The weather morphed from clear blue sky to pounding rain and back again, but nothing could dampen the mood of Luke Taylor and the Rooster team after the final exhilarating weekend of the 2017 BTRC championship season.
At the end of it all, the bare facts tell the story of a frustrating season for Rooster. Luke finished in tenth place with 73 points, well off the championship pace. Driver and team were quick to congratulate Ryan Smith, crowned 2017 BTRC champion, for a fine performance over eight gruelling rounds of racing.
But strange as it may sound, Rooster finish the season in more positive mood than at any other time since the first race back in March. After the spins, collisions, mechanical problems and early retirements that plagued the 2017 season, Brands Hatch finally saw the best of Rooster. The highly proficient performance bodes well for the 2018 season, albeit leaving the team with a sense of “what might have been”.
“We’ve worked hard and battled for little reward this season, so we needed something at Brands Hatch and we got it” said team principal David Taylor. “We got the truck set up perfectly, Luke felt confident behind the wheel, and we showed what we could do when those things come together. We’ll have a rest now but there’s no doubt that this has fired us up for 2018.”
There was much to admire in a gritty, determined performance at Brands Hatch. The highlight was race two, with Luke forging into the lead on lap four after his sheer pace forced the driver in front into a mistake. For over half the race he was pressed hard by the following pack, and especially champion Ryan Smith, but Luke held on for the chequered flag. It was just reward for a fine performance.
It was the break Rooster needed. Luke had qualified well but dropped from sixth at the start of race one to an 11th place finish after spinning wheels on a greasy track. But the truck had felt good and Race two showed what it could do.
A very physical battle followed in race three (with a number of competitors adhering to the notion that “if you’re not rubbing you’re not racing”) but Luke sensibly steered clear of the scraps and powered home in fifth, five places up on his grid position.
Race four started with Luke in second place, but he dropped to fourth on the first lap. Again, Luke showed what Klaus, his MAN racing truck could do, powering through the pack to take the lead for the second time in the weekend. A second victory looked on the cards but it was not to be. Luke heard a bang from the truck and Klaus lost power, forcing Luke to retire. And with that, Rooster’s season was over.
“Despite the ending, we’re not disappointed,” said David. “We’ve talked about promise and potential a lot this season. Twice in one meeting that potential turned into scorching performances, with one victory and one race that could have ended in another win if it were not for a mechanical issue. That’s a really positive weekend.”
Martin Sangster, Commercial Manager for partner G-Truck, agreed. “We knew that Luke and this truck had that performance in them, and we’re delighted that the team has gone out on such a high. It was a great weekend for sponsors and partners too. We saw some quality racing with Rooster out in front and being cheered on by a large and supportive crowd.”
Rooster would like to thank the championship organisers, circuit staff and supporters for a highly professional season. “And more than anything,” David adds, “we’d like to thank all our partners and sponsors. Together we’re a great team and we’ve had some wonderful times in 2017. Let’s hope for even more – and more success on the track – next season.”
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