The British Truck Racing Championship reaches the halfway point in the 2023 season this weekend at Donington Park and if the opening three events are anything to go by, edge-of-the-seat is all-but guaranteed.
Headlining what is widely regarded as being one of the biggest truck festivals in the United Kingdom – Convoy in the Park – the all-action series is poised to dazzle an expected capacity crowd with five blockbuster contests across Saturday and Sunday.
As always, Convoy in the Park has just as much going on off-track as there is on it and this year is set to be no different with raft of attractions for the entire family confirmed to be in attendance around the famous Leicestershire venue.
Smith in control at Division 1 summit
Division 1 has followed the theme of previous campaigns so far this year with reigning seven-time champion Ryan Smith heading proceedings at the top of the leaderboard.
Gunning for an unprecedented eighth successive title, the Daimler Freightliner driver has been in superlative form so far having taken a clean sweep of pole positions in qualifying and no less than eight race wins; all of which has contributed to him opening up a 15-point advantage.
With the form book stacked firmly in his favour, the Mansfield racer will be confident of adding to his silverware collection however he’ll need to be at his brilliant best as the chasing pack remain hot on his heels.
Ten-time champion Stuart Oliver leads the chase in second and with three wins to his name already, the Volvo VNL ace will be hungry to get back on the top step of the podium over the course of the weekend.
Another former title winner, David Jenkins, is yet to win a race this year but his ultra-consistent performances have ensured that he remains well within striking distance of the top two.
Elsewhere, Bradley Smith and Steven Powell – both of whom have established themselves as regular front runners – round out the top five and they, like Jenkins, will be worth keeping an eye on as they go in search of their first victories of the season.
Further down the order, Craig Reid was a podium finisher at Pembrey whilst Michael Oliver tallied his first victory of the year at the Welsh track. Oliver, who is the son of Stuart, came oh-so-close to a second triumph at Thruxton last time out too.
Simon Reid sat out the annual trip to Thruxton but he returns this weekend and he’ll be eager to do what John Bowler did in Hampshire which is produce a wheel-perfect performance on route to victory lane.
Other notable names to look out for in the series’ top tier include Simon Faulkner, Richard Collett and Tom O’Rourke; all of which could be mixing it at the front under the flight path of East Midlands airport.
Fine margins at the top of Division 2
Over in Division 2, things are just as tight in the standings with the top two currently separated by just a handful of points.
Former champion Adam Bint arrives at Donington Park in the pound seat, holding a two-point lead off the back of what has been a superlative campaign so far which has included five wins and finishing outside the top three on just one occasion.
Given how competitive the battle for supremacy has been this year though, Bint can’t afford any mistakes because John Powell is waiting in the wings and ready to pounce. The DAF driver knows what it takes to win and it’ll be a case of discount him at your peril.
NAPA Racing UK’s Paul Rivett endured a challenging season-opener at Brands Hatch but since then he’s been a tour-de-force in his MAN, winning four races and finishing on the podium a further four occasions. Expect him to be in the mix for outright honours from the get-go.
Meanwhile, Craig Evans is set to continue chasing down his elusive first win in the series while Jim Bennett, who recently celebrated his 74th birthday, will be in action once again in his trusty Seddon Atkinson.
It’s fair to say that Neil Yates made an impact on his BTRC debut last time out as brake failure led to him rolling over the armco barrier at Thruxton. With the truck repaired, he’ll be keen to get a trouble-free weekend under his belt here.
Rounding out the Division 2 entry list is Simon Cole, who has made a mid-season switch from Division 1 to now drive an IVECO. With a new set of wheels and renewed optimism, hopes are high that the Dartford racer can really kick-start his season this weekend.
Convoy in the Park: Bigger and better than ever
On top of five BTRC races and a bumper support bill – which includes the debut of the International Truck Prix – those attending Donington Park this weekend will once again be able to experience a festival of all things trucking thanks to Convoy in the Park,
Set to be bigger and better than ever, attractions such as more than 1000 Show Trucks on display, live music performances, a bustling trade and exhibitor village, kids zone and live action area, plus much more, are guaranteed to make it a weekend to remember.
To get the full lowdown on what you can expect to see this weekend, head to the Convoy in the Park website.
Saturday 12th August | Qualifying: 10:05 / Race 1: 12:40 / Race 2: 16:00
Sunday 13th August | Race 3: 10:10 / Race 4: 13:40 / Race 5: 16:35
All races will be streamed online for free via the British Truck Racing Championship’s YouTube channel, with Saturday’s broadcast beginning at 12:20 and Sunday’s at 09:50.
Ticket information regarding the event can be found by visiting the Donington Park website.