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MSA British Drag Racing Championship

Championship Rounds Race Reports

Round 3:  Santa Pod Raceway – Summer Nationals - 22 to 23 June 2013

Bruno Bader came, saw, and looked set to conquer. Then it rained.

The meeting was abandoned after Sunday’s opening round of eliminations had been completed. The early finish left Rick Garrett once more leading the MSA Championship, a princely single point ahead of Swiss ace Bader. This was Garrett’s fourth-ever Pro Mod race. One could say he is blessed with beginner’s luck – but for the rain-off, Bader would surely have moved comfortably ahead while Andy Frost could potentially have closed the gap – but Garrett and his three-son crew have had plenty of problems and damage to overcome in their brief Pro Mod career; they have had no easy ride.

At the Summer Nationals, Garrett achieved fresh personal bests (6.755/205.15) to qualify fifth, then lost to the other Swiss entrant, Marcus Hilt, in the opening round. It was a decent and encouraging performance from the Epsom family team.

The event’s other personal best came from Andy Frost, again improving his world ET mark for a street-legal car to 6.493sec to qualify second. With a terminal speed of 226.91mph set a month earlier at The Main Event, Frost has now comprehensively demolished the previous street-legal figures of 6.75/209 claimed by America’s Rod Saboury.

Reigning MSA Champion Roger Moore made a heartening return to the track after missing the first two championship rounds to go bicycling. Moore is as impressively consistent in his performances as Bruno Bader, only not quite so quick or fast. Speed is now Moore’s watchword, and turning up the wick his season’s plan. Here, though, consistency did the trick once more: a trio of 6.7’s at speeds ranging from 208mph to 210 qualified him sixth and earned a first-round win over 2011 champion Graham Ellis, who could do with a dose of consistency for his powerhouse Plymouth Superbird.

An intriguing, all-British semi-final would have pitted Moore against Frost, himself turning into no mean producer of dependable performances.

Bruno Bader, meanwhile, appeared to be in a world of his own, a place detached by several levels from the mundane goings-on amongst his would-be opponents. Bader reels off low-6sec, 220mph passes at a metronomic clip. 6.165 at 222.43 was his weekend’s quickest ET, 6.220/226.77 his slowest. Between them, the two passes conveniently accounted for Low ET and Top Speed of the Meet. Is drag racing really so easy?

Two British racers who might have offered a challenge had dreadful weekends. Wayne Nicholson’s journey down from Yorkshire became a wasted trip when he couldn’t start the car. A new, but misshapen, flexplate was the root of the problem, and Saturday’s three qualifying sessions slipped by with the team marooned in the pits. Nicholson’s Pro Mod career has really started to gather pace this year; then along comes a wonky flexplate. Luck was out this weekend for the Lucky Devil.

Andy Frost spacer Steve Hall spacer Rogere Moore

A broken rod on Andy Robinson’s first burnout chewed up the new Camaro’s motor and Robinson, too, failed to record a qualifying time. Come Sunday morning, however, with a fresh motor onboard, Robinson was allowed a time-trial pass and clicked off 6.404/228.18, the Camaro’s best figures to date and a sign of what is sure, sooner or later, to come.

So it was Bader’s race to win – and, it would appear, his MSA Championship too. However, by its nature, drag racing defies predictability; plus there is luck to contend with, good and bad (e.g. see under ‘rain’); plus also the Championship offers a 100-point bonus for those who compete at all five rounds (which Bader won’t earn, having been snowed in at home over Easter). That said, Britain’s racers will for sure have a battle to prevent the MSA crown heading abroad this year.

Or could it be that Rick Garrett will still be found atop the table when the National Finals draw to a close in September? Of course it couldn’t, could it?

Could it? Hands up anyone who predicted Garrett would be leader of the pack all through the summer months.

RESULTS:

Qualifiers:

Po. Driver Home Town / Country Time MPH Best MPH
1 Bruno Bader Switzerland 6.165 222.43  226.77
2 Andy Frost West Midlands 6.493 224.76  
3 Graham Ellis Essex 6.592 226.76  
4 Marcus Hilt   Switzerland  6.731 206.13  
5 Rick Garrett Surrey 6.755 205.15   
6 Roger Moore  Essex   6.762 210.03  
7 Steve Hall  Kent   7.530 166.70  
8 Kevin Slyfield Dorset 7.698 173.06  173.72
Alternates:
17 Jean Dulamon France 9.213 118.85  

No Time Recorded:
Wayne Nicholson  Yorkshire
Andy Robinson  Hampshire 

Eliminations:
Round 1:
Marcus Hilt 7.504sec, 162.51 def. Rick Garrett 8.523, 111.24
Roger Moore 6.704, 208.18 def. Graham Ellis 7.218, 202.43
Andy Frost 6.569, 224.39 def. Steve Hall shut off
Bruno Bader 6.203, 223.37 def. Kevin Slyfield 7.849, 136.05

Eliminations rained off.

Low Elapsed Time of the Event:  6.165sec. – Bruno Bader
Top Speed of the Event:  226.77mph – Bruno Bader

Career-best performances set during event:
Andy Frost 6.493 -
Rick Garrett 6.755 205.15

The 2013 points table is on the Rounds & Points page.