Oulton BSB: Maiden winner Jackson ‘still learning, still improving’

| | British Superbikes
Picture: Impact Images

Having made his British Superbike Championship debut back in 2014 and with almost 150 races now under his belt, Lee Jackson finally claimed a well deserved victory in the series with a superb ride in the final race of the weekend at Oulton Park.

The FS-3 Racing Kawasaki runner was overshadowed by his young team-mate Rory Skinner at the opening round at Silverstone but Jackson’s results there didn’t really reflect his pace.

Oulton Park was where he also took a second place finish behind Bradley Ray in the second race and if it wasn’t for a lowly qualifying position in the wet – 15th – he could have come away with three podiums from the three races.

“Yeah, I was a bit annoyed with the qualifying position especially after being second quickest overall across the dry practice sessions,” he said.

“The dry set-up didn’t translate across for the wet session and we ran out of time to get it dialled in but I got my head down in Sunday’s race.

“Seventh was a bit frustrating but my pace in the race was good enough for a top five, or top three, finish so I knew if I was higher up the grid, I’d be in the mix.”

That’s exactly what happened on Monday with his Sunday ride through the pack seeing him set the second fastest lap and start the second race of the weekend from fourth and the second row. He finished second to Bradley Ray to get his first podium of the season so far.

“Bradley and Kyle (Ryde) were setting a really hot pace but although I’d worked really hard on tyre life during practice, I let Bradley get away from me. I was keen to make amends in the final race.”

That’s exactly what happened with Jackson saving the best until last, putting in a polished ride despite not feeling comfortable in the early stages.

“Monday’s second race wasn’t as fast as the others to start with and I felt a bit scrappy and unable to get into my rhythm. Once Tommy (Bridewell) came by me though, I was able to get into my groove. The lap times dropped and Brad came back to us but I was mindful that the group behind were only about a second adrift and I didn’t want them to come into play.”

While most expected Bridewell to make the move first, it was 26-year old Jackson who took the initiative and he pulled away to win by almost three seconds. The haul of 54 points has moved him up to fifth in the championship table and although it’s early days, it’s most definitely a case of ‘so far, so good’ for the Lincolnshire rider.

“The sooner you can put yourself in the top eight and get good points on the board, the better,” he said. “There’s no race in BSB where just three riders can win and the pack’s closing up all the time. More riders are going to come into the mix as the season goes on. People like Jason O’Halloran and Leon Haslam are only going to get stronger whilst Tarran Mackenzie is yet to come back.

“I’ve had two strong rounds though and some strong results so just want to keep pushing on. Staying with the team for a fifth season really helps from a continuity perspective and the Kawasaki’s a great package. I’ve the same crew and we’ve had a few upgrades so the bike’s working really well. It’s strong in all areas so I want to stay consistent.”

Having come into BSB at a young age, Jackson’s had to put in the hard yards to get to where he is now, dropping back to the National Superstock series in 2018 and 2019, before coming back into BSB in 2020 an improved rider.

“2014 seems a long time ago and I guess it seems like slow progress in the BSB series but after struggling a bit in the 2017 season, moving to the Superstock class really helped. It’s a tough class with some strong riders and it gave me the boost I needed so I was a better rider when I came back into BSB in 2020.

“I was in a stronger position whilst the FS-3 team have been brilliant for me. Everything’s coming together but I’m still learning and I’m still improving learning so will keep pushing on.”