Mark Jones – World Driving Champion

Mark Jones Racing

Mark Jones claimed the biggest title of his driving career when he was crowned World Driving Champion in Canada in 2003.His late grand-father Derek Jones acknowledged the feat as one of his best moments in harness racing as he cheered Mark home to win the title.A throng of well-wishers turned out at Christchurch airport to welcome the world champion home after conquering the world.

“It was a great trip where I met so many wonderful people, have made many friends, and winning the series was great,” he said.

Mark produced the goods in the final round of the five-round series, comng from three points behind Sweden’s Erik Adielsson to win the title by a clear 10-point margin.Canada’s Jody Jamieson was the runnerup on a countback with Adielsson.Mark, then 24, became the youngest World Driving Champion.He became the 5th Kiwi to win the title joining the late Kevin Holmes, Robert Cameron, Maurice McKendry and Tony Herlihy.

World Driving Champion

Mark began the series as he meant to go on, winning the first heat at Charlottetown Driving Park on Prince Edward Island, but only won one more heat in the series.However Mark’s overall consistency shone through.He recalled he went into the series lacking some confidence about his technique in the North American speed sulkies, but his fears were quickly allayed by Jody Jamieson.

“It seemed like I was the only one who didn’t lean back in the cart, but Jody said it didn’t make any difference and to stick with what I felt comfortable doing” he said.

“They drive with their hands back, but I wanted to have more control”.

Mark’s trip was even more memorable after teaming up with champion NZ trotter Lyell Creek to win his last North American start before returning home.

The pair combined for notable success at Woodbine.Mark tried to defend his world title in Italy in 2005, but although the experience was memorable, the horses he drew were not of a competitive standard and he tailed the field.