01 August, 2017
Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire played host to a non-championship meeting for the 50th Anniversary Festival of Formula Vee last weekend.
Radlett's Alex Jones endured a tough weekend, unable to convert his pace into results whilst struggling with the engine issues that have hampered his campaign in the Formula Vee season so far this year.
Getting acquainted with a new power unit, Jones wasted no time in getting up to speed in qualifying but with the fully subscribed grids meaning the entries were split into two sessions, his group had to contend with a damp track while the others had the luxury of being able to attack in the dry.
Despite this, Jones managed to secure 15th and 16th out of 26 for his heats before his engine seized and prematurely ended his session.
On closer inspection, the Bears Motorsport team found a crack in the cylinder head and pulled out all the stops to change the engine on Jones' #23 entry in less than an hour to get it out for Heat 1.
In the first heat, Jones was enjoying a tussle with Peter Belsey's Spyder MK2 before the red flags were brought out for Adam Macaulay's first-lap accident.
On the restart, Jones held position initially but dropped a place to Belsey going into Gooseneck, causing Jones to lose momentum and for Stephen Morrin to take advantage.
However Jones fought back, getting the better of Andy Storer on the exit of Charlies and then John Randall at Mansfield.
Going into the Hall Bends Jones made a small mistake and ran wide before hitting a bump, narrowly avoiding the barrier, but costing him positions to Ross Price, Randall and Storer.
Limiting the damage to his race, Jones managed to get back passed Storer and then Randall. He almost managed to overtake Price but the latter pipped him across the line by a mere 0.17sec and leaving Jones having to accept P12.
In Heat 3, Jones' second race of the day, he was stuck behind Neil Aldridge in the opening phase of the race.
Jones went to make a move for position, Aldridge came across to defend and the pair made contact, forcing Aldridge into a spin and Jones having to take to the grass.
Once collected and down four positions, Jones managed to pick off Richard Rainbow and Martin Snarey before catching the Super Vee of Samuel Donn.
Unable to match the straight-line speed of Donn, Jones capitalised on the situation when coming up to a backmarker and he sent his car down the inside of the pair in one manoeuvre.
Jones took the chequered flag just outside the top ten. On the cooling-down lap, Jones' engine blew a valve and ended his weekend, leaving him unable to take a front-row gridslot in P2 for the Repecharge Final.
"I'm obviously extremely frustrated to not be able to take P2 in the Repecharge Final", said Jones. "It would have been a great opportunity to see what I could do with a clear road in front of me.
"It was a tough weekend with the engine change but I enjoyed the battles on-track and overall we had good pace; we just weren't able to convert that into a top 10 finish but that's the way racing goes sometimes and we live to fight another day.
"This wasn't a championship point-scoring round so hopefully we can get to the bottom of these engine issues once and for all and have a trouble-free outing at Donington."
Jones returns to action for Rounds 13 & 14 and the finale of the Ravenol Formula Vee Championship at Donington Park at the end of September.