BTRC kicks off 2024 season with bank holiday blockbuster at Brands Hatch

The British Truck Racing Championship lifted the curtain on the 2024 season in action-packed style at Brands Hatch this past bank holiday weekend (March 31/April 1) with four drivers claiming outright victories across Division 1 and Division 2.

Bursting into life in front of a packed crowd at the world-famous Kent venue, the heavyweight behemoths served up a sensational five-race Easter extravaganza that was packed with edge-of-the-seat entertainment.

In Division 1, reigning champion Ryan Smith and local star Steven Powell each claimed a brace of race wins whilst former title winner David Jenkins concluded his weekend with a controlled victory in the finale.

Over in Division 2, defending champions Paul Rivett and NAPA Racing UK were perfection personified as they blasted their way to a clean sweep of race wins; as well as claiming a historic overall victory in the penultimate contest.

Division 1 wide open after season-opener

On the evidence of Brands Hatch, the battle for supremacy in Division 1 of the BTRC this year has all the makings of being an instant classic after three drivers stood on the top step of the podium during the season-opening weekend.

Bidding to clinch what would be a record-extending ninth consecutive championship crown in 2024, Ryan Smith made the perfect start to his title defence on Easter Sunday as he powered his Daimler Freightliner to glory.

Punching in the fastest lap in qualifying to clinch pole position, Smith was untouchable across the opening two races as he scored back-to-back race wins ahead of David Jenkins and Michael Oliver, who finished second and third on both occasions.

Race three on Easter Monday proved to be one of pure attrition though as Steven Powell ended Smith’s streak by producing a defensive masterclass, which in-turn enabled him to clinch his first victory in almost two years.

Starting on the second row of the grid, the MAN driver blasted his way into the lead on the run down to Paddock Hill Bend and once out front he showcased the credentials that previously made him a multiple champion in Division 2 to beat the charging Smith and Stuart Oliver.

Powell didn’t have to wait too much longer for his next win either as he mastered the challenging wet weather conditions to reign supreme in race four ahead of Oliver Snr and Jenkins; whilst Smith languished further back due to an issue with his windscreen misting up.

The weekend’s fifth and final contest proved to be a truncated affair with three red flags – caused by Powell, Tom O’Rourke and David Smith – affecting proceedings and ultimately bringing the race to a premature end.

Prior to its conclusion there was enough time for Jenkins to hustle his MAN into a comfortable lead while Smith and Oliver – who have a total of 18 British titles between them – scrapped for the remaining spots on the podium.

Rivett reigns to grab early Division 2 initiative

NAPA Racing UK and Paul Rivett set their stalls out as the team to beat in Division 2 as they delivered a flawless performance at Brands Hatch, scoring five wins from five races.

Donning the mantel defending champion, Rivett kicked his pursuit of a second consecutive crown off on the right foot as he overcame a resolute John Powell in a thrilling opening contest to win – despite there being contact between the pair on two separate occasions late on.

Races two and three proved to be relatively straight forward for the former four-time Renault Clio Cup title winner however it was the penultimate contest that will be remembered for some time as Rivett converted pole position into a remarkable overall victory in challenging wet conditions.

Behind Rivett, who triumphed in the finale too, John Powell and Simon Cole scooped the remaining pieces of silverware. Despite not winning themselves, both will have taken some confidence in the fact that they were able to push Rivett on-track throughout the opening weekend.

To view the full classification of results from all British Truck Racing Championship sessions at Brands Hatch, CLICK HERE.

All five races from the 2024 season-opener will be available to view on the British Truck Racing Championship YouTube channel HERE.

The 2024 British Truck Racing Championship season continues on May 18/19 when the series travels to Pembrey Circuit for the popular Convoy Cymru event in South Wales.

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