Walpole finds he’s in seventh heaven

After a tense finale to the Peter Best Insurance MG Championship at Snetterton, James Walpole could relax as he had secured the Class A title by the slenderest of margins.

'It's always this close between me and James Darby, and fortunately I have kept the title, by a single point, for the seventh year in a row,' said the happy King's Lynn MGB racer.

In the final calculations it was the points awarded for starting on pole position which clinched the crown with Walpole gaining both available, but only after consulting with the rule book and asking for an amendment to the gird for race two.

Darby led the first race before Walpole found a way past only to spin at the Montreal Hairpin on the penultimate lap to finish behind his rival.

Sunday's race started with a bang when an invitational Fiat Punto crashed into the back of Walpole's car at the second corner.

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'I thought it was all over,' explained a relieved Walpole, who recovered still ahead of his rival, an advantage he maintained to the finishing line.

In the battle for overall honours Thetford's Simon Hutchinson had two good podium places but was unable to displace the slight faster MGB V8 cars of Ollie Neaves and Rob Spencer.

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The BWM-mounted trio of Pat Fenn, Brian Branson and Bryan Branson, all from Norwich, were in the hunt for outright honours in the Four-Hour Relay race until Fenn's engine lost oil pressure. They recovered to finish 11th.

Likewise the RAF team which included Hutchinson led the event until a fuel problem for Chris Slator knocked them down to fifth place leaving the Morgan team to hold off the MG Trophy runners to take victory.

Sadly the anticipated Morgan battle between Russell Paterson and Keith Ahlers didn't materialise as the latter's clutch exploded on the grid.

Adrian Beer was a comfortable double MG BCV8 winner while Pete Foster and John Andon shared the Equip GTS winner's laurels.

Russell McCarty beat all-comers in the Thoroughbred Sportscars while Andrew Aston won the MG Metro encounter.

In the historic races Mark Daniell triumphed in the saloons while in the Group Two race Chris Scragg took a late win over Ian McDonald with Brian Arculus untouchable in the small sports cars.

• Peter Best Insurance MG Championship, Race One: Ollie Neaves (B); ob Spencer (BGT V8); Simon Hutchinson (Midget). Race Two: Rob Spencer; Simon Hutchinson; Simon Cripps (B).

• British Motor Heritage 4 Hour Relay Race: Guten Morgan (Roger Whiteside, John Emberson, Tony Rivers, Ulrich Vierhaus) 156 laps; The Trophy Guys (Malcolm Gammons, Dan Surridge, John Brown, Julia Penfold, Andrew Radford, Charlie Brown); Team BGTV8 (Chris Tilly, Howard Grundon, Joe Parrington, Peter Samuels).

• Morgan Challenge: Russell Paterson (Plus 8); Ray Higgs (Plus 8); Tony Lees (Plus 8).

• Moss Europe BCV8 & MG Midget Challenge, Race One: Adrian Beer (BGT V8); Chris Tilly (BGT V8); Paul Sibley (Midget). Race Two: Adrian Beer; Chris Tilly; Paul Sibley.

• Equipe GTS, Race One: Pete Foster (Triumph TR4); David Thompson (TRV Grantura Mk3); Mark Steward (WSM Sprite). Race Two: John Andon (Triumph TR4); Pete Foster; Alistair Davidson (MGB).

• HRDC Touring Greats: Mark Daniell (Austin A40); Nick Naismith, John Young (Austin A95 Westminster); Richard Postins (Austin A40).

• Motoring Classics Thoroughbred Sportscar Championship: Russell McCarthy (MGBGT V8); Simon Garrad (Jaguar D Type Replica); John Wilkes (Jaguar D Type Replica).

• Drayton Manor Park MG Metro Cup: Andrew Aston (GTi); James Dunkley (Turbo); Neal Gardiner (GTi).

• HRDC TC63: Chris Scragg (Jaguar Mk2); Ian McDonald (Warwick GT350); Richard Butterfield (Jaguar Mk2).

• HRDC Grand Touring Greats: Brian Arculus (Lotus Elite); Rae Davis (Mini Jem GT); Shaun Rainford (Lenham MG SS1600).

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