EXCLUSIVE: Race ace Walpole wants eighth consecutive title to celebrate MGBs 50th anniversary

MOTORSPORT ace James Walpole wants to crown the 50th anniversary of the MGB by driving his “pride and joy” to its eighth consecutive class title.

For 16 years the Terrington St Clement racer has raced his 40-year-old 1.8-litre MGB Roadster to glory around six of the country’s top circuits.

And with special events planned to mark the classic car’s half century this year, Walpole, 48, insists he’s desperate to win another Peter Best Insurance MG Championship Class A title.

Walpole said: “Some young people like a nice sporty hatchback but I love MGBs. Classic cars will always be classic and this is my pride and joy.

“I love the thrill of competition and last season was very exciting because it was close. I can’t wait to get racing again. There’s nothing like it, it’s a real adrenaline rush.

“You always go out to win and you never lose that hunger once you get behind the wheel. Despite that, there’s great camaraderie between us all because we’re part of the MG Car Club.

“This will be one of the most special seasons and I really want to make it one to remember.”

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Walpole pipped James Darby by just one point to win the title for the seventh year in a row in October.

He begins the defence of his title in the 12-round series at Donington Park on Easter Sunday and will spend the next three months preparing his car with the help of his sponsors the MGB Hive in Parson Drove.

Walpole, known as Jim, said: “I do miss the racing at this time of the year but I also love the preparation work. This is when I do my work in order to get the results once the season starts.

“I can’t thank Nigel Petch, a former MG champion himself, his wife Sandra, and all the staff at the MGB Hive, enough for their help and support.”