Liverpool-based teenager Declan Jones maintained his run of rostrums at Rockingham last weekend in the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup.
The 17-year-old former race winner in the Junior Max class of Formula Kart Stars, who took two podiums at Knockhill last month in only his second outing in his Century Motorsport-run Ginetta G50, began strongly on Friday in the first test session, setting the twelfth best time overall, which impressively left him second in the G50 class, behind only championship leader, Mark Davies.
However after that he began to experience gearbox problems and while it was changed overnight, five laps into qualifying there was an oil leak on the new ‘box which ended Declan’s qualifying.
Despite lining up 15th though for race one, he put in a mature drive and gradually hauled his way up the order, finally snatching eighth and third in class on the very final lap.
Sunday saw Declan slowed by handling problems and he was also hampered by a broken windscreen wiper, meaning he had next to no visibility in the wet and tricky conditions. He persevered though, and safely brought his car to the chequered flag, finishing 15th overall and claiming another 18 championship points to take his year-to-date tally to 127 from just seven races.
“It was a hard weekend, but I am glad I came away with a podium,” said the Chicago Soft and The London Perfume Company Limited-backed youngster. “In the first race I had a couple of issues early on, but I just kept chipping away and chipping away and got third on the last lap. That was definitely the upside to the weekend.
“Today was more challenging. I am no slouch in the wet and you only have to look back at Oulton Park to see that. But we had severe handling issues with the car, and through Turn 1 I had a lot of over-steer. The car just didn’t feel balanced. Also the windscreen wiper wasn’t working, so I couldn’t see much for the whole of that race! We got to the end though, and that in itself was quite an achievement.“It was nice to have my dad here this weekend too, instead of him having to be at work like he was when I was racing at Knockhill.”
Declan now faces a busy October and will take in both of the remaining two Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup rounds at Silverstone (October 6-7) and Brands Hatch (October 20-21). He is also planning to do the French V de V event at Magny Cours from October 26-28.
“I am really looking forward to Silverstone and enjoy racing there,” Declan added. “Last year I was very fast in the Ginetta Juniors, but obviously I had issues in both races and got taken out.
However the pace was there and I am sure I can be quick this time too. I will have some sponsors there that weekend and I want to perform to my best, like always. I’ll definitely be after more podiums.”
Declan’s dad and manager, Kelvin Jones meanwhile was pleased to see his son maintain his strike rate at Rockingham and take his fifth rostrum from as many events.
“The weekend started off well on Friday, but in qualifying, about four or five laps in, the gearbox went. That was frustrating. Today in the second race the car just wasn’t right and through Turn 1, it was stepping into over-steer. The windscreen wiper also stopped working, so that didn’t help either!” Kelvin added. “Still Dec got third in the first race and that was very good. Five podiums from five events this year is something we are very happy with. We will now look forward to Silverstone and getting some more trophies.
“Dec will also test at Aintree next weekend driving a Chevron B16. He will probably be the youngest driver to ever drive a Chevron at Aintree and that is quite special, as it is where Chevron use to do all their testing back in the day. It will be a nice way for us to warm-up for what is going to be a busy and exciting October.”
Anybody that would like to get involved and support Declan should contact Kelvin on +44 (0)7989 585186.