Unusually sunny weather for April made MG Era a very pleasant day

  

Beautiful MG WA. Only 369 of this large and luxorious 2.5 L 6 cylinder car were made in 1938 and 1939 before the war stopped production

  

This MGA 1500 is in the racing colours of the Fitzwilliam team

  

This MG R Type racer is a recently completed replica. The owner built it from scratch over nine years and the attention to detail is incredible.

  

MG SV-R keeping The Beast company

  

MGA Twin Cams celebrating the 60th anniversay of commencement of production of the MGA

 

Advertisements

Apart from the odd auto solo, the Goodwood Road Racing Club’s Easter Monday Sprint is the only opportunity for most non professional GRRC members to compete against each other.  Even so, this year a fair number of professional drivers were invited to compete including ex Works MG BTCC and Le Mans driver Anthony Reid.

When MG were developing the MG SV Anthony Reid actually tested my car. A photo of him reunited with The Beast was too good an opportunity to miss.

 

This year Anthony was in my class driving a Works Noble M600.

The fabulous looking M600 has carbon fibre bodywork and eschews high tech for simple power, lightness and rear wheel drive.

 

This is the works M600 in which Anthony Reid came close to setting FTD at the Festival of Speed in 2014. On that day and at the Easter Monday sprint, traction proved to be a problem. Getting all that power down cleanly with no traction control was tricky and cost the team vital time.

An eclectic mix of cars took part in the sprint. This Piper Le Mans racer attracted lost of attention. Behind, can be seen “Old Nail” the Vauxhall Droop Snoot Firenza of the late Gerry Marshall.

Its rare to see an X150 Jaguar XKR racing. This neat example entertained the crowd with a howling supercharger

Anthony faced stiff competition for the day’s record time from two Nissan GTR’s, which were also in my class.  The rest of the cars in the class were similarly modern and all were much more powerful than my MG.  The only car with which I could hope to compete was a early Porsche 911 S (997).  Eventually I came out on top in that particular duel but all attention was on the battle for overall (not just the class) fastest time of the day between Anthony’s Noble and the Nissans.  In the end one of the Nissans pipped Anthony to the award.  The fact an amateur driver in a £60,000 car was able to beat a professional racing driver in a £235,000 car was telling.

Another popular entrant was this immaculate BMW CSL racer

 

Brooklands, the birthplace of British motor racing, is home to a fascinating museum and the very impressive Mercedes-Benz World. Every October the Museum with Autoitalia Magazine organise a motorsport day at the Museum and on the test track at Mercedes-Benz World. All sorts of competition cars are invited to the event and this year I took along my MG SV.

IMG_7717.JPG

Queuing up for some hot laps on the MBW test track. The broken concrete circuit is part of the original Campbell road circuit. Note the variety of other competition cars. Not sure the standard F Type and Testerosa count!

IMG_7719.JPG

In the paddock the variety continues. Note the top fuel dragster. When the engine is running the pit crew need to wear gas masks.

IMG_7721.JPG

This fearsome Fiat 500 Abarth looks like it is on steroids. It has a 1.8L 220 bhp engine!

IMG_7720.JPG

A very smart MG M Type Midget Le Mans. A similar car won the 500 Mile Race at Brooklands driven by Lord March’s grandfather, Freddy.

IMG_7725.JPG

Alfa Romeos 8C and 4C

IMG_7728.JPG

TT Legend Joey Dunlop’s Ford Transit complete with smart looking BSA

IMG_7722.JPG

Two more Fiat 500 Abarths, one luke warm and the other hot!

IMG_7724.JPG

MG SV in front of the iconic Brooklands Club House

IMG_7730.JPG

JPS Team Lotus transporter. The stock car isn’t quite a Lotus 72.

IMG_7731.JPG

A team Lotus JPS Motorhome, former home to Mario Andretti and Ronnie Peterson.

IMG_7726.JPG

A miraculous survivor of a time when Fiats rusted to oblivion in 5 years! This 128 is immaculate. My Grandad had a green one which I remember with fondness. In production from 1969 to 1985 it was European Car of the Year in 1970 and its front engine front wheel drive design became the standard for most other manufacturers.

The concours of elegance which have been held for the last three years at various royal palaces have emerged as the premier concourse d’elegance in the UK. The first event at Windsor Castle in 2012 was a great success. Last year’s event at St James’s Palace was also good though a rather less grand affair. This year’s event at Hampton Court Palace was the best yet. Held in the grounds of Henry VIII’s palace on the banks of the River Thames, this year’s event was blessed with good weather and a fantastic turnout of world-class cars. Indeed many of the cars in the concourse had been shipped across the Atlantic direct from Pebble Beach. As in previous years, the premier motoring clubs in the UK were invited to enter 50 cars each for a supporting show. I entered my MG SV with the Royal Automobile Club.  Having become an established feature of the London motoring scene next year’s event will be held at Holyrood House in Edinburgh, the Queens official home in Scotland. Whilst this will undoubtedly provide grand surroundings and whilst Edinburgh is a fine city, I wonder whether there will be a sufficiently large market to support an event of this nature. We will find out next year.

IMG_7592.JPG

1933 MG K3 under close examination.

IMG_7580.JPG

Lord Bamford’s gorgeous 1933 razor edge Rolls Royce Phantom II Continental. The one off coupe coachwork was carried out by Freestone & Webb. Lord Bamford showed the same car at Salon Prive and the Goodwood Revival the following weekend. Well you would, wouldn’t you?

IMG_7588.JPG

Epitome of 50’s sports cars, 1957 Ferrari 250 TDF GT Scaglietti Corsa Berlinetta.

IMG_7582.JPG

Old and new. 1896 Lutzmann Victoria and 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari.

IMG_7590.JPG

The Aston Martin Owners Club brought a fine selection of DB4’s and 5’s.

 

IMG_7593.JPG

Jaguar XK120 Jabbeke Coupe. This modified XK120 was built to claim back the Land Speed Record, which it did at Jabbeke in Belguim in 1953 at a speed of 172 mph in the hands of legendary Jaguar test driver Norman Dewis.

IMG_7594.JPG

This immaculate Ferrari 275 deservedly won best in show from amongst the club entered cars.

IMG_7587.JPG

This one off Zagato Jaguar XK140 was built after its Italian owner (and friend of the Zagato family) bent the original body in a crash. Zagato hoped that Jaguar might order further cars but they did not. It is much better looking than an XK 140!

IMG_7598.JPG

A car that attracted lots of attention was this barn find 1934 Frazer Nash. It belonged to an RAF officer and remained in his ownership until the current owner purchased it recently following the first owner’s death. Shabby but with oodles of patina, the current owner was asking for views on whether to restore it or not. I think its best to get the mechanicals sorted but leave the body as is. Its only original once!

IMG_7576.JPG

By contrast, here is a similar restored Frazer Nash. It looks brand new.

IMG_7585.JPG

Another view of the beautiful Zagato Jaguar XK140 Coupe.

IMG_7566.JPG

Patina..

 

IMG_7600.JPG

The Beast looking good – compare the lines with the Ferrari 550 Maranello behind.

IMG_7599.JPG

Old Beauty

IMG_7602.JPG

MG SV on show

The last two events in my racing season have proven rather soggy affairs. The Abingdon Car-nival is a great event raising money for local and military charities. Uniquely, over the course of one day, competitors get to drive two different sprint courses on the perimeter track of the old Abingdon Air Force Base. Unfortunately it rained very heavily for most of the day. This reduced both track times and enjoyment.

20140726-195321-71601160.jpg

Ready for the off at Abingdon in the driving rain behind a very loud Mustang

Shelsley Walsh in Worcestershire is the oldest motorsport venue in the world. Cars have been racing up the hill since 1905. This heritage and the beautiful country surroundings make it one of my favourite events. Sadly it rained heavily again all day. Unlike with many sprint courses there is very little run off at Shelsley and therefore it pays to be cautious when it is wet. It was my first time taking the Beast up the hill so I was extra careful. She’s a big car for a narrow twisty Hill! Whilst my time was okay it was still nowhere near as fast as times that I have managed previously in my little MGF.

20140726-200007-72007250.jpg

A very wet paddock at Shelsley. I was the only car out of 150 to not get a pit shelter. Then again I needed it less than the vintage MGs seen behind.

My racing season kicked off with a great meeting at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Northamptonshire. Rockingham is the UK’s only banked speedway and was constructed in the nineties with public funds on the site of a closed down steel works. The intention was to bring Indycar and NASCAR racing to the UK. In the end the circuit only hosted a couple of races before it was realised that the economics of promoting those series in the UK did not work. However a sports car circuit was constructed in the middle of the track and Rockingham now hosts a variety of different series including the BTCC.

The sports car circuit is fantastic – very long with a wide variety of technically challenging corners. It also uses two sides of the oval plus Turn 2, one of the long banked corners. As you zoom along the straight towards the banking at Turn 2 you pass the huge grandstands that dominate the north side of the track and with a bit of imagination you can get some idea of what it must be like to head towards Turn 1 at Indianapolis or Daytona! You are supposed to take the corner flat out – I’m afraid to say I didn’t have the guts for that and lifted every time. I was still touching 110mph down the straight after the Turn – as fast as I go along the Lavant Straight at Goodwood.

We were very lucky with the weather for such an early fixture with a dry track and plenty of sun. The BARC organised the event, the first ever sprint at Rockingham. Because of that there was a fantastic turnout of officials and marshals who ensured the whole event ran like clockwork. We had two practice and three timed runs and I improved my times each run. My final time was respectable but I lost time on Turn 2 and the final corner that I took much too slowly. So room for improvement next year!

20140413-175455.jpg

The Beast under proper Indycar race position tower.

20140413-175550.jpg

Towering grandstands , fast straight and pits. Daytona? No, Rockingham..

 

Today I should have been taking part in the last event of my season, a sprint at Castle Coombe Race Circuit. Unfortunately I left my application too late and did not get an entry for what is always an oversubscribed event.  Its a real shame as the SV is perfectly suited to fast circuits like Coombe and I am sure I would have done quite well.

Looking back over the season I can see some improvement in my driving as I slowly got use to the car. Sprints and hill climbs are not like circuit racing – you get far less track time and as such it takes longer to learn the peculiarities of car.  Whilst I had two coaching sessions at Bruntingthorpe proving ground I suspect I should have done some track days – there is no substitute for track time. Still, any improvement is good and if I can get a couple of track days in before next season begins I should do a lot better in the championship that I race in, the MG Car Club Luffield Speed Championship.  Below are some photos from the season.

Image

On the start line at the Farnborough and District Motor Club’s Rushmoor Sprint, Aldershot, April.

Crystal Palace Sprint - May 2013 -1

At the splendid Sevenoaks and District Motor Club Crystal Palace Sprint, London’s only competitive motor sport event.

Image

At the Brighton and Hove Motor Club’s Goodwood Sprint, August. The mocked up Earl’s Court building was being prepared for the Goodwood Revival Meeting in September.

Image

Exiting the chicane at Goodwood.Image

Fast grey British engineering genius, and the Harrier isn’t too bad either. Bruntingthorpre Proving Ground, September.

Prescott c 2013

At speed at Prescott Hillclimb

Image

In the paddock at Prescott Hillclimb, October. The Beast is parked next to a new works MG3.