MG Trophy Race Report – Oulton Park, 27 April 2024

Titled the Cheshire Classic Challenge, the CSCC race meeting on 27th April provided a packed programme of first class racing. The MGs once again shared the track with their distant British Leyland relatives running in the Berkshire Jag Components Jaguar Challenge. The thundering Jags had the upper hand on the Oulton Park straights but the nimble MGs more than made up the deficit round the twisty bits and put on an excellent show for the spectators.

Colin Robertson’s MG3 Turbo

Colin Robertson with his MG 3 1800 Turbo was a welcome addition to the entry. It’s a long trek south from Perth for Colin and fellow Scot, Graham Ross, and their continued commitment to the MG Trophy is to be applauded. Colin’s self built MG 3 is believed to be the only turbocharged iteration of the family runaround racing in the UK.

Andrew Rogerson was a welcome returnee to the MG Trophy having recently bought back the ZR 170 that he previously raced with the championship some years ago. So recent the purchase, Andrew had no time to test the car prior to the event so he took to the track after a quick spanner check with his fingers well and truly crossed.

Andrew Rogerson returns to the MG Trophy

The championship is grateful to Millers Oils for their continued support this year – they supply cans of their excellent racing oil for the Driver of the Race awards – and to Yokohama Tyres who are also sponsoring the championship in 2024.

Adam Jackson, 2nd quickest in qualifying

MG Trophy Qualifying: The track action for the Trophy drivers started mid-morning with the customary 20 minute qualifying during which all the drivers completed nine or ten laps. Graham Ross and Adam Jackson were quickest of the ZRs with Colin Robertson’s MG3 in P3. James Cole was quickest in Class B followed by Matt Harvey and Taylor Ballard. Andrew Rogerson used the session to re-acclimatise to front-wheel drive and finished the session P4 in class.

Colin Robertson grabbed the initial advantage in Race 1

Race 1: The Trophy cars were at the front of the grid ahead of the pack of Jaguars that would start the race 10 seconds after the MGs. Robertson’s turbo powered him into the lead at Old Hall on lap 1 but he dropped down the order following a wild ride across the grass on the exit of Cascades and completed the lap P9. Rogerson, who made a stunning start from seventh spot on the grid, led into lap 2 but then conceded places which allowed Ross into the lead and Cole into P2 with Ballard P3.

The quickest of the Jags soon caught the Trophy cars

Whilst Ross then had an unchallenged run to the flag, the Class B frontrunners contested the remaining podium positions throughout the race. Cole took the class win and P2 overall with Ballard P3. Rogerson, who retook the class lead on lap 7, had looked set for class victory but mechanical gremlins dropped him to fourth in class behind Matt Harvey. The ever-improving James Blake made his mark by setting the fastest lap in Class B and Graham Ross received the Millers Oils Driver of the Race award.

Race 2: Ross held the lead from Jackson for the first four laps before hub failure intervened forcing Jackson into retirement. Ross went on to take his second win of the day ahead of Robertson who was delighted with P2 in the MG3 which he continued to develop. With Rogerson being unable to fix his car, Ballard looked to be in charge of Class B this time but Cole was always in contention. Eventually a rare mistake from Ballard on lap 7which resulted in a trip across the grass at Hislop’s gifted Cole the class win with Ballard taking P2 and Harvey P3.

James Cole took the Class B lead at Hislop’s

Cole set the Class B fastest lap this time and also received the Millers Oils Driver of the Race award. Jack Maegher made steady progress, gradually whittling away at his lap time to set his personal best on the penultimate lap of the day.

Graham Ross and James Cole receive their Millers Oils Driver of the Race awards

Team mates had a successful day: Fastest Class B lap for James Blake in Race 2 and two Class P3s for Matt Harvey

Steady improvement throughout the day for Jack Maegher

The MG Trophy will be in action again at Thruxton on 18th May.

 

Equipe Classic Racing at Cadwell Park – 20 April 2024

MSV’s Lincolnshire circuit hosted Equipe’s second race meeting of the year. With their saloon and sportscar categories on the programme, the races produced some close competition and entertaining battles to keep the spectators entertained.

Equipe Classic Racing has hitherto been the preserve of classic sports and racing cars from the 50s, 60s and 70s but the addition of the MG Cup has brought more modern front-wheel drive MGs and Rovers into the Equipe family. 

The MG Cup and BCV8s had two 20 minute races during the day whilst the Equipe GTS, Libra and Libra Plus entrants had 40minute pitstop races.

MG Cup Pole man, Jack Chapman, chased by Dennis Robinson and Leon Wignall

Equipe MG Cup

Jack Chapman (MG ZR 170) set the pace in qualifying with a storming lap nearly two seconds ahead of the similar car of Tony Wigley followed by Leon Wignall and Ashley Woodward who filled the second row of the grid.

Chapman got away well at the start of race 1 to lead at the end of the first lap from Dennis Robinson (MG ZR 170) who had moved up from P5 on the grid. Leon Wignall (MG ZR 170) was close behind the leading pair and it looked like the race was shaping up to be an epic battle between these three contenders. But it was not to be as Wignall dropped down the order on lap 2 following a spin and Chapman limped into retirement on lap 3 leaving Robinson in P1 with Woodward some 3.7s in arrears. However, Cal Moore was on a charge from the sixth row of the grid and was into P4 by lap four. He then claimed P2 on lap 7 but by then Robinson had a substantial lead and, despite his best efforts, Moore was unable to bridge the gap and took the flag in P2 with Woodward P3.

Class wins went to: Class A – Paul Wignall; Class B – Cal Moore; Class C – Ashley Woodward; Class D – Keith Egar.

Cal Moore heading for the MG Cup Class B win in Race 1

Race 2 saw Robinson complete the double another win. He was never headed as he eased away form the pack. Initially Moore was his closest rival with Woodward P3 but Keith Agar was on a charge in his slick-shod MG Midget. From eighth on the grid he was sixth at the end of lap 1 and then set about picking off the cars ahead passing Tony Wigley and Leon Wignall on lap 4. He then demoted Woodward on lap 5 and was into P2 two laps later. Once again, Robinson had an unassailable lead and took the top step of the podium followed by Egar and Moore.

Class winners were: Class A – Paul Wignall; Class B – Cal Moore; Class C – Ashley Woodward; Class D – Keith Egar.

James Wheeler heads a train of BGT V8s around Chris Curve

Equipe BCV8s

As anticipated the Class D Full Race BGT V8s dominated the day with the fastest trio of Jordan Spencer, Jack Rawles and Neil Fowler separated by less than 0.3s after the 20 minute qualifying session. James Wheeler and Russ McCarthy were not far behind in P4 and P5 respectively. The sight and sound of these hugely powerful machines blasting round the the narrow Cadwell circuit would have stirred the soul of even the most sceptical observer.

The two 20-minute races were superb! When the lights went out to start Race 1 Wheeler made a tremendous start and blasted into the lead from the second row of the grid. Behind him the howling pack of V8s squabbled for position for the remainder of the race with Rawles looking most likely to displace the leader. However, after several laps of great racing Rawles put two wheels on the grass heading up the Mountain and spun. He was unable to restart and, with his car in a vulnerable spot, the CoC had no alternative but to bring out the red flags leaving Wheeler to take the laurels from McCarthy and Spencer.

The class winners were James Walpole (MGB Roadster), Paul Eales (MGB Roadster) and Ken Deamer (MGB GT V8).

Jack Rawles on his way to victory in the BCV8 Race 2

Race 2 provided a fitting end to a good day’s racing. This time Spencer got away well from pole and led at the end of lap 1 with Wheeler and Fowler P2 and P3 respectively. Rawles, who got wheelspin off the line, had dropped to fourth but would stage a comeback and move up to P3 on lap 6. By that time Wheeler had taken the lead and was being harried by Spencer who was intent on reclaiming the top spot. On the approach to Park on lap 7 Spencer locked his rear brakes and, as his car slewed sideways he clipped the rear of Wheeler’s machine taking them both onto the grass on the outside of the bend. They both restarted but Wheeler retired whilst Spencer continued to finish P3. A very grateful Rawles safely avoided the errant cars and went on to take the win with McCarthy claiming P2.

Walpole and Eales were again class winners.

Rob Cull, unchallenged in the lead of the Equipe GTS race

Equipe GTS

Rob Cull was listed in the programme as having entered all three of the races for the 50s, 60s and 70s sports and saloon cars and his performance during qualifying for the GTS race must have been a concern to the other entrants. His TVR Grantura was over 3 seconds faster than Trevor Buckley (MGB Roadster) during the 20 minute session with Babar Farsian (MGB Roadster) a further 3 seconds adrift.

Dominic Mooney extracting the max from his MG Ashley GT

Cull made a great start when the lights went out at the start of the 40 minute pitstop race and opened a gap on lap 1 to head the field from Buckley and Dominic Mooney (MG Ashley GT) who had moved up from the third row of the grid. By the end of lap 2 Mooney had claimed P2 but was already some 10 seconds behind the flying Cull who continued to extend his lead to 55 seconds by the time the chequered flag flew at the end of lap 22. Buckley was classified P2 having regained the position from Mooney on the penultimate lap. Steve Spink, the only other driver not to have been lapped, brought his MGB Roadster home in P4.

Simon Cripps (MGB Roadster), who briefly held the lead during the pitstop window, incurred a 3 lap penalty for an infringement during his visit to the pits but then retired from P2 on lap 15.

An eclectic mix of cars formed the Libra Plus grid

Equipe Libre Plus

The entry for the Equipe Libre Plus race featured a great mix of cars from the Libre, 50s, Pre’63 and 70s categories. It was Mark Lucock in his Escort MK 1 RS2000 who took pole ahead of the Cobra Daytona 4700 of Graham Moss. Several of the more powerful cars qualified lower down the grid than expected which offered the prospect of entertaining track action once the 40 minute pitstop race got underway.

Moss used the power of the Daytona to lead them away. Richard Hodson slotting the diminutive Lotus Mk VI into second and Lucock completed lap 1 in P3. Hudson inherited the P1 on lap 4 when Moss, who had pulled out a 2 second lead, retired but the nimble Lotus was unable to outpace Brian Caudwell’s thundering black Cobra that was carving its way through the field from the fifth row of the grid. Caudwell took the lead on lap 7 and was not headed again, except for one lap during the pitstops.

Lucock held on to P3 until lap 10 but was overtaken by the Mustang Mach1 of Martin Reynolds and then dropped out of the race when he was unable to restart after his pitstop at the end of lap 11. Hudson was briefly back in the lead when Caudwell made his pitstop at the end of lap 12 but relinquished the place when he made his own stop to hand the Lotus over to Charles Angrave. 

Brian Caldwell and Martin Reynolds, P1 and P2 in the Libra Plus race

During the second half of the race Caudwell stretched his lead to 18 seconds from Reynolds and Angrave but was greeted by the safety car at the end of lap 17 when the Triumph TR250 of Roy Chamberlain stopped at Coppice. As the clock ticked down the race finished behind the safety car with Caudwell winning from Reynolds and Angrave/Hodson. Jamie Boot was fourth in his TVR Griffith.

Rob Cull, who had qualified on the second row of the grid dropped to P10 on the opening lap but then took no further part in the proceedings after a rear wheel decided to part company with the car on lap 2.

teve Spink, P4 in the GTS race and P6 in the Libre race

Equipe Libre

Many of the cars from the Libre Plus race were also entered in the Libre race and, for many, it was battle rejoined for the penultimate race of the day.

Qualifying saw Brian Caldwell take pole in his Cobra with the Angrave/Hodson Lotus in P2. The Cull TVR, which qualified in P3, could not be repaired in time and non-started. 

Caudwell powered the Cobra into the lead at the start and led throughout except for lap 13 when he made his pitstop. Behind him there was battle royal between the Angrave/Hodson Lotus MK VI and the Lotus Elan 1600 of Andrew Cahill. Initially Angrave held onto his start position but Cahill was past him and into P2 on lap 3 only to be hit with a ten second penalty for an out of position start. Try as he might, Cahill couldn’t shake off Angrave who stayed right with him throughout the race.

The Lotus MK IV and Elan battled from lights to flag

Caudwell pitted form the lead at the end of lap 13. He resumed in P4 but was back in the lead one lap later. Both Lotus racers pitted on lap 14. Angrave had a longer stop as he handed over to Hodson but Cahill could not take advantage and overcome the penalty as the two Lotus’s were very evenly matched, the Elan’s fasted lap was 1:45.479, marginally quicker than the MK VIs 1:45.525. Although Cahill crossed the line in P2 he was classified P3, only 2.9s adrift.

The next Equipe Classic race meeting will be at Oulton Park on 18th May.

A New Era for the MG Trophy Championship

2024 sees the beginning of a new era for the MG Trophy.

The MG Car Club’s decision to cease organising race meetings meant that the Trophy, along with the Midget & Sprites Challenge, the MG Cup, and BCV8s needed to find new homes. The Trophy has been welcomed into the Classic Sports Car Club and will share the track with the Berkshire Jag Components Jaguar Challenge this year.

The weekend of 23/24 March saw the start of the season with the competitors facing a mixture of weather conditions. Saturday served up rain, hale and biting winds but Sunday produced more spring-like conditions and the sun finally made a welcome appearance.


Heavy rain added an unexpected dimension to qualifying.

The MG Trophy Qualifying.

The MG Trophy took to the track for qualifying on Saturday morning but the weather played a significant role in deciding the starting grid. The track was dry when the session started so the Class A ZR 190s understandably ventured out on slicks which require careful warming whilst the Class B ZR 170s on their treaded tyres can get up to speed straight away. All the Class B cars put in their quick times on either lap 1 or 2 while the Class A cars were still warming their tyres. A heavy downpour followed by a slowly drying track prevented any significant improvement in lap times so, unusually, Class B cars filled the first two rows of the Trophy grid with Tylor Ballard on pole. The fastest of the three ZR 190s was Sam Meagher in 5th with Adam Jackson in 6th. Graham Ross found himself down on the 5th row of the grid and commented: “It was absolutely chucking it down and I was out there on slicks. I knew it was a complete and utter waste of time but it was good fun.”


Tylor Ballard took pole for both races.

MG Trophy Race 1 – 20 minutes

On a dry track MG Trophy cars lined up behind the Jaguars for the rolling start. The pole sitter slowed his pace prior to Goddards to ensure that the ZRs would start separately, a reasonable distance behind the Jags. 

At the end of lap 1 it was the Dayglow orange ZR 170 of Fergus Campbell in the lead. Adam Jackson made up four places and was in hot pursuit in P2 and Graham Ross had a good lap and was up to P5. Tylor Ballard and Sam Meagher both fell back from their starting positions to P6 and P7 respectively. By the end of lap 2 Jackson had taken over as the leading Trophy car with Ross P2. Campbell still had the Class B lead ahead of Steve McDermid and Ballard.


The leading Class B cars headed by Fergus Campbell

As the race progressed the different characteristics of the MGs and Jaguars were clear for all to see. The Jags, big and heavy, had the power down the straights but the nimble MGs had the advantage through the twisty bits and quickly closed the gap to the Jaguar pack.


The Trophy cars quickly caught the Jags.

Jackson continued to lead the MGs’ charge until lap 6 when Ross got the better of him and took the lead. Two laps later the leading trio were nose to tail going into Redgate where Jackson had a very sideways moment that allowed Sam Meagher through into P2. Sadly, mechanical gremlins would afflict Jackson’s machine which would sideline him for the remainder of the weekend. Robin Walker (Class B) joined Jackson in retirement about the same time, again due to a mechanical issue.


An impressive ‘save’ for Adam Jackson on lap 8.
 

The two remaining Class A cars continued to scythe their way through the Jaguars and when the chequered flag flew after 15 laps they had passed all but four of them.

Class B became an intense four-way battle between Campbell, McDermid, Ballard and James Cole. The class lead changed hands several times during the closing laps with Ballard looking to be the likely victor until an unfortunate incident at Redgate forced his retirement and allowed McDermid through to take the win with Cole P2 and Campbell P3.


The incident that ended Tylor Ballard’s hopes of Class B victory.

So impressed were the commentators by Graham Ross’s winning drive that they nominated him ‘Millers Oils Driver of the Race’.


Graham Ross, Millers Oils Driver of the Race, race 1.

MG Trophy Race 2 – 20 minutes

With Adam Jackson and Robin Walker unable to take part in Sunday’s race, Tylor Ballard led the remaining MG ZRs round the 1.98 mile rolling start lap. By the time the cars appeared at Coppice on lap 1 Sam Meagher was in the lead and Graham Ross had gained six places to hold P2. The Class B cars of Tylor Ballard and Fergus Campbell were right behind the leading duo and all 9 cars were covered by just 4 seconds at the end of the lap.


Sam Meagher had the lead at Coppice on lap 1 of race 2.

Ross took over the lead on lap 2 and thereafter the two ZR 190s ran through the Jaguars in formation. At the end of the penultimate lap they were in P3 and P4 overall and Ross looked set to take his second win of the weekend. But it was not to be, those mechanical gremlins had other ideas and Ross slowed with a steering issue which allowed Meagher through to take the Trophy win. Ross coaxed his car over the line in P2. 


The Jaguar XJ6 4200 of Simon Lewis was no match for the MG ZRs.

Meanwhile, as we have become accustomed to see in the highly competitive Class B, there was battle royal between the leading contenders. Ballard held the class lead throughout the race with Campbell being his closest challenger during the first four laps. However, James Cole’s run of good form continued from the latter part of 2023 and he became Ballard’s closest challenger on lap 5. They maintained that order running in close formation for the remainder of the race but both explored the extremities of the track in their bid to pass one of the Jaguars. Unfortunately, that led to Ballard being hit with a 5 second penalty for exceeding track limits which dropped him to P2 in the final results and compounded his race 1 disappointment. 


Matthew Harvey had a consistent weekend taking P4 in class in both races.

McDermid, who took 3rd in class after finding his way past Campbell in the closing stages of the race, received the ‘Millers Oils Driver of the Race’ award.


Steve McDermid Millers Oils Driver of the Race, race 2.

The MG Trophy will be in action again at Oulton Park on 27th April

MGCC Season Finale at Snetterton

The MG Car Club held its final races of the marque’s 100th-anniversary year at a bright but breezy Snetterton. 

It was the season-finale for most of MGCC’s championships: as well as race honours to fight for there were championship titles to settle on the Norfolk venue’s 300 layout. As usual the racers provided plenty of competitive action and engaged in spirited battles during the double headers for each of the five MGCC race categories.

Steve McDermid #77, Jake Fraser-Burns #17 and Stuart Tranter #220 dominated at the front of the MG Cup races.

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 class 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.

 

After two hard-fought races Ian Boulton #74 emerged as MG Cup champion for 2023.

The MG B GT V8 of Russell McCarthy #93 leads James Wheeler #1 and Neil Fowler #86 around Murrays.

BCV8 Championship

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.

Ken Deamer #81 leads a gaggle of Class C cars around Coram.

Mark Wright #8 took a comfortable win in the Cockshoot Cup Race 1.

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.

David Morrison #1 retained his Cockshoot Cup championship crown.

Martin Morris #6 took overall victory in both Midget & Sprite Challenge races.

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!

Hugh Simpson #14, Midget & Sprite champion 2023.

Tylor Ballard #88 MG Trophy champion 2023

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 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. 

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 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.

Doug Cole #99 took victory in the last MG Trophy race to be run by the MG Car Club.

It’s all change now for the MG Car Club’s championships. After six decades, the club has regrettably taken the decision to withdraw from race organisation and the championships will be going there separate ways in 2024. It’s a very sad time for the club which, like the MG brand, is steeped in racing history but the racing will go on with different organisations. More news anon.

MG Trophy Races at MG-Triumph 100

The MG Trophy races at MG-Triumph 100 – Silverstone, 10th & 11th June, saw the return of Fred Burgess (ZR190) who, in 2021, was a consistent frontrunner in Class A and finished 3rd overall in the championship. Racing for the first time in 18 months, he immediately demonstrated that his absence from the track had not diminished his speed.

James Moreton (ZR170) returned to the Trophy grid for the first time in 2023. He was joined by newcomers, Jonathan Candler (ZR170) and Thomas Stanfield (ZR160) making a total entry of 22 cars, the best so far this season.

For the second successive year, Perrys MG generously sponsored our races and had a distinctive display of new cars which attracted much attention. Pete Macwaters, MG Trophy chairman presented a special ‘Thank You’ award and we are grateful to all the staff at the Aylesbury branch for their continued support.

Millers Oils also continued their invaluable sponsorship of the ‘Driver of the Race’ awards.

The Trophy qualifying session was shared with the 90 year old Triple-M machines. Due to the huge speed differential all the cars could not be on track at the same time so the 20 minute session was split between the two groups which meant the ZRs only had time for four laps. Adam Jackson took pole with Fred Burgess in P2 and Graham Ross P3. James Cole took Class B honours followed by Tylor Ballard and Jack Woodcock. Colin Robertson qualified the MG3 in P8 and Thomas Stanfield was the only runner in Class C.

Jackson got a good start to race 1 and headed the field for the first lap but Burgess moved into the lead at the start of lap two and moved clear to win by 5.2 seconds setting the fastest lap time of 2:27.493 on lap 4.

Jackson then headed a close three-way battle for second with Graham Ross and Doug Cole which went in Ross’s favour when he passed Jackson at Becketts at half distance and Cole had a spin at Vale on the final lap. Cole recovered to a distant fourth but got some recompense with the Millers Oils Driver of the Race award.

Tylor Ballard won Class B, beating Fergus Campbell by 2.2s, while Ballard’s closest challenger, James Cole, dropped out with a broken damper. John Donnelly, Robin Walker and Jack Meagher were also non-finishers.

Robertson was sadly handicapped by power steering problems but managed to bring the MG3 home in P10 while Stanfield crossed the line one lap in arrears.

Race two was much closer at the front as Jackson sorted his race one overheating problems with a radiator change. He passed Burgess to lead early on when Burgess missed a gear but Burgess was soon back ahead for a lead he kept to the flag, again setting the fastest lap time of 2:27.238. Jackson maintained his challenge until the final lap when he slowed as a CV boot blew filling the cab with smoke. He was still able to continue and maintained his position, crossing the line in P2, some 6 seconds adrift.

Ballard pipped James Cole for Class B honours, though Cole set the fastest Class B lap time and made it a family double by being awarded the Millers Oils Driver of the Race award.

Ross and Doug Cole both dropped out mid race, with alternator and gear linkage problems respectively and Woodcock retired from the Class B contest on lap 3.

Tylor Ballard now leads the championship standings with Adam Jackson P2 and Graham Ross P3.

The next MG Trophy races are scheduled for Cadwell Park on 30th July.

Adapted from the report by Graham Keilloh. Photographs by Dickon Siddall.

Season Opener for MG Car Club and Equipe Classic Racing

 The Brands Hatch Indy circuit was the venue for the first races of 2023 for the MG Car Club and Equipe Classic Racing. As always when these two organisations share the same billing the paddock was filled with huge variety of cars ranging from the pre-war Triple-Ms to mighty Cobras and Mustangs and modern racers in MG Trophy and MG Cup.

The driver profiles also make interesting reading, they come from all walks of life with the age range covering more than four decades 

As anticipated the drivers and cars lived up to expectations with entertaining, quality competition during the two day meeting within the intense Indy circuit bowl.

MGCC – F G Barnes MG Trophy Championship

Two-time MG Trophy champion Graham Ross, who had experienced a difficult 2022, took pole and emerged overall and Class A winner of both races in his left-hand-drive ZR 190.

After dropping to third on the opening lap of Race 1 Ross fought back and by lap four had claimed the lead which he held until the flag. Sadly his main Class A opposition evaporated when Doug Cole’s ZR 190 non-started with electrical problems. However, an intense battle between the ZR 170s propelled Fergus Campbell to the 2nd step of the podium, only 1.8 seconds adrift with Tylor Ballard 3rd overall and newcomer, Jack Woodcock, an impressive P4.

Jack Chapman, who rose from the back to P5 overall, was awarded Millers Oils Driver of the Race.

With his car now in good health, Doug Cole took the third slot on the grid for the second Trophy race. Ahead of him were Ross (2nd) and Lee Sullivan’s ZR 170 on pole. Sullivan led at the end of lap 1 but Ross demoted him to P2 on lap 2 and by lap 4 Cole had demoted him to P3. Cole got alongside Ross several times at Paddock and Druids, though Ross was the stronger at Graham Hill Bend and managed to resist Cole to take his second win of the weekend.

Behind them the Class B battle raged once more. Sullivan was leading Class B when he retired with a repeat of the technical woes which had also sidelined him in Race1. Ballard got into the Class B lead with a magnificent pass on Campbell, hanging on around the outside of Druids then getting the inside line for Graham Hill Bend. He went on to take the class win and the Millers Oils Driver of the Race award with Campbell P2 and James Cole P3.

MGCC – Cherished Vehicle Insurance MG Cup

The MG Cup races at Brands Hatch were graced with a celebrity on the grid. Race 1 pole was taken by none other than Lance Ellington, the Strictly Come Dancing singer who raced a Tomcat 220 Turbo in the 1990s’ Dunlop Rover Turbo Cup. This Brands event – back in a Tomcat – marked his return to competition after a quarter century away.

Ellington led race one early on, but it was another newcomer, Steve McDermid in his brand-new ZR 190, who took the lead on lap 5 where he remained until the flag. Ellington was second home on the road but got a 10-second penalty for starting just ahead of his grid slot. This let Ashley Woodward, whom Ellington pipped to the line, claim second place after all in his ZS 180. Woodward also got Driver of the Race.

Race two looked very similar to race one as McDermid again moved up quickly into the lead from fourth place. However this time Woodward, who’d led the first four laps, remained close to him. Then the race got turned on its head when the lead pair made contact at Druids, putting McDermid out.

Woodward continued in first but was hobbled by his resultant suspension damage and Ellington eventually passed Woodward’s understeering car to win and receive the  Driver of the Race award.

MGCC – Lackford Engineering Midget & Sprite Challenge

Stephen Watkins made a welcome return to the Midget & Sprite Challenge in his MG Midget, and won both Brands Hatch races from pole, and, for the first of them, he received the Steve Everitt Trophy, an award Watkins was delighted to receive as he had raced with Everitt in years gone by.

Neither of Watkin’s wins were straightforward. In the first race he had to resist Richard Bridge (Class E Austin Healey Sebring Sprite) who harried him throughout. Watkins though got a reprieve when the race ended four minuted early with a red flag caused by Hugh Simpson’s MG Midget stuck in the Paddock gravel. 

Reigning champion Pippa Cow started both races from the back of the grid after spinning out of a wet and tricky qualifying but in both races she climbed quickly through the field to get with the lead group. In Race 1 she was third home, and second in Class E.

Bridge was unable to take part in Race 2 due to mechanical problems and Watkins was leading when the red flag flew again as a couple of cars pulled off and plenty of oil spilled on track.

And at the restart Cow got the lead from Watkins on the outside of Druids first time through but two laps later, at the same turn, Watkins retook P1 and stayed there until the flag. Cow came home in P2 and took the Class E win from James Hughes. Stanton again beat Simpson in Class D, and was awarded the Midget & Sprite Challenge’s Driver of the Meeting.

MGCC Baynton Jones Historic Motorsport Triple-M Racing Challenge

The Triple-M Racing Challenge had a significant double winner as Charles Jones, the head of series sponsor Baynton Jones Historic Motorsport, returned to race his MG L Magna for the first time in four years. He won both races from pole.

Jones was largely unchallenged in Race 1 after Andrew Long retired with supercharger problems and won by 12 seconds from the Class B winner, Mike Davies-Colley in his MG PA Special.

Tim Sharp in his MG PB was 4th overall and Class A winner just ahead of Steven McEvoy in his MG Magna F1 who won Class D. McEvoy was also awarded Driver of the Race.

Long had a disappointing day as he retired again with fuel pump failure on lap 1 leaving Jones to win Race 2 by 36s. Mark Dolton, in his MG PB, gpassed Davies-Colley at mid distance to finish P2 overall, win Class B and take the Driver of the Race award.

MGCC BCV8 Championship

The day started badly for Neil Fowler who missed qualifying as his fire extinguisher was set-off accidentally and he couldn’t fit a replacement before the session started.

Reigning champion James Wheeler took pole driving his dad’s Class C MG B but lost the lead to Ian Prior on lap 1. He was back in the lead a lap later but Fowler was on a charge from the back of the grid and by half distance had passed Wheeler for the lead.

Fowler won, despite a five-second penalty added for passing a car before the line at an early safety car restart, with Prior in P2 and Wheeler P3 and Class C winner. Russell McCarthy won Class B and Jordan Spencer Class AB.

In a repeat of Race 1 Fowler won Race 2 from the back of the grid with Prior in P2. Wheeler finished P3 and Class C winner with Guy Samuels taking Class B and Spencer victorious in Class AB again.

Equipe GTS

Tom Smith won Equipe GTS Race 1 in his MG B Roadster. After an early red flag he took the lead which he held to the flag. Smith was was gifted some breathing space as Oliver Pratt in his Morgan Plus 4 had a poor start from pole and dropped to mid-pack before recovering to finish in P2, the deficit just 2.5.

Pratt got the better of Smith in the also-restarted Race 2. He got the lead from Smith at the restart and Smith was unable to mount a meaningful challenge as he had made changes to his MG B between races. He admitted later that they may have been counterproductive.

Equipe 70s

In Equipe’s new 1970s series Andrew Wenman’s Morgan claimed pole and initially led Race 1, but at two-thirds’ distance he spun at Surtees and lost the lead to Stephen Winter’s Porsche 911. Wenman fought back and trimmed the deficit before he lost more time with a mistake at the exit of Graham Hill Bend.

Wenman prevailed in Race 2 taking the lead at the start and stretching his advantage over Winter to 14.2 seconds at the end.

Rob Cull debuted his pristine Ford Capri but sadly retired two laps from the end of Race 1 and was unable to appear for Race 2.

Equipe Pre 63 / 50s

Damp conditions during qualifying hampered Nigel Winchester in his beautifully prepared Shelby and he started the opening Equipe Pre 63 / 50s race from 11th. But in the dry Race 1 he charged through the field to P2 on the first lap. At one-third’s distance he passed Joe Willmott’s Healey 3000 for a lead he didn’t lose.

In Race 2 Winchester started from pole and led all the way. But this time he was hounded by a pack of chasing cars and had to resist an attacking Nick Finburgh (Lola) who ran in P2 for the latter part of the race. Winchester’s superior straight-line speed kept him ahead, but a five-second track-limit penalty meant that Finburgh took home the laurels.

Equipe Libre

Chris Beighton’s Sunbeam Tiger, which will race at Le Mans Classic this summer, led all of the opening Equipe Libre race from pole to win by 5.6 seconds from Rick Willmott’s AC Cobra.

Beighton looked on course to repeat the win in Race 2 but dropped to P4 after a spin at Clearways. He recovered to P2 but retired soon afterwards when the Sunbeam started to smoke handing the win to the Lotus Elan of Gerard Buggy.

The next meeting got the MG Car Club championships will be on 13th May at Oulton Park whilst Equipe Classic Racing will be on track again the same weekend on the Brands Hatch GP circuit.