Of the twenty cars initially signed up to race on the excellentSnetterton 300 circuit 19 made it to the track, well I say that but Peter Burchills ZS did have to be brought in by the Twigger Rescue Service asunfortunately Petes tow vehicle broke down on the way to the circuit. You havemy sympathies Peter as this is exactly what happened to me prior to the Silverstone GP event earlier this year with Steve Tyler helping to recover mycars!
So on bright and sunny Saturday the 19 went out to get to gripswith a fun mix of high speed and handling tarmac. Chris Whitewicks MGF onlylasted one lap. His hope of the piglets keeping up service on the vehicle whilst he was away from the farm had not been realised and a rear wheel bearingdisintegrated. Clearly as Jon Harker was missing Chris has decided to takeup his position with the earliest exit possible.
Next to go was Iain Dowlers ZR170 asit sadly developed an electrical fault on the second lap and had tobe towed back in. At the top end of the lap times the cheeky chappyRichard Buckley set the fastest qualifying time of 2:19:421 in his Rover 220 Turbo and then in order to ensure no one would beat it decided to do a Schumacher and block the track to get the session red flagged, however this wasn’t a tap into a barrier but a ‘gentle’ roll at Nelson cornerprior to the bomb hole. A bit of a waste and a lot of work for Mr Buckley whotook it really well and I hear that it has spurned some letter writing to getthe sausage kerb removed as corner cutting can be controlled by camerasnowadays. Second and third on the grid were taken by the Metro 190s of MikeWilliams and outgoing champion Alan Brooke. There was a reasonably good spreadof times and class overlaps between A,B & C with the back of the grid’highlighted’ by the day-glow orange ZS 180 of Nigel Bayston in his first everrace.
The planned race start of the first double header before lunch wasdelayed as the Morgan race had laid down a lot of oil around Coram and sometime was given for the cement dust to soak it up. This was a good decision inmy view as we found out an hour later that the effects had been effectively reduced by the time we went back to try again. This gave Iain Dowlers team somemore time to try and find the electrical gremlin but it still eluded them at13:00
Still sunny, but now missing a Tomcat, ZR170 and MGF the race got started shortly after 1:10pm. I got a good start in my ZR170 and could see I needed to try to keep up with Peter Burchills ZS180 as Dan Jones, my main competition in class B, got back to grips with his car after some time off. Initially he dropped away but I could see he was learning and as Peter fed me various camouflaging materials from the track, grass, dirt, gravel and cement dust, Dan loomed in the rear view mirror. Directly in front Peter was having fun with the other class C cars and eventually the bunching allowed Dan to get past at one point. In my attempt to get back I out braked myself at the end of the Bentley straight and had to go down the escape road. This only allowed that group with Dan in to pull away to a point I could not recover with him taking the class B win.
Elsewhere Alan Brookes Metro 190 had a throttle issue and retired on lap 4 the same lap as Kayleighs Tomcat and Mike Williams Metro 190 exited on lap 6.
This left Peter Burchills class C ZS180 battling with Matt Simpsons Tomcat, Matt took the win by one second. The quick learningDan Jones’ class B ZR170 only one more second behind in third overall.
Further down the order 2018 class A and overall champion Darren Harris’ class A ZR160 was looking to clean up whatever else he could and hetook the class A win shaving 0.25s off the lap record.
Steve Tyler was much happier now he had replaced the two part piston in No4 cylinder earlier in the week but must have over achieved with the rebuild of Aaron Ross’s carbon copy ‘British Legends’ ZR160 as Aaron lapped 1.5s quicker than Steve taking 2nd in class A. Dale Reet split the two of them taking the third class A spot and collecting one of MGCC’s heavyweight glass awards.
Nigel Bayston brought home the dayglow Orange ZS to complete his first ever race with Rod Oakenfulls MGB some way ahead.
A slightly delayed 2nd race around 16:30 still wasn’t enough time for the Dowler ZR170’s electrical issues to be resolved so 16 cars again gridded up in yet more bright sunshine… yes, really no wind or rain.
Hoping to improve my performance and not make any errors in race two I put some new tyres on thinking this might be what I needed to hold off Dan Jones. My good start was immediately stifled as Dave Nixon missed 2nd gear and I had to lift off in a hurry, not darting left or right as it would have caused a startline shunt in the traffic. Safe, but this allowed Dan Jones ZR170 to go straight round the outside and I had all the work to do to try and vie for the class B win. This all turned out to be a bit hopeless as Dan turned up the wick and drove a couple of seconds a lap quicker than me taking the lap record in class B by 0.8s, the win, driver of the race, and I was informed on Monday, driver of the day (award in the post). I did try but only succeeded in making my wife laugh and my son cry as I had a huge 70mph slide through Nelson corner in the infield falling back further.
Meanwhile the whole class C crew seemed to be having a very interesting day with some good mixed racing. Alan Brooke had screwed his Metro 190 throttle cable back on and he nibbled 0.7s off the lap record he set last year taking second overall behind Matt Simpsons Tomcat. Peter Burchills ZS180 continued to be reliable and clocked up a third in class C only 0.2s behind Brooke with Dave Nixons Tomcat in fourth after he remembered how to use the gear lever.
In the midfield again Darren Harris took the class A win and further improved the class lap record taking it down to 2:23.970. Kayleigh Twiggers Tomcat chased him in two seconds behind at the flag.
Next it was Aaron Ross ZR160 again for 2nd in class A but this time Steve Tyler drove a bit quicker to take the 3rd in class with Dale Reet a little behind in 11th overall.
Previous MG Cup regular Dave Strike was driving his spare MGB race car in both races, really in preparation for the BCV8 this coming weekend on the same Snett 300 layout. He said he was lonely but Ginny will no doubt sort that out.
Unfortunately Craig Baystons dayglow ZS did not finish the second race as neither did Mike Williams’ Metro 190. The power both eluding the engine and the starter motor as it seemed to need to be pushed around a lot.
Alan Jacksons ZR175 converted rally car running Vauxhall stickers, five spoke staralloys and looking a bit like an Astra completed both races in class I. The remaining MGB regular Rod Oakenfull closed out the finishers.
For all the lap time information you can as usual visit the TSL website here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/183953
For Dickon Siddalls photography of the event please see https://www.dsdigital.co.uk/motorsport-photographs-2018/gallery304/ If you have a look around this site you can find all our previous races this year and more, maybe even purchase one of his excellent shots.
Ian Boulton made a guest appearance at the circuit, not competing as his car still needing work after the unfortunate Oulton incident and possibly remembering last years exploits at Snetterton in the cool temperatures where his cars ‘heating system’ was somewhat excessive.
Thank you for everyone attending the end of day awards, they were again the usual cheery affair hosted by Mark Baulch.
Darren Harris served up some lovely chilli and butter chicken dishes in the after raceget together where we debated the day and racing subjects. Thank you for that.
I hope the Dowler car was fixed eventually as they were still working on it as the sun went down!
Please look out for the final paperwork from Kevin Hewer for the 17th November awards party. We have a swing and pop singer booked this year which should be entertaining.
When I may have any programme offer from MGCC for next year I will distribute it for discussion but as you know we have proposed many ideas for improvement. What the MGCC race sub committee for 2019 want to do has not been clearly stated to us to date and without the strategy the committee can’t negotiate with any potential sponsors or form a plan.
Have a good weekend.
Nick Arden on behalf MG Cup.