Historic racer: MGB Roadster

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Follow the adventures of Nick Trott and Ed Foster as they prepare Ed’s MGB for a season of historic racing

It seemed so easy, so serendipitous. I wanted to race again after a 10-year break and Ed Foster (former online editor of Motor Sport) wanted to dig out his lovely ex-works MGB Roadster and find a partner to race it. This was January 2017. A lot has happened since then, some good, some bad. I’ll serialise the story of our escapades over the next six months or so – see it as a diary of two mad keen, possibly blinkered, but ultimately hugely passionate guys competing in historic club racing. You won’t read about dieticians, mirrored sunglasses or masseurs in these reports; you will read about mechanical ineptitude, shrinking wallets and an imbalance of ambition and talent. Both Ed and I work in the business of motor racing media, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we know about the business of going about racing ourselves… far from it.

Firstly, a little about the car. BRX 855B is the ex-Roger Enever and Alec Poole works competition Roadster. Built in 1964 it was originally used as a development car at the MG Development Department in Abingdon, but was pressed into race service in 1966 when Enever was looking for a car for the season. BRX had lived a hard life, but Roger saw its potential and it finished third behind a Shelby Cobra and a Ford GT40 in the 1966 500 Miles at Brands Hatch. Over the next few years it raced at various circuits including the Nürburgring, Monza and Spa.

The first hurdle was simply getting our hands on the MGB – it lived with Ed’s family in Scotland and we needed to store it more centrally in England. Enter David Atkinson of ACH Transport. I’ve got to know David over the years – he’s the man you call when you have a very rare and very expensive car to transport. David casually mentioned that he was heading up to Scotland to deliver a car, and would have an empty trailer on the way back. You can probably guess the favour I asked…

Safely delivered to Blyton Park, for some testing we found that the Weber carb was gummed up – and the engine wouldn’t start. “We probably should have thought about that,” said Ed. You’ll hear a lot about hindsight in these reports…

With test time at Blyton running out, and anxious cameramen asking “Is it ready yet?” Pete of Raceworks Motorsport offered to fix the B with a needle valve ‘borrowed’ from a Lotus Elan 26R he was testing on the same day. He also set up the carb once the valve was fitted. It was our first glimpse at the friendliness and generosity of the historic race paddock. Sure enough the MGB fired up, we ran some laps, did some filming and actually felt pretty good about the season ahead.

We were wrong to be so optimistic…

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