Jewiss agonisingly close to his first win
This weekend brought further podiums and rookie wins for Kiern Jewiss but the 15-year-old fell agonisingly just 0.08 seconds shy of his maiden Ginetta Junior win on Saturday at Snetterton and came even closer during Sunday’s race.
As the seven-week summer break drew to a close, it was a trip to Norfolk for Kiern Jewiss to take part in the sixth round of the Ginetta Junior Championship as he attempted to reduce the deficit in the championship battle.
Heading into the weekend, Kiern trailed championship leader, Sebastian Priaulx, by 72 points and was sat 4th in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
Testing at the circuit, two weeks prior to the race weekend, indicated that it could be a strong weekend for the FM Conway-sponsored driver and rang true during the first practice session. Kiern showcased his pace around the 2.969-mile track as he topped the timesheets with a 2:19.936 lap time.
As Douglas Motorsport experimented on Kiern’s car for the second practice, Kiern spent most of the session in and out of the pits as the team searched for the perfect setup and his lap time of 2:22.054 was enough to place him in 8th place as the session expired.
Qualifying opened up Saturday’s track action, Kiern was out of the blocks early as the team worked together to secure as higher starting place as possible. An extremely tight qualifying saw the top five places separate by less than two-tenths over a 2 minute 21 seconds lap time.
Delivering a 2:21.047 lap time, Kiern took his first ever pole position in the Ginetta Junior Championship as he headed a Douglas Motorsport 1-2, with teammate Daniel Harper just 0.093 seconds behind him in second.
Reflecting on taking his first pole position of the season, Kiern was looking forward to a positive weekend all-round.
“First of all, I’d like to say a massive thanks to Douglas Motorsport for the car, they really nailed the setup. It’s great to get my first ever pole in the series and puts us in a strong position to secure maximum points this weekend.” – Kiern Jewiss
Starting from pole position for race one, Kiern got off the line well and over the first lap, kept the lead from teammate Daniel Harper. Close racing saw Kiern unable to break away from the following cars as they used Kiern’s tow to their advantage to stay hot on his tail.
As Kiern and Harper started scrapping for first place, the trailing cars drew ever closer and soon enough there was a four-way battle for the lead. As Kiern and Harper exchanged the lead for a few laps, Kiern took the lead back and looked set for his first win with just two laps remaining.
On the sixth and penultimate lap, Kiern was fighting vigorously to keep his teammate at bay but when the pair entered Brundle and Nelson, Harper made contact with Kiern’s rear; making Kiern briefly lose control and his momentum through Nelson – allowing both Harper and Gamble to get through as Kiern fell back to third place.
Now on the attack, Kiern quickly dispatched Gamble and begun the hunt to take the lead back from Harper. Fighting until the chequered flag, Kiern crossed the line just 0.083 seconds behind Harper to finish in second place for the seventh time this season and his sixth consecutive trip the podium.
Kiern was happy to visit the podium again but disappointed to narrowly miss out on his first win.
“It was a tough race, there wasn’t any chance of relaxing and it was real scrap for all seven laps. Unfortunately, I lost the lead in the manner I did and I’m disappointed with that but it’s always good to make it to podium and we’ll be pushing hard again later.”
Starting race two again from pole position, Kiern had championship leader, Sebastian Priaulx, next to him on the front row. As the lights went out for the start of race two, Kiern’s initial getaway wasn’t as good as Priaulx’s but, in the second phase, managed to pull back into the lead. Having to go on the defensive, Kiern fought off Priaulx but left the door open to Tom Gamble as the grid entered the heavy braking turn two.
As Gamble got through, Kiern was straight in the slipstream in an attempt to take the lead back. Working with his teammate, Daniel Harper, the pair worked together to get past Gamble and on the fifth lap they both made it through to first and second – with Kiern leading the way as they entered the final stages of the race.
Teammates Gamble and Dyson then did the same as Kiern and Harper, working together to close the gap and soon enough had both got past Harper – demoting Kiern’s teammate to 4th place and leaving Kiern to defend the lead by himself.
Fighting with all of his might, Kiern was doing an amazing job to keep the JHR drivers behind him and it looked like Kiern had done enough to take his first win as the end of the penultimate lap approached.
However, into ‘Coram’, Gamble attempted a move on Kiern from an unrealistic distance and the JHR driver drove onto the grass to gain an advantage; smashing straight into the side of Kiern – sending Kiern into a spin and ruining the car’s tracking.
Falling back to 8th, Kiern fought back to 5th place on the final lap with a damaged car but was visibly upset and annoyed at the manner in which he lost the lead.
“I’m really not happy with how that race ended. We got off to a good start and I worked well with Dan to get the lead of the race back but when Dan lost second, I was having to drive very defensively but felt I was doing enough to keep the lead. In the end, I got driven into for no reason and there isn’t a lot I can do about the lack of control from other drivers. It’s the worst way to lose a race that I feel I deserved to win.”
With the starting grid for the final race determined by the race two result, Kiern lined up in 5th place for race three of the weekend. Being the camera car for ITV4’s coverage, Kiern got off to a flying start as the front five drivers all battled for the lead as they hit turn one.
Squeezing down the inside of turn one, Kiern made a great start and was already in the podium places when they came out of turn one. Reaching the hairpin at turn two, Kiern again dived down the inside and was up to second place coming out of the corner!
Behind race leader Smalley, Kiern didn’t take long before he launched his attack for first place. Getting past his fellow rookie, Smalley, Kiern was now in the lead for the third time that weekend but again knew it wasn’t going to be easy to keep the lead.
With Gamble and Wood closely behind, Kiern again was driving as hard as he could to keep the pair of them behind and was driving the perfect race as he made no mistakes entering the final lap.
Looking like he had done enough to take the win, Kiern’s one small mistake cost him dearly. Driving too defensively, Kiern left the door open for Wood to go around the outside of him and Wood took the chance. Falling back to second place, Kiern pushed Wood right until the flag but finished in second place – just 0.07 seconds behind race winner Wood.
“Another tough result to take. It’s not a nice feeling to lose the win on the very last lap but we’ll go away and look over the footage to see what happened. This weekend has been a massive learning curve and there’s a lot to work on between now and Knockhill where we’ll be looking to come back even stronger and secure that first win.”
Kiern has now reduced the gap to the championship leader to just 48 points and has moved up to third place in the Drivers’ Championship with 329 points. Kiern continues to dominate the Rookie Championship as he extends his lead over Smalley to 92 points. Next up for Kiern is a trip to Scotland for the seventh round at Knockhill in two weeks’ time (12th – 13th August).
Round Six – Snetterton
FP1: 1st (2:19.936)
FP2: 8th (2:22.054, +1.607)
Qualifying: 1st (2:21.047)
Second Qualifying: 1st (2:21.165)
Race 1: 2nd
Race 2: 5th
Race 3: 2nd