Jackson wins a chaotic last racePosted: April 17, 2011
Mat Jackson gave the Motorbase team’s Ford Focus its first win in Airwaves colours with a brilliant drive through the mayhem from 10th on the grid for his first win of the year in the reverse-grid final race at Donington.
With the top nine finishers reversed from race two, the entertainment came from a series of incidents throughout the third and final 19-lap encounter of the day.
The excitement was started initially by Tom Onslow-Cole who, after another excellent start in the Volkswagen, sensationally almost managed to outbrake Alex MacDowall around the outside of turn one for the lead, before all hell broke loose as the field filtered through. At the exit of Redgate, Tony Gilham clattered into the challenging Onslow-Cole, sending the Golf driver wide and spinning his own Vauxhall Vectra in the middle of the pack causing the field behind to scatter in avoidance.
Delayed most by the spin of Gilham was Rob Collard, and as the field bunched up beind the WSR BMW and the Golf of Onslow-Cole coming into Old Hairpin it all kicked off again as new championship leader James Nash made contact with Jackson’s car, sending him into the Arena Ford of Tom Chilton who then collected Onslow-Cole as he spun into the gravel and out of the race, the latter retiring the Golf as a result of the damage.
“Obviously it’s really dissapointng after starting in third and getting such a good start”, said Onslow-Cole. “The car’s getting better and better though and we’re really excited about what we can do now for the rest of the season.”
Behind them, even before turn one Dave Newsham yet again did not make it to Redgate as he lost control of his Geoff Steel BMW and slammed into the side of the NGTC Avensis of Tony Hughes, leaving both cars out and a masssive BMW-shaped imprint in the door panel of the Toyota.
Jackson meanwhile emerged from the melee in second position, and after the resulting safety car he soon breezed past the Chevrolet of MacDowall as they came out of Coppice, where he cruised to an untroubled first win of the season.
MacDowall became a sitting target for the man of the weekend Andrew Jordan, who completed a sweep of podiums with a second place when he got a great run on the Silverline Cruze driver coming out of Old Hairpin and made the move stick at Mcleans at half-distance.
Nash had followed him to the front and he caught and passed MacDowall to take his third top-three finish of the day also with the final podium position in the race.
Matt Neal suffered damage in the early skirmishes which really affected his race as he slipped gradually down the order and found himself embroiled in a battle for a number of laps with Pirtek Racing’s Jeff Smith, the two exchanging paint on a number of occasions.
While Smith finished an impressive fifth, Neal struggled across the line in seventh place behind Jason Plato, who repaid his Silverline Chevrolet mechanics with a great recovery drive after the team’s quite heroic efforts to fix the car in only two hours after the massive shunt he suffered in the second race of the day.
Paul O’Neill also recovered to the points in the GoMobileUK.com Cruze with an eight place finish, while rookies Liam Griffin (Motorbase) and Nick Foster (WSR) picked up their first BTCC points as they rounded out the top 10.
The untold star of the race proved to be Tom Boardman, who had sythed through the field from 18th up to fifth place and looked very solid, however, his SEAT let him down again with another mechanical problem that lost him a great result. Gordon Shedden was also another man to suffer as he lost ground in the turn one incident before later suffering technical problems and toured back to the pits into retirement.
Rob Austin finished the Audi A4’s first race in 13th place finish without any problems, while despite entering the race a couple of laps down, Frank Wrathall showed some alarmingly promising pace in the NGTC Avensis as he made his way past a number of drivers in the pack (ableit not for position), Plato being one of them before he parked the Toyota again late on.
The last lap of the race saw another big shunt when Andy Neate was under attack from Smith and the recovering Gilham, and after having a moment through Old Hairpin Gilham was side-by-side with the Arena Ford. The battle then ended in tears when the Ford wrapped itself across the front of Gilham’s car, sending Neate hard into the barriers coming up to Mcleans.
Race three result:
1. Mat Jackson Motorbase Ford 24m32.921s
2. Andrew Jordan Eurotech Vauxhall + 2.640s
3. James Nash Triple 8 Vauxhall + 3.498s
4. Alex MacDowall Chevrolet + 5.761s
5. Jeff Smith Eurotech Vauxhall + 18.639s
6. Jason Plato Chevrolet + 20.614s
7. Matt Neal Honda + 23.902s
8. Paul O’Neill Tech-Speed Chevrolet + 23.922s
9. Liam Griffin Motorbase Ford + 28.815s
10. Nick Foster WSR BMW + 29.117s
11. John George Tech-Speed Chevrolet + 42.375s
12. Chris James ES Chevrolet + 52.158s
13. Rob Austin Austin Audi + 58.304s
DNF Andy Neate Motorbase Ford 18 laps
DNF Tony Gilham Triple 8 Vauxhall 18 laps
DNF Rob Collard WSR BMW 17 laps
DNF Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT 17 laps
DNF Dave Newsham Geoff Steel BMW 14 laps
DNF Frank Wrathall Dynojet Toyota 9 laps
DNF Gordon Shedden Honda 8 laps
DNF Tom Onslow-Cole AmD Volkswagen 1 lap
DNF Tony Hughes Speedworks Toyota 1 lap
DNF Tom Chilton Arena Ford 0 laps