TRACKSIDE

THE CLEVER BAGGERS WITH BTC RACING SECURE JACK SEARS TROPHY TITLE IN BRANDS HATCH THRILLER

TEAM NEWS

15 November 2020

The Clever Baggers with BTC Racing team claimed the Jack Sears Trophy title with an unassailable performance during an action-packed 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season finale on the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit (14-15 November).

Claiming two of the three class victories available from the final three rounds of the year, local-racer and fan favourite Michael Crees delivered a flawless final campaign to claim the highly-coveted title on his maiden season in the Brackley-based outfit’s line-up.

With the weather playing a big part in proceedings over the final meeting, the season finale delivered plenty of drama from the start. A much-interrupted qualifying session in very tricky conditions left the BTC Racing trio struggling to unlock the best of the Honda Civic Type R FK8s, as they grappled with rear-end grip on the slippery circuit. Josh Cook rounded out the top ten, with Tom Chilton securing P16 and Michael Crees ending the session in P22.

“We’re all absolutely over the moon for Michael [Crees] winning the Jack Sears Trophy. He’s had a phenomenal year competing against a lot of drivers for the title and we couldn’t be happier for him."

With the weather playing a big part in proceedings over the final meeting, the season finale delivered plenty of drama from the start. A much-interrupted qualifying session in very tricky conditions left the BTC Racing trio struggling to unlock the best of the Honda Civic Type R FK8s, as they grappled with rear-end grip on the slippery circuit. Josh Cook rounded out the top ten, with Tom Chilton securing P16 and Michael Crees ending the session in P22.

A strong start from the BTC Racing trio in the opening contest saw all three drivers move their way up the grid in the treacherous racing conditions. Cook led the pack home, crossing the line in P8, with Chilton picking up points in P12. Crossing the line in P20, Crees extended his lead at the top of the Jack Sears Trophy standings finishing ahead of his main rival.

With very different track conditions presenting themselves for race 2 on a drying, but greasy track, Chilton opted to take a risk on wets, with Cook and Crees choosing to run on slicks. A frenetic opening lap kicked off the drama with the front-runners tangling at Paddock Hill as Chilton powered off the line from P12 to steal into P1. Heading off into the distance in the #3 Civic Type R to claim fastest lap honours, he was sadly unable to hold onto the lead as the slick runners came into play on the now dry track, and he plummeted down the field in the closing laps eventually crossing the line in P18.

Running as high as P3 in the opening laps, Cook was on track for a podium challenge as he scrapped with Ingram and Cammish before a big sideways moment at Druids on lap 12 dropped him down the order to take P9 at the flag.

An epic drive from Crees saw the Broadstairs-racer pick his way up through the pack to collect another strong points-finish, bringing the #777 home in P13 overall to collect his 11th class victory of the year and secure the 2020 Jack Sears Trophy title at his home circuit.

Another torrential downpour just before the season closer saw the return of the perilous conditions out on track. Starting from the second row by virtue of the reversed grid draw, Cook made a strong start off the line and followed through with a brave inside lunge at Paddock Hill Bend to steal into 2nd place on the second tour of the circuit. With another podium spot on the cards, Cook was pushed wide whilst duelling with Hill on lap 11. Although he managed to keep the #66 Civic from running too deep into the gravel trap, he lost position and ended the final race in P9.

Chilton made good progress in the challenging conditions, managing to make up seven spots over the 24 lap race to take P11 as the final flag dropped. Picking up his 2nd points-score of the day, Crees brought his #777 FK8 home in P15, claiming his 12th Jack Sears Win of the year and extending his title-winning championship lead to 48 points.

The season finale signed-off a rollercoaster season for the BTC Racing Team. Having amassed a total of three outright victories and four further podium finishes – Bert Taylor and Steve Dudman’s team ended the season placed 5th in the Teams’ Championship and 3rd in the Independent standings, collecting 4 Independent wins and 10 podiums along the way.

Joint Team Principal Bert Taylor:

“We’re all absolutely over the moon for Michael [Crees] winning the Jack Sears Trophy. He’s had a phenomenal year competing against a lot of drivers for the title and we couldn’t be happier for him.

“It’s been a fantastic season. We’ve had our highs and lows. As a team we’ve worked incredibly hard for little reward. The positions we’ve finished the year in reflects the pace that we’ve had all season. Although we’ve won as many races and podiums as anyone else, we just haven’t been able to string it all together for some reason.

“We need to go away and sit down, look to the future and work out a plan for next season.”

Tom Chilton #3:

“I’d just like to say thank you to everyone at BTC Racing. Thank you to all of the sponsors for making it happen, and to Steve and Bert.

“It hasn’t been as successful as we’d hoped. We thought we’d win all five championships, but the only one who upheld his deal was Creesy – winning the Jack Sears. I’m really happy for Michael. I’m pleased that I made it onto the podium a few times this year, and it was great to lead some laps in the last round of the year and end on a bit of a high. Lots of highs and lows in motorsport, but it’s been good fun.”

Josh Cook #66:

“I’m really happy for Creesy winning the Jack Sears Trophy. He drove really well today, did everything he needed to do and didn’t try and be a hero!

“We’ve not had an easy year at all, but I’ve had a decent amount of wins and more podiums. We’ve just not unlocked the best out of the car this year. When you’re struggling for pace you can only benchmark against your team-mates in the same machinery, and I achieved the best results with what we had. Hopefully that doesn’t go unnoticed.”

“The team have worked incredibly hard all year, under really tough circumstances. It’s just a shame that we didn’t quite get the rewards that hard work deserves.”

Michael Crees #777:

“I’m absolutely buzzing. That’s another one ticked-off the bucket list! I want to thank Vince Caldicott, Paul Whitnell, Jodie and the kids, and all of my family and friends for supporting me through this and helping me to realise my dream. I had my doubts if we could pull it off after a bit of a wobble, but we’ve shown that you can achieve your dreams if you keep pushing, and never give up.

“Thanks to the whole BTC Racing team for their efforts, and also to Bert [Taylor] and Steve [Dudman] for giving me the opportunity to show what I’m capable of. It’s been an unbelievable season, and one I’ll never forget.”

Results:

Qualifying: Tom Chilton #3: P16, Josh Cook #66: P10, Michael Crees #777: P22

Round 25: Tom Chilton #3: P12, Josh Cook #66: P8, Michael Crees #777: P20

Round 26: Tom Chilton #3: P18, Josh Cook #66: P9, Michael Crees #777: P13

Round 27: Tom Chilton #3: P11, Josh Cook #66: P7, Michael Crees #777: P15

 

Final Championship Standings:

Teams: BTC Racing – 5th (371 points)

Drivers: Tom Chilton – 10th (184 points) Josh Cook – 9th (196 points) Michael Crees – 17th (50 points)

Independent Teams: BTC Racing – 3rd (368 points)

Independent Drivers – Tom Chilton 4th (287 points) Josh Cook 6ht (249 points) Michael Crees 12th (122 points)

Jack Sears Trophy – Michael Crees 1st (368 points)