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MSA British Drag Racing Championship

Championship Rounds Race Reports

Round 1: Santa Pod Raceway – Auto Trader Easter Thunderball - 2-5 April 2010

For Hampshire Pro Modified drag racing star Andy Robinson, it was business as usual, with a dash of added luck, when the 2010 MSA British Drag Racing Championship began at Santa Pod Raceway over the Easter weekend. The reigning MSA Champion started 2010 as he had ended 2009, in dominating form, but his eventual victory also owed something to good fortune.

Chilly, blustery weather made racing conditions difficult over the measured quarter-mile. Cold air and low corrected altitude produced high horsepower and torque; the cold ground reduced traction. The combined result was vicious tyre-shake for all.

Robinson was the only driver to get a grip on conditions during qualifying. His fine 6.261-second low-qualifying pass at 231.57mph was good for Low Elapsed Time and Top Speed of the Meet. Essex rival Graham Ellis, learning the intricacies of a new clutch system, improved his performance during eliminations. When the pair met in the final, Robinson shook and swerved fiercely, shutting off to a slow 7.49sec/148mph and apparent defeat; but Ellis was already kicking himself for a redlight start which disqualified him and negated an otherwise winning 6.60sec/219mph.

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Robinson’s victory and performance achievements place him comfortably at the head of the pack after the first of five MSA British Championship races.

At the other end of the scale, last year’s Easter Thunderball race-winner, Henri Joosten, endured a wretched weekend. The Dutch driver shook ferociously on each of his five passes, including a test shot after he had been eliminated in Monday’s first round. Perplexed and dismayed, Joosten could find no explanation for a problem he rarely encounters in his nitrous-aided machine.

At least Joosten made it down the track five times. Kent’s Ray White managed it just twice as mechanical difficulties plagued the first outing of his Pro Mod farewell tour. After only rare appearances during the past two seasons, White and his team will hope to have regained a degree of “match fitness” when they return to the track in May.

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Dorset’s Kevin Slyfield debuted a new, photographer-friendly paint scheme – a traditional, hot-rod “flame job” – on his 1941 Willys Sedan. The flames plainly helped as Slyfield beat Surrey’s Philip ‘Bert’ Englefield in the first round.

France’s premier Pro Mod racer, Jean Dulamon, made an auspicious debut with three licensing runs in a car with a distinguished history imported from the USA. In the hands of New Yorker Vinny Budano, the unblown, nitrous-boosted 1968 Camaro had won the NMCA Pro Street championship in three consecutive seasons, 2005-7. Ex-Competition Eliminator racer Dulamon introduced us to the “Basque 60-footer”, a variation on the “Maltese half-pass”, whereby a preliminary, observed launch off the start line somehow carries on at full tilt almost to the finish, producing an 8.57/141 timeslip. Dulamon’s third shot, avec le nitrous for the first time and far from straight on the frigid track, clocked an impressive 7.20/191. Dulamon plans to attend all the FIA European Championship events; coming from the Bayonne region in France’s furthest south-west corner, he seems certain to clock up the kilomètres in pursuit of his goal. Those present at this Easter race may have been privileged to witness the birth of a new Pro Mod star.

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MSA Round 2 takes place in conjunction with the start of the FIA European Championship at Santa Pod’s Main Event at the end of May.


1. Andy Robinson - TurgisGreen, UK - 6.2614 / 231.57
2. Graham Ellis - Westcliff, UK - 7.0403 / 208.99
3. Philip Englefield - Dorking, UK - 7.0965 / 210.04
4. Kevin Slyfield - Verwood, UK - 8.3498  / 141.58   [189.80]
5. Ray White - Sidcup, UK - 9.1931 / 156.83
6. Henri Joosten - Netherlands - 11.9051 / 134.42

Round 1:
Graham Ellis 6.490sec. / 220.15mph  def.  Ray White dns
Kevin Slyfield 8.391 / 143.93  def.  Philip Englefield 9.011 / 187.42
Andy Robinson 6.647 / 208.01  def.  Henri Joosten 15.213 / 46.90

Graham Ellis 6.313 / 227.77  def.  Kevin Slyfield 8.486 / 131.67
Andy Robinson 6.829 / 160.74  bye

Andy Robinson 7.497 / 148.57  def.  Graham Ellis 6.606 / 219.09 DQ redlight

Low Elapsed Time of the Event:  6.2614sec. – Andy Robinson
Top Speed of the Event:  231.57mph – Andy Robinson

Career-best performances set during event:

Jean Dulamon 7.200 / 191.33

The 2010 points table is on the Rounds & Points page.