Possibly to most significant MG B race car that was not directly used by the works department. ‘222 WAE’ was built to works specification and campaigned relentlessly from 1964 to 1970 by Roy Ashford on behalf of the Bristol, MG dealership Windmill & Lewis with great success.
The BMC competition department in Abingdon constructed the ‘works’ vehicles (MG, Austin, Mini) in their ‘special tuning department’ where the cars were given light-weight panels and uprated engine components. MG Bs were then raced in many disciplines to get as much exposure and marketing potential as possible for the popular model, including sports car racing ,both in Europe and America (Sebring), endurance events, such as Le Mans were they scored a class win in 1963 and many rally events.
222 WAE was purchased in 1963 by the Bristol MG dealership Windmill & Lewis, who had previously had some success in 1961 running a MG Midget and a MG A. Under the guidance of their talented workshop foreman, Roy Ashford, the car was built up to works specification over the winter on 1963-4. This included lightening the car - like all early MGBs 222WEA had an aluminum bonnets as standard and added to this was aluminum front wings, doors and boot lid. The engine was rebuilt to homologation specification running an 1840cc block and a 48 DCO Webber among many other changes. As sponsoring on cars was not allowed the car was painted in its distinctive colour scheme of green and orange that became well know throughout the country.
Roy Ashford predominantly drove the car and proved to be one of the most prolific winners for the marque in the early years. Driving mainly in the ‘Chevron, Freddie Dixon STP championship’ he also ran in several hillclimbs each year to keep the Windmill & Lewis name in front of the buying public.
“Roy’s most memorable race was at Thruxton on 24 May 1970 when he finished second, splitting two AC Cobras. Shaun Jackson won in his 7.4 litre model with a race time of 12min, 42.2sec, Roy’s time was 12min, 44.0sec, whilst Ian Richardson, whose car had a 5.4 litre engine was third having completed the ten laps in 12min, 47.0sec. This was an excellent achievement for a 2-litre MGB at Thruxton, which has always been regarded as a ‘power circuit.’ Motoring News described it as ‘The hairiest Motorsport race for many a frantic day!’” MGB The Racing Story by John Baggott.
Lex took over Windmill & Lewis in September 1970 and decided not to continue campaigning the car thus closing the racing program. The MD of Windmill and Lewis, Peter Robinson, offered to sell the car to Roy but he declined and at his suggestion the car was sold to his friend Terry Osbourne. Terry had the car painted blue and he raced the car frequently from 1972 making his race debut in the Chevron Oils Championship at Mallory in March of that year. Initially Terry invited Roy to share the driving of 222 WAE with him but after Terry failed to get a drive due to Roy having problems in his race, Roy decided to take a step back and leave his friend to drive.
Terry raced the car through the 1970s and 80s mainly in the Modsports races and competed in the MGCC Wiscombe Hill Climb every year. He joined the BCV8 Championship in its inaugural year of 1977 and he went on to win the championship in 1978 and 79. He also set records at Castle Combe (July ’85) and Wiscombe Hill climb (September ’90). Richard Longman did the engine work during this period and Roy Ashford continued to maintain the rest of the car with David Franklin.
Having retired from racing Terry sold the car to the well known MG enthusiast and racer Colin Pearcy, who had the car returned to its original ‘Windmill & Lewis’ specification and colours. He then raced the car at numerous classic events including VSCC races, the Pomeroy, MG car club meetings, classic Jaguar meetings and the Goodwood revival in 2001, 2004 and 2009.
The current owner purchased the car from Colin in 2008 and it has enjoyed only light use since. It comes in ready to race condition with a current V5, original buff log book, Historic Technical Passport, British Motor Industry Heritage Trust certificate, RAC competition log book and a wonderful history file. The car is road registered so can be used for road rallying as well. The story of 222 WAE’s is told in detail in John Baggot’s book, “MGB, The Racing Story”.