Declan Jones concluded his maiden season in the 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship at Silverstone last weekend in fine form, with a strong showing in rounds nineteen and twenty.
Declan, who made the step up to the Ginetta Junior Championship for 14-17 year-olds this season, after several successful years in the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone Formula One Management-backed Formula Kart Stars Series and in the Super One Rotax Series, was slowed by severe engine problems last time out at Brands Hatch. However with no such issues this time he was able to show great pace around Silverstone's 1.639-mile National Circuit.
Indeed the Chicago Soft-backed youngster was right at the front in practice on Friday, a switch to TJ Motorsport paying early dividends. He then maintained that momentum on Saturday morning, finishing third overall in the official free practice session - his best lap a 1 minute 10.533 seconds, which left him just 0.087 seconds off P2.
Qualifying was just as positive and while he slipped to ninth, he was just three tenths off third and a place on the second row.
The first race saw the Liverpudlian storm up to sixth at the start in his Ginetta G40J. Unfortunately though, going into Becketts, he got taken out by one of his rivals and while he could continue, with the steering damaged, he did well to make it to the chequered flag, eventually classified in 14th.
“It has been great with TJ Motorsport from the word go,” Declan said. “It is a nice team and everyone is really welcoming.
“We were good in practice and the car felt strong on Saturday and we had really high hopes. I felt I should have been a bit higher in qualifying but I just couldn't quite hook up a lap with a really good tow.
“Then in the first race we went from ninth to sixth at the start. It was going well. But after the contact the steering was destroyed - you have holding points for the steering wheel and they were literally bent the opposite way they should have been - and all I could do was bring it home.”
The next day in the second race, which was screened live on UK television on ITV4
, Declan made another great start and was up to fifth at the end of the first tour. Although he slipped back to sixth on lap two, he re-gained P5 on lap six, all the time running right up with a gaggle of cars that trailed eventual race winner, Niall Murray and 2011 Ginetta Junior Champion, Seb Morris.
With one lap to the 'flag, he looked set to at least equal his best result of the year. However, it wasn't to be and when two of his rivals made contact in front, the 16-year-old was left with nowhere to go. He finished 13th.