Dominik Jackson arrived at Donington Park as the leader of the Radical Challenge and high hopes of retaining his title for the RAW Motorsports team for a second successive year. Although he succeded in his quest, the story behind it could hardly be believed.
He qualified second quickest for the first race, to share the front row of the grid with title rival Jerome De Sadeleer. “It is what it is, so long as I am in the first few it’s OK,” he said.
From the start both held station, but any lead De Sadeleer had made was eroded by an early safety car itevention after three laps.
But after the green flag Jackson lost out to Jac Constable and Marcus Clutton in the slippery conditions, dropping to fourth, while team mate Elliot Goodman had settled in fifth. Spencer Bourne had pitted for wet tyres from seventh and John Macleod persevered in eighth.
Jackson had reclaimed fourth before his mandatory pitstop, but after crashing out in qualifying and starting from the back of the grid, Joe Stables was flying and up to fifth.
Jackson opted to stay on slicks and the track began to dry. He shadowed Clutton for a while as De Sadeleer took the win, but third place was good enough to keep the title chase in target. “Clutton was quite aggressive defending, so I just stayed where I was,” he said.
Stables had closed for a while but was a clear fourth throughout the second half, while Bourne managed a second stop to change back to slicks and still managed to finish eighth. “When I came in for wets it was a gamble, then it started to dry so we had time in the window to come in again and it worked,” said Bourne.
Macleod rounded off the top 10 too, “Once I knew Elliot was behind me I stayed conservative and just brought it home,” he admitted. For Goodman it was a disappointing result from a strong start, “I didn’t know where the grip was after we changed to wets,” he said after dropping to 11th, 0.636 secs ahead of his father Rod.
The second race was red flagged and had to be restarted,unfortunately claiming RAW’s Peter Brookes as an innocent victim.
Jackson had made a good start but fortunately he was able to repeat it at the second attempt too.
Constable and De Sadeleer joined Jackson in an early break, but the RAW driver was in command throughout. “I had a mega start, commanding and smooth until the front right corner collapsed on the Craner Curves and sent me off at the Old Hairpin at 120mph,” Jackson explained.
Bourne had run in fifth, but had to give best to team mate Goodman from lap six. After Jackson’s demsie Goodman came home fourth, only 0.362 secs off the podium, while a RAW trio of Bourne, Macleod and Marcelo Marateotto took the flag in sixth, seventh and eigith, after Stables had retired with contact damage. “I went through Craners side by side with John, he wasn’t getting back though,” said Goodman.
Although De Sadeleer had won the race, he was penalised and dropped to second, but it still gave him a two point lead in the championship to start the final race.
As De Sadeeler focussed on building a lead from the start of the wet race, from 15th on the grid Jackson was 11th by the end of the opening lap as the safety car appeared.
There was only two clear laps before the safety car was out again, but Jackson was already in in seventh.He took team mates Stables and Goodman plus Chris Preen on consecutive laps and was into fourth, but the gap to the lead trio was big.
Jackson pitted early and all was well, but De Sadeleer had problems, when his wheels were stuck as they attempted to change to slicks. Any hopes of the title had now gone for him, which left Jackson with a clear run to third place and with it the retention of his Radical Challenge title in a final twist of fate.
“There was a spinner on the first lap who knocked me off at the Craner Curves, then contact with another car. All of it was so frantic, I didn’t think it was possible, but I went in early for slicks and it was perfect. I was aware of Jerome’s problem, so knew what I had to do,” Jackson added.
Stables also had a strong second half and almost took fourth on the last lap. “I was alongside Preen passed the pits and tried the outside at Redgate but just got out too wide and spun,” he said.
For Goodman another strong start ended with another disappointment, losing out massively during the stops and eventually finishing ninth behind Macleod. “I was lucky at the stops, but that race was a bit like chess, playing percentages,” said Macleod.
Bourne had a fairly lonely but productive race for sixth though. “A big gap in front and behind, so just maintained my times and felt great,” he concluded.
With RAW drivers taking four of the top six positions n the final championship standings, it’s been a very successful year for the RAW Radical squad, Jackson taking his second title, with Macleod, Goodman and Bourne in fourth, fifth and sixth.