Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship racer Adam Morgan, supported by Pall-Ex, rounded out his 2018 season with a stirring drive from 23rd to eleventh in his Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class after a weekend of challenges.
Adam was looking forward to the final three races of the season, but the Mercedes struggled in qualifying and was no better than 22nd fastest, just eight-tenths of a second off pole. Adam was carrying 39 kilos of success ballast and that, coupled with an engine that felt like it didn’t seem to have quite the straight-line speed, meant that Adam ended the session with a lot of work to do come race one.
As the lights went out, Adam blasted away and gained ground on the way to the first corner, picking up places as he turned through the opening right-hander. At the third corner, Adam was clobbered by an errant rival. The impact left the car with a handling defect, and Adam lost four places. The impact left the car with a handling defect and Adam lost four places.
Adam reflected; “Race one was frustrating. I made a good start and then Mike Bushell collided with me at the Graham Hill Bend and that meant that I lost places. The other cars ahead were lighter and on the quicker tyre, it all became a big battle. However, the positives are that we have got the weight out of the car and I can push forward in race two.”
Adam’s Mac Tools-backed Mercedes-Benz A-Class started race two from 19th on the grid and was on the attack straight from the start. As Adam made his way through the field, the lighter Mercedes was taking full advantage of the softer tyre, and Morgan hustled his way up into ninth place. All was looking good for a top 10 finish and a chance of a good grid position for race three when disaster struck.
“I had a puncture,” explained Adam. “There were only two laps to go and suddenly the tyre went down. We haven’t had many punctures before so it was a big surprise, but the real sadness is that the non-finish has cost us a chance of a top-five finish in the championship.”
Adam started race three from 23rd on the grid, but if anyone needed a reminder of Adam’s race craft, they were treated to another fine example as the black and red Fuchs Oil, Lunar Caravans sponsored Mercedes rocketed up to 11th place!
“I just decided to go for it, stick out my elbows and enjoy the last race of the season. I was on the prime tyre and the car felt really good. I was able to get through the traffic and get 11th but then there wasn’t enough time to go for one more place” Adam said.
“I will look back on the season with a few ‘what ifs’. What if we hadn't had a couple of DNFs at two events, what if we hadn’t had that puncture. The car felt better than ever and I have taken three wins, which makes me the second-best in terms of races won this year – more than the 2018 champion! What the season has proved is how competitive the championship is these days and how you need to keep banking points, so we have to ensure that we score as often as possible next season.
We can look back on the season with a lot of pride. Three wins, seventh in the championship and being a regular front-runner is fantastic and we will come back bigger and better next year. The team, Mac Tools and all our sponsors and supporters have all been fantastic, I owe a big vote of thanks to them for this season.”
Adam ends the season with three wins and three second places to finish seventh in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. Adam finished fourth in the Independents’ Trophy with five wins, while Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport ended the year eighth in the BTCC Teams Championship and fifth in the Independent Teams Championship.
Ciceley Motorsport’s Commercial Director Norman Burgess was delighted with the season. “To have three wins in a year which has had 17 different winners is a really good result and Adam has been a regular front-runner all season. All our team has risen to the challenge their commitment and professionalism have raised the team to a new level. All the team’s sponsors play a massive part in our continuing improvement and success, we simply wouldn’t be able to compete at the highest of levels without them, we really appreciate everything that they and the army of Ciceley Motorsport staff do.
“This has been an amazing season, we have stood on the Podium 13 times this year and to look at the silverware we have won makes it even more special. Roll on 2019!”
The 2019 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship kicks off at Brands Hatch on April 6/7.