MG Trophy Race Report – Thruxton – 18 May 2024

“A lot of bang for your buck’, said one of the commentators who compared this season’s ZR and Jaguar battles to the titanic Mini and Ford Falcon duels of the 1960s. 

The speed and agility of the MGs clearly impressed again and demonstrated that the Class B cars are extremely competitive and able to challenge the more powerful but heavier Jaguars with whom they share the track this year. 

The last time the MG Trophy visited Thruxton was in 2012. Then the grid of 10 cars had a single 20 minute race which was won by Dan Neaves in his ZR190; Alastair Rushforth was best of the ZR160s. 

Twelve years later and the MG Trophy was back for two 20 minute races with a small but extremely talented group of drivers who did the championship proud and put on an excellent display of racing at close quarters which excited the commentators and spectators alike.


This year’s championship regulars were joined by Jack Woodcock who was able to do a deal to rent DC Motorsport’s ZR170 for his first appearance of the year thanks to generous sponsorship from Clearview Movable Wall Solutions.

Sadly the first retirement of the meeting was Andrew Rogerson who experienced mechanical issues and was unable to take part in the proceedings.

Fergus Campbell, in his dayglow orange machine, declared his intentions right from the start and was consistently quick throughout the session and took pole by 0.3s from reigning Trophy champion, Tylor Ballard. Despite two deleted lap times for exceeding track limits, James Cole took P3 with Jack Woodcock P4. Datoma Motorsport team mates, James Blake and Matt Harvey were 5th and 6th fastest respectively.

Race 1

The MGs formed up at the rear of the grid, a couple of rows behind the prowl of fifteen Jaguars from the Berkshire Jag Components Jaguar Championship which started when the lights went out. The Union flag flew some 10 seconds later to get the ZRs underway with Campbell converting pole into the lead. Woodcock got a great start from P4 and was initially alongside Ballard but then dropped back a little and by the time they exited the Complex for the first time the six cars were line astern in the order they qualified.

The leading three ZRs all got great exits from the chicane at the end of lap 2 and out-dragged the last of the Jaguars on the run to Allards. The ZRs then continued to work their way past their BMC cousins, the favourite overtaking areas being the approach to the Complex and the Chicane where they could brake so much later than the Jags.

Whilst Campbell stayed out in front, Ballard and Cole disputed second place with several changes of position. The lead changed hands on lap 6 when Cole got an excellent run out of the Chicane and scampered past Campbell on the start/finish straight. Further back Woodcock dropped to the back of the pack after taking a wild ride across the grass to avoid a spinning Jag.

A lap later Campbell lost momentum behind one of the Jags on the exit of Segrave which allowed Ballard up into P2 and then Woodcock overtook Blake for P5. 

The race came to an end for Campbell with three laps remaining when he pulled off the circuit and he was followed into retirement a lap later by Ballard with timing gear failure. That left Cole to take the win and with it the Millers Oils Driver of the Race award. Matt Harvey was ecstatic to pick up the P2 trophy and James Blake was classified P3 after Woodcock was penalised for a false start.

Race 2

The start of the second race of the day for the MG Trophy championship was very much a replay of race 1. With repairs completed, it was Ballard on pole this time but Campbell got another great start and led into Allard with Ballard in P2 and the others squabbled for position. Harvey was up to P3 at the end of the lap but was was demoted to P5 when Cole and Woodcock got past him on the following tour. Throughout the race the train of ZRs remained pretty much intact though the gaps between the cars ebbed and flowed as they wove their way past the Jaguars. Ballard and Cole disputed P2 with Cole holding the position for a couple of laps before Ballard regained the spot on lap 6. Woodcock and Harvey were constantly in close attendance but it was clear that the former had his mind firmly set on making up for his race 1 penalty. He mounted a determined challenge to move up the order and he finally pulled off an audacious move into the Chicane on lap 10 to demote Ballard whose exit was compromised which allowed Cole through into P3. 

Campbell’s mirrors were soon filled with white and orange as Woodcock closed on the leader. However, Campbell was able to withstand the pressure and on the last lap pulled off a sensational move into the Complex to put two midfield Jags between himself and Woodcock and seal a much deserved win with Woodcock P2 and Cole P3.

His classy performance also won Campbell the Millers Oils Driver of the Race award.

The next outing for the MG Trophy Championship will be at Silverstone on 1st June.

Words by Dickon Siddall. Photos courtesy of Steve Jones and David Stallard.