Adam Morgan

BTCC 2016 – Thruxton | Reviewed and Rated

Without doubt, the latest rounds of the British Touring Car Championship from Thruxton proved to be the most entertaining and intriguing of the season so far; crashes, punctures, arguments, withdrawals, shortened race distances, a red flag, it had it all. ESM’s BTCC Correspondent reviews the aftermath.

BTCC 2016 ThruxtonSaturday’s qualifying session brought the second outright pole in three meetings for Tom Ingram, followed by a stunning effort from Aiden Moffat to take second ahead of a ballast-laden Matt Neal and MG pair Josh Cook and Ashley Sutton.

Race One (1st Morgan, 2nd Ingram, 3rd Jordan)
Quite simply, the best race of the season so far and it’ll take something special to beat this in the remaining races, despite there being plenty still to go. For a first race of the day, it is hard to remember anything as interesting and exciting. It was like a final race of the day.

After the withdrawal of all four Team BMR Subarus on Sunday morning due to safety concerns about their fuel lines, Neal managed to jump Moffat off the line when the lights went out. He immediately pushed Ingram hard into the opening corners, but Moffat soon came back at him around the outside. With Neal down the inside of Ingram at the third corner, Ingram was nudged sideways into Moffat resulting in a half spin that he managed to power around. All of a sudden Neal was leading the race, Josh Cook was challenging Neal and there was a gaggle of cars ready to pounce on any incident from the leaders. And incident there was. Ingram was turned sideways, allowing Adam Morgan through, and then Sutton’s car was turned sideways before heading off into the barriers with what appeared to be a puncture. All this by the end of lap two!

Things had hardly settled down on the third lap as Morgan was able to overtake Cook for 2nd with it being so close at the front. It was astonishing that a fully ballast Neal was driving so aggressively on a track known to be so abrasive, but he was holding his own. That was until the end of the lap, when Morgan was able to get a better exit out of the chicane and overtook Neal on the start-finish line, but Neal didn’t give up. Back he came for almost half a lap, as it bunched up the leaders, resulting in an incredible sight of six abreast around the back of the circuit. This race was anybody’s.

BTCC 2016 Thruxton

Moffat came back at Neal to reclaim 2nd, but Morgan started to pull away at the front. Following a lap or two’s lull, lap ten brought puncture after puncture in the hot conditions. The first to suffer was Moffat, then Mark Howard and Mat Jackson, whose tyre caused spectacular damage to the front wing of his Ford Focus. However, the punctures continued as Neal was the next victim at the end of the lap, luckily for him, or so it seemed. This didn’t prove to be the case as he couldn’t find a route into the pits as Ingram overtook on his inside, before Cook mounted the rear of Neal, sending them both into spins collecting several cars in the process, most notably Gordon Shedden who ended up spinning into the pit wall. With cars strewn everywhere and concerns over other car’s tyres, the inevitable red flag occurred, allowing Morgan to claim his second victory of the season. (more…)

BTCC 2015 – Thruxton | Reviewed and Rated

EngageSportMode’s BTCC Correspondent returns with his take on all the action, or lack of, from Thruxton.

BTCC 2015 - Thruxton 00

A year ago, ESM visited Thruxton for not a particularly enjoyable experience and although ESM weren’t there in person this year, the action hardly set many viewing pulses racing. That’s not to say the racing was bad, it just wasn’t great, as we had three different winners.

Plenty of action happened before the races on Sunday. Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing have ditched Richard Hawken, after just one race meeting at Donington, and replaced him with ex-F1 driver Martin Donnelly. From driver changes to track changes at Thruxton… Following last year’s big smashes at Church involving Simon Belcher and Nick Foster, Thruxton have finally installed more substantial barriers at the corner and luckily they weren’t tested during the BTCC races this season.

However, there were plenty of damaged cars on Saturday. Dan Welch took no part on Sunday due to damage and Hunter Abbott sustained damage too, although he was able to race 24 hours later. Belcher must be wondering what Thruxton has against him, as he was unable to race after a big shunt with Mike Bushell in qualifying. Bushell was left on crutches following a leg injury and although Belcher was fine, his car was not. This meant that the grid started with a mere 25 cars for Race One.

BTCC 2015 - Thruxton 002

None of the races were particularly exciting; yes there were good parts and bad parts, but a fairly average weekend all in all. Aron Smith secured his first ever pole position, but he made an awful start (due to not seeing the lights because of his advertising strip on his windscreen) and the Hondas of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal powered through and stayed there for the duration. Smith was still having a strong race until the curse of Thruxton punctures struck, meaning he eventually finished 21st. Smith certainly had the pace to win and was showing great race craft with close racing, but it wasn’t to be. (more…)

BTCC 2014 – Brands Hatch GP – Rounds 28/29/30 – Review

Slightly later than planned*, our BTCC correspondent gives his take on the final rounds of the 2014 season.

Turkington Crowned Champion

2014 BTCC Brands Hatch GP 000

Colin Turkington was crowned the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion at Brands Hatch after a fantastic final round of racing. Turkington, ironically, had his worst weekend of the season, but still came away from the Kent circuit as the happiest man of the day after taking his second drivers’ title.

Saturday saw Turkington’s nearest rival, Jason Plato, take pole position from his teammate Sam Tordoff, Gordon Shedden, Turkington, Adam Morgan and a season’s best for Fabrizio Giovanardi and James Cole in 6th and 7th. It was yet another poor day for Matt Neal, and his Sunday wasn’t going to go much better, as he qualified in 22nd.

Race One took place on a drying track although it wasn’t wet enough to use wet tyres. However, we probably saw the most dramatic start of the season as Plato got off to an awful start meaning Tordoff jumped him, but then Turkington was in the lead just after Paddock Hill bend as the cars headed for Druids. However, after Druids that soon reverted back to Tordoff from Plato and Turkington. (more…)

EngageSportMode Awards 2013 Edition – Part Two

If you’ve read Part One of the EngageSportMode Awards you’ll be ready for Part Two. Well, here it is. Whilst the first instalment concentrated on the metal that made us take notice in 2013, this section concentrates on the people who we feel deserve recognition from their efforts in the last year. 

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Man of the YearSebastian Vettel and Sébastien Ogier

Sebastian Vettel F1 2013 WDC 001

Motorsport in 2013 was dominated by a tale of two Sebastians (or variations thereof) with both of the top FIA titles going to such named people.

Vettel stamped his name in the Formula 1 history books with an exceptionally crushing Championship drive, breaking and rewriting various records on the way. His run of nine straight victories from Belgium to Brazil cemented his position as one of the greatest drivers ever.

Detractors will point to the “Multi 21” incident in Malaysia, which saw Vettel disobey team orders to pass Mark Webber for the lead of the race, as a smear on his character. The tension in the Red Bull garage festered all season from thereon, and was only alleviated by the announcement that Webber would be leaving to race sportscars for Porsche in 2014. Such an overwhelming display of dominance by Vettel led some to question whether his success was making the sport boring, with some fans turning to booing him on the podium in later races. (more…)

BTCC @ Croft 2013 – Photo Gallery

After yesterday’s teaser, EngageSportMode can now bring you the full photographic wonderment captured at Round 5 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship on the 23rd June 2013.

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Still to come this week is a full report from ESM’s BTCC Correspondent, along with some reflections on how this race weekend compared to others we’ve experienced at Croft. There may also be some I Could Afford That/Classified Dreaming action too.

All images copyright EngageSportMode.com 2013

BTCC 2013 Round 2 – Donington Review

ESM’s BTCC correspondent dishes out his review of the action-packed second round of this year’s season:

Honda’s Donington Dominance Stopped by Turkington!

Turkington! (c) BTCC.net

Turkington! (c) BTCC.net

Last weekend saw the second round of 2013’s British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park. The hills surrounding the circuit still look like huge quarry mud banks due to the works to upgrade the track and facilities, so I can’t say it was all that aesthetically appealing, nor are eBay Motors’ vile grey and yellow race suits! Who chose those colours?

Anyway, enough about aesthetics and more about the racing! Race One saw Gordon Shedden on pole, for amazingly the first time in nearly two years since he lined up as leader at Oulton Park in 2011. Jason Plato was quick to point out, as normal, that he was the fastest man if all ballast had been taken account of. However, it wasn’t and Shedden was the first man to see the lights go out. Shedden led from pole with Andrew Jordan in second into the first corner. The cars appeared to be fairly processional in the early part of the race after sorting themselves out after the first few corners. The cars on the soft tyres suffered towards the end of the race, with Aron Smith being the best placed come the end in only 11th.

A car which perked up my interest in Race One was that of Tom Onslow-Cole. I think the VW Passat looks great and I fully expect it to be a competitive car by the end of the season, especially on the evidence witnessed this weekend. I would suggest that the Passat needs a bit more speed as it looked a bit sluggish at times.  I was surprised at how much traction it had off the corners, especially compared to Rob Collard’s BMW, who he was having a good battle with. (more…)