Updated: Jul 25, 2019
Following another quick workshop turnaround, last weekend (21st & 22nd July) Team Oliver Racing traveled to the East Midlands to participate in the premier British Truck Racing Championship event held at the home of Truck Racing - Donington Park. This year the event was again jointly organised by the circuit owners, MSVR, Truck & Driver and Truck Sport UK, under the banner of “CONVOY in the PARK”.
As well as the on-track truck racing action, the event had plenty for the bumper crowds in attendance to do and see with on-stage live entertainment, fun-fair rides, a big top Circus, an 800 plus Show Truck display and competition, Truck manufacture displays, Truck related trade stands and a large live action arena featuring Car and Truck drifting and stunt shows, Monster truck rides and the unrivaled Truck Sport UK drift truck caravan smashes!
On the Thursday prior to the weekend the drivers had the opportunity of two 30 minute practice sessions to familiarize themselves with the fast and technical circuit. Stuart, who has been around Donington circuit in a truck many times, used the sessions to try out some different chassis set-up on his truck. Martin however, was in at the deep end and went out on the track for his first time in a race truck. True to form it was not long before he was up to speed and posting very respectful lap times.
For Stuart and his team it was without doubt the busiest weekend of the season. As well as the team having the two race trucks to prepare and maintain, Stuart was also at the wheel of the KELSA drift truck that was used to entertain the crowds on the live action arena, with several drift shows and caravan smashes going on in between the truck racing.
On Saturday morning it was down to business and, during the qualification session, Stuart was just pipped to a front row place on the grid and left to start race one from 3rd place. Martin soon made his mark and recorded a time to put him into 8th place on the grid.
Race one got underway in the blistering heat in true Convoy “Arizona Desert” like conditions. When the start lights went out the trucks raced off in close formation with - as expected - plenty of drama! By mid race it became apparent the drivers were adapting driving techniques to accommodate the extremely hot track temperature. Brakes, engines and tyres were all feeling the pressure. At the chequered flag Stuart managed to secure a 3rd place podium place and Martin, after a hard-fought race, crossed the finish line in 9th.
Race two, on the Saturday evening, started in slightly cooler conditions. Stuart started on the grid third from the back and Martin from up near the front. The race got underway in the usual rubbings racing style and throughout the race, positions changed with every lap! At the finish line Stuart was up into 4th place and Martin again, after an all action race, finished in 8th.
On Sunday morning race three got underway, again from a reverse grid. This time, on the opening lap going into Redgate corner, Martin’s truck was hit in the side sending it into a 360 degree spin. Fortunately, all the following trucks - including Stuart - managed to avoid any heavy contact. Martin soon recovered to chase down the tail end trucks. Stuart applied the pressure and one by one worked his way forward to cross the finish line, again in 4th place. Martin, after his opining lap incident, made excellent progress and crossed the line in 7th.
Following the lunch time grid-walk race four got underway, again in very hot and sunny conditions. Both Team Oliver Racing trucks were soon to be seen in full race battle trying to move forward in the race order. Both Stuart and Martin drove to the max and, as a result, Stuart got on the podium finishing in 2nd place. Martin, following heavy combat, finished in 7th.
Race five took place with the sun still shining high in the sky, putting the track temperature up into the high 40’s. As always on the rolling start, all the drivers were eager to make the last race a good one. This lead to many seat of the pants high speed race manoeuvres. Throughout the race Stuart made steady progress. Martin’s truck, unfortunately, developed a power steering fault mid-race that made tight corners very difficult. However, determined to finish, Martin held on tight and finished the final race of the weekend in 9th place. Stuart after, his hard-fought race, finished in 4th.
Following the last race on Sunday, Stuart, during interview, confirmed he was delighted with the performance and commitment of all the team during the season so far and expressed his happiness to have such great support from all the team sponsors.
The team now have a few weeks to recover and prepare before the next championship event, to be held at the Snetterton in Norfolk on 8th & 9th September. 10-10.