Matt Jackson

BTCC 2016 – Snetterton – Reviewed and Rated

After a long break BTCC finally returned this week. There was chaos at Snetterton, and our BTCC Correspondent has got stuck into the big debate about driving standards. Which side of the fence are you on about it?

2016 BTCC Snetterton

Hunter Abbott’s wrecked Chevrolet, following the incident at the start of race three (C) BTCC

The British Touring Car Championship returned at Snetterton following the traditional mid-season six week break and oh boy, it returned alright! Where to start? Three different winners? The first red flag? The second red flag? The camera gantry being rolled into by a flying Hunter Abbott? Drivers complaining about standards? The media complaining about safety?

It would be sensible to remind ourselves at the start of this article that, as Tim Harvey quite rightly pointed out on ITV’s coverage, all tickets state, ‘Motorsport is dangerous.’ Correct, it is. I don’t want to see anyone injured, whether it be minor or serious, nor do I want the unthinkable to happen and a driver be killed or anyone else for that matter. However, we must ask ourselves, why are we fans of the BTCC? Why are we fans of motorsport? We watch it because we want to see close, hard and fair racing. To achieve this, it naturally brings an element of risk and danger and it is something we have to accept if we want to watch motor racing. The debate to be had is how we control this danger. Has it become too dangerous?

Saturday’s qualifying session and Sunday’s first race would suggest not. Qualifying saw Gordon Shedden take pole by the smallest of margins, 0.015s, from Colin Turkington who in turn was the smallest of margins, 0.013s, ahead of Adam Morgan. The gaps were amazingly small on what is the longest lap of the season. In addition to the amazingly close gaps, it was also amazing that it was the first Honda pole in over three years, since Donington Park in 2013.

2016 BTCC Snetterton

(C) BTCC

Race One (1st Turkington, 2nd Shedden, 3rd Jackson)
Turkington got away well from the line, but couldn’t quite take advantage of his start as Shedden retained the lead, but Mat Jackson was able to jump into 3rd. Andrew Jordan’s issues in qualifying were compounded by being pushed out onto the grass at the first corner, but he wasn’t the only one to experience trouble. Morgan was knocked sideways, but retained 5th, Alex Martin went off and Aron Smith picked up a problem to go with his ‘eye-catching’ new livery.

The opening laps saw Turkington keep Shedden honest and Morgan climbed back into 4th. Five drivers, including Turkington, were soon under investigation for a potential false-start, but none were found guilty come the end of the race. Half way through the race, Shedden still needed to be incredibly defensive to stave off Turkington’s attacks, but on lap 8 he could no longer repel the Ulsterman, as he made an outstanding move over several corners flipping from the inside to the outside and back to the inside again. Turkington’s move almost allowed Jackson to overtake Shedden too, but he couldn’t find a way by. Similarly to Turkington, Jason Plato felt as though he’d been held up by Tom Ingram and performed a similar move to his teammate on Ingram to take 5th. (more…)

BTCC Week – More ESM at Oulton Park

With the sun burn now slowly (and painfully) turning to a rich golden brown, it’s time for Engage Sport Mode to reflect on just what happened at Oulton Park yesterday.

The 2.26 mile Cheshire Circuit played host to rounds 10, 11 and 12 of this year’s British Touring Car Championship. The Yuasa Hondas of Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden look to be the cars to beat this season, with convincing performances in the previous rounds. Admittedly, ESM fell out of love with the BTCC a number of years ago (to be discussed later in the week) and was very much there for a good time, rather than as a die-hard fan.

As a result, the pictures you see below cover a variety of on and off track entertainment, including 2010 champion Jason Plato eating a burger. All the photos below were taken in an amateur style on a iPhone 4. I do not profess to be a professional photographer, nor do I particularly aspire to be one. ESM took along its “roving photographer” for the proper pics, also to be featured later in the week. Enjoy:

It was just after this point that ESM’s iPhone ran out of battery. Which was a shame, as the third and final BTCC race provided lots of action right under our very noses. Luckily our roving photographer got some great shots which will be neatly delivered later in the week.

If you want to know more about who won, who lost and who half of the people above are, then head on over to the offical BTCC website here.