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David Bartrum's Blog

Motorbase BTCC, 3rd May 2012

The Thruxton Weekend

"After a very good Donington Park we were apprehensive about Thruxton, which came at the end of a very busy month. To have four race weekends in two championships in five weekends is a lot. It's not just that April is a busy month: it is a busy two months before building up to the start of the season.

"In February you are busy finishing your deals and getting the cars ready. Then you go testing for the whole of March and then straight into the month of April. Looking at the results we've had, I would have expected more at Brands Hatch. That was a hard weekend with not great results. Then we went to Donington, where it all seemed to be going really well with good results but we lost the last race of the day, which was a shame.

"We thought we were going to go to Thruxton and get annihilated, because the NGTC cars would be very strong. So we went expecting to do a damage limitation job. But Ollie was quite adamant that it was going to be wet and we got our wish – perhaps too much so. Race one went in our favour and we got a win, which was totally unexpected. We got a red flag, but two-thirds distance had been covered so we got a win.

"Liam Griffin did trigger the red flag, but Mat Jackson was far enough ahead to get the result. Unfortunately for Liam his car was quite severely damaged. But the team absolutely excelled and did a sterling Motorbase-style turn round and rebuilt the car for race two, two hours later. It was seriously damaged: probably the worst damage we've had for quite a while. Both chassis legs were in the air and the bulkhead was bent. We got the car out and down the pit lane and it produced a misfire. Mr Engwell from Mountune shot down there and we sorted it out and he joined the race and everything went well.

"Mat had a P3 in race two, which was good. He was carrying a lot of success ballast so the NGTC cars reeled him in. But that was a great result. In the race, there were a few decisions made during the race and Mat's quite a thinking driver most of the time, though he does occasionally have brain fade. It was a decision between him and Ollie that if the NGTC cars caught us, he wouldn't try too hard. We didn't want an off and we didn't want to be pushed off as the points were important. So Shedden and Plato went past and we banked a third place.

"Aron Smith got the front row of the grid in the draw for race three and decided to gamble with slicks on the front, but that didn't work, so he had to pit and get some wets. The other boys stayed on wets all round. Liam had a good race considering the conditions and finished P11. Unfortunately, he had a little infringement that cost him a place afterwards. Mat bagged a sixth place, so across the weekend it wasn't a bad points' haul.

"The summary for April is not a bad month. We had a GT race in amongst three touring cars weekends. It's been flat out and we had good results with the GT cars as well. We've now got five weeks re-grouping time with the touring car team, which maybe gives us a bit of testing time for one or two of the drivers. Then we're off to the Nurburgring with the GT cars, but May will be a lot easier month. We need a bit of a re-group because starting with such an intense month can be quite hurtful. It's tough financially; it's tough on planning and logistics. As a crew, Motorbase has done an exceedingly good job and I'm very proud of them. Now we'll re-group and come back stronger."

David Bartrum