MOTOR SPORT: CRAIG Jones showed his powers of recovery in the latest round of the British Supersport Championship.
The talented 19-year-old rider from Greenbank was the victim of ill fate at the Mondello Park track, where he had to put in a huge effort just for a top-10 finish.
A solid qualifying performance put the Cheshire charger on the second row of the grid at the tight and twisty Irish circuit. A huge crowd from both sides of the border and across the water had turned out to watch the action.
And Jones, for one, was determined not to disappoint them.
The young rider immediately picked up several places when he fired his racing yellow Daytona 600 off the mark and into the notorious Honda Hairpin. A frantic battle for track space ensued, during which another machine made contact with the ValMoto-prepared Triumph, knocking Jones wide and costing him a good deal of time.
Despite also receiving minor damage to the bike's controls, Jones refused to give up and quickly set about working through the pack. By the end of the first lap, he had advanced to 14th and just three laps later was in eighth spot.
Unfortunately, the tremendous effort required for such a concerted charge through the field took its toll. Jones was forced to ride at 100% in order to maintain his position but two riders slipped past before the chequered flag.
'It's just frustrating,' said Jones. 'I got a reasonable start and was fifth or sixth on the way into the first turn, when I got T-boned and shunted wide.
I ended up about 20th and with a bent clutch lever, so I thought I'd better get going.
'I got a lot of riders in a short space of time but had to sacrifice my tyres to do it. It was a really tough race and we didn't get the best of luck.'
He finished 23.226 seconds down on winner Steve Andrews (Yamaha).