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For the second year running the M.G. Car Club Sprint Championship was won by John Dignan from Ryedale, North Yorkshire. Driving a Rover manufactured, MGRV8, John competed throughout the UK during 1996 to take the much coveted title.
All this motor sport practice has recently been put to good use for a worthy cause. In the lead up to this year's Children in Need appeal, sponsorship was collected for the highly successful charity Three Hour Karting relay race at the famous Redworth Hall venue near Darlington. Twenty four teams, each with four drivers, competed on a challenging course in the grounds of the ancient Hall in the land of the Prince Bishops. Drivers from all over the country brought sponsorship with them and donated it all to the Children in Need Appeal - now in its sixth year - and the final amount raised by this year's karting event was expected to reach £15,000.
John has competed in the Rat Pack in the Children in Need event since 1992, this year winning the event outright for the third time. The team captain, Julian Hepburn, also an M.G. enthusiast, has lead the Rat Pack to victory in five years out of six. It all helps to attract even more charity sponsorship for the next year.
On the M.G. scene John secured 10 class wins this year and was the fastest M.G. of the meeting on three occasions. At the sprint at 'Glorious Goodwood' in July the unusual Banana Trophy was won - actually the day wasn't all glorious, a massive thunderstorm flooded the track at one point. A much sunnier event at Ty Croes in Wales secured the Ellison Trophy for fastest M.G. over the two-day weekend. The Curborough Sprint near Birmingham; John's wife Pauline, who also drives the car, won the award for fastest lady whilst John brought home the Midnight Cup. Despite stiff competition from factory sponsored MGRV8 cars, John now holds 12 course records and remains unbeaten in the MG Rover V8 class since it started in 1994.
John has been competing successfully in motor sport since the early seventies when he drove for Mitsubishi in the international rallies. Although he has been placed three times in the top ten in internationals, he's won two manufacturers team awards and was placed in the European Rally Drivers Championship, he has always competed as an amateur. Throughout his time of international rallying he was a professional pilot with the Royal Air Force and represented the RAF on many occasions. John now works for Hunting Aviation as Deputy Head of Flight Operations. He is also in the RAF Volunteer Reserve flying Air Cadets in the RAF Bulldog aircraft at weekends.
M.G. sprint events take place from March to October throughout the British Isles at RAC approved tarmac venues.
The MGRV8 was manufactured by Rover from 1993 to 1995 and is based on the MGB. The engine is a 3946 cc V8 developing 195 horse power. 0 to 60 time is under 6 seconds. The suspension and handling have been considerably improved and make for an exciting and exhilarating drive. Some 600 MGRV8s have been sold in the UK plus another 1,2000 or so exported to Japan. In John's hands the Rover manufactured MGRV8 has been highly successful in beating many sports cars of other well known makes for the second year running.
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