New MGB Register Secretary

New MGB Register Secretary

Nick Phillips

For those in the club who don’t me, this is a summary of my interest in MGBs.

I’ve had an attraction to the MG marque for as long as I can remember, purchasing my first MGB, which I still own, in 1984 at the age of 23.
I was smart enough to buy a “mid-life crisis” sportscar while I was young.

Soon after buying my very early model MGB I joined the MGCC and within a couple of months I was the club’s delegate to the Marque Sports Car Association. I soon began making minor performance modifications to my MGB and this practise continued with many, more serious performance improvements over the years.

A year after joining the Club, I went to my first NatMeet in Newcastle (1985) and was able to win my first ever motorsport events; a 400 metre Sprint held on a runway at the Williamtown RAAF base and also the Motorkhana (2nd FTD).

By default, I also scored one point for the Concours just for entering, but to be honest, the condition of my car probably only warranted ½ a point. This points tally meant that I was awarded the covetous Knox Trophy by the MGCC of SA.
From then on, I was hooked on motorsport.

Perhaps I should’ve put some time and cash into improving the appearance of my MGB, but instead I continually improved its performance and reliability, which was a much more worthwhile approach, especially for a car that I used on a daily basis.

I drove my B to every NatMeet until 1994, including across the Nullabor to Perth, touring all around Tasmania and after the QLD meeting I continued as far North as Bundaberg, before spending four days returning around the coast on Highway 1.

In 1994, I packed my MGB into a 20’ shipping container to England. After being successful in competition at local, club level and at NatMeets, I wanted to try my chances with the “big boys” in England.

The salt-grit used on UK roads in winter to prevent ice forming really did a good job of corroding my previously rust-free car, prompting a 2 year “nut & bolt” restoration.

With a freshly rebuild MGB, I entered into an MGCC race series with the first race of that season at Brands Hatch. Before this however, I took four weeks of owed holiday from work and toured Europe, 6,500km through twelve countries, before turning up to the track direct from my crossing of the English Channel.

It was quite an experience to compete in circuit races with full grids of MGBs at tracks such as Silverstone, Donington, Snetterton, Oulton Park, Croft and Cadwell.

My intention was just to experience and be a part of this race series but I was fortunate enough to take Third Place in the Championship for Road-Going Modified MGBs & Standard V8s. I was later surprised to also be awarded with a Spirit of the Championship trophy, voted for by the drivers who recognised that I was the only competitor to drive a car to (and usually home) from all of the events. Others mostly had covered trailers or transporters kitted out with kitchen, sleeping and workshop facilities. I was definitely the pauper, sleeping in a tent at the race paddock.

There was a break in the racing calendar later in the year when I was able to join an MGCC tour of racing tracks in France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. After racing at Mallory Park, I drove straight down to Dover where I stayed overnight before joining other MG owners, who were unknown to me, at the Channel Tunnel carpark. When they saw my car, one said with a snigger that it looked like I was driving a racing car. I said that I raced it at Mallory on the day before, which elicited unflattering mutters as they walked away from me.

I called them back and reached inside my race-bag to show them my 2nd Place trophy which thankfully had the previous day’s date engraved on it. With my honour restored, we all had a very enjoyable five day tour of NW Europe and despite their initial concerns; mine was one of two MGs that didn’t suffer any breakdowns.

A couple of years later I competed in the MGCC Hillclimb and Sprint Championship. Due to the number of available venues in England, this championship has a Southern and a Northern Series. I was able to win the Northern Series Outright on tracks including, Goodwood, Castle Combe, Aintree, Prescott and Shelsley Walsh.

In the next year I missed some events but still won the Road-Going Modified class. That year, one of the Sprints that I missed was due to another event on the same weekend which took precedence for me. This was the running of the “Spa Euro Race” in Belgium, a four day event consisting of racing with Formula Renault and F3 race series from France, Belgium and the Netherlands, Belgian Touring Cars, Renault Clio Cup from France, Italian Mini (BMW) Challenge and the MGf / ZR Trophy cars from the UK, and a grid of racing MG Midgets, Bs and Metro turbos.

Being the only true road-going car entered, I was very pleased to have come 4th of 6 MGBs and 10th Outright from a grid of 18 MGs. How proud I’d be if I could’ve won a 3rd place trophy from Spa-Francorchamps. Even so, to experience this event was such a highlight for me that realised that I couldn’t better it, so I decided that it was finally time for me to return to Adelaide.

For the return journey home I needed a 40’ shipping container to accommodate my MGB and a new Heritage MGB bodyshell plus tools and workshop equipment that I’d acquired over the years in England.

Some years after arriving back in Australia I took the car off the road when I cracked the cylinder head during an MSCA Sprint at Mallala. Just before this happened, I decided to go on another epic journey in my beloved MGB. This time I drove it to Darwin and back, including a side excursion of two days in Kakadu National Park and a lucky coincidence which gave me the opportunity to drive around Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway. This trip has been reported in an earlier club magazine.

Seeing how it’s taking me forever to start another restoration of my 3-Bearing MGB, I purchased a “temporary” 1971 MGB Tourer as my daily-driver because I just couldn’t stand missing another summer without a soft-top car to drive to work, to the shops or to the Hills. This MGB needed “attention”, over time, to make it reliable for daily use and competition events, which I now hope has been achieved.

You’ll see from this brief summary of my 36 year involvement with MGBs that these are cars to be enjoyed and if they’re properly maintained, you can confidently tour Europe or the Australian “red centre” in one.

As the MGB Register Secretary, I hope to encourage club members to enjoy their MGBs out on the road on a more regular basis, as Bs and their owners deserve.