After a quick workshop turnaround following the previous weeks trip to the Nürburgring, Team Oliver Racing made the journey south on the evening of Friday 6th July to the high-speed Hampshire circuit to participate in the next round of the British Truck Racing Championship.
For many years the weather at this event has not been great, however, this time the extreme track temperature over the weekend would be a major contributor to tyre degradation. No practice session were available meaning all the teams had to hope the chosen truck setup would produce a good qualification lap for race one.
By the time the trucks went out to qualify the sun was high in the sky and the track temperature was well into the forties. Stuart immediately posted a time good enough to give him pole position but, unfortunately, on the closing stages of the session he was pipped by one tenth meaning he would be starting from second place on the grid. Martin, who was presented with a huge task of not only qualifying in a truck with an unknown set-up but also on a track that he had not previously driven, came away with a far from disappointing result securing himself eighth place on the grid.
On Saturday afternoon, when the race got underway, the temperature had further increased. As expected, the football and F1 activity had kept the main of the spectators away but, never the less, the action was intense. Stuart held on to his second place to the chequered flag and Martin quickly settled in and made up two places to finish sixth.
Late on Sunday morning race two got underway, once again in very hot weather conditions. The team were confident from the previous days race performance that the GiTi tyres could withstand the arduous high temperature conditions so all was set for another thrilling race. Stuart started from the back with Martin ahead. Unfortunately, on the opening lap during an overtake manoeuvre, Stuarts truck was hit hard on his driver’s side front wheel by a truck that had straight lined a chicane. This caused the tyre to deflate leaving Stuart no option other than to retire. Martin, however, was enjoying the high-speed circuit and just missed out on a podium position finishing the race in fourth place.
Due to Stuart’s previous DNF , he started Sunday's second race from the back row of the grid and Martin from two rows forward. When the lights went out, Stuart wasted no time in moving forward and very soon both Team Oliver Racing trucks were going nose to tail at 100 mph. Mid race Stuart overhauled Martin and continued to move forward. Unfortunately, with only two laps to go, the power steering failed on Martin's truck sending him into the tyre wall. Stuart, however, kept the pressure on and finished in fourth place.
Following the incident with Martin’s truck the team, as always, pulled out all the stops and carried out extensive repairs to his truck, as well as preparing Stuart’s truck, in time for them both to participate in the last race of the weekend. By this time the temperature had further increased and, when the lights went out and the eighteen trucks roared off, Martin was determined to quickly make up ground. Stuart also wasted no time and, after plenty of race action, Stuart crossed the finish line again in fourth place with Martin in a commendable eighth place.
The team have only a few days back at the workshop to fully prepare the race trucks and support equipment ready for the highlight of the championship, to be held at Convoy in the Park on 21st 22nd July.