MG Trophy 8th June
15th June 2016
Silverstone – MG Live! 4th/5th June 2016
Silverstone is the club’s major event of the year with enthusiasts coming from all over the world to bask in MG heaven. This was the MGCC’s 66th consecutive appearance at possibly the most famous GP circuit of them all. With 42 registered drivers I had hoped for entries of up to 40, however various drivers were not ready or were unable to enter for various reasons and two last minute withdrawals brought our total to 30 which was disappointing but neverthless the best of the season to date. Maybe we could better this and fill the grid at Oulton Park in September.
We were very pleased to be sponsored by Permagard Automotive who approached us at the Autosport show in January, many thanks to Will, Madalene and the staff at Permagard for their generous support. Jason Burgess’s race car had been pre-treated with the Permagard product and spent some time on their stand in the trader area between races.
As usual there was a test day on the Friday split into two morning and two afternoon sessions each of 45 minutes. Many Trophy drivers took advantage of re-aquainting themselves with the circuit, and in a few cases, getting to know the circuit for the first time. We counted 16 with some doing the whole day and some just the two afternoon sessions. A bad trip from Scotland meant that the 3 Scottish drivers arrived later than expected and were unable to test, this later proved not to be a problem ! Ollie Coles dropped a valve in the first morning session, the Preptech Team discovering the end of a small bolt being the culprit, but where was the other bit of it ?! Will Payne broke the front left hub but made it back to the garage for a replacement. Ollie Coles had further problems later in the day having to change a drive shaft that was causing vibrations and then lost a wheel! Lee Sullivan had to change a head gasket after the final session.
New drivers out for the first time in the Trophy were Mark Weidner in a 170 and Tony Jones, Matt Turnbull and Paul Croker in 160’s, we wish them all well racing in the Trophy. Returnees out for the first time this season were Graham Ross, Colin Robertson and Rob Perkins who we welcome back. Missing and in all our thoughts was Andrew Martin fighting the big C in hospital in Dundee.
All 30 cars made their way out onto a damp track at 09.00 in fine drizzle for the first qualifying session of the day. The 190 guys had a mix of tyres some with slicks all round some with wets on the back. Early pace setters after 2 laps were Roberts, Campbell, Bellamy, Burgess, D Cole, Ross and Rogerson, in class C the order was Payne, Picone and Heasman. At 4 laps this had changed to Perkins, D Cole, Ross, Roberston, Sullivan and Campbell and in class C Payne then Picone. After 6 laps the order was Ross, Robertson, D Cole in class A and Luti, Rogerson, Sullivan in class B and still Payne and Picone in class C. After the 20 minutes Robertson had pipped Ross to overall pole on his last tour with a storming 2:28.776 some 0.9 secs ahead. Luti held his class B pole with a 2:33.577 and Payne the class C pole with a great time of 2:40.56, faster than 3 of the class B cars ! Ross had the race 2 pole for class A the others being the same i.e Luti and Payne. The only quali drama noted was Paul Croker who had to change an alternator and Ollie Coles who changed a hub flange based on yesterday’s experience. An oil leak onto the rear tyres was the reason Walker was down in 7th behind two class B cars.
Our first race was also the first of the meeting overall and started at 13.57 almost dead on time. Weather/ Track: Bright/Dry.
All the cars made it safely around Copse and it was Ross who was soon at the front with Robertson, Cole and Perkins next up, amazingly Burgess was up into 10th (from 20th) by the end of lap 1 ! Unfortunately this was the highest he got as a broken earth strap slowly lost him power and his race was over after 4 laps. As the first 4 gradually pulled away from the chasing 170 group still in the same formation, Walker joined the 190 train and was up to 5th by lap 3. The order stayed the same but Ross and Robertson pulled well away from Cole who likewise had a lonely race with a gap back to Perkins who in turn was some way ahead of Walker in 5th. Despite trying everything he could, the experienced Robertson, now in his 11th year in the championship, couldn’t find a way past friend and travelling companion Ross. At the flag there was just 0.197 secs separating them. Cole held 3rd just under 20secs adrift, Perkins 2.5 secs later.
The mass of 170 cars were lead by Luti with Rogerson, Campbell, Sullivan, Roberts and Marsh in a tight train behind. This group circulated in formation and Campbell was up to 2nd on lap 3 and Marsh was up to 5th passing Roberts on lap 5. Byrne caught this group on lap 6 to take 5th place away from Marsh, Roberts still in 7th. Marsh regained his 4th spot on lap 8 with just one tour remaining. At the flag, Luti took the class win from Campbell by just 0.223 secs., Rogerson’s 3rd place was taken from him due to a technical infringement handing 3rd to Sullivan, nearly 27 secs. adrift, Marsh held onto 4th, Byrne 5th.
With all 10 registered class C drivers racing for the first time this class has now come of age. Pole sitter Payne lead the class with Picone, Heasman, newcomer Turnbull, Gil, Bryson, Martin, and newcomers Croker and Jones in tow. Payne had opened up a good lead over Picone but had to retire on his 4th lap with no clutch. Picone inherited the lead of this group with the rest in the same order, however Turnbull moved into 2nd on lap 4 dropping Heasman to 3rd. The order stayed the same until the final lap when Heasman’s engine expired on the Wellington Straight, moving Gil into 3rd.
Fastest laps Class A was Ross with a 2:26.773 (n/r) on lap 7. Class B was Campbell with a 2:31.885 (n/r) on lap 4 and Class C, Payne on lap 3 with 2:38.864 (n/r).
Driver of the Race and overall Driver of the Day Gianni Picone.
Gil’s lack of pace in class C was due to a faulty ECU, only allowing the engine to rev to 6000rpm. As he was unable to race again, Heasman lent his ECU to Gil for race 2. Burgess’s team rectified the loose strap and also changed the alternator.
Heasman withdrew and Rogerson was excluded from racing, much to the dismay of the rest of the drivers. Doug Cole made a slight suspension adjustment. With the Sunday’s programme ahead of schedule our race, the second of the day, was brought forward and started at 11.44. Weather/Track : Overcast/Dry.
Ross’s race from pole started dramatically when his clutch exploded as the lights went green, it was fortunate that pole was on the left hand side of the track so he could pull off safely. Robertson lead and at the end of lap 1 Cole was next up followed by two class B cars and Burgess in 5th overall having started from 22nd! On the following tour Burgess was up to 3rd overall with team mate Perkins 4th. On the next lap Walker joined the 190 train in 5th. As the race progressed, Cole got within 0.67 secs. of Robertson, his suspension ‘tweak’ obviously working, at one point it looked like he might take the lead. Perkins made his move on lap 8 to take 3rd away from a slowing Burgess, these positions held to the flag.
Luti initally lead the race until the slick shod pair of Robertson and Cole assumed the top spots. At the end of lap 1 the class B order was Campbell, Luti, Sullivan, Byrne and Roberts. For much of the race, Marsh and Roberts raced closely, Marsh moving up to 4th on lap 7. Elsewhere in the class, many other close encounters took place, Cole and Bellamy made contact whilst negotiating a back marker. Campbell, Luti and Sullivan closed up in the latter part of the race, Luti made his move on the final lap at the complex to rob Campbell of the win by 0.216 secs., Sullivan 1.4 secs. behind in 3rd. Marsh lead Roberts across the line 0.017 secs. separating them, Byrne finishing in 6th having run low on fuel.
Pole sitter Payne lead the class C race from start to finish, Picone and Turnbull in tow. Croker was out on lap 6 with fuel problems. Gil, now able to use full revs, ran in 4th with Bryson in 5th until a spin at Copse on lap 5 dropped Bryson down a place handing 5th place to Martin, with Jones bringing up the rear.
Fastest laps Class A was Robertson 2:27.438 on lap 7, Cole also did exactly the same time but Robertson got the point for being first to record the time. Class B, Luti 2:32.031 on lap 6, Class C, Payne 2:37.467 on lap 5 (n/r).
Driver of the Race and overall Driver of the Day Paul Luti
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