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Class C Racer in the MG Cup - Carrying the touch for the MGZS V6

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.




MG Live Race Report

MG Live Race Report….

The Silverstone Grand Prix circuit has lived up to its reputation once again, along being the longest lap we do all season we also had the sun beating down all weekend making it even more strenuous on both the cars and the drivers.
Some had opted to go testing on the Friday before the race weekend to get those extra few laps in, and as is normally the case it was only a few laps as there were a few red flags flown which does tend to cut short the time you get on track. Track time was not something that Mike Williams in his Metro was after, it was garage time. After only getting the car back from having its engine fettled the day before he had brought a gearbox with him to change before getting the car through scrutineering. Now that’s leaving it to the last minute!

Although Mike, along with most of the drivers remembered to bring his car with him. Unlike Rich Buckley who dutifully turned up on race day and left the car at home. I do realise that getting older does have it’s problems and that memory loss happens occasionally, but it’s quite a fundamental part of car racing…. to bring the car!

That would have reduced our numbers to a lowly 14, buy thanks to Ray Ferguson joining the ranks and entering literally at the last moment we were back up to where we started.
And start they did.
The MG Cup racers were out for qually with the Midget championship, but everyone only managed to get a couple of laps in before mechanical failure of one of the midgets caused him to spin and drop a load of oil into the Brooklands complex. Several drivers touched the oil on the entry into the corner and ended up going wide, this obviously costs lap time and as it is such a long lap it takes nearly 3 minutes to hook up the next one.
The two formation flying Red Metros were topping the charts closely followed by Ian Boulton, Jon Harker & Matt Simpson. But this was not to last….

Race 1.

As it turns out the two Metros were very closely matched, both on spec and driver ability by the looks of things, as they stormed off the line and spent the next 15 minutes battling each other for the lead swapping places and not paint many times per lap, they were seen on a few occasions going in to turn one side by side. Not necessarily both pointing the same direction as each other as the Metros do seem to like a bit of the old ‘dab of opposite lock’.
But as I said this was not to last as the dreaded gearbox issues Mike had been so hasty to fix with the Saturday afternoon swap, came back to haunt him. He dropped off the pace and came in to retire the car. Unfortunately Jon Harker in the equally rapid LE500 had more issues of his own and had already dropped out on lap 2. He has had brake issues all year, but his sheer persistence means he keeps rebuilding again and again and keeps coming out racing, as his time in qually showed.
Matt Simpson was the other driver to head for an early ice cream as his Tomcats motor yelled enough and spat out all its coolant.

But the drive of the race for me had to be Ian Boulton, who was peddling his Class B ZR round at a lightning pace of 2:35.1 only a smidge over 2 seconds a lap slower than the Metro of Alan Brooke. He seemed to be having a great race early on with Pete Burchill who ended up finishing a well deserved 3rd overall.

So with only about 2 hours of free time between races Mike was mulling over changing the gearbox again, over going to the bar. He was coerced into the ‘box change by a fellow Metro nut by the name of Paul Ashton from the Purple Helmets, They had the box changed in record time and were just on the verge of being ready for the start of race 2. But a misfire was hampering proceedings and refused to let the engine run on anymore than 2 cylinders, as the lights went out on the staring gantry they called it a day. Great effort gents.
Jon Harker had also decided to give it a go and sort his car out along with the help of the Preptech team, but again they threw in the towel at the same time as Mike. It was not to be.

Shortly before the start of race two we were all treated to the thunderous roar of the Lancaster Bomber flying 200ft along the main straight, an absolutely amazing sight and it has to be said it frightened the life out of most people as no one knew it was going to happen. Maybe if the MGCC might have advertised this fly past beforehand there would have been a few less cups of tea thrown up in surprise…

Race 2.

It was with a slightly depleted field that the MG Cup brigade took to the start of race 2. To be honest it was sticky hot and the sun had been baking everyone and everything all day. I’ll bet all the drivers were glad to be able to get in the cars again and turn on the air-con….. But that was not an option for the 2017 Champion Alan Brook as the Metro was never adorned with such a glamorous addition. He managed to get a good start off the line and by the end of lap 1 he was enough ahead of the fast charging Ian Boulton and intended on staying there.
Craig Bayston, such a shy and retiring fellow in such an understated car was going very well in the sultry conditions and was on his way to earning a 3rd in Class C. It’s easy to miss him, so make sure you watch out for the chap at Donington…
Also making up time throughout the day was Rod Oakenfull, who has taking to sliding the car in and out of the corners these days. He’s reportedly on the new rubber from Yokohama and is using it up as fast as possible.

As the race started to draw to a close, it was clear to see that Alan had backed off the pace a little and just enough to stay in front of Ian, most of the pack had become a bit drawn out and everyone just wanted to bring the cars home in one piece.
2 drivers already back in the paddock were Steve Tyler & James Darby, the day had been long enough and they had decided that 20 minutes was just too long and neither of them managed to complete the first lap. The reason given for Darby’s MGB not completing the opening few miles was due to his shoes!! Which I’m sure is Racing Driver excuse #437b…..
The sun had been warming up the concrete paddock for so long that it had melted the glue on JD’s right boot, obviously he fixed this small dilemma with Gaffer Tape. The resulting extra 4mm of tape was just enough to push the accelerator peddle that bit too much and the throttle cable snapped. That really is the best excuse for finishing a race early because you wanted an ice cream that I’ve ever heard of!

As we all headed to the Prize Presentations we had yet another secret gift from the MGCC. We were all treated to the surprise Lancaster Bomber Flypast earlier in the day, and low and behold just before our trophy ceremony the RAF’s finest The Red Arrows flew over us at low level with red white and blue smoke following them!!! Amazing! But even more amazing was that apart from a few marshalls that were still out on track sweeping up the used rubber it was only us lot that saw them! Thanks MGCC, a Red Arrows display purely for the MG Cup…!

So it’s onto the undulating track of Donington for the next race meeting. Good luck to all those that are fixing their cars in readiness for races 7&8, especially to those that who’s names were pulled from the Reimbursement Draw who will all get 50% off their Donny entry.

Those drivers are:
Jon Harker
Darren Harris
Dan Ludlow
Nick Arden

See you all at Donington!!

MG Cup.

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And it begins – Silverstone Internation 7th April 2018 rounds 1 & 2

Silverstone National Race Report.

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away……….

The MGCC Race season opener has finally kicked off the 2018 season. Silverstone welcomed the great and the good of the Peter Best Insurance MG Cup with a few brave souls going testing on the Friday before race day. Unfortunately this was to be the early bath for one driver before the lights had even gone out, Jonathon Harker our sole MGTF LE 500 entry had massive brake system failure and despite many efforts of the Preptech team it was only going to be an issue that could be solved back in the workshop. So it went back onto the flatbed truck and Jon went to the Bar.

New Girl Kayleigh Twigger in her Tomcat already has much experience in the car but was new to the Silverstone layout and took her time to learn the new track and was in good spirits. Many of the other drivers had taken the opportunity to beat the Saturday morning alarm clock and had also turned up on the Friday, So the atmosphere was good as all the drivers, and non drivers, had a good catch up on the off season news and tinkerings. That and the fact that team Simpson had a kettle!

After an evening of either a cold van in the paddock and a BBQ or a nice warm hotel and cooked dinner for others. We are civilised people us racers after all. Everyone rocked up at the signing on and scrutineering bays in enough time for the newbies to have their drivers briefing and all was set for the day proceedings. Which were to be more eventful for some than others….

The Silverstone National is one of the shorter circuits that we use during the year and as such the lap time are nice low which keeps the racing tight. It is also so much more fun for the spectators as there is barely no gap in the battles all round the track once the race is under way. So once the tyres and the drivers had warmed up the lap time began to fall. Mike Williams in the Pocket Rocket Metro was the first to be the first Pole sitter of the year with a time of 1:10:177. Just 4 second cover the top 10 car with all the classes included in that group, and less than 3 seconds covering the top 5. Three very different cars were in that top 5 which goes to show the diversity the MG Cup offers to Club Racing. James Darby decided to take the “Fiery Baton of shame” from last years holder Ian Boulton. James came into the pits with the rear brakes on fire this time, which was very different from Ian’s attempt last year to set fire to the complex at Snetterton. Very impressive performances from you both, well done.

Race 1.

The top three cars of Mike Williams, Matt Simpson and Richard Buckley all stormed off towards Copse corner with the rest of the racers all making their way two a breast with no paint swapping necessary. But the swapping of places for the leaders was most necessary, by lap 2 Buckley had clawed his way into the lead with Matt Simpson still in 3rd. This was not to last as he to got passed Mike in the Metro on lap 5. All this time Stuart Tranter in the slightly more modified Tomcat in the Invitational Class was keeping up with the leaders, with Peter Burchill in his ZS, Ian Boulton in his ZR and James Darby in the MGB in hot pursuit. Darby and Burchill began to drop back from the Yellow Peril Tomcat of Tranter by lap 4 and started having a close battle of their own. Ex Champ Dan Ludlow had a costume malfunction on his newly built Class A ZR when the Bonnet pins failed on the start/finish straight and came back with enough force to shatter the windscreen and damage the roof. His only chance to get off the track safely was to aim to the left of the main drag and gently onto the gravel, which is where his race day ended. Hopefully he will be back and sorted in time for Brands Hatch.

Buckley held the lead until lap 10 when Williams got back past him to retake the lead, this was short lived as Richard was to pull off with drive shaft failure a lap later, and one lap after that Mike was also to pull off 100 yards from where Dan had parked his car as the smell of fuel in the Metro had become overpowering and the car was losing power. The truth came to light once the cars were back in the pits that in fact Mikes Fuel regulator dial had come adrift and was last seen by the following Car 20 bouncing down the pit wall at great speed. This left Matt Simpson to drive the remaining 4 laps all on his own and bring the car home to take the first victory of the season.

Well done Marge.

Race 2.

The somewhat depleted field lined up in the assembly area for race 2, Car 52 of Dave Nixon had also had to withdraw due to oil pressure problems. But not to be deterred the lights were reset and the race was go for the second time of the day. The repaired Mighty Metro of Williams once again blasted into the lead but had dropped to second place by the start of lap 4 with Buckley taking the lead, again Car’s 16-44-13-and 74 were all chased the front runners like mad whilst also having their own battles. Ian Boulton managed to get past Pete Burchill in the ZS and made a bit of a gap. This left Pete in the clutches of James Darby in the Blue MGB (apparently there was a little blue paint on the ZS at the end as well) Kayleigh Twigger in what was only her second race ever was growing in confidence with both the track and the car and was holding station in front of the ZR’s of Nick Arden and Darren Harris in their ZR’s. Nick had brake issues also after Race 1 with complaints of juddering under heavy braking, Darren being the nice fellow that he is loaned Nick his spare Discs to get him back on the grid. It has to be said that the Discs were fitted to his car by another sometime ZR racer Steve Tyler. What it must be like to have all these people sorting your car you eh??! Car 28 of Mike Williams was having his own nightmares as the gearshift had begun to go very long and he was only able to run the whole lap in 4th gear. This meant that he was on the rev limiter on the entry into most of the corners so losing overall lap speed. This was not stopping him managing to stay in front of Pete Burchill for a few laps by carrying a huge amount of corner speed into copse and not worrying about using the brakes. That’s one way round a corner I suppose! Pete in Car 13 was eventually able to get past and use the grunt of the V6 to pull away enough to give him 5th overall by the end with Mike 7 seconds behind. So with the race drawing to a close, and the light beginning to fade the leading pack of Buckley, Simpson, Tranter & Boulton were spread out by nearly 12 seconds but with less than 1 second separating the top 6 best lap times the racing was most certainly close all day. Richard Buckley was the first to cross the line and pick up the spoils. Well done to him.

So with only a few weeks to go until the next round at Brands at the end of the month there is barely enough time for all the drivers to get the car sorted in time, but rest assured they all will. Brands Hatch is always well attended, and we expect to see much better numbers there. Incidentally Steve Tyler and his MG/Rover specialist company British Legends are Sponsoring the next Race at Brands so please do come and support the series by entering to race if at all possible.

See you at Brands Hatch !