So here we were back once again for MG Live at Silverstone (Historic GP) for our annual biggest meet of the season. After a cracking turn out at Donington we were all looking forward to healthy grids at Silverstone and we weren’t disappointed. With 24 entries (Class B once again looking the stronger supported) the Peter Besters were out with the Cook shoot Cup with a combined grid of 55.
Qualifying graced us with unsettled weather. The on off showers and humid temperatures had the paddock in turmoil as to what set ups to run. Piggott wasn’t sure how to keep the Marlboro red’s dry on his way down to assembly area and Ashley Cross more concerned with keeping the car dry. Rod Oakenfull concerned if engine number 3 would make the distance (Good luck!)
Qualifying was upon us and Lord Gammons decided that two green flag laps were needed and this was more than enough time for Rayment to test the levels of grip, quickly leaning there wasn’t any and stuffing his B into Hewers V8. Luckily for Rayment, Kev had been on the Ginger cake and despite seeing rainbows on the grid, was very calm about the whole thing.
Qualifying got off to a good start with Darby and Eales looking strong in the B’s. Following on were the gaggle of ZR’s led by Davies. The track was drying and everyone was putting in quicker times lap by lap. Lap 5 Buckley through a spanner in the works (or should I say a crank pulley) and pulled off with terminal damage. Cross in his Jet powered ZS narrowly missing the lump of metal sat in the middle of the track. Strike (not a lover of the wet) had a broken throttle cable which ended his trip out. The V8’s of Hewer and Khouri were struggling with the damp conditions and despite struggling for grip put a great show on for the spectators. The flag fell and Darby claimed poll position with an impressive time, Eales took 2nd on the grid and first in class A in his flying machine. Davies 2nd in class and Coles 3rd. A great drive by Cross to see him start 3rd row on the grid.
Well as expected this season, the heavens opened, the rain came down and Strike put on his rubber pants once again. The PBIC lined up on the grid behind the Cook shooters and starting 30 seconds behind under waved Union Jacks.
Engines revved, flags dropped, tyres sprayed and Coles stalled! Cross and Brown darting out the way to avoid collision the race was underway. Darby (class B) and Eales in the Class A Flying machine fired into the first corner whilst Davies in his mobile bath lost a few places. Visibility was limited but Dowler seemed to be the man on the move. Further down the grid the class a battle was underway with Jones, Tyler and strike scrabbling for grip and charging towards the grey abyss.
Piggott, Eales senior, Mason and Oakenfull bringing up the rear. Piggott more concerned which article to read from his carefully position Daily mail in the foot well as he gets onto hanger straight.
The rain kept falling and everyone was tip toeing around trying to keep it on the black stuff. Coles soon made his way to the front and drove an impressive race to claim victory by 10 seconds from Dowler. Davies fought his way back up to third with an impressive drive but was too far back to catch the leading two. Slippery Eales slid back to 5 overall (1st in Class) with the yellow flying machine not being able to put down all that power in the wet conditions. Darby had fuelling issues due to the standard B fuel pump not coping with the big horsepower it produces (we think) and didn’t finish.
Great results for Dave Brown and Ashley Cross in class B Finishing 4th and 5th in class respectively. John Gould had a solid result gaining 5 places and coping well in the wet conditions, as did David Thompson.
Class A honours to Eales, with Jones taking a solid 2nd and Steve Tyler in the immaculate Maestro 3rd.
The big V8’s and C of Khouri, Hewer and Holmes struggled in the wet and spent more time looking out the side window than in front of them.
Well done to Ollie Coles who took Driver of the race and Driver of the day honours. Unfortunately due to technical infringement, Dowler was disqualified from the results due to running illegal tyres. This awarded Davies 2nd and Brown 3rd.
Race 2 blessed us with dry conditions which were welcomed with open arms by the majority of us. The B of Darby looked to be the favourite going by his performance in qualifying. The Peter Besters were preparing well in their own way by eating, drinking and chatting a lot. I did see Cross polish his car and put some fuel in it. Team Coles and Gould were relaxing in their village fete array and it was all becoming very quintessentially English.
However in the assembly area, the gloves were off and Eales was proclaiming to beat the ZR’s once again. Coles was focused, alongside him his mind coach talking him thorough the first corner.
Rayment yet again getting his car out of shape and parking it in the wrong place having to be pushed back. JD cool as a cucumber and Cross more concerned about the in bored camera than what faces ahead.
Flags drop, Darby has a bad start and goes backwards, Eales jumps into the lead followed by Cross and Davies battling it out for 2nd. Further down the grid the big V8’s and C were pushing up the order along with Wilson from the back.
The ZR’s were enjoying the conditions as they were all making good progress. Dave Thompson looking very racy was flying through the pack. Lap 2 and Davies had fought off Cross and took the lead from Eales. The class A battle was hotting up further back were Strike had the rubber pants pulled off and was charging putting in some impressive times. Wilson was sideways as always and catching fast. Rayment and Strike had a coming together as Rayment got a tank slapper on and collected Strike firing him into the gravel. A good battle broke out between Thompson and Dowler; Thompson under pressure spun and went off to explore the exhibitors. Once back on the track (and possibly off the track) Jones and Thompson had their usual close encounters (Say no more).
Hewer was driving the wheels off the V8 (We can see the orange paint!) and got up to 3rd only to be hampered with fuel starvation. Darby had head gasket problems which ended his campaign. Piggott, Tyler and Oakenfull were battling it out at the back, Rod still concerned about reliability issues but stood up to the task (Well done Rod!)
Coles settled in 2nd but Davies out of sight and way out in front taking the win by an impressive 13 seconds. Congratulations Ed, great drive.
All in all a great weekend. Even Lord Gammons thought so as he personally invited some of us up to his boudoirs for a chat. Bad luck yet again for Team Strike, a few late nights ahead. Well done Ollie and Ed for the wins. Thanks to Stone & Moss for the hospitality, those of you that didn’t come and see us, you missed out on free beer! Thanks to Hannah for the cake, and not forgetting Mr Jones our coordinator (according to the MGCC) and anyone else I’ve missed. See you all at Combe where I will be back out in a ZR, not sure which class yet? Maybe class A
MGCC Peter Best Insurance MG Cup
Richard Buckley was the man to beat in the MGCC Peter Best Insurance MG Cup outing. After a fifth place
start Buckley battled his way to the head of the field to claim honours.
As the race began it was Tom Diment who took the lead, as he led the way around Redgate for the first
time. Chased by Ed Davies, the pair headed into a fiercely entertaining scrap, as they each tried to claim
A brief slip off track for Diment saw his chances diminish, as Davies sneaked ahead. Before long, Diment’s
second place also came under threat when Ben White attached himself to the rear of Diment’s MG ZR 170.
As the pair tussled, another moment for Diment saw him drop from second to fifth place. In his absence,
White was elevated to second place.
As others battled, Buckley kept his head above water to finish ahead when it counted, seizing victory in the
closing laps. A slightly early chequered flag ended the race before expected, due to a lack of time to deploy
the safety car to recover a number of cars.
Davies held on for second place, ahead of James Darby, who moved up from 18th on the grid to finish
third. Diment managed a fourth place result after his troubles, ahead of Paul Khouri in fifth place. Driver of
the Race was awarded to Richard Buckley this time around.
Lackford Engineering MG Midget & Sprite Challenge
Paul Sibley dominated the MG Midget and Sprite Challenge once again, to triumph in his MG Midget from
a pole position start.
A cautious start from the front row of the grid saw Sibley slip to second behind Andy Southcott as the field
rounded Redgate. Before long Sibley launched an attack, as he fought back to reclaim control.
Despite starting 12th on the grid, James Dunkley quickly made his way to second place, to chase Sibley for
the duration. As the pair controlled the pace at the sharp end of the grid, it was the battle for third place
that remained under scrutiny.
After an entertaining drive through the field, it was Martin Morris who held on for a third place, to finish
just ahead of early leader Southcott.
James Dunkley teamed his efforts with an extra award when he was awarded Driver of the Race by our
As I arrived at a damp and cold Donnington Park, I was greeted by many bleary eyed revellers, Dave “I only had one pint”, Strike looking very much the worst for wear after Ginny’s birthday celebrations. Piggott and Thomson (F) having spent the night in the back of their vans had the dishevelled look that only this kind of sleeping arrangement can offer, Piggott slightly worse as he had forgotten his sleeping bag. Thomson benefiting from the anaesthetic effects of three pints of “Badgers Old Rat Urine” or some such cloudy offering from Kent.
There was much activity around Hewers car, despite the car being prepared by our very own qualified electrician it seemed to be being plagued by wiring issues, some parts clearly destined for domestic shower applications should prove useful in the very wet practice that loomed. An errant spark box proving to be the guilty party but found too late to prevent starting at the back. The track was looked very slippery as the field tippy toed around, Hanna, in her Metro seeming to have the most balls (clearly borrowed!) with a superbly held slide around Redgate! Strike managed to bury his wet race demons and put in some very good lap times. Browns dampers in his ZR (that appear to predate the car) having been re-fettled helped in the wet track. Arden in his immaculately straight panelled Maestro clearly not taking it seriously pottered around to the admiring approval of the crowd, “not often you get to see a Maestro with such good body work” I overheard one of the marshall saying.
Darbys technical issues continued, a real shame as he was doing some lovely slides around Redgate. This time with water in his fuel, the car cutting out in the middle of the track James prudently pulled over, parking it with great aplomb into the tyres at some speed, the damage actually making the car symmetrical again. I’m not sure if Darby did find the time to repair the car, it can be hard to tell! Certain other drivers couldn’t get enough of the terrible conditions and chose to ignore the chequered flag and continue with the practice long after everyone else had finished, Thomson (F) and Dare seizing the opportunity to improve their times, bettered only by the fire tender and the safety car. Both were summoned for an interview with Ron, who was less than impressed with Thomson’s (F) suggestion that the meeting to which he had been summoned was to sample the chocolate biscuits. Eales posting the quickest times despite a big moment at the final chicane.
Positions looked like this: The class B ZRs locked out the front of the grid with Coles and Diment on the front and Davies and Thompson on the second row. Thompson asked me not to make any hairdressing comments as he was getting rather fed up about it so I agreed. Thompson noting that the paint from other cars on his had come off “It looks like the blue rinsed off” he told me, not sure if this happened when he clippered the kerb?
Class C was headed by Buckley in his ZR ahead of the potent V8 roadster of White, not the tool for the job in those conditions. Eales easily ahead of class A but Jonsey and Strike posting near identical times. Bringing up the rear was Conner Holmes in his FIA MGB running on Dunlop L sections, that must have been terrifying for a first outing ever, but he brought it back in one piece. “I didn’t really enjoy that” he said in what must surely be a master piece of understatement. Piggott reported that he “enjoyed having the $hits more” but was more concerned about the state of his flattened and rather damp Marlboro so he set off to find a way to dry his ciggies “if only someone had a hairdryer he thought….”
The cafe filled up with damp drivers hiding from the rain, which after an hour or so petered out. With the wind drying the track it promised dry and cold race.
The race got off to a good start, Coles dropping back from his front row position to fourth by the first corner. Browns start hampered by selecting third rather than first, (a feat only to be bettered had he selecting reverse, sadly for the spectators this was not to be). Darby going around the outside of Redgate with his arse end out, the ZRs heading the field with Diment leading Davies and Eales in third, Coles back in fourth, Thomson (F) dropping down the field with engine problems, The Green House Effect’s oil temperature rising and pressure dropping, Class A headed by Eales mixing it with the 170 Zrs leaving the rest of the class As to scrap around Red Gates, Strike leading Jonsey (never a good thing to have in your mirrors) with Arden holding station behind them, Piggott, Dare and Eales Snr having a great dice, The two ZRs of Diment and Thompson duking it out at the front but Hewer storming through the pack in his rumbling V8 starting from last place he passed five or six cars on the opening lap and made it up to to 10th place, then 14th place then tenth place then ….. etc etc…The main scrap was ended when Diment got all agricultural at the top of the hill, he must have carried impressive speed when he left the track because he later said he just missed Derby…. Jonsey’s tyres by this time where crying “enough already” and his notorious elbows where being readied for action as he was being hauled in by a steadily closing Arden, the longer race distance suiting the FWD car, then suddenly Arden’s race was cut short when Dowler, now racing car number 99 (rather than 66 as at Brands) tried an over ambitious move on Arden on the climb from The old hairpin hitting the Maestro hard in the rear. Arden once punted onto the grass was a passenger and hit the tyres taking a bit hit on the driver’s side, car and his championship lead in tatters. Piggott, Dare and Eales senior scrap carried on with Piggott finally making it stick but once through was left to a rather lonely race, behind him the action continued when Whites V8 tapped the front of dares car forcing the Golf coloured GT into the bunker. The immaculately prepared car now wearing the black swirls on its flanks and gravel in its arches. You don’t get this sort of thing in hill climbing you know!! The race was shorten rather than bring out the safety car to rescue Dare and White from the bunker, at the waived flag it was a determined Buckley in class C from Davies in the class B in the Zrs with Darby doing a sterling job in his battle scarred GT coming in third overall and second in class from a very poor starting point. Class A Eales proved un-catchable in his GT with Jonsey in second place (this place nearly forfeited for talking in the presentation). That would have gone to Strike ten seconds behind him. After the race the paddock banter was in full flow, Cross and Hewer continued with their vulgar hand signals and Dare showing an excellent stiff upper lip saying he had really enjoyed himself, other noteworthy performances where series returnee Rayment in his father’s semi FIA car having not raced for five years had a great race, “I’ll take that” delighted with his lap times.
Mallory Park Peter Best Insurance MG Cup Sunday 29th March 2015.
Report by Nick Arden, MG Maestro EFI No. 36 Class A.
When we arrived on Saturday afternoon the predicted poor weather for the weekend was moving in. Whilst putting up the canopies with Tom Diment & friends we decided to really tie them down well to trailers and vehicles since gusty wind and heavy rain were predicted. Most of the Peter Best MG Cup racers were there on the Saturday, as friendly as ever and laughing off the grey skies.
A modest group of 15 MG Cup racers went out for the first days qualifying on a fully wet circuit. Since I’d last been here in 2008 the circuit has been resurfaced and is smoother and better draining than before but still ready to catch you, or I out!
With a few wobbles, slides and wheel spins most of us made it through to the end of the session except for front running class A competitor Paul Eales of Oselli whom had a suspected main bearing failure so would be forced to watch Mr D.Eales senior show him how to do it later in the day.
Simon Cripps’ class B MGB had pole by a large 2.5s ahead of Thomas Halliwells class C ZR. A mix of class A & B cars covered Tom Diments 4th to Clive Jones’ 10th with a 3.5s spread. At the back of the grid only 0.07s separated the class A MGB of David Eales and Metro of Hannah Brian, so it looked like everyone would have someone to race. That’s what we like.
I was pleased to be up front of class A in 6th overall on the grid with Clive Jones two rows back. David Strike whom had been testing and has been consistently improving the last couple of years suffered a broken throttle cable so had to complete qualifying with another race series and start from the back of the grid. However given the right situation he could be coming through fast.
Just to spice up the first race at Mallory in a couple of years as well as being wet there was a light coating of oil around most of the circuit from the final practice.
When the red lights went out it seemed to take many seconds to get the car going, I could see everyone around me slithering on the wet track like a comical synchronised burn out session but eventually we got some bite and were off.
I had already decided that whilst Jonesey and Strike are gentlemen off of the track they are plenty competitive on the track and had set myself the stretch target of keeping up with the class B ZR170s for the first couple of laps. As this is not actually possible due to the higher power and wider tyres they are using Mallory’s Devils Elbow gave me the shove when I was trying to follow Ed Davies through it. With a full on 90 degree side ways slide at a reasonably scary speed I kept the power in and with some opposite lock, managed to keep off of the barrier using the gravel side track to rejoin. My windscreen video camera was completely filled with flashing green and white as the painted barrier whipped past. Any expletives have been muffed by the helmet padding and are not audible!
So with almost everybody having passed me I now felt like David Strike must have starting at the back of the grid and after checking the car still handled & braked OK set off in chase to have another, slightly more tender, go at it. Soon I passed Rod Oakenfulls lightened MGB and somewhere around the halfway point managed to get the run on Jonesey, Strike and Darby but becoming harder as these boys are quicker. It was then a case of not overdoing it as earlier on the oiled up track. At 16 minutes in the race was red flagged when David Strike had high speed spin and hit the barrier at the John Cooper Esses.
I was pleased to recover my initial position but it was a shame we lost David from the results and race two where he surely would have added to the excitement.
Simon Cripps (B) won overall by 42s as Tom Diment (B) overhauled Thomas Halliwell (C) to take 2nd by 0.4s and Ed Davies’ (B) ZR 14s further back in 4th. Jonnie Wheeler’s super yellow class C V8 failed to finish from 3rd on the grid.
The first race was tricky and finishing competitively required a lot of concentration, perhaps more work for points than outright fun.
I think most drivers were rather unsure exactly what conditions we would have for race two as we had had intermittent rain all day but with high winds then drying the track fast. An unusual weather scenario. As it was the track was near dry by the time we left the assembly area for the second race in similar start positions as race one but with MGBs of Paul Eales , the Wheelers and now David Strike out.
At the start Simon Cripps MGB was immediately crippled and pulled over from pole as we charged away, Jonesey got a great start and cruised round the outside at Gerrards with James Darby as I was queueing behind Ashley Cross’s ZS adjusting to the dry conditions.
Tom Diments engine let go leaving the hairpin on lap one and he decided to sharply exit left to try the motorbike circuit with the remaining vehicle motion as the main field all chased down the devils elbow onto the start straight.
Contrary to what we’d been advised but had asked for, the MG Trophy had been combined with our race and two ZR190s came tearing past on lap two only to immediately bang into each other unnecessarily at the hairpin and tear off again like rabid fighting cats.
The pace car came out to allow Cripp’s MGB to be removed which allowed Jonesey to pull a couple of hundred metres gap on me after the restart. I had a couple of laps close racing with Ashley Cross as his 2.5 V6 pulled past me on the straights but I managed to brake later for the corners so we stayed together until he adapted and then gently pulled away. The apparent audio of my engine in the video is greatly improved with an unseen V6 ZS alongside!
The first half of the race was near dry and hanging on around the long Gerrards curve in 4th at around 90mph reminded me why I like racing, much more fun than the earlier race. However a few spits of rain started to fall and drivers had to trim back their limits slightly. This allowed me to catch up with Jonesey whom had really been pushing hard to make the most of the first half near dry conditions.
Unfortunately for me attacking Jonesey was constantly interrupted by MG Trophy 190 & 170 cars coming from behind and threading through our own backmarkers. I’d get close and then my speed was compromised in the parts of the circuit where I was quicker allowing him to pull away again. This was repeated a few times until I thought I really had a chance close to the end but he took a well-deserved class A win by 0.4s and 5th overall as the race was shortened by 1 minute, 1 lap.
Thomas Halliwells ZR190 (C) took the overall win by 3.7s from Ed Davies ZR170 (B) and with James Darbys MGB (B) getting faster but still some way behind and Ashley Cross’ ZS (B) 7s further back.
A good race with quite a mix of events and I hope looked quite good from a spectators point of view – certainly Kevin Hewers report covers much of what I did not see so make sure you’ve read that perspective too.