unmatchable, but wound up 2.132 seconds short, chased by Kivlochan, Dean, Karaskas and Nigel Armstrong (Elan S4).

Sunday’s Historic Road Sports race was a case of deja vu, since the top six repeated. This time, in the battle to be runner-up to Kivlochan’s AC Cobra, veteran Peter Garland forged his Morgan past John Davison’s Elan S1 at the lights, and kept him behind until half-distance.

Drifting Pat Barford’s Lola Mk2 superbly, Peter de la Roche passed Chris Drake (Terrier T4) to win both early Formula Junior races by a country mile. Drake pulled up on Sunday, promoting Ray Mallock (U2) and Alex Morton (Condor), with Mark Woodhouse (Elva-BMC 100) fourth.

Adrian Russell (ex-Henri Grandsire Lotus 22) was dominant among the ‘pushers’, competing for the Barry Westmoreland Memorial Trophy. Points leader Nic Carlton-Smith was his closest rival on Saturday, driving his Class C2 Kieft well to see off Chris Drake’s equally curiously styled Elva 300. Tim Child (ex-Curt Lincoln Cooper T59) made two poor starts, but howled back to second on Sunday ahead of Carlton-Smith, who regained third when Drake rotated at the Gooseneck.

Mark Charteris raced the clock in Classic Clubmans, logging a scintillating 1m27.672s (89.80mph), the day’s fastest lap in race two. Tom Eustace recovered from a 360-degree spin out of Charlie’s in the opener to win the FFord-engined split, but fell in the finale, rewarding Stephen Littler’s perseverance.

Shelsley Walsh British Hillclimb: Summers bags a double victory

Alex Summers (DJ Firestorm), Shelsley Walsh British Hillclimb Championship, 2021

Alex Summers (DJ Firestorm), Shelsley Walsh British Hillclimb Championship, 2021

Photo by: Paul Lawrence

Alex Summers was the hero of the day at Shelsley Walsh on Sunday as a fantastic day of hillclimbing delivered two British Hillclimb Championship top 12 run-off victories for the local ace. On a day that started damp and steadily dried, it was Top Ess that delivered the toughest challenge as the damp hung under the trees for a long time. During the day it claimed four victims, including run-off contender Simon Moyse (Gould GR59).

The first run-off fell to Summers by a handy margin of nearly half a second as his 24.07s climb earned him his first championship win of the season with the Cosworth-powered DJ Firestorm. “There is usually grip as you turn in when it’s like that,” he said of the final corner of the 1000-yard hill. Sean Gould edged points leader Wallace Menzies back to third as Scott Moran and Trevor Willis also broke the 25s-mark.

After several delays due to incidents, the second run-off ran well after 6pm as the temperature started to drop and rain clouds built up, but the hill was fully dry aside from any lingering damp at Top Ess and it was worth the wait.

As fastest qualifier, Summers was last to run and moments earlier Menzies put a big marker down with a 23.17s time. Summers donned his metaphorical ‘big boy’ trousers and attacked the hill with the Indycar engine wailing at high revs, knowing that a low 23s was what he needed. With typical commitment through the fast sweeps on the run up to the Esses, Summers touched 136mph before braking for the Esses and stopped the clock at 23.15s to beat his rival by just two hundredths of a second.

It was a fantastic climax to a day of top class competition at the head of the championship. “What a day!” said Summers. “Wallace is absolutely awesome and it is just a privilege to race against these guys.” Menzies was equally buzzing after a glorious battle. “That was fantastic: a great day of racing,” he said.

Wallace Menzies (Gould GR59M), Shelsley Walsh British Hillclimb Championship, 2021

Wallace Menzies (Gould GR59M), Shelsley Walsh British Hillclimb Championship, 2021

Photo by: Paul Lawrence

However, this was no two-way contest as Gould was only five-hundredths of a second down on Menzies, despite struggling with traction control settings. Having set the pace in practice on Saturday with a storming 23.06s, it all looked good. However, the track changed with overnight rain and his car got slower as the traction control held it back. “We learned a lot,” said Gould.

Moran, too, was right in the hunt with a 23.36s, making it four cars split by a fifth of a second, while Willis and David Uren also joined the sub-24s club. Uren’s Gould was finally back on song after overcoming a niggling engine problem that spoiled his first two rounds of the season.

The smaller-engined cars will always be at a disadvantage at a dry Shelsley, but star performers in the lower reaches of the run-offs were Paul Haimes, David Warburton and Eynon Price.

However, two of the heroes of the day were the Greenen brothers Andy and Adam, who rocketed their 1100cc Empire Evo2 into the run-offs with breathtaking commitment. Running on methanol for the first time, the Empire was driven to the limit, running flat-out from the startline all the way to the braking area for the Bottom Ess, and Adam’s 25.34s climb for ninth in the second run-off was the stand-out.

Reports by Brian Phillips, Marcus Pye and Paul Lawrence. Gary Hawkins, Mick Walker and Paul Lawrence. Want more reports from the world of national motorsport? Subscribe today and never miss your weekly fix of motorsport with Autosport magazine

Trevor Willis (OMS 28-RTE), Shelsley Walsh British Hillclimb Championship, 2021

Trevor Willis (OMS 28-RTE), Shelsley Walsh British Hillclimb Championship, 2021

Photo by: Paul Lawrence

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