One win, one second and two fourth places boost points total and secure third overall.
The seventh round of the 2016 BTRA British Truck Racing Championship at Snetterton (September 10/11) saw some storming performances from David Jenkins in the Digraph MAN – with the Staffordshire driver securing a total of 36 championship points.
Most of these valuable points were collected during a hectic Sunday when the heavyweight trucks had to compete no less than four times – Dave starting the day with a win and following that with 4th, 2nd and 4th place results.
“It was a non-stop day for all the team to keep the truck in top shape for every outing – but in the end all our efforts proved worthwhile and we really delivered the goods” said a satisfied Jenkins on Sunday evening.
The situation was not looking so bright on the dismal and damp Saturday at the Norfolk circuit; in the wet practice session David was really struggling and his best lap time was a disappointing 8th. This was most out-of-character for Jenkins and the opening race of the weekend didn’t go much better – with Dave progressing just one place to finish 7th.
“The track was extremely slippery and although I’ve got enough pace to catch the others the truck wasn’t feeling secure under braking, so I couldn’t push on in the normal manner!” said the frustrated driver on Saturday afternoon.
There was no opportunity to make amends in Saturday’s second race; with various delays and wet conditions forcing organisers to amend the programme so that race was postponed until the next day. That meant a really hectic schedule on the Sunday with no less than four fiercely contested races – but under warm sunshine the large crowd was well entertained.
Jenkins was certainly much happier with the improved conditions, although some others were still struggling! After a tangle involving Ryan Smith and Michael Oliver race two had to be red flagged – but after the re-start Jenkins was really flying – moving up from the second row of the grid to challenge Luke Garrett and pass the Renault driver on lap two. That left the black MAN to chase after race leader Oly Janes – and when the Freightliner suffered technical problems a lap later Dave was well positioned to take over at the front.
Hard-charging Shane Brereton was close on Dave’s tail in the final stages – closing to under half a second. But Jenkins had it all under control as he took the chequered flag to claim his third victory of the season.
That win (along with 10 valuable championship points) was of course much appreciated – but with the ‘Reverse Grid’ format in operation it did mean that Dave would be starting the next race back in ninth spot.
But that proved to be a little handicap to the on-form ‘MAN in Black’ – who made impressive progress, making up two places on the opening lap.
On lap three Dave passed the Iveco of Simon Reid to move from 7th up to 6th – and before the end of a hard fought race he’d also reeled in the MANs of Mat Summerfield and Steve Powell to finish a fighting fourth.
Race four saw another epic charge through the pack by Jenkins. He’d started from the fourth row of the grid – and after a stunning opening lap was already running strongly in third.
There was plenty of close company for Dave – as he spent almost the entire race with fellow MAN drivers Ryan Smith and Steve Thomas glued to his rear bumper. But by the fifth lap he’d successfully slipped ahead of Mat Summerfield – into second spot, which he held all the way to the flag.
There was no real opportunity to catch race leader Brereton with the race running to only 7 laps – but Dave was very pleased with his runner-up spot… finally crossing the line just 0.369s ahead of Thomas.
The final outing saw Jenks again facing an uphill battle; starting from way back in ninth place on the grid. But another great getaway at the rolling start (along with some contact between a few others!) saw Dave running in fourth by the end of the first lap.
He then spent almost the entire race successfully fending off the fierce attentions of Brereton – finally coming across the finishing line in 4th, just over half a second ahead of his rival.
That brought Dave’s points tally to the weekend to 36 – which leaves him sitting a strong third overall in the BTRA Championship standings – with a five-point advantage over nearest challenger Thomas and 12 clear of Summerfield.
Next round of the 2016 BTRA British Truck Racing Championship will take place at Pembrey Circuit, near Llanelli, South Wales on October 15/16.