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.