The world’s largest MG event made a triumphant return on June 2-3 as enthusiasts from all over the globe arrived at Silverstone for MGLive! 2018. And with a winning combination of great cars, motorsport action and plentiful activity for all ages set under beautiful blue skies for the most part, it was surely one of the best in the event’s 68-year history.
For me, it made a change to enjoy the alternative side of the event this year. Normally based in the media room and focusing on the motorsport side of the event, I miss much of the infield entertainment. With two whole days to explore, I fully experienced everything that MGLive! had to offer, and what a fantastic weekend it was.
This year's hosting duties fell to Danny Hopkins of Practical Classics magazine fame, alongside Wayne Scott of Classic Heritage PR. Taking to the stage on the Duckhams Village Green on the Saturday morning, the dynamic duo officially opened MGLive! 2018.
From here it was a quick trot across to the MG Motor UK Live Arena for Danny, to join the infamous Russ Swift in his first show of the weekend. Russ has been entertaining crowds for many years, taking his popular stunt show around the country. His attendance at MGLive! began in the late 1980s, and his efforts are enjoyed just as much now as they always have been.
This year Russ supported the event's official charity partner, SeeSaw, an Oxfordshire-based charity supporting bereaved children and young people. In a bid to raise funds, Russ offered passenger rides to the crowd in exchange for donations. Once onlookers saw what was on offer, such as experiencing Russ’s signature ‘dance routine’ and even acting as ballast as he steered an MG ZS around the arena on two wheels, there was no shortage of people reaching for their wallets.
As the event’s activities got into full swing the Duckhams Village Green came alive to the sound of The Candy Girls. Back by popular demand, the three-piece close harmony group brought an extra touch of vintage glamour to proceedings. Performing classics from the 1940s and 50s, their bright demeanour soon brushed away the lingering early morning cloud cover, as the sun began to shine through. The girls would perform on five further occasions over the weekend, entertaining the crowds throughout.
But the musical treats didn't stop there. Joining the bill for an MGLive! debut was the Gary Woods Swing Band, who alternated with The Candy Girls on both days and even joined forces with them on the Sunday! The array of trumpets and saxophones made for a fantastic watch while soaking up the relaxed atmosphere on the Village Green – an area that also played host to a variety of food and drink outlets, a display of long-distance marathon cars featuring the Club’s ex-Jean Denton MGB and a unique rallycross MG TF from Germany.
Providing the evening's entertainment was Euphoria, another debut act. Headlining the excellent After Hours Party, the five-piece band performed everything from Motown numbers to contemporary hits. It was a fantastically eclectic collection, complemented by plenty of activity around the area, including the ever-popular Glow Show organised by the MGF Register.
For those wanting to stretch their legs, there was plenty to see and do around the infield during the weekend. From handmade children's clothing and gifts, homemade jams and preserves, pastries and sweets right through to music-themed key rings and t-shirts, to stationery, the Lifestyle Marquee had it all. There was even a stall offering to clean your specs, which was a popular stop around the marquee.
Back outside, the trade area extended far into the distance, with a great mix of big names, independents and show debutants selling everything from books to car cleaning products and all manner of MG spares. Surrounded by masses of MGs lined up with their respective Centres and Registers in a new layout of individual marquees that proved very popular, there was no shortness of viewing pleasure.
New to the mix this year, the Young Members group had its own stand within the Centre and Register displays, plus a great presence in the Village Green and a dedicated parking area. The group attracted a great deal of attention throughout the two days, giving visitors a healthy reassurance that the future of the Club is in good hands. The group looks set to become an official Branch of the Club later this year, so is definitely one to look out for.
Adding to the mix were the packed Register Parking displays. With everything from the Vintage Register right up to the 635 Register, MGs spanning almost 90 years were catered for. And for those who liked to get busy with the microfibre cloths and detailing products, the Pride of Ownership and Concours attracted some of the finest MG examples and, much like the rest of the event, covered a broad spectrum of models. The MGA Twin Cam in particular was honoured with a fantastic number of cars, with owners turning up to form a display to commemorate the model’s 60th anniversary.
Visitors from all over the world are a huge part of MGLive! and there are affiliated Clubs all over the world – the first formed in South Africa back in 1939! Saturday saw the overseas section of the Club gather its cars in the thick of the action on Copse runway, as well as having its own section in the main Club marquee.
MGLive! is also a calendar highlight for guests from MG Motor’s overseas markets, due in no small part to the Club also acting as SAIC’s world heritage partner. This year there was an impressive turnout of Chinese enthusiasts, while a strong presence from MG Motor India and further representation from the Middle East added to the event’s international flavour.
As I was kept busy in the infield arena, the motorsport side of the event was a resounding success once again. With 16 races spread across the two days, the high-speed entertainment provided plenty of action around the historic GP circuit. One of the many highlights was the Church Square Autos MGF/TF Challenge on the Saturday, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the launch of the MGF Cup. And for those not racing but still wanting to get out on track, lunchtime circuit tours offered a great chance to experience the Silverstone Grand Prix layout in fine style.
Back in the infield arena, the California Cup Autotest was a big draw. The excellent organisation from Noel Lindford and his loyal band of MGCC Tyne Tees helpers ensured a great spectacle, with a whole range of MGs squealing their tyres in a bid to take home the prizes. Once again it was the Ulster Centre that emerged victorious overall, though they had to work hard for it, thanks to another sterling effort from the Lincolnshire Centre. The cones were back out on Sunday, too, as Oxford Motor Club staged the popular Autosolo, a lighter version of an autotest, that saw all MGs and related BMC marques doing battle.
Those wanting a break from the bustling infield could rest their legs by hopping aboard one of the complimentary bus tours. A number of classic buses and coaches were on hand throughout the weekend to offer tours around the impressive Silverstone Circuit venue. Journeying over to the Porsche Driving Experience Centre, the Wing Complex and the Stowe circuit where Sunday’s sprint took place, it really showed how vast the venue actually is. The buses even sampled part of the old GP circuit, now no longer in use. The bus drivers were a great addition, with the comedy and entertainment they brought to the ride appreciated by all aboard.
With prizes for the California Cup, Pride of Ownership and Concours given out on stage at the close of both days, all heads turned to the skies to see the Red Arrows make an appearance on Sunday – nothing like ending the show in style!
All in all, it was a fantastic weekend. Walking around to the tune of great feedback and happy, smiling faces confirmed MGLive! 2018 was a storming success. It couldn’t have been done without brilliant support from the volunteers, staff, members, traders, racers, charity partners and visitors that attended over the weekend. To all who came, thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to seeing you all again next year!
There’s nothing like the hottest weekend of the year to get motorsport and motoring fans flocking to Silverstone for MGLive! The MG Car Club’s annual celebration, combining an incredible line up of racing with the World’s biggest static display of MG models spanning 90 years welcomed around 15,000 attendees across the two-day event.
On Silverstone’s Grand Prix Circuit, a packed grid of over 550 entries kept racing fans entertained across 16 races, including four MG championships and guest races from Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship, Masters Series Pre-1966 Touring Cars, and the single-seater Radical Challenge Championship.
The biggest grids came from the eclectic mix of Equipe GTS, with a range of vehicles from Alfa Romeos to TVRs and of course MGs – with Midgets and MGBs completing a varied line-up with a total of 80 Equipe entries including two genuine ex-works MGBs.
Saturday’s California Cup Autotest gave the various MGCC Registers whose owners like their driving more precise and a challenging route the chance to showcase their skills. The Ulster Centre came out victorious with the T-Register picking up the Register Trophy, while the Lincolnshire Centre won both the BMC and Longbridge trophies.
On Sunday, private owners had the chance to compete in the Autosolo in two classes – Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) and Front Wheel Drive (FWD). The overall RWD class winner was Ian Webb in the Midget Sprite, while the FWD class winner was Simon Ayris in the MG ZR.
For those who prefer polish to power, there was the Pride of Ownership and Concours sponsored by Meguiar’s. Whilst there was a raft of class winners, the three major trophies went to Louise Allen in her MG ZR for Best Modified MG, David Laidlaw in his MGB for Overall Pride of Ownership winner, and Nigel Scutt in the MGF for Overall Concourse Winner.
Away from the track, around 3,000 MG models spanning over 90 years of motoring heritage were displayed from the Club's various registers, along with a collection of models that have all made their mark in motorsport in the main MGCC marquee
The Smartdriver Club Live Arena saw hosts Wheeler Dealers' Mike Brewer and Ant Anstead entertain the crowds with their own Father & Son relay race, daily car clinics, and the UK’s only performance in 2018 of stunt driving legend Russ Swift, who celebrated 30 years since his first appearance at Silverstone.
The new Village Green area proved extremely popular as visitors enjoyed the festival vibe, listening to a fantastic line-up of bands throughout the day and into the night, ranging from the stunning Glamophones with their swing-style retro harmonies to the foot-tapping rock classics from TFI Live.
MGLive! will return in 2018 with dates to be announced shortly.
Once again a sea of MG fans descended on Silverstone for MGLive! 2016. With everything on show from the earliest bull-nose Super Sports through to the newest GS, MGLive! Had something for everyone.
2016’s designated charity, Headway Oxfordshire made an impressive splash with a large marquee showcasing generations of the Club’s Safety Fast! magazine as well as MG’s experimental MGB GT Safety Vehicle, kindly lent for display by the British Motor Museum at Gaydon.
A full weekend of racing on the historic GP circuit, live action arena, register displays, traders, sprint, concours, Lifestyle Marquee, live bands, camping and more!
2015 MG Car Club were celebrating several anniversaries at Silverstone during MGLive! with the MGA celebrating 60 years since its introduction, the MGB GT celebrating 50 years, the MGF celebrating 20 years and the Abingdon Competitions Department celebrating 60 years.
On the morning of June 20th , MGLive! Started with light drizzle later turning to heavy rain, but that didn’t put people off with queues forming at the main gate, eager to start their MGLive! weekend. The sight before them as they entered the Silverstone circuit was of 100s of MGs filling the infield area. In addition, the California Cup Autotest, which was run by Neil Lock and fellow members of the South West Centre, was held in car park 49, with 22 participants. This year the prestigious California Cup was won by the Lincolnshire Centre, with the Midget Register winning the BMC Autotest Trophy.
The Sprint, which was run by David Rainsbury and fellow members of the North West Centre, was held on the Stowe Circuit on Sunday morning. This was well subscribed this year with 110 entrants. Andy Walker recorded the fastest MG time of day in his MGB V8. What’s more, A separate tour was held on Sunday to parade cars celebrating anniversaries this year. This was officiated by Noel Lindford with help from fellow members of the Tyne Tees Centre, who did a great job in signing on entrants and organising the line-up of cars before the tour commenced.
MG Motor UK had a display of their current range of MG3 and MG6 cars, and were actively showing people round the cars and taking bookings for test drives. A representative of MG said they were extremely pleased with the interest people had shown in the cars and were kept busy all weekend.