Historic racer: MGB Roadster
Home comforts on hand in the camper, but there’s little comfort on track for the harassed Nick Trott
It was like a dream. A perfect dream. We arrived early for a pre-race test at Silverstone, a beautiful morning sun warming our souls and rendering the MGB’s deep red paint almost luminous.
Owner Ed Foster and I sign on, grab bacon butties and relax. The first session is two hours away, so I unfurl the Marco Polo – our borrowed Mercedes camper (or should that be ‘glamper’?) van that is simultaneously our tow car, our home, our fridge, our bed, our shade and our changing room for the day. Wonderful thing. Feeling quite relaxed. This is how I imagine going racing.
The first sign of a problem was a swear word, quiet but clear, emanating from inside the MGB. Then came another – a little louder. Then another. Slowly more. Each louder than the last, until I figured I should offer Ed some assistance.
It turns out we should have adjusted the belts before we arrived at the racetrack, as Ed (6ft 7in) is too long and insufficiently hinged to allow him to reach under the MGB’s race seat and fiddle with the belts.
I look on helpless. There’s little I can do. Ed’s car. He feels responsible for the mechanical condition, and for the same reason feels he should be the first out on track “just in case something goes wrong”.
As Ed peels out of Silverstone’s ‘Wing’ pit complex the bonnet snaps up. In the rush, and amid the swearing, we forgot to close and strap it. Ed pulls over at the pit exit, jumps out and slams it shut as the other cars pull onto the track. When he makes it back after the session, the bonnet is bent, the extinguisher pull broken, and we are left thinking that mixing driving and spannering is a terrible idea. But hey, there are three more sessions – and surely that’s the last of our bad luck?
We notice the pads are kaput, so we attempt to change them in the lunch hour. More than enough time? Definitely. Definitely maybe.
Again, we have problems. The caliper split pins prove stubborn and break, and we miss the first 10 minutes of the session. Cue awkward looks from our paddock neighbours as the swearing takes on a new magnitude. Sorry, Northampton.
Wheels on, Ed heads on track… then nearly loses the front-right wheel going through Abbey. We didn’t tighten the nuts properly. “We were pretty lucky with that one,” says Ed blowing out his cheeks.
Race day arrives and we’re signed up for the Classic and Sports Car Club’s Swinging Sixties and Classic K races. The paddock is stuffed with some fabulous cars.
We’re in class D for cars running on historic Dunlop tyres – with the majority of the grid on sticky Yokohamas. We felt confident of a class podium – only two other cars were entered. How did we do? As you’ve probably guessed, nightmares seem to haunt our racing activities.
Next month: The story of a rather eventful pair of races, swiftly followed by a large bill, and a panic to prepare the car for entry in the Equipe GTS pre-66 series.
Thanks to: David at ACH, Pete at Raceworks Motorsport and Jaguar for the F-Pace tow car