Sutton’s ‘unforgettable’ Trophy win
Ashley Sutton’s maiden season in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship would prove to be one to remember for the Essex-born racer, as he rounded off a strong campaign in fine style by winning the Jack Sears Trophy.
The MG RCIB Insurance man didn’t take long to assert himself as a someone capable of challenging at the sharp end, despite his rookie status. After going well there in pre-season testing at Season Launch, Sutton scored pole at Donington Park – the season’s second race weekend. A host of high points-scoring finishes showed it wasn’t just over a lap where Sutton’s capabilities shone.
Come mid-season, at the end of the Croft weekend, he’d garnered a debut appearance on the steps of the rostrum and a thrilling race three from the North Yorkshire circuit, in changeable conditions, yielded a popular first win for the MG driver – much to the delight of the both the Triple Eight squad and MG’s contingent.
As far as the 2015 Renault UK Clio Cup champion is concerned, 2016 will go down as a job well done in the BTCC.
“Things couldn’t have gone better for me this season,” said Sutton. “Some bad luck struck us mid-season and knocked us down the standings for the overall Drivers’ title but I have achieved everything I came here to do.
“People kept asking me at the start, ‘are all these big names intimidating?’ and my honest answer was always no, they are just stickers on windows. I was not going to treat the BTCC any differently to any other championship I had been in.
“I set myself some goals just before Season Launch – those being to secure my first pole positon, get my first podium, followed by my first outright win and then the last and final one, the Jack Sears Trophy.
“Those goals at the time may have been a little strong but I am pleased that we have achieved every single one of them.”
At the TOCA Night of Champions at the end of November, Sutton collected the Jack Sears Trophy, bearing the legendary name of inaugrual BTCC champion Jack Sears, in the year of the inaugural BTCC champion’s passing gave an extra gravitas to the achievement.
“Collecting silverware does show what you have achieved, but winning the Jack Sears Trophy on the year that ‘Gentleman Jack’ passed, with his son David presenting it to me made it an emotional experience as well as an unforgettable one.”