Simon Belcher and Ollie Jackson both brought the most relieving news from the paddock following the third British Touring Car Championship meeting at Thruxton last weekend, confirming to The Checkered Flag they emerged unscathed from their massive accidents at Church corner during the final race of the day.
Both the Handy Motorsport and Welch Motorsport drivers were victims of apparent mechanical failures during the third race of the day in quick succession, a front-corner failure pitching Jackson into the barriers before Belcher met a similar fate moments later that left his Toyota ‘a write-off’ according to the former Clio Cup racer himself.
Jackson’s Proton Gen-2 was left with substantial front-end damage following his 12.5g impact, felling a tree in the process but thankfully emerging unhurt.
“A front tyre or suspension failure – i think it was suspension”, Jackson told The Checkered Flag after the crash. “It’s not very nice. I’ve cut a fairly large tree in half which is an achievement; it was about 95mph.”
Calculating initial thoughts on salvageable areas of the Proton, he added: “Definitely not the front, and the engine’s knackered as well unfortunately. Hopefully the shell should be alright.”
Upon the subsequent safety car restart, action was delayed once again for another substantial accident at the same bend, Belcher’s Toyota Avensis spearing off at unabated speed through the grass where it rolled spectacularly over the barriers to join the Proton in the scenery.
Belcher was out of the heavily-damaged machine within minutes, adding to TCF afterwards: “Just going into Church I got back on the power, something broke on the front of the car and we just turned left. I was just a passenger into the barriers…then over the barrier, through the air and into a tree.
“I always find that crashes tend to look worse on camera than they do when you go through it. You’re ready for it when you know it’s coming, but it just shows how strong these cars are that we’ve rolled over a barrier at 130mph and I’m fine.”
The incidents were the third and fourth cases of similar incidents at the Hampshire circuit’s famous right-hander over Sunday. Ginetta Junior racer Billy Monger spun into the same tyre barrier, before Nick Foster met a similar fate when he made contact with Rob Austin‘s Audi during the second BTCC encounter of the day – again no injuries sustained.
Belcher said that safety improvements to the corner exit could be looked into to limit such impacts when cars exit the circuit at Church corner, outlining a gravel trap as his personal thought. “It’s a 130mph corner with nothing to stop you other than grass and a small stack of tyres with it being such a quick corner”, he added.
Jackson meanwhile further commented on the situation, saying: “Everyone’s fast in touring cars and running the same lines, suspension and tyres. It’s a bit of a fluke sometimes, but if something is going to go wrong it’s there.”