Monthly Archives: July 2018

Donington Race 2 Report by Ian Boulton

Race 2 report by Ian Boulton

So as the grid assembled for race 2 we were unfortunately two drivers short.

Jonathan Harker had once again suffered with his LE500 season long brake issues and he didn’t feel comfortable driving the car.
David Thompson’s rental car was still in the garage with the mechanics trying their best to fix the problem.
So the slightly reduced grid of 19 PBIC cars and 14 Metro Cup cars took to the track.
Class C
Richard Buckley had recovered from his last minute, 4 lap, super dash qualifying and took up P2 on the grid next to Peter Burchill who had managed to grab pole position away from the Tomcats. Matt Simpson was on row 2 in his super shiny Tomcat, on row 4 there was the hyper dayglow orange dream machine of Craig Bayston.  A little further down the grid on row 7 was Kayleigh Twigger, feeling more confident racing in her back garden. Dave Nixon was parked right behind her and keen to get going, after months off racing following engine issues. Mike Willliams knew that his rocket powered Metro did not actually need to qualify so he took up his position on the back of the grid, surrounded by old friends from the Metro Cup and ready to embark on his burn from the stern. As the lights went out Mr Buckley shot forward, Mr Burchill went backwards and Mr Simpson joined Mr Buckley at the front as they turned into Redgate. They were probably both surprised to find the 1.4 litre Metro of Jack Ashton was keen to take them on for the race lead. After a super start Richard Buckley was not to see another car again until he started lapping Metros on lap 8 and would continue to lead the race all the way to the chequered flag for a convincing win. Peter Burchill was keen to recover from his poor start and slipped back in front of Matt Simpson under braking into the old hair pin. Matt Simpson was still fighting hard but now with the Metro of Jack Ashton. At the other end of the grid Mike Williams had passed 5 cars before Redgate, passed Kayleigh Twigger by the old hairpin and had overtaken 18 cars by the end of the first lap! He passed Dave Nixon going into Redgate on lap 3 to get up to P5 in class. A lap later he repeated the move on Craig Bayston  for P4, on lap 5 he passed Iain Dowler and Matt Simpson and on lap 6 he found that Ian Boulton was only too keen to surrender P3 (for some reason) and he let him through. He then continued to chase Peter Burchill for P2 and eventually went down the outside of Peter approaching Redgate putting him both P2 in class and overall.  Peter put in a sterling effort chasing after the Metro and attempting to not break at all for the chicane. On the final lap Peter suddenly remember that he was now writing the race report so he turned left rather than right at then chicane leaving Ian Boulton 3rd place and the race report to write. Class C finished Buckley P1, Williams a very hard earned P2, Burchill 3rd in class. Craig Bayston finished an impressive 4th in class having got in front of Matt Simpson on lap 10, Craig also took a second and a half of his best qualifying lap time. 5th in class was Dave Nixon who had negotiated his way past Kayleigh Twigger and Simpson, in his first completed race since Snetterton last season. Despite power issues costing Matt Simpson about 2 seconds a lap, from lap 9 onwards he managed to finished 6th in class after a long race being swamped by Metros. Kayleigh Twigger finished 7th and had run a great race despite a little spin exiting Redgate on lap 13. Kayleigh was clearly getting more confident in her car as she also managed to shave over two seconds off her qualifying lap time taking her into the 1:26 zone.

Class B welcomed Shaun Holmes who had purchased beautiful blue ZR to have a go at front wheel drive racing, starting on row twelve amongst the Metros. Iain Dowler was also back with a vengeance after half a season absence and was starting on row three, Ian Boulton lined up behind him in his ZR. James Darby, who holds the class B lap record at Donington, started on row 6 in his MGB alongside the gleaming ZR of Nick Arden. As the lights went out the Dowler’s ZR was struggling to get into gear and anchored behind Burchill’s ZS that was also struggling to move. Boulton drifted past Dowler into the class lead. Back on row 6 Arden had made a better start than Darby and was up to P3 in class. Dowler was hot on Boulton’s tail for the first two laps leaving Boulton little choice but to get in front of the speedy Tomcat of Matt Simpson. Boulton closed his eyes and slung his ZR round the outside of Simpson round the Craners and then managed to keep the tomcat behind for long enough to put a cushion between himself and Iain Dowler. Dowler continued to push hard and chase after the Metros and Matt Simpson. This tenacity was rewarded the black and white flag with a 5 second penalty for racing class C cars too hard. Having an equally impressive battle further down class B were the MGB of Mr Darby and the ZR of Mr Arden. The two were never more than 2.5 seconds apart, Nick managed to hold James off until lap 5 when the two cars were side by side though the Schwantz curve and McLeans. Mr Darby edged ahead as the two turned into Coppice and took P3 in class. The race for P3 was not over and went right down to the wire with the two cars finishing 0.4 seconds apart! Shaun Holmes was enjoying racing with the Metros he also improved his best qualifying lap time by 2 seconds. Class B finished Boulton P1, Dowler P2, Darby P3, Arden P4 and Holmes P5.

Class A had 6 contestants, Hannah Brian was out for her first drive of the season with her Metro gleaming with its new bum and feeling comfortably at home with all the other Metros (4 of whom she had out qualified). Dale Reet was also out for his first race in his equally shiny 160ZR. Hannah made the better of the starts and led Dale for the first three laps. Dale managed to get ahead of Hannah and also managed to reduce his best qualifying lap time by 3.5 seconds. At the other end of class, Darren Harris led Steve Tyler off the lights with Stuart Emmett taking up P3 in class, Steve was hot on Darren’s tail for all of lap 1 until the two were briefly split by the rocket powered Mr Williams making his way through from the rear. The top three stayed in that order for the race although they had some fun with a few Metros on their way to the flag. Rod Oakenfull was in P4 in class and had a great race with the Metros. He also managed to reduce his best qualifying lap time by 2 seconds during the race.

The only DNF was Chris Hughes the sole runner in the invitational class, in his beautifully prepared 1.6 litre Rover 100 which completed 13 of the 14 laps and produced some impressive lap times.

It was another weekend of rapid repairs and some very close racing but all went home without any major damage and most with big smiles from a great days racing on our hottest race day of the year so far.



Donington Race 1 report by Mike Williams

Race Report by Mike Williams – After the Silverstone issues, I had used up all my spare R65 gearbox parts (Metro Gearbox). I decided to go the R65 route for this season as the sheer amount of spares I had made more economical sense back in March when I started to build the car for the MG Cup.

Four months later, it was time to try the PG1 gearbox. For the sake of my wallet, not to mention my sanity.

An evening’s testing at Donington a few weeks ago showed that after 2 hours of track time, the gearbox was still working fine. That was actually more track time than I had managed in all the races and qualifying so far this season with three R65 gearboxes! Bring on the race!

During the testing, I noticed the brakes had started to fade and upon checking them at home, I noticed I had taken the pads almost down to the metal and there was a small leak on the rear cylinder. I replaced all that I needed to and whilst I was at it, I decided to do the “almost bi-monthly” rear wheel bearing change that the poor Metro requires. “Best safe than sorry” I thought!


Qualifying: A new gearbox in the car so what could possibly go wrong? I got out near the front of the near 40 car line up so some clear track time was almost guaranteed. The first lap was about warming up the tyres as per normal and this went as planned as well as getting a few cars that were in front, behind me for a clearer track. The second lap was about putting my foot down and starting the timed laps. Through Redgate, still in 4th I was motoring towards Craner curves. Craner is flat out in 5th in the Metro, a little lift to negate any power on understeer but the car is on the limit of grip at what I can only guess is 105 to 110mph? Unfortunately on this occasion, I had approached a slower car still warming up so rather than be an idiot and squeeze past them, I lifted and cruised down craners and most likely did 30mph slower.

Taking the apex on the left of the curves, I heard the most horrific squeal from the car. Whilst trying to approach the old hairpin and the back end of the car wanting to overtake me on the right, all sorts of “what the hell” thoughts were going through my mind. I couldn’t brake for the old hairpin as the rear was still fighting me but I needed to take the corner regardless. So, the only thoughts were to turn in and see what happens.

As expected, the rear of the car was now trying to overtake me on the left hand side, only this time, it was winning. So, full opposite lock to and full right foot ensued. Somehow, I managed to keep the car pointing in the right direction as well as keeping 2 of the wheels on the circuit.

Had this been lap 3 or later, I’d have squeezed past the car still warming up, and I’d have been travelling 30mph or so faster when all this happened. Lucky boy! And thanks, whoever you were, warming your tyres.

The live facebook live video captured the whole episode and one comment made by a viewer captured my feelings of what happened perfectly. It said, “You’re gonna need a shovel after that!”. I couldn’t explain it better myself!

You can find the live facebook feed on the MG Cup Forum. The incident happens around 6m 50s.

This is the rear tyre after the incident:

mike williams tyre

The shovel was a good idea!!! I’d gone through all the tread, through the canvas, through the next layer of rubber and also through the metal plys. Not sure how much there was left to go through!!!

Race 1:

Starting at the back is always fun, but how much progress can you make when you are 33rd on the grid at a Circuit like Donington? My thoughts of making a half decent finish were to push the car 110%. Sod tyre management, sod caution, go flat out from the start with the only reservation being not to hurt anyone else!

The detail is a blur to be honest, but I have the TSL live timing in my car so I used this as a gauge of how hard I needed to keep pushing.

I had a great start as seeing the lights from the back is almost impossible but I could see them through someone elses screen when most likely most others around me could not. I had managed to pass 7 or 8 cars before taking two wheels only the grass on the right, avoiding a collision of course! J

Redgate was jammed so it was a case of running in line with everyone else but I had managed to pass 12 cars by this point. I kept my patience as we came out of Redgate and buried the right foot lifting only once to avoid a car before the old hairpin. I had managed to pass another 5 or so cars before braking for the old hairpin but I had to brake late to make the move which resulted in the rear trying to overtake me.

By the end of lap 1 I had managed to pass another 3 cars and the TSL screen showed me I was up to 12th position and only 6.5 seconds behind the leader.

Second time around Redgate, I had to take to the outside line as a Metro had spun in front sending cars scattering in all directions but I kept it on the black stuff, I kept it buried until the old hairpin again.

By the end of lap 2, I was up to 6th position, but I was now over 7 seconds behind the leader. I needed to push harder.

I was up 4th as we ended lap 3 and the gap to the front had come down to 6.5 seconds again so I kept pushing 110% hoping I could catch the leaders. I was spurred on somewhat now as I could clearly see them in front of me on the straights.

It took another 2 laps to get to 3rd as the cars I was chasing were being piloted very well. By the end of lap 5 I was less than 4 seconds off the leader (Richard) and Peter was practically right in front of me now.

Lap 6 was now about getting past Peter but where I had been lapping in the 1m 24s previously, my lap times were now in the 1m 26s and I could feel the front tyres were noticeably poor on grip. I was taking corners in 3rd where I had previously done so in 4th so I decided to let the tyres cool for a few laps and then make my attack.

As much as I waited and took a little bit of time with the tyres, they did not seem to be coming back to life and the laps were now passing without making any progress on the front two. By the end of lap 8, I was back down to just 4 seconds off the lead with Peter right in front of me again. The tyres had not come back to life, but it was now or never with only 5 or so laps remaining. If I could make a second a lap like earlier, then I would have a whole lap to fight for the lead? Or so I thought….


As I approached Goddards at 120mph, I braked as I had previously only to find the front tyres locking. I nursed the speed down but it was still far too fast to negotiate the car between the sausage kerbs of Goddards and emerge with the wheels pointing in the same directions as they had been pointing prior to entering the corner. I opted to miss the corner and take 2 wheels onto the tarmac and 2 wheels onto the gravel just behind the corner but crossing the line confirmed what I already knew. I was now 9 seconds behind the leader and the only thing my 100% effort would now yield was the possibility of losing 3rd place, possibly worse if I had hit the kerbs at Goddards.

It was just a case of getting the car back in the position I was in, and enjoying what I remembered of the 20 minute blur that had just occurred.


Having looked at my front tyres after the race, the Goddards incident was most likely a blessing in disguise. The tyres had delaminated and I had lost possibly 25% of the tyres surface area. No amount of nursing these tyres was going to bring them back but had I pushed further, I could have possibly lost them altogether.

A big thanks to everyone who raced and made that one of the most fun races I’d had for some time.

mgcup race 1 donington 15 july

mgcup race 1 donington 15 july 02

Pitures by Flying Tigers Photography (thanks Peter)  link to photos  –   please ask photographers permission before using.