Douglas Motorsport celebrated a strong start to the second half of the Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship at Snetterton last weekend as Daniel Harper picked up a pair of wins and Kiern Jewis a brace of second places in Norfolk. Elsewhere, HHC Motorsport claimed the remaining race win after Tom Wood took his first victory of the season.
Jewiss was the man of the moment in qualifying and was joined on the front row for race one by his Douglas Motorsport teammate Dan Harper, whilst behind was title contender Tom Gamble. Notably, the qualifying top 10 were split by less than a second, setting the stage for an exciting opening race.
As the action got underway, the Douglas motorsport pair was quick off the line, but it was Jewiss who led into Riches for the first time. The field-long train of Juniors jostled for position throughout much of the opening laps, before six cars broke away at the helm of the field following a spin for Seb Priaulx.
Although Jewiss and Harper switched places for the lead, the bulk of the action was behind as Harry King, Gamble, Tom Wood, Harry Dyson and Adam Smalley fought over the final spot on the rostrum. Each held the position at points, but as the flag fell, it was Wood who snatched the position following a drag race to the line with Smalley, who finished fourth – having made impressive progress from 11th on the grid to take his best result of 2017. Up front, Harper took the victory as Jewiss claimed his seventh straight rookie win.
Jewiss’ strong qualifying performance meant he started race two from pole position with Priaulx alongside. A thrilling start saw Gamble leap into the lead, with Jewiss behind and Harper in third. Priaulx, having had another strong start suffered his second spin in as many races, dropping him to P15 and leaving him with plenty of work to do.
On an absolute storming run, Jordan Collard found himself challenging for a podium after climbing to fourth and closing in or Harper in third. As Jewiss passed Gamble, Harper and Collard moved into the top three positions with Gamble now forth as Dyson and Wood closed in.
It wasn’t long before there was a six-way fight for the lead and all manner of excitement ensued. Jewiss held firm up front, with Dyson moving to second and Gamble third. On the penultimate lap, Gamble mounted a challenge for the lead, with both he and Jewiss ending up on the grass coming out of the Bomb Hole. This handed the lead to Dyson with Harper second and Smalley third.
However, as is always the case in Ginetta Junior Racing, it was far from over. Plenty of jostling for track position on the final lap saw Dyson handed a 10s time penalty, dropping him to sixth on corrected times (along with Wood). This handed the win to Harper, with Smalley taking second and a rookie class win. Priaulx – after a superb recovery drive – managed to emerge third overall, bagging some very valuable points.
The final race of the weekend saw the current and former Ginetta Junior Scholarship winners Smalley and Harper line up side-by-side. As the action got underway, it was Smalley who claimed the lead into Richies for the first time, with Jewiss making his way through the field, firstly into second position and then into the lead on lap two.
A poor start for Harper saw him tumble down the order, along with Priaulx who started on the row behind. Jewiss and Smalley built a small buffer to the thrilling battle for fourth as Wood, Gamble, King, Harper and Priaulx grappled for position. The five some chopped and changed positions throughout the ensuing laps, before it all came to a head on the final tour.
Soon there was a seven car train for the race lead and it was all to play for. Jewiss remained in front but Smalley ran wide and is passed by Gamble and Wood. Priaulx and Harper had a fantastic fight for fourth but the man of the moment had to be Wood. The HHC driver caught Gamble and later Jewiss completely by surprise to pull off impressive overtakes and take the lead on the final lap. Although Jewiss challenged him to a drag race to the line, Wood picked up his first win of 2017 by just 0.076s.
Elsewhere, there was some fantastic racing right through the field. Ruben Del Sarte and Luke Browning had a superb race for seventh with the latter picking up his best result of the season in the process. Meanwhile, Connor Grady had to work hard to keep Isa Deen at bay, who was impressive on his championship debut, improving with every outing.
The championship now has a short fortnight’s break before the season makes its annual jaunt to Scotland ready to reconvene at Knockhill on 12 / 13 August.