A Tribute to Craig Jones : 1985 - 2008
By: Neil Everett | Published 08 August 2008, 16:05 | Views: 5,769 | tags: craig jones, honda, parkulgar, world supersport championship, brands hatch
In the early hours of Monday morning the world of motorsport went into mourning when the news broke that one of the brightest young talents on the world scene had succumbed to the injuries that he suffered in the tragic accident on Sunday at Brands Hatch.Craig Jones or Jonesy, as he was affectionately known to the fans was a down to earth, hard working, genuine lad, who was loved by other members of the paddock as much as he was by the racing fans around the world. With the level of competition at an all time high at the moment in the paddock, riders don’t always feel comfortable mingling with each other, however Craig was a rider that the paddock felt comfortable to talk to over a cuppa. World and National champions all felt at ease with Jonesy in his motorhome in the friendly and relaxed environment.
Craig was just as approachable when it came to the fans. He always had time for a picture and a chat with the thousands of fans who would approach him. Whether at the track or just out and about Jonesy would make time and made everyone he met, leave with an extra bounce in their step.
As approachable as Craig was, when the visor came down he was a fierce competitor on the track. His unique style of bike control was second to none. Several times over the course of the current season, Jones had managed to use his late breaking style of backing the bike into the corners to maintain contact with the more powerful semi-Factory bikes in the ultra competitive World Supersport class. It was spectacular to watch and the crowd loved it. Jonesy’s bike was always slower than his competitors on the straights, however he would never admit defeat and would wow the crowd with moves that just shouldn’t be possible.
Craig’s committed style had already paid dividends in his career with, three titles (British Junior Mini Moto, British Senior Mini Moto and British Junior Superstock) and after a successful debut season in World Supersport, where he picked up three podium finishes and managed to finish an impressive fifth place in the overall championship, Jones was hoping for even better in 2008. He may even have been robbed of his maiden win in the class at Vallelunga in 2007, when the race was red flagged whilst Jones competed in a race long battle with 2007 World Supersport Champion Kenan Sofuoglu for the lead.
Jones headed into the first of his two home rounds in a confident mindset. A year earlier Jones had been leading the race, before an accident saw him slide off into the gravel trap. In 2008 he was determined to go one step further, and this was apparent right off the bat from Friday practise with Rea and Jones trading best times in the first qualifying session.
When Sunday arrived, Jones was in a position to battle for the lead and he was focused on the job at hand. He was at the front and battling in both parts of the ill fated race and in the restart managed to lead the race several times. The race was stopped quickly following the accident at clark curve and Craig received extensive medical assistance at the track before being flown to the
Over the course of Sunday night, web forums everywhere were flooded with messages of concern about the 23 year olds condition, with many praying and wishing him a speedy recovery. Unfortunately Craig’s condition didn’t improve and he passed away in the early hours of Monday morning.
You only have to look any motorbike web forums currently to see the high level of regard the fans have for Craig Jones. Every board is filled with comments of respect and despair at the loss of such a talent and such a genuine and friendly person.
Craig will be remembered for many things. He certainly was a rider who could get you on to the edge of your seat with his dramatic, on the edge style which certainly won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
Parkalgar the new motor racing circuit in Portugal that owns the Parkalgar Honda World Supersport team, has announced that it will name the most technical and difficult corner on the track after Craig as a mark of respect for their fallen rider. A memorial will also be erected at the circuit allowing visitors to pay their respects to their hero.
Personally this has been a tough article to write, I still find it hard to come to terms that Craig won’t be at Donington in a month, with his beaming smile which could light up the dullest day and his no compromising style pushing the leaders every inch of the way. He truly loved what he did for a living and we loved to watch him. Craig was without doubt going to achieve his ambition of becoming a world champion, but like Craig himself that has now been cruelly taken away.
I’d like to take a moment to spare a thought also for Andrew Pitt, who I’m sure is going through a tough time at present. What happened on Sunday was a tragic accident and there was nothing that anyone could have done to have stopped the accident from happening. I’m sure all the fans would like to offer their support to Andrew Pitt in this tough time as well as honour their fallen idol Jonesy.
I’m not really a religious person, but someone once said to me, that they always take the best ones first. I have to agree, you were one of the best Jonesy. Rider’s like you don’t come along everyday and the World Motorbike scene will be at a loss for your premature passing. You will certainly be missed. Gone but never forgotten.
Everyone at Londonbikers.com would like to offer their heart felt condolences to Craig Jones’ family and friends at this tragic time.