BGS ready for the 2018 Monte Carlo Classique Rally
Andy Smith, who has owned MGBs since the 1970s, is having a busy year with his 1963 Rally Car. BGS 861A is an ex-California mark 1 MGB which was one of a batch of similar vehicles repatriated by Ron Gammons for the 2,500mile Pirelli Classic Marathon series in 1988. BGS was totally rebuilt from the shell up for use by Malcolm Gammons and Glen Jarvis in the 1989 event. The car performed faultlessly and they took a class win and 15th overall – the best standard car by miles, winning the team award for MG with Stirling Moss and Ron Gammons.In 1990 the car was fully modified to FIA standards, bored out to 1840cc with Webber 45DCOE carburation to provide 130bhp, via a close ratio gear box and Quaife Limited Slip Diff. In this (its current) specification, BGS was driven to seventh place by Rally legend, Roger Clark, with Tony Masson on ‘the clocks’ in the 1990 Pirelli Classic Marathon.For 1992 it was back to the Classic Marathon, this time sponsored by Mitsubishi, the crew being Sir Stirling Moss and Zoe Heritage. The pair had run a big Healey in the 1991 event but decided to go back to an MGB for 92, Stirling putting BGS through its paces to finish another faultless performance in seventh place.There then followed a 20-plus year period when the car was owned and campaigned by ex-Historic Rally Register Chairman Chris Hunt Cooke who, apart from competing with the car on many Marathon events, went on to win the Clubman’s rally championship in 1996 and 1997, followed by further outright victories in the HRCR classic trophy series in 2002 and 2003. Then came the HERO Le Jog team prize with David Kirkham in the navigator’s seat in 2005, followed by an outright win in this toughest of classic car rallies by coming overall first in the Le Jog Rally of 2007.
“Keeping up with all this history is an impossibility,” says Andy, who is only too happy to enjoy the experience of driving a Brown and Gammons wellprepared competition car. It’s superbly modified with a tight, well-balanced (Gerry Brown-built) engine and performs well under pressure, coming on cam at 2800rpm and pulling faultlessly all the way to 7000rpm, currently running with a 4.9:1 ratio which provides plenty of punch for hill climb sections of any event.
Andy, along with son Nick, has competed with BGS on the Summer Trial, the RAC Rally of the Tests and numerous smaller events since he purchased the car in 2015. This year he has entered and completed the Monte Carlo Classique, a 1,600-mile Goldwinning epic from its Paisley Abbey start at 6.00pm on a snowy night in late January down to the Cote D’Azur, some four days later. That has been followed by the R section of both the Land’s End Trial in March and, most recently, the R section of the Edinburgh Trial.
BGS 861A representing MG at BROOKLANDS AND GOODWOOD SEPTEMBER 2021.
In 1992 Stirling Moss had spent a week in BGS861A, a 1963 Brown and Gammons rally prepared MGB on the 2000mile Classic Marathon event, in which he finished 7th.
This September saw two wonderful consecutive weekend tribute events in honour of the great man. First at Brooklands on September the 12th , and secondly at the Goodwood Revival on the weekend of the 18th.
The Brooklands Motor Museum had arranged a gathering of some 30 ex Moss competition cars. These were housed in a period style paddock which was open to the public allowing full access to the cars.
Brooklands had organised a morning and afternoon Special Run attraction, which saw each of the cars completing 3 laps of about a half mile each. Starting near the end of the members strait, climbing the hill with a 100meter sprint along the famous banking, followed by a 180degree turn, then back down the hill into a cone constructed right hander, to repeat the exercise. BGS, was driven by owner Andy Smith and the MGB performance was equal to much of the higher power machinery demonstrated in the event.
One week later, BGS was at the Goodwood Revival for The Sir Stirling Moss Tribute parade, which saw a full collection of Stirling’s cars, including the 1955 Mille Miglia winning Mercedes, line up on the grid, before completing 3 laps of the circuit. This parade was completed on each of the 3 days of the event, and was well received by the crowd.
During this weekend Andy had many enjoyable conversations with a number of MGB owners from across Europe who had attended the event and seemed delighted to see MG represented on such a very special occasion.