The first really important racing success was at Brooklands in the Double Twelve Hour Race in May, 1930, where the Midgets captured team prize and defeated their rivals from the Austin team.
Fired up by the victory the Abingdon men decided to take the International Class H record, then held by Austin with 84 mph. They chose the EX120, a prototype model, and redesigned it completely.
When the car was in running shape a private test was arranged. With the Brooklands track closed for the winter, the MG crew, led by Captain George Eyston, gathered on a strip of public highway outside Newmarket. In the foggy dawn they quietly unloaded EX120 from the truck and prepared the car for the run. Like saboteurs on a secret mission they watched for the police, who would have jailed the lot of them.
When their muffled, surreptitious preparations were done, Eyston made a spectacular entrance. Disdainful of the police, he arrived, gleaming in the early sunlight with white coveralls, white helmet, white gloves - a beacon that could be seen for miles. After a set of railroad crossing gates were illegally lifted, the test run was made. Eightyseven mph! In December of 1930, the little car made it official at Montlhery, France, then raised it at Brooklands in March to 97 mph.
But Eyston was dissatisfied. He wanted to crack the 100 mph figure for the flying mile. With an engine of only 743 cc. such a record would stand for years. The attempt was made at Montlhery in the summer of 1931. It was successful. Eyston drove to a record of 101 mph and then figured in an incident that would have mystified Sherlock Holmes.
After finishing the record run he swung around the track for an extra lap. As he drove out of sight of the pits, the crew heard the engine cut out. They piled into their truck and raced around the bend. There was EX120 in flames!
Only seconds remained in which to save the driver. The crew knew that the big-framed Eyston could not remove himself from the tightly fitting cockpit! With frantic haste they crowbarred the side panels off. The seat was empty! A desperate search of the track revealed nothing - no driver!
Eyston himself later supplied the answers. On that last lap he discovered smoke and flames rising at his feet. Slowing the car to 60 he managed, with that last ditch strength of desperation, to jump from the car. A moment later a Frenchman, testing his Citroen, found the unconscious Eystron, put him in his car and drove across the fields to the Montlhery hospital.