Oulton Park Race Report - MGOC Championship 2017

2018 MG Owners' Club - Production MG Championship


 

RACE REPORT

 

Rounds 15 and 16 – Silverstone 7th October 2018

RACE REPORT

 

 

The curtain came down on the 2018 season with the now traditional BARC Finals meeting on the 1.85 mile Silverstone International circuit.  The overall champion and various Class positions were settled at the previous meeting at Cadwell but a healthy entry of 23 cars were entered for the championship finale on a bright and mild Autumn day.

 

Qualifying

On a track damp from an early morning dew, conditions were difficult and the fastest lap times would be set at the end of the 20 minute session as the track dried out.

 

Pole position was taken by the garish pink MGF ZR160 of Martin Wills who recorded a time 0.6 secs faster than the leading Class Z car of Dave Mellor. The MGF's of Mark Baker and Simon Kendrick were on row 2 with the MGF of Stuart Plotnek on Row 3 with the ZR160 of Steve Darbey.

 

Will Sharpe put in a remarkable effort on the damp track to put his 1275 Midget on row 4 alongside the ZR of Stuart Philps. The remaining Classic Class cars were several rows back with Malcolm Hill ahead of Chris Millard, Danny Porter, Dave Amphlett, James Pryor and Dave Mepham.  Champion elect Jim Baynam was unable to take part in the Qualifying session and would start both races from the back of the grid.

 

Round 15

The track had dried out for the race and when the red lights went out, the MGF of Wills got the power down well to take the lead into Abbey from the ZR of Mellor with the F's of Baker and Kendrick and Plotnek dicing for 3rd position into the tricky Link section. It was all very close when Mellor locked up on cold tyres holding up the MGF's of Kendrick and Baker allowing Plotnek to move up from 5th to 2nd place behind Wills.

 

At the end of the opening lap Wills had opened up a 100 metre lead but a frantic battle was raging for 2nd place with Plotnek just ahead of the MGF's of Kendrick and Baker and the ZR's of Philps and Mellor. Kendrick then outbraked Plotnek into Stowe to move up to 2nd place and began to close in on Wills. By mid-race was gap between the leaders was down to a cars length before Kendrick dropped back on lap 12 to hand Wills what looked like  a race winning lead.

 

Behind the two leaders Plotnek was hanging on to 3rd place but the ZR of Philps gradually closed in and took 3rd place at Stowe on lap 7 with Plotnek losing another place on the following lap when Baker passed him at Abbey. In what was a highly entertaining and cleanly fought battle, Baker then took 3rd place from Philps with another well executed move at Abbey.  By lap 13 of 15, Wills was cruising towards another victory with Kendrick 200 metres back in 2nd place and a long way clear of a tremendous battle involving Baker, Philps, McDermid, Plotnek and Darbey, this battle continued unabated until Baker fell back with a spin on the last lap leaving Philps to take 3rd place, and the Class Z win, ahead of McDermid, Darbey, Plotnek and Baker.

 

In the Classic Class, Sharpe made a good start and took the lead ahead of Hill but all eyes were on Baynam who after starting from the back of the grid made up eight places by the first corner and was in 3rd position behind Hill with Pryor in 4th place ahead of Amphlett, Barnes, Flooks and Millard.

 

Baynam got a good exit from Chapel on lap 3 giving better straight line speed down Hanger Straight and took 2nd place from Hill at Stowe. Baynam quickly closed in on Sharpe and these two old adversaries were soon at it again with Sharpe driving absolutely on the limit to stay ahead of Baynam. The battle raged until lap 13 when Baynam picked up a puncture and spun at The Loop leaving Sharpe to reel off the remaining two laps and take the win ahead of Hill with Amphlett taking 3rd place ahead of Baynam, Millard, Flooks, Barnes, Porter, Mepham and Fisher.

 

Matt Gozalves was the only starter in Class B and duly took the win in his Roadgoing ZR160.

 

Round 16

The front row of the grid saw the MGF of Wills on his own on the front row with the ZR of Mellor absent having suffered an engine problem in the earlier race.

 

Once again, Wills made the best start and took an early lead from into Abbey with Kendrick in 2nd place ahead of Baker and Plotnek.  Wills quickly established a 50 metre lead ahead of Kendrick who had Baker right on his tail and Plotnek close behind in 4th place with the leading ZR of Darbey a little further back in 5th place.

 

The leading positions remained static until lap 3 when Baker outbraked Kendrick into Village to move into 2nd place.             Plotnek then closed in on Kendrick taking 3rd place at Vale on lap 5 and a lap later passed Baker at Village to move into 2nd place then went one better by passing Wills, who had a gear selection problem, at Stowe to take the lead. Wills and Kendrick may well have had problems but Plotnek was repeating the form that made him MGOC champion back in 2009 and as the race moved into its latter stages looked well in control at the front of the pack.

 

The ZR160's were initially lead by Darbey but he was passed by Philps on lap 2 who gradually moved clear of Darbey and McDermid who were battling for 2nd place but these two gradually closed in on Philps and by lap 9 the three ZR's were covered by just 0.57 secs.  Darbey passed Philps on lap 11 and McDermid followed him through to demote Philps down the order to 3rd in Class Z in what was a highly entertaining and cleanly fought battle.

 

Plotnek reeled off the remaining laps in confident style to take a well deserved, if somewhat unexpected, race win. Darbey gradually eased away from McDermid over the final few laps and took 2nd overall and the Class Z win from the MGF of Kendrick with McDermid taking 4th place and runner-up spot in Class Z from Philps.

 

In the Classic Class, the 1275 Midget of Sharpe made a perfect start and lead into Abbey ahead of Hill and Amphlett with the remaining cars, including Baynam, delayed at the start when the TF of Walker lost his gears and was stationary on the grid.  Sharpe quickly established a 200 metre lead over Hill with Amphlett in 3rd place and having a good scrap with Millard. Baynam had made some progress but by lap 6 was still behind Amphlett and Millard.

 

By lap 12 of 15, Sharpe was 200 metres clear of Hill who was a similar distance ahead of Baynam and the race looked as good as over but it all changed on lap 13 when Sharpe spun at Chapel and Hill gratefully took the lead. Sharpe recovered well and was right on the bumper of Hill's MGBGT as they entered the Vale/Club complex for the last time.  Hill ran a little wide allowing Sharpe to nip past on the inside but it was all rather fraught and Sharpe tapped the back of Hill's MGBGT and both cars lost a lot of time. This allowed Baynam, who had been 200 metres back, to close in and with better exit speed he passed Hill on the exit of Club to move into 2nd place behind Sharpe who, within yards of the chequered flag, unexpectedly slowed to allow Hill who he'd tapped into a spin at the final corner to take the race win but hadn't realised that Baynam had closed right up and he nipped past to take a totally unexpected, and frankly rather bizarre, Classic Class win by the length of a bonnet from Hill with Sharpe in 3rd place.  

 

Star Drives

The Star Drive trophies were awarded to:

Malcolm Hill - two highly competitive races in a newly built MGBGT after seven years away.

Steve McDermid - drove his ZR160 well to take two good 2nd places and a fastest lap in Race 1.

 

Final 2018 Points Positions

Classic Class              Class B                        Class F                        Class Z

   Jim Baynam     - 172    Sarah Sullivan   - 44    Martin Wills        - 140      Steve McDermid - 129

   Chris Millard     - 113    Matt Gozalves   - 27    Simon Kendrick - 108      Steve Darbey      - 96

   Dave Amphlett - 112    Gordon Jeakins - 26    Stuart Plotnek    - 103      Nick Golhar         - 96

 

Visit the MGOC Championship website www.mgoc-championship.co.uk to see the full race results and final 2017 Championship positions.

 

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

 

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