Jewiss crowned Ginetta Junior Rookie Champion
The curtain fell on a magnificent debut year in cars for Kiern Jewiss this weekend as he was finally crowned the 2017 Ginetta Junior Rookie Champion at Brands Hatch.
Six months on from his maiden appearance in the Ginetta Junior Championship, Kiern Jewiss returned to Brands Hatch to compete in the tenth, and final, round of the 2017 season with the rookie title all but wrapped up.
Action at Brands Hatch commenced on Friday with two practice sessions kick starting a busy weekend schedule around the 2.433-mile Grand Prix circuit. Friday saw the FM-Conway-sponsored driver back on the pace after a tricky couple of previous rounds as he finished the first session of the weekend in 2nd place, just 0.058 seconds away from the top of the timesheets. A wet second session on Friday saw Kiern stay at the top end of the timings on a drying track as he finished the session in 3rd place.
Qualifying was back on a dry Brands Hatch track on Saturday morning and the fifteen-minute session was again closely contested between the championship front runners. Kiern, spending the majority of the session in the top-five, was only able to secure 5th place for both races one and two.
“Qualifying was quite disappointing as I believe we had the pace to be in with a shout for pole. Every time I tried to get a tow, the lap got compromised which is really frustrating as it meant I couldn’t hook my sectors up. fifth isn’t a bad result in the end, it just means there’s more overtaking to do in the races!”
Starting the first race of the weekend in 5th place, Kiern knew that he would have to fight hard in order to convert his starting place into a good result. Getting off the line superbly, Kiern was instantly battling to break into the podium places and some sublime driving saw him move himself into 3rd place before the safety car was brought out for an early accident.
Keeping his position at the restart, Kiern was having to fend off the ever-growing pressure from behind as the two lead drivers began to pull away. Trying to stick with the front runners, Kiern managed to pull a healthy gap but his pace was not enough to mount an attack for the lead of the race.
Avoiding any trouble, Kiern drove a mature race to cross the line in 3rd place to pick up another podium and another rookie win in front of the fans at Brands Hatch.
Again starting in 5th place for the second race and on the inside line for turn one, Kiern got great traction off the line and commanded the inside line for Paddock Hill Bend and moved himself into 4th place before the tight hairpin of Druids.
With a big accident at the start of the race in the middle pack, the race was briefly red flagged as barriers had to be repaired and several drivers’ cars recovered from the track.
When action finally got back underway at Brands Hatch, Kiern lost ground on the front-three cars and was having to check his mirrors constantly as he came under pressure from Sebastian Priaulx.
Trading positions over the next few laps, Kiern was working incredibly hard to keep Priaulx at bay despite Priaulx looking like he had the quicker car out of the pair of them. Briefly dropping back to 5th, Kiern managed to pull a great move on Priaulx to move himself back into 4th but Priaulx fought back with just two laps left to run.
As the pair of them did battle for the remaining two laps, their fight opened the door for Wood who made the most of their scrap for 4th place. Wood then managed to get past on the final lap, leaving Kiern to cross the line in 5th place to take his second rookie win of the day.
For the third and final race of the weekend, Kiern lined up on the grid in 5th place for the third and final time at Brands Hatch and, yet again, got off the line well.
Straight into the thick of the action, Kiern and several other drivers were jostling for position as a classic Ginetta Junior battle ensued. Briefly breaking into the podium places, Kiern was having to fend off challenges from a number of drivers but managed to keep the final podium place as the race entered the final two laps.
Still in a close battle with the trailing cars, Kiern and Priaulx were in another tight battle for the second time of the weekend. Fighting extremely hard, Kiern was forced off the racing line, losing momentum and conceding two places to Priaulx and Wood who took the positions away from Kiern. Eventually Kiern crossed the finishing line in 5th and took his third rookie win of the weekend and was greeted at the chequered flag with the title of Rookie Champion.
Kiern reflected on a tricky weekend at Brands Hatch but remained proud of his achievements across the year.
“This weekend was a tough weekend as we didn’t seem to have the pace in the races. The car didn’t feel at its best but we battled hard and came away with three rookie wins. It’s a great feeling to wrap up the rookie title. To do it taking the most rookie wins in the history of the championship is something I am really proud of.”
Barry Mears, Head of the MBP Academy, was impressed with Kiern’s work rate throughout the weekend.
“Kiern had a hard-fought weekend out on track, with his rivals looking like they had the quicker machinery. When you have a pace disadvantage, it is easy to give up and let the quicker guys through but Kiern showcased the same resilient attitude that has won him the Rookie Championship and fought until the end. We are all extremely impressed with Kiern’s rookie year and we look forward to building on what he has learnt both on and off the track net year.”
Kiern finishes the season as Rookie Champion by 165 points and in 4th place in the overall standings, a remarkable achievement for a driver who entered the series less than four-weeks before the start of the season. Kiern’s 542 championship points also played a major part in helping Douglas Motorsport seal the Teams’ Championship.