Jackson salvages well-earned race three victoryPosted: June 5, 2011
The Airwaves Motorbase Ford driver took advantage of the reverse grid format of the championship as he was drawn on pole position for the race from his ninth place in race two, and despite losing the lead to the fast-starting Nick Foster off the line he confidentally outbraked the BMW driver heading into the hairpin for the first time of asking to regain the lead.
The drama unfolded later in the first lap when Foster came under pressure from another man fans had their eyes on, Paul O’Neill, who edged alongside the BMW coming up the hill out of Knickerbrook along with Gordon Shedden on the other side, but it ended in tears as Foster edged the Chevrolet Cruze onto the grass where O’Neill was sent into a tankslapper on the wet area of the track that sent him into the barriers at Druids.
Behind them, James Nash’s championship took a blow when he also had an off just before Druids that sent him into the armco barrier, but he rejoined as the safety car came out to clear up the Techspeed Cruze of the unfortunate O’Neill who was looking to rekindle memories of 2002.
On the restart, Shedden repeated the move Jackson pulled on Foster by passing the WSR BMW driver for second place at the hairpin, before he and Jackson began to stretch a gap away at the front.
Jordan then passed the struggling Foster at Knickerbrook for third, allowing Alex MacDowall in the Silverline Chevrolet Cruze to follow him through to fourth with a great exit to pass Foster coming out of corner.
By this time, the charging Matt Neal was making up for his race two nightmare by carving through the field from the back, sweeping round the outside of MacDowall’s team-mate Jason Plato for seventh place at Old Hall, before attacking the two WSR BMWs of Foster and Rob Collard.
Collard – boxed behind his slower team-mate – tried to pass Foster at Cascades but slid wide and allowed Neal through, where the Honda man’s attack a corner later of Foster was ruined by a slowing MacDowall, Collard re-passing Neal who lost momentum as the Chevrolet man retired. Neal then made light work of the BMWs, passing Collard at Old Hall and then Foster coming down the straight out of the hairpin.
As Collard and Plato then passed Foster at turn one, Plato then tried to overtake Collard at Lodge with an optimistic lunge that only ended in him turning the BMW around across the front of his own car, where they would both fail to score as Jeff Smith would later demote the reigning champion to 11th.
Jackson up front meanwhile had driven brilliantly to pull out a healthy gap over Shedden by the time he saw the flag for his second win of the season.
He told ITV4 afterwards: “It’s been a tough weekend and to get another win shows that it’s paid off with all the work the team have done with the car and the turbo engine. We managed to get him (Foster) into Cascades, and I knew the Honda is a quick car and we didn’t think we could match them, so a fantastic win for us.”
Neal’s charge continued, but his progress was halted by a brilliant defending job from Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan who survived huge pressure from the faster Honda driver, holding on to third place after a move from Neal into Knickerbrook sent them both across the grass, but they continued without drama.
Behind them credit must go to Tom Boardman and the Special Tuning team after Boardman finished fifth following repairs after the unlucky race one accident were rewarded, finishing ahead of the Fords of Andy Neate and Tom Chilton, the latter salvaging a result from a dreadful weekend.
The SEAT team had even more reason to cheer as Dave Newsham had another great race to finish eighth ahead of Foster who scored three points finishes at Oulton Park.
There was also time for Rob Austin to cheer as he had his Audi in seventh position after the opening lap carnage, although it was brief as he was passed by Plato and Neal before being fired off the road a Cascades by Newsham early in the race.
There was also dramatic news from the circuit that AMD Milltek had announced a split with their driver Tom Onslow-Cole before the race, news that will be uncovered in the close future.
Race three results:
1. Mat Jackson Motorbase Ford 26m21.782s
2. Gordon Shedden Honda + 4.388s
3. Andrew Jordan Eurotech Vauxhall + 6.489s
4. Matt Neal Honda + 6.933s
5. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT + 27.307s
6. Andy Neate Arena Ford + 27.508s
7. Tom Chilton Arena Ford + 28.276s
8. Dave Newsham Special Tuning SEAT + 29.172s
9. Nick Foster WSR BMW + 30.256s
10. Jeff Smith Eurotech Vauxhall + 34.334s
11. Jason Plato Chevrolet + 35.787s
12. Tony Gilham Triple 8 Vauxhall + 37.036s
13. James Nash Triple 8 Vauxhall + 42.575s
14. Rob Collard WSR BMW + 43.886s
15. Lea Wood Central Honda + 46.972s
16. Rob Austin Austin Audi + 1m00.045s
17. Tony Hughes Speedworks Toyota + 1m09.560s
18. Alex MacDowall Chevrolet + 2 laps
DNF John George Tech-Speed Chevrolet 15 laps
DNF Liam Griffin Motorbase Ford 12 laps
DNF Frank Wrathall Dynojet Toyota 4 laps
DNF Paul O’Neill Tech-Speed Chevrolet 0 laps
DNS Tom Onslow-Cole AMD MIlltek