Event | Comments Off on No let up in MGCC action over two days at Snetterton

No let up in MGCC action over two days at Snetterton

The MG Car Club gathered at a bright Snetterton 300 circuit for the second of the club’s three race meetings in 2020. with the Norfolk meeting being held over two days.

There was no parallel dilution in the intensity of the action though as six MGCC categories were present, and they were supplemented again by sizeable and varied Equipe grids plus two guest races for the Aero Racing Morgan Challenge. And there was plenty going on in all of them.

MGCC MG Cup supported by Peter Best Insurance

In the MG Cup’s Snetterton contest we at last got what we had been keenly anticipating all season: a straight fight out front between the evenly matched Metros of Mike Williams and reigning Metro Cup champion Jack Ashton.

We had to wait another race to get this though as Ashton missed the first counter thanks to an oil seal coming off. Williams won that race but it was far from simple as his newly fitted rear wheels had not been torqued fully. He went as quickly as he dared to beat the returning Peter Burchill’s ZS 180 (pictured above) by just 0.333 seconds.

Dennis Robinson was third home in his MG ZR 170, taking the place and the Class B victory after champion Richard Buckley slid his 170 off at Oggies late on. Robinson also got Driver of the Race while his son Carl took Class A victory in his ZR 160.

The Williams vs Ashton battle was fully joined in race two, and it was worth the wait. Williams led from the line but Ashton was quickly by and established some breathing space over Williams. But Ashton was using a new tyre compound and found his initial grip fell away meaning Williams closed and overtook. But shortly afterwards Williams had a massive moment – wherein Ashton noted Williams “almost killed himself…I think he was opposite lock three different times!” – that let Ashton back past. Williams reclaimed the lead at Riches late on and crossed the line first, but got a five-second track-limits penalty that handed Ashton the win.

It didn’t affect either driver’s relish of the battle though. “A fantastic race,” Williams beamed. “The back end was all over the shop, I had trouble trying to keep it on the road, that was the cause of the time penalty. But it doesn’t really matter because the race we had it was just absolutely immense.

“Nothing happened for me in the first race. I went round as slow as I possibly could to keep the lead. That [race two] has more than made up for it. It goes to show the racing we’re having, you win one race and you can’t even compare it to the race you’ve just come second in. That’s how it is – you come for the fun!”

Ashton concurred: “Epic race, loved it,” he said. “Got some nice grip for about five laps then all of a sudden it went to really bad jelly tyres. That’s when Mike started to reel me in quite quickly. He’d gone off a couple of times after he got the black-and-white flag, then I saw them holding the board out and I knew exactly what it was. I’d probably try to battle with him [without the penalty], but I wasn’t going to stop him, he was on fire, he was pushing that thing like you wouldn’t believe.”

Buckley this time got Class B win in fourth, just ahead of Carl Robinson who took the Class A win and got a Driver of the Race award of his own. Dennis Robinson this time suffered from lost revs with a suspected VVC Unit problem.

MGCC Lackford Engineering MG Midget & Sprite Challenge

Richard Wildman in his Midget took a double win at Snetterton and with it totalled four wins from four in 2020. As at Donington Park’s season-opening round though Wildman benefited from David Morrison hitting technical problems. Morrison took pole at Snetterton but his meeting was ended by a broken stub axle before the opening race lap was completed.

“I know I’ve been gifted because the main competition had bad luck,” Wildman said, referring mainly to Morrison. “[He’s] a good bloke to race with, I’m looking forward to taking the battle to him.”

In the first race Wildman was still being cautious with his brakes, which also had bothered him at Donington, but he held off the battling fellow-Midget pair Martin Morris and Michael Chalk to win. Morris spun at mid-distance but battled back to pip Chalk for second on the final lap; Chalk nevertheless got Driver of the Race.

Morris recalled: “I spun and then I thought I’ve got nothing to lose, I think I could have been with Richard if I hadn’t spun.”

Richard Perry returned in his Sprite to claim Class E win, his battle with Pippa Cow getting resolved when Cow had an excursion at Murrays. Philip Stader beat Mike Henney to the Class I win while Edward Easton beat Mark Witherspoon to the Class D honours.

Race two was a bit more straightforward for Wildman as he moved clear of Morris to win by 9.2s despite a safety car period, while Perry, Stader and Easton all doubled up on their class wins. Ian Burgin coming second in the Class E contest, just holding off Robin Lackford, got Burgin the Driver of the Race prize.

Wildman in race two had even sorted his brake issues – indeed he made the fix on the go!

“They were locking up in the [first] race,” Wildman continued, “when I managed to get a decent lead I used it as a bit of a test session and I’ve got a remote brake bias so I was messing with that. In the second race it seemed to work and I felt a lot more in control of it. I’m happy with the car now.”

MGCC BCV8 Championship

Ollie Neaves at Snetterton continued his imperious BCV8 championship form shown in Donington’s season-opener in his newly overhauled Class D MGB GT V8. He won both Snetterton races to make it four victories from four this year.

Neaves first set a stunning pole time on 2m04.939s, some 2.7 seconds quicker than Russell McCarthy’s time next up. And race one followed in that vein as Neaves led from the off with McCarthy chasing but unable to get within reach. This was despite a safety car interruption caused by Ronald Watt rolling his Roadster at Murrays, fortunately without injury.

Neil Fowler started at the back of the 26-car field after he found that for qualifying his distributor cap was not connected, and come the race he made fine progress to finish third, getting Driver of the Race with it.

Steve Wells beat Jim Bryan to Class C victory, while Mark Scott in his Roadster got the Class B win, not far ahead of Babak Farsian, and Russell McAngus pipped Simon Tinkler to Class AB honours.

Race two was a similar story, with Neaves leading all the way and the chasing McCarthy only just about clinging on, and it got Neaves an additional double of Driver of the Race and Saturday’s Driver of the Day. He wasn’t without problems though in the latter part of race two. “Every time I went round a left-hander the car was filling with smoke,” Neaves noted. “There’s a lot of oil coming from the rear gearbox oil seal.

“It’s been a fantastic weekend. My qualifying time, it’s still unbelievable even to me, I’ve not been able to get anywhere near it in the race. The car’s been absolutely faultless, I’m so pleased with it.”

Neaves between rounds also sorted the brakes that had troubled him in the first meeting, plus his fears of making poor starts didn’t come to pass. “Just changing some minor geometry on the rear suspension has just enabled it to launch off the line,” Neaves continued. “It’s how this goes: if you stand still you go backwards.”

And McCarthy knows the challenge for him now is to get with Neaves. “It’s quite a big learning curve for me,” he said. “I don’t think it’s the driver [causing the gap] just yet! I just need to figure out a way of getting the power that I’ve got onto the track. For the last five or six years I’ve not done anything to the car to make it go quicker because there’s been no need. Competition drives you on! That’s what good about this championship.”

Bryan this time beat Wells to the Class C win, while Scott and McAngus doubled up on their class victories. We didn’t however get to see another Fowler climb through the field, as contact with the rear of Howard Grundon’s MGB GT V8 ended his race early.

MGCC Cockshoot Cup

The Cockshoot Cup travelled far from its north-west base for this one and was racing for the first time ever on Snetterton’s 300 circuit as well as was visiting the Norfolk track in any configuration for the first time in two decades.

The track was therefore unfamiliar to many of its competitors, and there was an unusual result as Keith Egar – coming to this meeting having never won a race and never having been to Snetterton – left with two victories!

“It’s took me 55 years to get one race win and I get two in the same day!” Egar smiled. “The first two or three laps [at Snetterton] felt very alien but I soon got into it. The infield really suits the Midget, tight and twisty, and it all came together. It’s [the ECU] been mapped this week and it’s made all the difference. It was the longest 20 minutes of my life when I was in the lead [of race one]!”

Egar led all the way from pole in race one, while Karl Green’s ZS 180 rose from starting 10th, due to a qualifying piston problem, to finish second and it also got Green the Driver of the Race.

Mike Peters in his Midget finished third and got the Class B win, and he was just ahead of Class F winner Brian Butler whose VVC was not far ahead of class rival Christopher Greenbank in his TF 160. Paul Wignall in his ZR 160 won the Class A contest.

Butler challenged Egar closely in race two, and led him briefly after Egar had a swift off-track moment at Hamilton on lap one – Egar admitted he was “daydreaming”. Egar was soon back ahead but Butler chased him home to finish as runner-up within three seconds of him, an effort that got Butler both Driver of the Race and Sunday’s Driver of the Day. Green was unable to challenge this time due to an apparent recurrence of his piston problem, though he did press his smoky ZS 180 to the end to ensure class points. Peters and Wignall again took the class wins. 

MGCC Drayton Manor Park MG Metro Cup

Mark Eales in the Metro Cup was another to find race wins at Snetterton like London buses, as he took his first ever victory and then immediately bagged another.

He led all of race one to win comfortably while David Javes, his closest pursuer, first slowed then stopped with his exhaust detaching. Jon Moore finished second for his first podium result and got Driver of the Race.

Race two was an entertaining place-swapping victory fight between Eales and Javes. Eales led initially but Javes shadowed him then passed at the unusual spot of Williams. Eales stayed with him though and re-took the lead at Agostini a few laps later, and kept the place to the end.

And for Eales it made up for a so-near-and-yet-so-far round one. “Donington: second place and then led the race [two] and broke down, a seized wheel bearing,” Eales recalled. “Last time I come here [Snetterton], 2018, I was quite quick, up with the Ashtons. Two pole positions, two wins, first win and then got another one straight after, so I’m really happy.

“I said a big thank you to him [Javes], because it makes it all the more exciting, especially when you win! That’s what you want, have a bit of a battle and come out on top. With Dave being there it really pushed me. I thought he was going to disappear when he got past but luckily it came back.”

Javes was of like mind: “I just couldn’t keep up there [in first], but [a] good battle, this is what it’s all about. Mark was better on some corners than me and I was better on others.”

Tim Shooter, a Donington winner, started both races well down after a spin then his tyre getting off the rim in qualifying, and in race one he dropped out with a gearbox problem. Come race two though he rose from ninth to finish third and got Driver of the Race.

“It was hard work definitely,” Shooter said, “everybody in the midfield is so quick, it’s unreal. Nobody’s giving us an inch but we’re pretty clean so it was good.”

MGCC MG Trophy

The MG Trophy had an extraordinary start with none of the pacesetting Class A runners getting beyond race one’s opening lap. First Ross Makar had a clutch problem keeping him from the fray, then poleman Fred Burgess (pictured above) had a driveshaft break when reaching the grid. Patrick Booth then had a rod go through the block and pitted at the end of lap one.

This gave the unprecedented scenario of the Class B MG ZR 170s battling for the overall win, and it looked like Tylor Ballard would take it as he held the pursuing Adam Jackson at arm’s length.  However, late on, Joshua Bacon’s radiator blew at Oggies and Ballard spun on dropped coolant. “I was the guinea pig, I was the first one round,” Ballard rued. “I went round [spun] three or four times so was quite dizzy! Overall win, you don’t get many opportunities to see the chequered flag.”

This let Jackson by to win and he got Driver of the Race too. Ballard recovered to finish second while the returning Paul Croker was Class C winner. And Jackson was gracious afterwards. “[Ballard] was just faultless. I thought I could just match his lap times, then he got unlucky with the slippery surface.”

Burgess and Makar were back for race two and contested the win. Burgess looked reasonably comfortable in first initially but Makar closed in thrillingly in the late laps, with Burgess hobbled by a vibration from a damaged front-left tyre, but on the last lap Makar spun at Agostini trying to pass.

“Maybe I was over-ambitious but it seemed he came across over a little bit more after picked his line, and I didn’t want to hit him so just locked up and lost it,” Makar said. Makar also had already a head gasket go but he pressed on for victory regardless. “I thought why not!,” Makar added.

Burgess said: “Really pleased. The tyre is completely down to the threads so I was going round Coram at about 40mph thinking something’s to break. But Ross had a little spin which let me off the hook.

“I knew I had good pace, Ross is a quick driver but I was confident that if I managed to get off the line I could hold him, but it was just difficult at the end. I was quite lucky to get the win.”

Ballard got some consolation by taking his freshman class win, recovering from a poor start and passing Jackson for the lead with an on-the-edge move. “[It was] scary,” Ballard admitted, “I didn’t think it was going to stick, had to take to the grass to avoid him…” Ballard got Driver of the Race too. John Donnelly was Class C victor, with Crocker dropping out with what he suspected was a clutch problem – his first mechanical failure in four years!

Equipe GTS

Mark Ashworth in his TVR Grantura won both Equipe GTS races to make it three wins in a row in the category. Race one’s poleman and early leader Lee Atkins in his Grantura pulled out with a suspected head gasket problem, which left Ashworth battling with Allan Ross-Jones’s Triumph TR4 in a tight place-swapping fight for the win. Ashworth made the decisive move for first when Ross-Jones made a mistake exiting Agostini.

“Poor Lee pulled off, there was fluid coming from underneath his car so I backed off, [and] Alan dived through,” Ashworth said. “We had a battle, and then we caught up with some backmarkers and I managed to just get him on the infield – very exciting. He’s got more power but it’s a heavy old bus, this [the Grantura] is very light and nimble.”

Ashworth and Ross-Jones took up battle again in race two. Ashworth got the lead at half distance by passing Ross-Jones on the outside of Riches. Ross-Jones fell away and then stopped as his front-left wheel kept locking, possibly due to a wheel bearing problem. Mark Holme in his MGB then chased Ashworth hard and finished within two seconds of the victorious Grantura.

“It’s going well, one more round at Silverstone and I’ll be a pleased boy!,” Ashworth concluded.

Equipe Libre

Equipe has introduced a new Libre format, open to a wider mix of cars than the existing GTS, Pre ’63 and ’50 categories, and the first Libre race took place at Snetterton. Jeremy Welch followed by fellow Austin Healey runner Mark Holme were the first two to the chequered flag after a close chase between the pair containing plenty of Healey-typical opposite lock.

Trouble was brewing for both however. The safety car was brought out earlier in the race when Bernado Hartogs’ Ford GT40, who’d been chasing leader Welch, lost a wheel and got stranded. Both Welch and Holme made their mandatory pitstops under the caution, but did so just before the pit window opened. Sure enough, they both got three-lap penalties for their misdemeanours meaning third-on-the-road Robin Ellis in his Lotus Elite, who’d just resisted a recovering Lotus Elan of Stephen Bond in the run to the line, was awarded the win. Bond had dropped to 15th place after pitting a lap later than most rivals under the safety car.

“My team had held out 12 minutes [for the pit window] for me, and I did a really slow lap so we could come in hopefully in time,” Welch said. Holme added: “Jeremy’s my mentor so I just decided to follow him in.” Ellis added before the penalty was confirmed: “For the little Elite to be in the top three is pleasing anyway”.

Equipe Pre ’63 / Pre ’50

Fun Cup regular Mark Holme in his Austin Healey won the opening race for pre ’66 and pre ’50 cars. He fell behind Jack Rawles’s Healey at the start but was soon by and won comfortably from Rawles with Jeremy Welch making it a Healey 1-2-3.

“That was awesome,” Holme said, “we had some of the best Healey drivers out there and as a relative newcomer it was trying to keep these boys away. I knew if I could get in front and use the endurance mentality I could pull away a little bit.”

Bernado Hartogs in his Lotus XV then won the second race, heading a three-way victory fight that also involved Rawles and Welch, who had a frantic place-swapping battle for second on the final lap. “It was really clean,” said Rawles, “it was hard racing, but I would expect as good as I give from Jeremy, but the amount of times we were sideways and had utmost respect. It feels like a win.”

Guest races

Both Aero Racing Morgan Challenge races at Snetterton were won dominantly by Andrew Thompson in his ARV6, meaning he’s won half of the six Morgan races so far in 2020. He finished both almost a minute ahead of runner-up Simon Orebi Gann, and Orebi Gann quipped that his best hope of staying with him was attaching a rope between the two cars!

“It was a lovely run, the car was just going so well,” Thompson said. “I love Snetterton, whether we do the 200 or the 300 we always have a great day but today has been my best here, spectacular.”

Event | Comments Off on All change for MG Car Club’s long-awaited Donington 2020 season-opener

All change for MG Car Club’s long-awaited Donington 2020 season-opener

MG Car Club’s 2020 racing season at last got underway with a packed meeting at a sunny and warm Donington Park. A host of MGCC categories were present, as was Equipe Classic Racing as well as Morgans and Minis as special guests.

And, of course, much was new at the meeting with conspicuous, but efficient, Covid safety measures in place in what was both the club’s and the circuit’s first post-lockdown meeting. And on track as well much was new, particularly at the sharp end.

MGCC BCV8 Championship

Ollie Neaves in the BCV8 championship was another in new machinery, as he’s overhauled his MGB to return to frontrunning Class D. And he, like Kirkpatrick, immediately took two wins despite the car’s only previous running being a half-day shakedown pre-lockdown at Snetterton. Explaining the changes, Neaves said: “Brand-new engine, bigger wheels and tyres, flared wheel arches, there’s an awful lot more that goes into making bigger-powered cars. You’re doing 130mph in a car that came out the factory with 80bhp!”

Neaves had switched from BCV8’s Class D to C some years ago. “When I won the championship in that [Class C] I just felt the need for more speed, it just had to be done!,” he continued. “It took me about two years to slowly accrue all the parts [for a Class D car], I got there in the end and it’s paid off.”

In race one, Neil Fowler took the lead from poleman Neaves at the start, and Neaves got back past to lead before mid-distance. Russell McCarthy was in the victory fight too but fell away after understeering off at the Craner Curves and came home third behind Fowler.

Jim Bryan won the Class C contest after a frantic battle with Jonnie Wheeler and Steve Wells. Mark Scott took a clear Class B win and this also got him Driver of the Race. Russell McAngus won the Class AB contest by over 10 seconds.

And Neaves made it a double in race two, and got Driver of the Race with his second victory. Fowler again led off the start but Neaves had the lead back by the end of lap one, then moved clear. McCarthy got up to second but before we found out if he could haul Neaves in he ran out of fuel. This let Fowler again finish runner-up and Simon Cripps was third.

Neaves had his own problems, nursing “a massive brake vibration” in race two. “I knew Neil and Russell would be coming back for me, but I seemed to be able to manage the gap. I couldn’t really have asked for much more on the car’s debut: two poles, two wins, two fastest laps. Really pleased, a full house! I was very surprised.”

Bryan in race two took a second Class C win. James Wheeler took over his dad Jonnie’s car for this race, as his own GT V8 developed what sounded like a valve problem meaning he sat out race one. In race two Wheeler rose from the back to get with Bryan to fight for class honours, but he then slowed as something didn’t feel right at the front of his car.

Scott claimed his second Class B win of the day, by 2.3s from Babak Farsian, while McAngus bagged another Class AB victory.

MGCC MG Trophy

Sam Kirkpatrick was especially glad of a change for Donington Park’s curtain-raiser. He raced his newly upgraded MG ZR 190 for the first time, it being converted from his Class B ZR 170, and had a stunning weekend. It started with two decisive MG Trophy wins, the first of which was accompanied by the Driver of the Race award.

“Good first day in the new 190, couldn’t have asked for much better,” Kirkpatrick said. “The grip’s the noticeable difference [from the 170], you can take so much more corner speed.” His experience in the car beforehand was minimal too. “We did two 15-minute runs at Croft and a bit of testing yesterday,” he continued, “it’s not much different to the 170, just a bit grippier and a bit faster! We knew we had pace after testing but I don’t think we were quite expecting it to go this well.”

Fred Burgess twice finished runner-up to Kirkpatrick, in both races staying within reasonable range of the leader other than after a quick spin on oil at Redgate late in race two. And Burgess, just like Kirkpatrick, was racing a 190 in Class A rather than a more familiar Class B 170, though in Burgess’s case it was all less planned.

He an engine failure in his 170 on his first lap of Friday testing and opted to race his dad Jason’s 190 instead. But he’d never driven it before, and it also meant doing an extraordinary Friday round trip to get the car prepared and delivered, taking in Nuneaton and Milton Keynes. The 190 was ready late on Friday, giving Fred only half an hour’s experience of it before qualifying.

“Bit of a whirlwind weekend!,” Burgess said. “I’m really pleased with my pace, not far behind Sam who’s a really quick driver. I was surprised. There’s a lot more involved in the 190s, there’s a lot more gear changes. I enjoyed learning.” Burgess is now inclined to race the 190 more during the rest of the season.

Ross Makar took a pair of third places, while James Dennison won both Class B contests. The first of Dennison’s wins opened up to him when two rivals hit problems: Adam Jackson’s engine blew up and long-time leader Tylor Ballard slowed with an exhaust problem. In Dennison’s second class win he clung on ahead of a multi-car fight, which also got him Driver of the Race and Driver of the Day.

MGCC MG Cup supported by Peter Best Insurance

Continuing the theme of the meeting, reigning MG Metro Cup champion Jack Ashton was yet another in upgraded equipment. He has replaced his 1.4-litre Metro engine with a 1.8-litre version for a move to MG Cup. And at Donington he immediately joined similarly equipped Mike Williams in fighting for victory.

Williams won the first race, while the pursuing Ashton retired with a broken gearbox. Reigning champion Richard Buckley, now in Class B with a ZR 170, rose to finish second overall ahead of Stuart Tranter’s Tomcat and got take the class win with it. Carl Robinson beat Dale Reet to Class A victory and was awarded Driver of the Race.

For race two Ashton installed a new gearbox with a diff in it, and found the car much improved. On lap one though while dicing for the lead with Williams in the Craners with his unfamiliar ‘box he selected second gear instead of fourth, locked his wheels and ran through the Old Hairpin gravel. “I over-revved it to God-knows-what rpm,” Ashton recalled. “Thought it was game over there and then but it still managed to keep on going.”

He quickly recovered to second, and before we could find out if he could haul Williams in, Williams pulled into the pits with a seized wheel bearing. “It just made the car undriveable,” Williams said, “it got to the point that it’s dangerous. It was a big lead, if the car was running fine I would have driven comfortably and maintained a distance [to Ashton].”

It left Ashton well clear, yet there was late drama as his Metro started to smoke, possibly related to the earlier over-rev, but he just held on to beat Tranter by a scant 0.6s.

“I tried to just limp it home, which I just about did!,” Ashton added. “It’s leaking oil internally, I think a cracked piston or something not good. But we finished!

“It’s testing the water with the new engine combo,” Ashton said of his weekend, “after putting a new diff in it after race one it felt really good, I could get on the power a lot better. Now it’s really singing. We hopefully can give Mike a good run for his money next time out.”

Williams concluded: “Good race win to start off with, it was great race. [Race two] I was in control – that kind of thing happens doesn’t it?”

Kayleigh Twigger completed the podium, competing in her dad Chris’s for-sale Tomcat in tribute to him as he is now unable to race due to motor neurone disease, and the tribute included running a ‘DAD 1’ number plate instead of the usual ‘TWIG 1’. Kayleigh also got Driver of the Race.

“First race it was fourth overall but I lost it as the driveshaft caputted, so I had a point to prove in this one [race two],” she said.

Dennis Robinson in his 170 won the Class B contest ahead of Buckley, who had a brief off at the Craners, while Carl Robinson again beat Reet to Class A honours.

Drayton Manor Park MG Metro Cup

The MG Metro Cup shared its grid with the MG Cup, and with Jack Ashton moving on and Dick Trevett taking his regular alternating year out, there was a big opportunity for others to step to the front.

Tim Shooter narrowly beat the returning Mark Eales to win the first race – and got Driver of the Race with it – after leader Richard Garrard had a spectacular fiery exit caused by a turbo oil pipe. Dan Willars finished third.

Shooter and Eales again battled for the race two win, but both hit problems. First long-time leader Eales lost what could have been his first Metro win as he lost stopping power due to a problem on the car’s front-left, either brakes or a wheel bearing. That left Shooter briefly looking on for a double win, but just half a lap later he stopped with an engine problem. Willars bagged victory ahead of Phil Goodwin and David Javes, and Kyla Birdseye in fourth got Driver of the Race.

“Definitely,” Shooter said when asked if his day was bittersweet, “bit frustrating but that’s racing. I was catching [Eales] slightly [in race two], don’t know if I would have got to the back of him or not. Hopefully we’ll have a good battle at Snetterton. Definitely [pleased with my pace], I made some improvements over the winter.

Lackford Engineering MG Midget & Sprite Challenge

David Morrison looked dominant in the opening Midget & Sprite contest as he streaked clear in the lead from pole. But then his Midget developed a misfire under a late safety car, and in the brief late green flag resumption Richard Wildman’s Midget thrillingly closed in then passed Morrison for first in the last breath. Michael Chalk completed the podium.

Pippa Cow was fourth home and got the Class E win, indeed she looked good for third overall until the late safety car, when Chalk got ahead on Redgate’s inside at the restart. Carl Chadwick won Class D and got Driver of the Race, while Mike Henney won Class I.

Morrison was hopeful his misfire was peculiar to the safety car, but come race two the problem remained and Wildman made it a double win, despite nursing a brake problem. “After a few laps the pedal starts going to the floor and it’s kicking back, I think it’s the wrong fluid,” Wildman said. “I’ll take the win anyway! It’s been a cracking day, everybody’s made a real good effort. [Race two] was just a management thing once I realised David had gone.”

The hobbled Morrison fell to finish third, behind the worthy recipient of Driver of the Race Edward Weston, who climbed from the back to claim his best-ever result of second, driving a car his dad David built the year he was born! He already had an engine blow up in Friday testing meaning he had to use his dad’s engine, and he then missed qualifying as in the assembly area he realised his accelerator cable had snapped. He rose from the back to sixth in race one, and race two was even better. “I just gelled with the car much better, used my dad’s advice and went for it,” Edward said. “Definitely a new experience that I want to do again soon.”

Cow again took a comfortable Class E win while Philip Stader pipped Henney to Class I victory by just 0.2s.

MGCC Triple M Challenge

Tony Seber in his Wolseley Hornet Special won both Triple M races. In race one he prevailed in a fight with Charles Goddard’s PA Special. Rodney Seber in his own Wolseley Hornet Special rose from the back to race with them, rising 14 places to second on lap one, before falling away with an apparent misfire. Richard Frankel in his K3 Magnette got by him for third on the last lap and received Driver of the Race.

Tony Seber again beat Goodard in another close fight in race two, with Frankel again taking third. Vernon Mackenzie in his PB Cream Cracker just claimed fourth overall from Simon Jackson’s PB, as well as got Driver of the Race. Andrew Morland in his PA took two comfortable Class A wins while Goddard got both Class B wins.

MGCC Cockshoot Cup

Sam Kirkpatrick, returning on Sunday, made it four Donington wins from four as he also bagged two imperious Cockshoot Cup victories. “[The car’s] got better as the weekend’s gone on because we’ve learned about the pressures and the tyres and stuff,” Kirkpatrick said. “It’s been a good learning weekend and it’s been a lot of fun. It was quite easy to learn [the 190] pretty quickly, but I’ve been getting more used to it. We’ve never [before even] managed the double win! Four, you can’t do much better!”

Ray Collier in his 190 twice finished a distant runner-up to Kirkpatrick, while Keith Egar in his Midget was third in race one and Karl Green in his ZS180 completed race two’s podium. Green likely would have taken third in race one as well but he ran out of fuel late on.

Reigning champion Paul Clackett claimed a dramatic race one Class B win amid problems for his challengers. Ian Whitt rose from the back after brake problems in qualifying, and took the lead from Clackett at around a third’s distance, but his Midget almost immediately lost drive with an alternator problem. Class victory battle was then joined between Clackett and Mike Peters, only for Peters’ Midget to have a big engine blow up in the race’s last moments. Chris Greenback got Driver of the Race after winning Class F in his TF 160.

Whitt in race two again rose from the back and this time won Class B as well as finished fourth overall just three seconds off a podium place. It earned him Driver of the Race and Driver of the Day. Greenback again took Class F’s honours.

Equipe Three Hour Classic Relay

The Equipe relay was a close contest throughout its three hours. It was won by the ‘50 Shades’ Lotus Elan pair Cliff Gray and Stephen Bond, who after a topsy-turvy battle prevailed over the Squadra Budino Nero team made up of three MGBs plus an Alfa Romeo GTA and with Tom Smith, Martin Richardson, Andrew Lawley and Jonathan Hughes driving. The contest for first place was resolved when Gray chased down Hughes late on and passed with 10 minutes left. Hughes’ MGB later had to slow with a technical problem but still hung on to second place.

Winner Gray said: “This is the third time we’ve entered in the race and the last two occasions we’ve come second, so we were quite keen to see if we could better that. The last 20 minutes was just great fun, I was in second place with about 17s to catch the guy, I could see the board coming down. The weather was wonderful, these guys organise an amazing day, so we’ve had a lot of fun.”

The runners-up were happy too, Richardson saying: “We came here today hoping for a good result on handicap, had no expectation of being anywhere near the front overall, so we’re absolutely thrilled. We’ve got three MGBs, one Alfa and until the last two laps they’ve all run perfectly. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it – you can see that from the beaming smile! Consistency [was key], we had a plan as to what we would do in the event of safety cars and that sort of thing, and it all worked.”

Equipe Classic Racing Sprint Races

Jonathon Hughes is a well-known historic single-seater racer, with even a Monaco Historique Formula Junior win on his CV. Yet in Donington’s Equipe contest he was another taking an unfamiliar car to debut victory.

He was there giving his Jaguar E-type overdue post-lockdown laps, and in Equipe’s opening sprint race he eased the rapid machine to an imperious victory, rising from 18th on the random grid to lead after just over a lap. He won by 46s from Mark Holme’s Austin Healey, and Bond back out in his Elan was third.

“It’s all new to us,” Hughes said, “I used to race Jaguars 10 years ago, [I’m] thoroughly enjoying it! As a family we’ve got a passion [for Jaguars] and this is a nice addition to the fleet. Anything where the car’s eligible we’ll probably have a go at!”

There were two Equipe sprint races due to demand, the grids split depending on when the entry was received, and Holme, now in a 3000 MKII, won the second sprint race after taking the lead in the pitstop round. The Robin Ellis and Nick Trott Lotus 26R led the race’s early part but had a longer stop with a driver change to complete. Trott dropped to third by the end behind Tom Smith’s MGB.

Guest races

Roger Whiteside in his Morgan +8 was first home in both Aero Racing Morgan Challenge races, but in the first was one of several disqualified for yellow flag infringements which meant Andrew Thompson, who Whiteside battled with throughout, took victory in his ARV6. In race two Whiteside rose from the back to claim a first place he was allowed to keep. While in the Dunlop Mini Challenge supported by Mini Spares, Miglias, Libres, Se7ens and the Mini 7 S-Class shared the track, and all featured plenty of typical slipstreaming action. Reigning Miglia champion Aaron Smith won both Miglia races, by just over a tenth in both cases, holding off Endaf Owens in race one and Lee Deegan in race two. Dan Lewis and Robert Davis took the Libre wins.

Reigning champion and ex-British Touring Car Championship racer Jeff Smith and Spencer Wanstall split the Se7ens victories after fevered battles between the two in both contests. Thorburn Astin and Connor O’Brien split the S-Class wins.

Event | Comments Off on Resumption of Racing

Resumption of Racing

The Clubs Resumption of Racing meeting at Donington Park on 11th/12th July is gathering speed with our guests Equipe and Mini advising of terrific entries, while our own groups are adding to the entry total now on a daily basis. There is still space at present, but do not delay!

The news this week is that it is most likely that on July 4th a number of restrictions will finally be lifted. These it is suggested will include the relaxation of overnight stays away from home and a reopening of cafes. It is also suggested that the distancing rule of 2m will be reduced to 1m.

Both our Club and MSV, our hosts, take your safety seriously, we have appointed a responsible person to ensure that we meet the special precautions that are required and MSV and the circuit managers have their own appointed staff. Although we believe that the restrictions will be removed we have kept the races to individual days to reduce the number of people who may be in the paddock at any one time. Even if the restrictions are removed we will stay with this programme since people need to be able to plan. There has been comment that to qualify and do two races in a day is a lot, but in truth its what competitors would do on a single day meeting normally! Hopefully it will be seen as a sensible measure in these times to enable a meeting to take place.

All of this indicates that our meeting, one of the first to run in the UK after the lockdown will have an excellent chance of some great entries and terrific racing.

Some hotels are taking bookings and the Caravan Club have stated that their sites will reopen from July 4th indicating that the country is getting back to normal.

Mark Baulch will be delighted to receive your entry for the event, full details are here on the Club website or email Mark at motorsport@mgcc.co.uk with any queries.

Entry fees will only be taken at two weeks before the event [and each one has a £30 rebate against another event this year for MG Members].

Weather has been ordered and it should be warm and sunny!

See you there?

Race Planning Group

Event | Comments Off on Entry Form for Donington Park

Entry Form for Donington Park

Important news for all competitors!

We are delighted to release the entry form for the MG Car Club Donington Park race meeting on 11th & 12th July.

You will find this at mgcc.co.uk/motorsport/race-competitor-info/ under July 11/12th 2020 – Donington Park

Event | Comments Off on Motorsport Newsletter – 31st May 2020

Motorsport Newsletter – 31st May 2020

Resumption of MGCC Motor Racing

Ladies and Gentlemen.  As many of you will have seen, Motorsport UK has advised that national motorsport will recommence from 4th July.

That’s truly great news and means that our two day meeting at Donington on the 11th/12th July can go ahead. Which we are sure will come as very welcome news to many of you!

We have a valid Motorsport UK permit for the two days and our Championships are not National [such as BTCC] and are therefore able to run, we have received written confirmation of the programme from Motorsport UK.

Meanwhile MSV have confirmed the circuit will be available and that all systems are go!

Obviously, since we are one of the first meetings to restart there will be extra vigilance that we comply with whatever the regulations are then. We really need your full cooperation on this aspect.

We very much hope the bar of overnight stays away from home will have been lifted.

Unfortunately it won’t be a normal two day meeting because some restrictions will remain and our primary concern is your safety and well-being which will call for some extra measures and an alteration to the usual procedures. One being that it will be a closed meeting without spectators, so no bringing your fan club!

We aim to keep the numbers in the paddock to a minimum at all times and there will be a specific manager appointed to ensure that social distancing and all the mandatory requirements are met.

Please be understanding, we are determined that the meeting will be safe and that you will have an opportunity to enjoy racing around this iconic circuit.

All Championships will race on one day only and for the absence of doubt the programme is as follows. It’s not ideal or the same as a normal two day meeting, but we have to comply with minimising the risk.Saturday Races

Saturday 11th July Races:
– Trophy with two 20 minute races
– BCV8 with two 20 minute races
– Mini with two 20 min races
– Equipe Relay running for 3 hours 

Sunday 12th July Races:
– Cockshoot with two 20 minute races
– Midget with two 20 minute races
– Metro with MG Cup with two 20 minute races
– Morgan with two 20 minute races
– MMM with two 15 minute races
– Equipe combined one off 40 minunte race

The entry form is now available to download from – https://www.mgcc.co.uk/motorsport/race-competitor-info/

Please note that these are not as previous and include the mandatory Motorsport UK certification to be signed by every driver. These have to be completed and sent electronically to the Secretary who is required to check that licences are valid and that you are legal to race and that the form has been completed satisfactorily!

Signing on will not exist in the normal sense. The entry form is the drivers signing on. Full instructions with regard to scrutineering and other details will be confirmed in the finals.

It will be the drivers responsibility to ensure that all of his/her kit, helmet, overalls, socks, boots, gloves are suitable and in date and that the car is safe and suitable to race. Likewise the transponder fitted, needs to be licenced and working. There may be video surveillance of the vehicle in respect of scrutineering. TSL will not be able to offer transponder hire.

The Club has invested in the required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the officials and marshals. Speaking of the orange army who so willingly enable you all to race, please ensure that they are treated with respect at all times. It has been said many times, no marshals no racing, never truer than now!

So now we need your entries, the entry forms are now available! No monies will be taken until the closing date.

The entry fee for the various MGCC groups two races had already been set in agreement with the Coordinators last December and remains at £425. However, in an effort to encourage further entries later in the year, MGCC members in MGCC events will be offered a £30 discount against further entries during 2020 at later MGCC race meetings. There isn’t a need to apply, it will be dealt with automatically by our Secretary.

If you have any questions or queries at all, please contact Mark Baulch, our Competitions Secretary on motorsport@mgcc.co.uk or 07554 160840