BTRC stars at Pembrey to set up 2023 title finale

The British Truck Racing Championship is set for a grandstand finish around Brands Hatch next month after serving up a blockbuster penultimate event of the season at Pembrey Circuit this past weekend (October 7/8).

In front of a bumper crowd at the Welsh venue, the heavyweight behemoths of the UK’s super-sized series took centre stage for six colossal contests – one of which was originally scheduled to have taken place at Thruxton back in July. 

Ryan Smith’s pursuit of an unprecedented eighth consecutive Division 1 title remains on course however victories for lead protagonists Stuart Oliver, David Jenkins and Bradley Smith means it all still to play. 

Elsewhere in Division 2, NAPA Racing UK’s Paul Rivett closed to within just one point of the standings summit after he produced yet another virtuoso performance, winning five out of six races.

Spoils aplenty shared out in Division 1

Qualifying in South Wales followed the same trend as all previous rounds this year as reigning seven-time champion Ryan Smith blitzed the opposition by almost a full second to clinch pole position, maintaining his unbeaten streak in the process.

Before Smith could line up on the front row however he first had to produce a superlative drive in the rescheduled fifth race from Thruxton, which was unable to have originally taken place due to timetable constraints. 

Starting sixth, the Daimler Freightliner driver wasted no time in fighting his way to the front – doing so by the end of the second tour – and despite having to contend with a red flag stoppage, the current title holder cruised to victory ahead of Stuart Oliver and David Jenkins.

Ten-time champion Oliver came to the fore in the weekend’s second contest – which officially marked the start of the sixth event of the year – as he claimed a pivotal lights-to-flag victory. 

The Volvo VNL driver made a superb start from second place to power into the lead on the run to the first corner and once out front, he was never to be headed despite Smith featuring heavily in his rear view mirrors throughout. 

Smith returned to the top step of the podium in commanding fashion on Sunday morning as he triumphed by more than six seconds ahead the ever-present Oliver and Jenkins. 

After opening his account at Snetterton last month, Jenkins chalked up his third win of the season with a brilliant drive from fourth on the grid in race three. Not hanging about when it came to muscling his way into the lead, the former title winner cruised home to triumph ahead of Simon Reid and Smith.

One of the highlights of the weekend undoubtedly came in the penultimate race as Bradley Smith claimed a long-awaited maiden win in the series, having previously come close on a number of occasions.

Despite having to contend with a number of stoppages, the youngest driver on the grid held his nerve in his white and green MAN to clinch a famous win ahead of Jenkins and Craig Reid. 

Oliver then brought the curtain down on proceedings with a crucial victory in the finale as series leader Ryan Smith finished a lap down. 

In what proved to be a captivating contest from start to finish, the experienced racer hustled his way past the valiant Richard Collett at mid-distance and scampered off into the distance to prevail ahead of Simon Reid and the aforementioned Collett.

Paul Rivett delivers five-star performance

The battle for supremacy in the Division 2 saw more twists and turns play out at the weekend, with Paul Rivett closing to within just a single point of championship leader Adam Bint.

Arriving at the Home of Welsh Motorsport having won eight of the last nine races, momentum was on the side of the former Renault UK Clio Cup champion and he duly delivered with a five-star performance.

Despite missing out on pole position in qualifying, the MAN driver was perfection personified as he claimed a clean sweep of victories on Saturday before following it with a further three triumphs on Sunday.

Those five wins, alongside a third place finish as John Powell tallied a hard-fought win, has now set up a tantalising title showdown around the world-famous Brands Hatch Indy circuit at the start of November. 

Behind Rivett, series leader Adam Bint was able to claim a quintet of podiums whilst Powell and Craig Evans also bolstered their silverware collections with a number of eye-catching performances.

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

All five races from the penultimate event of the season are available to view on the British Truck Racing Championship YouTube channel HERE.

The British Truck Racing Championship concludes its 2023 season at Brands Hatch on November 4/5, with fireworks set to fly both on and off the track.

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