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MSA British Drag Racing Championship

Championship Rounds Race Reports

Round 3:  Santa Pod Raceway – Summer Nationals - 23 to 24 June 2012

Roger Moore produced the finest performance of his Pro Modified career to win MSA Round 3 during Santa Pod Raceway’s Summer Nationals. While his trophy quest was aided by opponents breaking at crucial moments, the Chelmsford racer delivered a barrage of 6-second, 200mph passes to secure victory, twice setting personal-best figures for terminal speed and once for elapsed time. Of Moore’s six runs during the weekend, the only duff one was the event’s slowest, creeping in at 18.660sec/39.83mph in the third qualifying session.

Moore chips away at his personal bests by teasing increments. On the first qualifier (6.827), he improved his speed PB by just .01mph, to 210.02. In session two (6.789), he raised it all the way to 210.83. His elapsed-time PB (6.665) came in round one of eliminations, beating Wayne Nicholson. Apart from the Q3 crawler, Moore’s nitrous Dodge Viper never ran slower than 208.00mph throughout the weekend.

Steve spacer BA Racing spacer Jean

What would Graham Ellis give for some of Moore’s consistency? The reigning MSA champion is now beginning to put the power to the ground in his mighty, turbocharged Plymouth Superbird and looked set to overwhelm the field. Ellis qualified low at 6.179/239.03, the second-fastest speed achieved by a UK Pro Mod, exceeded only by his own 242mph stormer at The Main Event (MSA Rnd.2). Yet a tiny fluid leak beneath the motor scuppered his chances following a delayed re-start to his semi-final match against Moore. As Ellis was being pushed despondently back from the line, Moore sailed away on another 6-second pass into the final. Following the event, it was announced that Ellis and his crew chief, Andy Kirk, had decided to part company.

Andy Frost is also making turbo power count. Frost’s Red Victor 3 Vauxhall qualified second and motored past Switzerland’s Marcus Hilt and Surrey’s Philip ‘Bert’ Englefield to reach its first Pro Mod final. But all was not well with the world’s only street-legal Pro Mod. Earlier tyre shake had helped weaken fittings on the car’s transmission and a line came adrift at the end of Frost’s 6.941/214.83 third qualifier, spraying hot oil around the cockpit and filling the car with dense smoke, causing the unsighted driver a degree of concern. After a visit to the medical centre, Frost and his crew repaired the problem, only for it to recur in his semi-final win over Englefield, though this time at “only” 210mph. Frost had to excuse himself from the final and Roger Moore soloed to victory with his second-quickest pass of the weekend, 6.742/208.88 – no parts-saving trophy cruise there!

Andy spacer Roger spacer Steve

Dorset’s Kevin Slyfield won this Summer Nationals race in 2010 after managing at last to tame his wild-handling Willys. Following a year out of competition, the Willys appears to be reverting to its wicked ways and Slyfield will want to take it in hand once more. Kent’s Steve Hall is making plenty of power from his ex-Graham Ellis blown motor but now faces the problem of hooking it consistently to the track. Having burst anew into the sixes at 200-plus at The Main Event, Hall was plagued with the shakes at the Summer Nationals. Problèmes électroniques visited themselves upon Jean Dulamon, who professed himself happy enough to deal with mechanical glitches but stumped by the electricals. Left outside the show as the only non-qualifier, Dulamon set off on the long haul back to south-west France after three dispiriting races at Santa Pod, but will return revivified for September’s FIA European Finals (MSA Rnd.4).

Roger Moore starts that event as MSA Championship leader, 17 points (less than one elimination round) ahead of Graham Ellis and separated also from The Main Event’s Swiss winner, Bruno Bader, by Andy Frost and BA Racing’s Englefield/Andy Wright duo. While the FIA European Championship decider will be that weekend’s focus of attention, it will be fascinating to see whether Bader can close the gap again on his British rivals for the MSA title.

RESULTS:

Po. Driver Country Time Speed
1 Graham Ellis  Essex  6.179  239.03 
2 Andy Frost  West Midlands 6.690 211.93  [214.83]
3 Philip Englefield  Surrey 6.753 215.03
4 Roger Moore  Essex 6.789 210.83
5 Wayne Nicholson Yorkshire  7.038  164.28  [179.21]
6 Steve Hall Kent  7.109 193.03 
7 Marcus Hilt  Switzerland  7.193 198.99 
8 Kevin Slyfield  Dorset 7.267 192.88  [196.40]
DNQ Jean Dulamon  France 8.811  135.64  [162.47]

Eliminations:
Round 1:
Andy Frost 9.088sec, 125.25 def. Marcus Hilt, broke
Philip Englefield 6.734, 216.98 def. Steve Hall 15.498, 62.73
Roger Moore 6.665, 208.92 def. Wayne Nicholson 8.800, 104.54
Graham Ellis 6.689, 224.48 def. Kevin Slyfield 7.221, 188.23

Semi-final:
Andy Frost 6.972, 210.11 def. Philip Englefield 9.728, 126.30
Roger Moore 6.869, 208.00 def. Graham Ellis, shut off

Final:
Roger Moore 6.742, 208.88 def. Andy Frost, did not start

Low Elapsed Time of the Event:  6.179sec. – Graham Ellis
Top Speed of the Event:  239.03mph – Graham Ellis

Career-best performances set during event:
Roger Moore 6.665 and 210.83

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

Summer Nationals 2012 Photos by Ian Blackett and available from www.blackettphotography.com.