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Midland Centre     Previous Sporting Event Reports...

REPORT... Autumn & Taster Trial Sept 2021...
The Midlands Centre Trial that took place on Sunday the 26 September was a great success. With a full entry list including nine for the Taster experience, coupled with glorious weather and some challenging sections, all agreed it was a Sunday well spent revelling in fun motor sport.

The venue used in Bromsgrove is farmland blessed with decent hills and nice flat grassland areas. This enabled the "experts" to enjoy well thought out sections, including a little bit of timed grass Autocross for all, whilst offering the "Tasters",accompanied with an expert, the chance to find out what a trial is all about. From the look on the faces of the "Tasters" and the comments received subsequently, it was an experience they revelled in! Indeed the feedback was simple,  when`s the next one?

With excellent food and beverages on site, and a posse of marshalls to man the sections, (and a big thank you to them), the day was enjoyed by all.

Congratulations to Tony Lake and Adrian Tucker Peake for devoting the time and energy to stage the Trial. It was well worth it.

REPORT...  'Summer Sprint' - 1st August 2021
The morning of Sunday, 1st August, looked decidedly gloomy and wet as this writer crawled out of bed at 6.00am, and it got progressively worse during the splash around the M42 en-route to the Midland Centre’s ‘Summer Sprint’ at Curborough. Not much ‘summer’ about it, and one wondered what sort of a day’s competition we would have with competitors tip-toeing around the circuit.

But miracles do happen, and on arrival at Curborough it was (to borrow the name of that well-known Australian rainwear manufacturer) ‘drizabone’, much to everyone’s relief. Even better, it stayed dry all day, the sun actually coming out through the afternoon, the thermometer rising, and people able to shed some clothing. Nothing too indecorous, of course, this isn’t Blackpool. There was some consternation when a problem was found with the gas supply to the new ‘chuck’ cabin, rendering cooked brekkies unobtainable for a while, but it was soon resolved and normal service was restored, much to everyone’s relief, if not their cholesterol levels.

Practice runs started at 9.00am, with the first timed runs off and running at around 11.00. A depleted entry of some 37 drivers, some sharing cars, allowed officials and competitors to get through the timed sessions pretty quickly, aided by some very efficient paddock marshalling, also helped by some pretty tidy driving. Yes, there was the occasional spin and ‘all wheels off’ indiscretion, but nothing to disrupt the overall timing of the day. Oh, and being the figure-of-8 circuit configuration, spectators were treated to the amusing sight of one or two drivers heading in the wrong direction on the track. One wondered if sat.nav might help. It was also good to see a large contingent of MGs of various types for this event.

Some folk were aware of the tragic accident which had occurred at Brands Hatch the previous day resulting in the death of a marshal. People who volunteer as motorsport marshals are an essential part of the fabric of the sport, it could not take place without them. It was therefore deemed appropriate to hold a 1-minute silence just before the lunch break at 12.45.

Oh yes, spectators. For the first time since the start of the pandemic and lockdowns, MSUK had deemed it permissible to allow spectators to attend the event, subject to following instructions issued by the organisers and marshals, So we had the welcome sight of several dozen visitors and their cars (and bikes) lined up along the service road in a manner not seen for more than 18 months. Thanks to all of those who took the opportunity to be entertained through the day, it was good to have you back.

So, in the end we managed five timed runs, and award winners were as follows –

It was just as well that John Page managed to set Fastest Time of the Day on his first run before lunch as after that the car refused to run at all and was retired for the day.

That ended another enjoyable day, and we now look forward to next year’s April ‘Spring Sprint’ at the same location, and we will hope to see more competitors and spectators on the day, weather and health permitting.

Andrew Robson - MGCC Midland Centre

Full list of results here..

Image Gallery here..
REPORT...  'Naviscat' - 6th June 2021
The ‘Naviscat’ organised by committee member Bob Blackstock on Saturday 5 June was considered by all the 12 crews that took part to be a great success. 

As relative novices my navigator Steve and I had an initial small problem when plotting in that we thought the instructions followed the route we needed to take from one clue after the other, twenty in all. Unable to work this out we asked Bob for guidance and he pointed out all the way points were plotted from the start point and we then found our way to them all. Clear? Well once we realised that we quickly plotted them all over a cup of coffee and then commenced the run.

We only needed to visit 15 and answer the questions, sometimes walking to find the code boards. On route we came across other competitors coming the reverse way to us resulting in waves and horn blowing. Starting at 12.30pm we had to be back by 4pm which we managed,indeed we were first back.

At result time we came in 3rd equal, but on a tie break question, the date of Queen Victoria`s Golden Jubilee, we were relegated to fourth. Still,out of 12 entrants we were well pleased.

The weather was fabulous. The countryside a brilliant green. With the hood down the entire day there is nothing better than MGing down twisting lanes smelling the greenery and all too often manure, and the distant calling of a cuckoo, a sound a townie like me had not heard in years.

And at the end a superb, chilled to perfection, glass of cider brewed at the start and finish venue of Weston`s Cider complex of Much Markle.

A great thank you to Bob for making this all happen and good to see John and Judy Fry lending a hand as well.

Finally, Bob, thanks for laying on a fly past of the Red Arrows minutes before the start. Totally brill! 

Roger King - Chairman MGCC Midland Centre
MGCC Spring Sprint Report  - Curborough 11th April  ...
With the Competitors and Officials being greeted at the Circuit by the Snow Flurries, it was a real reminder of the April event some years ago at the same venue and proof that Spring can still be a little unpredictable. However within a short time, the record number of 83 drivers were quickly setting out the cars in the pre-arranged spaces in readiness to get back on track, for the first time in 2021, and many for the first time in over a year.

The Centre were delighted with the number of MG entrants with half the entries being this Marque. All were keen to get to the start lines, and didn't require much calling this time.

Of course, the whole event was being run with the highest level of Covid-19 controls therefore no spectators were being allowed, but there were sufficient numbers of drivers to give the event a good but safe feeling of activity. Midland Centre Covid-19 Marshall's were constantly circulating and keeping everyone in order, if they spotted any possible breaches.

The MG ZR 1.4 litre class, was hotly contested with nine cars battling it out for class honours, all having been road driven to the venue. Now this is really budget motor sport at its best for third in class was Graham Harvey with a time of 40.78 seconds round the single lap circuit, whilst first place went to Jack Twomey achieving a lap time of 40.47. The point is Graham`s car cost him £500 purchased off eBay, and was completely standard. "Brilliant little car", said Graham and so say all of us…..

The event was being staged on the Curborough 'One lapper' Circuit, again a first for some, and first in a long time for others, but were all keen to try to have a two session practice, followed by a three session timed lap.

If you have wondered about getting back into competitive motor sport for the sheer fun of it? Maybe starting out? Or perhaps you fancy dipping your toe into a puddle of adrenaline? Whatever, irrespective of age you really can have fun at budget prices so snap up an MG ZR 1.4 and go for it.

Even the driving was well behaved, with very few laps being lost by small 'offs' and the detailed planning for the timing allowed everyone who wanted to get in the two practice and three timed laps before 5.00pm. Following the 30 minutes allowance for any protests, the winners and awards were decided at 5.30pm and although many needed to get away, there was still time for the prizes.

The 'Special' Trophy winners were awarded to:-.

Fastest Lady Driver -
Helen Waddington  (MG ZR)  41.37

The 'Midnight Cup' for Fastest MG of the Day -
Richard Watkinson (MG Midget)  37.05

The 'Weston Cup' for Fastest Time of the Day -
Steve Miles (Van Dieman)  29.51

Thanks go to all of the Midland Centre Event organisers for creating such a slick, safe, well controlled and enjoyable meeting. Let's hope it can the the first of many during 2021

Full list of results here..
Full Report here..
Image Gallery here..
Midland Centre Summer Sprint 2 August 2020
Your Centre plucked up courage and went ahead with our traditional August Sprint at Curborough. But given the uncertainties surrounding any event during the current Covid pandemic we elected to join with owners of the Curborough circuit, the Shenstone and District Car Club, in co-promoting a Practice Sprint. That means under the MSUK Permit granted to the Midlands Centre we could stage the meeting but devoid of any awards, FTDs, and club championship rounds. We could still use timing equipment even if printed results on paper had to be replaced with a digital app retrieved via smartphone. With us so far?

With entrants self-scrutineering their cars and everyone complying with Covid-19/MSUK strict requirements, overseen (or was it ‘policed’?) by Centre chair Roger King acting as official Covid-19 Officer, the 55 entrants, including 26 MGs (thank you fans), seem to have thoroughly enjoyed themselves. (Or so they kept saying).

Blessed with great weather, and with five runs on offer, the sprint represented a 2020 first time run for most. The ever-present Covid-19 Officer meant no huddles of humanity, strict queuing for the loo and on site café, and a lot of distance shouting, and no spectators. But all agreed it was worth it.

Compliments to S&DC for all the work they put in to make it happen together with the marshals and the relatively busy recovery guys.

The Centre is particularly proud that committee member Simon Morris was Clerk of the Course and a great job he did.

Now a cautionary note: One of the Midget drivers had a bad fuel leak which was traced to decomposing fuel lines, so if your car has been laid up for some while check the fuel lines. The possible ravages of E fuel might have affected their integrity. 

Next up our Autumn Trial on the 27 September at Bromsgrove. Again under strict Covid rules; we remain determined to keep motor sport going in these trying times. Watch our web site for details.

Roger King Midland Centre Chairman

MGCC Midland Centre 53rd Annual Autumn Trial
27 September 2020

The Midland Centre has a long sporting history, it goes back to 1938 when the first car trial was organised in the Church Stretton area; WW2 intervened, trials restarted in 1967. The Autumn Trial enjoys an almost unbroken run since then, except for a waterlogged site in 2000, so we were keen to keep that record intact. We were encouraged once we heard of the MSUK Back on Track initiative. By July directives were published. That resulted in our sprint at Curborough in August from which we learned how well-behaved competitors are when provided with sound Covid 19 guidelines. A consequence of a paperless event was a lot of email communication with entrants which of necessity replaced the traditional C of C briefing at the start of the trial.  It might be paperless but yards of text still had to be prepared to feed the email hopper, definitely a lot more work this time but hopefully a one off investment, filed for future use. 

By Sunday 27-09-20 at 08:30 East Lodge Farm near Bromsgrove was open for business, by kind permission of Maggie Mason. We bought a package of Covid 19 signs from MSUK. Self-scrutineering worked, so scrutineer David Bowlas and Covid 19 Officer, Centre chairman Roger King, manned the gate to check that everybody entering was the on the list of self-declared with no Covid 19 contacts in the last 14 days. David recorded body temperature with a contactless digital thermometer, just like the NHS. We had a good entry of 28 drivers; the paddock was spaced out for each competitor, looked very tidy, not at all like a trial start.

Clerk of the Course Adrian Tucker-Peake and a gang of helpers had laid out 6 very dry, long and twisty sections, where was the rain when we needed it?  Class 2 was dominated by a variety of Austin 7s keenly competing with Dave Rushton’s 1930 M type.

He had a good battle with Robert Renshaw’s A7, they both finished on 21 dropped  so David won the Allen Trophy for the best MG. Quite a car - Martin Price, photographer and past centre chairman, recalls competing against it in the 80’s when Mike, Dave’s father ran it in trials.  Frank Vautier, 1939 TA, said he had never had so many cleans, mud just doesn’t agree with his cross ply tyres. Mary Baxter with Dad Richard was going very well in their Ulster only losing 5 in the morning, then disaster, the clutch pedal fractured. Don Skelton, A7, won the Autumn Cup.    

Class 1 winner was Ian Webb in his VW Lupo on 45 dropped, evidently a more tractable steed than the Smart he used in the Taster trial last year which was a tad skittish on downhill mud. 

The winners of combined classes 5 and 6 were Alan and Jane Bee in their 1275 Midget with 35 dropped; they also got 203 Air Miles for the furthest travelled from Hamsterley, Co Durham! 

Thomas Hunt and Paul Kavanagh were running a very tidy MGBGT on its first event, a shakedown, having been prepared for MCC long distance Trials.

Class 7 was a clear win for Dave Middleditch in his Dutton Phaeton on 9 dropped. Dave is the architect of the on-line trials admin system purchased by the MCC,” myclubhouse”. He was followed by Richard Houlgate and Jim Wood in a Marlin on 28.

Class 8 was another win for young Joe Leach with Dad Jeremy bouncing, in a Cannon. He dropped 11 and enjoyed a clear run all afternoon, same result as last year when he was also best Novice. Nigel Glover in another Cannon on 22 was second.

Simon Morris, the centre’s chief marshal, recruited a veritable platoon of marshals, many thanks to them, we really needed them. Simon Woodhall was present in his role as MSUK Trials co-ordinator; taking a look at Clubman Motor Sport, a rare sight in the current climate.  The weather was glorious, after lunch C of C Adrian instituted two devious restarts to add some spice, with odd exceptions all the classes felt a bit more sporting pain as failure to make progress increased! Some drivers wished for a bit more power.

Ellie’s chuck-wagon from Bromsgrove Hog Roast was well patronised, the sanitised portaloos were appreciated as well, thanks to Nigel Whiten and his connections.

Covid 19 definitely made a difference particularly when one was speaking to a masked old acquaintance and then realising after a minute that it was somebody else!  Everybody complied; masked-up and socially distanced. The universally rewarding feedback; as the awards were presented by Roger King, was that everybody found it so refreshing to get outside on a Covid secure site for a brilliant day’s sport with responsible company. 

Tony Lake - Trials Secretary MGCC Midland Centre

Midland Centre Autumn Trial & Taster Trial 13 October 2019

Well Sunday was all the weather forecasters said it would be and then some, not a day for low scores. It is reported that Adrian Tucker-Peake, C of C, and George Houghton had sunburn setting up on Saturday, but made the right call in spite of the dire warnings about low pressure (thought it strange that the BBC weather forecasts were talking about tyre pressures, what do they know?). 

We all looked like drowned rats until about 10:30 when the rain stopped, by then the BTRDA gang were off and judging by some of the engine noise were drying out the hills on their own, I guess that’s what they do when the sun don’t shine.

Our fears about mud and the hills were ill founded, everybody got out of their predicaments somehow or other. Good job too because our friendly tractor driver with about twenty to choose from was on holiday in Wales. The T type MGs had a torrid time, what with cross-ply tyres and low ground clearance it was very difficult, but great to see them and an Austin 7 saloon campaigning amongst the moderns.

The Autumn Trial was a clear win for Steve Courts in his Imp, we’ve lost count of the number of times he’s walked off with the Autumn Cup, but richly deserved. Colin Reid in a Golf finished second and won class 1 equally convincingly. Richard Tompkins/Ed Nikel were third in another Imp.

Jimmy Milligan/Graham Moore were best MG in a ZR winning the Allen Trophy. Five of the entry in the Autumn Trial were driving MGs, that’s what we like to see. Jan Richings with Kevin Sharp in a Saxo was Best Novice in only her second trial this year, she finished 5th overall, a polished performance.

The Taster Trial was a clear win for Stephen and Pam Yates in a Reliant Tempest, a rare car that was driven very well in the conditions. Steve Patten with Nigel Whiten in the Fiesta passenger seat was the most improved driver on the day. Good to see the Wills family out in force; father Mike and son Matt in the AT and Mike with 14 year old Andy in the TT, quite a challenge in the one Mazda.

Ian Webb drove a Smart, on the basis that it had very good traction in snow. He was pleased with the grip on an even slope but found that the short wheel base got a bit confused on downhill adverse camber, in fact quite challenging.

Where would we be without our marshals? A total of sixteen turned out when I’m sure they doubted their sanity early on Sunday morning, heartfelt thanks to them. How do solar powered stop watches work in the rain?  The Autotest times got slower as the day progressed, I put it down to the mud, I think I’m right!

A big thank you to Adrian who plotted a course to suit the weather and called up a lot of marshals ably managed by Graham Austin. David Bowlas, scrutineer, had the thankless task of peering under bonnets and axles whilst most of us were sheltering under umbrellas, much appreciated. Thanks also to Tim Beard of the BTRDA for providing waterproof score cards for drivers and marshals.

On behalf of the MGCC Midlands Centre it only remains for me to thank you, the competitors, for keeping the faith. See you all next year and if you’re a practicing rain dancer, stop it.   

A full set of results can be found by clicking the link here -

2019 Autumn Trial Results

For more images, please click on the 'Trials' section on our Website Gallery page.

Tony Lake - Trials Secretary MGCC Midland Centre

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