Silverstone MG International Weekend
22 - 24 June 2007
by Andrew Coulson
The MG Car Club hosted its 57th Silverstone International to coincide with our 60th Celebrations ... and duly provided a whole year of seasons over the three days.
Being first in (Friday afternoon) and last out (until late Sunday afternoon), we drew the task of the Y Report on this year's main Club event. The first major change was that due to torrential rain there were no Register displays/parking on the grass and all had to learn new routes around the circuit to find their allotted corrals on the tarmac. As we shall see, some found this a challenge in its own right! Having driven the 175 miles from home in pouring rain, we came prepared and immediately found that the last minute packing of wellies had been a master stroke. All the trade stands which had been allocated grass pitches were already ankle deep in Glastonbury-like mud or under pools of surface water — and the main purpose of a Friday visit is always to 'beat the crowds' to the pick of the parts!
The Y Register stand was one of three given star status in the Main Marquee, with Slater Reynold's 1947 YA gracing the display just ahead of the stand. What was intriguing however was the number of occasions when every head seemed to be turned directly away form the two tone green Y — could it possibly be the gleam of the polish was too intense?
Saturday saw Paul Davies, Paul Gresser, Ted Gardner and Neil Cairns arrive 'Y mounted' and in a bid for power make a take-over for the SVW corral by 'wrong slotting' their cars into our neighbour's territory. Also up for the day were Jack Murray and Malcolm & Pat Hardy (YA still not finished) with Mel Fry (Melbourne, Australia, David Lawrence (South Africa) and Victor Rodriguez (Switzerland) making welcome international appearances.
Unfortunately Peter & Suzie Arnell had cancelled due to family emergency, and heroically Andrew Morland arrived to announce that he had entered his YB in the Sprint competition — but thought heneeded some parts as he had dodgy front brakes!
Also bad news was the weather, one spectacular cloud burst pulled all the 1960's/70's sports cars off the track mid-race (most were racing on slicks), but the boys & girls of the MMM race left the safety of their dry qualifying times and testing to set up a spectacular Kimber Trophy race immediately after the sports car race was stopped.
The grid sounded wonderful, smelled fabulous and then disappeared in a spray-storm for the next 17 miles of event-filled racing. Which brings us to Y types and racing ...
The ex-Dick Jacobs YB having been sold at auction in the previous week (£6K plus), there is still one Y around which used to race here; Frank Vautier's sun bronze car, last seen in 1997! Despite the rain, the sun metaphorically shone as Frank was at this year's meeting with his wife, Pam, albeit with no car to race. BUT your contributor can confirm that the rumours of the death and destruction of Frank's car are exactly that — all myths! A sense of possibilities (as opposed to the possibilities of sense) is now rife in parts of the Y fraternity.
Sunday again saw most people in obligatory wet weather gear, and a further five Y's arrived to bring a welcome rainbow of colours to leaden skies. There was a plus to the rain, however, in that the Register stands were busier than ever as people huddled out of the worst of the weather, and models, parts, books and tools were sold in steady order from the Y stand (much to the relief of Jack & Mollie who work extremely hard as porters, storage and displayers of our regalia). Also on the plus side was a chance meeting with a Dutch VA owner, who just happens to be the current owner of the fabled Y pick-up which has a crane mounted on the flat-bed. Discussions and exchanges are now in process!
With trade stands already departing, the afternoon became a slow haemorrhage of people and cars from the circuit as tales of impending 'worst weather for fifty years' spread at Silverstone. The racing continued, with considerably more caution in most cases, and the Registers eventually packed up around 4 p.m. As we left just after half four for the trip north, it became apparent that we would pick up all the Moto GP bike traffic from Donnington Park (we did), most of the early north-eastern leavers from Glastonbury (we did) and the usual Sunday evening traffic returning home from family outings (we did)!
For the number lovers out there, UMG 473 performed very well; returned 34 mpg; consumed/refilled 1 pt oil; cruised at sixty; and travelled 420 miles — which equates to around 200 laps of Silverstone; and coincidentally is the total number of laps from the entire race card this weekend!
And finally, the last picture shows why the YA was put on display in exactly the spot chosen by NAC; the newly launched Nanjing MGTF was nose to nose with her elder model — and they obviously need a major attraction to pull in the crowds! Well done to the Club and the Register for an outstanding coup!!!
To enlarge the pictures, double click on them.