Tired tyre lets the side down

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Living With Classics - MIKE LE CAPLAIN PRO­DUC­TION ED­I­TOR

MGLive! and I have his­tory. I made it there in the Mid­get on my first visit, but the weather was lousy. The weather was much bet­ter for the event a cou­ple of years later, but the Mid­get de­cided to lunch its starter mo­tor be­fore I’d even left home.

I ap­proached MGLive! 2017, then, with some trep­i­da­tion. What would spoil the party this year – the weather, or the MG? Not the weather, cer­tainly. I ren­dezvoused with ed­i­tor Simis­ter and the £500 Chal­lenge MG ZR un­der azure skies, blaz­ing sun­shine and tem­per­a­tures in the high 20s.

The hour or so’s drive from Peter­bor­ough to Sil­ver­stone was heav­enly and the Mid­get even sur­vived the long, hot queue into the cir­cuit without get­ting its knick­ers in a twist.

Brim­ming with con­fi­dence, I parked it up among its his­tor­i­cal sib­lings with a twinge of pride, bravely leav­ing the hood down be­fore Mr S and I went off in search of the me­dia cen­tre, sun­block and some cold water.

Seven hours later, af­ter a day spent mostly track­side snap­ping noisy MGB rac­ers, I strolled back to PCB, ready for the drive home. At which point things started to go a bit pear-shaped.

It started just fine and we hit the road in op­ti­mistic mood. Bizarrely, though, far from the weather cool­ing as the evening wore on, the tem­per­a­tures ac­tu­ally seemed to be climb­ing. Yet the old boy just kept on go­ing, and I was start­ing to think that the jour­ney back home would be a gen­tle breeze.

Then, the back of the car sud­denly jinked vi­o­lently to the right while I was ex­it­ing a nadgery round­about a few miles from home. Heart pound­ing, I nursed it to the first layby I could find and climbed out, fear­ing the worst.

It didn’t take long to spot the flat off­side rear tyre, but what had caused it to de­flate so sud­denly? The nice chap from the AA who came to my res­cue pro­vided the an­swer – the side­wall had a hairline crack in it that wasn’t in­vis­i­ble un­less the sur­round­ing rub­ber was pinched. In short, the rub­ber had de­graded, and the ex­treme tem­per­a­tures of the day had prob­a­bly fin­ished it off for good.

I felt pos­i­tively sick when I thought about all the ex­u­ber­ant cor­ner­ing I’d en­joyed ear­lier in the day, not know­ing that there was a ver­i­ta­ble tick­ing time­bomb sit­ting inches from my back­side.

I’m get­ting the other three checked – I’ve a hor­ri­ble feel­ing I’m go­ing to need to re­place the lot.

’Ex­it­ing a nadgery round­about, the back sud­denly jinked vi­o­lently to the right’

PCB gets comfy in the Midgetonly park­ing area at Sil­ver­stone. Can you see the hairline crack? Nei­ther could Mike.

Lit­tle-known clas­sic car fact #462: MG Midgets cast a Bat­man-like shadow in strong sun­light.

Spare sits on a crusty RoStyle wheel. Bon­net’s open to keep the engine cool.

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