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Bulletin 1 – 8th April 2013

MG Trophy Championship

THE TROPHY season kicked off at Donington Park for the second year running but with a slight twist.

Donington Park 7th April 2013

Ten Trophy drivers took advantage of some extra track time by entering the Live Motors TV, MG Invitation Race on the Saturday. The race was a mixture of Trophy ZRs, a lone LE 500 and some standard and V8 powered MGBs. Despite the huge power difference the Trophy ZR190s did well with Chris Bray holding on to the V8 MGB of Simon Cripps to come 2nd just 2 secs adrift. Trophy regulars Doug Cole, Paul Luti, out for the very first time in his brand new ZR190, Ross Makar, out for the very first time in his new ZR190 and Gary Wetton completing the top 6, it would have been a Trophy whitewash if it had been at Brands ! Well done to all the Trophy drivers who took part in this live TV race, I’m sure we will have won a lot of new admirers for the ageing ZR. Condolences to Dan Jones who rolled his ZR spectacularly at the bottom of the Craners ending up on his roof.

Testing

There was no testing available immediately prior to these first rounds bar the Saturday race, however many drivers had taken advantage at the end of March of a track day to do some shakedown work and initial car set-up.

New Drivers

A big welcome to the Trophy goes to Mark Bellamy, James Colebrooke, Tom Butler, Jack Webster and Andrew Ashton all in class C. Mike Harris will be joining us  at Brands along with Jay Mooney.

Qualifying

The Trophy qualifying was the second session of the day at 09:23 on a cold morning but on a dry track. All the class B cars were on slicks and most of the class C were using the new control Dunlop tyre. This was the first all ZR qualifying (and races) since the inception of the championship in 1998 surely a sign of things to come.

Sterling work by the Finishline team got Jones’ car back into running order with a new screen and make-do netting (gaffa tape) on the driver’s side. Unfortunately the car was quite badly dented following it’s roll from the day before, however the important thing of getting it back racing was achieved.

After three laps the order was Luti, Makar, Cole, Walker, Ashton, Budby and Penfold and at five laps Luti, Cole, Makar, Bray, Walker, Ashton. Luti came in after seven laps having posted a 1:20.910 on his sixth lap, deciding it was good enough to save the tyres, Bray went to P1 on his eighth lap with a 1:20.73. Andrew Colebrook came in after nine laps with a buzzed engine. Bray bettered his time on his ninth lap with a 1:20.596 to secure pole, the top three in class B being Bray, Luti and Cole. Budby popped in a 1:25.492 on her final lap to take 2nd in class C behind pace setter Ashton with a new outright lap time of 1:24.318. Andrew Colebrooke’s best of 1:25.864 was still good enough to give him 3rd in class C, with newcomer Tom Butler in a well earned 4th spot.

Race 1

Good work by DC Motorsport after the end of qualifying saw a loaned head from Finishline fitted to Andrew Colebrooke’s car enabling him to take the start. The first of the two Trophy races was after the lunch break at 13.20, with all 17 cars now taking the start. At the end of the first lap with the cars still well bunched it was Luti from Bray then Cole, Makar and Walker, all the 190 cars as expected. Next up were Ashton, Rushforth, Marsh and Andrew Colebrooke. This order stayed the same until lap 3 where Bray took the lead from Luti at the Old Hairpin, the remainder of the field holding station right down to 9th place. The leading three were bumper to bumper opening out a small gap to Makar in 4th, then another small gap to Walker. Ashton had pulled out a good lead in class C from Rushforth who had a few seconds on the following bunch of Marsh, Andrew Colebrooke, Budby, and Butler.

The battle at the front was consistently close with less than a second between first and third, all three side by side, an amazing move by Luti to pass a back marker on the approach to Redgate saw him take Bray at the same time. Bray lost time on lap 9 when he dropped back slightly but caught the leading pair again on lap 11. Andrew Colebrooke was off at Redgate after 6 laps, following a good dice with Marsh and Budby, with engine problems, and Makar was out on lap 8 with throttle linkage problems, spoiling excellent races for both drivers. Several drivers had moments coming on to the start/finish straight, just clipping the kerb. Newcomer Butler was mixing it with the more experienced drivers in class C trading places with Marsh. At the front Luti and Cole swapped places regularly keeping the crowd and our new commentator on their toes. Cole finally stamped his authority on lap 14, holding the lead until the finish after 15 laps, Bray was third, all three separated by less than 0.7secs at the flag. Elsewhere in class C, Penfold and Savage had a good dice, Budby received an accidental tap from Marsh whilst he was trying to avoid Rushforth, pushing her off and out off the race on her 14th tour. Ashton walked away with the class C race winning by over 5 seconds from Marsh with Rushforth third, Butler fourth and Penfold fifth.

Fastest laps Class B was Chris Bray 1:20.985 on lap 10. Class C was Andrew Ashton with a 1:25.108 on lap 3.

Driver of the Race – Sarah Budby.

Race 2

Unfortunately it was not possible to repair Andrew Colebrooke’s car, so the challenge was left to Colebrooke senior, James, in his first season of racing, to fly the family flag. The front left damper was changed on the Makar car following odd tyre wear. Race 2, the last of the day, got underway at 17.54 with Bray on pole again having recovered from his spin on the green flag lap (!). Rushforth spun on the opening lap prior to Webster coming off at the bottom of Craner Curves, bringing out the safety car until the end of lap 3. The race virtually restarted with Bray again taking the lead, determined to show why he’s number one. After one full lap of racing, Savage went off at Redgate, once again bringing out the safety car for all of lap 5. A second restart again saw Bray hold his position right through until lap 11 when both Luti and Cole got past, Luti taking the win by 0.33 secs. from Cole, Bray 0.4 secs. adrift and Walker again fourth. Unfortunately, Makar had to retire his car as it went into limp mode on his 11th lap. In class C, Ashton once again held his lead from start to finish, beating Rushforth by over 9 secs. at the flag. Budby drove well to bring her car home in third, crossing the line in an exciting finish just 0.002 secs behind Rushforth, with Butler only 0.2 secs. behind her in an excellent fourth once again, all three cars appearing to cross the line together! Marsh took fifth 1.75 secs. behind, Penfold, Bellamy, Jones and James Colebrooke completing the result.

Fastest laps Class B was Doug Cole on lap 12 with 1:20.964, Class C was Andrew Ashton on lap 11 with 1:24.821

Driver of the Race – Andrew Ashton.

Driver of the Day to Trophy Driver – Sarah Budby.