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SLIDESHOW: Summerfield launches British Truck Racing Championship title defence in style

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 15, 2014

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MAT Summerfield launched the defence of his British Truck Racing Championship with a hat-trick of race wins at Brands Hatch.

The Burton HGV mechanic also claimed second and third place finishes as he began his bid for three consecutive titles in style.

Summerfield, who swapped his MAN TGA for a MAN TGX for the 2014 season, enjoyed a decent qualifying session and was the fourth fastest Division One truck.

The defending champion got off to a good start in Saturday’s opening 15-minute race, but a red flag came out on the first lap due to an incident on the Paddock Hill bend.

After the restart Summerfield took four laps to get into his stride. By lap five he had moved up into fifth place and had posted the fastest time of 1:00:06.

On lap six he passed a Division Two competitor, which allowed Summerfield to pull away – with rivals Dave Jenkins and Steve Thomas held up.

The Burton mechanic moved into the lead on lap 12, while main rivals Jenkins, Chris Levett, Thomas and Richard Collett all stuck behind Division Two trucker Simon Reid.

Reid was eventually passed, but with a six-second gap, Summerfield was first past the chequered flag with Jenkins, Levett and Thomas crossing the line almost in unison.

Summerfield lined up on the grid for race two with just two trucks behind – and 16 in front.

Once again he enjoyed a good start, getting past Levett then Thomas.

By lap three he had moved up into 11th after overtaking Ben Horne and Stuart Oliver.

Summerfield was pushing hard, with only the Division Two drivers plus three Division One trucks ahead.

By lap six he was up to sixth – with Jenkins and Collett up ahead.

Collett took the lead on lap 11, while Jenkins and Summerfield sat third and fourth respectively, with a Division Two truck still to pass.

Jenkins and Summerfield each moved up a place ahead of the final lap from Levett and Thomas.

Levett and Summerfield then collided on the Graham Hill bend, scattering those behind who took evasive action.

Jenkins chased after Collett but slowed and then dropped down through the field before pulling off.

Thomas took advantage of all the action to get in between Summerfield and Levett.

Thomas challenged the Burton driver into Druids, and as they both ran wide Levett came through to finish second. Summerfield was third.

Summerfield started near the back of the grid for Sunday’s first race.

As the lights turned green he was straight into a rhythm, pushing hard and forcing his way through the field.

After finally overtaking Dutch driver Cees Zandbergen, only Division Two trucks were left up ahead.

It took just three corners for Summerfield to hit the front, leaving almost half the race to protect his lead.

His advantage was soon cut down as the chasing Levett moved into second place – setting several fastest laps in his Renault.

By the 16th and final lap Levett was right in Summerfield’s mirror, but was unable to launch an attack, enabling the Burton HGV mechanic to claim his second win of the weekend.

Summerfield started last on the grid for the next race. He had another impressive start before the red flag was brandished as Ryan Smith ended up in the gravel at Paddock Hill bend.

With the incident cleared and the race restarted, the Division Two trucks soon gained an early lead.

Summerfield worked his way up through the field while Stuart Oliver and Collett were edged out at Surtees.

Oliver carried on but then had Levett to contend with – closely followed by Summerfield.

The two leading Division Trucks trucks swapped places while Levett and Summerfield overtook Oliver.

Levett worked the lower tier trucks to his advantage to take the lead. Summerfield was not far behind with Thomas in tow, but neither was able to change the final race order.

Summerfield again started from the back of the grid for the final race of the weekend.

Collett initially led the Division One trucks – defending his position from Jenkins, who was closely followed by Summerfield then Levett.

Jenkins got on the inside of Collett at Graham Hill bend with the pair running side by side.

Jenkins hit the front with Collett then colliding into the back of the leader and running off the track. Jenkins had Summerfield and Levett for company, with Collett’s race over.

The positions stayed the same for the remainder of the race with Jenkins taking the flag. But a penalty for exceeding track limits handed the win to Summerfield with Levett second.

After the opening round Summerfield leads the championship by 10 points from Levett, who is on 37.

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