Liverpool-based Declan Jones took his best ever result in the Ginetta Junior Championship with a ninth place finish in Round Six of the series at Thruxton. The former karter has continued to improve throughout the season and built on his first ever top ten finish last time out at Donington Park.
15-year-old Declan had never visited the high speed Hampshire circuit before, meaning Friday practice was his first time on track. The Chicago Soft-backed youngster went on to qualify thirteenth on the grid in qualifying in his family-run Kelvin Jones Motorsport G40, setting a best time of 1m 33.265s.
Declan said: “I hadn't seen the track before the weekend. I didn't know what way it went. Didn't know what it was like. People were saying it was really fast. I wasn't sure if I liked it at first, but then it started to grow on me and every time I went out, I just went quicker. After free practice and qualifying I knew where I was losing out. I just had to keep chipping away at it.”
The first race saw Declan take thirteenth place, his third race finish in a row, before he pushed on in the weekend’s second race, gaining three places in the first two laps before dropping back on lap three. He then fought back up to ninth over the next three laps, before holding the place to the finish.
Declan reflected: “I had a pretty good start and just kept it in there. Then I was battling all the way through. I really, really enjoyed it. I was catching Williams Foster at one point – but I made a mistake and out-braked myself at the Complex. He then pulled away from me and with about 2 laps to go I just decided to stay where I was and just finish.
“Overall I think it was a really good weekend. Getting a couple more finishes under my belt is critical at this stage and it was good to learn another track too. I'd like to thank my team, everyone did a great job this weekend and I'd also like to thank Bradley [Ellis – my 'coach'] for his help and advice. I got told to go into this weekend and finish with no damage and collect as many points as I could – and that is what I did.”
Declan left the Hampshire circuit with twenty points from the weekend, increasing his tally to thirty-eight overall. Next up is a trip to Declan's home circuit of Oulton Park, with Declan adding: “I really am looking forward to that. I think it will be another weekend where I have just got to finish however, because I haven't done much around there.
“The only time I have driven there is in the wet. To race there in the dry will be completely different. Again hopefully I can get another top-ten though, and collect some more points.”
Declan's dad and boss of Kelvin Jones Motorsport, Kelvin Jones meanwhile was delighted with the weekend, commenting: “We knew we were going to be up against it a bit this weekend but Declan still came good. The game plan was to learn the track and each session he went out in, he just found more speed up until the point we were the fastest car through the speed trap.
“The second race was obviously the highlight. Dec was 13th on the grid and he had a great start. He was on the pace throughout. There was nothing in it and in the end ninth was a good result. We said to him before just keep it tidy, keep it smooth, stay out of trouble and you will get the results. That seems to be especially so in this championship.”
Kelvin believes Declan will continue to improve as the season continues, saying: “We really felt that after Thruxton the season would start to come to us and after our home race at Oulton Park next month, Declan will then be going to tracks that he has been too before. Hopefully this is going to be a good turning point for him. I want him to try and push on from ninth now and just keep moving up the grid. That is what we want to do and that is what we will be looking for at Oulton.”