Last weekend (21st & 22nd April) Team Oliver Racing went to Pembrey in South Wales to Participate in the second round of the British Truck Racing Championship. Prior to the five-race championship event there were three practice sessions on the Friday afternoon which gave Stuart the chance to test that his truck repairs were okay after its big crash during the final race at Brands Hatch and allowed Martin to have the opportunity to familiarise himself with the requirements of racing around the Welsh circuit for the first time. On the Saturday morning, all the race trucks went on to the track to qualify for the first race of the weekend. Both Stuart and Martin quickly posted very respectable lap times. Unfortunately, because another truck fractured a fuel line early in the session - which caused far from ideal track conditions - it meant that there would be no improvements on the earlier posted times and at the end of the session Stuart had to settle for 3rd and Martin a very respectful 8th.
Race one on the Saturday afternoon got underway in the normal rolling start fashion. Stuart had a textbook start and, at the first turn at the Hatchets Hairpin, the pole setter slid marginally wide giving Stuart the opportunity to take an early lead. At the start of lap two Stuart was more than three seconds ahead of the pack. Unfortunately, because a truck had run wide onto the grass on the opening lap, even though it quickly continued, a race official prematurely called to put out the Red Flags to stop the race. On the restart Stuart was not as lucky as previously and had to work hard to make up one place allowing him to finish in 2nd place. Martin, unfortunately, was not so lucky. During the opening stages of the race his truck was hit hard in the side, heavily damaging a rear wheel, leaving Martin with no option other than to retire from the race.
Race two on the Sunday morning took place in very wet conditions. Both Team Oliver Racing trucks started from the back of the grid however, both drivers managed to make very early headway. Unfortunately, around mid-race, Martin’s truck was hit hard yet again sending him into a high-speed spin down the pit lane entry road. Stuart crossed the finish line in third place and Martin, after his unscheduled pit visit, finished but much further back than planned.
Race three was a race to forget! Unfortunately, on the opening lap, a number of trucks had a heavy coming together resulting in Stuart’s truck suffering a broken rear axle and Martin’s suffering heavy cab damage. The extent of the damage gave the team, and the many appreciated helpers, the opportunity to show what could be achieved with limited resources and under extreme time pressure. Unfortunately due to the tight timetable it meant both trucks missed race four however, enough time was available to weld the VOLVO rear axle back together and carry out major repair to the SCANIA cab ready for the final race of the day.
Race Five saw Stuart and Martin starting from the back of the grid. This time the race got underway with only little drama and both drivers quickly made headway up through the field. Stuart, after several class overtakes, got up to cross the finish line in third place and Martin, despite significant damage to his truck, managed to finish in eighth place.
The team took away from this weekend the importance of teamwork. Without their commitment and sheer determination neither of the trucks would have made the last race. Sometimes its not the winning that makes the weekend but the ability to work together to overcome the hurdles thrown at you. They now have a until the end of June to fully repair and prepare both trucks race ready for the next round of the British Truck Race Championship to be held at the world famous Nürburgring in Germany.