Seb MorrisMarford teenager Seb Morris showed tremendous depth of character and a steely determination at Croft Circuit over the weekend, 18th/19th June, to maintain an outstanding 88-point lead in the Ginetta Junior Championship standings despite his most challenging event of the season so far.

The Liberty Properties Plc and Legat Owen-backed driver, who prior to the weekend’s action in North Yorkshire had won seven of the first eight races of 2011, endured a troublesome qualifying session on Saturday afternoon which led to a pair of uncharacteristically low grid slots.

Only able to post the 11th fastest time for the round nine grid and 14th quickest for round 10, the Welsh 15-year-old rued a gamble to take wet-weather tyres mid-session after an expected increase in rain failed to occur.

With a mountain to climb in both races, Seb delivered a typically rapid and polished performance to slice through the order into a fantastic fourth place in the opening encounter – just 1.6 seconds shy of the podium – and an equally strong fifth in the second race. Impressively, the latter was achieved despite being pitched into a spin on only the second lap.

“I think we did the most overtaking and made the most places, coming through from 11th to fourth in the first race and then 14th on the grid to fifth in the second one isn’t bad going at all – especially as I was knocked into a spin early in the last race”, said Seb, “I’m really happy with the results in the end as our points lead is still strong even with all of the problems we’ve had.”

Round nine started unbelievably well for The King’s School, Chester pupil as he charged through the order into third place by the end of lap one to already be in a position to fight for an unthinkable podium. Closing in on the top two, Seb set the early pace and at the end of lap four he almost made it through into second place after a good move into the hairpin.

Forced to drop back into third on the outside line heading into Clervaux on lap five, the Hillspeed driver pushed on but at Tower Bend a lock-up under braking cost him some valuable time. Still holding third position though, Seb looked set for a memorable podium to keep his 2011 record of finishing each race on the rostrum intact.

At Clervaux on the last lap he slipped to fourth behind William Foster but immediately tried to hit back on the run to Tower. With no option but to take the outside line to try and reclaim third, on the exit he was forced wide onto the grass and so had to settle for a, nonetheless brilliant, fourth place.

With even more work to do in round 10 starting from the penultimate row of the grid, Seb was inside the top 10 just halfway through the opening lap and into sixth midway through lap two. Into the complex on the second tour though, while dicing for fifth place with Jake Giddings, Seb was tagged at the second part of the left-right corner and knocked into a spin.

Dropping him back outside the top 10, and with a lot of time to make up, Seb set about bridging the gap which he did superbly with some rapid laps. On the sixth tour he posted the fastest lap of the race, 1m39.778 seconds (76.67mph), and by the finish on lap eight he had risen back into fifth with a tremendous drive.

“The car had really good pace today”, added Seb, “We definitely could have had a couple of podiums but there was a lot of contact out there. I did my best to come through from low down on the grid and battled hard. In the second race (Jake) Giddings took me out at the complex but I kept my head, forgot about that and tried again and it worked well. Overall, fourth and fifth is good.”

The Ginetta Junior Championship now embarks on a seven-week summer break with rounds 11 and 12 of the season taking place at Snetterton in Norfolk over the weekend 6th/7th August.

Provisional 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd10):
1st Seb Morris, 318pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.