Oulton Park Race Report - MGOC Championship 2019

2019 MG Owners' Club - Production MG Championship

RACE REPORT

Rounds 15 and 16:  Pembrey 6th October

For the final meeting of the season the drivers made the long journey down the M4 for our first visit to Pembrey since 2011. The closure of Llandow in 1977 left Wales without a race circuit but Pembrey was developed as a replacement and it opened for racing on 25th May 1989. The MGOC championship were on that inaugural meeting and were in fact the first cars to actually race on the new circuit with the MGC of Nigel Petch taking the first ever win from the MG Maestro of Darryl Davis.

Since our last visit there, the circuit layout has changed slightly with the addition of a new left/right series of corners at Senna Esses The revised corner has increased the track length by just 57 metres but adds approximately six seconds to the lap time.

Qualifying

The qualifying session took place on a damp track on Saturday evening and, for the first time in many years, the front row of the grid was taken by MGF's with Mark Baker on pole position with Stuart Plotnek alongside him on what was, unusually, a staggered grid.

Row 2 was an all ZR affair with Will Sharpe ahead of championship leader Steve McDermid. Row 3 saw the MGB of Malcolm Hill leading the Classic Class with Jim Baynam alongside him followed by the MGB of Dave Amphlett, the TF160 of Phil Walker and the MGB's of Ray Lovell, Chris Millard and James Pryor and the ZR of Nick Golhar

Round 15

The inside line of the track was a slightly damp but the outside line had a dry line and, despite being a length behind due to the staggered grid, the cars on the outside line had the favoured starting position.

As expected, the pole position MGF of Baker was slow away on the damp track with Plotnek getting away well to pull ahead of Baker on the run into the 2nd gear Hatchets hairpin.  Plotnek held a narrow lead from Baker with Sharpe close behind in 3rd place with McDermid a few lengths back in 4th place and well ahead of the leading MGB of Baynam. The places remained static until lap 5 when Sharpe got a good exit from Spitfire and passed Baker at Dibeni to move into 2nd place. 

Plotnek was driving well at the front of the field but Sharpe began to close the gap and was just a cars length behind the leader on the start of lap 9. As the leaders approached the left hand corner at Senna Esses, the ZR of Sharpe locked up and went straight on forcing Plotnek, who had just turned into the corner, to take to the grass to avoid the wayward ZR.  Plotnek rejoined but lost a lot of time while Sharpe continued across the grass to rejoin the track just before Brooklands.  This melee resulted in Baker taking the lead from Sharpe with McDermid a few lengths back in 3rd place.

Sharpe closed in on Baker and took the lead at Hatchets on the penultimate lap and went on to take the chequered flag by 0.7 secs with McDermid in 3rd place ahead of Plotnek and Golhar.

In Classic Class, Baynam took full advantage of the dry line on the outside of the track to get a better start than Hill and held the lead into Hatchets where Hill made an over optimistic late breaking move on the damp track that resulted in him locking up and going straight on and narrowly missing the cars who had turned into the corner. Hill recovered well and closed in on the Baynam but things became somewhat easier for him when Hill dropped back on lap 5 with a misfiring engine leaving Amphlett to take up the chase. 

On lap 8 Baynam outbraked himself at the left hander at Senna and took to the wet grass however Amphlett immediately followed suit and took to the grass at the same place. Baynam recovered quickly and rejoined in the lead with Amphlett losing more time and dropped to 4th place behind Pryor and Millard.  Baynam went on to take the win from Amphlett who drove well to get past Millard and Pryor to take 2nd place.

Round 16


Plotnek was on pole for this race and with the track now fully dry made a perfect start to take the lead into Hatchets hairpin ahead of Baker and the closely matched ZR's of Sharpe and McDermid.

Sharpe closed in on Baker and took 2nd place on the inside at the fast Honda Curve that leads on to the main pit straight and quickly began to close the gap to the leader. Plotnek was still leading on lap 5 but Sharpe got good exit speed out of Brooklands and closed in on the leader before pulling alongside Plotnek on the apex of the fast right hand kink at Woodlands, Plotnek ran out of room on the exit and took to the grass dropping well down the field with Sharpe taking the lead.

Champion elect McDermid was determined to end the season with a win and outbraked Baker at Senna Esses to move into 2nd place. McDermid was never more than a couple of lengths behind Sharpe but it all changed on lap 13 when the two leaders were about to lap an MGB at Senna. The two ZR's went either side of Lovell under braking but Sharpe ran wide and McDermid took the lead with Baker moving ahead of the recovering Sharpe into 2nd place.  On the following lap Baker retook the lead when McDermid correctly gave him room on the apex of the Woodland kink.    

The action continued with Baker narrowly holding the lead despite running wide on the penultimate lap at Senna Esses but McDermid kept the pressure on and took the lead at Spitfire on the last but the action wasn't over yet as McDermid took a cautious line through Brooklands on the last lap and with two corners to go, Baker retook the lead at Woodlands and held on through the final corner to take the win by 0.7 secs after a superb four car battle.
Baynam again took the Classic Class lead from Hill who had Amphlett on his bumper in what was a three car train for the lead.  Hill looked likely to get past Baynam but threw it away with a spin on lap 10 that also delayed the chasing Amphlett leaving Baynam with a 100 metre lead by lap 11 that he held to the chequered flag to maintain his 100% record of race wins this season. With Baynam winning the race, Amphlett needed to finish ahead of Hill to clinch the Classic Class championship but the two MGB's were very closely matched and Hill took 2nd place by 0.28 secs to deny Amphlett.

New lap records were established in all Classes:
Class Z:  Will Sharpe – 1.15.76
Class F: Mark Baker – 1.15.73
Classic Class: Dave Amphlett – 1.18.52

An impressive 41 drivers took part in the 2019 championship and after a busy season of sixteen races on the UK's premier race circuits, the championship winners are confirmed as:

Class Z:          
1st Steve McDermid 157 points - overall 2019 champion
2nd Will Sharpe        133 points
3rd Steve Darbey     119 points

Classic Class:
1st Jim Baynam          131 points
2nd Dave Amphlett      130 points
3rd Chris Millard           90 points

Class B:          
1st Sarah Sullivan        28 points
2nd Matt Gozalves       26 points
3rd Dean Sullivan        2 points

Class F:          
1st Simon Kendrick     124 points
2nd Stuart Plotnek       103 points
3rd Paul Wisbey             81 points

Visit the MGOC Championship website www.mgoc-championship.co.uk to see the full race results, the final 2019 Championship positions and regular new updates on the 2020 season.

 

Race Reports
Silverstone International
Brand Hatch
Donington Park
Oulton Park
Castle Combe
Snetterton
Mallory Park
Pembrey

 

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