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Stone rally driver Julian Jones out to retain championship crown

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: February 26, 2014

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YOU might say that Julian Jones’ future was set out for him as a very young man, writes Michael Davies of Rally Action.

His father, William, had already established the successful William Jones Motor Company on Longton Road, Stone.

It was therefore, after finishing his school years at the Alleyne’s High School, that Julian found himself learning the motor trade alongside his father. Those early years in that business were not easy for Julian as his father demanded hard work and long hours.

Acting the part however is not in the daily planned routine how Julian performs his duties within the business. Since his father passed away he has led from the front in keeping and expanding upon an already established business.

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It was inevitable that as a young man working in the motor trade that he would be drawn to motor-sport, particularly as the business would quite frequently service and prepare other competitors cars for rally events.

Seeing this interest develop in Julian, it was on his 21st birthday that he received a rally experience present. On the day he took this rally experience tuition, there were several other participants present, the owner of the school, Chris Birkbeck himself a top level rally driver, decided to have an end of day run against the clock for all of them.

Julian was last to run but, as he lined up for his start time, the heavens opened with a torrential downpour of rain. Undeterred, Julian set off and set the quickest time of all!

An obvious rally star was had been uncovered and Julian went on to achieve many notable successes.

It was in 2003 that Julian purchased a 1600cc Ford Escort and won the single venue series that was a section of the Heart of England Rally Championship (HoE). In both 2004 and 2005 he won the HoE overall championship.

Remarkably, in 2005, he had to miss the final two rounds of the championship when rolling his vehicle seven times and then snapping two trees in half with the car.

The car was reshelled over the 2005/06 winter and he won the HoE again in 2006. As other competitors set out to beat Julian he could only manage runner up spot in 2007.

Julian decided that a change of championship would be the best way to assess his skill against different competition. So the Cotswold championship was contested in 2008 and he proceeded to win that.

He decided to take a sabbatical in 2009 and then a change of direction in 2010. The HoE is a sealed surface (tarmac/asphalt) series of rallies and he desired to try something different.

Julian therefore entered the Welsh Clubman’s Championship on the forest gravel tracks in a Subaru. After a steady start in getting used to 4wd, he gradually got quicker. On the Quinton MC round of the BTRDA Championship he achieved a top ten overall finish which, in a new car and on a new surface, was a truly remarkable result.

An even better result followed on the Neath Valley Stages with a 4th overall finish and suddenly he was in contention to win the championship outright. The next round was the Woodpecker, based and starting from the Ludlow racecourse, so he was quite nervous. It was the nerves that would take over as he rolled the car two miles in.

In 2011 the Anglesey challenge was undertaken and a few other rallies in 2012. For 2013 Julian reverted back to what he knew best, the HoE, and inevitably he won the championship again. He is now in the process of rebuilding his championship winning Escort, which requires a complete new floor pan, but has also bought a newer faster Escort to give himself two options for this season.

There are many friends and family along the way to whom Julian attributes his success. His Stone Council working partner, Jackie Allen, Mikey Herritts, his long time trusted co-driver. Julian also recognises the important roles filled by his service crew of Ben Bloor, Alison Hughes and Fay Martin together with the preparation team back at William Jones Motors of Peter Brennan, Tom Rowley and Brian Neal.

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