Donington Park Race Report

Garland spins, Wurr wins

If you weren't at Donington on June 2nd for the third round of the Morgan Motor Company Challenge, you missed one of the most exciting Morgan races for a long time which produced some epic battles during the ten laps. The race was the last of the programme in the two-day Historic Superprix event and was scheduled to begin at 5.10pm. The actual start time was 5.45 after a pre '65 Fl car dumped oil on the racing line around 90 per cent of the 1.95 mile circuit.

It had been seven hours since Practice during which Peter Garland had taken pole with Matthew Wurr second fastest, despite a list of niggling problems with the car. Simon McDermott was forced to abandon the session and return to the paddock suffering from brake trouble and Mark Baldwin was also in the pits with a smoking car. A trouble-free time though for the two new drivers in Class B. David Rushton qualified 9th and Alan Biggar, who had made the trip from Scotland, was 16th on the grid of 23 cars. Only minutes before the off the field was reduced to 22 as Mark Baldwin's ailing car was pushed from the grid at the end of a more than frustrating day for him.

The start was not good for Stephen Lockett either who found himself in neutral when the lights turned green. It was good though for Mary Lindsay and especially Peter Garland who led the field into Redgate for the first time. He was still in front at the end of lap one, but on the second lap he lost the car at the Old Hairpin and strayed well into the infield letting Matthew, Craig Jones, Simon McDermott, Graham Walker, and Malcolm Paul through before he was able to rejoin in 6th place. Martin Kurrein, Tony Howard and David Rushton occupied the next three places with Rob Wells in 10th followed by Chris Springall. Mary was leading John Clarke in the Class B battle with Chris Acklam, Peter Sargeant, Simon Orebi Gann and Peter Horsman behind them. Stephen was in 18th place with David James, Alan Biggar,. Jim Deacon and Jan Bulinski completing the field.

With Matthew now in the lead it was Craig who was pushing him, while Peter could only set about clawing his way back. This was to include passing what had become the fierce battle for Class B between Grahame and Malcolm in 4th and 5th places.

The Class B duel was being split by Chris Acklarn who was soon joined in the sandwich by Stephen who had gained five places by the third lap. Rob had also progressed taking David but still to pass Martin and Tony in 7th and 8th places. By the 4th lap Peter was back in the hunt in third place, but the unusually unpredictable handling of the car combined with a determination to regain the lead were to see him leave the track again in spectacular fashion, downhill, very fast at the notorious Craner Curves. There were sighs of relief when he was safely back on the track and, amazingly, still in third place!

Meanwhile Simon McDermott's race was ending with a recurrence of the brake problems and it was now Malcolm who was leading Grahame for Class B. Rob had safely negotiated the Martin/Tony dice and was now in 6th behind Grahame. For Simon Orebi Gann it was a steep learning curve as he attempted to take the Class E battle in one go, finishing up spinning his way out of the chicane and losing several places!

Up at the front, Craig was giving Matthew a real fright looking poised to pass him at any moment and almost anywhere. Peter was secure in third and Grahame had fought his way back to lead Malcolm for the Class B honours he would deservedly win. On the 8th lap John - whose 'moments' during the race were too numerous to recall finally got ahead of Mary to resolve the race long Class E duel in his favour. In spite of a super effort from Craig, it was Matthew who hung on to cross the line first, just half a second ahead, and score his first win of the season on a day that was definitely not for the faint-hearted.

(c) Serena Aston