The British Automobile Racing Club closed out its 2023 season at Brands Hatch last weekend (November 4/5) with an extravaganza of title-deciding entertainment as a number of champions were crowned in front of a capacity trackside crowd.
Concluding what has been a year to remember for the Club’s championships, series, centres and venues; two days of blockbuster racing – in contrasting weather conditions – provided the backdrop to a fitting finale around the Indy layout of the Kent venue.
Headlining the action was the British Truck Racing Championship, which saw Ryan Smith continue to re-write the history books as he claimed an unprecedented eighth consecutive Division 1 title.
Going into the weekend holding a commanding lead at the top of the standings, Smith mastered both the wet and dry conditions in his Daimler Freightliner to clinch a hat-trick of race wins and with it, the coveted crown for an eighth time.
Unfortunately, incidents on-track meant that the super-sized series only really contested three of its five scheduled bouts. The first race was declared without a result following two red flag stoppages while the finale lasted just a couple of corners before an accident caused barrier damage on the run up to Druids.
Huge credit must be given to all of the volunteer marshals, BARC officials and circuit staff for their tireless and swift efforts over the course of the weekend.
While Smith comfortably cruised to championship glory, there was unbelievably nothing to separate Paul Rivett and Adam Bint in the battle for overall Division 2 honours – with the pair ending the season tied on points.
Across both days, the pendulum between the title protagonists swung back-and-forth, with each of them scoring wins. Come the final race, both drivers were locked on the same amount of points and due to the race not taking place, the champion was crowned on a count back of wins.
Having been somewhat of a winning juggernaut, especially in recent rounds, NAPA Racing UK’s Rivett was declared the new Division 2 champion ahead of Bint – who had pieced together an incredible campaign from start-to-finish.
Things were somewhat more straight forward in the ultra-competitive Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE Trophy as former rallycross champion Tom Ovenden reigned supreme to wrap up the title.
Entering the weekend as one of six drivers that held a mathematical chance of lifting the one-make series crown, the EXCELR8 Motorsport driver shadowed his title rivals in the opening encounter before then securing the title with a fifth place finish in race two.
As Ovenden rightly soaked up the spoils of championship glory, the final three race wins of the season fell the way of Alex Keens, Jack Byrne and Nathan Edwards; whilst Maximus Hall punched in an impressive showing by clinching hat-trick of second place finishes.
Daire Flock turned his dreams of being crowned champion of the Junior Saloon Car Championship into a reality as he came out on top in the final two races of a thrilling 2023 campaign.
The Westbourne Motorsport driver entered the weekend with a healthy advantage in the standings however with double points on offer, he couldn’t afford to make any mistakes – especially as rookie ace Cameron Pratt-Thompson was waiting in the wings.
Victory in race one put the sophomore racer on the cusp of glory before he wrapped things up with second place in race two, just behind eventual winner Oskar Dix. Pratt-Thompson would settle for the runners-up spot overall, although he did manage to clinch the Rookie Cup.
Third and sixth place finishes proved to be enough for Reece Jones to successfully retain his Pickup Truck Racing Championship title as he became a two-time champion in the popular one-make series.
Arriving at Brands Hatch in the pound seat, Jones produced a flurry of measured performances to ensure he did enough to hold off Dale Gent and Paul Tompkins – who were his main rivals heading into the weekend.
Gent would sign off the season with victory in the final race, although he could do nothing to stop former British Touring Car Championship race winner Matt Simpson from triumphing in the weekend’s earlier two contests.
Rounding out the list of newly crowned champions at Brands Hatch was Will Gibson, who – after coming oh-so close last year – was able to secure the Legends Cars National Championship for 2023.
As expected, the 5/8 scale pocket rockets delivered frenetic racing and while he didn’t win any of the heats, Gibson wracked up the points finishes to guarantee himself an unassailable lead in the standings. Jack Parker and Chris Needham would share the spoils in terms of race wins.
To view the full classification of results from all sessions at Brands Hatch, CLICK HERE.