The biennial autocross competition between the Texas Triumph Register and the Houston MG Car Club took place on Saturday, October 28 at the usual venue, the Houston Police Academy training track. The day started overcast, warm, and muggy, but no rain came down to confound the competitors. Mike Woodward and Gord Bard assisted with the technical inspections, making sure all the vintage iron was ready to face the rigors of the demanding track.
Seventeen Triumphs answered the call to defend the Tourist Trophy against 16 MGs. The TRs were represented by a TR3A, a TR3B, a pair of Spitfires, a Sports6 sedan, a gaggle of TR6s, a TR7, a pair of TR8s, and their ace in the hole, a race prepared TR3 trailered to the course (boo). The good guys came out with a 1934 MG PA, three MGAs, a pair of MGB GTs, and a bevy of Bs. A smattering of lesser marques also showed up to see if they could best the LBCs.
The Triumph club, who organized the event and set up the course, did a fine job of speeding up the action. The course layout was shorter than in previous years, which created time for more runs around the course. Though short, the layout had more higher speed curves, making it a difficult layout to master. Participants drove around the course during a familiarization lap, and then selected one of four heats in which to run. All contestants were allotted four runs of the track instead of three as in prior events.
The action started fast and furious in Heat One. Lee Drum, pushing his pretty 1957 MGA to the limit, had the fastest time of the day going (self-reported) until spinning out on the sharpest high-speed turn on the track. Attempting to recover, he generated some serious expensive sounding noises when he tried to move forward. He was eventually able to complete the course in reverse when he discovered the damage allowed him to back up slowly without mechanical interference. Back in the pits, the ace pit crew determined that a locked and seized brake drum had shattered the axle splines when he attempted to restart, guaranteeing both an extensive repair and a nomination for this year’s Broken Crankshaft award.
Our own Mike Woodward deserves special mention for his covert attempt to wrest the Tourist Trophy from the Triumph club. Mike owns both an MG and a Triumph, so on this occasion, he elected to drive his Spitfire. In an especially sporting gesture, he comfortably cruised his TR around the track four times, setting a leisurely pace that gave the MGs some needed breathing room. Well played, Mike!
And his efforts might have worked, too, had the Triumphists not had their own trick, a race prepared TR3 that set the four fastest times of the day. This enabled the Triumphs to eke out a narrow 0.931 sec victory. Mike graciously congratulated the TTR for retaining the trophy – this time. The fastest MG time was turned in by Peter Shaw, who guided his 1972 MGB to a 53.785 sec lap. See the accompanying article for a complete list of results.
An exciting time was had by all 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!