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MOONLIGHTING 2021: EPISODE 3

ITV commentator David Addison is back with his monthly BTCC blog, as he looks back at his highlights from the opening race weekend at Thruxton…

I’m not sure any of us expected that at Thruxton… a weekend of drama, damage and damp. Welcome to the 2021 BTCC season!

It is way too early to think sensibly about the championship, but a lot happened last weekend that might be significant come October. 

How we reflect on the first event may well be different when put into context for the championship showdown. For one thing, none of the top-level drivers had a trouble-free weekend. Turkington: penalty. Sutton: spin, engine issue. Cook: penalty. Ingram: penalty. Butcher: damage. Shedden: damage… the list goes on.

There was also Dan Cammish making his cameo appearance and taking points off those who might be in the title fight. 

The pace, and results, of the BTC Racing cars was good to see after a winter of much change. Josh Cook took two brilliant wins and the fact that he copped a penalty in race three for not having the tyres on the car at the correct moment was a frustration for all, but rules are rules!

What else? The pace of the Excelr8 Hyundais was impressive, especially Tom Ingram’s Ginsters-backed example. He was in the mix in race one and had he not been Cook-ed in race two, and bounced over the kerbs and lost momentum in the process, he might have been up there in the second contest, too. And, in even more positive news, we didn’t call it a Toyota during commentary once! Reeeee-sult!

Rory Butcher’s weekend wasn’t representative of what the Speedworks-run Toyota Corolla is capable of, and he will be kicking himself for the mistake in race two. We know that Rory is tough (remember Silverstone last year?) so he will bounce back and that combination can still be in the mix come October. 

Same applies for brother-in-law Gordon Shedden. His pace was mega in race three when the car was back to almost full health and he proved all weekend that he has lost none of his racecraft. A cheer, too, for Dan Rowbottom who surely shut up all the doubters in the second Halfords racing with Cataclean Honda. He raced well, bagged more points in one race than his whole 2019 campaign and looked like he belonged in ‘The Big League’. And he will get better.

And Moonlighting was pleased to see Jason Plato back on his toes and racing well in the Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra. OK, he may not have bagged a win, but it was as though he had never been away and his mojo is back! After a year away, plenty were happy to write him off, but Thruxton proved you do that at your peril.

So, on to Snetterton. Different style of circuit, different qualifying format, different tyre… same excitement!

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