Words & photos - Daniel Bevis
It wouldn't be a proper BTCC meet without crashes, recriminations, finger-pointing and general carnage, and rounds 7, 8 & 9 at Thruxton didn't disappoint. The Honda boys, Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal, were naturally vying for podium glory, but the surprisingly hot weather proved to be just too much for the tortured Dunlops: Aiden Moffat had a blowout, then Mat Jackson, then Mark Howard, then Neal was struck down and, in trying to get across to the pit lane, managed to trigger a colossal pile-up that took out his team-mate and red-flagged the race. Oops! So Adam Morgan took the victory there, and the Honda Yuasa Racing team had two ruined cars to try to patch up before the second round.
...and impressively, they managed it. Furthermore, with no success ballast to worry about, the orange Civics were on a bit of a charge; race distance had been dropped from 16 laps to 12 for reasons of tyre safety, and Shedden - who'd started 23rd on the grid - ended up finishing 4th. Astonishing stuff. Andrew Jordan found himself at the top of the podium for the first time since June 2014, and he was really quite smiley about that.
The third race looked to be the Honda boys' chance to pull the weekend back, and it so nearly came together for Neal; when the chequered flag dropped, he was just two tenths behind Mat Jackson. But Shedden? Ah, he was going great guns until an unfortunate altercation with Jack Goff's BMW took him out of the running. That's racing, eh?
All of this is secondary, of course, to the big story of the weekend: the world's first pregnant grid girl in fluffy mink flip-flops. You can't say the BTCC isn't forward-thinking.
More photos here.