LANDMARK THRUXTON WEEKEND FOR NAPA RACING UK
Dan Cammish and Ash Sutton delivered a dream set of results for NAPA Racing UK at ultra-fast Thruxton (27/28 August) with a race victory apiece and a combined total of four podiums as the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship enters the business end of the season.
Over the course of a fabulous couple of days in Hampshire for the Motorbase Performance-run team, Cammish finally achieved his long-awaited first win of the season, and in some style too, with a faultless lights-to-flag drive.
Converting a superb pole position – NAPA Racing UK’s first in the BTCC – into a textbook win, Cammish was on course to do the double in the second contest but played the perfect team game in allowing title contender Sutton – who also had fastest lap – to go through on the penultimate tour.
Sutton, who ensured a NAPA Racing UK podium double in race one with third place after an action-packed first few corners, duly took his third victory of the campaign in his landmark 200th BTCC race in the second encounter. With team player Cammish following home in second, it marked the first one-two for NAPA Racing UK in Britain’s premier motorsport series.
In the final race of the day, Sutton charged through expertly from 11th on the grid to finish in fifth position and wasn’t all that far away from another podium. Cammish started in tenth place and did rise into ninth, but was edged back late on, settling for another top-ten finish.
With just two race meetings remaining this season – at Silverstone and Brands Hatch GP – reigning champion Sutton is second in the championship and just six points shy of leader Colin Turkington. Cammish’s best weekend of the season has elevated him into the top eight.
In the Teams’ Championship, NAPA Racing UK is back into second place after Thruxton and only four points shy of the top of the table. Motorbase Performance/Ford is also second in the Manufacturers’/Constructors’ battle.
It was a mixed weekend for the Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan drivers, although Ollie Jackson did chalk-up more points with a competitive drive to 14th place in an action-packed Round 24. Race day began with Jackson 24th on the grid and he made good early progress before finishing in a strong 18th position.
In race two, Jackson was in the thick of the action again, particularly during the latter stages where he was embroiled in a very close battle with Jason Plato. He looked on course for potential points but had to settle for 17th after some contact. Aiming for more in the final outing, he delivered with a great drive to 14th position – including a quality move on Aiden Moffat into the fearsome Church corner.
Team-mate Sam Osborne started off with 23rd place in the initial contest, an improvement of two positions from his starting slot. Moving up the order early on and progressing towards the top 20, Osborne lost out in a multi-car melee on lap ten, ultimately ending the race in 23rd.
In race three the Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan driver chalked up a top-20 finish after steadily working his way up the order but the contest came to an early conclusion on only the second tour after he fell victim to contact into the complex which ruled him out on the spot.
“What a weekend!” said Team Manager Oly Collins. “It’s been coming and this weekend it all came together. Highest scoring two drivers, team and manufacturer of the weekend, it doesn’t get much better than that! Dan has been exceptional all weekend and was rewarded with pole and his first win, he was unbeatable.
“It was also a fantastic weekend for Ash, a win, podium and top five in the reverse grid race has him right up there in the championship as we get closer to the decider. For my role in the team, it’s essential to have a team and, in particular, drivers who are the whole package – they’re rarer than you might think. This weekend proved to me more than ever, I have the best in the pitlane!”
“If you need a teammate Dan [Cammish] is the man for that,” added Sutton. “He’s shown that he’s supporting the campaign and what we’re trying to do as an outfit and hopefully soon I can repay the favour. We got the fastest lap in at the start, I let Dan get some air, and then I tried to focus on getting a mix going on behind me. When [Gordon] Shedden and [Jake] Hill started battling I thought ‘right, let’s crack on’ and then the call came to switch positions.”
“To finally take our first win of the season, and to do it in the manner we did from pole, is fantastic and especially after such a long time coming,” said Cammish. “It’s a great reward for everyone who has kept the faith. We took an amazing pole in qualifying, the first for NAPA Racing UK, and it was a great start to race one which I was really happy about. In race two, it was all about what was best for the team and for the championship. I did everything right, it would’ve been two wins from two, but at the end of the day it’s a team game and it was the right choice to make.”
“We had a bit of a nightmare with qualifying,” admitted Jackson. “Our best lap was disallowed and that altered the course of the weekend as we started further back than we should have. We struggled to find a balance, we only really got there for race three, but we still made some progress and then came away with a couple of points from a good final race. Thruxton isn’t my best track, so to still come away with some decent finishes is pretty pleasing.”
“I didn’t qualify very well, unfortunately, and that set the tone for the weekend really,” concluded Osborne. “We didn’t race too badly in the first two, then in race three I got tangled up in someone else’s mess. Two cars a fair way behind me going into the complex tangled, there was nowhere I could go because of cars in front of me, and my right rear got hit which caused a lot of damage and that was game over. It’s a shame it ended that way, onwards and upwards now for Silverstone.”
The squad’s attentions now turn to the penultimate event of the campaign in just a few weeks’ time, as Rounds 25, 26 and 27 of the campaign get underway at Silverstone on 24/25 September.