In a perfect role reversal from the day’s opening race a mechanical issue dropped Jason Plato out of a clear lead of race two, handing Mat Jackson a first victory for the Motorbase Performance built NGTC Ford Focus at the end of a stellar drive from 17th on the grid.
Jackson’s own retirement from the lead in the first race had left him starting well down for the second race, though his initial standing was somewhat aided by the fact that only 16 cars finished the first race. His performance in the first race had clearly shown the pace of the NGTC Focus around the Silverstone National Circuit and his rapid drive up the order showcased the newest car on the grid once more.
The first half of the race was perfect for Plato, escaping the attentions of Rob Collard, who reprised his fourth-to-second start routine to pass both Aron Smith and Dave Newsham before turning into Copse.
Plato quickly pulled out a near three second before in a bitter sweet twist of the MG driver’s title hopes the safety car was brought out by Matt Neal, bringing a flaming Honda Civic to a halt between Copse and Maggotts, marshals fighting to control a fire emanating from the front left of the #1 car. Neal, obvious to all who saw the flames was an instant retirement.
There is no doubt that the safety car helped Jackson’s charge towards the front, the neutral period coming when he lay in fifth place, which easily became fourth when he passed Redstone Racing teammate Aron Smith on the first lap after the restart. There Jackson’s charge – and with it the chance of passing Plato on track for the win began to fade. While the leader built up his advantage again, with the same ease as before, Jackson toiled to pass Newsham and Collard.
When they came, the positions fell quickly, Jackson passing Newsham, Collard and Plato in a single lap.
With Newsham already dispatched Jackson trailed Collard out of Luffield, the piar flashing past an ailing Plato, Collard leading across the line by 0.082 seconds before Jackson made a move for the lead at Copse.
Plato’s downfall was an electrical problem, leaving the opportunity to pass Neal into second in the championship untaken. There were anxious moments as Plato, instead of exiting to the outside of the circuit as normal, decided to return to the pit through a gate in the pitwall, opened by marshals while the race continued on.
In the remaining laps Jackson pulled out a 1.7 second lead to take the win to the delight of David Bartrum and the rest of the Motorbase team. Collard and Newsham completed the podium, the Team ES Racing driver resisting pressure from Aron Smith as he sought a return to the BTCC podium and to further sweeten the event for Kent-based Redstone Racing.
Rob Austin maintained his fifth place from the first race ahead of the battle for sixth, Tom Onslow-Cole beating Gordon Shedden and Daniel Welch, Shedden – still groping for straight line pace from his Honda – further extended his points lead in the championship.
Andrew Jordan, recovering from his race one off finished ninth, and will join Nick Foster on the front row for the reverse grid race three.
Neate claimed another victim, Will Bratt retiring after contact with the MG after Neate had run with at Becketts. Bratt – in the second Rob Austin Racing Audi – retired, Neate would finish in 18th, but miss out on the minor points claimed by Jeff Smith, Frank Wrathall, Liam Griffin, Adam Morgan and Chris James in descending order.