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The Race to the Championship: Mat Jackson

Mat Jackson may not have enjoyed the consistency of his team mate, but the Motorbase driver’s up-and-down season have produced some of the star moments of the year. Jackson’s four wins so far this season – more than all but one other driver – put him in a strong contention for the title, but it hasn’t been an easy season.

Mat Jackson's championship points this season

Mat Jackson’s championship points this season

The season got off to a tough start for Jackson. Brands Hatch saw the Motorbase driver stuck in battle with a number of others, struggling to progress from starting positions at the bottom of the top ten. A collision with his own team mate in race three ended Jackson’s race, but he was still able to take nineteen points from the weekend.

Things very quickly got better from there.

Snow at Donington Park set the scene for the second weekend of the championship. Jackson secured a third place in qualifying, and was ready to get back to top form.

During the race, it didn’t take Jackson long to storm into the lead and, though MG’s Josh Cook was close on his tail for the entire race, the Motorbase driver held off to take his first victory of the season, and to become the fourth different winner in four races.

Race two was trickier with maximum ballast on board. This time it was Rob Collard trying to find a way past the Ford, and he found more success than Cook. Jackson was demoted to second, but it was still a finish to be proud of.

That made things even harder for the reverse grid and tyre degradation only made things worse. He finished inside the points, just, with a fourteenth.

People were already throwing around the phrase “championship contender” by this point, but it was going to take more than that to get into the final eight. Another weekend like Donington would have gone down well at Motorbase.

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A puncture in race one at Thruxton meant it didn’t seem like a second win was going to come any time soon. Jackson rejoined the track after replacing the tyre, but he couldn’t finish in the points. But an amazing performance in race two meant things might not be as dismal after all.

Whilst this team mate took the race win, Jackson stormed up to eighth by the time the race finished, putting him on the front row of the grid for the final race of the weekend.

Once again, Jackson took the lead off of the line. From then on, it was a simple race for the Motorbase driver, bagging his second win of the season.

The weekend was pretty representative of Jackson’s entire season. His average finish is ninth, but he’s taken four wins over the entire season. Of the nine rounds, Jackson has only taken points from all three races in three rounds. Whilst it’s normally two decent finishes, he often has one tricky weekend way out of the points or retired.

A breakdown of Jackson's finishes this season

A breakdown of Jackson’s finishes this season

Mat Jackson heads into the final race of the season twenty one points behind the championship leader and fifth in the title race. An average weekend for Jackson sees him take home nearly thirty points, which could be enough to take the title should disaster strike those ahead of him, but Jackson will probably need something a little extra if he wants to finish on top this weekend.

Image credit: Caroline Rhea

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