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MSA British Drag Racing Championship

Championship Rounds Race Reports

Round 2: Santa Pod Raceway – FIA Main Event – 22-25 May 2009

Those fortunate enough to have attended the Main Event witnessed a masterclass in Pro Modified drag racing.  A weekend of beautiful weather (at last!) brought out the best in the Pro Mod field.  6.1-second, 230mph passes were the order of the day and no fewer than 10 of the 21 entrants clocked career-best performances.

An atmosphere of such intensity made the dominance attained by Andy Robinson quite remarkable.  Robinson appeared more invincible with each passing round, a striking achievement given the strength and depth of the opposition facing him.  His victory was the finest of his long and distinguished Pro Mod career.  Not only was he quick – twice setting new European elapsed-time records – but, in eliminations, magisterially consistent too.  Just 17 thousandths of a second separated the slowest and quickest of his four passes.

Roger Johansson spacer Robinson spacer Trophy

Robinson set his first European ET mark (6.102sec.) in Saturday’s second qualifying session, securing pole position for Bank Holiday Monday’s eliminations.  He re-set it at 6.100 defeating Sweden’s Roger Johansson in his second eliminations match.  The only blot on his landscape came on Sunday afternoon, facing the meet’s surprise package, Bruno Bader of Switzerland.  Bader, previous best 6.30, began reeling off 6.1’s with abandon and left the premises with a terminal speed 10mph faster than the 219mph with which he had arrived.  Bader and Robinson met in Sunday’s prize shootout final of the Exhaust-Coating.de Pro Mod Challenge, the race-within-a-race contested by 2008’s eight best FIA qualifiers and held over from last September’s rain-blighted European Finals.  Bader took a 6.135/226.49 win while Robinson’s 6.27/199 ended in a large puff of smoke which heralded a night’s hard work for the crew.

Sweden’s Patrik Wikström had laid down an early marker with five pre-race test runs, four of which produced a fresh personal-best ET each time.  But Wikström’s Camaro broke its axle on his first qualifying shot (another PB on both counts: 6.118/235.20) and his team missed the three remaining sessions installing a replacement rear-end flown in overnight from Sweden.  Wikström hit an ominous 6.139 at 235.92 (yet another PB and Top Speed of the Meet) in his opening match but succumbed to tyre shake in the second round.

Another Swede, 2006 European champion Urban Johansson, had qualified quietly enough in 10th place but stepped up with personal-best figures in eliminations to face Robinson in the final.  Johansson’s Corvette blew the motor in the semi-final and his crew had hurriedly to fit a replacement before the money round.  His brave but off-pace 6.47 was no match for Robinson’s 6.10.

Pro Mods spacer Parachutes spacer Pro Mods

The Netherlands’ Robert Joosten shocked the Monday morning crowd with a spectacular crash, flipping his Corvette on its roof on top of the wall at mid-track before sliding to a halt beyond the finish.  Joosten emerged mercifully unscathed.  Philip ‘Bert’ Englefield, our reigning MSA British Drag Racing Champion, also escaped unhurt after his Ford bashed the wall during Sunday’s qualifying but chassis damage forced the BA Racing team’s withdrawal.  Englefield’s previous 7.26 held on to the bump spot and his place in eliminations was taken by second alternate Marco Maurischat of Germany.

If a trophy were given for Best Pro Mod Burnout of the Meet, it would surely have been claimed by Graham Ellis for the half-track smoker which preceded his 230mph PB in Sunday’s last qualifying session.  Others, too, made gallant efforts.

Andy Robinson earned a further plaudit, this time for his professional car-building prowess.  Dutch star Marc Meihuizen collected a brand new 1968 Pontiac Firebird from Robinson’s Hampshire workshop on Tuesday night and on Saturday afternoon steered it to a 6.41/223 timeslip, good for 12th qualifying spot, on just its second trip down the track.

RESULTS:

Qualifiers:
1. - Andy Robinson - GB  6.1024 - 226.60
2. - Patrik Wikström - Sweden 6.1187 - 235.20
3. - Bruno Bader - Switzerland 6.1234 - 225.47
4. - Michael Gullquist - Sweden 6.1762 - 215.94
5. - Mikael Lindahl - Sweden 6.1942 - 172.52
6. - Robert Joosten - Netherlands  6.2043 - 229.95
7. - Mats Eriksson - Sweden 6.2086 - 201.60
8. - Roger Johansson - Sweden 6.2592 - 228.79
9. - Terje Håkonsen - Norway 6.2833 - 224.22
10. - Urban Johansson - Sweden 6.3757 - 223.64
11. - Rolf Ammann Switzerland 6.3854 - 218.82
12. - Marc Meihuizen - Netherlands  6.4109 - 223.15
13. - Graham Ellis - GB  6.5767 - 221.11
14. - Kristian Nyström -  Finland  6.7906 - 200.44
15. - Wayne Nicholson - GB  7.0718 - 199.67
16. - Philip Englefield - GB  7.2620 - 211.91
Non-qualifiers:
17.   Henri Joosten - Netherlands  7.2716 - 159.00
18. - Marco Maurischat - Germany 7.3527 - 185.89
19. - Ray White  - GB  7.8478  - 142.89
20. - Robert Koper - Netherlands  8.0805  - 124.48
21. - Kevin Slyfield - GB  8.5222 - 122.76

Eliminations:
Round 1:
Roger Johansson 6.236pb/227.65  def.  Terje Håkonsen 6.283/223.56
Urban Johansson 6.131pb/232.67  def.  Mats Eriksson 6.485/227.62
Rolf Ammann 6.628/216.07 redlight  def.  Robert Joosten crossed centre-line
Michael Gullquist 6.178/224.24  def.  Graham Ellis 8.437/109.87
Mikael Lindahl 6.157/233.52  def.  Marc Meihuizen 6.646/199.81
Bruno Bader 6.113pb/221.01  def.  Kristian Nyström 6.451/230.43pb
Patrik Wikström 6.139/235.92pb  def.  Wayne Nicholson broke
Andy Robinson 6.117/227.72  def.  Marco Maurischat no time – left before lights

Round 2:
Bruno Bader 6.199/226.48  def.  Rolf Ammann 6.510/200.61
Andy Robinson 6.100pb/229.92pb  def.  Roger Johansson 6.297/223.58
Urban Johansson 6.168/233.53pb  def.  Patrik Wikström 6.957/154.11
Mikael Lindahl 9.470/95.65  def.  Michael Gullquist no time – left before lights

Semi-finals:
Andy Robinson 6.110/229.96pb  def.  Mikael Lindahl 6.201/230.42
Urban Johansson 6.205/228.76  def.  Bruno Bader 6.188/225.75

Final:
Andy Robinson 6.106/228.89  def.  Urban Johansson 6.470/220.29

Low ET of the Meet:  6.100 - Andy Robinson [ European ET record ]
Top Speed of the Meet:  235.92 - Patrik Wikström  [ Santa Pod track best ]

Marco Maurischat spacer Parachutes spacer Graham Ellis

Career-best performances set during event:

Rolf Ammann 6.385 
Bruno Bader  6.113 - 229.14
Graham Ellis 230.29
Roger Johansson 6.236 - 228.79
Urban Johansson 6.131 - 233.53
Marco Maurischat  7.352 - 191.10
Wayne Nicholson 7.071 - 199.67
Kristian Nyström 230.43
Andy Robinson  6.100 - 229.96
Patrik Wikström 6.118 - 235.92

The 2009 points table is on the Rounds & Points page.