Rockingham Race Report - MGOC Championship 2017

2017 MG Owners' Club - Production MG Championship


RACE REPORT

Rounds 7 and 8  - Rockingham 1/2nd July 2017

 

Rockingham was specifically built for the US NASCAR Series and consists of a 1.5 mile long banked oval with two infield circuit layouts.  The circuit opened in 2001 but it seemingly didn't suit the American teams and NASCAR never returned and it is now used for National and Club racing.  This meeting saw the MGOC championship returning to Rockingham for the first time since 2015 and 21 cars were entered for two races on the 1.94 mile International Super Sports circuit layout.  

Practice

On a dry track, the grid saw the ZR160 of Dave Mellor, who was making a welcome return to the championship, take pole position with Steve Williams taking his first front row grid place alongside. Row 2 was occupied by the ZR160 of Phil Walker and the leading MGF of Simon Kendrick with the MGF's of Stuart Plotnek and Paul Wisbey on row 3.

 Class A pole was taken for the first time by the MGB of Chris Millard with Dave Amphlett a row behind and just ahead of William van Vuuren, Marcus Holland, Chris Flooks, Andrew Garbutt, Danny Porter and Shelby Wilsher.

 

The white MG Maestro of Jag Golhar was the sole entry in Class B.

 

Round 7

Despite some tyre smoking wheelspin the ZR of Mellor nosed into an early lead from Williams but the ZR of Walker made a perfect start from row 2 and moved past Williams at the first banked corner. The first few laps saw the lurid green ZR of Mellor being chased down by Walker with Williams 50 metres back in 3rd place ahead of the leading MGF of Kendrick.  By mid race, Mellor looked secure in the race lead but Williams was closing in on Walker and moved up to 2nd place on lap 10.

 

Mellor continued to dominate the overall race lead and marked his return to the championship with a dominant win with Williams taking 2nd place ahead of Walker.

 

Kendrick held and early lead in Class F and with Plotnek and Wisbey embroiled in a battle for 2nd place the 2013 champion looked the likely winner. The battle for 2nd place continued with Wisbey putting Plotnek under increasing pressure before taking the position on lap 9 at Turn 1. Wisbey then set off after Kendrick with the gap to the leading car reduced to 20 metres by the end of the penultimate lap. With Kendrick suffering a gear selection problem Wisbey closed in and took the lead on the final lap and went on to take a popular and well deserved Class F win from Kendrick with Plotnek in 3rd place.

 

Further back in the Classic Class, the MGB of Amphlett took an early lead but Millard, who was chasing his first MGOC win, was pushing hard and never more than a couple of lengths back with van Vuuren a few lengths further back in 3rd place and gradually closing the gap to the leading duo.  As the race wore on, Amphlett held the narrowest of leads but van Vuuren had caught Millard and these two were swapping places every lap. By mid-race, it was a three car train lead mostly by Amphlett but the positions were changing several times a lap with Millard and van Vuuren both taking the lead at some time in what was a breathtaking battle. As the three leaders started the final lap, Amphlett held the narrowest of leads but van Vuuren found a way past but his lead was short lived as Millard took his turn to lead but the experienced Amphlett emerged from the final Chicane in the lead and in a frantic dash to the line took the chequered flag ahead of Millard with van Vuuren close behind in 3rd place.

 

Round 8

Mellor and Walker both made good starts but the rear wheel drive MGF of Kendrick got the power down well and the three cars were side by side through the banked corner at Turn 1. Mellor managed to hold the inside line into the Chicane and at the end of a frantic opening lap had a 20 metre lead over Walker with Kendrick 50 metres back in 3rd place ahead of Plotnek who, once again, had Wisbey in hot pursuit.

 

As the race progressed, Mellor held a comfortable lead over Walker and by mid-race looked set to take his second win of the weekend. With Williams retiring on lap 2, Walker was well clear of the chasing pack lead by the MGF of Kendrick and the ZR's of Philps and Forster who were both making good progress through the field. Mellor gradually increased his lead and went on to take a dominant win ahead of Walker with Forster taking an excellent 3rd place after starting 10th on the grid with Nick Golhar in 4th place.

 

The battle in Class F was a repeat of the earlier race with Kendrick holding a narrow lead and looking in control as Plotnek and Wisbey battled for 2nd place.  By mid-race the three MGF's had closed right up and were covered by less than a second. Wisbey got past Plotnek on lap 6 and began to put Kendrick under pressure before taking the lead on lap 10. Another tremendous drive from Wisbey saw him take his second Class F win of the weekend by less than half a second from Kendrick with Plotnek a couple of lengths back in 3rd place with Espinasse taking 4th place after a good battle with Morgan.   

 

In the Classic Class, Amphlett made a perfect start to lead from Millard, Holland, van Vuuren and Flooks.  Millard retired on lap 3 leaving van Vuuren in 2nd place and it was a straight fight between these two. Amphlett held a seven second lead and looked the likely winner but lost time in mid-race allowing van Vuuren to close the gap to a couple of lengths as the race entered its final stages. It looked set for a frantic finale but van Vuuren outbraked himself at Tarzan hairpin and ran wide onto the grass handing Amphlett a cushion and despite van Vuuren coming back strongly on the last lap, the experienced Amphlett didn't bow to the pressure and took the Classic Class win from van Vuuren with Holland in 3rd place ahead of Flooks, Porter and Garbutt. 

 

 

Star Drive Trophies

These were awarded to:

  • Paul Wisbey for two impressive and hard fought wins in Class F.
  • Phil Walker for a front row of the grid place and two excellent drives in Class Z.

 

 

Visit the MGOC Championship website www.mgoc-championship.co.uk to see the full race results and current Championship positions.

 

Next Races: 19th August – Snetterton

 

 

 

 

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

 

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