MGCC Luffield Speed Championship & Classic Marques Championship

MGCC Luffield Speed & Classic Marques Championship Season Roundup 2015

The Mamba Motorsport MG Midget 1380cc (‘Bjorn’) is owned and campaigned by John Payne.

After completing the first season in the newly built car in 2014, when it took it's class in the MGCC Luffield Speed Championship, it was decided that both the Luffield and Classic Marques Championships would be tackled in 2015.

These series use differing handicapping systems but a common theme is the eclectic mix of cars that compete - brilliant! Whilst the combination of running in two championships and the almost ad hoc event classes make it difficult to provide a simple post season report, the combination of a quick and reliable car ensured an enjoyable season

Curborough, near Lichfield, hosted the first event on 12th April using the relatively recent figure of 8 course. This was new to me, and probably to others as well but day went well and the car seemed suited to the tight, but relatively fast crossover bends. Third in class was the end result, beaten by a Lotus 7 and a Westfield but I was happy to take the scalp of an Elise.

Anglesey followed on 2nd and 3rd May, the National course being used on Saturday and the International layout on the following day. Both these tracks could not be more different to the tight confines of Curborough and, on Saturday at least, the weather could also not be more different with heavy rain most of the day. My wet weather driving is normally pretty dreadful but the slow pace was compounded by unexplained missed gear changes in the Rocket bend complex on each run on the first day. Doh! Still, I had no one to beat as I was in a class on my own but I didn't disgrace myself totally against the other classes Sunday was a whole lot better with the track drying for the three timed runs and no missed gear changes to spoil the day! Competition this time came in the form of Keith Egar in the 1800cc K-Series Midget, and unsurprisingly he took the class by well over 2 seconds.

Prescott is one very lovely hillclimb venue and 23rd May was the first day of their La Vie en Bleu weekend, an excellent event for competitors and spectators alike, with plenty happening both on and off the track. Enjoying the warm and sunny day the car performed really well in a group of thirteen MGs, ending with a 3rd in class, behind Keith Egar's 1800cc Midget and a frightening 4.6 litre MGB. An improvement of 3 seconds over my previous PB, though, capped a great days sport.

Harewood hillclimb is not a venue that I know well. I was there fairly regularly in the 1980s but then stayed away for nineteen years after I very nearly lost my trailer down the paddock hill! I returned in 2009 for a memorably soaking wet day when I found that they had extended the track by 50% during my absence. There was certainly nothing wrong with the weather on this early June day and the two practice runs were uneventful as I set to re-learning the track. With a bit of optimistic confidence the first timed run was undertaken but unfortunately only as far as Country, the 90 left over blind brow where braking was delayed a fraction too long and the grass outfield explored. The second run was taken with caution and a poor time resulted in last place of the class of three, this time beaten by the previously mentioned 4.6 litre MGB of Andy Walker and the slick shod Midget of Richard Watkinson

Silverstone Stowe circuit was next up on 21st June and it was good to be back at a track where the car had performed well in 2014. With the sun shining on us again I was hoping for a good improvement over previous times but that was not to be the reality. The car was struggling to achieve good 64' times and overall times were behind those of the previous year.
With a big effort on the last of the three timed runs I finally managed to get a PB with a sense of relief and also took the class win. Another inspection of the undercarriage in the paddock identified a couple of broken brackets on the rear axle location, hence the tardy starts, but at least I knew what had to be fixed.

Shelsley Walsh on 18th July was the scene of a very special event. With the car repaired I joined a class of 18 MGs under 1500cc, with a variety of models including a number running on slicks.
At the end of a long, scorching hot day I was happy to take fourth in class behind three slick shod cars and less than 1 second behind the class winner. .

Loton Park on 8th and 9th August promised good weather and that is exactly what we had. A round of the Classic Marques Championship and with a good turnout of 17 contestants there was the opportunity to compete against some lovely cars on scratch as well as handicap. In a personal battle I was beaten by Paul Slade's stunning E- Type on Saturday but managed to turn the tables on Sunday, coincidentally by the same margin.
PBs on both days and a reasonable haul of points for the Championship was a satisfying result for the weekend.

Anglesey on 5th and 6th September featured for the second time in the season, but is always worth the three hour journey from home to experience such a well laid out circuit with excellent facilities, including garages if required. The format for the weekend was similar to the early May events with the National layout used on Saturday for just less than 2 laps, while the Sunday meeting was a little short of one lap of the International track. Both layouts are an exhilarating mix of fast straights with a mixture of bends all laid out over undulating gradients. Fabulous!
A combination of good weather and a lowish entry meant that there were no time pressures on the organisers who gave us 4 timed runs after practice, which was much appreciated. However, once again I had to play second fiddle to Keith Egar's big engined Midget on both days and I was left with some thinking to do in order to sort out the Rocket complex where I was losing far too much time.

Shelsley Walsh on 19th and 20th September brought the season to a close. Whilst the Anglesey entry had been low, the numbers competing at Shelsley were huge.
Whilst this entry size can usually be accommodated without problems, the Saturday start had to be delayed by an hour and a half due to the heavy mist filling the valley. In the end only one practice was possible within the time constraints, but once the mist had gone the meeting continued with the usual efficiency.
The afternoon runs were ok but not spectacular and left me behind the PB time achieved in July. Surely, Sunday would be better? Fortunately the weather conditions were certainly an improvement and although some drivers were affected by the mist rolling around during first practice, thereafter all was good and the meeting continued without problem.
After re-thinking the start procedure in an effort to claw back a few tenths, the times improved and my season finished with a PB on the very last run.
Rather fortuitously, due to the MAC class handicap system, I managed to take class wins on both days, a rather nice ending to the season I thought!

2015 Season Summary:

Classic Marques Championship:
Overall 19th of 51
MG Class 4th of 12

MGCC Luffield Championship:
Overall 18th of 68
1st in Class, Road Going Specials < 1500cc
3 Class Records Curborough Figure of 8 on 12th April
                        Anglesey International on 3rd May
                        Silverstone Stowe on 21st June