Thruxton Race Report - MGOC Championship 2017

2018 MG Owners' Club - Production MG Championship

Rounds 5 and 6:  Thruxton 3/4th June  

The drivers made their way down the A303 in Hampshire for the first time since 2015 to the 2.35 mile Thruxton circuit, this is the fastest circuit in the UK with the MGOC cars achieving an average lap speed of close to 90mph. On a bright and sunny morning a good grid of 24 MG's assembled for what would be an action packed day of high speed racing where the MGOC cars were on the supporting programme for the two day BARC meeting where the British Truck Racing Championship was the feature event.

The grid was swelled by the welcome return of former MGOC champions Darryl Davis (2000) and Lee Sullivan (2008) with Andrew Garbutt and Bob van Vuuren making their race debuts in MGB's.

The front row of the grid saw the MGF of Martin Wills on pole position with the ZR of Lee Sullivan alongside him. The second row was occupied by the MGF of Simon Kendrick and the ZR of Stuart Philps with the MGF of Mark Baker and the ZR of Phil Walker on row 3 ahead of Nick Golhar, Steve Williams, Darryl Davis, Philip Espinasse and Stuart Plotnek.

The leading Class A car was the MGB of Jim Baynam with Dave Amphlett, Chris Millard, Bob van Vuuren and Ashley Barnes all within striking distance.

Round 5
The pack got away cleanly with Sullivan and Wills side by side into the Campbell, Cobb, Segrave sequence of corners.  Wills held the line and was first across the line at the end of lap 1 but Sullivan edged past on lap 2 and held the narrowest of leads over the hard charging Wills for the remainder of the 13 lap race. The battle for 3rd place was initially a four car dice between Philps, Kendrick, Walker and Baker but Davis, who made a cautious start, was catching this bunch of cars and it soon turned into a five car battle.

Sullivan and Wills were putting on a great show with the gap between them seldom more than a car's length. Philps was 100 metres further back in 3rd place before the engine on his ZR expired on lap 7 resulting in leading following cars, notably Baker, Kendrick and Amphlett to lose a lot of time on the oil dropped on the track from the blown engine. 

Wills kept the pressure on Sullivan right to the final lap but the 2008 champion took the win after thirteen laps of hard fought but clean race driving. Over the final laps, the ZR of Walker held an excellent 3rd place but Davis closed in and took the position on lap 11 and held it to the chequered flag with Walker taking 4th place ahead of Baker, Plotnek and Kendrick.

Further back in the Classic Class, Baynam made a poor start but held a narrow lead from Amphlett through the Complex but after passing the MGF of Morgan quickly soon opened up a comfortable lead and by the end of lap 3 had a lead of 8.2 secs and was looking likely to take the win but it was all to change on lap 4 when the engine on his MGB seized and he retired leaving Amphlett in the lead.

A number of MGB's retired from the race but Amphlett controlled the race from the front and held off the hard charging Millard to take his third win of the season by 0.5 secs from Millard with Sam Queen taking 3rd from Garbutt.

Round 6
The MGF of Martin Wills was missing from the grid for this race. Sullivan made a good start but the rear wheel drive MGF of Kendrick put the power down well and was alongside the ZR on the run into the Complex but the experienced Sullivan held the inside line and emerged with a 20 metre lead at the end of the opening lap.  Baker had moved past Kendrick into 2nd place but retired on lap 2 with a gear linkage problem leaving Kendrick to chase the hard charging Sullivan.  Kendrick tried his best to close the gap but Sullivan always looked well in control and with his arch rival Baker out of the race, he understandably regarded the Class F win as being more important than challenging Sullivan for the overall race lead.

Once again, Davis was the man to watch and from 9th place on the grid put in another storming drive to move up to 3rd place on lap 4 before passing Kendrick on the penultimate lap to take an superb 2nd place recording fastest lap of the race on the way.  Kendrick was happy to settle for 3rd place and the Class F win ahead of the MGF's of Plotnek, Wisbey Espinasse and Morgan.

In the Classic Class, Amphlett had a good opening lap and was controlling the race from the front with Millard 100 metres behind but novice driver van Vuuren was putting in some impressive lap times and passed Millard on lap 6 and set off after Amphlett. By lap 8, van Vuuren had caught Amphlett and he moved into the lead on the following lap.  van Vuuren completed the final laps in confident style and marked an impressive debut by taking the Classic Class win on his race debut.  Amphlett took 2nd place with Millard in 3rd place ahead of Fisher and Garbutt.

Star Drives
The Star Drive trophies were awarded to:
Bob van Vuuren -  an excellent debut weekend culminating in an impressive Classic Class win and fastest lap in Round 6.

Darryl Davis - two impressive drives in a borrowed ZR taking two 2nd places and fastest lap in Round 6.

Next race: Rockingham 1/2nd July

Visit the MGOC Championship website to see the full race results and the final 2017 Championship positions.

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


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