Carbon Positive Motorsport talks to our ambassador, Matthew Jackson.
In the second of our ambassador features we speak to Matthew Jackson, who along with co-driver Sasha Heriot, is competing in this year’s BTRDA and Welsh National Rally Championship in his Fiesta R2T.
Since returning to rallying this year, Mathew has had a clean sweep of class wins in all events entered. With such great form, we asked Matthew more about his hopes for this year, and his views on the need to make motorsport more sustainable.
CPM: Matthew, it is a pleasure to have you join us as an ambassador for a second year – what motivates you to have your carbon offset in competition?
MJ: The world is an ever evolving and changing place. For me, we have to do all we can to improve our carbon footprints as well as get the message out there that we can all do the things we enjoy, but actually, we can do so in a way that is better for the environment. Rallying in particular relies on the environment and the countryside so we have to do all we can to protect that, but to also enhance it.
It's clear that to sustain our sport, we have to make changes so to be able to offset the carbon produced by the rally car during the events is a huge leap forwards. It’s also fantastic to be able to support UK based projects, I’m looking forward to seeing the results in time!
CPM: You have made quite an impact on your return to competitive rallying this year: What’s your plans and hopes for this season?
MJ: The year has started very well, I had some plans and an expectation and if I’m honest, our performances have exceeded all of them! For the remainder of the year, we plan to build on what we have achieved already and build the pace even further the more miles we get in the new car. We currently hold the class lead in the Motorsport UK Ravenol Pirelli Welsh Championship as well as 3rd 2wd overall. Of course, the aim is to maintain those positions until the end of the year and clinch the championship, but as ever, this will all depend on the support we can raise for the remaining events. We have some very affordable ways of getting onboard with our programme and to be part of what we aim to be a championship winning team, any interested people out there, please reach out, we’d love to talk!
CPM: How did you start out in rallying?
MJ: My first memories are being in a forest with my Dad and brother at national level rallies. Dad did a small amount of co-driving when I was very young, from there he has been a marshal, radio marshal, stage commander, chief marshal and now, a Motorsport UK Safety Delegate. So it was only natural that growing up, going rallying is all I wanted to do. I was fortunate enough to be at the right age to then compete in the inaugural Junior1000 rally series in 2009, I spent all my life savings on my first Nissan Micra rally car. As they say, the rest is history!
CPM: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
MJ: There’s been a few highlights to look back on. We won the BTRDA 1400C class in 2014, that was a big achievement for me in the home developed and run Nissan Micra. I also won the John Easson Memorial award at the end of 2015 which allowed us to hire a Subaru Impreza and compete on Wales Rally GB National finishing 11th overall. If I’m honest, the way 2022 is going, it’s looking like this will be the highlight of highlights.. but I won’t get ahead of myself just yet, a long way to go!
CPM: One thing we admired about you was your active involvement with events, and not just competing: whats motivated you to do both?
MJ: My rallying involvement started by being at events alongside my father and I really enjoyed the marshalling and volunteering elements. When I started competing, it also became immediately apparent that knowing the ins and outs of the sport only helps when it comes to being ‘on the other side’ in the drivers seat. Equally, each event is run by volunteers so it’s incredibly important to give back. If every competitor helped an event, or even just marshalled on 1 event per year, the man power that would generate would be a huge help to the marshalling community. I do enjoy both sides, you meet many new people, learn and develop a lot of skills as well as provide (hopefully!) a great event for fellow competitors.
CPM: Final question: and it's looking to the future: how do you see the sport developing in the future and what are your ambitions in the sport?
MJ: In time, the introduction of hybrid and electric rally cars will happen, but for the time being, I think the biggest change has to be from an event perspective looking at reducing that carbon footprint and really doing everything we can to improve the efficiency of the events. I think the class structure in rallying needs reviewing to allow smaller engine capacity turbo cars to fit into the class structure better to introduce more modern cars (which are more efficient). Covid has been great for one element of rallying for me, the reduction in the amount of paper used on events. There is more to be had there, the use of apps for event paperwork, a development of the contactless timing and so on, but we’ve made good progress in recent times.
As for me personally, I can’t really put it into words how much we’re enjoying being competitive this year in the new car. I would love to continue behind the wheel and be competitive. The ultimate dream is to drive an R5 car. Most people here would say to be world champion, but we have to be realistic! For me, I will put all the work and effort in that’s required to stay at the forefront and push messages out there just like this with Carbon Positive Motorsport. My ultimate goal is to win a rally and then a championship outright. If you could tell five-year-old Matthew that he could win a rally, he would be in dreamland. So that’s the ambition, finish 2022 as we’ve started, look to the next step and attempt to build to a rally win.
Thanks to Black Mountain Media for Plains Rally Images.
It only costs a little to make a big difference for the sport, so whether you're a competitor or spectator, why not join with us to help make motorsport sustainable.
To become Carbon Positive yourself, visit our website www.carbonpositivemotorsport.com