MG Live Race Report….
The Silverstone Grand Prix circuit has lived up to its reputation once again, along being the longest lap we do all season we also had the sun beating down all weekend making it even more strenuous on both the cars and the drivers.
Some had opted to go testing on the Friday before the race weekend to get those extra few laps in, and as is normally the case it was only a few laps as there were a few red flags flown which does tend to cut short the time you get on track. Track time was not something that Mike Williams in his Metro was after, it was garage time. After only getting the car back from having its engine fettled the day before he had brought a gearbox with him to change before getting the car through scrutineering. Now that’s leaving it to the last minute!
Although Mike, along with most of the drivers remembered to bring his car with him. Unlike Rich Buckley who dutifully turned up on race day and left the car at home. I do realise that getting older does have it’s problems and that memory loss happens occasionally, but it’s quite a fundamental part of car racing…. to bring the car!
That would have reduced our numbers to a lowly 14, buy thanks to Ray Ferguson joining the ranks and entering literally at the last moment we were back up to where we started.
And start they did.
The MG Cup racers were out for qually with the Midget championship, but everyone only managed to get a couple of laps in before mechanical failure of one of the midgets caused him to spin and drop a load of oil into the Brooklands complex. Several drivers touched the oil on the entry into the corner and ended up going wide, this obviously costs lap time and as it is such a long lap it takes nearly 3 minutes to hook up the next one.
The two formation flying Red Metros were topping the charts closely followed by Ian Boulton, Jon Harker & Matt Simpson. But this was not to last….
As it turns out the two Metros were very closely matched, both on spec and driver ability by the looks of things, as they stormed off the line and spent the next 15 minutes battling each other for the lead swapping places and not paint many times per lap, they were seen on a few occasions going in to turn one side by side. Not necessarily both pointing the same direction as each other as the Metros do seem to like a bit of the old ‘dab of opposite lock’.
But as I said this was not to last as the dreaded gearbox issues Mike had been so hasty to fix with the Saturday afternoon swap, came back to haunt him. He dropped off the pace and came in to retire the car. Unfortunately Jon Harker in the equally rapid LE500 had more issues of his own and had already dropped out on lap 2. He has had brake issues all year, but his sheer persistence means he keeps rebuilding again and again and keeps coming out racing, as his time in qually showed.
Matt Simpson was the other driver to head for an early ice cream as his Tomcats motor yelled enough and spat out all its coolant.
But the drive of the race for me had to be Ian Boulton, who was peddling his Class B ZR round at a lightning pace of 2:35.1 only a smidge over 2 seconds a lap slower than the Metro of Alan Brooke. He seemed to be having a great race early on with Pete Burchill who ended up finishing a well deserved 3rd overall.
So with only about 2 hours of free time between races Mike was mulling over changing the gearbox again, over going to the bar. He was coerced into the ‘box change by a fellow Metro nut by the name of Paul Ashton from the Purple Helmets, They had the box changed in record time and were just on the verge of being ready for the start of race 2. But a misfire was hampering proceedings and refused to let the engine run on anymore than 2 cylinders, as the lights went out on the staring gantry they called it a day. Great effort gents.
Jon Harker had also decided to give it a go and sort his car out along with the help of the Preptech team, but again they threw in the towel at the same time as Mike. It was not to be.
Shortly before the start of race two we were all treated to the thunderous roar of the Lancaster Bomber flying 200ft along the main straight, an absolutely amazing sight and it has to be said it frightened the life out of most people as no one knew it was going to happen. Maybe if the MGCC might have advertised this fly past beforehand there would have been a few less cups of tea thrown up in surprise…
It was with a slightly depleted field that the MG Cup brigade took to the start of race 2. To be honest it was sticky hot and the sun had been baking everyone and everything all day. I’ll bet all the drivers were glad to be able to get in the cars again and turn on the air-con….. But that was not an option for the 2017 Champion Alan Brook as the Metro was never adorned with such a glamorous addition. He managed to get a good start off the line and by the end of lap 1 he was enough ahead of the fast charging Ian Boulton and intended on staying there.
Craig Bayston, such a shy and retiring fellow in such an understated car was going very well in the sultry conditions and was on his way to earning a 3rd in Class C. It’s easy to miss him, so make sure you watch out for the chap at Donington…
Also making up time throughout the day was Rod Oakenfull, who has taking to sliding the car in and out of the corners these days. He’s reportedly on the new rubber from Yokohama and is using it up as fast as possible.
As the race started to draw to a close, it was clear to see that Alan had backed off the pace a little and just enough to stay in front of Ian, most of the pack had become a bit drawn out and everyone just wanted to bring the cars home in one piece.
2 drivers already back in the paddock were Steve Tyler & James Darby, the day had been long enough and they had decided that 20 minutes was just too long and neither of them managed to complete the first lap. The reason given for Darby’s MGB not completing the opening few miles was due to his shoes!! Which I’m sure is Racing Driver excuse #437b…..
The sun had been warming up the concrete paddock for so long that it had melted the glue on JD’s right boot, obviously he fixed this small dilemma with Gaffer Tape. The resulting extra 4mm of tape was just enough to push the accelerator peddle that bit too much and the throttle cable snapped. That really is the best excuse for finishing a race early because you wanted an ice cream that I’ve ever heard of!
As we all headed to the Prize Presentations we had yet another secret gift from the MGCC. We were all treated to the surprise Lancaster Bomber Flypast earlier in the day, and low and behold just before our trophy ceremony the RAF’s finest The Red Arrows flew over us at low level with red white and blue smoke following them!!! Amazing! But even more amazing was that apart from a few marshalls that were still out on track sweeping up the used rubber it was only us lot that saw them! Thanks MGCC, a Red Arrows display purely for the MG Cup…!
So it’s onto the undulating track of Donington for the next race meeting. Good luck to all those that are fixing their cars in readiness for races 7&8, especially to those that who’s names were pulled from the Reimbursement Draw who will all get 50% off their Donny entry.
Those drivers are:
See you all at Donington!!