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British truck racer Jenkins has Europe in his sights next season

Truck racer Dave Jenkins is planning to drive in at least two rounds of the European Championship next season to hone his competitive edge as he bids to win back the British championship.


The former BTRA British Truck Racing champion, who has been racing for 19 years, completed another successful season at Brands Hatch on November 3-4, finishing runner up to defending champion Ryan Smith.


Just 36 points separated the two drivers at the top of the table after eight rounds, comprising 35 keenly contested races. Jenkins recorded five race wins and 20 podium finishes during the season and scored the most points on three rounds.


He pinpointed two incidents during the season, when he dropped valuable points, as being pivotal to his championship challenge.


The first was at the opening meeting of the season at Brands Hatch in April when his MAN truck was pushed off the track and the new rules didn’t allow him to restart the race. The second came at Donnington in July when he was disqualified in one race.


“Dropping the points at Brands Hatch gave Ryan early momentum,” said Jenkins, a Morris Lubricants Racing ambassador who lives and works in Stone. “I scored more points than him in three of the eight rounds this year, but he outscored me by a bigger margin in the other five rounds.


“Because of the points that I lost, that was enough to give him a bit of breathing space. However, I had a very strong season with five race wins and 20 podiums and I set the fastest lap at Brands Hatch.


“The results and the lap times show that I have made progress and I still have a fast package and unfulfilled potential. Qualifying was as entertaining as the racing this season as the quality increased again, with four of the best drivers having raced in Europe.”


Jenkins believes he needs to be racing more regularly against the best in Europe to sharpen his racing technique.


“Ryan is racing in the British and European Championships which gives him the competitive edge,” he said. “I also need to be racing in Europe to get more experience of competing against different opponents, so that I’m race-fit all the time. Our campaign next year will have two or three European races written into it.”


The Jenkins Motorsport Development team’s focus over the winter will be to seek small improvements to return their driver to the champion’s podium next season.


Jenkins wants the fine tuning of his truck completed in the next four weeks, so that it’s primed for testing in the new year. A trip to the Czech Republic for four days of testing is planned in March, ready for the first races of the new season on April 21.


Jenkins was delighted to see his friends, brothers Simon and Craig Reid, who work for the family business, Reid Freight Services in Stoke-on-Trent, claim fourth place in division one and sixth in division two respectively.


Simon, like Jenkins, is a Morris Lubricants Racing ambassador and the two families have been friends for many years, since the days when their fathers were racing trucks.


“Simon is going to be a real threat next year because he has come on leaps and bounds and has a big development plan for the winter,” he said. “He’s definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with. It’s great to see both Simon and Craig doing so well.”


Away from the race track, Jenkins and his partner, Hayley welcomed baby Florence to their family on October 3. At just eight days old, Florence was at Pembrey to watch her dad winning a race.


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