Round 5 2018
Round 5 WebTV Show
Round 5 Race Report
Round 5: Santa Pod Raceway – FIA European Finals - 6th – 9th September 2018
Still in doubt that we are living in extraordinary times? Then consider this: Europe’s two quickest-ever Pro Mods are a turbo and a nitrous car.
Since supercharged methanol-burners first muscled aside the nitrous oxide-boosted, mountain-motored ‘atmo’ gassers which had originated the class, the blown cars have monopolised Pro Modified success, both in trophies and in timeslips. The few turbocharged cars which have entered the fray in recent years have been noted less for their elapsed-time prowess than for their finish-line speeds, as witness Tero Laukkanen’s Euro record 260.11mph terminal in 2015.
That long-standing status quo was summarily overthrown two weeks before the European Finals when Andreas Arthursson’s turbo Chevelle blasted the Tierp Arena timers, and existing European ET standards, with three unprecedented dips into the 5.7sec zone, with a best of 5.751 to win the final. Similarly astounding was veteran Roger Johansson’s 5.811 to shoot his nitrous Mustang into second place on the continent’s all-time list.
Arthursson did not come to the Finals, but Johansson did, and duly bettered his Tierp best with a 5.794sec stunner to top the qualifying ladder. That’s two European Pro Mods in the 5.7’s, and neither is a supercharged car. Think on’t awhile.
Michael Gullqvist’s absence from Santa Pod seemed symbolic of the changing times, as the supercharged maestro’s bid for an eighth FIA Pro Mod title had foundered at Tierp in a welter of ignition and sundry other problems. Yet the championship archives will still show a supercharged car ruling the scene, after Jimmy Ålund carried off both race victory and FIA crown in Magnus Pettersson’s blown Old 51 Chevy. For Ålund and the Old 51 team, it was an outstanding weekend, qualifying second at 5.827sec and delivering a 5.91 and three 5.8’s to reach the winner’s rostrum. Ålund adds a first FIA Pro Mod championship to the 10 he already holds in Pro Stock, marking him as the pre-eminent European drag racer of his – and arguably any other – era.
Having astounded us in qualifying, Roger Johansson stumbled in eliminations, clocking a louche pair of 8-second ETs , the first an amble after Mick Payne had broken, the second a loss to Mats Eriksson, returning to Pro Mod with a familiarly-shaped but all-new ’56 Ford Crown Victoria after eighteen months away. The Victoria’s 6.031/236.43 best in only its second weekend on the track promises a lively future. A semi-final Eriksson-versus-Ericsson match propelled Ericsson (Jan) into his second FIA final of the season.
And what of this report’s prime focus, the MSA British Drag Racing Championship? Third qualifier Andy Robinson (5.913sec) entered the event just 20 points ahead of Bobby Wallace but extended his lead significantly. Wallace was sent the wrong pistons from America for his nitrous Willys but was luckily able to borrow sister Annie’s new ride, the onetime Roger Johansson Mustang which Annie had been testing the previous weekend. Bobby’s 10th-qualifying 6.223, with a best speed of 224.65mph, showed the car to be shaping up nicely, but his first-round loss to Kevin Slyfield damaged his championship chances and relegated him to fifth in the points. On paper, Andy Robinson’s third qualifier ordained a semi-final finish, and that was exactly the outcome. Robinson swept past nitrous opponents Peter Wacker and Jean Dulamon but red-lit against Ålund in the semi. Nevertheless, his advance in the points leaves him hot favourite to wrap up a seventh MSA title at next month’s National Finals. Jean Dulamon’s weekend began with a reprise of the vertical flame-throwing antics through the nitrous Camaro’s hood-scoop which were thought consigned to the past. However, the French crew cured the problem after two fiery eruptions and Dulamon ventured into the second round for the first time since 2015, courtesy of a mystifying red light by sixth qualifier (5.983) Kim Kristiansen.
Kevin Slyfield tends to mix fine form with doses of ill luck, as manifested here during Friday evening’s Q2 session. A new personal best, 6.028sec, lit up the scoreboard in the gathering dusk and edged him closer to the 5-second zone, but the parachute tangled with the wheelie bars as Slyfield vanished into the gloaming and sent him far into the field beyond the shutdown area. Adroit handling saved the car from tipping over. Fortunately only the bodywork was damaged and the Dorset crew worked deep into the early hours to rebuild the front splitter. Come Saturday morning, the T-bird was back in line for Q3, reeling off a 6.066 to allay the previous night’s worst fears. Another stout ET, 6.091, saw off Bobby Wallace and elevated Slyfield into fourth MSA place just three points above his young rival. Ahead of the pair, second-placed Ålund (some achievement after only two MSA races!) has finished his racing for the year, and third-placed Michel Tooren slips out of contention having missed May’s The Main Event, forfeiting the 100 bonus points awarded for attending all six races in the MSA series. It will take a nightmare weekend for Robinson at the National Finals for either Slyfield or Wallace to catch him, but the battle between the pair for second place is fascinatingly balanced.
There was joy and dismay for Michel Tooren: joy from a first 5sec ET (5.971) which qualified him fifth and made good on the promise shown by his previous personal best of 6.005 set in 2016; dismay when a first-round defeat of Jon Webster caused engine damage which made him a no-show against next opponent Jan Ericsson. Tagging the wall at May’s Doorslammers event has proved expensive for the Dutch team. But for their forced withdrawal from The Main Event a week later, Tooren would have been 100 bonus points richer at the National Finals and surely running neck-and-neck with Robinson for the MSA championship.
Jon Webster’s new turbo Mustang showed a glimpse of the future with its first 6sec/200mph PBs (6.869/208.16) and the impressive Jan Ericsson fractionally improved his personal-best ET to 5.924sec. The National Finals follow in four weeks’ time and Easter’s Festival Of Power will kick off next year’s MSA championship, but we have eight clear months to wait until Europe’s Pro Mod heavyweights next take on their British counterparts at The Main Event, 2019’s FIA Round 1. If Andreas Arthursson and his turbo Chevelle decide to contest next year’s full FIA schedule, his fellow competitors might not be thrilled, but Santa Pod’s fans should be rubbing their hands in anticipation.
ET MPH MPH
1. Roger Johansson SWE 5.794 245.01
2. Jimmy Ålund SWE 5.827 241.61
3. Andy Robinson GBR 5.913 242.89 244.21
4. Jan Ericsson SWE 5.924 242.40 242.74
5. Michel Tooren NED 5.971 237.76
6. Kim Kristiansen DEN 5.983 239.85 242.48
7. Kevin Slyfield GBR 6.028 230.48
8. Mats Eriksson SWE 6.151 221.11 225.86
9. Norbert Kuno DEU 6.195 228.16
10. Bobby Wallace GBR 6.223 223.39 224.65
11. Jean Dulamon FRA 6.824 203.48 210.91
12. Jon Webster GBR 6.869 207.01
13. Marcus Hilt SUI 6.881 192.90
14. Peter Wacker SUI 7.156 187.26
15. Wayne Nicholson GBR 7.854 130.66
16. Mick Payne GBR 10.033 88.23
Michael Gullqvist SWE Ignition problems
David Vegter NED Engine damage
Mats Eriksson 6.100sec, 234.89mph def. Norbert Kuno 9.348, 121.08
Kevin Slyfield 6.091, 226.98 def. Bobby Wallace 6.246, 225.47
Jean Dulamon 6.860, 201.50 def. Kim Kristiansen 13.088, 68.74 DQ R/L
Michel Tooren 6.204, 233.63 def. Jon Webster 7.100, 208.16
Jan Ericsson 6.932, 224.45 def. Marcus Hilt 7.465, 177.84
Andy Robinson 6.132, 238.91 def. Peter Wacker 7.266, 187.29
Jimmy Ålund 5.912, 240.17 def. Wayne Nicholson no time DQ R/L
Roger Johansson 8.659, 104.47 def. Mick Payne no time broke
Mats Eriksson 6.031, 236.43 def. Roger Johansson 8.527, 107.67
Jan Ericsson 5.984, 240.30 def. Michel Tooren no show
Jimmy Ålund 5.888, 240.27 def. Kevin Slyfield 6.136, 228.92
Andy Robinson 5.997, 242.79 def. Jean Dulamon 6.452, 216.96
Jan Ericsson 5.930, 240.33 def. Mats Eriksson15.964, 50.10
Jimmy Ålund 5.858, 241.59 def. Andy Robinson 7.559, 143.00 DQ R/L
Jimmy Ålund 5.873, 241.58 def. Jan Ericsson 6.050, 239.84
Low Elapsed Time of the Event: 5.794sec. – Roger Johansson (Q2)
Top Speed of the Event: 245.01mph – Roger Johansson (Q2)
Personal-best performances set during event:
Jan Ericsson 5.924 -
Roger Johansson 5.794 -
Kevin Slyfield 6.028 -
Michel Tooren 5.971 -
Jon Webster 6.869 208.16