Five-tonne lorries racing at up to 100mph proves hugely entertaining, exciting motorsport, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
I’ll never look at a lorry the same way again when I’m crawling along behind one having seen the monsters of motorsport in action.
As a motorsport fan I jumped at the chance to see the Snetterton round of the British Truck Racing Championship – a new experience for me – with Orwell Truck & Van.
Once you’ve seen the cut and thrust of these huge haulers hurtling round the track you’ll never think of lorries as slow again. With power more than doubled to a thumping 1,000bhp and able to hit 100mph from rest in less than five seconds this racing is fast, furious and, at times, almost frightening.
Under their skin these racing trucks bear little resemblance to the lorries we see on the road but, despite shedding a couple of tonnes, they still weigh in at well over five. That’s a lot of metal to stop so little wonder they have water-cooled disc brakes although banning anti-lock braking, traction control and automatic gearboxes makes for some twitchy moments and puts more emphasis on driver skills.
With top speed limited to 100mph, seeing three trucks abreast, bowling down the straight before the drivers hurl them into corners, often with the back end drifting out or snaking, is hugely entertaining.
Having marshalled motorcycle racing at Snetterton in my youth, it was also my first glimpse of the three-mile 300 circuit with raised grass banks giving spectators great views of large parts of the circuit.
Add the smell of hot oil, roar of finely-tuned engines and thrills and spills of driver and machine pushed to the limit and I’m hooked again.