A cold and cloudy morning at Thruxton race circuit saw large crowds gathering, undeterred by the weather and in support of Billy Monger. The #BillyWhizz t-shirts were out in full force which continued the theme on from yesterday, with each car sporting the customised number plates.
It wasn’t long until the sun broke through the overcast sky at Thruxton, which proved to be good timing for the first BTCC race of the day kicking off.
Dave Newsham climbed 7 places and into the points at P15. “I had a great race one, making up 7 places to grab the final championship point. The car could still be improved, so we set about making some tweaks ready for race 2” remarked Dave, making it clear that he was enjoying the fastest circuit in the UK.
Another fast race start for Chris saw him battle 8 places up into P19. As a result, Chris was awarded the Forever Forward Award for Race 1 which is awarded to the driver that gains the most places from their qualifying position. The first of many awards we hope!
This meant that both drivers would be starting in and around the middle of the pack at Thruxton race 2, which left Chris and Dave hopeful of progressing further up the grid over the course of the day.
Primed and ready for Race 2, Chris and Dave took up their positions on the grid, with Chris in P19 and Dave in P15.
Before the race was red flagged for a big crash by Dan Lloyd in the Triple 8 MG, both Chris and Dave had already been busy gaining places, meaning that for the restart Dave had progressed to 13th and Chris had moved up to 17th.
After a lengthy pause in racing, they both set off to make up further places. Another red flag was shown, and the race was completed after another 6 laps. This resulted in Chris getting his first championship point, finishing the race in 15th and Dave another points finish in 13th.
Chris was clearly delighted at his first championship points, commenting “Race 2 has been my best BTCC race so far”.
Despite big plans for race 2, Dave’s plans were hampered slightly. “The race was shortened by the two
red flags, so we didn’t have enough time to improve on my P13 finish, but it was more steps forward.”
Two cars finishing in the points after just three race meetings, was a great achievement for the team and a brilliant reward for all the work that has gone into setting the team up. Our ambitions do not stop there, however, unsurprisingly the atmosphere in the team after race 2 was buzzing!
Both drivers were keen to build on the progress that had been made in race 1 and 2 earlier that day. Dave certainly got stuck into the race.
“Further tweaks to the car were made for race three and it was an exciting one, I briefly nudged P10 as I got a run on Tom Chilton into Noble. I had the inside line and thought Tom would back out, however he’s braver than I gave him credit for as he hung on round the outside, we touched at 120mph sending me sideways.
“I lost my momentum and lost a couple of places. I managed to get one of them back and regroup, then moved to the back of Jeff Smith, he clipped Tom at the very same corner and spun right in front of me, I had to brake to avoid him, this let Matt Neal through.
“I finished a credible P12 which isn’t too bad”. This was another solid points haul for Dave, sees him 15th in the Driver Championship and 5th in the Independent Driver Championship.
Hungry for more points, Chris also had his eye on making further progress up the grid. “Race 3 looked as though I could have had another points finish, however an incident with Matt Neal at Club chicane saw another 3 cars pass my car. I wasn’t able to recover the lost positions and I finished 19th”.
With lots of positives to take from the weekend, the team is busy working to ensure that the progression continues at Oulton Park next weekend.
Chris is already looking forward to the next round and added, “Thruxton Park has been a really big learning curve for me, with a lot of progress with the car and my driving. I am really excited to be racing at Oulton Park next weekend.”
The fastest circuit in the UK provided Dave with some great racing, he is also looking ahead to Oulton Park full of optimism. “I can’t wait to meet up again with my BTC Norlin Racing family at Oulton Park and continue to work on the Chevy’s development.”
Photography: Jay Adair.
Courtesy of BTC Racing