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Centenary in the sun – MG and Triumph 100, Silverstone

10 July 2023

A Festival Celebrating the Centenary of Two Great British Marques.
10th & 11th June 2023

 Over 3,000 classic MGs and Triumphs filled Silverstone for two glorious sunny days in June as the joint centenary event showed just how well events of this type can be done if resources are pooled. 

The team behind this groundbreaking joint event started planning it in 2021 and the resulting MG Triumph 100 Festival was a fabulous weekend which had a real ‘vibe’ to it that neither group could possibly have achieved on their own. It was great to witness enthusiasts of both marques camping together, chatting, displaying their cars and enjoying the glorious weather. Hopefully, it will pave the way for other multi-marque classic car events.

 

Triumph and MG were market rivals until a government-encouraged merger threw them together in 1968. That rivalry initially persisted within BL and, with hindsight, didn’t serve either marque well in their later years. The constituency of owners has merged over the years, however, with many enthusiasts having owned examples of both marques so, a hundred years after both manufacturers built their first cars, the time was right for an event that celebrated the love enthusiasts have for both Triumph and MG over one glorious sunny weekend.

As they say, a picture paints a thousand words – so here is a selection we took when we had long enough to venture out of the Peter James marquee and explore the show. Peter James Insurance was present at the event supporting our club partners, The Triumph Sports Sic Club and it was an honour to be a part of such a magical event supporting the club and our customers.

 

Lunchtime track parades showcasing a mixture of Triumph and MG machinery were much enjoyed by owners.

 

Razzmatazz sets the tone.

The event was opened in suitably dramatic style by the Northampton-based Liberty Youth Music Band, who entered the arena with great panache playing music and waving event flags.

Followed by a joint timeline display showcasing the variety of Triumphs and MGs made over the years. The bright yellow car in the foreground incidentally, is Stephen Hiner’s recreation of one of MG’s first cars, a 1923 Raworth-bodied MG Supersports!

Wayne Scott, the event’s live arena presenter interviewed former Triumph boss Sir John Black’s son Nick and granddaughter Charlotte, in front of packed grandstands.

Hertfordshire-based Ian Cornish with 4VC, the Alpine Rally Winning ex-works TR4 he has owned since 1969, which is considered one of the most original Triumph competition cars of the era extant. Ian enjoyed the joint marque event saying, ‘I think it’s a good idea and I’ve enjoyed it.’ The TR4 started its international rally career on the 1962 Tulip Rally, where three of the now famous ‘VC’ cars achieved 2nd, 3rd and 4th in class. For the Alpine, just a month later, these same cars were lightened and fitted with larger 2.2-litre engines, which had high lift camshafts and tubular manifolds, improving the cars’ power-to-weight ratio by around 22%. Three of the four cars finished, coming 1st, 2nd and 3rd in class. 4 VC, won the under 2.5-litre class, finished 4th overall and won a coveted ‘Coupe des Alpes’.

 

MG EX182 Recreation Wins Best in Show

The team of three aluminium-bodied EX182 prototypes was the first public appearance of what would become the MGA, when they were entered for the ill-fated 1955 Le Mans race. Two of the three finished but none of the cars survived in their original state, one being very badly damaged during the race. Various parts were retained and or recycled into other racing MGAs, however.

MGA enthusiast Mark Tossell has long harboured a dream to recreate an EX182, made so that every detail, whether visible or not, is exactly as it was when the team of MG mechanics set off to Le Mans. He has been collecting parts and information for more than 15 years and the finished car uses many former EX182 parts, including a super-rare Weslake Twin-Port cylinder head.

The result of his exacting research and painstaking work is a truly astounding car that is a tribute to Mark’s perseverance. Surviving Abingdon mechanic Jim Cox saw it and declared ‘You’ve got it right’. There can be no greater tribute, but Mark was also, deservedly, awarded the Moss Concours Best in Show at Silverstone for perfectly recreating this important piece of MG history. Mark’s red MGA also won a Concours award and he said afterwards, ‘winning with two cars at the centenary of MG, well it doesn’t get better than that!’

 

 

Russ Swift:

Russ Swift’s twice-daily stunt shows wowed fans of all ages and a lucky few got to be a passenger while Russ made his little MG3 do seemingly impossible things with millimetre accuracy. That famous accuracy was something arena commentator Wayne Scott was grateful for!

He has been linked with MG and other cars built at Longbridge all his life, having started Auto Testing in a Mini, and was enthusiastic about the event saying: ‘I think joining up MG and Triumph to create this bigger event has been a massive success. I’m sure it will happen again like this and hope it does. We first performed here in 1987 with Metros and Montegos and it’s always a fantastic weekend. I’ve not been here since 2018 because all my work is now in Asia for Subaru, but I wanted to come and do this, even though we’re not supported by MG anymore, because of the 100 years. We’ve probably been here for a third of them!

 

The California Cup of Joy

The California Cup has been running since 1948 and is competed both in teams and singly. The competitor’s range of speed and ability is enormous, ranging from first-timers who are just as likely to get lost in the dizzying myriad of cones as complete the course, to seasoned Autotesters who appear to be able to make a Midget (and it nearly always is a Midget) dance on the head of a pin. They all have great fun though and it’s still one of the cheapest ways to enjoy motorsport. Little preparation is needed although scrutineers do check the interior is totally empty as getting hit on the head by a packet of wine gums is not recommended.

 

Autojumblers’ Report Successful Trading.

Experienced Autojumblers Keith Wiggall and John Harding from Gloucestershire were delighted with the event joint format saying, ‘it’s been a really great event for us, some shows are not so good but this one is good because there more people and they are interested in our kind of stock, let’s hope it becomes a regular event.’

 

Hail a free Herald!

The Peter James and Triumph Sports Six Club’s Herald Loan scheme.

The Triumph Sports Six Club, supported by Peter James Insurance have loaned a 1959 Herald, the oldest roadworthy Herald in the UK, to a young enthusiast keen to get experience of classic cars. Club Chairman Chris Gunby said “We like to encourage young people to understand classics and get interested in them and invited applications. We were impressed with Josh and so he is using the car for one year. It’s my car and it’s not for sale afterwards however, this is a car I’d never sell!”  Josh said, “I’m really excited to learn about this car and want to thank the TSSC for this opportunity.’

 

The Bond that was never quite equipped.

Bond enthusiast and Triumph Sports Six Club Bond Equipe Registrar Guy Singleton brought the only Reliant-built Bond Equipe prototype, having halted the restoration of the bright orange car in order to keep it as a rolling shell so it could attend the show. The car is the last Bond Equipe built in 1970 or early 1971, and like previous examples was based on a Mk2 Vitesse chassis. After Bond were bought by Reliant in 1969 this prototype was built to explore updating the Equipe concept. It was restyled (perhaps by Tom Karen?) and used an entirely fibreglass bodyshell with fewer Triumph components for the hard points. It was never finished, however, probably because Reliant decided to concentrate on their then-new and successful Scimitar SE5. Remarkably it has survived, and Guy is planning to get it finished and on the road over the next couple of years.

Ray and Rosalind Osborne from Essex with their Mk4 Magnette which they have had since 1986.

Racing

This may have been the MG and Triumph centenary, but it was also a top-class historic race meeting which drew on a wide variety of classes to provide a varied and interesting race card for drivers and spectators alike. Equipe Classic Racing’s four separate classes shared billing with the MGCC’s BCV8 Championship, Cockshoot Cup and Midget & Sprite Challenge plus the Triple M Register’s fantastically varied grid of pre-war MGs.

Equipe Classic Racing’s John Pearson said, ‘From our point of view the weekend was a huge success. Racing on Silverstone’s full GP circuit is fantastic because we have a 61-car maximum grid which means there are more cars for the spectators to watch and most drivers can have a race with a car that has similar performance. We are very tight on driving standards, however, because we are all amateurs that have to pay for our own damage.’

Silverstone’s wide-open spaces give scope to very large grids to race safely as can be seen in this picture of the Equipe GTS race for pre-1966 sportscars under 2.75-litres.  Appropriately it was won by Tom Smith in the MG Motorsport MGB, number 22.

Equipe Classic Racing’s Super Libre formula allows drivers and spectators to see very different cars on the same track, racing in the same event, safely, and means many drivers can take part in two races on that day instead of one making the event better value for the amateur competitors it is aimed at. Here Josh Ward’s Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica oversteers in front of Nick Whale’s Zakspeed Mk2 Escort.

 

 

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