Swindon ace Belcher gets more points on the board
SWINDON’S Simon Belcher got back in the points at the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship last weekend.
Having suffered a 120mph crash at Thruxton in the last round, Belcher was delighted to just complete each of his three races at the North Yorkshire circuit let alone get in the points.
The Toyota Avensis driver lined up on the 15th row of the grid but suffered suspension damage on his Handy Motorsport machine in the opening laps.
Belcher made a blistering start from the grid, gaining eight places on the run into Clervaus, at Hawthorn and into Tower Bend.
However, Belcher ran into trouble on the second half of the lap after picking up suspension trouble over one of the kerbs.
In the end the BTCC rookie had to settle for 26th finish.
Race two saw Belcher run into further trouble when his car suffered a blocked radiator after he strayed onto the grass.
Following a quick pit stop, Belcher managed to get up to 22nd place despite being a lap adrift.
Finally Belcher tasted success in race three. Starting from 27th on the grid, Belcher made decent progress after an early safety car period.
He soon broke into the top 20 and by lap 11 moved into 18th position.
A couple of nudges saw him drop a few places before he moved up to 19th and then back to 18th on the last lap.
His fine effort saw him secure points in the Independents Trophy for the first time since April at Donnington Park.
“The last race was good,” said Belcher.
“We were certainly on the sort of pace we wanted to be – we were only about 1.5 seconds off the leader so that was very encouraging.
“To get back in the Independents points was nice too, three finishes was the main aim so I’m pretty pleased overall.
“We’re still getting back into it to be honest [after the Thruxton accident].
“It’s not as easy as I thought it was going to be to get back to where we were at Donington but, having said that, we’ve definitely made an improvement this weekend over Oulton Park, so that’s positive.”
Whilst delighted with his exploits in race three, Belcher was left to think of what might have been after his misfortune in races one and two.
“Race one started really well, it was a fantastic first lap, but I caught a kerb and it knocked the suspension out,” added Belcher.
“The car went off to the point it was a struggle just to get round Tower, so to just bring the car home was as much as we could do.
“Unfortunately in race two, I filled the radiator with grass so had to pit to get that cleared out.
“Overall, though, I’m happy with the weekend.”
There is now a five-week break from action for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship with the sixth event of the season taking place at Snetterton in Norfolk on August 2-3 Belcher now has three points in the Independents Trophy, a total which leaves him in 23rd place overall.