Started racing: 1965
1973 – SE Class winner at Rouen 24 hours and Embassy Grand Prix, Bristol
1974 – F3 World Sprint Champion; F3 winner Paris six-
1975 – F3 World Sprint Champion
1981 – 2nd in European F1 World Sprint Championship; 5th in JPS World Series
1982 – F1 World Champion (JPS World Series)
1983 – 4th= overall in F1 World Series; 4th overall in Benson and Hedges Gold Series
1984 – Retired after Liege Grand Prix; 5th = overall in F1 World Series.
Check out Roger's website at www.rogerjenkinsracing.co.uk
The following article is taken from Powerboat 83 Yearbook.
‘Racing is about touch, about finesse and about winning. And that’s bloody hard!’ the smile of satisfaction spreads over the cocky Welshman’s face showing just how much he prizes his new world title, and how hard he had to fight for it.
For Roger Jenkins, the 1982 Formula 1 World Champion, success was sweet at the age of 42, with some sixteen years in the sport behind him. Some might call him lucky, claiming that only a broken propeller on Molinari’s boat robbed the Italian of his second successive title. But luck – good and bad – play a major role in most high speed sports. Few could really begrudge the ebullient ‘Jenks’ his moment of glory. It was his first Formula 1 World Championship; a long time since the day he bought his first boat.
‘I always used to water-
I just put my ski racing engine on the back and started racing at Fairford; I didn’t win anything for two years! But paul Moxey gave me plenty of good advice – I owe a lot to him.’
The irrepressible Jenkins moved into Formula 4 and soon changed his habit of not winning – his fiercely competitive spirit made sure of that. Yet he has only ever had one bad accident (That was until the famous flip at Minneapolis in 1983), at Chasewater when he flipped his Cougar catamaran, a surprisingly contradictory statistic considering the aggressive driving style of the Welshman. ‘I suppose I have been lucky, someone up there must be looking after me! But I love racing. When I stop enjoying it I’ll stop racing and if I start feeling afraid I’ll never sit in another boat.’
Below: Roger racing his OE cat in Milan. (Date and photo credit needed).
1974 for was an excellent year for ‘Jenks’. He claimed his and Britain’s first ever world circuit racing title, beating Renato Molinari and the late Cesare Scotti at Pavia in the Formula 3 World Championship. To add to his trophies that year, the Welsh wizard took third place in the European SE Championships at Evians, France. Formula 3 World Champion again in 1975 in his Embassy sponsored rig, Jenkins then experimented with Volvo Penta and Konig in a Cougar and only lost the 1976 world title due to a faulty fuel system, much to his intense frustration.
‘I raced with Cougars for two years and I thought we could never beat the factory teams. The chosen few received superior equipment and unlimited back-
Roger’s protest is that, despite all divers having equal 3.5 litre V8 engines on the Formula 1 circuit, Renato Molinari and Cees van der Velden, OMC’s two contracted drivers, still have the mechanical and technological back-
Jenkins had a good reason to prize his privacy; the hull that he was hiding from prying eyes was the first of its kind on the formula 1 circuit – a Burgess. The English boat designer has been building performance rigs for twenty one years and with the Formula 1 triumph has now won every single class there is to win. In Jenkins’ words, ‘Burgess is probably the most underrated boat builder in the world.’ Certainly no one expected the rig to win the World Championship but the first race of the season set a few people thinking. ‘We spent a lot of time before the season getting the whole set-
‘The hull is very, very good. I’ve raced other designs in Formula 1 but I wanted to be able to alter the rig week by week, experiment with it, and with designers who are supplying half a dozen other drivers that is impossible, so I went to David. I won the Formula 3 World Championship in a Burgess and I always knew he was good. For the first three races we were fairly quick but for the last six we came off the bank like a rocket and turned corners without losing any speed – and that is purely boat design. It seems to take me through a speed barrier.’
‘One disadvantage we have is that we never get flat water to test on. Last year Molinari had speed on us at the top end and we never had the chance to improve on ours. But we certainly have a better rough water set-
It seems debatable whether Jenkins will be able to maintain the same relationship this year with Burgess as interest increases in the World Series-
Above: 1974. Roger in his OE catamaran, Embassy III, a Milesmaster-
Below: The OE cat on its trailer at Bristol. (Date and photo credit needed).
Above: Roger lined up for the start of the Benson and Hedges Grand Prix, Liege 1983. Photo Glenn Edwards.
The following article, by Anna O'Brien is taken from Powerboat 85 Yearbook.
He has probably been the centre of controversy since the day he was born (if you can discover the date!). But love him or hate him, no-
Memories abound. Memories of ‘Jenks’ whooping with glee in the Milan funfair the night after his world championship win; of ‘Jenks in tears of pain and frustration after his Minneapolis accident in 1983; of ‘Jenks’ fists thrust deep into his overall pockets, stomping the pits in sulky silence when his new hull proved disastrous in Lyon at the start of the 1984 season.
Now there is a new ‘Jenks’. Retired. With ten years’ furrows removed from his brow and an immaculate set of ten unbitten fingernails – “the first time in twenty years,” he confesses. Retired the Welsh wizard may be. But he has lost none of his pithy perception and outspokenness. Never one to mince words, he gave Powerboat 85 his own inimitable observations on his retirement, the future of Formula One, and his arch rival Renato Molinari.
‘I think Formula One racing is in helluva mess at present. For the last 18 months we’ve been running to these modified OMC Formula One rules, then in London we went back to OZ rules allowing the T4s in, allowing fuel injection and methanol, allowing the new twin engine rig. Next year the new OMC engines will be fuel injected and have a new low-
‘I don’t regret my decision to retire. Of course, it’s hard to watch a beautiful hull running at full chat and to know you aren’t going to be out there again. But I’m not going to change my mind. I don’t want to die in a boat and I think that is the way a lot of drivers feel. At least I know I retired at the top, still winning Grands Prix. And I must admit if I hadn’t still been winning I would have hung up my jack plug long before now!’
Above: Roger in his Burgess designed rig. 1982. Photo from Powerboat 83 front cover (credit needed).
Above: Bristol Docks, 1982. Photo Robert Martin, All Sport.
Below: Roger's 120mph flip at Minneapolis, 1983. Photos Glenn Edwards.