SILVERSTONE MG90 – 20/21 JUNE 2014
PETER BEST INSURANCE MG CUP RACE REPORT
A sun filled weekend was forecast for MG Car Clubs premier event of the season, celebrating 90 years of MG production with a packed race programme and plenty of off track activities to keep the many spectators entertained.
As in previous years the Peter Best cars were combined with the Cockshoot Cup runners, resulting in a mad dash for track position at the start of the session.
Finding space for a clear lap proved difficult for many of the drivers and lap times were slower than might have been expected for many of them.
A terminal engine problem during Friday practice for Class C championship leader Andrew Young meant he couldn’t join the other 53 cars for the late morning 20 minute qualifying session. This handed class C and overall pole to Robert Campbell in the other MGC. Class B pole and second overall on the grid went to Simon Cripps however Cripps suffered a problem which prevented him from taking his place on the grid. Class C contenders Tom Diment and Alan Brooke made up the second row. 2013 Class A champion James Walpole was clearly back in form turning in some early quick times to end up on the third row alongside Chris Dear in the class B midget. A problem with a loose wheel caused Paul Eales to abandon his class A GT at Luffield mid session which resulted in a safety car for several laps whilst the car was recovered. With only a few minutes remaining after the all clear, most drivers struggled to improve their lap times.
Rod Oakenfull, making his debut in his nicely prepared GT qualified alongside Terence Dear at the back of the grid.
After a long wait a depleted group of drivers finally took to the track at 5.30pm for the last race of the day on saturday. A brake issue meant Clive Jones completed only one lap in qualifying, but was allowed to start from the back of the grid. Paul Eales couldn’t get his car repaired in time so forfeited his class A second place slot in the line up. Richard Wilson had gearbox issues and couldn’t make the start. On the warm up lap, James Walpole pulled over with a misfiring engine, which left David Strike, Kevin Hewer, Michael Piggott, Rod Oakenfull and Clive Jones to contest the Class A positions.
A split start had been negotiated with the organisers, so the Cockshoot Cup got underway leaving the Peter Best cars awaiting the Union Flag drop which came about forty seconds later.
A clean start was made by all, Campbell streaking off into an immediate lead which he held comfortably until the end. Alan Brooke and Tom Diment followed behind having a race long battle with Brooke coming out on top to claim second spot in class C. Diment finished third just ahead of class B winner Chris Dear. Paul Khouri made it into second in class B. James Darby was in contention for a class win until his engine developed problems on lap 5 enabling Steve Dowler to claim third in class B.
In the class A battle David Strike headed the reduced class into the first corner. Some close first lap racing with out of position class C and B cars of Shaun Holmes and Tyrone White added to the excitement on the track but within a couple of laps the midfield became stretched out with Strike eventually taking his maiden class A win and fastest lap in class ahead of Kevin Hewer in his newly rebuilt GT with seasoned veteran Michael Piggott in third. Clive Jones failed to complete a lap as his brake problems returned. Rod Oakenfull picked up the points for fourth place and improved his lap times.
The second race of the weekend for the Peter Best Cars was race 12 on the card just after lunch on Sunday. Another warm day and some frantic pit work from Eales, Wilson and Jones saw them take their places on the grid. However Alan Brooke, Simon Cripps, James Darby and Michael Piggot failed to make the starting lineup.
With positions being based on the second fastest times in qualifying the grid formed up with Campbell on the front row, Diment and Dear on the second row, Strike on his own on row three, Paul Eales’repaired car back in row four followed by Wilson and a rare appearance from Barry Holmes.
The flag dropped and once again Rob Campbell was out of the blocks quickly and headed the field into the first corner. Unfortunately it appeared he had made a jump start but the overall result was unaffected due to his considerable lead over the field. With the absence of Brooke, Diment picked up second place with Chris Dear in third overall and first in class B.
The class A race looked set to thrill and from the off didn’t disappoint. Eales took the lead into Copse meanwhile the rest of class A were jockeying for positions with some of the class B and C cars. Going into The Loop it was four abreast with Strike, Shaun Holmes and Wilson with Jones on the outside. Jones ran out of track, spun off and slipped back down the field but came back to finish fourth whilst Eales and Strike traded fastest lap times, Eales just getting the honour. Wilson lost power and limped to the end, so the finishing order was Eales first, then Strike with Hewer in third.
An excellent weekend with plenty of on track excitement and much activity in the pits with a high attrition rate.
We now look forward to the next race meeting at Donington on 3rd August. See you there.