The fortunes of Airwaves BMW were emphatically turned on their head at Silverstone today as Mat Jackson dipped into his reserve of talent to produce a spellbinding drive to take him from 10th to 3rd in the day's final race, his fifth podium of the...
The fortunes of Airwaves BMW were emphatically turned on their head at Silverstone today as Mat Jackson dipped into his reserve of talent to produce a spellbinding drive to take him from 10th to 3rd in the day's final race, his fifth podium of the season. This result gives the team a fighting chance with just three more race meetings to go of winning their first Independent Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Mat Jackson started the weekend with high hopes at one of his favourite circuits. From 13th on the grid after yesterday's troubled qualifying session, Jackson had huge hurdles to leap and would never pass or even get close to the turbo'd Focus, blank cheque Chevys and NGTC turbo'd Vectra in the day's first race, a pack that left the rest of today's field for dead, finishing some three seconds ahead.
Today the real racing took place in the mid-order as Jackson, Neal, Shedden and Kane swapped places and paint jobs for the duration of the 22-lap race.
Kane who started in 11th managed to get his Airwaves BMW up to 7th, squeezing past Neal, Shedden and Boardman. Neal, the former champion, bullied and pressed his way past Kane, but it was soon Jackson to whom his attention turned.
Hammering through Becketts at a rate of knots neither driver was prepared to give way, and while Neal managed to stay on track Jackson was not so fortunate. He touched the grass and as such lost momentum. He returned to the track in 13th with a damaged car and would remain there, aggrieved with his bad luck.
Kane on the other hand steered clear of danger and with Jackson out of the way nipped past to steal eighth. Despite enthralling exchanges with O'Neill and Neal, Kane would go on to claim ninth spot and 2 points.
Despite TOCA enforcing overnight restriction to both Fords (reduced boost pressure and engine inlet restrictors) the 'AON-Chilton' backed team toyed with the field, storming through the checkered flag almost three-seconds seconds in front of Plato in third. Although Onslow-Cole led for most of the race, an apparent gearbox issue allowed Chilton to pass, or so we're told...
Race two was a tale of woe for Jackson, whose hopes were dashed almost before the race began. Neate, in his WSR BMW, took a kamikaze line through the first corner that was doomed from its conception. The resultant impact span Jackson, who was then well positioned, and now had to fight from the very back of the grid. Seething, he worked his way through the back row markers past Nash and Boardman but with flagging drivers such as George holding up proceedings big points were never on the cards.
Kane on the other hand once again displayed a cool head, tussling with MacDowell and Shedden, but he never lost sight of the team's desire for points, and as such made sure his car remained intact and on track till the bitter end. Unable to shift the petulant Shedden, Kane settled for 8th and three points, Jackson took 10th and 1 point.
All of this however pales into insignificance after a dream run by Jackson in race three. Starting in 1oth place Jackson got stuck in, pressing Collard and pitching him into a rash decision. Alongside his team-mate the Airwaves drivers had a point to prove to the former Motorbase Performance stalwart and as the two encroached, Collards wing mirrors were a picture book of Airwaves BMW pressure. Mid-way through the race Jackson took advantage of a defensive move by Collard on Kane and snuck inside, stealing fourth spot.
Behind him all hell was breaking loose with Jordan and Collard both ending up in the gravel trap - yet again Kane avoided contact and took up 8th position. Jackson determined to capitalise on this opportunity had his eyes on Chilton, and as the Focus struggled for grip he took his chance, nipping up the inside and then past Neal in typical, no-nonsense, Leyland paint- scratching, BTCC fashion. In front of him O'Neill took second while Onslow- Cole took the win, the third for this year's most infamous super-power. Jackson therefore added 10 points to his tally (11 for the day), Kane a further 4 (9 for the day).
The result leaves Airwaves BMW in second in the Independents Championship on 214, 16 points behind Team AON. Kane and Jackson lie 2nd and 3rd in the Independent Championship, just behind Onslow-Cole who is now in 1st. The Airwaves pairing are also 6th and 7th in the Drivers Championship respectively.
Steven Kane fought hard all weekend to secure 9 championship points, Mat Jackson's determined effort was rewarded with a deserved podium in race three and 10 points.
Airwaves BMW Team driver Steven Kane said:
"It was a tough weekend and after two reasonable races it's great for the team that Mat made it on to the podium. The last race was disappointing as I took a whack from Collard up the rear and it damaged my exhaust. On the straights I lost power so I had to fight hard but through the corners the car was a dream to drive. 9 points from the weekend is alright, but, to win the title we need to do more. It's not quite good enough."
Airwaves BMW Team driver Mat Jackson said:
"That was mega. We needed a result today and we deserved one so I'm pleased for myself and the team. All day it seemed like lady luck was not on our side but with this win its back on and I'm chuffed to be leaving in a better mood. Knockhill is next and these ten points are better than nothing, they all add up at the end of the season."
Airwaves BMW Team Manager Oliver Collins said:
"Positive end to an otherwise frustrating day. Both drivers gave their all in each of the three races but due to various things they didn't quite get the results they deserved. We're glad to be on the podium and ready to kick up a gear in Scotland."
-source: airwaves bmw