HRDC Queen's Diamond Jubilee MG Celebration race is a dazzler

31 Historic MGs qualified at Mallory Park for the HRDC Queen's Diamond Jubilee MG Celebration race on 4 June. With the Jubilee weekend's weather having been one of torrential rain, the skies brightened for the Bank Holiday Monday Motors TV meeting, where this HRDC 30-minute race was the feature race.

Historic ace Andy Newall qualified Sir Anthony Bamford's JCB works MGB roadster 8DBL on pole, half a second in front of a determined Andrew Bentley in his FIA MGB roadster. Mark Ashworth and Marc Campfield (the latter in his father's newly-restored works MGB rally car BRX854B) took the second row.

Interrupting the FIA MGB closeout at the sharp end of the grid was the surprise of Adam Gitting's diminutive MG Ashley GT and Jim Baynam in the Willhire 24 Hours MGB prodsports racer. Further down the grid was the 1965 works Le Mans MGB of veteran Barry Sidery-Smith and the sublime Counes coupe MGB of Bob Ridgard.

The 'Four Magnetteers' of Graham Bryant, Bruce Chapman, Julius Thurgood and Richard Dodkins made MG history by entering this unique race event with their veteran Z-Series Magnette racers - with a combined total of some 120 race seasons between them!

Such was the eclectic content of this historic MG grid that it contained the two MG1100 racers of Shaun Rainford and Steve Atkinson, plus five MG T-type racers, this latter genre of MG racers sadly now rarely seen in significant numbers at historic events.

The race fulfilled its expectation as the crowd pleaser of the day, with superb battles ranging throughout the field. The opening lap as not easy for Newall in the JCB works MGB, who out-braked himself into the hairpin to let a determined Campfield by in his similar works MGB. But Campfield was struggling with an overheating engine and was passed by both Newall and Ashworth and there the order stayed, until both Campfield and Ashfield eventually pulled out with engine troubles. The vastly-experienced Newall was then never headed for the remainder of this 31-lap MG bonanza.

Of special note was the stirring drive of Stuart Dean, in the unique Dick Jacobs MG YB Special coupe. Dean's super-smooth driving style picked off arguably much faster cars - to finish a superb 12th overall from a ninth row start, gaining a convincing class win and fastest lap in the process. A gritty drive by Adam Gittings in the works-built MG Ashley GT saw him climb to as high as third place, until he accidentally flipped his ignition switch going through the tight Mallory hairpin; the delighted pilot still claimed fifth overall, first in Class and a Fastest Lap for his efforts.

HRDC Race Director Julius Thurgood, commented after the race: "We worked hard to bring all these elements of historic MG racing together for this special televised event and the reception received was unanimously positive - so much so, that we intend to repeat this format at Donington on 28 July at the COYS-sponsored HRDC COYS INTERNATIONAL TROPHY MEETING. I am especially pleased to be able to offer a sympathetic race format to the T-types and am looking forward very much to seeing them race in larger numbers with the HRDC at Donington".

Further information on the HRDC COYS INTERNATIONAL TROPHY MEETING can be obtained by going to .

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