Liverpool-based teenager Declan Jones enjoyed a successful outing at Knockhill last weekend in the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup and came away with another two podium finishes.The 17-year-old, who is the youngest competitor in the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup and who hadn’t competed in his Century Motorsport-run Ginetta G50 since his debut event at Oulton Park back in June, was immediately back on the pace on Friday in testing and despite missingthe events at Croft and Snetterton, was right up with the regular G50drivers.
Indeed in qualifying he finished up 13th overall and a highly encouraging third in class, thanks to a 53.915 second lap, which left him only a tenth or so off the fastest G50 time.
“We went into the weekend very positive,” Declan said. “Obviously the times were very close between me and [Mark] Davies on Friday in testing and qualifying was even closer again. There was just a tenth between me and Davies – and [Rob] Gaffney was in the middle, and he was like three or four hundredths up on me. It was very, very tight.”
Declan then ran well in the opening 16-lap race and while conditions were wet and slippery, he made the most of a good start, eventually coming home tenth overall and second in class, his best result to date.
“In the opening race I got a fantastic start. I wanted to get past Gaffney as quick as I could because I was keen to be able to get at Davies. But Mark got a better start than me and then I got held up by a couple of G55 drivers. By the time I got by, Mark had pulled out a little bit on me. We literally then ‘levelled out’ and were just matching each other,” Declan explained. “I was glad to get second though. It was one better than last time at Oulton Park and another step forward.”
Race two also culminated in a podium, and while Declan got pushed off at the start, he made the most of the safety car period and then enjoyed a good scrap with Reece Somerfield late on for the final place on the G50 podium, eventually passing him at the hairpin with just two laps to go.
“Race two was a bit eventful. At the start it was a little bit damp and I got squeezed wide and off the track. I also had a bit of a tangle a few laps later with another car, but then the safety car came out,” Declan recalled. “At the re-start Somerfield had a mishap at the hairpin and locked up and went off. That got me third and I started to push it really, really hard to close up on Gaffney. But the steering was out after the problems earlier on and I made a mistake going through the chicane and dropped back to fourth. Then I had to pull it back and so, I pushed and pushed and had a good battle with Somerfield. That was good fun.”
Unfortunately, however, Declan was deprived of the chance to go for another rostrum in the third race, as Tom Ingram stalled at the start and he was caught up in the ensuing chaos.
“The third race was very short for me. Obviously Ingram stalled and Davies was blind sighted. I tried to dive left and there was a car next to me. He was squeezed into the pit wall and had nowhere to go and I literally got pushed into Ingram’s car. There is nothing much you can do about it,” Declan added.
Despite that though, it was still an extremely encouraging weekend and Declan was delighted to get two podiums.
“I am always happy to get two more podiums. It is nice having silverware to go on the mantelpiece and to add to those already in the collection – and I have lots from karting. Overall I am very pleased with how the weekend went and I am happy I walked away from that shunt at the start of the third race – that was quite a big one!
“I have to say a massive thanks to Chicago Soft and the London Perfume Company Limited, because without them we definitely wouldn’t have been competing this weekend. Also a big thanks to Century Motorsport – they were fantastic this weekend and the boys really pulled it out to try and get me out for the race three re-start. We got the car done, but it was a lap too late.”
Declan will now continue his programme in the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup next month, when the MSA British Touring Car Championship-support series heads to Rockingham (September 22-23): “I always look forward to going out racing and I will definitely be going for podiums there,” Declan added. “I really want my first win in the Ginettas and that is what I will be aiming for.”
Declan’s dad and manager, Kelvin Jones meanwhile has revealed that his son might even end up in a Ginetta G55 at Rockingham.
“Work stopped me making the trip to Knockhill this weekend, but I was pleased with how Dec got on,” Kelvin added. “He has been fast throughout and was good in testing on Friday, and that was on old rubber. He gave himself a bit to do in the second race, but to end up with two podiums was very good, especially when you consider this is only his second race weekend with the Ginetta G50.
“I’d like to try and get Dec in a Ginetta G55 car now before the end of the season. It would be good to give him that experience. That would really add to what we have done this year.
“Obviously he has been driving in France in a rear-engined car in V de V and he has been driving the G50 in the UK. If we can get him in a G55 now that would be brilliant, although like most things it will come down to financing. We will just see what we can do.”