Sammy 'Junior' Baird Thanks to Tom Maxwell for this brilliant picture.

RESULTS HERE:  Results Morrows


We simply could not have asked for a better evening for our autotest at Morrow Contracts on Tuesday 16th May. The sun shone throughout and there was little to complain about except, of course, to kick ourselves for our own self-inflicted mistakes.

Morrow’s Yard is tricky at the best of times. In the wet it is lethally slippy but in the dry it is even more challenging as the surface is grippy in some parts and slippy where the concrete dust is lying in a layer upon the surface.

We ran 3 Tests three times each, the maximum possible for an evening test in May. The turnout was a perfect number of 24 competitors, which allowed equal sets of cars to complete the respective tests in turn. There is always a bottleneck of cars starting and finishing Tests 2 and 3 in the main yard but this was handled with ease by Stephen Dawson’s planning so that cars came and went without tripping over each other.

Although getting marshals for the event initially proved difficult, we were delighted to see Eoin and Bronagh Regan and Bill McMahon who offered their services to marshal on Test 2, plus the usual suspects in the form of Chairman John Clarke, Garth Maxwell, Trevor Reid, Tom McConnell and Alan Cree. The McKee family, namely Wallace, Lucinda and Ben, saved the day by arriving as a pre-formed TSCC marshalling unit to look after their now traditional spot at Test 1.

And so we were in business. All points covered.

Test 1 was incredibly grippy and getting the car to break away when needed, proved quite difficult. The technical manoeuvres at Test 1 in the front yard were fairly demanding but even the larger MX5s got round without any major problems. Their reward was to have a spirited tail throw between the garages followed by a nice forwards only looping section around the cones before returning to the yard for a technical finish.

Test 2 had all the elements. Some nice looping of pylons was followed by a tail throw through the line and then through a tight section involving a couple of nose throws to a 360 pylon and finish. This was a tricky test, largely because of the varying levels of grip, summoning all the skill competitors could find. Lots of room for mistakes.

Test 3 was fairly simple – or that’s what I thought!  For the first manoeuvre, we just had to drive into a gate and reverse out.  Simple.  However, I didn’t notice the loose concrete dust until I was sailing into the pylon and demolishing it, followed by an eternity of time while trying to extricate myself from this mess. The rest of the test was fun though but that’s autotesting. Going nicely one minute and then one mistake leads directly to another… and another.

 And that is why we in the MG club choose to hold a tighter and more challenging type of autotest. It sharpens the skills and provides the basis needed to progress to Clubman and Championship levels.

And indeed, those championship level skills were amply demonstrated by our winner Paul Lowther in the orange Stryker who won comfortably. Second overall in the ‘heavy’ Mini was Richard Earney with his usual neat and tidy driving style producing a great result. Final podium place was Crawford Ewing in the very hot Nova, and fourth was Gordon Buckley in the rather strange little Cox GTM.

First of the MX5s was Mark Francis with his usual skill and flair in the larger car, from Andrew Earney, kicking up the dust in the standard gold Yaris. Impressive, as always.

Seventh overall was Jimmy Dougan in a great drive in the Micra, then Rodney McCready in the MX5, Brian Glenn in the very tidy red Mini and finally, making up the top 10, Ian Campbell in the ubiquitous beige Mini.

Class winners as follows:

Class 4 – Mark Lemon; Class 5 – Richard Earney; Class 6 – Mark Francis; Class 7 – Crawford Ewing; and Class 9 – Kevin McNamee

Unfortunate retiree was Jack Brien whose MX5 expired. He was able to continue in dad Simon’s K Series Midget but, having changed car, couldn’t count towards the results.

So a very enjoyable evening, well run by the club. Three tests that challenged all the skills and produced some very high level driving.

Our thanks, as always, to John Morrow (a racing car enthusiast himself) for letting us use the premises. The yard is in use 24/7 for emergency road repair work and we have to allow lorries to pass through our tests throughout the event. This caused little disruption on both sides and everyone was accommodated with a smile. Thanks again to all our marshals, to COC Stephen Dawson, to John Clarke who had flown in specially from England to assist and, finally, to Carol for all the admin and taking our entries.

Next event will be an evening autotest at TTS on Thursday 22nd June.