The British Truck Racing Championship rolls into Wales this weekend (May 7/8) for the first of what will be two visits to Pembrey Circuit in 2022 and the eagerly anticipated inaugural Convoy Cymru event.
Hot on the heels of a pulsating curtain-raiser at Brands Hatch last month, the heavyweight behemoths are preparing to write the latest chapter in what is already shaping up to be another sensational season in both Division 1 and Division 2.
Undoubtedly the headline act on-track, the BTRC is set to put on a show for an expected bumper crowd as fans flock to Convoy Cymru, which will see hundreds of show trucks, an all-action arena, live music, funfair and more create a festival atmosphere around the picturesque venue.
Familiar name heads the early-going in Division 1
After six consecutive years of dominance, it should come as no surprise that reigning champion Ryan Smith heads into the second event of the season occupying the summit of the Division 1 standings.
Such is the competitive nature of this year’s field, four drivers stood on the top step of the podium at the Kent venue however it was Smith’s consistency that sees him head to South Wales with a ten-point buffer.
At the wheel of his new Daimler Truck, Smith scored victory in the opener before going on to snare four podium finishes on the bounce - laying down his marker early in the process as he chases title number seven.
David Jenkins was a double-winner at Brands Hatch and he will be hoping he can carry his front-running form into the weekend as he bids to close the gap to his long-time title rival.
He will need to be at his best as the chasing pack are hot on his heels, with impressive youngster Bradley Smith leading the charge. Having only made a handful of appearance prior to this year, Smith produced a standout performance to snare a pair of podiums in his MAN.
Stuart Oliver and Simon Reid were the other race winners last month and they, along with the likes of John Newell, Craig Reid, Steven Powell and Mark Taylor will all be worth keeping an eye on for outright honours.
Other notable names that will be keen to make their mark at Pembrey and bounce back from recent travails include Tom O’Rourke, Richard Collett, Simon Faulkner and Michael Oliver, son of Stuart.
*Powell sets the pace *
In Division 2, John Powell emerged as the driver to beat last time out as he powered his DAF to an impressive hat-trick of wins.
Boasting a wealth of experience, the series stalwart hardly put a wheel wrong all weekend and heads to Pembrey holding a six-point advantage over his nearest challenger.
Despite his treble, Powell didn’t have things all his own way as a number of other drivers underlined their credentials as title contenders this season.
Brad Smith and returning double champion Luke Garrett picked up a win apiece as well as additional podiums whilst Jock Borthwick finished on the rostrum in all five contests at Brands Hatch.
Bidding to close the deficit to the top four are three more drivers that will all be worth keeping an eye on over the course of the weekend; Craig Evans, John Bowler and Adam Bint. Each of them had their own troubles at round one but if things fall their way you can bet they’ll be in contention for outright spoils.
More than just racing
On top of five BTRC races, those attending Pembrey this weekend will be able to experience a festival of all things trucking thanks to Convoy Cymru which is taking place a year later than first planned.
Postponed last year due to the COVID pandemic, the two-day spectacle is set to have fun for all the family surrounding the track, complimenting the full-throttle racing that is expected.
Saturday 7th May | Qualifying: 09:20 / Race 1: 11:55 / Race 2: 15:20
Sunday 8th May | Race 3: 09:45 / Race 4: 12:00 / Race 5: 15:20
All races will be streamed online for free via the British Automobile Racing Club YouTube channel with Saturday’s broadcast beginning at 11:35 and Sunday’s at 09:30.
Ticket information for the event can be found by visiting HERE.