Thousands of screaming motoring enthusiasts gathered at north Yorkshire's beautiful Croft racing circuit to celebrate and witness a landmark 100th Dunlop MSA British Touring Car start for Airwaves BMW driver Mat Jackson; but in the end it was the...
Thousands of screaming motoring enthusiasts gathered at north Yorkshire's beautiful Croft racing circuit to celebrate and witness a landmark 100th Dunlop MSA British Touring Car start for Airwaves BMW driver Mat Jackson; but in the end it was the plucky Steven Kane who stole the show with yet another career defining display that saw him romp from 19th to 3rd place in a drive that rivals the very best in BTCC recent history.
On a scorching afternoon things looked bleak after the day's first race. From 12th on the grid Jackson moved diligently through the order, clawing place after place in the opening few laps in a performance reminiscent of his magnificent outing here in 2008 when he worked his way from last to second place, overtaking 15 cars in the process.
But Pirtek Racing's Andrew Jordan hadn't read the script and Jackson's 1ooth race start would have no fairytale ending. On lap nine he was shunted at Clervaux after a regrettable manoeuvre from the turbo charged Vauxhall Vectra; the resultant impact lost the Airwaves BMW driver time and places. His third race win of the season would have to wait as he ended in ninth place, earning himself and the team two useful points.
Kane, who started in 15th, moved up the grid by four spots. Working his way through the field he locked horns and overtook Boardman and Jordan but he just couldn't find the space when he needed it. He ended the race just outside the points in 11th with the team's fate hanging in the balance thanks to a podium shared by Shedden, Collard and Plato respectively.
With hopes turned to race 2, the Airwaves team got off to a flying start. Jackson and Kane both turned their aggressive driving styles into positions gained as each flew past the competition. From 11th Jackson hounded the pack ahead, using his experience and imposing track positioning to overtake Onslow-Cole at Hawthorn, Lloyd at Tower Bend and then Nash through the hairpin. Up to sixth place the crowds started to feel the potential of this drive and had high hopes of a 13th BTCC win; however, an unrelated suspension issue forced him from the race and into early retirement.
Steven Kane, fighting hard for the Airwaves BMW team, pushed his Motorbase Performance prepared E90 320si. Piling on the pressure he let Boardman's Seat know all about his looming presence and soon made a successful pass, but damage to his radiator in the initial tussle forced him to forego sixth place as he too trundled to a halt and out of the race.
With fingers crossed we headed for the day's final race and we were not left wanting. Despite starting from 19th position, Steven Kane was on a mission and for 15 laps drove like a man possessed. Just like Jackson two years ago, Kane pursued every opportunity and showcased his talents in front of a jam-packed grandstand. Regardless of who they were or what they were driving, Kane kicked up a gear, swatting the opposition away lap after lap with consummate ease.
As the team gathered around the big screens silence filled the air. Today at Croft saw a very special display from a man who is ever present on the BTCC podium, continuing the trend of finishing inside the top three at each circuit on the BTCC calendar so far this year. Overtaking 16 cars he was the star of the show despite a maiden win for Andrew Jordan. Bad luck it seems can never keep a good man down, and the entire team is understandably delighted with what Steven has achieved today.
Apart from turning around Airwaves BMW's weekend fortunes, Kane collected 10 points, while Jackson, who on any other day would have stolen the headlines, can be pleased with his 7th place finish. Starting in 21st position he gained 14 places with a drive that put pay to the day's earlier heartache. Earning 4 more points he has kept his and his team's title ambitions very much alive.
At the end of play today Airwaves BMW lie in first place in the Independent Teams Championship with 153 points, second in the HiQ Teams Championship with 169 while Kane and Jackson are in a great position going into the mid- season break placed 2nd (123 points) and 4th (105 points) in the Independent Drivers standings.
Airwaves BMW Team driver Steven Kane said: "Mega, what can I say? The whole team really came through and kicked up a gear and I have to give them a lot of credit, I had a fantastic race car for race 2 and 3 today and there was a real chance of a fourth place finish if only the radiator had held on. It's a great feeling to get another podium and once we solved a few qualifying niggles there's a lot more to come from me and the car."
Airwaves BMW Team driver Mat Jackson said: "It was a great last race and if I hadn't made a silly mistake and gone in a little hot I would have been on the podium too. This is my 100th BTCC start and apart from making me feel old I enjoyed it just like the first! My mistake cost me today and I was unlucky to have to retire in race 2, but the last race today helped. If we can place higher in qualifying then it makes the whole job a lot easier, especially when you're driving a great race car like this"
Airwaves BMW Team Manager Oliver Collins said: "A great turn-around in race 3, to have Steven finish in 3rd from 19th and Mat in 7th from 21st shows a lot of skill and determination. The weekend was frustrating and having to retire two cars in race 2 from strong 6th place positions was disappointing, but the team again did a great job turning the cars around between the races. The last race was a reward for their efforts."
-source: airwaves bmw