LESSONS IN BEHAVIOUR
LESSONS I BEHAVICD
New drmng standards adveor alms to clean up BTCC raang
“WHEN DRIVERS ARRIVE IN THE BRITISH Touring Car Championship they suddenly think they have a licence to push and shove,” says Jeff Allam, the BTCC’s new driving standards advisor. “Some of the driving is outrageous and it’s becoming like a stock car race, it’s ridiculous. I was brought in by (series director) Alan Gow because he’s aware of it and wants to sort it.”
Driving standards in the BTCC have slipped and many quite rightly believe this is filtering down to racing’s lower categories. Allam is keen to start penalising anyone who steps over the line. He’s well placed to give a driver’s perspective as he held the same post in 1995-96 after a long and respected racing career in tin-tops.
“The penalties and consequences of people pushing and shoving are going to get bigger” he says. “Alan’s had enough, and if they don’t like what we’re doing they’re going to get punished even more!
“The standards are leaking down to grass roots motor sport but hopefully if there are severe punishments in the BTCC it will have an effect on the smaller championships. One-make series are especially bad.”
Without my prompting, Allam mentions my MR2 Championship race at Brands Hatch. “That crash at Brands (between Andrei Bgatov and Zac Chapman, above, which led to one car flying over the catch fencing) was unbelievable. My secretary was sting in the grandstand breast-feeding her baby. The car missed her by about six feet it could have killed her and her child. It demolished her pram and Brands had to buy her a new one. That’s how close it was to someone gaffing killed, and that was down to pushing and shoving on the straight.
“Hopefully I can make a difference. One of the main problems in the BTCC is that some of the drivers are completely out of their depth. I won’t mention any names, but they shouldn’t be in the championship.” It won’t be easy, but here’s hoping Allam’s work has a rapid effect. CO