THE MG CUP is proud to be the biggest race series to encompass all MG & Rover models with the MGCC. It is the only series that caters for all MGs ranging from T-Types through Midgets, MGB’s, MGC’s, MG Metro’s, MG Maestro’s, MG Montego’s, MGF’s, MGTF’s, MGZR’s, MGZS’s to MGZT’s, Rover Tomcat, Rover GTi, Maestro Turbo.
That’s one of the main reasons our title sponsor Peter Best Insurance is involved with the only series that truly supports the MG brand. What better place to take center stage with the biggest grids, the cleanest in the MGCC. There are classes for race modified, modified and road going cars.
Established for over 20 years, the MGCC Peter Best Insurance MG Cup is the UK’s most popular MG racing series and is the only championship for which any MG model is eligible. The MGCC Peter Best Insurance MG Cup caters for any MG, ranging from post war T-Types through to sixties classic Midgets, MGBs and MGCs to more recent MGFs and Z series and current production models such as the MG6 GT. In 2017 the championship allowed the Rover Tomcat Turbo cars to enter.
There are classes for race modified, modified and road going cars, front and rear wheel drive. If you want to race an MG, we’ll find a way of helping you get on track.
The series started in the late 1980’s as the Phoenix Challenge when David Doulin and Phil Thompson first pitched the idea of a multi-class MG race series to Charles Butler, then Commercial Director at Phoenix Petroleum. According to Doulin, “For months, we didn’t even know if we’d get any takers, so we were quite flexible in who we let apply. The first grid was a cold spring day at Snetterton and the front row (grids of 3 in those days) comprised a Metro 6R4 (Scottish Rally Champion winner being driven by his navigator) on pole, a supercharged T Type and a Midget. Two MGA twin cams and a B were on row two. As normal for Snetterton, (if you can’t see the Church it’s raining, if you can see the Church its about to rain), the race was greeted with a downpour; the 6R4 vanished into the distance, but being a gentleman and only there for that race, the driver handed the laurel to Mark Ellis (the Midget) who came in a very distant second, a couple of laps down.
Video links from the MG Cup can be found below
The racing has got a bit closer since then, but despite various change of sponsor over the years and growing beyond its East Anglia birthplace, the series remains true to its original philosophy of providing good value competitive racing to any MG owner and is now the only place where MGs of any type are welcome to race against each other.
Whilst the competition to become champion and hold the Phoenix Challenge Trophy will be as intense as ever, it is still a friendly and sociable series where drivers will assist each other. The mix of cars now ranges from 1300cc metros to V8 MGBs, plus several K series engined models.
The rules and point structure ensure that in whichever class you compete, you have an equal chance of success, as driver ability is far more important than budget. The diverse mix of cars (and competence) continues to provide excitement and spectacles from top to bottom of the grid with no guarantee that a year long race winner will be champion at the end of the season.
In addition to ensuring that the rules create a level playing field, regardless of your vehicle, the series also strives to offer value for money. To this end, in addition to developing agreements with suppliers to provide the best deals on parts, lubricants and the like, we also try to get the best possible value from race days. This means that our 12 races are spread over 6 meetings, with 2 races per meeting, but you had no doubt figured that out already.
By Clive Jones
For a racing start … you need to start somewhere!
Any car that has borne the MG badge (even on the most peripheral basis) is allowed to race. This means that your classic Midget or MGB can compete against the more recent BL Metros and ZTs and even the Montegos and Maestros that survived BLs rather casual approach to rustproofing. The MG marque has a large following of enthusiasts, not all of whom wear flat caps, anoraks and sandals. Spares are plentiful and generally reasonably priced which will allow you to get on track without incurring a second mortgage.
However, don’t assume that as most races take place on the Sabbath, you will be up against “Sunday drivers”. Lap times compare favourably with many far more expensive machines and with large grids, you can be guaranteed an entertaining, tough but fair race.
Of course, once you are in race driver mode, it will be obvious to one and all that your natural talent is only being held back by the limitations of your chosen vehicle. As a general rule, the more you race, the faster you’ll want to go and the only limits to this are the size of your wallet and the amount of time and effort you are prepared to give to the sport, which in my case is very little!
Once you’ve done your ARDS, got your MG up and running and have entered your first race, what can you expect from the PBIC? Notwithstanding the eclectic mix of man and machine that is the PBIC, the drivers are generally a pleasant bunch and alongside their on-track rivalry, have a deep rooted respect for their fellow competitor and an understanding that without mutual support, the grids would be much smaller.
This is probably the main reason the PBIC can generate such full grids and at some meetings need to split the classes and run separate races to cope with the high number of entries. This is a non-contact sport and racing is generally of a high standard with drivers sensible enough to allow room for their competitors as they battle around the track. After all we all (or most of us) pay for this ourselves and any scrapes could mean the difference between racing or spectating.
When you get to the track for your first race, get to know the drivers. Try looking in the bar to begin with. You will find they will be only too happy to guide you through the process of getting started and imparting their wisdom. The first race is always a panic-filled event with the clock seemingly spinning out of control, (just like some of our drivers) meaning you will feel like you are rushing about just to get everything ready. But fear not, we’ll allocate a seasoned-pro to help you first time out to ensure that you get to signing on, scrutineering assembly and back to the bar in good time.
There are lots of announcements to listen for but these are easy to miss as you potter about on your car. Don’t be afraid to ask any of the drivers for help or advice. Even if you think it’s a daft question, we have all been there at one stage and remember we are also all amateur drivers (speak for yourself), with regular day jobs (ditto) and this is just our hobby, (we just pretend it is the most important thing in the world) so are happy to help. Well, until you overtake, anyway.
The famous saying “to finish first – first you have to finish” holds good here and although you may think you are the next Lewis Hamilton, (actually this advice holds good for Lewis too) your aim for race one should be to get to the finish line in one piece as you learn the track and get used to your car. Before you know it you will be a seasoned (b)lag like the rest of us and wonder what all the fuss was about! The main thing to remember is “Enjoy yourself!” Motor sport is fun!
***For a more detailed guide to getting on the grid – read the Getting Started article by Kev Hewer, access via the tab at top of homepage***