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Pickup racer Wood vows to bounce back from engine failure at Brands Hatch

British Pickup Racing Championship contender Lea Wood has vowed to bounce back from a major engine problem that put the brakes on his challenge at Brands Hatch earlier this month.

 

At the half stage of the championship, Wood, 32, a Morris Lubricants Racing (MLR) ambassador, has slipped back one place to third after a “nightmare weekend” at Brands Hatch, as pacesetter Scott Bourne extended his advantage to 504 points.

 

But there is still all to play for in the remaining 11 races, the next of which are at Rockingham on July 1 and 2. The JWT Performance team is now busy fine tuning a new engine in the Ford Ranger pickup ready for the next races.

 

Everything had been going so smoothly until qualifying at Brands Hatch. Wood’s team don’t know for certain what caused the “catastrophic” engine failure, but a broken conrod bolt is the most likely suspect.

 

“We had completely revamped the truck and fitted a new engine over the winter,” said Wood, who is based in Hereford. “It’s a shame about the engine failure because the truck had been going really well and it had been reliable. It turned out to be a nightmare weekend.

 

“The engine failed during qualifying so we replaced it overnight and got it ready for the first race. I was then forced to pull out of the race with an oil leak and had to start the second race from the back of the grid. I did manage to salvage something from the weekend by getting through to fourth place and recording the fastest lap.

 

“We are at the half way stage of the championship and there is still a lot of racing left. I would have preferred to have been higher, but I am not a million miles away from the leader and can assure you that I will be pushing hard to catch up. My mission is to win the championship after finishing second in my debut season last year.”

 

His highlight of the season to date was a race win, a third and a fastest lap at Pembrey in April. Following the meeting at Rockingham, the remaining races are at Donnington Park on July 22 and 23, Snetterton on September 9 and 10, Rockingham on September 30 and October 1 and Brands Hatch on November 4 and 5.

 

Last season, he recorded most race wins and podium finishes – five and 11 respectively – but ultimately paid for an engine problem in the first meeting of the season at Brands Hatch.

 

Delighted to be an MLR ambassador, he said: “This is our fifth year showcasing Morris Lubricants and I'm proud to be a brand ambassador. We work extremely hard to tick all the boxes as a team, so long may it continue.”

The company first sponsored Wood in 2013 when he made his name by winning the coveted Jack Sears Trophy in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. The relationship has since blossomed and Morris Lubricants has again put its faith in Wood becoming a motorsport champion for the second time.

Andrew Goddard, managing director of Shrewsbury-based Morris Lubricants, said: “We remain confident that Lea can finish strongly and win the championship. His performance as a MLR ambassador has been exemplary and he’s a great example to up-and-coming racers.”

Morris Lubricants, one of Europe's leading oil blenders and marketers, launched its successful MLR ambassador programme last year to support all levels of British motorsport and promote the company’s premium quality oils and lubricants. 

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