Former kart star Declan Jones took his best result to date at Thruxton last weekend in rounds five and six of the 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship.
Declan, who has graduated to the Ginetta Junior Championship for 14-17 year-olds this season, had never been to the 2.356 mile Hampshire circuit before, but he made the most of the track time and following a confidence boosting double finish at Donington Park two weeks ago - in only his second ever Ginetta Junior event - he got progressively faster and faster as the weekend progressed.
The Chicago Soft-backed youngster started by posting the 14th best time in practice and he then improved slightly and took 13th on the grid in qualifying in his family-run Kelvin Jones Motorsport Ginetta G40J, his best lap a 1m 33.265s.
“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,” said the 15-year-old. “After free practice and qualifying I knew where I was losing out. I just had to keep chipping away at it.”
In the first race, Declan showed great pace, but ultimately the Liverpool-based teenager had to settle for 13th at the flag. His third race finish in a row though was a boost and he put that mileage to good use the next day in race two.
Indeed he gained three positions on the opening two laps and while he slipped back on the next tour, he fought back to eleventh on lap 5 and moved up to P9 on lap 6, a position he held all the way to the finish.
“I had a pretty good start and just kept it in there,” he reflected. “Then I was battling all the way through. I really, really enjoyed it. I was catching Williams Foster [who finished 8th] 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.”
In the end Declan took 20 points from the weekend and increased his tally to 38. He will now resume his campaign at Oulton Park next month (June 4-5), his 'home' circuit, where the MSA British Touring Car Championship-support series will resume for rounds seven and eight.