Declan Jones put in some sensational overtaking manoeuvres and secured his best finish yet in the Ginetta Junior Championship during rounds thirteen and fourteen at Knockhill last weekend.

Declan, who has graduated to the Ginetta Junior Championship for 14-17 year-olds this season and who was recently accepted onto the MSA Academy AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence) programme, once again had to learn another new circuit, but he put that to one side and overcame a sizable off in qualifying, to comeback to take eleventh in the first race and a sensational fifth in the second.

The Chicago-Soft-backed youngster warmed up by setting the 13th quickest time in free practice and was looking good early on in qualifying until he made a mistake at Turn 1 and went off into the barriers.

"It was difficult coming here. It is not an easy track to learn. You have got to have real guts in certain parts of it otherwise you are off the pace," Declan explained. "I was getting quicker and quicker in qualifying and was probably running around P6. I was quickest through sector 1 at one point and was really fast.

"I was trying and trying to run a little bit more kerb at the first corner and then I guess I took a bit too much! It just pitched me sideways and I then slid all the way down the hill and hit the wall side on."

However, while the Liverpudlian suffered a pulled muscle in his neck as a result and had to settle for 14th on the grid in family-run Kelvin Jones Motorsport Ginetta G40J, he set about fighting back in the first race and recovered to finish just outside the top ten.

"It was hard in that race. The car wasn't quite right because we just didn't have enough time to get everything just so. But we were determined to collect points and it was nice to make up a few places," Declan continued.

The following day though, with his car back to full health, he pulled off a number of stunning moves in the second race, which was screened live on UK television on ITV4. He went from 14th to 10th in the first phase of the race, before the Safety Car phase halted his charge. Once racing resumed though, the 16-year-old pushed on, and over the final three laps went from 9th, to 7th and then to fifth, a position he held all the way to the 'flag.

"I just kept my head today," Declan added, "and towards the end when they all started battling that was when I got them. I just put the car in where I thought was the right position to put it and it paid off.

"I was actually three abreast three times and every single time I came out on top. It was exciting, especially the time I was in the middle of Max [Coates] and Oliver [Chadwick]. It was a real hold your breath moment as I went the deepest into the corner. I also went around the outside of Myles [Collins] on the final lap.

"Overall it really was a good day and I have to thank the team and Bradley [Ellis - my 'coach'] for his help. Turning up on the Wednesday I hadn't even seen the track and to come away with a fifth place is really good. It has been hard at times this weekend and I have obviously still got a sore neck from my off in qualifying. But it ended really well and we are all leaving on a high. That is a good thing."

In the end Declan took 30 points from the weekend and as a result moves up from 15th to 13th in the 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship standings with 118 points on the board. He will now continue his campaign in the Ginettas in two weeks time at Rockingham (September 17-18), when the MSA British Touring Car Championship-support series will resume for rounds 15 and 16. Before that though, he will also make the trip to Le Mans next weekend, where he will test an LMP2 car.

"That should be good fun," Declan noted. "We are also hoping to do a track day at Rockingham a few days before the next round. That will help for the next Ginetta event, but again I know I am going there and going up against people that will have done days and days of testing and who have raced there last year."

"I really feel I am starting to get use to the car now, however," Declan continued. "I know how it will react in different situations. It is just about seat time really. Every time I go out I get quicker and quicker and feel more and more confident."

Declan's dad and boss of Kelvin Jones Motorsport, Kelvin Jones meanwhile was delighted to see son come back and take fifth.

He remains concerned about the standard of driving in the Ginetta Juniors though and has confirmed that Declan will test a Formula Ford car in November, as they ponder various options for 2012.

"We are really happy to get this result, especially as we have never been here before," Kelvin said. "It was a bit of a crash-fest at times again and that is not good. Aside from the danger element there is also the cost issue. For those of us footing the bills all these smashes make things really difficult. That is one reason we are looking at Formula Ford.

"We managed to get through the races though today and despite the fact the bigger teams had been testing all week, it was very satisfying to come here and beat some of them.

"Declan's overtaking manoeuvres were really impressive and total respect to him on that one when he went up the inside on Oliver [Chadwick] and Max [Coates]. He also drove around the outside of Myles [Collins] and Seb [Morris] - another unbelievable pass.

"It was superb to watch - absolutely brilliant to go from 14th to 5th. We have been waiting for this to happen and all of a sudden it has clicked. He is getting to grips with the car and I feel I am getting to grips with the car too - set-up wise I don't think we are far away. We have just got to move on now. We are determined to get a podium this year, but we will have to wait and see what we do in 2012."



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