11 July, 2017
British racing driver, Alex Jones, came away from Rounds 7 and 8 of the Ravenol Formula Vee Championship at Anglesey with mixed emotions last weekend. Radlett-based Jones struggled with engine issues in the first part of the weekend before finishing just outside the top 10 in Race 2 on Sunday.
After being hampered with engine troubles in Rounds 5 & 6 at Croft back in May, the 24 year-old was hoping for a trouble-free outing at the Welsh circuit.
Running-in a new engine for the weekend in testing, Jones and his Bears Motorsport team spent the first two sessions getting to the bottom of inconsistent oil pressure readings before establishing that a faulty dash was the culprit and they ended the day in good shape and with solid pace for qualifying on Saturday.
With a fully subscribed grid of 32 cars, Jones struggled with traffic and found it nearly impossible to get in a clean lap. However, his team mate, Paul Taylor, gave him a tow down the main straight to allow Jones to set his fastest lap of the session, putting him in the mid pack with P16 and P15 for Races 1 and 2 respectively.
Unfortunately, Jones was forced to retire from from Race 1 when his engine seized after only completing 50 metres of the race. Despite using the momentum to attempt to bumpstart the car, he was unable to get going again and was pushed back to the pits by the marshals.
The Bears Motorsport squad managed to change the engine on the #23 entry that afternoon and get the car ready for Race 2 on Sunday morning.
As the lights went out, Jones made a lightning start and gained two places off the line. He used the opening stages of the race to put in solid times before, on lap 3, leaping onto the back of team mate Taylor and Mark Egan who were engaged in battle for 12th position.
For the remainder of the race Egan and Jones were neck and neck; Egan having the straightline pace but Jones answering every time with positive defending
Egan managed to squeeze by on lap 8 but Jones kept him firmly in his crosshairs, biding his time before making a late-braking maneuver on the final corner of the last lap. The pair drag raced one another to the line, with Jones just pipping Egan at the flag by a mere 0.01sec.
"That was an awesome race!", said Jones. "I really enjoyed the scrap with Mark (Egan). There were a few moments where we nearly touched but we kept it clean and I just managed to get him on the line.
"It was a good way to finish the weekend after the disappointment in Race 1. I really hoped we had got to the bottom of our engine problems from earlier in the season but the team, as always, did a great job and they managed to put a new unit in the car within 2 hours.
"We've got three weeks to regroup until Cadwell. It's the 50th anniversary of Formula Vee so I really hope we can finish both races well inside the top 10 and put on a good show."
The non-championship races of the Formula Vee Festival take place on 29-30th July and will be hosted by Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire.