The Tata Prima T1 Truck Racing Championship has a rather unique distinction. It is the first time in any trucking even around the world that a one-make series of sorts has been run, which is a fact that Steve Horne, organiser, British Truck Racing Association points out to me. Horne is an old hand at truck racing, having started out in the sport as far back as 1986. And while heâ€™s taken to organising events like this, heâ€™s not the sort to sit back and watch the rest of the pack have fun. Not only was he the development driver for the Prima race truck, he also let his enthusiasm for the sport take over, strapping himself into that very high race seat for the qualifying session of the first ever truck racing championship to grace an Indian racetrack. No, what we see the drivers of the recovery vehicles doing at the Madras Motor Racing Track doesnâ€™t count as racing.
For the first edition of the Prima T1 Truck Racing Championship, the format is rather simple. The 12 race trucks go out on track for a qualifying session that will determine their grid positions for a five-lap sprint race. As it turns out it is Ben Horne who would end up in pole position for the sprint race. And thatâ€™s where the truck racing plot thickened rather thoroughly.
When the five red lights went out at the BIC for the sprint race, things got all tricky. Heading into the first corner of the first lap, Horne was punted into the gravel by Stuart Oliver, who was keen to get a move on it and muscle his way into first place. And thatâ€™s where he stayed all through ensuring he started the main race from first on the grid. The hapless Horne was to start all the way down the order in 10th place, but after rather wistfully gesturing at the damage his truck had picked up, he also told us he intended to pass as many trucks as it took to win the race. Things, as it so often happens in racing, didnâ€™t turn out quite like that.
When the 15-lap main race started, scrapping for position was all it boiled down to. Ten-time BTRA Division 1 title winner Oliver was hotly pursued by Mat Summerfield. Summerfield, himself a two-time Division 1 title holder managed to best Oliver and lead the race for a good number of laps. Oliver even lots a spot to David Jenkins, putting him down in third place.
The truck on the move, though, was Ben Horneâ€™s. True to his word he was picking them off with each passing lap, even making it as high as sixth place, before falling down the order once again. But the action continued at the front of the grid too, with Oliver making his way past Jenkins and Summerfield too. And thatâ€™s the way the order stayed when the chequered flag dropped.
It was an enthusiastic Oliver who stopped just ahead of the start-finish straight to do donuts as a little bit of a victory celebration! Move over, Seb Vettel!
While the drivers up and down the grid declared that they would be more than happy to come back to India and race in the future, there hasnâ€™t been much clarity about when the T1 Racing championship will make it down again. For now, as the drivers have all headed back to the United Kingdom, the Primas will be sent to various dealerships to promote sales. A handy marketing exercise. But weâ€™d really like to see them back on the race track. Steve Horne agrees with us declaring that for him it certainly isnâ€™t a one-off event. Now to see when we have the next Prima T1 Truck Racing Championship, with some Indian drivers on the grid too!