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Flashback – MGLive! Countdown

From now until MGLive! on the 4th/5th June, we shall be running features that lead up to the big event. This week is a flashback to 2010, and a report of that year’s MGLive! which ran in Safety Fast! in July 2010. 

MG100xxxAs far as celebrations go, they simply don’t come much bigger than MGLive!, the MG Car Club’s annual Silverstone extravaganza. Enthusiasts of all ages and from far flung corners of the globe once again made the pilgrimage to the iconic Northamptonshire circuit for to commemorate Abingdon’s most famous export. 

MGLive! 2010 represented the sixtieth successive staging of the MG Car Club’s Silverstone event and will be remembered for all the right reasons. A glorious weekend of weather drew a bumper weekend attendance and those who made the journey were presented with a vast sea of all things MG.

The MGLive! concept, now in its second year, continues to capture the imagination and with register car parks bursting at the seams on Saturday the event once again reached out to the classic car community.

Indeed, both camping areas were busy from the outset with a broad range of MG flags flying high and dozens of barbeques in operation throughout.

Embarking on a third successive year, the Tour De Silverstone road run brought visitors to MGLive! from four different starting points and kicked off the weekend in style. A near 100 participants completed the tour and once at Silverstone, then enjoyed a trip on the iconic circuit. Once again, many European visitors completed the tour and we’re delighted to have been involved.

Now beginning to amass stacks of positive momentum, MG Motor UK had a popular three-day presence at MGLive! Located in the expansive ‘Abingdon plaza’ area, the company proudly showcased two vehicles which were generally well received by visitors.

Joining the familiar looking TF135 on display was the well-documented MG6 saloon car –  exclusively pre-launch previewed over the weekend. Whilst not the UK version, the MG6 on display provided fans of the marque with an unrivalled opportunity to get up close to a car that can now finally escape the shackles of dame rumour.

As expected, opinions on the appearance of the MG6 were varied. However, true enthusiasts will concur that the emergence of an all new model opens another chapter in MG’s incredible story – and that can only be seen as positive.

The MG Motor UK stand was manned throughout by key figures from the company, including chief engineer Ian Pogson and marketing manager Peter Brooking. Whilst the voice boxes of them, and the rest of their colleague’ were no doubt exhausted by conclusion of the weekend, the personnel representing MG Motor UK will have been left feeling pleased by the interest their presence generated. Indeed, the MG6 was swamped with enthusiasts throughout and its attendance certainly set tongues wagging.

On-track, an MG6 was used throughout the duration as a course car for the bumper sixteen-race schedule. Those who were fortunate enough to drive the vehicle heaped praise on the handling – echoing the sentiments expressed by the motoring press earlier in the year.

To commemorate sixty years of MG racing at Silverstone, the MG Car Club’s main pavilion showcased cars with racing pedigree. Indeed, most registers had sourced an MG that had close links to motorsport competitions. From K3s to MG ZRs, the marques’ illustrious motorsport ancestry was well illustrated and demonstrated vividly the depth of motorsport history the MG marque has enjoyed over the years. The usual range of club merchandise was on offer throughout the three day event and membership to the MG Car Club was made available. Furthermore, younger visitors to the event were kept entertained by an MG Benji colouring competition and lots of the marques’ youthful fans  went away with MG Benji goodies.

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Stunning Saturday morning weather meant competitors in a well subscribed California Cup enjoyed terrific conditions. An entry of 50 plus meant action was guaranteed from the outset, and with the well organised Ulster Centre contingent in attendance it certainly created a fantastic atmosphere. The event had, as always, attracted a diverse range of vehicles with club member John Venables fronting the attack of an expensive looking outfit from the MG Car Club’s Vintage register.

Whilst the Vintage contingent were out-paced by some of the marques’ quicker model, the owners of these iconic cars certainly had much to cheer as the Vintage register celebrated its fiftieth year.

Back at Silverstone, the arena, which has developed into such an integral part of the MGLive! weekend, once again dripped with adrenaline throughout. Starting on Friday afternoon, two headline acts performed routines on all three days and attracted strong crowds. Those in attendance watched from the comfort of two covered grandstand areas, which provided a welcome shelter from the intense sun.

Terry Grant, a former MG Rover works driver, rocked n’ rolled his way through his spectacular show and in doing so conjured up plenty of tyre smoke. Jaws clanged as the thrill-a-minute Grant, who still holds great affection for the MG marque, unleashed a barrage of stunt-driving madness!

Meanwhile, Grant’s former MG Rover colleague, Matt Stephens, was offering rally rides in the South West corner of the circuit on all days of the event. His unmissable Pirelli sponsored MG ZR opened proceedings in the arena each morning and enticed visitors across to the Rally stage.

Alongside Grant in the arena were the X-Treme motorcycle trials display team, who displayed great agility and instantly likeable demeanours as they encouraged audience participation.

As in previous years, those wanting a more serene MGLive! experience were afforded the opportunity to enjoy a Saturday afternoon away from Silverstone. A new venue was instated in 2010 as the tranquil Sulgrave manor, just a short journey from the circuit, welcomed those wanting
to escape the noise.

Classic buses journeyed between the events attractions throughout the! weekend. The charming vehicles not only shuttled visitors from general parking to the MGLive! central hub, but made designated trips to Silverstone’s wider outposts and therefore allowed easy access to the Rally Rides and Sunday’s Sprint.

Overhead, two flying displays diverted eyes skyward on Saturday. Firstly the Nanchang – Europe’s only flying Chinese Warbird – assumed centre stage and delivered an elegant performance.

Later on, the sleek single seater ‘One Design’ aeroplane didn’t disappoint and conjured up a display to remember.  Keeping with the aviation theme, throughout the weekend helicopter rides provided visitors to MGLive! with an opportunity to see the event from above.

Those looking down from the sky will have seen a characteristically diverse trade city provided visitors with plenty to choose from, whilst the re-introduction of an autojumble received favourable feedback.

The MG Car Club were again delighted to welcome The Austin Healey Club to the event. Following on from a successful link-up in 2009, the AHC had a larger presence in 2010 and were able to display a greater range of cars. For the first time, MGLive!  included a craft fair and farmers’ market. Located in a sizeable marquee, this new addition added a new element to the weekend.

In the paddock area The XPAG specials displays proved to be popular and this important part of the MG story were celebrated.

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The Saturday night supper saw the traditional MG Car Club presentations assume centre stage. As always, the highlight of the ceremony was the awarding of the prestigious Nuffield Gold Cup – the trophy given in recognition of a Centre or Register achievement.

The Zed Register deservedly scooped the award in recognition of their fabulous accomplishments in the past twenty-four months. The new register committee has virtually rebuilt this section of the MG Car Club back up from the foundations over the last two years, and has generously offered regular support to the main Club.

For an organisation like the MG Car Club that must recruit a younger generation of enthusiasts in order to prosper, it was hugely satisfying that one of the club’s more youthful groups have worked so tirelessly and achieved such impressive results.

Later on, the MG Car Club of Luxembourg were awarded the European Nuffield Cup by Overseas director Paul Plummer in recognition of their sterling work.

Post presentations, the action moved outside with the Racing Bug providing the perfect party piece! Located adjacent to the Abingdon Plaza, hundreds of visitors competed in a series of competitive races which provided bundles of fun.

Over in the paddock area, the MG Trophy’s infamous MGLive! curry night was well received as was the Marshal’s barbeque was a great way to conclude a successful day of on-track action.

With some visitors nursing sore heads, the action got underway early on Sunday with the Sprint on the Stowe circuit beginning at an early hour. A full report is available elsewhere in SafetyFast! but suffice to say that the Stowe circuit provided competitors with a welcome new challenge and the facilities on offer certainly impressed.

Also on Sunday morning were the popular circuit tours which provided 100 MG owners with the opportunity to take their pride and joy out on track. The excitement was tangible as cars spanning all eras made their way on to the track for a two-lap cruise. Sunday’s Concours and Pride of Ownership was extremely well subscribed with an array of scintillating vehicles entered and the large list of entrants meant the public had plenty to peruse. Those who scooped award were fortunate enough to be presented with them by Peter Thornley, the son of John Thornley O.B.E.

MGLive! 2010 was a hugely fitting way for the MG Car Club to celebrate 60 years at Silverstone, of that there can be no doubt. The event is underpinned by the colossal input of club volunteers whose mammoth dedication to this weekend should always be remembered. As long as the MG Car Club possess individuals who willingly sacrifice such large amounts of their time to the MGLive! cause, then the event is surely in safe hands.