With a dad like Stan Jones it was hardly surprising that Alan became a motor racing nut when he was still a kid. Stan won the 1954 New Zealand International Grand Prix, four 1955 Victorian Trophies at Fisherman’s Bend, Melbourne, became the 1958 Australian Gold Star Champion and won the 1959 Grand Prix of Australia in Maseratis and Coopers—and Alan was usually there to see him do it. His father’s success soon nurtured an ambition in the young Jones to become World Champion one day and his tough, uncompromising character helped make sure he did just that.
It was a struggle, though, because Alan didn’t have an easy time working his way through the junior formulae in Britain, but he eventually made his F1 debut in the 1975 Grand Prix of Spain amid the popping champaign corks and upmarket accents of Lord Alexander Hesketh’s team. He qualified one of his lordship’s 308s 20th but retired from the race. It was much the same story in the Monaco, Belgian and Swedish GPs, after which AJ moved to Graham Hill’s Embassy cigarettes-sponsored team. The Hill GH1-Ford worked better than the Hesketh and Jones scored his first World Championship points by coming 5th in the Grand Prix of Germany at the tricky Nürburgring to end up 17th in the drivers title table.