Jackson, starting with a mere 27kg of ballast, was always a likely candidate for race three victory, and so it proved.
Once he had beaten Moffat to the entry of Paddock Hill Bend, the Motorbase man blasted off into a lead he was not going to lose, although he admitted that the race wasn’t as peaceful as it could have been.
“It might have looked simple,” said the Ford driver. “But, I had Moffat keeping me honest for the entire duration and there were two safety car periods to deal with.”
He coped manfully with both restarts and landed his fifth victory of the season – which made him the joint most successful with Turkington in terms of 2016 race triumphs.
Moffat, on the other hand, was equally delighted with his second career podium and his first of the campaign. “The car had potential at this track, I knew that,” said Moffat. “It was a question of stringing it all together.”
While he did that, the championship action was taking place in his wing mirrors. From the green light, Tordoff consolidated his third place. Shedden, starting fifth, was wary of the faststarting Plato off the line as the Subaru man cut in front of him, but restored the order at Druids a few hundred yards later to return to fifth, directly behind Cook’s soft-tyred MG.
“It could have been all over so quickly,” said Shedden. “When Jason came past off the line, I thought I was going in to the pit wall for a moment…”
He didn’t, and he set off on a title winning charge. Chopping inside Cook as the pair approached Druids on lap four was a strong move for fourth, but it still wasn’t enough for the Honda man.
He needed to unseat Tordoff from third. But WSR team boss Dick Bennetts knew that there would be trouble ahead.
“I feel like we might have let Sam down a little bit in race three,” said Bennetts. “We were struggling for set-up all day, and we tried something. In the end, it wasn’t the right thing.”
It wasn’t. With Tordoff third, he was two points ahead of fourth placed Shedden in the table. The reigning champion needed to usurp his title rival on the road to make the silverware his, and he did it with a sublime move going across the start-finish line at the end of lap six.
“The car was just fantastic,” said Shedden afterwards. “I could put it anywhere I wanted.”
That meant his points total was level with Tordoff, but he would still land the crown by dint of more wins.
In the end, that didn’t matter, because the struggling BMW fell victim to Morgan’s Mercedes at Druids on lap 13 to fall further down the order. “We have had reasonable pace today, it is just that the others were faster,” said the dejected Tordoff, who missed his first BTCC crown by two points but finished 14 clear of third-placed Jackson in the final table.
Behind the main players, Ingram signed off his season with a competitive sixth place having been booted to the back of the grid for race one for failing a ride height check, from the hampered Cook.
Team Hard Toyota Avensis driver Jake Hill fought impressively to clinch eighth place ahead of Collard and Plato. Plato, like team-mate Turkington, had been struggling for pace with the success ballast from race two.
Turkington, in particular, was left to drop out of the title picture with a wimper, landing 12th place. “We had a great car, but the weight just killed us,” he reflected. “We came close to the title but just came up short.”
Shedden didn’t come up short, and landed his third crown to match his absent team-mate Neal.