Oulton Park Race Report - MGOC Championship 2017

2017 MG Owners' Club - Production MG Championship


Race Report

Rounds 9 and 10  -  Donington Park 22/23rd July 2017

Donington Park circuit is located close to East Midlands airport in Derbyshire. It originally opened in 1933 but closed at the outbreak of war in 1939 but thanks to the heroic efforts of the late Tom Wheatcroft it re-opened for racing in May 1977 and has developed into one of the most popular race circuits in the UK.

The MGOC races were on a packed two day programme supporting the British Truck championship with the races being held on the 1.978 mile National circuit in front of an estimated 20,000 strong crowd.

Qualifying

The first two rows of the grid for Round 9 were taken by ZR160's with Steve Williams taking his first ever MGOC pole position with Alan Forster alongside him on the front row. Dave Mellor only managed three laps of qualifying but took 3rd place ahead of Stuart Philps. Row 3 saw the leading MGF of Simon Kendrick alongside Phil Walker with the MGF of Mark Baker and the ZR of Nick Golhar on row 4.

Gordon Jeakins had entered a very standard specification ZR as a precursor to the proposed new Class B for the 2018 season for standard production based roadgoing ZR160's.

The leading Class A car was the MGB of Jim Baynam on row 6 with Dave Amphlett on row 7 and Bob van Vuuren on row 8 ahead of Bob Fisher and Chris Flooks.

Round 9

On a grey and damp afternoon the MGOC cars gathered in the assembly area for a scheduled 4.15pm race but were advised that at least one of the Trucks in the preceding race had crashed and the start of the MGOC race would be delayed.  With a degree of inevitability there were further dramas in the re-started Truck race resulting in a 90 minute delay to the start of the MGOC race by which time a light drizzle was falling.

As the red lights went out the engine on the pole position ZR of Williams cut out but thankfully all of the cars managed to avoid the stationary car with Forster making a perfect start from the front row to take the lead into Redgate with Philps moving up to 2nd place ahead of Mellor and the leasding MGF of Kendrick in 4th place. Philps initially held 2nd place but appeared to have a problem and Mellor moved past on lap 3 prior to Philps retiring with a clutch failure a lap later.

At this stage, Forster was holding a 100 metre lead and looked to be heading for his first MGOC win but the rain began to fall and with no ABS on his ZR he was gradually caught by Mellor who took the lead under braking into the Chicane on lap 9.  With the rain now falling very heavily, Mellor gradually extended his lead and went on to take the chequered flag by 5.5secs from Forster with Kendrick a long way back in 3rd place taking the Class F honours ahead of the ZR of Walker and the MGF of Baker.

In Class A, Amphlett made a great start on the damp track to take the lead from Baynam but the reigning MGOC champion retook the lead on the run into McLeans and quickly opened up a five second lead over Amphlett who was battling to hold off the advances of van Vuuren. By mid race Baynam looked the likely winner but as the rain increased the chasing duo of Amphlett and van Vuuren quickly closed the gap to the leader. On the last lap Baynam's lead had been cut to just 40 metres and under increasing pressure spun off on surface water at McLeans leaving van Vuuren leading by a couple of lengths from Amphlett. Van Vuuren held his nerve to take the chequered flag for an impressive Class A win ahead of Amphlett with Baynam recovering to take 3rd place.   

Round 10
The drivers returned to the track on Sunday morning for their second race.  The weather looked a lot brighter and the race was held on a dry track.

Mellor made a perfect start from row 2 and lead the pack into Redgate ahead of Forster with the leading MGF of Kendrick in 3rd place ahead of Williams and Baker.  Forster kept the pressure on the leader but with one eye on Williams who had passed Kendrick and was mounting a stern challenge for 2nd place it was perhaps inevitable that his challenge for the lead faltered and Mellor gradually pulled away and by mid race had a 100 metre lead and was looking well in control.

Mellor went on to take the win from Williams who gradually pulled away from Forster to take 2nd place. A little further back Philps took 4th place by the length of a bonnet from Golhar with Kendrick further back after a three way battle that lasted most of the race.  Kendrick finished a few lengths behind Golhar in 6th place taking his second win Class F win of the weekend from Baker with Wisbey and Espinasse 3rd and 4th respectively in Class F.

Ian Lawton finished in a creditable 10th place on his MGOC debut and will certainly be moving up the grid as he gains experience and develops the car.  Gordon Jeakins finished in 11th place in what was effectively a roadgoing standard ZR160. 

Further down the field, Baynam took an early lead in Class A from Amphlett with van Vuuren some way back and struggling to get past some of the slower cars. By lap 4, Baynam had a six second lead over Amphlett with van Vuuren a further six seconds back in 3rd place but once van Vuuren had passed the slower cars he quickly closed in on Amphlett and looked like taking the place but his race ended when he outbraked himself at McLeans and became stranded in the gravel trap.  Baynam extended his lead by three seconds a lap and took the Class A win finishing well clear of Amphlett with Fisher taking a distant 3rd place after Flooks retired with a broken drive shaft.

 

STAR DRIVES:
Bob van Vuuren - An impressive drive in his first ever wet race to take the Class A win in Round 9.

Steve Williams  - For his first MGOC pole position in Race 1 and a strong drive to 2nd place in Round 10.

 

Race Reports
Silverstone National
Castle Combe
Thruxton
Rockingham
Donington Park
Snetterton
Cadwell Park
Silverstone (International)

 

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