Belcher positive of BTCC progress
Toyota Avensis driver Simon Belcher is relishing his return to competitive action when the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship resumes for the second half of the season at Snetterton 300 Circuit next weekend, 2nd/3rd August.
Having been out of the car since the previous three rounds at Croft in North Yorkshire at the end of June, the Swindon racer cannot wait to be back behind the wheel having been focusing on business commitments during the BTCC’s long summer break.
After making a welcome return to the Independents Trophy points during the previous event at Croft, Belcher feels his maiden season really turned a corner and the Handy Motorsport driver says confidence and positivity are high going into rounds 16, 17 and 18 just over a week from now.
“It’s been work, work, work since Croft”, said the 40-year-old, “We haven’t had an opportunity to get out and do any testing, although the Speedworks guys [the engineering strength behind Handy Motorsport] will be out at Brands Hatch next week just trying a few little things ahead of Snetterton.
“I’m going into next weekend feeling quite buoyed after the last race at Croft, we seemed to be back to where we were before Thruxton. We were fast through the technical stuff, so that was positive, and hopefully we can carry that forward into Snetterton. It seems so long since we were racing, the season really picks up again now though – I’m really looking forward to being back out there.”
Having made strong progress during the opening two race meetings of his debut BTCC campaign at Brands Hatch and Donington Park, Belcher’s season took a major knock – quite literally – at his home track of Thruxton back in May when a huge 120mph accident resulted in a near written-off Toyota.
During the next event at Oulton Park, which was fortunately several weeks after Thruxton, giving the team just enough time to rebuild the Avensis, Belcher achieved his aim of three solid finishes before making much stronger gains at Croft – something he is determined to continue at Snetterton.
“I really like the 300 Circuit, it’s a good track”, he added, “There’s a lot of technical stuff, which I enjoy, but there’s a really good mix of fast bits too – I’m really looking forward to racing there in the touring car for the first time. I think track limits could be an issue in qualifying. Fast laps on the 300 Circuit do tend to run the boundaries, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens.
“There are definitely three or four places where time is made up by pushing the track limits, it’ll be intriguing to see who runs the gauntlet and takes the gamble. The rules are the rules, they’re the same for everyone, and as long as they’re enforced consistently nobody can have complaints at all.”