Last weekend saw the BTCC Snetterton Weekend 2016 as the teams and drivers got back to racing after the six week break since Croft, and what a weekend it was. There had been some testing during the week as the drivers got used to the Norfolk track, before practice on Saturday. It was all good work for Gordon Shedden, who scored his first pole in three years putting his Halfords Yuasa Honda at the front of the grid for the first race, ahead of Colin Turkington and Adam Morgan.
The warm weather that had brought the crowds out on Saturday continued through Sunday, and Snetterton was looking busy as the first BTCC race got under way, albeit a little late due to earlier incidents in the support races. Flash Shedden lead the cars from the start, with Turkington stopping him from getting away until the eighth lap where after some contact between the two, Turkington took the lead which he held to the end. Flash retained second place, and they were joined on the podium by Mat Jackson, just ahead of Adam Morgan.
After what had been an exciting opening race, there were high hopes for the second race, and it was certainly action packed, although not all for the right reasons. Mat Jackson passed Turkington for the lead on the opening lap, before a crash involving several cars caused a red flag and rescue and medical vehicles to race around the track. I had just made it from the grid walk to the hill at the end of the paddock to see debris fly in the air in what seemed like all directions. Thankfully, none of the drivers was hurt, although some had a medical check up, although the same could not be said of the cars, with that of Dan Welch looking particularly damaged. In the race, Jackson and Turkington kept the top two steps on the podium, although this time they were joined by the driver of the other Halfords Yuasa Honda, Matt Neal.
By the time the third and final BTCC race of the day was about to get under way, the blue skies that had been present all weekend were covered with some ominous looking cloud, and the teams were thinking about pit stops for rain tyres.
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I was in the pits as the race started, and as the cars started, Mark Howard, Alex Martin and Ollie Jackson had a coming together that collected Hunter Abbot and caused his Power Maxed Racing car to lift of the track and fly into a camera scaffold, knocking the cameraman off and the scaffold over towards the crowd. There were gasps all around me and a need to check the replay to see if what we thought we saw really happened, followed by huge concern for all those involved. Thankfully, no one was badly hurt – although again the same cannot be said of the cars – and the race got under way for a second time. Flash Shedden lived up to his name and cut through the pack before taking the win on the last lap, with Rob Collard and Rob Austin joining him on the podium.
The weekend also saw a new entry, with Chris Smiley heading off to the Clio Cup with Jamsport, and his Team Hard position being filled by British GT veteran Michael Caine.
If the BTCC action was not enough – and there was plenty of it – then there were always the support events including British Formula Four, The Clio Cup, Ginetta Juniors, the Ginetta Supercup and the Porsche Carrera Cup.
There were even a few passes by some rather impressive aircraft.
The series have a two week break now before the journey north to Scotland and the Knockhill rounds.