Cumbrian Success for Jackson and Williams
Following on from their solid BTRDA Championship opener in Llandudno in February, Warwick rally driver Matthew Jackson and co-driver Claire Williams were once again back in rally action in their 1400cc Nissan Micra and looking to boost their championship hopes with another impressive points haul with back-to-back finishes. The second round of the BTRDA Championship saw over a hundred rally crews descend on the Cumbrian town of Cockermouth, situated in the heart of the scenic Lake District for the Malcolm Wilson Rally. Following the relentless storms the area endured recently, organisers were eager to demonstrate the town’s resilience and resolve by ensuring the rally went ahead as normal. Safely waved over the start line in Cockermouth the town centre by the local Mayor, the rally crews including Jackson and Williams went on to tackle 45miles of the most classic gravel stages that the North of England has to offer, notably within the infamous Grizedale and Greystoke forests. Eager to improve on their pace from the previous round, Jackson and Williams produced a good opening stage time and gave themselves what they hoped would be a strong platform on which to build on throughout the remaining 7 stages. However their hopes took a setback in Stage 2, when the pair were faced with a dreaded misfire after hitting a deeper than expected water splash. Nevertheless, despite nursing their Nissan Micra for 2 miles until the car recovered, they produced an impressive time which put them in the mix for good battle with their fellow competitors and they headed into the first service halt laying 4th in class, only 16seconds adrift of a podium spot. The next loop of stages following the service halt would prove to be challenging yet rewarding for Jackson and Williams as the pair emerged from stage 5 very happy with their performance through what was a tricky test. The same could not be said for the 1400 BTRDA Championship leader, Dave Brick who was forced to retire mid stage with transmission problems, which elevated the young crew to a podium spot. Stage 6 almost saw the pair join Brick on the retirement list as they were lucky to escape a 60mph excursion over a grass bank unscathed. The remaining stages were no time for Jackson and Williams to become complacent and with Scottish rivals and brother and sister duo, Keith and Mairi Riddick breathing down their necks they looked to consolidate their podium spot in the remaining 2 stages as well has reduce the deficit to 2nd place. As the pair entered into the last service of the rally, they were only 4seconds behind 2nd position within the 1400 category with only one stage remaining. Unfortunately, this would prove to be a bridge too far as they were only able to reduce the gap by one second in the final stage as they crossed the finish line of the final stage of the rally. Despite securing 3rd 1400 overall, their result has elevated the duo to 2nd place in the Thomas Panels BTRDA 1400 Championship. The result also elevates Jackson to the head of ANWCC Forest Rally Driver Championship table, while Williams extends her lead in the BTRDA Ladies Championship. The next event for the young pairing will be Rally North Wales based out of the Market Town of Dolgellau in North West Wales on April 2nd. Matthew and Claire would very much like to thank the 2300 Club John Easson award and PowerMaxed Racing for their support.
Image Courtesy of Chicane Media