- North Yorkshire’s daunting Croft Circuit next stop for BTCC
There is now less than a week to go before the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship makes its eagerly anticipated and only appearance of the year in the North East at the Croft Circuit this weekend (23/24 June).
The event marks a rare opportunity for motor sport fans from across North Yorkshire and neighbouring counties to turn out in their tens of thousands to see the UK’s premier motor racing championship in high speed action in their region.
With swift access from both the north and, in particular, the south via the much improved A1 motorway as well as the cross-country A66 dual carriageway, plus free admission for accompanied children aged 15, a bumper crowd is expected. Indeed, many drivers will view the event as critical as it gives them a last chance to score big in Sunday’s three races and carry momentum into the championship’s lengthy mid-season break…
Furthermore the Croft Circuit track features several hair-raising high-speed sections right down to the tightest corner on the BTCC calendar – its hairpin. It also has a reputation for conjuring up incident, drama and controversy and boasts sizeable spectator banks overlooking it all.
Scotland’s Gordon Shedden will arrive at Croft leading the drivers’ standings. But breathing down the Fife racer’s neck are his own Honda Yuasa Racing Team team-mate Matt Neal, from Worcestershire, and MG KX Momentum Racing’s Jason Plato, the latter although now living in Oxford very much a favourite among the Croft crowds thanks to his North East roots.
All three drivers have achieved ‘double victories’ at Croft during their careers, although Plato has not sprayed the victory champagne there since 2006. Two other drivers on the current BTCC grid, Andrew Jordan in his Pirtek Racing Honda and Mat Jackson in his Redstone Racing Ford Focus, have also previously won around Croft.
Robert Collard, fourth in the standings, finished on the podium in all three races at Croft 12 months ago in his eBay Motors BMW but has still to break his victory duck at the track. And after a career-best fourth place just over a week ago at Cheshire’s Oulton Park, fellow Hampshireman Daniel Welch is seeking not only his first podium result but also the first top-three finish in the BTCC for a Proton since the late, great David Leslie achieved a second position for the Malaysian make at Croft in 2002!
The Croft fans will have plenty of local talent to support during the two days as well, namely in the supporting Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Ginetta GT Supercup and Ginetta Junior Championship.
In Porsches, Redline Racing from just up the road in Stockton-on-Tees leads the championship with its drivers Michael Meadows but three Yorkshire drivers, Leeds’s Sam Tordoff, Huddersfield’s Daniel Lloyd and Sheffield’s Richard Plant are also winners so far this season. In Leeds sportscar manufacturer Ginetta’s championships, 18-year-old Max Coates from Scorton is in the hunt for the GT Supercup’s ‘junior’ G50 class as is Harrogate team HHC in the Junior series with its driver Charlie Robertson…
Tickets for Croft’s big BTCC weekend (23/24 June) can be purchased in advance on the croftcircuit.co.uk website or by calling the circuit on 01325 721815.