Adam Morgan started the weekend on a high in his Mac Tools-backed BMW 330i M Sport but a hefty accident in the opening race not only put him out of the opening contest but also gave the team a mammoth task in repairing the car. Tom Chilton, as ever, gave his all in the second car and bagged three top 20 finishes in the ultra-competitive championship.
Adam’s pace in free practice was a boost heading into qualifying, but Adam never quite got an ideal lap. Each time he was on a quick run, there would be traffic in the way that cost a fraction of time and with drivers split by thousandths of a second around the 1.9-mile circuit, every fraction of time gained was essential.
That left Adam 11th on the grid and Tom, who also had a tough session, 19th, but both were confident of making progress in race one. Adam was doing just that as he stormed through the opening lap, but on lap three came the turning point of Adam’s weekend: as Ollie Jackson’s Ford ran wide at the Old Hairpin, Adam went for a move alongside but as Jackson rejoined the road, he crowded The Morganator into Jake Hill’s Ford Focus and the resulting contact speared Adam into the tyre wall. A huge amount of damage was done to the rear of the car and it was a mightily frustrated Adam who stepped from his crumpled car.
“When I looked at the replay, I saw Jackson inadvertently pushed me over to Jake and I just got pinched. It was a racing incident but it did a lot of damage to the car.”
Both rear corners needed replacing and both chassis legs were badly damaged as well. Car builder Willie Poole joined the Ciceley Motorsport mechanics who toiled away to get the car ready for race two, but time was against them.
“It would have been a massive push to get the car ready for race two and it would have been in a bent car which would have been a risk. With 30 minutes to go, we decided to sit out the race as there was still a lot of work to do.”
But the amazing work of the Accrington-based team had the car on the grid for race three, which Adam and his experienced race engineer Steve Farrell elected to treat as a test session in readiness for Brands Hatch in two week’s time.
“I wasn’t trying to race anyone, it was a case of looking for clear track space and do some laps. Drive through the pits, let people get away, press on and see what the car was doing. That was the plan. It felt OK, we were on an old set of tyres but data was good. We have also looked at different set-ups and what we have learnt so far seems to be step in the right direction.”
That left Tom Chilton to uphold the Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport team’s honour. After a safety car triggered by Adam’s off in the opener, Tom bagged 19th and secured 20th in race two. After a frantic third race, and a pre-race discussion with ITV live from the car, Tom crossed the line in 18th place.
Tom said: “It was a tough day again. I just haven’t got the best out of this car and I don’t want to be filling up the field to make the others look good. I drove as hard as could and was racing in some good battles but I want to be higher up the order. I love racing, and it was busy where I was, but I want to be higher up. In race three I got a tap and then in a sandwich so it’s all going on back there but I want more podiums.”
Ciceley Motorsport’s Commercial Director Norman Burgess said: “More than anything today has underlined what a great team we have and how everyone thinks of the big picture. As soon as Adam had his accident, our day changed but everyone worked together for the good of the team. The mechanics made the car race worthy again, Adam and Steve Farrell changed their strategy for the day to garner data for Brands Hatch and on Tom’s side of the garage, he drove his heart out to try to move higher up the order. All our Car Gods guests enjoyed a day of amazing racing and experienced the highs and lows of the championship, but the best news was that Adam was OK after the crash and to have the car back on track was an astonishing effort from the team. On days like this you forget that you have had two wins this season and that is still an excellent record in our first year with this car.
“We go to Brands Hatch looking to round out the season on a high and to see our Car Gods deliver once again.”
The final races in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship are at Brands Hatch on October 23/24, with qualifying live on itv.com/btcc on Saturday and the raceday action live on ITV4 on Sunday October 24th.