PETER MORGAN MEMORIAL MEETING
Morgan Sports Car Club - Donington - June 8th, 2014
Elites take Flight.
The close proximity of East Midlands Airport had nothing to do with it as the Lotus Elites once again proved the pace of this quality field albeit one in which a greater quantity would have also been desirable. Brian Arculus duly put NUB 303 on pole with Robin Ellis alongside in his white example. Half a dozen Austin Healeys were entered and although we sadly lost that of Robert Clarke in Friday testing, three of them lined up behind the Lotus front row, led by new to our ranks this season and rapidly emerging star, Nick Matthews, followed by Nigel Grice and Andrew Dixey. Lining up 6th was the late entry of FISCAR stalwart, David Bennett, in his ever beautiful Aston Martin DB3S. Another to join us this season is Steve Wright in his lovely little Porsche 356A Super. It had fuelling problems in practice but still managed to qualify 7th, James Wilmot-Smith, over from France, completed row 4 in his Austin Healey 100M. Graham Love had hedged his bets by entering an interesting hybrid called a Jaguar XK150 MkVII and it was the big saloon part of that equation that put in an appearance to reprise its Castle Combe antics and qualify 9th. The rare but appropriate sight of a Morgan on a FISCAR grid with Richard Thorne taking his place with his +4 alongside Graham presented a curiously pleasing contrast whilst the back row was made up of FISCAR first timer, James Pugh-Lewis in his Austin Healey 100, a car I fully expect to get quicker, and Andrew Moore, rapidly becoming one of our best supporters in his MGA. The exciting entry of Roger Whiteside's Jowett Jupiter did not materialise as the car simply wasn't ready in time but it does offer us a glimpse of the possibility of a 3 car Jowett team in the future, something that would have been inconceivable just a year ago.
Brian Arculus, with some inevitability, led from the off, chased by Robin Ellis and by lap 2 the Elites had already begun to gap the field but the shape of the Porsche briefly emerging in 4th place behind Andrew Dixey was a surprise not only to the spectators and chasing Austin Healeys, but probably to its driver too. He was rapidly displaced by Nigel Grice and the Porsche’s moment of glory was shortlived as the practice gremlins started to manifest themselves again. The field started to spread out although there were some interesting battles, one of which was that of Graham Love and James Wilmot –Smith whilst James Pugh-Lewis edged away from Andy Moore. In fact, Andy was first retirement as he pulled the MGA off in the Craner Curves with expensive engine noises and smoke emerging from under the bonnet. A very disappointing outcome for him and it doesn’t bode well for his entry at the MGCC meeting next weekend.
In order to spice things up, Brian pitted the Elite early from the lead which presented him with the opportunity of passing a lot of cars and added to our spectacle. Robin Ellis then held the lead for a while before he too pitted and in fact, because the pit window was large, all sorts of strategies were adopted to gain track position and we had at least 5 leaders during the course of the race. Meanwhile the Porsche had also pitted early and although co-driver Ian Clarke took it back out, it completed just one slow lap before retiring. Perceived wisdom suggests that the time-served fuel tank was shedding material internally causing blockage and contamination to the fuel system. The fifth leader to emerge was Nick Matthews who had risen stealthily through the field as those around him pitted. He was the last to pit and it paid off since he emerged in 3rd place behind the Elites who had by then re-established their positions, and just ahead of Andrew Dixey who gave him a very hard time to the flag, the two Austin Healeys running in close formation and looking superb. Thus the race ran out with the 5 Elite chasing Austin Healeys only split by the Aston Martin of David Bennett in 6th
Team Results appear on home page. Scratch results below;-
Position No. Name Car Laps Time
1 71 Brian Arculus Lotus Elite 19 30.19.406
2 75 Robin Ellis Lotus Elite 19 30.50.672
3 98 Nick Matthews Austin Healey 100/4 19 31.10.166
4 27 Andrew Dixey Austin Healey 100 19 31.10.986
5 26 Nigel Grice Austin Healey 100M 19 31.32.202
6 24 James Wilmott-Smith Austin Healey 100M 18 31.02.458
7 2 David Bennett Aston Martin DB3S 18 31.07.266
8 30 Pugh-Lewis/Jenkins Austin Healey 100 18 31.16.197
9 89 Richard Thorne Morgan +4 18 31.26.485
10 23 Graham/Alistair Love Jaguar Mk VII 18 31.32.203
DNF 79 Wright/Clarke Porsche 356A Super 7
DNF 58 Andrew Moore MGA Coupe 5
DNS 21 Robert Clarke Austin Healey 100
DNS 82 Roger Whiteside Jowett Jupiter