The trip to Rockingham was one to savour for Mat Jackson, the Airwaves Racing driver returning to the podium amongst a trio of top-four finishes at the Northamptonshire Speedway.
Jackson made a remarkable recovery from 12th place on the grid after a sluggish qualifying for the Motorbase Ford squad on Saturday to fight to the podium in race one the following day, overtaking both Jason Plato and Gordon Shedden at Deene hairpin in the second half of the race to secure a second podium visit of the 2013 season.
The 2008 runner-up then continued that form into the following two encounters, finishing fourth in races two and three to round off a strong weekend for the Airwaves Racing man and banish the team’s memories of Knockhill.
“A good weekend”, said Jackson. “Obviously qualifying wasn’t the best result that we had following the P3 in free practice two, which put us on the back foot ultimately. But we came through and that was the main thing.”
Jackson next heads off to Silverstone’s National circuit on the weekend of September 28/29, the venue of one of his most memorable wins in BTCC which came last season.
On that day, Jackson charged from the back to the front of the field to claim the team’s first win with their then-still-in-progress NGTC Ford Focus, and the Airwaves racer now believes that the car will be again at the front at the short Silverstone layout.
“Overall I think we’ve turned a corner with the car. We’ve made progress, and to come here and have three results in the top four is fantastic for everybody who’s involved here at Airwaves Racing and it’s great to reward the hard work with some decent results.
“Looking forward going into Silverstone we’re in good shape. It’s a circuit that I love and we intend to go there and carry on from where we are now and improve. We’re bouncing back, we know where we’re heading and that is the main thing. We need to move forwards with the car and I think this weekend has proved off the back of Snetterton that we’ve found something in the car and I’m a lot more confident.”
Airwaves Racing Team Manager Oly Collins was just as delighted with the Rockingham performance, saying: “Three top four finishes today was a good strong result and one which starts to pay back all of the team’s hard work. Mat drove outstandingly well all day; We’re now looking forward to seeing what Silverstone has in-store for us in two weeks.”
Elsewhere, Airwaves new recruit, Tom Onslow-Cole, had a rough start to new life at his sixth BTCC squad, qualifying 18th before becoming an innocent victim in a first lap melee at Gracelands in race one.
Onslow-Cole – who has raced a Volkswagen Passat for Team HARD this season – recovered well however in race two by fighting through to ninth place before concluding with 12th in race three, the man himself commenting: “It’s been a really good introduction to the team and car to be honest, not quite the results we wanted this weekend, but actually I’m coming away thinking that I’m comfortable in the car.
“I really enjoyed being in the team and the pace is definitely in it. We’ve had glimpses of front running pace and Mat has really shown what the NGTC can do quite consistently this weekend so I think it’s all very positive and I’m excited about going on from here.”