For 20 year old Jordan Hone, from Claudy, Co. Derry, the 2017 season has been another exciting evolution of a successful rallying career to date. Moving up from front wheel drive 1400cc cars to a four wheel drive Group N Mitsubishi Evolution 9 hasn’t daunted the Queens University Mechanical Engineering student, as he tackles the Valvoline Motorsport Ireland National Forest Rally Championship this season. “I really enjoy the car. On the first round we led Group N from the start but had a transmission failure on stage three. On the second Moonraker round we won Group N and took eighth overall, and on the third Donegal round we lay third overall on the event, before I made a mistake on stage four, and unfortunately got stuck in a ditch. It’s a great car to drive and the Irish forest championship has some great events and stages” explained the reigning BTRDA 1400 champion.
Many have been surprised by Jordan’s turn of speed in the Rallyhire Evo 9, and he is hoping to continue the good form and hopefully try to attract the attention of the Billy Coleman Award judges as he tries to further his rallying exploits. It all started for Jordan at the age of thirteen in Junior rally-sprint events firstly in a 1 litre Nissan Micra, before moving up to a 1300cc Vauxhall Nova in which he claimed second in category for the season at age sixteen. His official rally debut was at Kirkistown in 2013, where just took weeks after his seventeenth birthday he took a Nissan Micra to a class win and sixteenth overall. From the start his father Paul Hone, a very experience co-driver took to the passenger seat, and along with Raymond Mason’s Rallyhire preparation services they have built up a successful team. Indeed on that debut 2013 season Jordan clinched class three in the Northern Ireland Rally Championship, with consistently good results. Also is 2013 he made a stunning four wheel drive debut on the Dogleap Rally, finishing tenth overall in an Evo 6 Mitsubishi. In 2014 the Micra received a power boost going from 90bhp to 140bhp, and a nine minute class win on the Circuit of Ireland National was one of the highlights, whilst another resounding class win on the Lakeland Stages Rally earned him the Gerry McGarrity Young Driver Award, as he headed for another N.I Championship class title and also the N.I Junior Championship.
“In 2015 we decided to head to England and contest the BTRDA series with the Micra. They were very much new events, a new challenge for everyone in the team. A highlight was a second in class on the Plains Rally. We had our ups and downs but we had built up vital experience for a 2016 attack.” A Proton Satria was purchased for the assault and second place on the first event- the Cambrian was a superb start. Wins on the Malcolm Wilson, Carlisle Stages and Trackrod events, coupled with three other podiums, secured the illustrious BTRDA 1400 series for the team in a season to be proud of, and one which brought them to the attention of the English media.
Now in 2017 rallying close to home, the Claudy driver is building up his profile, and gaining valuable four wheel drive experience, as he would like to contest the British Rally Championship and also rally further afield in either four wheel drive or front wheel drive. Support from Premier Car Parts, Rallyhire and Ryan Motorsport Insurance has been vital lately but more support would be welcome for this promising young talent, as he prepares for the fourth Irish Forest round in Cork this weekend.