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2012 SEASON starts here – Donington Easter Sunday 8th April

The opening round of the Motoring Classics Thoroughbred Championship for 2012 was at Donington with the M.G. Car Club.  Entries were healthy for the first race with twenty four although a few problems would put the actual grid down to 20.  The weather forecast was for cold and showery conditions but we had mostly a dry but cold day until the race of course, when some drizzle and rain caught out the start.

QUALIFYING

The practicing was a new effort by the MGCC to speed up things so there was a continuous qualifying session of approximately three races before they cleared up any ‘off circuit’ cars.

Our 15 minute qualifying started at 10.48 through to 11.05 and luckily any cars with problems managed to pull into the pits.  The weather was cloudy with dampness in the air.

We had only one A class arrive (although Edwin Driver had entered) Martin Clews but he was suffering from overheating so retired after qualifying.   Russell McCarthy out in his ‘clone’ of dads V8 just finished and untested, had problems with the brakes overheating, the oil pressure dropped so he pulled into the pits to retire and re-evaluate.  Simon Cripps also had engine problems and retired after only one lap and Jeff Hooper missed qualifying and entered another session.  John Yea had a misadventure in the Ecurie race and did not make the grid although he gained B class Pole in Thoroughbred qualifying.  Roger Connel had numerous problems and just couldn’t solve them in time to get to the circuit.   First races –  are we ever ready!!

THE GRID

Race Overall Pole went to Josh Files entering as an Invitation driver out in the TR6 on a time of 1.21.541 having a week off from his Clio Cup and sitting alongside D Class Pole Andy Green in the Morgan Plus 8 on 1.23.354. On row two on Class C Pole Rob Spencer in the MGBGTV8 with a 1.24.113 alongside Jerry Knight in the Jaguar Revival D Type on 1.24.475.   On row three Ken Paton in the RAM Jag D Type with 1.25.278 alongside Richard Abels in the Challenger E Type on a 1.26.226.

Row four Chris Edwards in the TR6 next to Ian Prior in the MGBGTV8 and a greatly improved Rob Roodhouse on row five ninth overall next to Graham Paddick in the Kougar Jaguar.     Row six the vacant spot for John Yea with Colin Jones in the MGA alongside.  Row seven Bob Lines in his MGA next to Peter Dubsky from Vienna in his Ram D Type.

Row eight Kathy Sherry in her Morgan + 8 next to Neil Fowler in the MGC and on row nine new to the Championship Babak Farsain in his MGB alongside Alistair Bell in his V8.   On row ten another newcomer to the Championship Mark Scott who had purchased the ex John Hutson MGB Roadster  sitting next to his neighbour Ben White in his V8 Roadster.

Vacant spots for Simon Cripps, Martyn Clews and Russell McCarthy at the back of the field but the back of the grid space filled by Jeff Hooper who was having engine problems and had practiced out of session.

THE RACE

As the grid was forming up the drizzle turned to light rain which meant for an interesting race as everybody was out on dry tyres and dry suspension settings, fortunately it never rained enough to make the track fully wet but it did make it slippery.

At the start Andy Green made a flyer and got to Redgate just ahead of Josh who was followed by Rob Spencer, a bit of a specialist in these tricky conditions. Everybody else followed through without any incidents, other than one spinning MGB, which was a great tribute to the driving skills of all.

Down to the Old Hairpin Andy pulled out a bit of gap on Josh but was reeled in at McLeans when Andy went slightly wide at Coppice leaving a gap for Josh to dive up the inside allowing him to take a lead that he maintained to the flag.

Josh Files leads the field

Following Andy was Rob Spencer who was joined by both Ken Paton and Jerry Knight in their D type replicas, Jerry going a tad faster than qualifying after fixing his brakes. All 4 driver put on a great show that was only spoiled when, first Rob had a half spin exiting the Old Hairpin and Andy took to the grass at the Esses as it appeared both Ken and Jerry were alongside Andy going into the Esses.  This excursion left Ken in second and Jerry in third according to the commentator. The battle continued between these four until near the end of the race when Ken took the battle lead and remained to the flag taking the C Class Win.

Andy Green

The drizzle and damp track had dried sufficiently for a number of fast laps to be set before the rain returned to the back of the circuit making it very slippery once again hence a few spins and minor offs.

Ken Paton leads the pack

There was a fantastic tussle between Ian Prior in his new MGBGT V8, out for the first time after a winter build.   Richard Ables in his E Type and Chris Edwards in his TR6 with the three of them trading places lap after lap without trading paintwork.   Eventually Ian got the hang of his new car and proceeded to pull away from both Richard and Chris and eventually finishing fifth overall and first in class D after getting the better of a slowing Andy Green, a great result for Ian, he will be a force to be reckoned with as the season moves on.

Ian Prior

Further down the field there was a classic MGA battle between Bob Lines and Colin Jones that resulted in Colin Jones with the advantage but not before Bob retired. The surprise package in this group was newcomer to the Thoroughbreds Babak Farsian, who drove the wheels of his car with the overall class B honours, welcome and well done Babak.

Newcomer Babak Farsain

Kathy Sherry got caught by the slippery track and came off into the gravel on lap eleven and a delighted Rob Roodhouse finishing in ninth his highest place overall and third in class.

Congratulations go to

Josh Files for a great drive practically from lights to flag taking Overall Win breaking the existing Lap Record in the process.

Class C Ken Paton with Jerry Knight second and Rob Spencer third.

Class D Ian Prior just in front of Andy Green second and Rob Roodhouse third.

Class B Babak Farsain his first time out with Thoroughbreds with Colin Jones second and another newcomer Mark Scott third.

Congratulations also go to Ian Prior for achieving Driver of the Thoroughbred Race from MGCC.

Report by Keith Files / Pam McCarthy

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