Ashley Lamont in the Vauxhall Westfield

Results are available here:   MGCC April 2017 WEB

A limited number of photos are available in the gallery. Click on the Gallery tab above and select  the file entitled “NI Autotest Championship 2017”. Unfortunately I was marshalling and missed the Clubman competitors in action – my apologies for this.


This was always going to be a difficult driving day, with the weather forecast showing April showers all through the day. And, sure enough, the road surfaces were slightly wet in patches as the first cars started each of the three tests. The surfaces soon dried though, that is until the next downpour of which there were three during the afternoon. The tests were completed 4 times each but 3 times only for the Clubman Challenge.

And what a terrific display of driving skill we were treated to from a very large field that again got great support from the Clubmen.

Paul Mooney had a problem right from the start, with brake fluid leaking into the servo where it was sucked in and burnt by the engine. Although creating a personal cloud of white smoke, it didn’t seem to impair performance as Paul drove faultlessly all day to win the Championship event outright.

Also in superb form was Ashley Lamont whose development work on the handling of the Westfield paid handsome dividends. In spite of giving away 100 horsepower on changing from the Cosworth engine, the car got fantastic traction and braked and turned in perfectly, beating longtime rival Paul Blair and claiming both runner-up and class places. Paul’s drive was also terrific and he took 3rd overall. On Test 2, there was only 0.1 second separated the times of Paul and Ashley. There is almost nothing between them.

Silky smooth drivers Peter Grimes and Robin Lyons (winner class C) were 4th and 5th and then came the fantastic battle of the Novas. Mark King was slightly off-form and the close battle was between Peter Falvey and Jamie McMillen. In the end, only 1.6 seconds separated them, Peter coming out on top and taking the class and 6th overall. A much improved drive was apparent from Scottish visitor Willie Keaning.

The Clubman Autotest Challenge was again won overall by David Jenkins, from an outstanding  Richard Earney in the roadgoing Mini, James Mansfield and Noel Cochrane in 4th.

Class places were as follows:

Class 1 (FWD Specials) – Brendan Mooney

Class 2 (RWD Specials) – David Jenkins

Class 3 (FWD Roadgoing) – Richard Earney

Class 4 (RWD Roadgoing) – Noel Cochrane.  Being a MG event, I have to mention the MG Midget of Michael Reid who came 2nd in class.

The fastest MX5 was Colin Hazelton, from Harry Barr and Derek Harrison

Unfortunately for Richard McCracken, his front right trunnion snapped in the middle of Test 2 and he was consigned to the trailer home. Happily there didn’t seem to be any other damage to the gorgeous blue Frogeye.

And another mishap for Michael Workman and Sam Lyle in the Corsa Special. Poor Sam always to attract the bad luck, last week a plastic portion of the gearstick breaking in his hand. This week, the splines on the steering column slipped, running Sam up a kerb. Happily, they were both back in action soon afterwards to continue the ‘development programme’.

Also in the latter stages of Test 2, Sam Wilson, who was going well and about to carry out a fast tail throw, found himself an unexpected passenger when the brake master cylinder burst. The pristine red Mini mounted the kerb backwards and, happily, came to an abrupt halt before it could come to any more harm. It put paid to Sam’s day but hopefully there has been no serious damage to the rear suspension after such a heavy impact.

And so, a tricky driving day that tested everyone’s skills. The Clubmen had a difficult job completing some tight tests but everyone, especially those in MX5s,  acquitted themselves admirably.

A terrific day’s motorsport organised by the MG Ulster Centre. It was a treat to witness such driving precision by the Championship masters and also by the Clubmen. Feedback for the event from competitors has been very positive.

Congratulations to Paul Mooney and David Jenkins, event winners and to all our class winners.

Thank you to the marshals who got a three-time soaking throughout the day, to Carol for the entries and very welcome catering, to Elaine for Results and, last but not least, to Malcolm McQueen the Clerk of Course. 

Finally, a special word of thanks to our Chairman, John Clarke and his company Systems Controls, for generously sponsoring the event and providing all the trophies.  The Centre is enormously grateful for this kind gesture.