The third meeting of the season took place at Thruxton, located in Hampshire. WIX Racing’s Adam Morgan took the opening race of the weekend followed by two further podiums over the weekend. Motorbase’s Andrew Jordan and Mat Jackson claimed a victory each at the UK’s fastest circuit. After receiving podiums over the weekend Rob Collard and Matt Neal moved to the top of the Drivers’ championship. The triple header of races played out in front of huge crowds around the Hampshire circuit in glorious sunshine. The packed banks of spectators were treated to some entertaining races as always.
WIX Racing’s Adam Morgan won the breath-taking opening race of the weekend after carving his way through incidents to become the first double winner of the 2016 season. The race began in a crazy fashion, the theme was maintained throughout the shortened race. At the start, it looked likely that the pole-sitter Tom Ingram would take the victory. A slipstreaming battle began down to the first chicane. This left Ingram alongside Neal and Moffat. Three into one obviously was never going to work, when the dust settled it was Neal out front, Moffat and Ingram had been shuffled down the order after contact. MG RCIB Insurance’s Josh Cook and the Mercedes of Adam Morgan slipped through into second and third whilst Ashley Sutton went off on lap two when battling with Ingram. Neal led the race from Cook and Morgan with Moffat in fourth and Ingram in fifth at the end of the second lap. Positions changed hands at nearly every corner. Morgan managed to pass Cook into the final chicane and a few others also managed to pass the MG as he tried to regain his composure. Morgan was all over the back of the Honda and made a stunning move to take the lead of the race at the end of lap four. Moffat managed to pass Neal, completing his recovery drive and potentially rewarding Mercedes with the first one-two in the BTCC but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. A puncture forced the youngster onto the grass and back down the order. Jackson had the same issue at the same time, although his left a lot more pieces of the car scattered around the circuit. When the leaders next drove their way down Brooklands and up Woodham Hill, Neal picked up a puncture. He attempted to pull across the circuit into the pit lane after the final chicane but was collected by an unsighted Josh Cook. This resulted in Gordon Shedden, Jeff Smith and Jake Hill all being caught up in the incident. With cars littered across the circuit, officials had to red flag the race. With the race being officially classified at the end of lap eleven, it left Morgan with the victory followed by the recovering Ingram and Andrew Jordan in third. Eurotech Racing’s Jeff Smith finished the race in fourth followed by teammate Martin Depper in fifth. West Surrey Racing’s Rob Collard finished in sixth with teammates Sam Tordoff and Jack Goff behind in seventh and eighth. Daniel Welch finished in ninth followed by RCIB Insurance Racing’s Jake Hill in tenth.
Pirtek backed Andrew Jordan went on to join a list of seven different race winners from the opening eight races of the season. The Motorbase driver showed an impressive performance when he drove his way to victory in race two. Adam Morgan made a steady start from pole position, he coped well with the maximum success ballast for the first half of the race. Jordan made it past Ingram off the line and then the latter was judged to have jumped the start, the officials gave him a drive through penalty. This put Ingram out of contention of a podium, a gaggle of five cars moved into contention of a podium. Morgan led the race from Jordan and then the trio of West Surrey Racing cars in the hands of Collard, Goff and Tordoff followed behind. The important moment came on lap eleven of the race as Jordan managed to pass Morgan to take the lead. Morgan was shuffled down by Collard but he fended off further attacks to keep third. Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden managed to get his Honda onto the back of the leading quintet during the final few laps of the race after starting from the back of the grid. Shedden caught up to Goff and Tordoff and managed to pass both to take fourth. Jack Goff finished the race in fifth followed by teammate Sam Tordoff in sixth. Eurotech Racing’s Daniel Lloyd finished in seventh followed by Motorbase’s Mat Jackson in eighth. Ninth place went to Daniel Welch and Handy Motorsport’s Rob Austin rounded out the top ten.
Motorbase scored its second win of the day as Jackson followed Jordan’s earlier success with his own dominating performance to take victory in the final race of the day. This win also marked his second win of the 2016 season, joining Morgan as the only two to record double wins during the opening three weekends of 2016. Jackson got a good start off the line and blasted past pole-sitter Dan Welch. Despite being kept honest by the chasing pack, Jackson cruised to the chequered flag. After a series of incidents Goff inherited second place until Neal got past on lap eight. As Shedden attacked Goff for third the two swept through Church, the BMW locked up going into the final chicane and the two made contact. Shedden retired with contact after limping over the start/finish line. Goff could only manage an eighteenth place. Adam Morgan claimed the final place on the podium, making it a hatrick of podiums at Thruxton. Fourth and fifth went to MG RCIB Insurance’s Josh Cook and Ashley Sutton. Rob Collard took sixth place, taking the joint lead of the championship with Neal. Handy Motorsport’s Rob Austin finished in seventh ahead of West Surrey Racing’s Sam Tordoff. Eurotech Racing’s Daniel Lloyd finished in ninth ahead of RCIB Insurance Racing’s Michael Epps in tenth.
West Surrey Racing left Thruxton in the lead of the Manufacturers’/Constructors’ championship from Honda, although Halfords Yuasa Racing maintained their lead in the HiQ Teams’ Championship.
Adam Morgan left the circuit in the lead of the Independents drivers’ championship with Motorbase Performance topping the Independents Teams’ championship.
MG RCIB Insurance’s Ashley Sutton left still in the lead of the Jack Sears Trophy but Michael Epps had closed the gap down after an impressive day aboard his Toyota Avensis.
©Fay Tilley 26th December 2016.