The morning of October 29 dawned grey and murky, the last vestiges of summer having blown out the day prior. The warriors grimly awoke in the gloom of pre-dawn, knowing they were to face their toughest battle. Yes, the day of the autumn Autocross had arrived, and the Triumphs were waiting to defend their trophy against the heroic onslaught of the Abingdon gang, Houston division.
As our troops converged on the Houston Police Academy training track, the puddles from the rain on Saturday were drying, but a heavy cloud layer still threatened showers and the temperatures made several combatants regret that they had disconnected their weak British heaters. Slowly the battalion assembled, and it looked like the call to arms had been heard wide and far. Twenty-one assorted MGs gathered to face off against seventeen Triumphs, who were sitting smug with their slab sides and looking down their Michelotti noses.
Our troops were led by Brigadier Glen Carpenter in his trusty 1934 MG PA, the most veteran charger in the field. Also joining the fray were a trio of MGAs, matched by a trio of MGB/GTs, and supported by a battalion of Bs. We faced off against a raggedy lot including a TR3A, a TR3B, a TR7, a TR8, four Spitfires, and a passel of TR6s.
Wing Commander Michael Woodward gamely inspected the steeds to ensure that they were ready to face the rigors of the day. The rigorous technical inspection let to many a boot being emptied on the spot.
A parade lap was held to familiarize the troops with the field of battle. At almost a mile in length, the troops would face a gauntlet of 50 gates in order to complete the course. It was a challenging layout, the longest one yet laid out by the field marshals.
The battle commenced as the first of five heats got underway. Each car was allowed three runs around the course, and the air was soon filled with the bark of hot exhaust and the protest of tires being pushed past their limits. The scent of burning brakes and tortured rubber wafted over the field. The competitors watched and waited their turns as adrenaline surged through their veins.
Early on, Team Abingdon suffered a major casualty as the gold MGB/GT belonging to Lieutenant Larry Lovins suffered “the worst that can happen” and had to be carried off the field to a hospital by ambulance. Fortunately, his was the only serious injury and the rest of the team’s steeds endured only minor cuts and bruises.
Several feats of glory stood out amongst the fray. Early in Heat One, Corporal Scott Hardy set a blistering time of 110.013, which stood up for most of the day. The faithful PA of Brigadier Carpenter went the full measure, standing up to the rigors of six demanding laps. And in the last heat of the day, Sergeant Robert Nelson pushed his white MGB to an outstanding 109.974, earning his place in the pantheon of heroes!
Alas, our efforts were in vain, as the dastardly Triumphs reigned, well, triumphant on this day, claiming both the fastest individual time of the day and the fastest average individual time. But we got them where it really counts, taking home the team spirit award by having more troops on the ground!
Our thanks to the TTR for another outstanding event, and be sure to put this event on your calendar for next year. It’s the most fun you will have in your car all year!
- - Contributed by Scott Hardy
- - Photos by Ed Eveson. Visit ManCaveArt on Facebook to see them all!