Airwaves Racing ended a tough 2013 British Touring Car Championship season winless, but in a positive mindset heading into the winter period, after more podiums fell their way in the season-concluding meeting at Brands Hatch.
The Motorsbase team added a further two podiums to their season tally during a sodden visit to their local circuit in Kent, Mat Jackson the man collecting the acolades while Aron Smith recovered from a frightening practice crash to net two top-five finishes in a promising finale for David Bartrum‘s squad.
“That’s a great way for us to end this season”, said team manager Oly Collins. “This weekend has summed up our season really in two days really; a pretty tough first half but with promise and a great second half with plenty of silverware!”
Double podium visitor Jackson backed up praise following his results, adding: “To come to Motorbase’s home circuit and go out on a high with two third places and two podiums is a great testament to everyone in the team that has worked so hard in what has been a difficult year to achieve the results that we have.
“Rewind six months and they felt like a long way away but to come back in the final round is mega. We’ve worked hard this year and grafted for it, and now all three cars are capable of challenging for podiums.
“It proves Airwaves Racing have turned a corner from the mid-point; we’ve been regularly back on the podium and we’re back where we should be; back fighting for podium places and that’s championship winning material if we can keep doing that.”
The weekend also saw their late-season recruit, Tom Onslow-Cole, shine through the miserable coniditons, as the former Team HARD driver challenged for the podium early in the weekend, having benefitted finally from his Focus starting on equal boost and weight footing to his opposition.
After a fourth place, followed by a less-estatic set of ninth and 13th finishes, Onslow-Cole said: “A more successful weekend; we’ve had some glimpses of pace in qualifying. All in all, a good performance in the dry.
“Race 1 was really good but races 2 and 3 were difficult; not because of set ups or conditions but because of the racing. I had a little bit of contact in race 2 at turn one that knocked our steering out and then in race 3 where I was trying to be a little more cautious it opened me up to being push around a little bit.
Onslow-Cole’s weekend opened with a strong performance and an Independent class win despite just missing out on the podium, saying afterwards that the team will enter next year’s preparation in fine health: “A big moment in the Motorbase camp and hopefully it’s the first of many! I think the car is not far away from where it needs to be at all.
“We’ve got some things we need to test, but for sure the team will be here next year with a car capable of challenging for the title. “
Irishman Smith on the other hand had a weekend that will stick in his mind for a lengthy timescale, a big accident that left his Ford Focus resting on its side at Druids corner in second practice on Saturday the set up to a remarkable rebuild, followed by a superb recovery to the top five the following day.
Smith said: “After seeing it come back in I didn’t even think we’d be racing this weekend. Everyone in the Airwaves Racing team chipped in and stayed until really late last night to make sure we made it back out when I think the majority of the teams would have just have just rolled it onto the trailer and brought it home. So with that being said I’m so grateful that we even got to race.
“The car is now capable of challenging for podiums in the wet so it shows how we now have the car as competitive as possible, and what we’ve learnt in the second half of the year is going to put our car as one of the title contending cars for sure next season.”