30 May, 2017
Radlett's Alex Jones endured a character-building outing at Croft, North Yorkshire last weekend for Rounds 5 and 6 of the Ravenol Formula Vee Championship. Despite showing promising pace from the outset, he was unable to convert that pace into results due to engine issues.
The 24 year-old was put on the back foot for the weekend from the Friday test which saw his #23 entry require two oil changes, although things appeared to be resolved by the end of the day's running.
In qualifying on Saturday, he struggled to find a decent gap in the traffic and he set his fastest time on his third lap to put him P12 out of 27 on the timesheets. The entire field was unable to improve on their times when a competitor dropped oil on the racing line which neutralized the session.
Race 1 started in dry conditions and Jones narrowly avoided being taken out of the race early on when two cars made contact directly in his path and he just managed to squeeze round the outside of the pair and stay out of trouble.
In the opening stages of the race, torrential rain set in as Jones invited himself to battle it out with Steve Ough and Jamie Harrison for a place inside the top 10.
Constantly changing positions, Jones was leading the trio going into the last lap but Ough and Harrison managed to slip by. Keeping on their tales he made a last-minute move which was blocked by Harrison and he crossed the line only 0.5 sec adrift.
Sunday afternoon's Race 2 saw Jones make a strong start but he got hit going into Turn 2 when he became the victim of an optimistic move by a fellow competitor.
Demoted to the back of the pack with damaged steering, Jones started to make up for lost ground and jumped onto the back of James Cater before red flags halted the race due to a stricken car on the exit of Tower.
Making his way back for the restart, a series of warning lights flashed on Jones' dash before the car started overheating when the field were stationed on the grid. Despite going through a series of settings on the green flag lap, he heard an alien noise from the engine and wisely decided to pull off the circuit and switch the car off.
Jones concluded, "I really expected more from this weekend and it's frustrating to have ended it the way we did.
"We've got some positives to take away and I think without the issues we had we could have run inside the top 10, but the team need to get the engine back and establish what was the root cause of our issues.
"There's six weeks until Anglesey so hopefully we can be back out with a fresh unit and get back to running inside the top 10 again."
The Formula Vee Championship heads to Anglesey on the north-west coast of Wales for Rounds 7 & 8 on 8-9th July.