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MGBV8 national meet news

Subject: MGBV8 national meet news
From: Barney Gaylord <>
Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 01:44:52 -0500
Yo, Chaps!

Greetings from Champaign, Illinois.  British Car Week is alive and well,
and the MGBV8 meet is off to a rousing start.  I drove the MGA down from
Naperville to Rantoul this morning (Thursday) to assist with setup and
operation of the combinaton autocross and drag race trials events at
Rantoul Aviation Center, previously known as Chanute Air Force Base.  And
while I was at it I sort of horned in on some of the fun.  The pylons and
timers were all up and ready, and the rousty loud machines and drivers
were caravaning in from Champaign by half past noon.  As I was only
running less than half an engine by these guys' standards, it was only
fitting that I also had the only set of race tires.  Heh, heh, heh.  Grab
a helmet.   (}8^))

I was busy working and driving and working, and someone else was keeping
the stats, so y'all will need to wait for official publication for all
the names and times.  But there were about a dozen drivers, mostly with
MGBV8s, one MGC as I recall, one MGB 1800, one TR6, and of course one
moderately humble MGA 1500.  To get it all started and set a benchmark
time I took one run on the autocross track and turned in 31.5 seconds or
thereabouts.  Thereafter the others took their turns on the track
(several times over) with times ranging from the high 30's downward, with
a few finally approaching the benchmark.

So I then took a second run with a little more enthusiasm (and the fear
of Pieces of Eights breathing down my neck) and turned in 30.318 seconds.
 After a few more runs by the others the field was thinning out as
several set their wheels aside and retired to watch the last few die hard
competitors still striking out at the new mark.  One of the brave V8s
finally bested the mark and turned in a 30.317 second run.  Yup, you got
it, 1/1000th of a second quicker than the sticky tire MGA.  That figures
out to be about 3/4 of an inch at the fiish line after a 1/3 mile run. 
Just about then you could hear one collective sigh of relief as they
decided it was time to set this phase aside and get on to the faster side
of the sport.  

Off then off to another runway where we had a 1/4 mile straight strip
measured out, laser sighted to the nearest inch, and terminating in a
real live police radar trap to measure the end results.  And the cops
weren't just fooling around (or were they?).  They had their latest laser
speed guns and doppler radar devices setup for comparison.  One by one
the noble Brits laid down their tracks, pushing the envelope to see what
these little machines could do with a straight line.  Giving them all due
credit for their mostly stock aluminum V8s and street tires, most were in
the high 80 or low 90 mph range, while one slightly hyper BV8 on steroids
turned in a 102 (and also a 105, I think).

One unfortunate BV8 dropped out with equipment failure on the starting
line of his first attempt.  This car had already survived several clutch
popping hot starts on the autocross course, but here it twisted off the
propshaft a few inches ahead of the rear u-joint.  That baby looked like
twisted taffy with the original two inch diameter tube twisted down to
about 1/2 inch diameter before it broke.  Thanks to AAA, the car was soon
carried back to the hotel car park in Champaign where a bevy of experts
soon disected the flanges and removed the (now) two piece propshaft.  One
cell phone call later we have a promise from a local shop to have a fresh
tube welded in and a newly balanced propshaft ready by noon the next day

Meanwhile, back at the hot track, the speed trials were winding down, and
someone suggested that the MGA 1500 should have a run at the speed traps.
 Yeah, sure, who's kidding who? Well, it's all in good fun, so why not? 
And exactly 1/4 mile later the MGA turns in an astounding 66 mph finish. 
Wait a minute!  Who's that laughing?  The MGB 1800 only did 65 mph? 
Yeeehaaa!  I actually beat somebody.

For an easy finish to the speed trials each driver in turn was to pace
the final distance of the 1/4 mile strip at an even 70 mph through the
traps for a radar reading to compare the error of their speedometers. 
For most cars this was a cake walk.  For the MGB 1800, well, he gave it a
second try, then a third try.  Then we finally backed him up an extra
hundred yards before the start line so he could get it up to 70 before
the traps.  In the end I think every car had similar results with their
speedos being somewhat optimistic and reading 3 to 5 mph on the high side
at highway speeds.  At least they were a little less likely to get a
speeding ticket that way.  But now that they know, they'll probably all
just drive a little faster now.  Oh, the MGA?  No need to be a nusance
here, as the on board rally computer already has the speedo and odo
nicely calibrated, thank you very much anyway.

Later in the evening, after the driveshaft pulling tech session in the
hotel car park, a sizeable caravan of MGs (and a few other LBCs)  cast
off for points east to share a little grub and drink.  I think we can
make a few miles okay on the last couple of gallons in the fuel tank.  So
where do we end up?  A couple miles north, and nearly 40 miles east, and
a few more miles around a country road, somewhere east of Danville and
very near the Indiana state line.  Now where did that fuel gage needle
go?  No problem, a veteran ralliest never runs out of gas.  We drove into
the gas station a little later with more than a half gallon still in the

The restaraunt turned out to be a nice little road house, out in the
country, beer in bottles only, grill your own steaks, and the $3.50
tenderloin sandwich fit for a king.  These monsters you had to fold in
half, and they still hung out all around a wopper size bun.  Good
friends, good food, and a parking lot full of LBCs.  Definitely nice
dining.  And the trip back to Champaign just after dusk was a very
pleasant cruise as well, with most of the cars taking the state highway
in lieu of the interstate route.

Of course the evening was topped off with the traditional late night tech
sessions in the parking lot.  And I don't think I've seen so many beer
coolers in one parking lot in years.  And since my cheap B&B reservation
got screwed up for this one night, I managed to share a room and a hotel
bill with another solo entry.  So here I am poking away at this clumsy
flat keyboard while most of the rest of the clan is counting sheep (or
other such creaures of personal delight).

And tomorrow (Friday) many more LBCs will be arriving here for the annual
Champaign British Car Festival, this year honoring these wonderful Pieces
of Eight.  And here I will be, fortunate me, enjoying all these friends
and festivities while all ye others are sitting there reading e-mail. 
Har, har, har !!!  Check back again in a day or so and see how we all be
doing out here in the sun.

Fare thee well,

Barney Gaylord
1958 MGA with an attitude

If one of thee should know the address of the MGBV8 mailing list or web
site, please kindly forward this message along those lines.

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