Brands Hatch GP local Michael Crees ends season finale upside down
Unnecessary contact in Rd30 brings an unsatisfactory conclusion to BTCC campaign
Creesy achieves best of P8 in the Independents Trophy at home circuit
Michael Crees’ Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season reached a very dramatic conclusion at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 9th October, when final corner contact in the last race of the year flipped the Kent driver’s Vauxhall Astra onto its roof.
Thankfully emerging unscathed from the unnecessary incident, with worried family and friends at the trackside watching on, the Broadstairs driver was only winded by the impact and was lucky to suffer no worse than a stiff neck after being pitched into a roll by a rival.
Marking an unexpectedly spectacular way to sign-off his first season back in the BTCC since 2020, the CarStore Power Maxed Racing driver had carried high hopes into his ‘home’ event at the Kent venue but he had to settle for a best finish of eighth in the Independents Trophy in the first race.
Overall for the season, the Glencar Construction, Geberit, DDS Group, PCS, Fire Control Services, CTD, Blue Rock Systems, Aquadart and BITA supported racer finished eighth in the Independents Trophy title battle and 20th overall in the outright BTCC Drivers’ Championship.
Frustrating finish to 2022 for BTCC star Creesy
Opening free practice on Saturday, 8th October, delivered a pleasing start for Creesy with the third fastest time in the Independents and 12th overall, just 0.7 seconds away from the outright pace, and he remained within a second of the top of the times in session two.
Qualifying later in the afternoon didn’t bring the step forward he’d envisaged, and so the CarStore Power Maxed Racing driver had to settle for 20th on the grid for race one of the weekend – ninth in the Independents class.
On a first lap packed with incident, Sunday’s first encounter fell under Safety Car conditions on lap two with Creesy having been bundled down to 24th overall. Regaining a couple of places before a second Safety Car interlude, the Kent racer continued to move up the order and climbed as high as 19th before having to settle for 20th at the finish and eighth in the Independents.
Lining-up on the tenth row of the grid again for round 29, Creesy did slip a place on the first lap but was soon back inside the top 20 on lap two. Gaining another position a couple of tours later, the Vauxhall Astra racer remained in 19th place but into the second half of the contest Gordon Shedden went by and four laps from the finish Creesy was edged back to 21st and ninth in the Independents.
Round 30, the final race of the year, couldn’t have ended more dramatically for Creesy with the worrying roll at the last corner, leaving the No.777 Astra on its roof in the gravel trap. He started the encounter 21st on the grid and although losing a place on the opening tour, he moved inside the top 20 and sixth in the Independents in next to no time
After an early Safety Car period, Creesy looked to make more progress in a very competitive pack but on lap 14 he was passed by Jason Plato’s Honda Civic – the BTCC’s legend’s last race in touring cars. Slipping another place on lap 15, Creesy looked set to end the race in the top 20 and eighth in class when the contact occurred mere yards from the chequered flag.
“Well it was certainly a spectacular end to our season – I wanted to go out with a bang, but not quite like that! In all seriousness, it wasn’t a nice incident as my kids and wife were trackside watching so it was really worrying for them when it all happened. Thankfully I’m OK, and I was able to quickly get out of the car, but contact like that shouldn’t be something that happens in the BTCC.
“We started off the weekend pretty strongly in first practice, but it kind of went away from us a little bit after that and we weren’t able to compete how we wanted to. It’s a shame to end the season this way, and especially at my home track, but a tough and topsy turvy year of racing is done and now we put all focus on getting the best package together for 2023.”
2022 BTCC Independents Trophy Standings
8th Michael Crees, 253pts
2022 BTCC Drivers Championship
20th Michael Crees, 50pts