Mystery problems ruin Jewiss’ weekend at Rockingham
Motorsport can be a cruel sport and for rookie Kiern Jewiss his first taste of this misfortune struck this weekend at Rockingham Motor Speedway where the FM Conway-sponsored driver had his most difficult weekend in the series to date.
On the back of the highs of taking his first win at Knockhill in the last round and putting himself in the frame for the championship title, Kiern Jewiss headed to the track for the eighth round of the season looking to keep his outstanding run of form going that had seen him step onto the podium in nine of his past ten races.
Kiern’s weekend started on Friday with the first practice sessions of the round and Kiern finished the first two sessions in sixth and seventh place respectively. With teams running different tyres and strategies during testing, Kiern’s pace didn’t appear to be too far off the top but there was a lot of time to be found before Saturday’s crucial qualifying.
The weekend’s qualifying to determine the starting grid for races one and two started the action at Rockingham on Saturday morning. Having taken pole positions in three of the past four opportunities, Kiern was expecting to be right in the mix for a good starting position but unfortunately this was not to be the case.
With Kiern’s car visibly struggling with straight line speed, not even a tow from his teammates could help him secure a spot near the front and he had to settle for 10th for his fastest and second fastest time.
After the team tried their hardest to remedy the car’s issues, Kiern still entered the first race uncertain of how he would stack up against his competitors. Race one at Rockingham saw Kiern pull away from the line well but as the grid hit the banking on the run down into turn one, Kiern began to drop back away from the cars infront. Being in the dangerous middle of the pack, Kiern reached the braking zone and took to the outside line. Going around the corner, Kiern was unable to avoid contact after turn one drama resulted in him being struck from the side.
Damage to Kiern’s car saw his bonnet become loose but he managed to make it round the first corner before he was pushed off the track and made contact for the second time. This contact sent Kiern into a spin and he was again struck by another car!
Three hits in 300 metres left Kiern’s Ginetta G40 damaged and with the bonnet barely hanging on. Kiern returned to the pits and the Douglas Motorsport team got to work ripping off the damaged bodywork and ensuring the car was safe to return.
Kiern returned to racing but unfortunately was not classified after the race finish after ending five laps down.
With a big repair job needed before the race, the team begun getting Kiern’s car to race condition and were still unsure if Kiern’s performance deficit had been fixed. In his mended car, Kiern lined up in 10th place for race two and for the second time on Saturday got off to a good start.
Kiern’s aggressive driving saw him move up to 7th by the time he had crossed the line for the end of the first lap but as the laps went on, the performance deficit was visible and, even in the slipstream of other cars, Kiern had to fight hard to keep his position.
Constantly switching positions with the fellow rookies Smalley, Del Satre and Browning; Kiern’s struggles on the straight meant he was unable to make his moves stick and fell back to 9th place.
Fighting right until the finish, Kiern crossed the line in 9th place to finish 3rd on the rookie podium but his car was evidently far away from where he wanted it to be.
For the final race of the weekend, Kiern started in 9th place and, after getting a fantastic start, was pulling alongside Jordan Collard as they hit the banking. However, Kiern started dropping back as the pair hit top speeds and although Kiern was later on the brakes, he wasn’t close enough to make a move into turn one. Stronger on the ‘infield’, Kiern began making his way up the order and finished lap one in 7th place.
With a large gap to sixth place, Kiern was unable to use a tow and was being reined in by the cars he had just passed. On the backfoot, and not able to match their speed, Kiern fell back and again had to work his way to back up the order.
Constantly switching positions lap after lap, Kiern eventually made his move for seventh place stick and begun stretching a gap to the following cars. Crossing the line in 7th place at the race finish, Kiern took home another rookie podium but still far from where he’d have liked to be.
Despite the weekend’s disappointment, Kiern remains determined to get back on track.
“This has definitely been the most challenging weekend of my rookie season. We had a problem with the car all weekend and we’re still searching as to why we struggled so badly here. The motivation has grown stronger to get back fighting at the front and I’ll be working closely with the team to help get us back to where we should be. There’s still a lot of racing to be done and as for the championship, it’s not over till the fat lady sings.”
Barry Mears, Head of the MBP Academy, is confident Kiern will bounce back quickly.
“It was a tough weekend for Kiern but this is motorsport and everybody has weekends like this in their career. Kiern remained focused throughout and never stopped trying in all of the sessions. It would have been easy to have written the weekend off but Kiern stayed hungry in every race and after the races was already thinking about how to improve before Silverstone!”
Kiern now sits in 4th place in the Drivers’ Championship, 78 points adrift from leader Tom Gamble but still commands the Rookie Championship by over 100 points. The next round of the Ginetta Junior Championship takes us to Silverstone for the penultimate weekend of the season on the 16th – 17th September.
Kiern Jewiss #87 Douglas Motorsport
Free Practice 1: 6th (1:39.570, +0.668)
Free Practice 2: 7th (1:40.020, +0.826)
Qualifying for Race 1: 10th (1:39.788, +0.922)
Qualifying for Race 2: 10th (1:39.797, +0.626)
Race 1: NC
Race 2: 9th
Race 3: 7th