Racing to top class

Top results and a love for ‘letting loose’ on four wheels helped earn 4WD driver Phil Jones top honours as Motorsport Bay of Plenty’s overall club champion for 2014.

The long-time club member and passionate driver also collected awards as both 4WD Class and Speed champion, along with claiming the Patron’s Challenge Trophy as Old Coach Rd sealed sprint champion.

Motorsport BOP Club Champion Phil Jones shows his top form at MacDougall Quarry Hill Climb. Photos: Jason Byrne www.alittlebitsideways.co.nz

Introduced to motorsport 38 years ago, at age 18, Phil has been passionate about car racing ever since his first hill-climb in a Morris Minor with Mk 1 Cortina 1500cc engine when he came fourth.

“My friend who was involved thought I was a bit of a natural and it’s just gone from there,” recalls Phil, who loved being able to get our and “thrash” the car without having to worry about traffic coming around the corner.

“I’ve always loved getting out and giving the car a hard time. It’s good to something that you like,” says Phil about his motorsport hobby.

If his prowess behind the wheel isn’t enough, his commitment to motorsport is clear as the club’s most active member. Phil took part in 19 of the club’s 23 events of the year – collecting a total of 273 points well ahead of 3500cc+ champion Chris Hawkes who competed in 14 events for 190 points.

Just focusing on his 12 best results, which decide club champion, Phil came out on top with 177 points, ahead of B class 1601-2000cc champion Shane Wright on 173 and D class 3500cc-plus champion Chris Hawkes on 169.

“It was great to win, especially with it being so close with those guys,” says Phil, who says a personal highlight during the year was beating Phil Campbell in the Oropi Gorge Tarmac Sprint.

Phil Jones, who raced on the rally circuit from 1978 to 2001 when he gave it away because of the cost, enjoyed competing in the club’s range of events saying it keeps him on his toes.

“I ended up taking part in two motokanas and found it was a lot harder getting around those cones.

The C class 2001-3500cc award went to Dianne Follows and the A class, to 1600cc, was won by Jay Pittams. For other awards and club details go to www.mbop.org.nz

B Class and 2WD Speed Champion Shane Wright at the TECT Park Day-Night Sprints

C Class Champion Dianne Fellows on the Te Puke Hill Climb.


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