Marvellous Morgan bags podium and points
Accrington-based race ace Adam Morgan scored three top six finishes in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone on Sunday.
Aboard his MAC Tools-sponsored Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the Ciceley Motorsport driver bounced back to his early-season form, with a string of niggling reliability issues now behind him.
Adam’s weekend started with a wet free practice session in which he and the team worked through a programme to get a good set-up on the Fuchs Lubricants-backed car ready for qualifying. The 30-minute grid-deciding session was a good one for Adam who made minor changes to the car and felt it was better than ever. “It was like it was on rails,” he said as he powered to third fastest time, just 49-thousandths of a second away from pole position, underlining how competitive the championship is.
From third on the grid, Adam stormed away at the start but made contact with a quick-starting Jake Hill at the first corner and that delayed The Morganator. Adam battled back into third position, first having to fend off a long line of cars including championship hopeful Colin Turkington (BMW 125i M Sport), but Adam was gradually able to make a break and start to edge closer to the two leaders. Adam’s next target was Jack Goff (Honda Civic) and, despite mid-race rain, Adam was hunting him down and closing the gap when the race was neutralised after a three-car crash at Becketts. With the safety car deployed, the field bunched up and Adam was looking to make more progress on the restart, but with an ambulance needed, the race was stopped and the result declared, leaving Adam third in the results and with the fastest lap of the race as well.
“That was a mega start to the day,” he said. “It was a bit hairy when the rain came and it is frustrating that I didn’t get a chance to have a go after the safety car, but I’ll take third! It is so good to be racing at the front again. The car was phenomenal and to get fastest lap proves what good pace we had.”
Adam started race two from third on the grid and was involved in an early battle with Rob Austin, which pushed him down to fifth. Adam passed Ash Sutton’s Subaru and he started to attack Turkington’s BMW, only for Sutton to close on Adam once more and the three started battling. Adam was carrying 57 kilos of success ballast for finishing third in race one and the weight started to tell, the WIX Filters backed Mercedes-Benz beginning to struggle against the lighter cars. Adam was hit by Sutton, which forced him wide and lost him ground, The Accrington Flyer eventually battling home in sixth.
“The weight was a big handicap,” reckoned Adam. “Sutton was quicker as the weights started to hurt us but then he hit me and I was forced wide which allowed him and Rob Austin to go by. I reckon I could have done better than sixth and would have done if people hadn’t hit me! Still, after some of the weekends we’ve had, sixth is pretty good.”
For race three, with its semi-reversed grid, Adam started fourth with less weight on board and was one of a number of people who starred in a frantic finale. Adam battled his way up to second place mid-race but as he was running on the regulation harder tyre, to be used in one race over a weekend, Adam started to struggle late in the race and dropped away from the leader. That in turn meant that we was caught by the pack behind and Adam was shuffled back to sixth spot, which meant that Adam has finished in the top eight in the last six races.
“Race three was a bit of what-could-have-been,” said Adam. “Running second at one stage was really good but the tyres started to lose their edge and the pack was so tight that it was a tough race with cars everywhere! We have had a really good weekend for results and we are pleased with reliability and set up once again although at times over the weekend we seemed to be a bit down on power compared to others. We go to Brands Hatch in confident mood, and we want a win before the end of the season.”
Ciceley Motorsport’s Commercial Director Norman Burgess said: “We’re back where we belong, at the front of the grid. Adam raced really well all weekend, with good speed and no mistakes. We’ve had a tough season with reliability on occasions but all our guys have continued to work hard and never lost their enthusiasm nor commitment. We have got a great bunch of lads working on the car and we have all dug deep and pushed on which is evident from podium finishes again. All our Ciceley Motorsport guests had a superb day, cheering Adam on to three top six finishes and we look forward to Brands Hatch for more of the same.”
Adam lies ninth in the overall championship and is fourth in the Independents’ competition with third being the target with just three races to run at Brands Hatch, Kent, on September 30/October 1.