MGCC Ceases to Organise Circuit Racing
Sadly, 2023 marks the end of an era for the MGCC after 70 glorious years of track racing. Like several other one-make clubs, the MGCC has been unable to stem the tide of rising circuit and car preparation costs and diminishing entries, all leading to the inescapable reality that circuit racing is no longer viable for the club.
With 2023 being MG’s Centenary Year, preparations for Worldwide Celebrations were already well underway in 2022 when it became apparent that there was a risk of being unable to cover the costs of racing in 2023. However, the decision was made to press ahead with racing in support of the MG marque’s celebrations subject to cost savings being made wherever possible.
The three two-day meetings with Equipe Classic Racing and two one-day meetings were all successful events. In the true spirit of club racing, there were closely fought contests on track and great camaraderie in the paddock which justified the Board’s decision to authorise the race programme for 2023.
Looking forward to 2024, our friends at Equipe Classic Racing have offered the BCV8s and the MG Cup a home. They will both run as Series alongside Equipe’s existing series.
The Lackford Midget & Sprite Challenge and the MG Trophy will continue as Championships and will race with the CSCC next year. The Triple-Ms will continue to run their programme and, as previously, buy track time at appropriate race meetings. The Cockshoot Cup co-ordinator has yet to publish the championship’s plans for 2024.
A huge effort was involved in running our last year of circuit racing. It wouldn’t have been possible without support from Chairman, Dave Tynan, and the MGCC Board, Equipe Classic Racing’s John Pearson and Rob Cull, Joe East of MSVR and the Championships’ competitors and co-ordinators.
A special ‘Thank you’ to the many Marshals and Officials for their invaluable support in 2023 and all those previous years when the MGCC went racing, a time that forged many lifelong friendships, crowned Champions and provided a springboard for drivers to move on to success elsewhere.
Although the circuit racing may be moving on, there will be continued coverage in Safety Fast and the MGCC will remain an MSUK Club. It will continue organising sprints, hillclimbs, autotests, autosolos etc and continue to encourage new generations to develop their skills through motorsport.
Champions Crowned at MGCC’s Snetterton Races
The MG Car Club held its final race meeting of the marque’s 100th-anniversary year at a bright but breezy Snetterton.
It was the season-closer gathering for most of MGCC’s championships, meaning that as well as race honours to fight for there were plenty of titles to settle on the Norfolk venue’s 300 layout. Appropriately the racers provided plenty of competitive and spirited battles across the two days of action in double headers for each of the five MGCC race categories.
The MGCC contests were joined by a healthy line-up from Equipe Classic Racing and the local Snetterton Saloons with its eclectic cast of cars for a 45-minute pitstop race. It all ensured a fine and entertaining weekend of racing.
MG Cup Powered by Cherished Vehicle Insurance
MG Cup celebrated the contest’s 35 years at its Snetterton season-closer with a special Saturday night hog roast and a big grid of 25 competitors.
There was a fresh look at the front of the field as Jake Fraser-Burns made his championship debut in his MG ZR 190 while the similarly equipped Steve McDermid was back for the first time since his race-winning outing at Brands Hatch’s season-opener. The pair, with Fraser-Burns on pole, took their places on the front row of the grid for race one. McDermid took the lead at the start and stayed ahead to lead Fraser-Burns home by 1.5 seconds. Invitation clas entry, Stuart Tranter was third in his Rover 220 Turbo. Simon Lowery in fourth completed the Class C podium and was voted Driver of the Race by the race commentators.
Overall championship contender Ian Boulton was first to the flag in Class B, leading home his title rival and fellow MG ZR 170 runner Dan Ludlow. Class C’s Ashley Woodward, who led the overall points coming into Snetterton, could only finish seventh in class with a down-on-power MG ZS 180.
McDermid and Fraser-Burns again filled the front of the grid for race two with McDermid on pole this time. The duo again had a close scrap for victory. Although Fraser-Burns got ahead briefly, McDermid again emerged on top after 20 minutes of very entertaining racing.
McDermid said: “I didn’t really expect it and that second race I nearly lost it, I’m having a nightmare selecting gears. It happened at least four or five times and every time it happened obviously Jake closed the gap and he was right on me again. I’d pull away and get a little bit of a distance and it would all be for nothing.
“[Fraser-Burns] is good [to battle with], he’s consistent, and we were about the same speed. [The car] wasn’t really set up right [in race one] but it was better in the second race.”
Tranter in race two again was third home ahead of another returnee, Lance Ellington in his 220 also competing for the first time since Brands. He was third in Class C and also got driver of the race.
Jack Chapman in his 170 won the Class B race, beating Boulton by just half a second, while Ludlow was fourth home in class. The result ensured that Boulton is overall MG Cup champion for 2023.
Boulton said: “I had a bad time getting here because the van broke down! And [in race one] we had a brilliant race and got a class win, which was lovely.
“[In race two] I wanted a clean race with no nonsense and it was anything but that. I managed to avoid getting any contact, but everyone around me was getting contact everywhere. And I found myself stuck in the middle of a pack, and I just had to pick my way through it to get into a safe space. When I got there, and I caught up with young Jack, and I thought ‘well he wants to win, I don’t need it’, and I just sat behind him.
“[The season was] fantastic, enjoyable, with some lovely people.”
Russell McCarthy was on fine form in his MG B GT V8 as he took pole position at the BCV8 championship’s penultimate meeting of the season. However, all was not well with McCarthy’s bright yellow machine and there was frantic activity in the paddock to change the gearbox and a half-shaft.
The work was finished in time and McCarthy was able to take his place on the grid for race one but dropped back to third at the start behind his similarly mounted rivals James Wheeler and Neil Fowler. McCarthy clambered his way back to first by half distance and went on to win despite having to fend off the close attentions of Fowler to the end.
Andrew Young in his MG C roadster took the flag in fourth place overall to win Class C, 3.5 seconds ahead of class rival Ken Deamer in his MG B GT V8. Babak Farsian’s MG B Roadster won Class B not far ahead of Simon Cripps’ MG B, after the class leader, Paul Eales, retired with a gearbox problem. David Strike was a comfortable Class AB winner in his MG B GT.
McCarthy wasn’t able to fight for a double win at Snetterton as he retired almost immediately from race two with a misfire. It left Wheeler leading Fowler in a close fight for the win. Fowler briefly got ahead but half a lap later had a lock-up and Wheeler retook first place. They finished in that order.
Young passed Oliver Wardle’s MG B GT V8 to seal a double win in Class C but he only held off his foe by three tenths at the end. Farsian again beat Cripps in Class B while Strike also became a double class winner.
McCarthy said: “The highs and the lows of motorsport! The first race I had a good race but the alternator fell off, and in [race two] I had a misfire. I’m not that disappointed, I’ve had quite a good weekend, because the first race I really enjoyed. You can’t win them all basically.
“The car was quick, the car was handling well, I’ve done a few things to the suspension over the last couple of years and it seems I’ve got it into a place where it’s driveable.”
Wheeler said: “[Race two] was absolutely brilliant, it felt like an hour race though because holding off Neil for that many laps, he really piled the pressure on.
“A lot of times this year I’ve been the one behind him. I didn’t want to let him past because I felt he was the quicker and then when he got me I thought ‘that’s it he got me’, and then he locked up! Excellent race, what BCV8’s all about.
“For race two I went stiffer with the suspension and that seemed to really help out compared to the first race, the tyres lasted a lot longer.”
Wheeler also made another discovery on his car prior to the Snetterton races. “The rear wheel hub was slightly loose which had been knocking the pad out,” he added, “so the last two races I’ve been chasing air in the brakes and it was actually knock off where the bearing’s slightly loose and knocking the pads back. So once I found that out I was sorted!”
Cockshoot Cup Championship
The Cockshoot Cup runners made a rare visit to Snetterton and had a championship fight to settle, chiefly between Class F’s Phil Rigby in an MG F and defending champion David Morrison in his Class B MG Midget.
At the front Mark Wright took pole for race one in his MG F Cup car with Morrison alongside him on the front row. As usual, the Midgets of Morrison and Keith Egar got rocket launches but Wright was able to maintain first place on the outside of Riches.
It set Wright up to win comfortably, despite a safety car interruption after Helen Waddington’s MG ZR 170 spectacularly blew up at the rapid Coram curve and the resulting oil spill led to several cars spinning or half spinning.
On the resumption of racing Egar and Chris Greenbank (MG F) got past Morrison who was focused on taking Class B victory. Wright went on to take the flag 3 seconds ahead of Egar and Greenbank who finished second and third respectively. John Payne finished second in Class B having recovered from a spin on the oil to beat Mark Bellamy across the line for the place. Payne’s efforts earned him the Driver of the Race award.
Rigby had a frustrating race. He had a spin at Coram while trying to recover after losing time as the field spread out at the safety car restart and could only manage this in class. Gareth Jones (MG TF) won in Class F.
Egar jumped Wright at the start of race two and the pair had a fascinating place-swapping battle for the win which went in Egar’s favour. Egar also set a new outright Cockshoot lap record and received the Driver of the Race award.
The championship mathematics were that Morrison would retain his overall title with a class win, and that’s what he again achieved when he took the flag in fourth place overall. Rigby though did what he could with a class win of his own, beating Gregory Elgood who had to drop out late on with a misfire.
Morrison’s two Snetterton class wins meant he had eight wins in a row – a maximum in the championship where eight of the 10 results count – after having to sit out the two races at Oulton Park’s season opener as his gearbox was leaking oil.
Morrison said: “I didn’t expect [the championship win], the first two rounds we had gearbox trouble at Oulton, so I said ‘right it’s 10 rounds, the best eight to count, those eight have got to be class wins’, so that’s what we’ve done.
“I was still on the back foot with Phil, but we’ve done it. Reliability since then [Oulton]; do it yourself if you want it doing right. I trusted somebody else to machine a bush and he done it too tight and the seal got hot and dumped the gear oil at Oulton.
“You’re under pressure [since Oulton knowing you can’t slip up again] but the car’s been phenomenal, reliable, and it’s on rails. It’s never blinked since then. We’ve just gone through everything after every race.”
Rigby said: “I was disappointed in myself [in race one] because I drove abysmally, but I got away unscathed from spinning. So I was a bit down because I was kicking myself. [Race two] was totally different, it went very well.
“Greg [Elgood] was for the first two or three laps really pushing me, he must have had three Weetabix this morning, but sadly he’s DNFed.
“[It was] an excellent season, first class for me, this is a fantastic crew, the Cockshoot crew, they really looked after me. It’s cut throat on the track but in the paddock you couldn’t hope for a better spirit.”
Lackford Engineering Midget & Sprite Challenge
Martin Morris – back in his maroon Class A Midget due to damage to his blue-liveried version – was dominant out front in the Midget & Sprite Challenge at Snetterton and won both races of the double header.
The fight for the championship in this season-closing meeting was chiefly between Class D Midget pair Hugh Simpson and Barnaby Collinson who was just behind on points. Simpson’s Norfolk weekend didn’t start well as his gearbox broke on his qualifying out-lap. Amazingly, he was able to to take part in the races having had a gearbox loaned to him…by his title rival, Collinson.
Simpson managed to jump from the back of the grid to head the Class D runners on lap one of race one, but then – running at race speed for the first time that weekend – he locked up and ran off track. It left Collinson with a clear on-track class lead ahead of Simpson and that’s how they finished, the result shrinking the points gap between them.
Pippa Cow and Richard Bridge, running in P2 and P3 behind Morris, once again had a thrilling place-swapping battle for the Class E win. Cow pipped Bridge by a tenth at the flag for the class triumph and second place overall.
Morris once again dominated race two while Cow and Bridge once again had a close battle for second overall and the Class E win. Cow again prevailed and received the championship’s Driver of the Meeting award.
The championship battle however was resolved almost immediately in that second race as Collinson slowed because a distributor lead detached and he was only able to rejoin the action three laps down. This left Simpson set fair for the title and, having jumped to second in class from the back of the grid on lap one, he passed Andrew Caldwell for the class lead on lap two and won the class comfortably in fourth place overall. The championship was his!
Simpson said: “It’s a bit surreal really, it’s been a really tough season, Barney’s pushed hard all season and obviously helped us out yesterday with the gearbox, so we thank for him for that. Gutted that he had the problem today so we didn’t have the fight to the end. But absolutely thrilled to take it.
“We’ve [this season] had the engine apart twice, we had a head gasket at Combe, we had piston rings all get cooked at Silverstone, had the gearbox issue yesterday, so it’s not been an easy season. But it’s been brilliant fun.”
Collinson said: “A lead came off on the dizzy and it died, that was it. It’s [the car] been mega all year apart from that one first mechanical failure all year on the championship-deciding race.”
Double-winner Morris said: “It’s been [a] fabulous [weekend], really good, and those guys behind me they kept me on my toes. Unfortunately Mike Chalk I thought was going to be with me but something happened to his car. But just the same having two [Class] Es behind battling for the championship was enough to make me keep on the ball. You make a mistake, you’re in trouble.
“I was racing with the HSCC Modsports up at Croft with the blue [car] and unfortunately I lost my front wheel in the second race and we couldn’t get the suspension done quick enough, so I put the engine back in this [maroon] one.
“They both go really well but the blue one handles a lot better. But no complaints: you win two races in a championship like this it’s got to be a good car!”
The Holden MG Trophy
The MG Trophy races at Snetterton featured a high-quality five-way battle at the front. Adam Jackson and Fred Burgess returned to the MG ZR 190 Class A contest to join habitual frontrunners Graham Ross and Doug Cole plus Cadwell Park’s in-form man, Sam Meagher.
At the start of the first race the front five quickly became three as poleman Meagher spun at the first turn and Jackson had to run off the track in avoidance.
Ross had taken the lead at the start and stayed ahead for the duration while Cole held off an attacking Burgess before Burgess dropped away late on with an exhaust breakage but still finished third. Jackson set fastest lap and recovered to fourth place before parking with a driveshaft failure.
James Cole dominated Class B after establishing a clear early lead and he beat newly crowned overall champion, Tylor Ballard, by six seconds. Ballard, after claiming the title at Cadwell last time out, ran the number one and a special gold champion’s windscreen sunstrip (a surprise gift from Graham Ross) on his car at Snetterton.
Tony Wigley, who finished fifth in Class B, was awarded Millers Oils NanoDrive Driver of the Race.
Ross said: “In qualifying I looked at the times, 1.2s behind, and I thought ‘this is going to be a struggle’. But I made a good start. I thought that was my only way if I was going to maybe win it or control it if I could get to the front.
“And I’d made a couple of adjustments with set-up, because I’ve been twiddling all year with set-up, and it certainly wasn’t any worse, let’s put it that way. I just felt really good, felt comfortable, and just felt I could pull a gap. Chuffed there’s life in the old dog yet!”
At the start of race two Ross again led from Doug Cole while Jackson immediately vaulted from 10th on the grid – after traffic problems in qualifying – to run fourth behind Meagher, with Burgess completing the front quintet.
Ross looked good for a double win but spun at Murray’s. This let Meagher – who’d passed Cole early on – into the lead but with Cole on his tail. Cole got by to lead with a lap to go thanks to a fine move at Riches were he lined up on the outside line of the defending Meagher then cut back to out-accelerate him on the inside at the corner’s exit.
It meant Cole won his final race before retiring from full-time racing and, adding to the celebration his son James doubled up on Class B wins holding off Ballard and Scott Bugner. Cole Sr also got Millers Oils NanoDrive Driver of the Race. Jackson, meanwhile, pitted as his driveshaft broke , the other side this time, and the grease in the boot went onto the exhaust filling the car with smoke.
Cole said: “Just bided my time, tyres were coming in slowly, and when I saw Graham go off I started charging.
“[Meagher] was struggling around Coram so I thought ‘I can get a run up here’. The lap before [at Riches] I went to the left a little bit and he covered the right. And I thought ‘I know what I’m going to do next lap’. [The next lap] exactly the same thing, he tried to get too tight and I did the old switch back: 25 years of racing teaches you something!
“So the last official MG Trophy race, and I win the race. And my son won as well, even better!”
Equipe Classic Racing joint-owner, Rob Cull, won both Equipe GTS races in his TVR Grantura Mk III. He won the opening race by 25 seconds from pole despite having to perform a 40-minute differential change prior to the race and getting out to the grid with seconds to spare.
Lewis Saunders in his MG B Roadster was Cull’s closest challenger but dropped back late on after his alternator broke.
Second-placed qualifier, Lee Atkins, was not able to race as a thread was pulled out of the cylinder head of his Grantura ending his meeting early.
In race two Cull again led from pole though this time had a close challenge from Saunders. They swapped the lead a couple of times early on before Cull moved clear to win by 10s.
Andrew Wenman in his Morgan Plus 8 won the opening Equipe 70s/Pre-’63/50s race after taking the lead from poleman and fellow Plus 8 runner, Kevin Kivlochan, at the end of the opening tour. Wenman won by 20 seconds from Martin Reynolds’ Ford Mustang Mach1 which climbed from fourth to second early on but couldn’t match Wenman’s pace.
Mark Holme meanwhile won the Pre-’63 and 50s race on its split grid. In his Austin-Healey 3000 the poleman dropped to third early on but quickly reasserted command to win comfortably.
In race two Wenman and Kivlochan both dropped out early with technical problems: Wenman was down on power as well as sensed a strange smell (that turned out to be from his new brakes) so he decided to pit, while Kivlochan’s oil pressure light came on. It left Reynolds to lead home a Mustang 1-2 by 15s from John Dickson. Jack Rawles pipped fellow Austin-Healey runner Holme by a tenth in the Pre-’63 and 50s race.
Danny Winstanley dominated the Equipe Libre double-header in his Jaguar E-type. He topped qualifying by 4.6 seconds then was eight seconds clear at the end of race one’s opening lap. He eventually won by over a minute and a half.
Winstanley’s dominance was helped further as his two closest rivals from qualifying dropped out of race one early with technical problems: John Dickson had problems with the clutch clearance in his Ford Mustang so couldn’t get gears while Paul Whight had an intermittent ignition fault in his Lotus Elan.
Race two had a similar story at the front as Winstanley again dominated. The main variation this time was there was a red flag after Can Bitirim’s MG B blew up at Murray’s and dropped fluid resulting in a number of cars skating off track. The stoppage left a post-restart five-minute sprint to the flag. Winstanley still won by 9.5s, from Dickson who passed Frederic Laurent’s E-type at Riches for the place late on.
Uncle Luke’s Snetterton Saloons
Colin Tester moved clear from pole in first place in the opening half of the Snetterton Saloons’ 45-minute pitstop race in his BMW E36 M3 with its mid-1990s British Touring Car Championship Schnitzer-inspired livery.
However after he handed the BMW over to his driving partner Ed Leigh their chasing team-mate David Marcussen – also in an M3 – and Luke Allen in a Volkswagen Golf TCR closed in. And in the final minutes Leigh and Marcussen collided as the latter sought to pass the former for the lead. While they recovered from their spins the near-at-hand Allen nipped into first place. However, Allen already had a one-lap penalty for a too-short pitstop and this cost him his on-the-road win.
Marcussen therefore looked set to inherit victory but he got a one-minute penalty for the collision, while Leigh had pitted after the clash. It all meant that James Mumbray, also in an M3, inherited the win, while BCV8 frontrunners Ollie Neaves and Russell McCarthy, who were sharing an M3, got second.
When the flag fell on the last race of the day on 24th September it brought an emotional end to racing as we know it for the MG Car Club championships. There will be more news about their plans for the future in the coming weeks.
Words by Graham Keilloh. Photographs by Dickon Siddall.
Snetterton Season Finale
The Snetterton race meeting, to be held on the 23rd & 24th September, will bring down the curtain on the 2023 racing season for four of the MG Car Club championships.
With overall championships and class positions to be decided, the Club’s traditional season finale at the Norfolk circuit has produced some very close racing in recent years and it is likely that 2023 will be no different.
Although Tylor Ballard has an unbeatable lead in his class and the MG Trophy overall points table, Fergus Campbell and Jack Woodcock , who are currently separated by just 2 points, will be contesting the remaining steps on the Class B podium. In Class A, Graham Ross has a 14 point lead from Sam Meagher with Paul Savage a further 8 points in arrears. With several other hard-chargers on the entry list, these three are going to have to plan a canny race strategy if they are going to keep out of trouble and retain their class positions.
In the MG Cup, Ashley Woodward heads the points table and Class C after eight races. Behind him, Dan Ludlow, Ian Boulton, Chris Boulton and Iain Dowler are separated by 8 points so expect close competition between them. However, the four turbocharged Rover Tomcats may have a power advantage along the Snetterton straights so the championship contenders may have to concentrate on collecting points rather than chasing outright victory.
Hugh Simpson currently leads the Lackford Engineering Midget & Sprite Challenge on 35 points with Barney Collinson still in contention for the overall championship win. Current champion, Pippa Cow, Richard Bridge and Dean Stanton are all nicely positioned to challenge for silverware.
Phil Rigby has had an excellent season in his MG F and leads the Cockshoot Cup, 18 points ahead of David Morrison and Greg Elwood tied in P2 with Mark Wright in P3. Mark and David were in terrific form last time out at Cadwell Park, each with a race win and a P2 to their names. If they show the same form at Snetterton we should be in for very entertaining races.
The BCV8s and Equipe Classic Racing Series will also be competing at the weekend. Expect the race report to be published on the MGCC website on 26th September and in the November issue of Safety Fast.
Summer Race Meeting at the Mini Nurburgring
The MG Car Club held its fourth race meeting of MG’s 100th year at spectacular Cadwell Park and had a fine day of close and competitive racing.
The Lincolnshire venue with its spectacular fast turns and undulations in scenic surroundings is appropriately nicknamed the ‘Mini Nurburgring’. MGCC racers from three championships, joined by their Morgan Challenge guests, lived up to the Cadwell challenge with a day of spirited action topped by intense and dramatic battles for championship points.
Unexpectedly, the outcome of the 2023 MG Trophy Championship was decided at the weekend. With two championship rounds still to run at Snetterton in September Tylor Ballard has amassed sufficient points to secure the title. Tylor, supported by Simon, his father, have battled through many setbacks during the years since Tylor started racing with the championship. His victory this year is richly deserved and will be applauded by his fellow competitors.
MGCC Lackford Engineering MG Midget & Sprite Challenge
The Midget & Sprite Challenge meeting at Cadwell Park was a special one as it was held in association with the Midget & Sprite Club which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The club members had a dedicated area in the paddock, a track parade during the lunch break and a grid walk prior to the Midget & Sprites first race. After experiencing the track for themselves, albeit at a leisurely pace during the parade laps, they were in awe of the skills displayed by the drivers and the speed achieved by the race cars.
There was drama for the Midgets & Sprites even before the racing started as championship leader, Barnaby Collinson, had a qualifying off that kept him out of both races. Similarly, Richard Bridge, the joint leader in Class E, pulled out of qualifying after hearing a strange noise in his Sebring Sprite. He suspected it was the limited-slip differential but even herculean effort to change the diff didn’t resolve the problem, the noise remained and he was forced to sit out both races.
Pacesetter, Stephen Watkins, had his Midget repaired after his Silverstone crash and claimed pole position for the opening race. However, on the warm-up lap for race 1 he noticed an oil pressure problem so he pulled off the grid before the race start. The problem also sidelined him for race 2.
Martin Morris, in his ex-Richard Wildman car which he was racing as his original Midget was diagnosed with a cracked cylinder head after Silverstone, got the lead at the start ahead of James Hughes (Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite) who had inherited pole following Watkins’ withdrawal. Morris then moved clear and looked good to take a comfortable win but, with only two laps remaining, he suddenly slowed and then parked up letting Hughes through to take the win and first in Class E.
Hugh Simpson’s MG Midget was second home and a comfortable Class D winner after Connor Kay, who was his closest pursuer, dropped out late on with a suspension breakage on his Midget. Mark Turner in his Austin Healey Sprite beat Kim Dear’s Midget to win Class H.
“We lucked into the win a little bit with a couple of the Class As unfortunately having some problems, but it was good fun,” Hughes said. “I can see why everyone loves the circuit, it’s superb.”
“It was [a] pretty lonely [race], and I saw [Morris] coming back towards me, and I thought that’s a bit strange. Then he started coming back to me a bit quicker and then he pulled off, so I’m sorry for him.”
“We’ve had quite a few reliability issues [this season] so I think it was due one the other way this time. Fair do’s to the car, it went well.”
When he had been recovered to the paddock Morris was amazed to find that he’d run out of fuel, a total mystery to him as he reckoned he should have had plenty to make the distance and couldn’t find any leaks.
Given what happened in race 1, Morris tried to proceed cautiously early in race 2 which let Hughes get by him for a lap. Morris though soon regained the lead and edged away to take the win ahead of Hughes who again won Class E. Simpson and Turner both took their second class wins of the meeting.
Morris said: “We didn’t have much time between races to turn it around so we just brimmed the tank, ran the pump and then brimmed the tank again and thought ‘well that’s all we can do’.”
“We were at Brands a couple of weeks ago doing the GP circuit with the car. I know the race was red flagged but we still had five litres left after 20 minutes so I have no idea why it ran out today.”
“I knew I had to pace myself [in race two], there was no point going out like an idiot to start with, so what I had to do is make sure that I didn’t push too hard at the beginning. The first race I was pushing from the off.”
“I got to a point where I thought ‘now I’ve got to push otherwise we’ll be under pressure all the way through’ and we got through it. I saw the last-lap board – I never see that as a rule – and I thought just get it to the end!”
Amelia Storey had a good day in her Class D Midget. In addition to her 3rd in class trophy for race 2 she went home with the Midget & Sprite Driver of the Meeting award.
MGCC MG Trophy Championship Sponsored by Charles Warner MG
Sam Meagher, who joined MG Trophy’s frontrunning Class A earlier this season driving an MG ZR 190 previously raced by Ross Makar, surprised himself by taking clear pole position for both MG Trophy races which were sponsored by Charles Warner MG of Lincoln.
Maegher then he led for much of the opening race. Although he got a good start he missed a gear, which allowed second-placed starter Graham Ross to get ahead. But Meagher managed to reclaim the lead halfway around the first lap.
Ross, now happier with his car’s handling than earlier in the year, shadowed Meagher for many laps with Doug Cole in third, the top three running as a close formation. Then, at two-thirds’ distance, Ross got on the inside of Meagher into The Mountain and Meagher slid onto the grass which left Ross in the lead and Meagher resuming in third place behind Cole. The trio finished in that order, with Ross grateful to have ended his run poor luck at this venue. Second-placed Cole received the Millers Oils Driver of the Race award.
Ross said: “Cadwell being Cadwell, I genuinely thought the only place I was going to get a win out of this was off the start. I didn’t make a great start but Sam missed a gear so by the first corner I was in front but then on the back straight I defended and he drove past me, I was just too slow.”
“Then I thought I’m going to have to hope he misses a gear or something falls into my lap, but he was driving really well.”
“But [nearer the end] I noticed that in some of the slow corners he was struggling for grip; coming out of Gooseneck the sharp turn left, he was struggling for traction out of there. My car seemed to be quite good, so I could gain on him all the time there.”
“So I thought, his tyres are going off, if I can just get up the inside of him there, which I did manage to do, and we’re side by side into The Mountain. I don’t think Sam knew I was there because we touched a wee bit, and I got the turn and that was it. I got lucky and made the best of my opportunities. I really really enjoyed it.”
“It’s the third time I’ve been to Cadwell and it’s the first time I’ve actually completed a race here. I never even completed practice last year.”
Jack Woodcock won the Class B race staying just ahead of the championship leader Tylor Ballard, whose qualifying was compromised by an alternator problem.
The same Ross-Meagher-Cole trio fought for the overall win in race 2, though this time Meagher, again starting from pole, got a poor start and Cole led from Ross followed by the recovering Meagher.
With overtaking at Cadwell not easy, they circulated in that order for a time. That was until half distance when Graham Ross spun into the grass at Gooseneck and was rather at a loss to explain his error. “I thought I was doing the same thing every time [at that corner],” Ross said, “the car just broke away instantaneously.” He resumed in fifth place and left Meagher on leader Cole’s tail.
But at Park on the next lap Meagher touched the back of Cole which put the leading MG ZR 190 off and nudging the barriers. Cole was able to resume albeit in P9. That left Meagher free to take his first win while Ross and Cole recovered to second and fifth overall respectively, P2 and P3 in class. Ross got the consolation of the Millers Oils Driver of the Race award.
The Class B fight was a role reversal from race 1 as Ballard started ahead of Woodcock and was able to lead throughout to claim the class win.
“Over the moon, it’s great,” Meagher said of his victory. “It was a bad start but it was nice to compete with the boys at the front. I tapped Doug by accident, I can only apologise for that. But I’m over the moon to get the first win. It’s my first win, ever!”
“[My start] was horrendous, I dropped down to about sixth, so I had to fight my way back though the field.”
“[With Cole] I just went a bit too hot into the corner, just a racing incident I think.”
“Keep [the car] as it is now, it’s going fast, so see how we go at Snetterton.”
MGCC MG Cup Powered by Cherished Vehicle Insurance
MG Cup championship leader Ian Boulton was absent from Cadwell Park which gifted a great opportunity those trailing him in the Class B standings. Iain Dowler and Dan Ludlow did not disappoint and they engaged in very intense battles for victory in both races. Just like last year at Cadwell, the modified Class B cars out-paced the race-version Class C machines.
MG ZR-mounted duo Dowler and Ludlow shot off from the front row to lead the way in the first race with Dowler ahead. Dave Nixon meanwhile made a lightening start from the third row in his Rover Tomcat to run third. This aided Dowler and Ludlow as a queue formed behind Nixon for the duration, his pursuers unable to overcome the Tomcat’s straightline speed.
Dowler and Ludlow meanwhile were glued together out front and at half distance Ludlow made his move. Dowler had a little too much understeer through Barn heading onto the start-finish straight and Ludlow was able to dummy him then bravely passed on the outside of the fast uphill Turn One, Coppice.
They remained tied together for the remaining laps with Ludlow staying ahead to win the race 0.5 seconds and collect the Driver of the Race award. Nixon, third home, got the Class C win not far ahead of second-in-the-overall-table Ashley Woodward’s MG ZS 180, who was seeking to take advantage of leader Boulton’s absence.
“First time for a couple of years [that I’ve won],” Ludlow said. “I wasn’t sure as always how we’d get on here but the two test sessions in the morning definitely paid dividends. It was very very close but fair racing, really enjoyed it. Iain’s very quick, there’s nothing between us.”
“I took him on the right-hand side going up the hill. I just slightly had the edge on him going down the straight and I was just hoping that I had a car length to make the manoeuvre and I did so it worked out OK. After that I just managed to keep him behind me although there was a few times when he almost got me back.”
“It’s a new car for me this year and I’m still learning the car. I’m gradually getting better as the season goes on.”
The second race was almost an exact role reversal between Ludlow and Dowler out front. This time Ludlow led from pole with Dowler on his boot lid until just before half distance when Ludlow was balked by a Morgan (from the Morgan Challenge which was sharing the track with the MG Cup) and Dowler had the momentum to get alongside then make another brave pass.
Once again they remained in close contention for the remainder of the race and survived a scare when they hit oil at Barn – Dowler estimated that his slide put him at a 90-degrees to the barrier! But survive he did and went on to win the race and receive the Driver of the Race award.
After his win Dowler said: “It was an absolutely fantastic race. We both had great starts and went side by side into the first corner, so it was a little bit hairy to start with.”
“Then it was a case of just keep the pressure on him. Dan drove a great race. He just got balked and I got a run on him down the long back straight into Park, its a 90-degree right and I put it up the inside and just stood on brakes until we nearly stopped but we managed to get round. And then it was a case of making sure I did everything right.”
Nixon for much of the way looked good to double up on his Class C win as he again ran third overall, this time with Simon Lowery’s MG ZS 180 close behind. But Nixon pitted late on when a lot of smoke emitted from his exhaust. So Lowery got the class win with Woodward in P2 again.
The Morgan Challenge – Cadwell Cup
The MG Car Club was joined by competitors from the Morgan Challenge for a non-championship event filling a mid-season gap in their championship schedule.
Both races were won comfortably by poleman John Millbank in his 4/4. He was headed briefly in the first race by Simon Sherry who got a better start from second in his +8 but Millbank was back ahead by the end of lap one and went on to build a healthy 15 second lead from Phillip St Clair Tisdall (Morgan +8) who had moved past Sherry into P2 on lap two. Sherry, who had remained close to St Clair Tisdall, spun out of third place at Barn on lap 10.
Neither Simon nor Kathy Sherry took part in the second race which Millbank totally dominated, beating St Clair Tisdall by nearly a minute.
The final outing of 2023 for the MG Car Club championships will be at Snetterton on September 23rd & 24th. With championships and class positions still to be decided there’s bound to be great competition and exciting racing around the challenging Snetterton 300 circuit. Why don’t you come along and help to round out the 2023 season in style.
Words by Graham Keilloh. Photographs by Dickon Siddall,
Race Championships Set for Cadwell Park
Three of the MGCC race championships are looking forward to their fourth race meeting of the year at Cadwell Park on 30th July.
In the MG Trophy Tylor Ballard will be hoping to maintain his place at the top of the points table and in the Midget & Sprite Challenge Barney Collinson will be intent on outscoring his rivals to extend his slender championship lead.
In the MG Cup Ian Boulton has a 12 point advantage over 2nd placed Ashley Woodward who will be hoping to capitalise on Boulton’s absence from the meeting and climb to the top of the table. However, Chris Boulton may have different ideas and be out to gain an advantage while his cousin, Ian, is away.
The Midget & Sprite Club is 40 years old this year and will be attending the meeting as part of its celebrations. The forty or so members who are expected to attend will have a dedicated display area in the paddock and a track parade is planned for them during the lunch break.
Local MG dealer, Charles Warner of Lincoln who are sponsoring the MG Trophy races, will also have a display in the paddock and will be hoping that the all new MG4 EV will be a popular attraction. If you are in the market for a new MG don’t forget there are discounts available through the MG Motor UK Affinity Scheme.
Talking of discounts, the MG Car Club has arranged 20% off the entry ticket prices for this meeting. To take advantage just book your tickets at https://www.cadwellpark.co.uk/2023/july/mg-car-club and enter the code MGCC23.
We will be welcoming guests from The Morgan Challenge to the meeting. Like the MGCC racers, they have a 20 minute qualifying session and two 20 minute races scheduled during the day. The track action will start with two 20 minute test sessions to allow drivers to check out their cars and familiarise themselves with the circuit before they get down to the serious business of qualifying for the races.
We hope you will come along and enjoy the spectacle of car racing at the Mini Nurburgring, as Cadwell Park has been nicknamed, in this 100th year of MG.