Single-model and single-make championships dominate Britain’s club and national racing these days. Series for cars such as the Caterham Seven, Mazda MX-5, Citroën C1 and Mini are among the most accessible, affordable and popular of all.
The key to their success is usually carefully controlled rules and similar or identical cars, which ensures a pretty level playing field and a natural cap on competitor spending.
Yet some buck the trend, and the Morgan Challenge is a fine example of an inclusive and enduring single-make series. First run in 1985, it spans a huge range of cars, in terms of age and engine size, yet it consistently delivers close racing and a great atmosphere.
In laying claim to be the most successful and long-running one-make sports car series, the Morgan Challenge involves cars built over a 50-year span and ranging from 2.0-litre four-cylinder cars to mighty Rover V8-powered rocket ships with engines as big as 4.6 litres.
Such diversity flies in the face of many of the best-supported UK series, but the loyal following for both the Morgan marque and Morgan Challenge ensures that grids of 25 to 30 are common across a five-meeting, 10-race season. Classes that split cars based on power-to-weight ratio ensure everyone has a fair chance.
At the lower end, the series is ideal for novices, and initiatives like the run of Club Sports cars and the lightweight Roadsters produced by Morgan solely for racing purposes have proved perfect entry-level cars.
One of the dozen or so Club Sports, a 2018 model, is now raced by Tony Kilby, who joined the series as a racing novice in his late fifties. “It was a case of ‘if I don’t do it now, I never will’,” he says.
At the other end of the spectrum of these quintessentially British hand-built sports cars is Grahame Bryant’s 4.6-litre V8 monster, which he wheels out from time to time for his son Olly to race.