MGCC MG Cup supported by Peter Best Insurance – All change for MG Cups long-awaited Donington 2020 season-opener
MG Car Club’s 2020 racing season at last got underway with a packed meeting at a sunny and warm Donington Park. The meeting with Covid safety measures in place so paddock life was a little changed with out spectators.
MG Metro Cup champion Jack Ashton was yet another in upgraded equipment. He has replaced his 1.4-litre Metro engine with a 1.8-litre version for a move to MG Cup. And at Donington he immediately joined similarly equipped Mike Williams in fighting for victory.
Williams won the first race, while the pursuing Ashton retired with a broken gearbox. Reigning champion Richard Buckley, now in Class B with a ZR 170, rose to finish second overall ahead of Stuart Tranter’s Tomcat and got take the class win with it. Carl Robinson beat Dale Reet to Class A victory and was awarded Driver of the Race.
For race two Ashton installed a new gearbox with a diff in it, and found the car much improved. On lap one though while dicing for the lead with Williams in the Craners with his unfamiliar ‘box he selected second gear instead of fourth, locked his wheels and ran through the Old Hairpin gravel. “I over-revved it to God-knows-what rpm,” Ashton recalled. “Thought it was game over there and then but it still managed to keep on going.”
He quickly recovered to second, and before we could find out if he could haul Williams in, Williams pulled into the pits with a seized wheel bearing. “It just made the car undriveable,” Williams said, “it got to the point that it’s dangerous. It was a big lead, if the car was running fine I would have driven comfortably and maintained a distance [to Ashton].”
It left Ashton well clear, yet there was late drama as his Metro started to smoke, possibly related to the earlier over-rev, but he just held on to beat Tranter by a scant 0.6s.
“I tried to just limp it home, which I just about did!,” Ashton added. “It’s leaking oil internally, I think a cracked piston or something not good. But we finished!
“It’s testing the water with the new engine combo,” Ashton said of his weekend, “after putting a new diff in it after race one it felt really good, I could get on the power a lot better. Now it’s really singing. We hopefully can give Mike a good run for his money next time out.”
Williams concluded: “Good race win to start off with, it was great race. [Race two] I was in control – that kind of thing happens doesn’t it?”
Kayleigh Twigger completed the podium, competing in her dad Chris’s for-sale Tomcat in tribute to him as he is now unable to race due to motor neurone disease, and the tribute included running a ‘DAD 1’ number plate instead of the usual ‘TWIG 1’. Kayleigh also got Driver of the Race.
“First race it was fourth overall but I lost it as the driveshaft caputted, so I had a point to prove in this one [race two],” she said.
Dennis Robinson in his 170 won the Class B contest ahead of Buckley, who had a brief off at the Craners, while Carl Robinson again beat Reet to Class A honours.
Championship Points as follows