Jackson turns to 2021 for 2019 heartbreak

SXS Turbo driver Nick Jackson will have to wait a little bit longer to redeem himself after a disappointing end to 2019 with the New South Welshman expected to return in 2021.

Heading into the 2019 BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship’s final round in fifth place, Jackson was an outside chance to snatch the title and once Shannon Rentsch pulled out of the season finale, his chances significantly increased.

Not long into the race, Toby Whateley also retired, giving Jackson the chance to secure the class title, however with crews facing some of the toughest off road conditions, Jackson was unable to make an impact, breaking his gearbox on the first lap and ending any hope for silverware.

With a number of other SXS Turbo crews eventually finishing the race, Jackson dropped out of the top 10 overall and out of the class top five – making it a sour end to what he classed as a learning year.

“It was a disappointing way to finish the season,” Jackson said of the 2019 Hindmarsh Shire Rainbow Desert Enduro.

“Breaking a shaft and gearbox was really unfortunate. Once the dust had settled, we had a bit of a ‘what if’ moment as we were in a really good position, but we had to put it behind us and move on.

“We haven’t done any significant changes to the buggy since Rainbow or driven it for that matter. We obviously purchased a new shaft and put it in. The car was in pieces for a long time and we recently put it back together.

“Effectively the car is the same as it was last year and 2019 became a learning year because our strategy will be a bit different next year as we know when to make our changes and at what intervals.”

Following on from the disappointing end, an enthusiastic Jackson was hopeful of getting back out on track this year and having a stronger season due to the additional extra rounds, including his favourite course in Loveday.

However, with the COVID-19 pandemic prolonging the season, the 27-year-old admits 2021 will be the chance where he and co-driver Lauren Johnson have another go at the class title – leaving this year as their gap year.

“We haven’t really worked out what the plan is,” Jackson explained.

“After last year, the plan was to have a real crack in 2020 and then take a break next year, but after all the Coronavirus stuff, we will be back in 2021 and will rest this year so we can save some money.

“I don’t think I have it in me to win the series outright but who knows. If everyone has a good year, then I don’t think I will be up there. But if it was like last year and we’re consistent, anything can happen.

“The main target will be the class title.

“I would love to get over to Western Australia and have a go at Kalgoorlie as I never been there, or WA for that matter. But we will have to wait until next year where we plan to have a real crack.

“With that said, if Loveday goes ahead this year, we will definitely go to that. We have been racing there ever since we started. It’s our favourite track. Good on the car. Nice and tight.”