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Wins on two Continents within one week - a flying start to 2016 season for Jenkins

Following on from his spectacular win in India just one week ago David Jenkins and his “MAN in Black” were right at the heart of the action during the fast and frenzied three-day Easter meeting that opened the 2016 BTRA British Truck Racing Championship season.

 

After five fiercely contested races Dave emerged in a strong second overall in the championship – having picked up three podium results including a great win on Monday to net a total of 40 points (exactly matching the total scored by his great rival and reigning champion Mat Summerfield).

 

The timed qualifying session on Saturday was a bit of a lottery – only two drivers recording a quick lap time on the wet track before it became coated with oil, turning it into a skating rink. Nevertheless, Jenkins was able to secure 4th spot on the starting grid for the much-anticipated first race of the season.

 

Sunday’s season-opening race proved to be eventful; a wet track and some over-ambitious drivers saw the race twice red-flagged as both Brereton and Powell took first lap trips into the gravel trap at Druids hairpin.

Jenkins steered clear of trouble and brought his MAN home in a respectable fourth place – posting second fastest lap of the race – but finally sandwiched between the new Ryan Smith MAN and Luke Taylor’s MKR Renault. Summerfield took the win after a long battle with Oliver.

“No point in trying any heroic moves in these conditions” said Dave – who was clearly looking at moving up the leaderboard in the later events.

 

The second race of the weekend saw a near-dry track and cleaner start, despite the ‘Reverse Grid’ format coming into operation. It certainly worked for Stuart Oliver (Volvo) who bolted away into an early and uncatchable lead.

Jenkins was very soon through the traffic and in the middle of the chasing pack – quickly climbing into third spot but then being delayed by the Steve Thomas MAN which proved impossible to pass.

Dave flashed over the finishing line just 0.25s behind the Birmingham driver – all the while having to watch his mirrors as Summerfield was right on his tail, just 0.46s down after nearly 20 minutes of hard racing.

That third-place result brought Dave his first silverware of the season – and netted another valuable 8 championship points.

 

Bank Holiday Monday morning had started with high winds and driving rain – but the storm was clearing in time for the first race of the day. The Reverse Grid brought the third different winner of the weekend –as Ryan Smith overhauled Luke Taylor to take victory.

Jenkins charge through the pack but was halted by a broken torque arm – so he finally had to settle for fifth place.

 

Monday’s second outing proved to be the highlight of the weekend for Jenkins and his hard-working crew – and the enthusiastic crowd at last had some sunshine to warm them up. No problems for Jenkins in this race – making a super start he made up plenty of places and quickly reeled in early leader Luke Garrett to head the field.

 

Popping in an ultra-quick fastest lap of the race (indeed of the whole race meeting) at 59.748s. Jenkins then charged on to take the chequered flag and his first win of the season – nearly two seconds clear of Shane Brereton.

 

Of course that victory saw Dave starting from the back of the grid for the fifth and final BTRA truck race of the weekend.

Jenkins MAN was tangled up in a race-stopping multi truck incident on the opening corner, sustaining substantial damage.

But with Dave’s quick-thinking and excellent back-up from the team the truck was repaired before Dave retook his grid position.

 

Despite another red flag the final was soon underway and Jenkins was making impressive progress on a track that was once again slippery and wet.

 

Oliver had again escaped to charge ahead – but Jenkins was part of a close-knit pack that was soon stacking up behind the Scania of Dutch rain-master Zandbergen. For several laps the black MAN truck was stuck in third spot with Thomas and Summerfield pushing him hard.

With all the drivers cornering on the limit the crowd was really on its toes. Then with just a lap to run Zandbergen succumbed to the pressure, making an error that allowed Jenkins through to grab the runner-up spot – another trophy and another 9 points.

 

“ A great weekend for us, we’re leaving Brands with some excellent results and equal second in the championship with a total of 40 points – identical to Matt and only two behind Stuart” said Dave on Monday evening.

“The truck worked well in a real variety of difficult conditions and we’ve proved ourselves competitive in both the wet and dry.

There’s a whole lot more racing to come over the next eight meetings – and I’m sure we’ll be learning more as we continue our development through 2016”.

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