My first competition car was a 1973 1275cc RWA Midget, bought from under the shadow of Drax Power Station in 1993. I started competing at Harewood hillclimb, north of Leeds, before joining the Luffield Cars / MGCC Speed Championship. The car was completely standard, but over the course of the next decade, it was re-shelled, fitted with a 1380cc engine, a five speed gearbox and many other modifications, and became quite a potent little car. It certainly kept me entertained for the next ten year,
In 2003, the MGCC and MG Sport & Racing (aka the ‘works’ race team) announced a joint venture, offering an ‘Arrive and Drive’ package in the MG Trophy championship. For a fixed amount, the aspiring racing driver got a works prepared and supported MG ZR190 for a season. Well, one season wouldn’t hurt, just to get racing out of my system…
“Red Bill Racing” was born! It’s nothing to do with my famous name and a well known energy drink. I have a very limited budget, so if it’s a choice between racing or paying the gas bill, well, I’ll wait for the ‘red bill’ to arrive. That first season was quite a steep learning curve, moving from a rear wheel drive, 100BHP Midget on road tyres, to a front wheel drive, 190BHP ZR on slicks. Results were OK, nothing special, but the buzz of racing was amazing. Once more season it is then! Two more seasons at most…
Disaster struck in April 2005. As we drove to Silverstone for the first race of the season, the radio reported that MG-Rover had gone bust. The race meeting went ahead, with the MG S&R team in full support, but the future looked bleak. Fortunately, I was able to purchase my rented race car and Dan Surridge of MG S&R becoming part of, and eventually owner of, CMC Motorsport who provided race day support to me. Sponsorship from MG-Rover dealers Luffield Cars of Loughborough helped massively. The Midget was seeing less sprint and hillclimb competition, so was sold to finance my circuit racing. My entry in Luffield Cars / MGCC Speed Championship would continue, however, sharing partner Helen Waddington’s road-going MG ZR160.
The racing continued, and in 2010, I made the move from MG Trophy to the northern based Cockshoot Cup championship. This resulted in me winning the Cockshoot Cup in 2012. Success also followed in the Luffield Cars / MGCC Speed Championship, when I won the Northern Championship in 2014, driving Helen’s ZR.
The MG Trophy was born out of the very high-profile MGF Cup, which started in 1998. This manufacture supported championship pitched a fleet of thirty identical full-race MGF sportscars against each other. The MGF Cup was a support race for the 1998 and 1999 British Grand Prix and a season’s budget was in excess of £120,000. Unfortunately, the years had taken their toll on the MGF Cup cars and number were dwindling. Accidents accounted for a number and Lotus Elise owners loved the dry sumped K-Series engine. Many were exported to Australia, where they remain popular. Certainly, none were actively racing.So in 2012, I decided to save one for the Nation!
As luck would have it, a fellow ex-MG Trophy competitor was selling his Cup car, after retiring to Spain. The car was duly purchased and during 2013, it was restored to its original MGF Cup specification. The hardest part was replacing the MG TF body panels, as in 2003, MG-Rover paid for all the cars to be dressed in MG TF panels, to promote the launch of the ‘new’ MG TF. The mechanicals were refreshed and the car was ready for the 2014 season.
I currently compete in the MGCC Cockshoot Cup in the MGF Cup car and I also continue to share Helen’s ZR160 in the Luffield Cars / MGCC Speed Championship