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MSA British Drag Racing Championship

Championship Rounds Race Reports

Round 2:  Santa Pod Raceway – The Main Event

1-4 June 2012

But for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, this joint MSA British/FIA European Championship race would have taken place a week earlier in wall-to-wall sunshine. It’s known as Sod’s Law. The Bank Holiday and The Main Event were switched from their usual date at the end of May to accommodate the national festivities a week later. The result? The late-May weekend (three Main Event rain-offs in the past five years) was gorgeous; the early-June weekend (as many around the country may recall for the rest of their lives) was not.

All credit, then, to Switzerland’s Bruno Bader for outlasting his opponents, and the elements, to win the race. Bader hit 6.175sec in the semi-final for Low ET of the Meet and only his fourth qualifying position prevented him scooping maximum points. Since only qualifying points were awarded for MSA Round 1 following rained-off eliminations, Bader’s Round 2 victory leaves him nursing a 10-point MSA lead over reigning champion Graham Ellis

Roger Moore spacer Robert Joosten spacer David Vegter

All told, this event was a strange affair. Only 14 entrants turned up (average attendance since 2007: 23) with just one Scandinavian among them – Bert-Ove Olofsson making his Santa Pod Pro Mod debut – and no Germans either. The rising cost of travel was at least one of the given reasons. Only two qualifying sessions took place; Sunday was a complete washout. Eliminations produced just three pedal-to-the-floor, first-across-the-finish-line decisions. Yet despite the turmoil, no fewer than six drivers managed personal bests.

Two of Monday’s first three elimination matches had to be re-run after a guard-beam glitch gave false redlights. Graham Ellis and Robert Joosten were the re-instated beneficiaries. Joosten was particularly lucky, stuttering to a 13sec win after Steve Hall had over-staged on the start line. Ellis’s re-match with Andy Frost proved the weekend’s outstanding pairing. Ellis won, clocking 242mph at the finish, the fastest yet run by a UK Pro Mod. Frost was unusually elated in defeat. His 6.59/220 satisfied his personal quest to drive the world’s quickest, fastest street-legal car by some margin

Wayne Nicholson spacer Steve Hall spacer Kevin Slyfield

Just 13 cars qualified, after a first-session ‘nitrous burp’ put France’s Jean Dulamon out of action on Saturday and Sunday’s washout denied him a further attempt. The Netherlands’ David Vegter qualified low (6.185) for the first time at a major event, earning himself a first-round bye on the unfilled 16-car ladder. Vegter was disqualified for crossing the centre line against Graham Ellis in round two.

Compatriot Marc Meihuizen, pre-race co-favourite with Bader, qualified second (6.210) but blew off his engine’s oil cap (a career first) lining up against bottom qualifier Marcus Hilt in round one. The unfancied Swiss driver cruised through to a second-round bye, only to have a fluid leak on the second-round burnout thwart him from taking the simple green light that would have propelled him into an unforeseen semi-final.

BA Racing spacer Graham Ellis spacer Marcus Hilt

Hilt might well have kicked himself twice-over, and his car too, for he would have been gifted yet another solo run into the final. Semi-final opponent Bert-Ove Olofsson broke a lifter warming his Chevy Impala in the pits and never made it to the start.

So it seemed fitting that Bruno Bader, having overcome three actual opponents on the way, should be presented with an unopposed cruise in the final. Rather than take the green light and shut off, Bader at least motored the full length of the course, perhaps waving, for all we know, to the remaining fans who had hung around to see the end of this interminably delayed day’s action as it crept towards the 9pm curfew. Bader will return to MSA competition at September’s European Finals, by which time Graham Ellis and Roger Moore – possibly others too – will hope to have overtaken his points lead at the forthcoming Summer Nationals.

Graham Ellis spacer Graham Ellis spacer Marcus Hilt

Results

Qualifiers:

Po. Driver Country Time Speed
1 David Vegter NED 6.185 232.46
2 Marc Meihuizen NED 6.210 230.21 [231.67]
3 BertOve Olofsson SWE 6.336 223.36
4 Bruno Bader SWI 6.421 200.77 [221.20]
5 Robert Joosten NED 6.446 214.90
6 Andy Wright GBR 6.601 218.01
7 Andy Frost GBR 6.714 210.81 [214.09]
8 Graham Ellis GBR 6.800 224.45 [231.56]
9 Roger Moore GBR 6.805 210.01
10 Steve Hall GBR 6.894 208.99
11 Kevin Slyfield GBR 7.115 211.84
12 Wayne Nicholson GBR  7.163 164.85 [207.05]
13 Marcus Hilt SWI 9.133 194.68

No time: Jean Dulamon - France

Withdrawn entry: Rick Garrett - Surrey

Eliminations:
Round 1:
Roger Moore no time, broke on line def. Andy Wright DQ left before tree
Bruno Bader 7.514sec, 206.12mph def. Kevin Slyfield DQ crossed centre line
Bert-Ove Olofsson 9.579, 94.04 def. Wayne Nicholson did not start
Marcus Hilt 10.754, 104.81 def. Marc Meihuizen broke on burnout
David Vegter 6.235, 209.93 bye
Robert Joosten 13.587, 74.81 def. Steve Hall no time, over-staged
Graham Ellis 6.262, 242.78 def. Andy Frost 6.592, 220.09

Round 2:
Graham Ellis 7.049, 223.54 def. David Vegter DQ crossed centre line
Marcus Hilt broke on burnout, bye
Bert-Ove Olofsson 6.618, 201.47 def. Roger Moore 7.328, 197.26
Bruno Bader 6.597, 215.85 def. Robert Joosten 7.348, 118.57 DQ red light

Semi-final:
Bruno Bader 6.175, 227.88 def. Graham Ellis 7.641, 131.33
Bert-Ove Olofsson did not start

Final:
Bruno Bader 12.181, 108.72 was unopposed

Low Elapsed Time of the Event:  6.175sec. – Bruno Bader
Top Speed of the Event:  242.78mph – Graham Ellis

Career-best performances set during event:
Graham Ellis - 242.78
Andy Frost  - 6.592 - 220.09
Steve Hall - 6.894 - 208.99
Roger Moore - 210.01
David Vegter - 6.185 - 232.46
Andy Wright - 6.601 - 218.0

The 2012 points table is on the Rounds & Points page.