As part of the celebrations for this our Jubilee Year, it had always been our intention to make an assault on the California Cup which, of course, is spiritually and rightfully the property of the Ulster Centre. The Cali Cup, as we tend to call it, is the trophy awarded to the winning team of three drivers from one of the many MGCC centres. It is actually a very beautiful (and heavy) trophy with the outline of the State of California depicted on the lid. It is a very worthy chunk of silverware to win.
And so to our quest. Some time ago we managed to put together two teams for our bid. What became our 1st team comprised of Will Corry (Jnr), Bryan Mutch and Gordon Buckley, all driving MG Midgets. The 2nd team were Jay Colville (Midget) and Stephen and Roger Dawson in an MGB.
Thanks to the generous loan of a double decker trailer that took two Midgets and the use of Bryan’s motorhome, the circus once again left town on its way to MG Live at Silverstone.
Jay and Helen Colville with the Dawsons made their way via the Liverpool ferry, the latter driving the B all the way down England through continuing delays on the M6. The poor old B was starting to protest and throw out water from the breather
We all met at the autotest arena the following morning and prepared for a long and hot contest in relentless sunshine. The tests were set out in immaculate fashion with the cones colour coded as per the diagram. A lot of thought had gone into making the tests flow well for both cars with wide turning circles and also for the more nimble Midgets with limited slip differentials and hydraulic handbrakes.
The spectators were treated to a wide variety of MGs, from pre-war cars including a beautiful and well driven “Cream Cracker”, to Magnette ZAs, MGBs and right through to modern MGF/TFs, ZRs and even a ZT.
With the very long final test to go, the competition was extremely close with Gordon Buckley leading Will Corry by just one second. Will however managed a faultless test and put the awesome power of the K Series to good use, finally getting fastest total time of the day by a slender 3 seconds. Well done to him.
Bryan, who encountered problems at one test, nevertheless did enough, coming 7th overall and the Ulster A Team won the California Cup by a margin of 15 seconds from a hard charging Lincolnshire Centre team. The irony was that Jordon Fox, a Lincs Centre member, had very sportingly loaned his fantastic Midget to Will for the day. (This is the car that Corry Motorsport built and previously owned). Jordon is currently in hiding…
The runner up team, Lincs of course, won the BMC Trophy. Jay had put in an excellent performance and was 4th overall. Stephen was a terrific 6th in the MGB with Roger also putting in a creditable drive. Stephen won his class as did Gordon.
So much relief all round by the team members, each of whom had felt the pressure of expectations back home in this significant year. Well done everyone in bringing home the bacon.
As it is a long way to go for only one event Roger, Bryan and Gordon opted to enter the AutoSolo the following day. This was a brilliantly devised and organised event by the Oxford Club. No one had an answer to the extremely rapid AH Frogeye Sprite expertly driven by Keith Pettit of the Oxford Club but Bryan Mutch came 2nd and Gordon Buckley 3rd overall. Bryan and Roger each won their classes.
In the meantime, Jay Colville was competing in the sprint event on the Stowe Circuit and, after a very close battle throughout the day, came 2nd in class. A great performance from Jay all weekend.
So once again we thank Noel Lindford and his team for a superb event at Silverstone and are quietly chuffed that the bragging rights of the Cali Cup belong once again in Ulster.