After a long wait it was good to be at Mallory on Saturday for the first meeting of the 2021 season. Everyone was in good spirits although for some of you that initial state of euphoria didn't last too long !!.
The entry was boosted by race debuts for Carl Bate (MGBGT), Anthony Bate (Maestro), Mathieu Dore (MGBGT), Jack Woodcock (ZR) and Tim Grigsby (TF) and a welcome return for Chris Pollard. It's never easy to recruit new drivers but it is vital to our long term success that we get new blood on the grid and to get five enthusiastic new drivers is fantastic. Mark Grant ran out of time to get his ZR ready for Mallory but came along to the meeting and plans to make his debut at Castle Combe.
The meeting went well, and we are not aware of any bangs or scrapes and everyone seemed to enjoy the day. We know that all of our new and returning guys enjoyed themselves and went home happy. Wasn't it great to see a Maestro back on the grid.
Some drivers don't like Mallory. Of course we respect their views but we think it's a decent little track and rewards drivers who are quick, precise – and brave !!. Whilst the triple header format makes it a busy day a good number of you have said that you like it and whilst we wouldn't consider it at other circuits we think it works well for Mallory although we accept that it is tough on the likes of Dave Mellor, Will Sharpe and Paul Wisbey who had various mechanical problems and came away with zero points.
The entry of 22 cars soon dropped to 21 when Paul Wisbey was forced to withdraw with a broken steering column before even getting out for the Practice session. Dave Mellor's bad luck continued and after taking pole position with a lap that was 0.5 secs under the lap record his day was over and he was putting the ZR back on the trailer with a broken crank. This further reduced the entry 20 cars.
In addition to that, Adrian Olsson had a head gasket fail in Practice and missed the Qualifying session so had to start all three races from the back of the grid. Steve Darbey also had a cylinder head problem in Race 1 and despite the best efforts of Kev Bull and Mark it wasn't possible to repair it so he didn't make it onto the grid for Races 2 and 3.
In Classic class, Nick Webster's fuel pump failed up on the first lap of qualifying, we fitted a new one in time for Race 1 but he had to start all three races from the back of the grid. Will Sharpe had a diff fail in Race 1, he charged back home to collect a spare and made it onto the grid for Race 3 and was going really well until being forced to retire yet again with a clutch problem. A disappointing day for Team Sharpe.
As is always the case with broken cars, everyone mucked in to get them repaired and if at all possible back out on track. It's good to see that the spirit of MGOC racing is alive and well.
Congratulations go to Steve McDermid who took all three overall and Class Z wins. Simon Kendrick took the Class F win in Race 1 but Mark took the honours in Races 2 and 3.
Malcolm Hill took the Classic class win in Race 1 but Dave Amphlett took the honours in Races 2 and 3. The only new lap record was in Class Z where Steve took .002secs off Stuart Philps's 2016 lap record.
The outstanding performance of the day was from Jack Woodcock who qualified his ZR on the third row of the grid and went on to take very impressive 2nd places in Races 1 and 3 and a 3rd place in Race 2. Well done Jack.