MGCC MG Cup powered by Cherished Vehicle Insurance
An almost perfect score of two wins, two fastest laps and a pole position clinched a first MG Cup overall championship crown for Mike Williams, who overhauled a pre-weekend deficit to Class B leader Iain Dowler.
The Rover Metro-mounted Williams was beaten to race one’s pole position by Morgan Short (MG ZS 180) but wheelspin for Short at the start allowed Williams to make the best getaway and from there he never looked back. Short had also fallen behind the Rover 220 Tomcat Turbo of Matt Simpson and spent the rest of the race trying to manufacture a way past Simpson and the similar Tomcat of Richard Buckley who passed Short as they squabbled at the start of the second lap. Buckley then immediately demoted Simpson for second at Agostini, before Short’s around-the-outside attempts through Oggies and Williams were thwarted by the Tomcats’ superior power down the Bentley Straight. When Short tried the outside line at Coram he ran wide and spun, dropping down the order before eventually recovering to fourth. Williams led home Buckley by nearly 18 seconds, despite a late off as he tried to make sure of the point for fastest lap, with Simpson third.
The scrap for Class B honours was particularly entertaining. Dowler’s MG ZR 170 made a poor start from class pole and, as he tried to quickly recover, contact at Agostini cost him his rear bumper and a lot of time as he fishtailed wildly out of the corner. It was left to good friends Ian Boulton and Dan Jones (both in ZR 170s) to contest the class victory. Boulton eventually prevailed by just 0.4s and was named the commentators’ Driver of the Race. Dowler recovered to third but fell back behind Carl Robinson – 2020’s overall champion stepping up to Class B and making a first appearance of the season – when a 5s track limits penalty was applied.
The overall points advantage had now swung in favour of Williams, and the championship destiny was in his hands. With Short having set only one representative lap time in qualifying after a number of track-limits breaches, Williams was able to convert pole position into a lead he wouldn’t relinquish. Buckley demoted Simpson from second at the Brundle and Nelson esses but mechanical failure then pitched him off at Coram and into retirement. Williams took the victory from Simpson – who was named Driver of the Race – and Peter Burchill (MG ZS 180) after Short’s drive through the field was hampered by an excursion at the Wilson hairpin.
Jones took Class B honours after another close scrap, while Boulton’s late pass of Robinson for second at Agostini was reversed when the race was red-flagged and the result taken from a lap earlier. Dowler could only manage fourth in class after a gear-selector issue left him struggling to find gears.
Aaron Ross (MG ZR160) edged the Class A honours in both races, pipping Stephen Highley in the opener and Steve Tyler later on, as an entertaining – and clean – scrap between the three sadly ended with Highley crashing onto his roof (without injury), bringing a premature end to the race.
“It was tough,” said a delighted Williams. “I did only what I could do – just go out there and get fastest lap and the race win to get the maximum points, and hope that he [Dowler] dropped some points.
“It was nice having Matt behind me because he defended my lead quite nicely! Probably the last two or three laps I started to cool it down a bit.”