Chris Levett will leave Donington Park this evening for his hotel the happiest man in the British Truck Racing Associtation field after a productive first day of the Summer Truckfest meeting. Levett claimed pole for race one after a strong showing in qualifying before romping away from the field in his MKR Renault Premium. Only the second race of the day, with its reversed grid format, denied the #9 truck victory.
Qualifying: Renault in Premium Position for First Truck Trial.
Qualifying saw the ex-Renault Trucks MKR Premium dominate with a 1.328 advantage over the reigning champion Matt Summerfield who headed the field of MANs. Next up was the identical MAN TGX of David Jenkins with Steve Thomas’ TGA in fourth place. The #95 Collett Heavy Haulage liveried MAN of Ricky Collett came next ahead of Ben Horne’s all gold machine.
Stuart Oliver’s Scania P1150 and Ray Coleman in the second ex-factory Renault rounded out the class 1 runners.
Class 2 was more of a mixed bag in qualifying with Simon Reid of Reid Freight topping the bill in his newly facelifted Iveco Stralis. The Foden Alphas of Steve Rothery and Steve Powell showed that old does not mean senile, as did the double dose of Volvo Whites care of Adam Bint and Brian Burt who took 12th and 13th places, fourth and fifth in class. Graham Powell’s MACK badged Renault Premium headed Ryan Smith’s Sisu with Ryan Colson in last place.
Colson struck problems, and another truck, early in the session and failed to turn in a time. The Seddon Atkinson came down the Crainer Curves on the first lap of the qualifying duel with a steering arm dragging on the floor. Unable to make the turn at Old Hairpin, the truck continued on and buried itself up to the differential in the gravel trap which prompted the only red flag of the day.
Race 1: Levett Runs Away for Victory.
Come race time it was again Chris Levett who stole the show. An eleven lap race saw the white and red Renault put 18.360 seconds between his rear wheels and the MAN TGA of Steven Thomas. Early confusion forced Summerfield down the order to fourth place with a strong run from the Scania of Stuart Oliver and Team Oliver Racing netting a class 1 and overall podium after a poor qualifying.
Three seconds covered second to fifth places at the end of the race as the equally specced MANs did battle. Only traffic separated the trucks and with the policy of starting the class 2 trucks first, traffic was a certainty. It also allowed Graham Powell’s MACK to hold onto sixth place and take the class 2 victory from Ricky Collett’s class 1 MAN and Ryan Smith in the Sisu.
Ben Horne finished behind the bonneted unit from the east with the Foden fight of Steve Rothery and Steven Powell behind. This battle of identical machines stretched over the course of the race as Powell responded to faster class 1 vehicles coming up from behind, ending up at 4.718 seconds but the action was far more intensive than the margin of advantage suggests.
Ray Coleman’s Renault took 12th place as the last of the class 1 runners ahead of Simon Reid, Brian Burt and Adam Bint. The Seddon of Ryan Colson continued to suffer its woes, ending up in the gravel at Coppice on lap five of elven and forcing the newcomer’s retirement. Colson has so far taken part in only two BTRA meetings.
Race 2: Powell Wins as Summerfield Holds Levett for Class Honours.
There was a proper battle for the top honours in class 1 in the final race of Sunday’s articulated action. Matt Summerfield drove a blinding race from third on the grid, passing the almost identical MANs of Ben Horne and Ricky Collett to take the lead. He was followed through by not only the Renault of Levett but the Digigraph sponsored David Jenkins and the three were locked in close combat for each of the eleven thrilling laps.
The battle for the top spot in class 1 robbed Summerfield of the chance to grab the overall win. The scrapping slowed the top three down just enough to keep the class 2 winning Renault MACK in overall control of the race. 3.548 seconds was the advantage Graham Powell took over the line as Summerfield and Levett crossed nose to tail, split by 0.244 seconds. David Jenkins finished the race a relatively distant foruth , third in class, 1.071 seconds behind with an equally close Steven Thomas in pursuit.
Ricky Collett fell from the pole to sixth in class and seventh overall by the close of the race, after being gifted the position by Ryan Smith’s Sisu. The #88 driver was handed a ten second penalty for being out of position at the rolling start of the race which put him down the order though he retained his class 2 second place. Ben Horne was split from his class 1 rival by the Iveco Stralis of Simon Reid who rounded out the c2 podium.
Ray Coleman continued his troubled run in the second new shape Renault. He failed to make the top ten in the final race, though he did pass the #29 Foden Alpha of Steve Rothery, the Volvo White of Adam Bint and the finally reliable Iveco/Seddon Atkinson of Ryan Colson.
Colson’s lack of speed continued as he was lapped not only by the class 1 runners, which is to be expected of a slower class 2 machine, but obviously the race winning class 2 machine. The Seddon, still bearing its battle scars from incidents in qualifying and race 1 did however make it across the line ‘only’ a minute down on the Volvo White ahead.
Brian Burt failed to complete the race in his Volvo White, retiring after just one lap of action.
Matt Summerfield told thecheckeredflag.co.uk, “Most of us in class 1 are pretty much the same in terms of performance. Chris is just a little bit better. It felt great to be able to hold him off and take at least one win from the weekend.”
He went on to add about concerns regarding a change of weather, “If it rains tomorrow it rains.”
The trucks return to the track for three more fifteen minute races on Monday. With the weather set to change overnight the action will only get closer, and the power slides more extreme. There will also be support action from the Legends Series, pickup trucks, BMWs and Intermarques championships along with a parade of almost 200 working and show trucks.