Photo credit: (Jakob Ebrey Photography) Nelson King takes his eighth win of the season as Oliver Meadows has debut rookie cup victory
The MINI CHALLENGE UK Trophy series re-joined the British Truck Racing Championship event for their fifth event of the season. On the back of a strong weekend at Knockhill which saw Nelson King take more podium finishes and debut rookie win for Olli Meadows, the team were looking forward to another successful weekend.
Testing on Friday took place in mixed weather conditions with a dry track in the morning and a very wet circuit in the afternoon. Nicky Taylor was the best placed Graves car in qualifying in second place, with Nelson King in 4th and Alex Solley 6th. Ollie Meadows narrowly missed out on a top ten position with 14th with Alfie Glenie and Ben Jenkins in 18th and 21st respectively.
On the front three rows of the grid it was Graves lock-out, Nicky, Nelson and Alex all hoping they could work together and gain ground. Initially Nicky Taylor held his place but pulled off an outstanding switchback move into Agostini on the first lap to take the lead. He held that position for the majority of the race but with two to go lost out and fell back to fourth. As Nelson King then fought for the win Taylor managed to regain lost ground to finish 3rd. Alex Solley was firmly in the battle with the next pack finishing 8th, that pack was tail-ended by Alfie Glenie in 16th. Both Olli Meadows and Ben Jenkins were on comeback missions after problems on the first lap finishing in 19th and 21st respectively.
The second race saw Nelson and Nicky fight their way through to a 1-2 position early on and stretch their gap to 7 seconds over the third-place battle. The pair traded fastest laps throughout the race, with Nelson ending up just 0.048 faster. Alex Solley was in the mix for a podium but ended up 7th after a race long battle with four other cars. Alfie and Olli ended up line astern in 11th and 12th after Olli had made up 6 places over the race. Both were firmly in the battle for 8th by the end. After dropping back to 26th at the start with a problem, Ben recovered with some brilliant overtakes to finish in 20th.
The final race of the weekend saw a reverse grid top 6 but Nelson rounded out his weekend with another podium in 3rd. Nicky Taylor was in the battle for the podium when contact caused significant damage to his car and meant he couldn’t finish. Alex Solley came home 7th, another solid top ten result. Alfie Glenie made more progress through the field with a calculated drive to finish in 10th with Olli close behind in 13th. Unfortunately, Ben Jenkins also didn’t finish after contact on the second lap resulted in him hitting the rectocele barriers at turn 3. Ben was already up inside the top 20 at the time and looked set to climb the order.
Team manager David Graves said, "Nelson put in another solid set of results to stretch his lead at the top of the standings. Nicky has driven so well this weekend and was deserving of a win, especially in the first race of the weekend. It’s such a shame he didn’t finish the final race but he is still right in the mix in the championship points. Alex’s brace of top ten show’s his consistency but on outright pace he was well in contention for a podium this weekend. Ollie and Alfie both raced so well in their battles through the field, gaining on their starting position amidst some tough racing. Ben had a few problems at the start in each race but once he got going, he soared through the pack and showed pace to be battling in the top 10. We’re looking forward to Donington where we know we can get some more top results.
Nelson King’s extended championship lead is now at 135 points while Nicky Taylor lies in 3rd, just 9 points behind second. Alex Solley is in 8th but firmly in the mix for a top 5 overall result. Alfie Glenie and Olli Meadows sit 11th and 12th with Ben Jenkins in 26th. The next round for the Trophy Championship comes from the Donington Park GP circuit on the 22nd and 23rd October where they will be supporting the British Endurance Championship event.