Luff’s Stuff Issue no 3 

The newsletter of the Luffield Cars MGCC Speed Championship

Hi all, Jean here again,

Thanks lads. I did not have room in the last newsletter to thank Jim and John for their contribution to the last newsletter but I really did appreciate it. 
We have more event news from various parties which I am looking forward to reading on my return from France next week (off to Le Mans with Mike, who’s racing the ex-Ted Lund Twin Cam, trying to relive its past glory).

First of all my news

Scammonden Dam Meeting in July has been cancelled but for those who like to be cold and wet I have arranged for us to be invited to the meeting on the 19th August (Just when you thought it was safe to put the brollies away). The regs are not being printed and sent out till they know that the event is running so be patient and also fast off the mark when they are issued. 
If that event fails to materialize then we still have the event in September and I shall try to get us into that. The date is the 23rd September so keep these dates free in your schedules.
Another casualty of the foot and mouth epidemic is Pestalozzi which looks like a cancellation.  With no replacement readily in site, we will allow any Southern drivers who wish to enter the second Prescott meeting which was postponed from April until the end of September, to count that event.  When Jim spoke to them on Sunday there were places available, so if you want to enter, do so now.   That also goes for any Northern drivers, as there currently look to be only 3 MGs entered so far!
I’m off now to do the packing. Be in touch soon, so I’ll hand over to Jim to assemble the rest of this issue

Déjà vu

And it’s like I’d never been away. Well, the championship season has finally got under way in earnest in the South, with 3 rounds in as many weeks, all of which have been eventful and well supported.  Shame the same can’t be said of the Northern events where lack of entries rather than F&M caused the cancellation of Leconfield, and Knockhill only managed to attract 3 championship entries.  Never mind, hopefully things will really get going at Silverstone in 2 weeks time.  Another reminder here, places are still available for this event and we need as much support as we can muster to give our new sponsor a good showing.
So, on to this month’s event news, and my thanks to the various correspondents for their contributions.

Goodwood Sprint - by Max Tyler

This report is somewhat personal - for various reasons I didn't see much of the event. To start with, we arrived to find clouds of steam and gallons of water around the front of the Montego Turbo. Would you believe it?  This is my everyday road car, totally reliable from the moment I bought it until now - as it drove into Goodwood race circuit the top hose split. Frantic work came up with bodge that kept water in all day - a success of sorts!

But I wasn't the only one having problems. Ian Clover's brakeless Midget didn't even start practice, while Marc Hanson in the MGF was stuck in traffic and arrived JUST in time!  Not the best way to approach one's very first event - welcome Marc. Oh and Carol locked her keys in the boot. Did she ever get home?

But worse was to befall the MG hordes. Mike Heath came round during practice with the Blue Peril sounding like death and trailing more smoke than the Flying Scotsman. Exit one brand new Metro engine. Matt Dryell in the other Metro, a Turbo, was having the sort of problems I experienced last year and was hard pushed to complete a lap, let alone at full chat.

Come the timed runs, David Smith in his Montego Turbo was queued up in front of me. Funny, that doesn't look like his helmet. It's not, it's Mike "Peril" Heath driving a proper car for a change! And did he enjoy it? Well, we couldn't shut him up all day about how exciting these cars are - I think we have a convert to the "big" FWD brigade. He even had a massive off on his last run which concentrated his mind a little - especially as Jackie Smith, the car's real owner, was watching!

Talking of offs, we have early "Spinner of the Year" nominees both proving that Yoko A032R tyres have no grip on grass. Step forward Tamsin Fisher and David Butler, who managed to rotate big time exiting the chicane. Thankfully, no serious damage done although Tamsin did gently touch the MG advertising hoarding. Appropriate, really.

At the sharp end, Terry Pigott destroyed us for fastest MG while Chris Cooper destroyed his engine while putting in a magnificent run for second place. Said Smith and I were again close together, and again the wrong way round in 3rd and 4th. Too far off the pace - one day we'll get these tyres hacked - if only I could remember to tape up the speedo I'm sure it wouldn't be so scary!

At the presentations plenty of MG drivers picked up class awards which is a really good show in an open event like this. In fact, if I hadn't thrown my results away I'd be able to salute the successes but you know who you are.

Roll on Shelsley and Colerne, when we can try all over again.

Knockhill Sprint – by Terry Pigott

Knockhill has its own climate. Today is cold but bright. A little drizzle from time to time with one down pour.

Arrive at circuit and park the car as per the paddock map. Unload the car of its compulsory load of bits and pieces that get used once in a lifetime. Don't bring them and that's the life time.

Right, time to walk the track. No it’s not. Now's the time to put everything back into the car and, together with 7 others who have lined up with me, move 30 feet further along at the polite request of a smiling site worker driving a JCB type vehicle. I wonder if we would all have moved so obediently if not for his strange smile and the forked bucket on the front of the JCB?

Now to walk the course with the Autosport Guide. Interesting track. 1.9 laps 2.1miles of undulating track consisting of 2 straights, a right hand hairpin, 3 right hand bends, 2 left hand bends and a chicane. These are mixed well with blind brows and double apexes.  

In addition to myself, George Pawlyn and Mike Marsland were in attendance.  We all had a good day. George's was more eventful as the chirpy midget blew water hose after water hose all day long.  George, as philosophical as ever, just kept producing new ones.  His class consisted of Westfield SEights, a very rapid BMW 2002 and a TVR Tuscan. This was George’s first outing of the year and he was glad to nurse the midget round the circuit before the next hose went.  Mike’s competition were Mini Coopers and Renault 8's all very quick. Mike did very well but didn't stand a chance against these types of developed motors.  Myself I was fortunate enough to win my class with a time of 131.13. However my completion was less awesome being a Seat Ibiza, Mini Cooper S & Metro GTi. The Mini was overhead cammed , highly developed and on big wheels and excellent rubber. Frightened me with a 132.67.

Left at about 7.00pm. Had to wait over an hour for the blessed Top 10 run off.  Arrived home just after 12.00 after several stops. Saturday evening traveling is much less hassle than Sunday afternoons. 

A good couple of days.

Gurston Down Hillclimb – by David Smith

Gurston dawned cloudy with sunny intervals - but best of all it was dry across the rolling Wiltshire countryside.! The meeting was run with what I gather is the customary BARC efficiency, and they had given us an all-MG class which we rewarded by having 18 runners on the day. As I was new to the hill I was all ready to walk it at 08.30, only to be called for the first batch of practice which I then had to drive sight unseen, not something I wish to repeat too often.

Vince Cainey completed one run sounding like a bag of nails - one tappet had gone out to about 5mm clearance, but was soon put right. Practice settled down to the usual pattern, in Terry's absence it was Adrian Moore who set a demanding target for the rest of us to chase. Ian Clover was putting in consistent runs in the mid-forties having fixed the brakes which had let him down at Goodwood.

The timed runs confirmed Adrian out in front, being hotly pursued by all the usual suspects - yours truly, David Butler and Andy Bush. Paul Meakin was going well in the F-VVC too. The final runs confirmed the order except Andy who just sneaked a third in class ahead of David B, the top four being covered by less than 1 second.

A thoroughly good day, none of the MGs fell off or broke anything, which must be something of a record....

Prescott Hillclimb – by Jim Garvey

While half the Southern lads were gallivanting around Wiltshire, a slightly smaller bunch were throwing their cars up Prescott Hill in Gloucestershire.  Numbering 10 in all (it would have been 11 but for Chris’s problems causing him to withdraw the MGC), most were drawn from the more modified end of the championship classes, including 3 newcomers, albeit experienced circuit racing exiles.  In fact now would be a good time to welcome Paul Bernal-Ryan, James Bilsand and David Shannon, all of whom traveled from Kent for the event, to the happy band of petrol heads that is the Luffield Cars MGCC Speed Championship.  Welcome boys, from what we’ve seen so far you’ll fit in nicely.

So, back to the event.  For those who’ve been to Prescott before, you know how laid back it is.  Well it was for some, but for others it was just one mad rush.  Contrast the approaches of Terry Pigott and Carol Bloomfield.  Terry, keen as ever, turns up at 7.00am just to be sure of signing on early enough to get his extra Saturday practice, you know the one.  The last minute run in the pouring rain (it always rains at the end of Saturday at Prescott) that means all the effort was only worth it if it rains again on Sunday, which of course it never does. Carol on the other hand, rolls up about 12.00ish, totally chilled, just in time to get her first practice in before lunch.

Well, practice was largely uneventful, although it did point the way that Sunday was destined to go, with the new boys in their modified Midgets getting within a second or so of both Terry and John Hawley. Good going for your first run up a hill as technical as Prescott against the regular front runners.

On Sunday, after numerous delays for oil spills and fishing exuberant competitors out of gravel traps, the MGs finally got their first timed runs at gone noon.  Up front Terry set the pace in the V8 with a 51.64s while the 3 Modified Midgets battled for 2nd in class, just over a second covering the 3 of them, Paul, John and James.  On the second runs James was first up the hill, pushing hard and locking it all up into Pardon hairpin to shave off 3/4¾ of a second and move ahead of John into 3rd spot.  Paul was next, and in much less dramatic style clocked a 51.61 to take the class lead.  Then John found a bit more to re-take 3rd.  Sadly Terry couldn’t wring anything more out of the V8 and just lost out on event class honours to Paul by 3/100ths of a second. 

Further down the class Stephen Holford was dicing with Carol and managed a 56.31, slightly less than his best practice, but a good first effort with his new Road-going modified engine, and he managed to keep it on the grey stuff all day.  Now THAT was a major achievement!  Just behind this pair, the Road-going Specials were hard at it, with Roger Gillam’s MGA just squeezing out Tamsin’s turbo Midget, 57.37 vs 57.65, but both better than 2000, in Tam’s case by almost 3 seconds.  Behind them the last 2 places were filled by David Shannon’s BGT, David swearing that next time he’d bring the Midget ‘cos it was faster, and Anthony Cutler.

The Scores on the Doors....

So, after half a dozen events how do things stand?  With 4 Southern events complete these drivers lead overall, headed by David Smith in the Monty turbo on 33pts, closely followed by David Butler’s RGM MGB on 30pts.  Tam fills the remaining podium place on 26pts, with John Thomas (Std TF) and Kim Dear (Std AH Sprite) joint 4th with 24pts and Anthony Cutler rounding out the top 6 on 23pts.

Up North, Terry leads on 22pts, with fellow Hibernian travellers, Michael and George, along with John Wilman all joint second on 12pts.  Mike Heath and Tony Mac complete the top 6 on 10pts each.

Next stop Silverstone for the BIG ONE.  See you all there.