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Powell brothers rev up for Brands truck fest
2:40pm Wednesday 31st October 2012 in Sport
THE Powell brothers will be returning to the Brands Hatch tarmac this weekend when the British truck racing championship stages its final round of the season at the north Kent circuit.
It will be a particularly poignant event for the West Kingsdown family, following the recent death of their father John Nelson Powell.
Powell Sr was one of the first truck racers back in the 1980s when the sport was contested by truckers racing road-going vehicles, as Steven Powell, who runs the Portobello Inn a mile from the circuit, explains: “It started for him in 1984, when the guys used to race road going trucks.
“He was a haulier and the racing grew from the crowd he was with, including Chris Hodge, Georgie Allen, Rod Chapman, Barry Sheene, Steve Parish and even the DJ Mike Read.”
Truck racing’s profile was quickly raised by the inclusion of celebrities and famous racers, including motorcycle champion Sheene and current BBC MotoGP commentator Parish, who enjoyed great success in the category.
The series’ popularity grew, particularly in Europe, with the inevitable consequences for amateur competitors as Steven continued: “He did this for five years all around Europe but as the championship became bigger it got more expensive to compete.
“I was a bit young in those days but my older brother Graham was a mechanic for my dad and went to all the rounds in Europe, including Zolder and the Nurburgring.
“Dad would drive the lorry from where we lived in West Kingsdown to all the circuits.”
The elder Powell switched his attentions to the equine world, but their local circuit was to have a major influence on them several years later.
“When truck racing returned to the UK a few years ago, Brands Hatch was the first to have it back,” Steven said.
“It fell on dad’s birthday, so we bought a hospitality box at the race for him, then soon after Graham started racing a truck, then my other brother John also did the same.”
Steven was soon racing himself, while John Jr took a sabbatical from the sport, returning earlier this year.
The family quickly achieved success in the British series, which continues to this day, and the trio recently recreated a family photo taken with their dad, shortly before he passed away.
All three will be returning to Brands Hatch this weekend but there will be a break with tradition, as Steven explains: “Graham won the Class B title in 2010 and I won it last year, now John’s doing well in the class.
“Graham and I both tried Class A but I’m going to return to Class B next year and Graham has switched to Legends (three-quarter scale racing cars renowned for close, short sprint races), so we’ll all be racing this weekend.”
In addition to the British truck racing championship and legends races, there will be a packed support bill, off-track activities for all the family, plus a major firework display on Sunday evening after the final race.
Tickets for Brands Hatch truck racing and fireworks are available from £13 on the gate, with free entry for children aged 12 and under.
For more information, call 0843 453 9000 or visit brandshatch.co.uk
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