Event | Comments Off on MG Car Club enjoys sunshine on return to Cadwell Park

MG Car Club enjoys sunshine on return to Cadwell Park

The MG Car Club’s first visit to Cadwell Park since 2017 provided a day of close racing action under sunny skies in the beautiful Lincolnshire Wolds. With its narrow ribbon of tarmac snaking up and down hills, through woodland and into open areas, the 2.2-mile ‘mini Nurburgring’ proved as demanding as ever for the racers, who all rose to the challenge. The members’ parade at lunchtime also provided an opportunity for those not competing to experience the fabulous circuit.

MGCC Lackford Engineering MG Midget & Sprite Challenge

After an excellent Midget & Sprite Challenge entry at Brands Hatch, numbers were a little down at Cadwell Park, particularly in Class A, where just three cars were entered. That may have contributed to Paul Sibley’s dominance, although such was the former champion’s pace he would have been tough to beat regardless.

One of Sibley’s challengers was an early casualty as Brands winner Richard Bridge lost his engine in qualifying after it ingested a broken spark plug. With Mike Chalk caught in the upper midfield, that left Sibley’s Midget – on pole by a massive 5s – a clear run to victory, which he duly claimed by nearly 10s without putting too much strain on the car.

Reigning champion Pippa Cow (Austin-Healey Sprite) was an equally comfortable second, and Class E winner, having briefly led at the start. A good scrap between Chalk and Peter Kennerley’s Class E Midget for third overall sadly ended with Chalk in the wall between Mansfield and the Mountain. Kennerley himself was excluded from the results for not having a working transponder. So series sponsor Robin Lackford and James Hughes (both in Mk1 Sprites) completed the top four, Lackford holding on by less than a quarter of second.

Behind them, the Class D battle for road-modified cars raged. Ian Burgin (Mk1 Sprite) eventually prevailed, and was named Driver of the Race for his efforts, but Barney Collinson, Edward Easton (who both retired with engine woes) and Oshin Shahiean all played their part.

With a number of drivers suffering mechanical dramas, a depleted field assembled for race two. Sibley made a slow start from pole position, handing Cow an initial advantage, but Sibley powered back past on the Park Straight into a lead he wouldn’t relinquish. Cow was again very comfortable in second, earning herself the Driver of the Race award for her dominance of Class E.

There was also a standout performance from Richard Bridge, who had stepped into his father John’s Class E Sebring Sprite (pictured above) for the second race, and carved through from the back of the grid to third, despite a lengthy safety-car period – for Shahiean’s demise at Barn – limiting the number of racing laps.

Class D was claimed by the Midget of former Cockshoot Cup man Ian Wright, who has switched to the championship this year.

MGCC Cockshoot Cup

The North West Centre’s own championship did not travel to Brands Hatch in March, so opened its season at Cadwell Park with a fantastic entry of 29 competitors, its most for a good many years. Two races provided some of the action of the day, with Mark Wright (pictured above) and Paul Wignall both recording their maiden wins in the championship.

Alternator trouble on Wright’s MGF Cup car prevented him from recording a time in the Cockshoot Cup’s qualifying session, meaning he would have to complete the minimum mileage out of session and start both races from the back of the grid. Wignall meanwhile was having his first competitive outing in the ex-Morgan Short MG ZS 180 after only a handful of laps testing at the same circuit. But last year’s Class A champion belied that lack of familiarity to claim pole position by nearly a second from David Morrison’s MG Midget. The rest of the grid was a little jumbled, particularly for the second race based on second-fastest times, after a safety-car disrupted session.

When Peter Bramble’s MGB piled into the tyre wall at the circuit’s iconic Mountain section, it brought a premature halt to race one and required a complete restart, negating Morrison’s lead and the rapid progress of Wright to 12th place in a single lap.

Wignall made a better getaway at the second time of asking, but Wright’s charge through the field was simply breathtaking. He had risen to fourth within three laps, before passing Keith Egar’s K-Series powered Midget and Morrison on consecutive laps on the middle portion of the circuit. Wright then closed in on Wignall, who himself was particularly spectacular through the Mountain section. After sizing up his prey, Wright got a better exit from Barn, the final corner, and powered past on the start/finish straight. He eased clear over the remaining two laps to record a truly amazing victory, even more so considering he was experiencing gearbox problems.

“I’d got to get the run out of Barn because I knew I was flat through the left-hander [Coppice] and I knew he wasn’t,” explained Wright, who was named the commentators’ Driver of the Race for a performance that would also earn him the Driver of the Day award. “I really enjoyed it. I don’t mind starting from the back – the guys are all clean, a good set of lads to race with.”

“I’m happy with that,” grinned Wignall. “I don’t think anybody’s going to beat Mark, are they?”

Behind Wignall, Morrison won Class B in third overall while Chris Greenbank placed his MGF seventh to claim Class F honours.

Wignall started the second race from sixth on the grid, and avoided an incident at Charlie’s, the long right-handed second corner, which dropped the Midgets of Morrison and Ian Whitt down the order and scattered several other cars.

Egar came away with the lead ahead of Phil Standish, the multiple race winner making a return at his local circuit in an MG ZR 190, with Wignall third. As Wignall worked his way into the lead, Wright was again carving through the field, and had risen to third when his race ended abruptly with a very smoky engine failure.

So Wignall was relatively untroubled on his way to a first win by more than 5s from Egar. Having lost out in the early skirmishes, Karl Green mounted a sterling recovery in his MG ZS 180, just pipping Standish to third on the line. Morrison also recovered well to sixth overall, again winning Class B.

Greenback completed a Class F double in fifth overall, for which he was named Driver of the Race. Behind Morrison, rear-wheel-drive debutant Tom Mensley brought the ex-Brian Butler title-winning MGF home in a very creditable seventh, second in class.

Class A in both races was won by debutant Rhys Higginbotham, piloting the ex-Leon Wignall MG ZR 160 as Wignall Jr (twice second) has transferred across to the similar car vacated by his dad.

MGCC The C.I.T. MG Trophy

On his return to the MG Trophy after three years away, Jason Burgess (pictured above) claimed a comprehensive double victory, leading both races almost from lights to flag.

Sadly the Class A entry for MG ZR 190s was hit by mechanical troubles for Doug Cole and Adam Jackson (combined with work commitments), a Friday testing accident for Graham Ross and university commitments for Sam Kirkpatrick. With Robin Walker and Paul Savage bedding in their new cars after heavy accidents last year, that left Burgess and Booth to contest outright honours, chased by the leading ZR 170 runners in Class B.

While James Dennison (170) initially got the jump at the start of race one, Burgess and Booth quickly moved ahead. Booth whittled down Burgess’s lead in the closing stages, but flat-spotted his tyres in a lunge at Park on the penultimate lap, allowing Burgess to win by a less representative 8.6s.

“I needed to make sure I got off the line faster than that 170 because it’s a difficult place to overtake,” said Burgess. “And he nearly had me – I think my front tyres were smoking trying to keep up with him! But once we got past we were away. Then I think I probably relaxed just a fraction, and then he [Booth] reeled me in.”

Set-up tweaks for race two meant Burgess was in firmer control over Booth once the race restarted after an early safety car. That was caused by an incident among the Class B leaders on the Mountain section.

Josh Bromley had managed to repeat his Brands Hatch class win in the opener, for which he was named Driver of the Race. He passed Dennison at the Mountain late on after Dennison had a couple of frights when his brake pedal went to the floor. Bromley tried a similar move on the opening lap of race two, but his car ended up getting turned across the front of Dennison’s. With the track virtually blocked at the top of the Mountain, the pursuing pack was left with nowhere to go. As Tylor Ballard attempted to squeeze past, his car was clipped and sent into the inner barrier, sustaining heavy damage. Ballard himself walked away from the wreckage and was amazingly the only retirement from the incident which took three laps to clear.

Astin Wigley was chief beneficiary, moving into third overall. Dennison managed to pick off Wigley in the restarted race to claim class honours and reignite his championship challenge after a difficult weekend at Brands. But Wigley held on to second in class, the best result yet for the teenager, which earned him the Driver of the Race award. Third was Joe Dalgarno, repeating his race one result, having survived a skirmish with Jack Chapman on the final bend.

Hickford Construction Limited MGCC MG Metro Cup

Just as they did at Brands Hatch, Mark Eales and Mike Williams shared the spoils in the Metro Cup.

Reigning champion Eales (Car Number 1, above) jumped polesitter Williams (Car Number 28, above) at the start of race one, and inadvertently edged him onto the grass as Williams fought back approaching Coppice. With Williams forced to lift off, Tim Shooter and Dick Trevett nipped past.

By the time Williams had worked his way back into second, Eales had built a 6s lead and appeared to be in control. That was until a late safety car was required to clear Trevett’s stricken car, which had bent a valve.

Eales had Williams breathing down his neck for the one-lap dash to the flag but, despite a couple of mistakes, clung on to win by 0.2s and was named the commentators’ Driver of the Race. Shooter completed the podium ahead of Jon Moore, Matt Simpson and Les Tyler.

Eales again got the jump in race two, but Williams this time held onto second through Coppice and Charlie’s, fending off Moore’s challenge. That was crucial as it gave Eales no opportunity to break away. In fact, he didn’t lead for long at all, as Williams got a better exit from Charlie’s to claim the inside line along Park Straight and into Park. From there, Williams controlled the race to win by nearly 5s.

“A good day, good fun,” was Williams’s verdict. “I got a good start, there wasn’t anything really wrong with it [but] he’s obviously just a little bit better off the line. I just kept my foot down [through the] first corner [to keep Moore behind]. I wasn’t slowing down for that one! I had to slow down in the first race – that was why I got passed in the second corner.

“I got the distance [ahead] and then it was just a case of maintaining that, and making sure Mark was a good second behind me. If it dropped beneath a second I put in a ‘qualifying’ lap and off we start again.”

Shooter audaciously passed Moore into Hall Bends mid-race to clinch his second podium of the day, while Tyler this time beat Simpson to fifth. Driver of the Race was debutant Ben Young who impressed many on his way to ninth. It had been a challenging debut for Young after mechanical woes forced him to miss qualifying and he was only just able to make the lunchtime members’ parade to complete his requisite three laps. From the back of the grid, he rose to 10th in race one, then improved another position in the sequel, reducing his lap times markedly over the course of the day.

MGCC MG Cup powered by Cherished Vehicle Insurance

While Fergus Campbell claimed a dominant win in the opening MG Cup race, there was plenty of intrigue in the tactical contest going on behind. That would become the lead battle in the second race, in which Richard Buckley prevailed.

Campbell (pictured above), the current MG Trophy Class B champion, plans a relaxed season, and was making his first appearance in the MG Cup. Outright power is not as important at Cadwell Park as some other circuits, which Campbell demonstrated by putting his MG ZR 170 on pole position alongside the similar car of Ian Boulton (Car Number 74, above). The Class B pairing held that order throughout, with Campbell claiming victory by nearly 5s.

“Cadwell Park’s a fantastic place to come to,” enthused the victor. “You’ve got to keep your wits about you round here.”

Behind them, Dave Nixon was struggling to maximise a new set of tyres on his Rover 220 Tomcat. Having to go defensive through Gooseneck to keep the similar car of Buckley behind compromised their overall pace and allowed a multi-car train to form behind. Eventually, the pressure told, and Nixon’s trip over the Mansfield kerb let Buckley and Dennis Robinson (ZR 170) through, with Buckley winning Class C.

Seventh overall and winning Class A was Driver of the Race Marcus Short (Rover 216 GTi), who had qualified a fantastic third overall, and stayed among the main pack, clawing back in the corners what he lost on the straights. He would repeat his class success later in the day, albeit slipping to ninth overall.

From row two, Buckley jumped Campbell and Boulton at the start of race two and was joined shortly afterwards by Nixon in second. A similar train then formed behind the leader, with Buckley holding firm by making sure Nixon always had to think about attacks from behind as well as his own challenges for the lead.

“It was a bit of reversed roles there, wasn’t it?” said 2019 champion Buckley. “I got an absolutely amazing start. I didn’t do what I normally do which is spin the wheels up. Took it nice and steady, they hooked up, and that was it – I was gone!

“I saw Dave had had a fairly decent start as well. Fergus is a really good driver. He’s class. So I pretty much knew that if I could keep Dave at bay, then Fergus would keep nibbling at him. I was playing him a little bit because I knew Fergus was there, so if I could just back him up a little bit, especially coming up through up over the Mountain and into the woods, let Fergus have a little bit of nibble at him, he’s got to look behind him.”

It worked well, and earned Buckley the commentators’ Driver of the Race award, as he won from Nixon, Class B victor Campbell and Boulton, with father-and-son duo Dennis and Carl Robinson completing the closely-contested top six.

MSCC The Morgan Challenge

A 21-car field of Morgans made a guest appearance at the event for a single 30-minute race, the longest of the day. But Russell Paterson and Roger Whiteside ensured it remained absorbing throughout as they contested victory in their V8-powered +8s.

Polesitter Paterson lost out to Whiteside when the latter got a better run exiting Barn at the end of lap two. But Paterson reclaimed a decisive lead at around two-thirds’ distance when Whiteside got sideways through the Mountain section.

The gap ebbed and flowed through traffic, but Paterson held to win by less than a second, with Andrew Thompson’s Snetterton-winning ARV6 in third, the Class 2 winner, some 30s further back. Thompson was followed by Tom Andrew’s +6 and former F3 Cup man Shane Kelly’s four-cylinder machine, which won Class 3. Craig Hamilton Smith in the Baby Doll just edged reigning champion Brett Syndercombe for sixth.

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MG Car Club delighted to donate to Marshal Club

With thanks to the contributions made by MG Car Club Competitors throughout 2021, it was fantastic to be able to make a donation to the British Motorsports Marshals Club whilst at our latest race meeting.

MG Car Club visited Cadwell Park on 8th May and Chief Marshal Paul Stilling presented BMMC National Treasurer Stephen Woolfe with the donation in the sum of £1,000. A number of Marshals were able to join in the presentation as well as representatives from MG Car Club and all agreed that this would be a helpful contribution.

Stephen Woolfe told us that the money will be used to help provide some of the invaluable training that BMMC delivers to Marshals every single year. MG Car Club Competitors recognise that they simply cannot go racing without the ‘army’ of volunteers that keep them safe during every race.

The Clubs look forward to continuing to work together and support each other for many years to come.

Event | Comments Off on Hot racing action for MG Car Club’s Brands Hatch season opener

Hot racing action for MG Car Club’s Brands Hatch season opener

MG Car Club reconvened for the start its latest racing season with five MGCC diverse categories getting their campaigns for 2022 underway on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit. They were supplemented by a race from new guest Ecurie Classic Racing, and it all made for an intense single day of competitive action.
The intensity was matched by the drivers, with each category providing captivating racing both for overall victory and throughout the field. And it was all held in sunny, dry and mild weather that threatened to more resemble mid-summer than mid-March.

Baynton Jones Historic Motorsport Triple M Challenge

Andrew Long (pictured abocve) dominated the opening Triple M Challenge race for Pre-War MGs from pole with his MG N Type. Duncan Potter in his MG Montlhery Midget and Fred Boothby’s MG J2 meanwhile had a close place-swapping battle for second place, with Potter prevailing for the runner-up spot which also got him the Driver of the Race award.

Teifion Salisbury’s MG K3 in fourth and Chris Edmondson’s MG D Type in fifth also ran in close company throughout and were separated by just half a second at the end.

The second Triple M race was a similar story, as Long again moved well clear to win with apparent ease, and this also got him Driver of the Race, while Potter and Boothby again took turns in second place, with Potter again prevailing.

Mark Dolton in his MG PB Special, who finished seventh in Race 1, finished fourth in the second event ahead of the fifth-placed Andrew Morland’s MG PA, which was sixth in Race 1. Salisbury and Edmondson, again running in close company, were next home.

MGCC The FG Barnes MG Trophy

Reigning MG Trophy champion Sam Kirkpatrick was back for 2022’s Brands Hatch season opener and took yet another win in Brands’ Race 1. But to do so he had to beat a strong challenge from fellow MG ZR 190 runner Adam Jackson (both pictured above).

Kirkpatrick got too much wheelspin at the start and fell behind Jackson, but quickly regained first when Jackson slid wide at Druids. Jackson kept attacking though and passed Kirkpatrick for the lead at Paddock.

Kirkpatrick at one-quarter’s distance got back ahead with a thrilling Druids move on the outside, where he was able to box Jackson in behind a backmarker. The front pair continued in close company until the fight ended early when Jackson lost time with a trip through the Paddock Hill Bend gravel. He nevertheless retained second place ahead of double champion Graham Ross, and they ran in that order to the end.

“I didn’t think it would be that close [with Jackson] from the quali times,” Kirkpatrick said, “but I know he’s fast and in the race it’s always different.

“I tried it [the Druids move] around his outside the lap before and went a bit far. So tried it again and luckily there was a backmarker there to pin him against, and I got past. I saw the backmarker before and I knew I could maybe pin him [Jackson] in a bit, but we caught him at the right time and it worked out well for me.”

Jackson added: “The car’s a bit lairy to be honest, it was obviously fast but I think it needs dialling back in.

“I’d closed back up on him [Kirkpatrick] and I was pushing more, and I just pushed it a little bit too far through Paddock Hill and lost the back end. I had to steer into it [the slide] at which point it snapped a bit and went into the gravel.”

Josh Bromley passed James Dennison in the early stages to win Class B, an effort that got Bromley Driver of the Race too. Dennison meanwhile lost second in class on the final lap when he got his braking wrong at Druids and went into the gravel. Matthew Harvey won Class C ahead of Chaz Ryles.

Race 2 proved much more straightforward for Kirkpatrick as he won at a canter after all of his Class A rivals – Jackson, Ross and Patrick Booth – started from the pitlane after an incident in the first attempted start (the other Class A runner, Doug Cole, didn’t take part after encountering a misfire in Race 1).

In that Race 2 first start, Booth and Jackson, side by side and disputing second place at Paddock, made slight contact and slid and spun in front of a crowded pack and the luckless Dennison’s machine was collected by Jackson. Dennison couldn’t take the restart, though was physically unharmed despite an ambulance being called to the site of his stranded MG ZR 170.

Come the reconvened race Jackson, despite having to hold his steering wheel at an angle from the damage, was able to climb through the pack to finish second, pipping Class B winner Joseph Dalgarno in a thrilling run to the line. Tylor Ballard was second in Class B while James Cole, third in Class B and sixth overall, got Driver of the Race. Ryles this time beat Harvey in Class C.

Ecurie Classic Racing

The guest Ecurie race, a 40-minute pitstop event for its classic cars, was won impressively by Grant Williams in his distinctive Jaguar Mk2 that was raced by Jack Sears and tested by Stirling Moss (above).

Williams led the opening stint clearly after polesitter Richard Lambert’s Rochdale spun early on but Lambert then climbed through the field excitingly as often the fastest car on track and closed to within 3.7s of Williams.

The safety car was deployed during the pitstop window, as Robert Salisbury’s Jaguar had left the track at Clearways, and Williams under the caution pitted a lap later than many rivals and dropped to seventh. He quickly rose to re-establish the lead though after green flag racing resumed, and held off the Jaguar of John Young, who had taken over from Nigel Webb, by 2.3s to win.

Nick Smith, newly back from a humanitarian trip to Poland, took over the Rochdale but pulled out before the end when the car dropped a cylinder, having also just picked up a couple of track-limit penalties.

MGCC MG Cup powered by Cherished Vehicle Insurance

The MG Cup races at Brands Hatch also had two frantic battles for first, in this case between 2019 champion Richard Buckley (pictured above), these days back in his Rover Tomcat Turbo, and the invitational MG ZS 180 entry of Karl Green, who is more commonly seen in the Cockshoot Cup and was at Brands Hatch for the very first time.

Buckley held off an attacking Green to win a restarted Race 1, which also was ended early when Chris Boulton’s MG ZR 190 went off at Paddock. Ian Boulton was third overall and first in Class B, ahead of Iain Dowler’s fellow MG ZR 170.

Steve Tyler beat fellow MG ZR 160 runner Aaron Ross by 1.3 seconds to win Class A, and this also got Tyler Driver of the Race.

Buckley and Green took up battle for first again in Race 2, and Green passed Buckley a handful of laps in with an charging move at Druids. But this delayed both and Green and Buckley resumed in third and fifth respectively.

The pair quickly recovered to first and second and Buckley chased Green hard for the rest of the way, though Green won by 0.4s.

“Good day,” Buckley said, “first race, I made an absolute hash start, it was awful, but I managed to then keep the lead. Karl in the ZS, that thing is so quick. I just managed to keep him behind me, we had a really good race.

“And then second race, same thing really. Didn’t make a particularly brilliant start. Ian [Boulton] got in front and Karl was in front. I managed to get back past Ian then I made a demon move down into Paddock to take Karl, and I thought it was going to be pretty much the same thing [as Race 1].

“He did a bit of a late lunge down on me into Druids [and] Ian and Iain went past. So we were then chasing them and then I was trying to chase Karl to see if I could get him again but he was just that little bit in front. It was good fun again. Two really good races so can’t be happier.”

Boulton again was third home overall and the Class B winner, while fellow MG ZR 170 competitor Jack Chapman finished fourth overall and second in Class B and was awarded Driver of the Race.

Ross won Class A, while next up in class this time was Marcus Short in his Rover 216 GTi, who rose through the field impressively after a poor start. Short, taking part in only his second ever car race, is the latest racing son of Le Mans overall victory contender Martin Short – who built the 216 – and is the younger brother of last year’s MG Cup frontrunner Morgan, who also cut his MG Cup teeth in the 216.

There was much to anticipate in this first MG Metro Cup gathering of the season, with 2017 Metro champion and reigning MG Cup champion Mike Williams returning along with the ever-rapid Dick Trevett, to join incumbent pacesetters such as reigning Metro champion Mark Eales and Robbie Kenning (both pictured above). And the anticipation was justified with fantastic multi-car battles at the front at Brands Hatch.

Eales looked set to lead the frontrunners home in Race 1, but the race then ended in unusual circumstances. The safety car was brought out as Kenning had slid into the Clearways gravel, and under the caution leader Eales peeled into the pits; it transpired that he had wrongly been advised to do so.

Williams was first to the chequered flag as during the one-lap green flag sprint to the finish Trevett, who’d inherited the lead from Eales’ misfortune, went off at Paddock with a shock absorber problem. But the result was subsequently changed to make Eales the winner, and with this Trevett got second ahead of Williams. Jon Moore was fourth home, which also got him the Driver of the Race award. “The first race went really well, the final result wasn’t quite what we all expected but I got the result I needed,” Eales said, “I didn’t want it to end like that but we’ll say no more about that. Really happy [with my pace], onward and upward.”

Williams got the recompense though of winning Race 2 and with it got Driver of the Race. Trevett was second home, while Eales didn’t make the flag after he sustained rear damage when he dipped a rear wheel on the grass and spun “trying a little bit hard” then got hit by a pursuing car. Richard Garrard who was due to complete the podium pulled out with a lap to go when his CV joint seized. Tim Shooter therefore got third.

Williams said: “I know it sounds silly but I didn’t want come and lead from the start and do a trackday type scenario where there’s no-one really behind you and there’s obviously no-one front of you, so throw me right in the middle of the pack like that and battling. To get the win as well at the end it was well fought and well earned. I had a great big smile on my face all day with the racing.”

MGCC Lackford Engineering MG Midget & Sprite Challenge

The Midget and Sprite Challenge’s Brands Hatch curtain raiser maintained the meeting’s theme of having exciting multi-car battles for first place.

Victory in the opening race was a matter for Richard Bridge and returning multiple champion Paul Sibley, who started his comeback in the category at last year’s Mallory Park season closer. And Bridge’s Sprite prevailed in Brands’ Race 1, as having attacked Sibley’s Midget in the race’s early part he got by at Druids around two-thirds’ distance.

Reigning champion Pippa Cow in her Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite won Class E, passing Tom Walker’s Sprite at half distance then holding him off for the rest of the way.

In Class D, Barney Collinson (pictured above) in his Midget prevailed in a three-way scrap with Ian Burgin’s and Edward Easton’s Sprites to win. This freshman victory got Collinson Driver of the Race.

Stephen Watkins – another returning to the Midgets and Sprites, in his case after two years away – finished third in Race 1, 20s shy of first, and set-up changes got him onto the pace for Race 2 and he therein beat Sibley for victory after another long and absorbing place-swapping fight. There was a slightly early finish when Oshin Shahiean in his Midget went off at Druids. Watkins also got the Driver of the Race award with his win.

Bridge meanwhile had ran with the front battle early on but then dropped back to finish a distant third after his throttle cable jammed.

“In the first race it understeered,” Watkins said. “And the second one I changed the rollbar at the back and made it a bit stiffer at the back and balanced it up a lot nicer. That put me in a better position, and gave me a chance to have a good battle with Paul.

“I could see he was getting the same problem, he was understeering towards the end of the race. I was finding it difficult to get past him, but I was managing to get a better drive out of Clearways but he was keeping the inside line into Paddock. So I thought I’ll have a go at going round the outside which is a bit iffy, but Paul was good and gave me the space. We had some great fun, he dived back a few times, we had a great race.”

Bridge said: “The first race was brilliant, loved it. I’m trying to do the full season this year, and hopefully win it. It’s about time I won the championship.”

Bridge got his results despite having to install his spare engine at the 11th hour. “That’s [the throttle problem] what happens when you have to put the spare engine in in a hurry. [We were] building up a new engine and we tested it on the dyno and it had a problem, so we decided to go with the spare engine which is a bit tired.

“But it didn’t seem to matter in the first race, and if the throttle cable had been fine in the second race I would have been at least there or thereabouts for the win.

“It’s great [to battle Sibley], because when I started in 2009 he was the man to beat but I wasn’t in the same class as him, and I was really disappointed when I knew that I was going to come back to Class A and he’d decided to retire. He’s so experienced, he’s such a good driver”

Walker turned the tables on Cow to win Class E in Race 2, while Collinson doubled up in Class D with another win. He again beat Easton, while Shahiean had earlier spun out of what was another three-way class win battle. Collinson also got Driver of the Day.

Event | Comments Off on Four of the MG Car Club’s Championships crown their champions.

Four of the MG Car Club’s Championships crown their champions.

The MG Car Club’s 2021 racing season concluded with its Late Summer Meeting at Snetterton. A weekend of typically good-natured competition under fine skies led to four of the club’s championships crowning their champions.

MGCC BCV8 Championship

Unlike the other MG Car Club championships in action, the BCV8s still had another meeting left in their 2021 calendar, but that didn’t prevent Ollie Neaves wrapping up the title as he maintained his 100% record this year.

Neaves qualified on pole position but was passed by Neil Fowler’s similar B GT V8 exiting the Wilson hairpin at the start of the first race before regaining the lead in swashbuckling style around the outside of Coram nearly two laps later. Gearbox problems, which left him with only second and fifth gears, meant that Fowler was unable to respond, and Neaves cleared off to his 11th win of the season, with Russell McCarthy completing the podium behind Fowler.

Ben Tovey topped Class C – and was named Driver of the Race – after passing Jim Bryan early on at Agostini, while losing fourth gear meant Andy Young could only manage third in his MGC. Babak Farsian (Roadster) produced another fine display to win Class AB and beat the Class B frontrunners – headed by Howard Grundon (B GT V8) – after a good scrap.

Fowler’s gearbox gremlins meant Neaves could take an easier run to victory in race two, putting the championship beyond all doubt, with McCarthy beating Fowler to second. Behind them, James Wheeler – sharing his dad Jonnie’s Class C B GT V8 with his own Class D version sidelined –thundered through from the back of the grid to fourth overall and the Class C win after Bryan ran wide at Riches. Tovey also nipped past Bryan into second but then lost the place by just 0.2s at the flag. Farsian completed a Class AB double, while Steve McKie managed to turn the tables on Grundon and win Class B, being named Driver of the Race for his efforts.

“It’s been a really good year,” said champion Neaves. “The car’s been amazing all year. There probably is a bit of luck involved in making sure that they stay together but it’s testament to the job my dad’s done to make it all come together without any failures so far.

“It’s a real shame Neil’s had gearbox issues because the last couple of races, there’s been potential for a race-long battle. We’ve got slightly different gear ratios so there were parts he was quicker than me, parts I was quicker. But I was quite a bit quicker through Coram which was where I made the move – it was a bit of a brave one!

MGCC MG Cup powered by Cherished Vehicle Insurance

An almost perfect score of two wins, two fastest laps and a pole position clinched a first MG Cup overall championship crown for Mike Williams (pictured above), who overhauled a pre-weekend deficit to Class B leader Iain Dowler.

The Rover Metro-mounted Williams was beaten to race one’s pole position by Morgan Short (MG ZS 180) but wheelspin for Short at the start allowed Williams to make the best getaway and from there he never looked back. Short had also fallen behind the Rover 220 Tomcat Turbo of Matt Simpson and spent the rest of the race trying to manufacture a way past Simpson and the similar Tomcat of Richard Buckley who passed Short as they squabbled at the start of the second lap. Buckley then immediately demoted Simpson for second at Agostini, before Short’s around-the-outside attempts through Oggies and Williams were thwarted by the Tomcats’ superior power down the Bentley Straight. When Short tried the outside line at Coram he ran wide and spun, dropping down the order before eventually recovering to fourth. Williams led home Buckley by nearly 18 seconds, despite a late off as he tried to make sure of the point for fastest lap, with Simpson third.

The scrap for Class B honours was particularly entertaining. Dowler’s MG ZR 170 made a poor start from class pole and, as he tried to quickly recover, contact at Agostini cost him his rear bumper and a lot of time as he fishtailed wildly out of the corner. It was left to good friends Ian Boulton and Dan Jones (both in ZR 170s) to contest the class victory. Boulton eventually prevailed by just 0.4s and was named the commentators’ Driver of the Race. Dowler recovered to third but fell back behind Carl Robinson – 2020’s overall champion stepping up to Class B and making a first appearance of the season – when a 5s track limits penalty was applied.

The overall points advantage had now swung in favour of Williams, and the championship destiny was in his hands. With Short having set only one representative lap time in qualifying after a number of track-limits breaches, Williams was able to convert pole position into a lead he wouldn’t relinquish. Buckley demoted Simpson from second at the Brundle and Nelson esses but mechanical failure then pitched him off at Coram and into retirement. Williams took the victory from Simpson – who was named Driver of the Race – and Peter Burchill (MG ZS 180) after Short’s drive through the field was hampered by an excursion at the Wilson hairpin.

Jones took Class B honours after another close scrap, while Boulton’s late pass of Robinson for second at Agostini was reversed when the race was red-flagged and the result taken from a lap earlier. Dowler could only manage fourth in class after a gear-selector issue left him struggling to find gears.

Aaron Ross (MG ZR160) edged the Class A honours in both races, pipping Stephen Highley in the opener and Steve Tyler later on, as an entertaining – and clean – scrap between the three sadly ended with Highley crashing onto his roof (without injury), bringing a premature end to the race.

“It was tough,” said a delighted Williams. “I did only what I could do – just go out there and get fastest lap and the race win to get the maximum points, and hope that he [Dowler] dropped some points.

“It was nice having Matt behind me because he defended my lead quite nicely! Probably the last two or three laps I started to cool it down a bit.”

MGCC Holden MG Trophy

With the MG Trophy title already in his pocket after the July rounds at Donington Park, Sam Kirkpatrick chose to sit out the races at Snetterton, which left the way clear for Fred Burgess to take two comfortable wins – his first of the season – on a track at which he thrives. But it was the battles between youth and experience in Class B that stole the show.

Burgess’s fellow front-row man Doug Cole was forced to begin race one’s first start from the pitlane after his car wouldn’t start in the assembly area. But the race was red-flagged on the first lap when Robin Walker ran wide at Williams and rejoined the circuit in the path of Joe Dalgarno, with the collision resulting in both cars rolling. Both drivers were fine but the damage to their cars meant their race weekends were over.

Cole took up his grid slot for the re-run but was unable to match Burgess’s pace. He had to settle for second as Patrick Booth completed the podium, with the trio repeating that result in race two.

“Both races were fairly comfortable,” admitted Burgess. “I’ve always said, I don’t care if I come fifth or sixth if I have a good race. I enjoyed the weekend because I love this circuit – it’s one of my favourite circuits so it’s always fun – but it would have been nice to have someone a bit closer.”

Instead of focusing on the leader, most onlookers’ eyes were fixed on the enthralling Class B battles. The class championship was on the line, with only two points separating Fergus Campbell, Tylor Ballard and James Dennison heading into the weekend. Ballard struck first blood by taking both class pole positions, as Campbell first suffered an ABS issue and was then left to rue race one’s red flag as his trademark lightning start counted for nothing. Ballard made the best getaway at the second time of asking and kept himself clear of the engaging scrap between Campbell and Dennison. Campbell made the decisive move for second mid-race at Oggies, and while he was able to pull away and reduce the gap to Ballard, he ran out of laps to make a challenge.

Campbell made another quick start in race two but, as the others tried to follow him between the Class A cars contact led to an accident which brought out the safety car. Ballard fared worst of the Class B contenders, touring into the pits with a holed radiator and his championship hopes in tatters. That left Campbell needing to finish second to be sure of the class title. Under pressure from Dennison and Jack Chapman (pictured above), he was able to fend off the pair and clinch the class crown in style while also named Driver of the Race.

It was a desperately disappointing way for Ballard to lose out, having finished every other race of the season. But at 21 years of age, he has proven that he can compete with far more experienced drivers like Campbell and that his time will come.

“For a relatively modest club racing championship, the Trophy is so incredibly competitive,” said Campbell, who repeated his class triumph of 2014 and credited car builder Rob Quinn of Quinntech for the machinery at his disposal.

“I’m 52,” he added. “These kids are young and brave! James Dennison is mighty fast and he’s got a bit of experience in these cars. The lad Jack has come into it this year and he’s really arrived. If my concentration slipped for a minute he would have been there.”

Chapman certainly impressed as he passed Dennison for second at Brundle mid-race. Having already been named Driver of the Race for his fourth in class earlier in the day, he was also named as Saturday’s overall Driver of Day for his efforts.

James Moreton continued his run of winning Class C at each race he has contested, wrapping up the class title in the process.

MGCC Cockshoot Cup

The Cockshoot Cup also went down to the wire at Snetterton, with Brian Butler managing to successfully retain the overall title.

After Mark Wright’s MGF Cup car, which had qualified third, had to be withdrawn with a hydraulic leak, it was left to the K-Series-engined MG Midget of Keith Egar and Ray Collier’s MG ZR 190 to contest the outright victories, although David Morrison’s Class B Midget kept them honest. Egar led the opener from start to finish, while Collier – on his first visit to the circuit – had to overhaul Morrison after being passed into Riches. Morrison still managed a remarkable third overall, and was named Driver of Race. Karl Green (MG ZS 180) persevered with engine issues that would force him to miss the second encounter as he set the second fastest lap on his way to fourth.

Clutch failure denied Egar a shot at a double in race two, while Collier was given some breathing space – despite a poor start – after an excursion through the Riches gravel for Morrison. That made the latter’s recovery to second all the more impressive despite the day’s relatively high rate of attrition.

“I’m really pleased with that,” said Collier, who admitted struggling with the long right-hander at Coram, before dashing off to Spain for work. “I didn’t expect to get a win this weekend. I’d seen [Morrison] go off. Keith had retired, so it was for me to throw it away then. And then out of nowhere this Midget’s looming again and I had to start pulling some laps back! So I think that was an epic drive by him.”

Butler (pictured above) was having to manage problems aboard his MGF. But a MAP sensor issue made his throttle pedal more like an on/off switch, and contributed to a couple of grassy moments, couldn’t prevent him twice heading home Chris Greenbank in Class F and beating Collier to the overall championship crown. Joe Jones’s drive to third in Class F and sixth overall in race two earned him both the Driver of the Race and Sunday’s overall Driver of the Day awards.

Mike Peters, whose record in Class B matched Butler’s going into the weekend, sadly had to withdraw with engine problems after qualifying, ending his overall championship hopes.

“It’s not often I cry but there was a tear in my eye,” admitted an emotional Butler. “We’ve had a horrendous year with family issues, not Covid-related. And then we had nothing but issues all weekend. I’d either got full throttle or nothing. The corners where you just want to feather the throttle there was nothing so I had to give it full beans! I had to just deal with it but it was hard work.”

Hickford Construction Limited MGCC MG Metro Cup

Mark Eales survived a pre-meeting mechanical scare to scorch to a pair of victories and claim the MG Metro Cup crown. Finding water in the car’s engine oil prompted Eales to switch to an older back-up motor for the weekend, but he still managed to claim pole position by more than three seconds on the three-mile Snetterton 300 layout.

Apart from a late safety car, which led to a one-lap dash to the flag, Eales was untroubled on his way to victory in race one which was enough to secure the title with a race to spare. Behind him, Tim Shooter claimed second, but only by 0.2s from the challenge of impressive first-year driver Ben Williams. Williams had passed Phil Goodwin for third at Riches just after half-distance.

“Reliability and things like that

[were a worry]

,” said a relieved Eales. “You don’t want to push it too hard if you don’t have to. Luckily, I got a good start but I had to push because I could see Tim was constantly there behind me – he certainly wasn’t letting off.”

With the pressure off for race two, Eales took a commanding 12-second victory. The margin of victory may have been a bit smaller had Shooter and Williams not clashed as the latter made his move for second late in the race. That allowed Goodwin and Willars to inherit podium finishes in the final race of the year.

Equipe GTS

MG Trophy champion Sam Kirkpatrick chose to focus on driving his family’s MGB at Snetterton – and did so in style, taking it to two victories in Equipe GTS. Kirkpatrick came from behind to pass the TVR Granturas of Rob Cull and Mark Ashworth, with successful moves around the outside at Riches, to win the opener. A poor start from pole position required a repeat performance on Sunday , this time clinching the win by forcing Cull into an error at Oggies. Kirkpatrick’s fellow MGB man Tom Smith – fourth in race one – split the Granturas in the second race by passing Ashworth on Coram’s outside line.

On his spectacular overtaking manoeuvres, Kirkpatrick said: “I had to get creative because those TVRs are fast!”

Equipe Pre-’63/50s

The Austin-Healey 3000s of James Haxton and Joe Willmott split the Equipe Pre-’63 races after Mark Holme’s polesitting Mk2 version suffered mechanical gremlins on both days. Haxton could only qualify fifth having had to change his engine since the previous races at Donington, but a quick clean of the carbs ahead of race one provided the extra power he had been missing. That allowed him to battle through into the lead and, as his car struggled with high temperatures and fading tyres in the closing stages, hold off the fast closing Willmott and Nick Finburgh’s Lola Mk1, which lost second on the run to the flag.

The spectacular Willmott, on his first visit to Snetterton, turned the tables the following day. After exchanging the lead a couple of times, Willmott pulled clear to win from Haxton, with Andrew Moore’s Jaguar E-type completing the podium in Finburgh’s absence. Paul Mortimer (Austin-Healey 100) twice took the honours in the Equipe 50s section.

Equipe Libre

On his local circuit, Richard Hywel Evans blasted his AC Cobra to a pair of easy wins, claiming Sunday’s race by more than a minute. Behind him, the podium was completed on each occasion by the battling Jaguar E-type and the Lotus Elan 26R Shapecraft of Rick Willmott and Robin Ellis. The pair duelled throughout, making use of the different strengths of their cars. Ellis found a way past Willmott on the final lap of race two, but in the end the superior power of the E-type was enough for Willmott to outdrag the smaller Lotus to the line.

Guest races

The Morgan Challenge completed the programme at Snetterton, with a field of 17 cars. Roger Whiteside (+8) made full use of his V8 power to take a pair of dominant wins from Simon Orebi Gann (ARV6) in both races. Third on each occasion was Brett Syndercombe (4/4), whose Class 3 winning efforts completed an unbeaten season and sealed him the overall Morgan Challenge title.

Event | Comments Off on MGCC racers turn up the heat at Donington

MGCC racers turn up the heat at Donington

The MG Car Club’s Summer Race Weekend was appropriately met with some scorching summer weather for the two days of racing at Donington Park. And, equally appropriately, MGCC’s full range of racers turned up the heat too with a weekend’s worth of scorching on-track action.

MGCC Lackford Engineering MG Midget & Sprite Challenge

The Midget & Sprite Challenge racing at Donington had a new look at the front, albeit a rather familiar one. Frontrunner David Morrison made his first appearance of the season while 2018 champion Steve Collier (pictured above, number 46) was a surprise 11th-hour returnee, buying his Midget back from Mike Chalk on the Friday before the meeting and racing as an invitational entry.

And for Morrison and Collier it was like they had never been away as they relived memories of 2018 with intense yet respectful battling over first place. Morrison held Collier off throughout race one and took victory. Race two to begin with looked like a replay. Collier had a few goes at overtaking Morrison, including passing at Coppice only for Morrison to cut back inside of him. Then at mid-distance Collier made his move for first place stick at the same corner and built a three-second lead by the end. He got Driver of the Race as well.

Collier said: “It was tough. I had quite a few goes and [we] nearly touched two or three times. David is the person I’d trust most in a nose-to-tail dice, because he is fair. Once I got by I was away, because I knew I was quicker in certain parts and I knew if I could be in front at Redgate I could pull enough gap.

“Pretty well every lap I had the potential to have a go [at Coppice], I needed to be fully alongside otherwise I’m liable to get my front chopped off. It’s a good club; it’s fair racing.

“It’s good to be back: nice people; friendly crowd. Following David nose-to-tail, it brought everything back. It’s a great formula. The A-class cars have got so much grip.”

Morrison added: “All my work I’ve done [on the car] I’m happy with – engine, gearbox – I’m just getting a lot of understeer. They’re soft tyres and I think they’ve had enough, the hotter they get I’m sawing at the wheel, that’s where I’m just losing out.”

Race one front-row starter Ed Weston may have been able to run with Morrison and Collier too but two poor starts, particularly in race one where he was 14th at the end of the first lap. These hamstrung his challenge and he took two distant third places.

Pippa Cow (pictured above, number 7) in her Austin Healey twice finished fourth overall and with these took clear Class E victories, and thus strengthened her position in the overall championship even further.

Mark Witherspoon in his Austin Healey Sprite won Class D in race one, resisting Kim Dear by 1.4s, and with this Witherspoon got Driver of the Race. Dean Stanton’s fellow Sprite bagged the race-two class victory, beating Witherspoon by 11s.

MGCC MG Trophy

The MG Trophy this season has had a pattern of two young guns, Sam Kirkpatrick and Fred Burgess, battling over first place, but with Kirkpatrick prevailing every time. The 20-year-old indeed won six from six before Donington. And in Leicestershire’s race one he made it seven.

Burgess true to form attacked Kirkpatrick throughout Donington’s race one, and he reckoned he could have made a move for the lead had the race not ended early with a red flag – after a spectacular clash between Paul Savage and Josh Bacon exiting the chicane.

Race two was a similar tale at the front, but this time it had a last-lap twist. A late safety car bunched the contenders up, and Burgess had throughout looked stronger than Kirkpatrick out of Old Hairpin. On the final tour he got alongside there, but they touched and Burgess spun, dropping to ninth, while Kirkpatrick was able to continue to be first home to claim seemingly win number eight – the championship’s maximum-possible season total.

But he was docked five seconds for an unsafe track re-join, meaning he was classified third with Doug Cole declared winner. Kirkpatrick’s results nevertheless were enough for him to be officially assured of this year’s MG Trophy championship.

Kirkpatrick said: “It’s been a really close fight all the year with Fred – just managed to get out on top. It was a close fight all the way through [at Donington].”

Burgess added: “I think I’ve been the quickest car [this weekend], just haven’t managed to convert it to a win. Bit disappointing but we’ll come back next round and have a go. I like Snetterton, I was always quick there in the 170; I won there last year in the 190.

“There’s a lot of ifs and maybes [this season]. I’ve had the pace most weekends to have at least shared the wins with Sam. There’s been a few times the flag’s come a lap late or a lap too early. We’ll keep trying; we’ll get there.”

Fergus Campbell in race one topped the Class B runners, finishing fifth overall and getting Driver of the Race having kept just out of reach of the chasing Bacon. James Moreton won the Class C battle by 9s ahead of John Donnelly.

Race two in Class B had an equally dramatic finish as in Class A, with Tylor Ballard claiming first place from long-time leader Campbell on the final lap in a tight five-car lead scrap. This crescendo also got Ballard both the Driver of the Race and Sunday’s Driver of the Day.

Moreton made it a double win in Class C, again finishing well clear of runner-up Donnelly.

MGCC MG Cup powered by Cherished Vehicle Insurance

In 2021 the MG Cup’s fight for first also has been in large part a tale of two drivers: Mike Williams in his Metro and Morgan Short in his MG ZS 180. Short was unable to take part at Donington as his rebuilt engine overheated in Friday testing, but this did not leave Williams on easy street. He had a new foe. Or rather, just like in Midget & Sprite Challenge, a not-so new one.

Champion Richard Buckley, back this year in his frontrunning Rover Tomcat, took a clear race-one pole position then won both of Donington’s races, at each stage relegating Williams to second.

In the first race Williams jumped Buckley at the start, but Buckley took the lead back after three laps at the exit of Coppice. Williams stayed on his tail before dropping away slightly late on. Buckley’s victorious race-one showing also got him Driver of the Race.

Matt Simpson’s fellow Tomcat made it a trio at the front in race two, as he led early on after a fine start. Buckley got by for the lead on lap four, while Williams followed on lap eight but by this time Buckley was 3s up the road. He stretched his advantage to 6s by the end.

Buckley said: “This is my best circuit, and it does suit the car. [In race one] I managed to get past Mike and we had a good tussle. [In race two] I didn’t make the best start, and I managed to get past Mike, and I managed to get Matt into Coppice. And watching them fight is good – just giving me a little bit of breathing space. Once I had the breathing space I could pretty much run at my own pace.”

Williams meanwhile explained: “I’m never going to win at Donington because of the pace of the Tomcats unfortunately. I changed my strategy for the second race and I put the smaller tyres on the front, we dropped the gearing by about 11%, and we still weren’t fast enough.

“It was still a good race, Matt and I had a fantastic battle for second place. I’m always disappointed if I haven’t won. If I was happy with second place I’m not a racing driver. It’s been a cracking race and it’s been a good weekend.”

Points leader Iain Dowler in his MG ZR 170 comfortably won the Class B battle in race one ahead Kevin Burke’s similar machine, while Iain Boulton won Class A by 2.5s ahead of John Gil’s fellow 160. And in both classes there was a very similar tale in race two, with Dowler triumphing well clear of Burke – getting Dowler Driver of the Race this time – and Boulton again beating Gil.

Hickford Construction Limited MGCC MG Metro Cup

The MG Metro Cup shared the Donington track with the MG Cup via a split grid and Mark Eales claimed two Metro wins, making it four victories in a row for him after a nightmarish Brands Hatch season opener.

In Donington’s opener Eales cleared poleman Dan Willars and beat him home by over 10s, a feat that also got Eales the Driver of the Race. Eales then in race two led all the way from pole, beating runner-up Phil Goodwin by 2.2s with John Gil’s MG Cup car slotted between them. Willars had again chased Eales, but this time had to retire from second at mid distance when his engine blew. Goodwin was third home and was awarded Driver of the Race.

Eales said: “Really pleased, it’s been a good weekend. I had a bit of bad luck at the beginning of the season at Brands so hopefully that’s all gone and we’re cracking on now. Considering the heat you’d think we’d have a few little issues [but we didn’t]. Car seems to be going well, so I think it’ll be check over, make sure we’re happy with everything and leaving it as it is for Snetterton.

“I’ve been at this a little while now, a few years, and I’m happy with the car, I’m just trying little tweaks now, you build up and build up. I’m more confident. Just trying little bits and pieces that I never used to before. I used to think if it was going OK I’d leave it OK in case I made it worse.”

The points leader heading into Donington Tim Shooter had a frustrating weekend. In race one he chased Eales closely but dropped out after he touched the back of an MG Cup car, damaging his radiator and meaning he stopped a few laps later. Then Shooter’s race two was dashed barely after it started, with his car stranded in the gravel on the approach to McLeans on the first lap. He later resumed but several laps down.

MGCC Triple M Challenge

The beautiful pre-War Triple M Challenge machines took to the Donington track twice on Sunday, and Tom Hardman in his MG Bellevue Special won the first race by over half a minute from pole, and was awarded Driver of the Race with it. His chief pursuer Harry Painter had a spectacular Redgate exit when his left-front stub axle broke on his MG PA, meaning the wheel detached.

Fred Boothby was a comfortable winner of Class 2 In his J2, Barry Foster trounced the Class 1 opposition in his Montlhery Midget while Simon Jackson (pictured above, number 129) in the Class 3 fight beat fellow PB runner Mark Dolton by 15s.

Hardman had to depart the meeting before race two and with Painter also unable to race with his race-one problem, Painter’s father Mike, who’d taken the runner-up spot in race one, moved in for race-two victory in his MG Kanye Special, beating Charles Goddard’s MG PA Special by just under 16s. Vernon Mackenzie was third in his K3, and got Driver of the Race.

Mike Painter said: “Because Harry dropped out and Tom Hardman as well there was no reason I shouldn’t win it. I was concerned of spinning it or throwing it away embarrassingly. And then Charles was sticking with me, I was trying pretty hard and he was still there and I thought ‘blimey he’s trying hard here!’ So I quickened up a bit and then I think he got a bit of traffic, so I got a bit of a reprieve. The cars are great fun, very exciting, we’ve raced them for years.”

Boothby in race two doubled up in the Class 2 contest, while Andrew Morland in his PA won the Class 3 contest by 2.7s from Louis Frankel’s PB Cream Cracker, after leader Jackson ran out of petrol late on. Class 1 winner this time was Duncan Potter after Foster retired early.

MGCC BCV8 Championship

Reigning champion Ollie Neaves at Donington continued his BCV8 championship domination, bagging two more wins even though he wasn’t happy with his MGB’s handling and even after making changes between the two races. In race one he lost his advantage from pole off the start to Neil Fowler, but was soon by on the fourth lap at Coppice to lead again. Fowler kept him honest though and Neaves’ advantage at the end was less then 3s.

Jim Bryan won in Class C after class poleman Andrew Young had a right-rear half shaft break on the way to the assembly area pre-race. Mark Scott won the Class B battle in his Roadster by 13s from GT V8 runner Stephen McKie, which also got Scott Driver of the Race.

James Walpole was denied Class AB victory by receiving two track-limit penalties, meaning Paul Rayment won out. Babak Farsian had led much of the way in class but dropped down late on with overheating.

In race two Neaves was more dominant, beating home Russell McCarthy and Fowler’s battle for second by over half a minute.

Neaves said: “I got a much better start that time, I managed to hold Neil off, who’s always really quick in the first few laps. I think it panned out for me today, that I managed to get some good laps in early, make the gap and then I could stroke it home.

“The car’s just an amazing piece of kit, it’s just so impressive to drive. It did feel very slippery out there but I’m guessing it was the same for everyone.

“I’ve got lots of further plans [for the car] but I’ll be holding fire until some of the others catch up!”

Young in race two was this time able to take the Class C win, in fifth overall and 1.5s clear of Ben Tovey, who was compensated with the Driver of the Race. Bryan once again was in the mix for class victory but had to retire as his engine oil cap was not fitted meaning oil started to spill onto his windscreen as well as that he risked an engine blow up. Scott made it a double Class B win and Farsian prevailed in Class AB.

MGCC Cockshoot Cup

The Cockshoot Cup was another category to have a double winner at Donington, albeit in its case it was a perhaps unlikely one as Karl Green took his first two overall victories.

In race one Green in his ZS 180 led all the way from pole, while second-placed Mark Wright pitted after three laps as the gear linkage snapped on his new MG F Cup. Green finished 7.6s clear of runner-up Ray Collier’s MG ZR 190, meaning the latter lost his 100% record in 2021. The feat also got Green the Driver of the Race and the Driver of the Day gong for Saturday.

Mike Peters (pictured above, number 6) was Class B victor in his Midget, beating Ian Whitt home by 2.9s, while Brian Butler pipped fellow MGF runner Christopher Greenbank (pictured above, number 19) by just 0.6s to win Class F. Paul Wignall (pictured above, number 5) in his ZR 160 was a dominant Class A winner.

The second race was a very different tale from the get-go as a newly repaired Wright launched superbly and established a clear lead, of 4.6s after three laps, as Green and Collier battled for second. While Peters and Butler – both of whom had 100% class records heading into the counter – were out almost immediately. In Peters’ case the engine of his Midget died while for Butler, who didn’t make the race start, his MG F woe was more convoluted. After finishing race one an electrical problem was discovered, which took hours to find, and while this was going on some grit in the timing belt bent the engine’s valves.

Green, having established his place ahead of Collier, was able to chase Wright down and passed for the lead with three laps left. Wright finished as runner-up while Collier had to make do with third, 21s adrift.

Green said: “My first two wins, and my first two poles as well. It’s only taken five years but I got there in the end! The difference is the guys have made slight alterations to the suspension and it’s made the car feel more compliant. And because it feels more grounded it’s giving me a bit more confidence to push on.

“Mark gave me a good fight, I didn’t think I was going to catch him at all at one point, but then luckily the backmarkers helped me out and it gave me the spur to push on a bit harder and eventually I got past him. It was a cracking race.”

Wright meanwhile noted: “The car’s new and we came Friday just to get it running because it’s a new engine. I was told to use a rev limit, which I did, and we qualified third which I thought ‘that’s quite good considering we’re just running around!’

“I’ve never drove the car before this weekend. Even today we hadn’t quite set it up properly so I could only use four gears, I couldn’t use fifth. I really enjoyed it. We didn’t expect to come today to do any good, we came to finish and put some miles on the car.”

Wignall in race two was again a clear Class A winner, in seventh overall, despite a 5s track-limits penalty, and got Driver of the Race with it. Greenback won Class F and Mark Bellamy in his ZR 170 beat Andrew Thompson’s Midget home by 4.7s to win Class B.

Equipe Three Hour Classic Relay

Bernardo Hartogs in a Lotus XV and Richard Wilson in a Maserati 250S as their The Fifties pairing won Equipe’s three-hour relay, benefiting from consistent pace plus fewer car changes than their rivals.

Wilson said: “It’s just keeping the 1m25s, 1m26s pace consistently over three hours is a tough thing, especially in the heat, you start to wilt towards the end of the session. The Maserati consumed less fuel than I expected. They’re both relatively light cars, so you just keep going, and the brakes are a big thing.”

There was a familiar face among the line-up that finished second, with MG Trophy star Sam Kirkpatrick in his MGB making up one-third of the Rogerscale Racing effort. It looked at points that they might be able to chase down the eventual winners, but they hit problems.

Kirkpatrick said: “It was long and hard, but it was good. But we had to deal with a few car issues. We had two unplanned pitstops, due to this car [Simon Smith’s Elan] not being able to last very long, having problems with the water getting too hot, and then the Cooper had a misfire and was not as good as it could be either, so maybe we’ll have to come back next year and do better! Could’ve maybe competed for [the win without the problems].”

The Kent’s Folly quartet started on pole and led early but fell down the order with several car swaps and the other cars in the line-up not being able to match the pace of Larry Warr’s pole-setting Morris Mini Cooper S.

Equipe Classic Racing Libre

The first of Equipe Classic Racing’s two 40-minute pitstop sprint races was a classic power-vs-handling battle at the front, and power prevailed as Jamie Boot’s TVR Griffith got the better of early leader Jon Harmer in his Lotus Elan 26R. Harmer then dropped out late on with a plug lead problem. Cliff Gray sharing with Will Nuthall restored Elan 26R honour by winning the second Equipe sprint race, passing Boot’s TVR in the closing minutes.

Aero Racing Morgan Challenge

The Morgans also joined the action on Sunday with two races. Bill Lancashire in his +8 won the red-flagged and restarted opener from pole, staving off the similarly equipped Oliver Pratt by 3.1s. For race two Lancashire’s son Howard took over his dad’s car and, having started from the back due to having to qualify out of session, as only one of them could set a time in the 15-minute qualifying, Howard powered through to finish second half a minute shy of comfortable victor Pratt.