MGCC MG Cup supported by Peter Best Insurance
Mike Williams continued his strong form in his swift Metro GTi by winning the opening MGCC MG Cup race supported by Peter Best Insurance. He led all the way from pole, though the race wasn’t entirely straightforward, as much of the 3.5s lead he had built early on was eliminated by a brief safety car call. Also Druids turn was treacherous for most of the distance due to oil on the circuit. “It was the scariest corner in the world before the oil went down and once there’s oil it is the scariest corner in the world plus!,” said Williams.
“It was just a case of hanging on in the first race, because I didn’t really need to push, I was about a second a lap slower than qualifying just to get me round.”
Williams beat championship-leader Richard Buckley’s Tomcat home by just under a second, with Matt Simpson’s fellow Tomcat close-at-hand in third. Stuart Tranter in the invitational class, also in a Tomcat, was fourth, just ahead of the ZS 180 of Peter Burchill, who got Driver of the Race for his effort.
Both the joint Class B championship leaders Iain Dowler and Ian Boulton hit problems in the first race. A piston or crankshaft failed on Dowler’s ZR 170 early on, which sent him spinning in a cloud of white smoke at Druids, miraculously without any of the “about eight” cars behind hitting him. He still had to sit out race two, as there wasn’t enough time to complete the required engine change.
Boulton had started at the back after a problem with the inlet manifold in qualifying meant the car wouldn’t accelerate properly and was short on revs. Having swapped the inlet manifold for the race he rose to run second in class, but his 170 slowed late on as he heard the big end bearings fail. He nursed his car to the end and passed through the pits on the final lap, wanting to not necessitate a recovery of his car or drop things on the track, only to discover that meant he was classified as a non-finisher. Third-in-the-table Chris Boulton took the Class B win, leading all the way.
Williams looked well on the way to winning the second race too but a brake problem pitched him off at Druids. “I was completely in control, I wasn’t pushing the car,” Williams added. “What I think happened is the brakes on one side either locked up or on the other side failed completely. I had to press harder and harder and I think I almost got down to the floor with the pedal and it pulled me to the right.”
This let Buckley through to win, holding at arm’s length a multi-car scrap for second, and he admitted that fortune smiled on him. “Mike was just too quick to be fair,” he said, “but then he had his brake problem, I just sort of managed the gap to the flag.”
The scrap behind had a dramatic conclusion. Matt Simpson got by Burchill for third at Hislops on the final lap with a sharp outbraking manoeuvre, then tried immediately to line up a similar move on second-placed Tranter at Druids but found at the corner that his brakes had gone! The pair therefore collided and were out, letting Burchill through to second while Chris Boulton got third and another Class B win.
Ian Boulton returned from his race one problems and again came charging through from the back and this time finished second in class. This also got him Driver of the Race. Carl Robinson took both Class A wins from Aaron Ross.