MG Trophy Race Bulletin – Snetterton 30th September 2017
6th October 2017
MG Trophy Race Bulletin – Snetterton 30th September 2017
The final rounds of the championship seemed to be suddenly upon us and with any one of five drivers in with a mathematical chance of the title, there was all to play for. Taking the championship to the wire has the obvious additional benefit of ensuring a good grid and 29 cars were entered. With no sponsor materialising Heather and I decided to ‘fund’ the final two rounds of our tenure under our house name of Boganmoor (that’s where you find Pete & Heather!).
The usual Friday test sessions were available with two 50 minute sessions in the morning and afternoon, I counted 12 cars out in the first-afternoon session. It was good to see Gianni Picone out in his new car built by Ali Montgomery as a ‘surprise’ replacement for the car written off at Oulton Park, many thanks to all those who assisted in making this happen with some very generous offers of help. Unfortunately, luck was not on Gianni’s side and after just 10 laps in the morning the engine went bang, this was the engine out of his wrecked car so maybe no surprises that it gave up. An errant Metro collided with Tylor Ballard’s near side in one of the afternoon sessions, fortunately, despite making quite a mess of his car, it was still OK to race. Richard Marsh’s Snetterton ‘bad luck’ continued with a handful of bent valves due to a loose VVC mechanism, this whilst just pushing the car (is this a ‘first’ ?)!!
Some rare spare time on a Saturday morning was offered to all for additional testing, eight Trophy drivers decided to take up this offer including Marsh with a head loaned from Fergus Campbell.
The Trophy qualifying was the second session of the day and 28 cars took to the damp track at 09:44. James Cole didn’t complete a lap and qualified later out of session, Makar only just made it when an oil leak was spotted at the last minute. Initial pacesetters were Makar who topped the table on his second tour followed by Jackson, Luti, Payne and Campbell; Turnbull headed the class C cars. Various cars held the top spot at times including Turnbull and Roberts. Waved yellows at Nelson slowed things up momentarily, however, these were soon in and at 4 laps the order was Cole(D), Makar, Jackson, Butler, Campbell and Wetton. Turnbull maintained the class C pole but Cruttenden was next, Payne only managed 2 laps and more waved yellows appeared at Nelson. Despite TSL showing Andy Firth as having taken pole, this was quickly remedied and the pole takers were Cole (D), Luti and the recovering Spencer. Payne’s problem was diagnosed as no spark due to a blown fuse, the same problem as Cole (J). Makar’s qualifying was not helped by the loss of his power steering pipe.
The qualifying problems were all sorted but Payne and Cole(J) started at the back of the grid. 29 cars started the race at 12:33 conditions noted as Bright/Dry.
Pole sitter Cole lost the lead on the opening lap at Montreal and went from first to dead last as the whole pack streamed past. Makar inherited the class A lead albeit behind Luti (class B) for the first 5 laps with Wetton in P2, the other class A car of Walker well down the field. Cole then started an amazing drive through the whole field, already up to 16th after just one lap, his relentless pace continued as he picked off cars one by one up to 4th overall at the end of his 5th tour. He snatched second from Wetton on lap 11 as the race was halted after 16 minutes with a car off at Nelson. Who knows what another 3 laps might have produced.
Class B pole man Luti held the overall race lead until lap 6 with Coles in the form of his life in second and Firth (R), Campbell and Hood completing the top 5. Picone was out on lap 7 with loose injectors after starting from the pit lane. Hood moved up to 4th on lap 8 with a lunge at Riches to demote Campbell, this order then held to the flag with Luti taking a dominant win 18secs clear of Coles. Title contender Roberts had to be content with a 9th place finish behind Butler after dropping down the field to avoid two spinning cars at the start, Firth(A) failed to finish.
It was table topper Turnbull who made the better start in class C and he was already 9 cars in front of pole man and title contender Spencer at the end of lap 1. However, Spencer wasn’t going to let his championship chances go to waste and caught up with Turnbull and was less than 2 secs behind on lap 3 as Turnbull began to slow with gear selection problems. Spencer moved into P1 on lap 4 as Turnbull did his best to hold P2 now able to get his gears. Booth(J) was out after 10 laps, Croker was a distant 3rd in class, Cruttenden 4th and Ballard 5th.
Fastest laps Class A was Cole 1:25.904 on lap 8, Class B, Luti 1:27.769 on lap 4, Class C, Turnbull 1:31.343 on lap 10.
Driver of the Race Adam Jackson
In the interval, the gearbox on the Turnbull car was changed and the loose injectors on the Picone car were fixed.
All 29 cars made it out for the start of the last race of the season at 16:57 Conditions:- bright/dry. A last minute panic in the 4G camp saw hasty action under the front of the Spencer car to tighten a loose bolt. The championship was still undecided at this point with any one of three drivers, Turnbull, Spencer and Luti in with a chance of taking the title.
Makar made the better start to hold off pole sitter Cole into Riches, Cole gradually reduced the deficit and on lap 12 made a great move at Nelson to snatch the lead which he then held to the flag. Wetton was a distant 3rd in class down in 8th overall having had a moment on the opening lap which dropped him down to 22nd, Walker was out after 12 laps.
Luti held his pole spot as Coles fluffed a gear change at the start but Coles made a daring move at the hairpin to snatch the lead. Luti, however, moved back into the P1 spot on lap 2 and held this until lap 5 when the on form Coles regained the lead as Luti appeared to have braking issues. Despite enormous pressure, Coles held Luti at bay to the flag to take his first Trophy class win. Johnston failed to complete a lap and Firth(A) was out after 3 laps. Elsewhere Butler had another great drive and was just 0.27s adrift of Luti in 3rd at the finish. Campbell and Jackson rounded out the top 5 all less than 2secs behind Coles. This wasn’t Roberts’ day and he was out after 12 laps with engine failure on the Bentley straight.
Spencer made the better start and headed the class C field with Croker in second and championship leader Turnbull third at the end of the first tour. Turnbull’s car began to misfire and his hopes of a top 3 finish disappeared as Cruttenden swept past into 3rd on lap 6. Turnbull nursed his car home to 4th and the championship title as Ballard closed claiming 5th just 2.4s behind, Booth and Jones completed the class C finishers.
Fastest laps Class A was Cole 1:25.615 on lap 8, Class B, Jackson 1:28.229 on lap 7, Class C, Spencer 1:30.778 on lap 11.
Driver of the Race Ollie Coles