MTWC Curborough Sprint - 17th June

Morgan Three Wheeler Club Curborough Sprint

MTWC Curborough Sprint - 17th June

The Club’s Flagship Sporting Event

A super, friendly day’s motor sport at our annual sprint which was held at the Curborough Sprint Course (also known as “Cürburgring”). It was a round of the 2018 Challenge Series and the Sprint and Hillclimb Series. A splendid entry of Morgans past and present and the welcome addition of sidecars and motorcycles. 

From CompSec Tony Pearson: “Curborough 2018 was my first to organise as comp sec. The wonderful Sue Darbyshire and Sue Clews have been helping me with excellent guidance since September last year! I was keen not only to have as many Morgan’s there as possible but also some bike clubs and others who suit our more relaxed day of competition. So an array of 50cc racing motorcycles, BEARS outfits, Bucklands and other trikes attended.

The weeks leading up to the event made me understand what a sterling job Pete did and how much everyone helps to ensure we can run such a good day.  Lots of phone calls, questioning emails and text messages ensures we had a few new comers with known cars.
A big thanks to all who volunteered through the day, all the officials, Sue and Sue for keeping me on the straight and narrow and the medical team who had a bit more than the norm to deal with! And a bigger thank to all who entered, without them, we wouldn’t have any events.”

A great day of sport, marred only by a nasty accident to Nick Clegg and Sandra Hodgson in the Buckland. Nick suffered injuries to his knees, Sandra had quite a few bruises. We’ve heard from both Nick and Sandra and have added their thoughts below. You’ll find lots of reports from the paddock and the circuit further down the page or by clicking here.

 A note from Nick Clegg  A note from Sandra Hodgson
The nice side of an accident!

A lot of you will know myself and Sandra had a large accident at Curborough on the 17th June. Sandra had lots of bruising and I had 2 broken knees to go with the bruises.  Now that definitely isn’t the nice side of it.

However, the fact that people ran to the scene of the accident to help and (later) offered to help get cars/trailers and campers home was amazing.  And then the overwhelming amount of love and good wishes that have come from members of the group. (A big thank you to Tracey Cameron who was our nearest Marshal, for looking after Sandra at the scene, I was far more worried about her than myself)

It makes me feel proud and privileged to be part of a group of people who not only share a love cars and motorsport but love each other and care about each other so much as well.

Bruises and bones will heal, pain will be dealt with, cars can be (and will be) rebuilt. But my respect and admiration for you all will never wain!

Also a little side note.  A big thanks must go to the first aiders and ambulance staff.  Not only were they amazing on the day (and still in touch now to make sure I’m ok) but without them we couldn’t enjoy what we do and go racing!

Hope to see you all soon

Nick Clegg

I have been coming racing and sitting in the passenger seat for more than ten years now and to be frank we all know the risks involved. We all know what can happen but just stick it to the back of our mind. In fairness it’s much ‘safer’ to have an accident at a race circuit than it is on the normal roads. Ambulance crews and first aiders are generally with you within a few moments at a race circuit which is just incredible. 

So on the 17th June, when the unspeakable happened to Nick and me, it all happened so fast, yet also in slow motion. After realising my body still moved perfectly fine for the time being I checked Nick was OK. My main concern was that Ellis (my 3 year old) had seen the accident but I needn’t have worried, he was in the very capable hands of Tony & Charlene Pearson, Tony being amazing and taking him back to our camper so he didn’t even see the ambulance! For this I will never be able to thank you enough. 

The marshals and paramedics were incredible, I was fine and able to walk away from what could have been a life changing experience. Nick was being seen to by the professionals and the car was being dealt with behind the scenes. A massive thank you go to the Marshals and paramedics there that day and every other race meeting we attend. We honestly hope never to need you but are so grateful for everything that you do, without you racing wouldn’t be possible, and we all know a life without racing would surely be a dull one! 

I’m pretty sure I was running on adrenaline for the remainder of the afternoon but I will always remember everyone that came and checked I was OK, we had so many offers of help and for this we will be eternally grateful. 

We are one massive racing family and when one of us needs help we all pull together, this was very obvious to see on Sunday. We couldn’t have wished for a nicer more loving racing family! 

Thank you everyone for the hugs, messages, arnica cream & aloe Vera! All of it is very useful and I’m hoping to be less black & blue and back out there very soon! 

See you soon


We’ve got lots of reports from the paddock and the driving seat for this, the only sporting event organised by the club. The enthusiasm is obvious. Just click on the club logo to read the report.

MTWC Curborough Sprint - 17th June  Seen and heard in the Paddock by Jonathan Garside
MTWC Curborough Sprint - 17th June
Down among the Touring Mods by Tony Quinn
MTWC Curborough Sprint - 17th June  A last “Hurrah” by Roger Gray
MTWC Curborough Sprint - 17th June

My story of the Curborough Sprint Weekend by Julia Perry

MTWC Curborough Sprint - 17th June
Class 4 Racing Morgan 5 Speeder by Austin Smith
MTWC Curborough Sprint - 17th June Some Curborough “shorts” from Austin Smith
MTWC Curborough Sprint - 17th June From Nigel Clay – a Newcomer to Morgan Racing
MTWC Curborough Sprint - 17th June The Racing Class from Tony Pearson
MTWC Curborough Sprint - 17th June The Drivers’ Class  – coming soon
MTWC Curborough Sprint - 17th June The Bucklands  – coming soon

Seen and heard in the paddock by Jonathan Garside:

Returning after many years away from the competition scene, Roger Gray dusted off his F type for one last hurrah before his 70th and was busy tuning the twin carbs with assistance from son Tim  Another returnee just visiting the paddock was gorgeous George Gould with his red F Type.  Good to see and chat to Dave Shotton, whose car was competing in the hands of grandson Dez, who had driven Dave’s road car for a few miles as practice.

Tuning was being undertaken in the Bibby pit with Hamish changing his outer circuit gearbox sprocket for something more suitable, and judging by results it certainly seemed to work.

Ewan Cameron brought 2 cars, the familiar Halec and a Super Sports he had just finished building for a customer which Dave Roberts drove in the sprint at a decent pace.  Ian Hughes brought along the ex. Pete Clews F Type racer to give it a gallop.

Iain Stewart spent all day on the start line but found time at the end to hand in his Green Card application form for his newly acquired ex-Martyn Culling Super Aero which he has entered at Donington.

Just two 5 speeders were out this year, just the two. I had a chat with Rob Pike who was using his 128 cu inch stage 3 engine for the first time and being circumspect despite having driven it 1,000 miles on the road over the last week. 

Amongst others I had a chat with our Hon Comp Sec who was driving his lovely silver racer and was heard to mutter more power. Dave Hodgson was due to drive the F Type but as he was due an operation on his elbow the following week, he decided not to and Rob Pike took it round instead.

Breakdowns or problems noted included:

  • Alistair Rew whose magneto bearings were shot and causing a misfire so only completed one timed run. 
  • Chas Reynolds had oil pump problems following his first timed run, no oil return even after trying 2 pumps. 
  • Club chairman Adrian had a valve drop in the Blackburne hopefully without too much collateral damage.
  • Cathy Quinn blew a head gasket on the drive down on Saturday. Replaced first thing Sunday morning.
  • Ian Hughes had problems with 1st gear in the F-Type.
  • Eric Bayley’s 4 speed gearbox broke a selector fork, resulting in Eric being limited to top gear.


Down among the Touring Mods. by Tony Quinn

We had the best entry in the Touring Modified Class so far this season with three F types and two twins.  What sounded like a blown head gasket on Adrian Murray-Leslie’s Blackburne Super Aero turned out to be a valve collet failure which caused an inlet valve to drop in.   What was amazing was that it didn’t seem to cause any collateral damage.  The valves on Blackburnes are almost vertical so the valve head was not damaged by the rising piston so it chuffed away with the inlet valve opening and shutting on demand.  Nevertheless, rather than risk any damage Adrian wisely called it a day.
My Super Sports ran really well, but I’m slowing up and could only manage a time that was two whole seconds slower than last year.  Yet again the Touring Mod F types enjoyed very close competition.  Cathy Quinn just pipped Eric Bayley who was unfortunately unable to match his excellent second practice time.  Eric had to forgo his second timed run due to gearbox problems.  Roger Gray was right on Eric’s heels with a time that was a mere 11 hundredth’s adrift.  Roger has been long absent from competition and it was great to see him behind the wheel.
Many thanks to all who worked hard to make it an excellent day.
A last “Hurrah” by Roger Gray
It was 2017 when I realised that 2018 would be the last year for a one day license for me (70 in December)…so I resolved to do “one more event” before hanging my helmet up…..
The F Super had been used by my son Tim for a few seasons before he bought a fast twin, so it was mechanically pretty good (a Dave Hodgson rebuild legacy), but the engine was “tired”.  I put on a new head gasket, pinched some decent tyres from Tims’ Morgan, polished it up a bit and set off for the Sprint…..
What a fabulous Fathers Day….the car went good……the organisation was fantastic (thank you Tony et al), my son did some spannering, my wife Annette passengered for me (not forgetting Verity Pearson who did 1st practice). I had a complete ball…and I re-met some fabulous people!
As to the Sprint itself….there’s nothing quite like the feeling of sitting “on the line”…the light goes green and off you go, accelerate hard, snatch second and take the first corner at what you feel is a good speed (others go a lot faster)……tyres squealing, hands gripping the  steering wheel, hit the brakes….accelerate again left, right ,left, right…i don’t know where I am…ah well do your best….oh the finishing straight!!…into top ,head down, flat out…cross the line and brake!….it’s over in a whirl
Head back to the paddock, wave at Bob Cope (the man in the assembly area)…remember those fab weekends at Cadwell in the eighties………..
Sit with a grin like a Cheshire cat till the next run….what a day!!!!
My story of the Curborough Sprint Weekend by Julia Perry
Austin, myself and my daughter Olivia arrived late afternoon on Saturday and set up camp. It was lovely to see everyone and everyone was in good spirits A heavy rain shower didn’t dampen things for too long and the children were soon out playing on their bikes again….along with Sam Savage and Tony Pearson on the Penny Farthing!

BBQ’s were soon lit and beer, wine and Sam Savages Pink Gin began to flow. As the evening went on Nigel Clay got his guitar out and we enjoyed a good sing song. Verity Pearson has a beautiful voice and definitely made the evening with her repertoire of songs.

Sunday morning arrived and we signed on and had the drivers briefing. Only then did Austin remember I needed a day licence to drive today so after a quick bit of form filling and handing over £15 to Sue Clews I was ready to drive his 5 speeder.

It was soon time for first practice. I was passenger first for Austin and took note of when he changed gear. Then it was my turn to drive. I had to sit on the start line revving the car at 2500 revs, then I could go when I was ready. A smooth start off the line, soon into 2nd and 3rd. I was told I went into 3rd too early but hey I did it. I went back into second at The Molehill and stayed in 2nd all the way round till the finish straight then floored it into 3rd and over the finish line.Austin gave a yelp of joy for me and I’d done my first practice. Time of 46.21

Second practice and a little pep talk from Austin saying I did a great start and finish, but could go a bit faster in-between. I sat there on the start line ready to go faster. Off I went but changed into 4th instead of 2nd. Apparently I recovered well. I was rather late going into second once I reached The Molehill and Austin is shouting Second…..Second to me.I floor it down the final straight again and over the finish line and was congratulated by Austin on making quick recoveries from my mistakes.Despite the mistakes I walk away with a time of 45.21.I’m pleased to be the fastest female driver, but that doesn’t mean anything yet as its just practice times.

I was now ready for my first competitive lap. Austin had done his lap and was pleased as it felt fast.I just had to wait for two cars in front of me to run, then it was my turn.

Oh no the red flag comes out. I spot Danny Hodgson running across the field in the realisation that Sandra was in the car out on the track. We see the ambulance go out. Family members run across. The ambulance returns and we are relieved the ambulance doesn’t go off site with blue flashing lights.

Lunch was called and my lap had to wait.

After lunch we return to the start line.Austin says nothing to me as I wait for the green light revving the engine at 2500.

I have a good run. Just as I’m coming to the finish line I can hear Austin shout 4th to me but I didn’t have time to change and I go over the finish line with my best time yet, 44.96!!



Class 4 Racing Morgan 5 Speeder by Austin Smith

Rob Pike had spent virtually every spare minute driving his Morgan during the week before Curborough in an effort to clock up 1000 ‘running in’ miles on his new 128 cu inch S&S engine.  He managed to clock 1008 by the time it arrived at the sprint course on Saturday.
Austin Smith arrived at Curborough with his 5 Speeder stripped of virtually anything and everything that was considered superfluous (and not too hard to remove), in an effort to counter the enhanced power of Rob Pikes powerful new motor.  In addition to Austin, his Morgan would also be driven by Julia Perry and also Nigel Clay, who was making his race driving debut.
Austin set a blistering pace in practice, going faster than the 5 Speeder lap record of 39.76, which had been set by Mark Reeves back in 2014.  Julia and Nigel were getting to grips with the 5 Speeder and were going faster on each run.
Rob, with Petra Rarko sat alongside, was starting to unleash the power of his new engine, and examination of the speed trap showed him clocking 80mph on the finish straight!
Austin set a time of 39.04 on his first competitive lap, which had him skipping in the paddock.  Rob set a time of 41.87, which was his fastest of the day.  Meanwhile, Julia clocked 44.96, squeezing Nigel out by 5 hundredths of a second.
After 4 rounds honours are even between Rob and Austin in their 5 Speeders….now onto the circuit races!
Some Curborough “Shorts”
Adrian Murray-Leslie reported that at the end of the second practice there were strange noises from the engine, quickly traced to inlet valve collet failure. Adrian hasn’t stripped it yet, but is not expecting anything more than having to make new collets and possibly replace the valve. 
In spite of all that he really enjoyed seeing everyone and watching some excellent performances.
Chas Reynolds enjoyed some good runs but a tired clutch prompted an engine out over lunch and replacement of the clutch plate. On start-up there was no oil return to the tank and even with a spare pump in the toolbox he was unable to sort it so missed his last run.  Chas is hoping to get it sorted for Donington next weekend!
Finally, Martyn Bayliss wants to give a very big Thank you to all concerned for their help in getting the F4 going again. He could only name Phil Bridge, Terry Green, Eric Bayley and Tom Cowley, but there were many others.  He had a great day and the F4 ran really well going home.

Racing Class by Tony Pearson.

Well dare I say this years racing class is still wide open with 3 rounds remaining!

Due to a number of fixture clashes, Bill and Hamish have been busy elsewhere showing the racing world how good Morgans are!

This has left Chas Reynolds a clear front-runner in both the Challenge Series and the Sprint and Hillclimb series, with a jumble of 10 points between Alistair Rew, Danny Hodgson and Tony Pearson.

So all to play for over the next few months as we move to the circuit part of the challenge series at Donington on the 24th June.

But at Curborough Danny Hodgson was looking particularly strong in the Dave Hodgson OHV F type as Alistair was plagued with MAG issues. I am still getting to grips with the MK2 twin and have been overheard muttering, “It feels like moving over to the dark side!!”, but I’m making steady progress. (Tips anyone??)

Tom Cowley was again pestered by ignition timing even though he thought fitting a new electronic system would cure his problems.

Chas Reynolds had oil flow issues and from what I saw the problem was most of it was on the floor!! (Sorry Chas).

The rest of the racing field were made up of non-regular competitors but with some encouragement from yours truly, you never know, they might become regulars!

The Bayliss brothers were on good form in the Super Aero and Little Mitch Blair in dad’s big twin looked to be going well too. He’s such a little lad I don’t know how he could see out of the cockpit!!

Rob Pike sat in for Dave Hodgson as Dave is due an operation on his arm and last but not least I was most impressed with Bronte Pearson. She had never sat in Tony Pearson’s twin until Saturday and was mad keen to give it a go around Curborough. All I can say is watch out all you front runners. The girls are coming!!! 

From Nigel Clay – a Newcomer to Morgan Racing.
Owning a modern Three Wheeler (or “5-Speeder’ to the cognoscenti) is one thing. After all there are hundreds of owners in the UK, though you hardly ever see them. Racing them is a different thing altogether. The older cars were raced a lot, of course and there are still plenty of incredibly old models tearing up the tarmac every weekend. The Five Speeder however doesn’t seem to be raced that much despite its grunty engine, pretty good brakes and nimble handling. Not sure why that is but its not for any lack of Austin Smith’s heroic attempts to lure owners into being competitors. That’s what happened to me. All I did was approach him for some advice about buying a Three Wheeler and before I knew it the maniac had stuck me in the passenger seat of his P-40 Warhawk lookalike and I was hurtling up a hill in Catterick mainly on two wheels rather than three.
The grooming continued by email through six months of Welsh winter rain as my lovely new car sat in the garage waiting to be properly run in. Austin was not to be put off by my protests that I might bust something racing it too soon and that Morgan would tear up the warranty if they discovered it was lock wired. “You’d better race in mine then! See you at Curborough on 17th June”
And that what happened. My friends and family were a bit apprehensive that I was taking up motor racing at the same time as qualifying for the State Pension but by now having met quite a few of you I had concluded that Morgans have a sort of anti-ageing effect and the sooner I got stuck in the better.
My times weren’t  great but I was driving faster and  more physically than I ever thought I could, egged on by Austin (passenger and coach) screaming “Power! More Power” each time we exited the Molehill. I was the slowest of all the 5-Speeders but not by that much and I beat my own time by a second each lap. I was exhilarated every time I went round and finished the day exhausted and very pleased with myself.
So next season there will be another 5-speeder racing, not mine of course, because its still under warranty. The fact that the one without number plates that I will be borrowing is the same colour is just a coincidence.