Mega MG Weekend Produced Fabulous Racing

The shortened MG Car Club season hosted its second and penultimate meeting of the 2020 season on the Snetterton 300 Circuit with a 19-race programme.

Regular support act, the Equipe Classic Racing organisation hosted five races and provided some fabulous racing. The original series, Equipe GTS had a near 30-strong field for small-engine 1960s GT cars. Mark Ashworth continued his Brands Hatch form to take both races at Snetterton with his TVR Grantura.

Photo Credit: Sam Nudd

They did not come easy though. On Saturday, Lee Atkins led in his similar car before retiring at one third distance. Ashworth then battled with the Triumph TR4 of Allan Ross-Jones. An error from the TR4 pilot saw the pair trade places multiple times on the eleventh tour and he finished the race less than a second behind Ashworth. Despite a slow start, Ross-Jones led race two at mid-distance before a wheel bearing forced him into retirement.

Mark Holme was the best MGB in both races with a third and second place finishes and took the checkered flag with the winner still in sight. Harry Willmott’s MGB concluded the podium on Sunday. David Wenman’s Morgan +4 made it four different marques in the top four on Saturday.

The pre ’63 category, was joined by the new 50’s series, bringing together both GT and sports racers. Austin Healey 3000’s stole the show with great big powerslides and super-close racing. Mark Holme won on Saturday by nearly five seconds over Jack Rawles, with the battered machine of Jeremy Welch in third, after he was hit by Richard Hywel-Evans, who managed to roll earlier in the day in Qualifying.

Photo Credit: Sam Nudd

Sunday’s race between Rawles and Welch was the battle of the weekend. The pair drive their ‘Big Healeys’ on the edge, with heaps of opposite lock and side-by-side for the most part. Twice Welch tried to go balls out on the outside of Rawles and Riches to no avail. A last corner challenge into Murrays was also unsuccessful and finished a third of a second behind the former Ginetta Junior racer.

Bernado Hertogos’ Lotus 15 was the best of 50’s cars in the fourth overall on Saturday and won the race overall on Sunday, sneaking ahead of the Healey battle by a couple of seconds.

Another new category for the organisation was the Libre class, allowing bigger engine cars from the 60’s. Again, it was all about the 3-litre Healeys. Jeremy Welch and Mark Holme battling during the second part of the 40-minute pit stop race. Welch beat Holme by less than half a second but both were heavily penalised for pitting outside the dedicated window.

Photo Credit: Sam Nudd

The Safety Car was called about after Bernado Hertogos lost a wheel from his Ford GT40. He was running behind Welch in second at the time. Robin Ellis made the right strategy call and as able to hold back the faster cars in his Lotus Elite to take a remarkable victory. A bold defensive move on the run to the line held the Lotus Elan of Stephen Bond at bay. Cliff Gray, also in an Elan, also kept the catching Bill Rawles (Healey 3000) behind to finish third.

All six of the MG Car Club’s categories were in action. The BCV8 Championship had the largest field with 27 cars. Ollie Neaves dominated both races after setting lap record pace in his spectacular modified MGB GTV8. 

Russell McCarthy kept Neil Fowler at bay to take second in the opener after the latter charged up from the back of the grid. A great performance in a race that only featured five laps after a lengthy Safety Car following a roll at Murrays for Ronald Watt. Fowler crashed in race two, leaving Ian Prior to finish third behind McCarthy.

Photo Credit: Sam Nudd

Jim Bryan and Steve Wells shared class C victories, with Oliver Wardle and Ben Tovey also claiming podium finishes. Mark Scott beat Babak Farsian twice in class B and Russell McAngus was double victor in class AB.

Richard Wildman won both Midget & Sprite Challenge races in his modified class A Midget. He beat Martin Morris by ten seconds both times, with Michael Chalk third. Morris had to pass Chalk on the final lap in the opener. Edward Easton won class D twice, beating Mark Witherspoon on both occasions in their Austin Healey Spirtes.

Photo Credit: Sam Nudd

Richard Perry and Pippa Cow had an outstanding battle in race one for class E honours in their Sprites. Perry came out on top following an off at Murrays for Cow. Robin Lackford beat Ian Burgin but a quarter of a second in an equally close battle, despite Burgin starting last. Perry dominated race two with Burgin coming through again, this time taking second 15 seconds behind Perry. Lackford passed a hobbling Cow for the third.

Mike Williams nursed his 1800c Rover Metro to victory in race one of the MG Cup by a third of a second from the much larger MG ZS. Jack Ashton missed the race but able to fix his Metro for race two, where he and Williams had a cracking and quick race, which went nearly 50 seconds faster than the earlier bout. A track limit penalty stopped Williams making it a double. Therefore, Ashton won, and Burchill took third.

Photo Credit: Sam Nudd

Dennis Robinson took class B honours in race one, following a long battle with a similar MG ZR of Richard Buckley, until Buckley went off at Oggies when rain hit. Buckley fought back in race two to win dominantly with Nick Arden’s ZR ahead of Robinson. Carl Robinson dominated both class A races. He beat fellow ZR racer Aaron Ross twice.

Keith Egar’s MG Midget won twice in the North West Centre’s Cockshoot Cup. He had never won a race ahead of the weekend. Despite starting near the back, Karl Green took second in the opener before his ZS hit issues in race two. Brian Butler’s standard MGF remarkably finished second overall in race two, just three seconds behind Egar. He won class F in both races from Chris Greenbank. Mike Peters’ Midget won class B twice, for cars on road-legal tyres – compared to the class C cars that run on Slicks and Paul Wignall’s ZR won class A for standard cars.

Mark Eales, another first-time winner, took both Metro Cup races. He had to fight much harder in race two, where he passed David Javes on lap seven of nine at Agostini. Tim Shooter came through from ninth to complete the podium. Eales won the opener by 12 seconds over Jon Moore and Phil Goodwin.

Photo Credit: Sam Nudd

Adam Jackson made MG Trophy history by becoming the first class B car to win overall in race one. He passed Tylor Ballard when he went off and James Dennison took third. Fred Burgess’ slick-shod class A car won on Sunday after a driveshaft change and beat Ross Makar, who spun on the final lap. Tylor Ballard took class B honours, beating Adam Jackson and Joe Dalgarno. Paul Croker and John Donnelly shared the class C victories.

The Morgan Challenge, guested with the MG Car Club too, and Andrew Thompson’s ARV6 won both races by nearly a minute ahead of the similar car of Simon Orebi-Gann. Jerry Knight (Plus 8) and John Emberson (Baby Doll) took a third place each. James Summer starred in race two, after finishing fifth after starting from the pits with his 4/4.

Photo Credit: Sam Nudd

All Images: Sam Nudd