Welcome to the MSA British Drag Racing Championship - Pro Mod
In 2007, UK drag racing entered a new era when the Motor Sports Association, the national governing body of four-wheeled motorsport, designated the spectacular Pro Modifieds as the official class of the MSA British Drag Racing Championship. The Championship expanded from three to five rounds, including the two FIA European Championship events at Santa Pod Raceway.
Competitor numbers in the six seasons completed since then have averaged 26 per year, with eight European countries represented on the entry lists – and in 2010, the Championship welcomed its first American contestant, ‘superstar’ racer Melanie Troxel.
The prediction made early in 2007 by Keith Bartlett, CEO of Trakbak Racing Ltd., that at least 20 Pro Mod teams would attend Santa Pod Raceway’s combined MSA and FIA Championship rounds, has been more than fulfilled.
Despite their official championship status, Pro Mods still possess an outlaw aura, evoking the spirit of drag racing's earliest days, before defined classes had evolved, when you would "run what ya brung" and hope you had "brung" enough. The class emerged in America in the 1980s as an adventurous reaction to the sport's formalised structure, pairing classic sedan body styles with enormous engines in combinations unfettered by too many rules.
Today's Pro Mods come in a vivid array of bodyshells, everything from 1938 Ford Coupes to a 21st-century Dodge Viper. These bodyshells cloak pure-bred racing chassis built around giant V8 engines, some running on petrol and nitrous oxide, others on supercharged or turbocharged methanol, and all packing the punch to blast through the quarter-mile in six seconds at well over 200mph. They are, without doubt, the most extrovert machines ever to compete for an MSA championship.
The MSA Drag Racing season begins at Easter. This year, Santa Pod’s new Easter event, The Festival Of Power, will host the opening round. Two subsequent races combine MSA British and FIA European rounds: The Main Event, held over late-May’s Spring Bank Holiday weekend, and early September’s European Finals.
The MSA Championship Pro Mods are also the highlight attraction at Santa Pod’s two national events in June and late September.
In 2012, Essex’s Roger Moore became MSA British Champion for the first time. Moore scored his second career Pro Mod victory at June’s Summer Nationals and the key to his title-winning success was sheer consistency. Moore’s unsupercharged, nitrous oxide-boosted 2000 Dodge Viper clocked a fresh elapsed time or terminal speed Personal Best – and occasionally both – at four of the series’ five races and delivered compelling competitive form on almost every run.
Driven by the eternal quest for greater speed, Moore and his team, supported by Shakespeare Engineering, Challenger Solutions and Generator Power Systems, intend to develop a new electronic fuel injection system for the Viper. This may take a little time, which could open the door for yet another fresh face to grace the championship podium come the end of the season.
New cars and returning stars are expected to feature as 2013 unfolds. After a year out, Mick Payne plans to return with his updated ’68 Camaro while triple MSA champion Andy Robinson has a ’69 Camaro on the stocks in his Hampshire factory, plus a ’55 Chevy for Steve Hall to replace the Kent racer’s C5 Corvette. Chris Isaacs & Spencer Tramm are completing construction of a turbocharged ’70 Plymouth Duster and Steve Rawlings expects to debut his long-awaited nitrous ‘Vette. Andy Chilton has bought Robinson’s venerable Studebaker Commander with a view to returning the car to the Pro Mod wars in which it enjoyed so much success while John Bradshaw forsakes his Japanese car roots to pilot Norbert Kuno’s second Dodge Avenger from Germany. Rick Garrett will bring back the multi-coloured Willys in which he made a promising late-season debut in 2012.
Add to these new or returning faces such established regulars as reigning champion Roger Moore, 2011 titleist Graham Ellis, 2008 champ Bert Englefield and his BA Racing partner Andy Wright, Kevin Slyfield, Wayne Nicholson and Andy Frost with his world’s quickest street-legal car, and we have a potential field of a dozen or more British entries for the 2013 MSA season. Include for good measure France’s Jean Dulamon, an honorary Brit after attending all five of 2012’s championship rounds, and the MSA British Drag Racing Championship enters 2013 in its healthiest-ever condition, even before the top Continental racers arrive to contest the joint MSA/FIA rounds.
Trakbak Racing Ltd. promotes the MSA British Drag Racing Championship and all rights to the series are owned by Trakbak’s CEO, Keith Bartlett.
MSA British Drag Racing Championship Rounds: 2013
All events held at Santa Pod Raceway, nr. Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.
Round 1: Festival Of Power – 30th March to 1st April 2013
Round 2: FIA Main Event – 24th to 27th May 2013
Round 3: Summer Nationals – 22nd to 23rd June 2013
Round 4: FIA European Finals – 5th to 8th September 2013
Round 5: National Finals – 21st to 22nd September 2013
©2012 MSA British Drag Racing Championship. All Rights Reserved.
All photos are © of the Photographers.