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MSA British Drag Racing Championship

Championship Rounds Race Reports

Round 2: Santa Pod Raceway – Summer Nationals -27th to 28th June 2015

Round 2 WebTV Show

Report

Kev Slyfield is on a roll: three races completed and the Dorset racer has won two of them. If Slyfield’s Easter victory was a touch fortuitous – lucky to qualify on the bump, then three broken opponents on the way to the winner’s podium – this Summer Nationals win certainly wasn’t.

Slyfield qualified third, at 6.408sec with a personal-best speed of 222.22mph. It’s not often that one finds nitrous cars topping the qualifying sheet, but Bobby Wallace managed it at Easter and Rick Garrett and Roger Moore finished one and two here. Slyfield’s first-round opponent, Chris Isaacs, also came into the match with a fresh PB to his credit, at 6.600sec, though still a hundredth short of his turbocharged Plymouth Duster’s testing best. After Slyfield had dispatched Isaacs with a fine 6.428, his next opponent would be the UK’s performance leader and four-time MSA champ, Andy Robinson.

The Robinson crew had spent Friday night and most of Saturday replacing the engine in the 5.9sec/near-240mph Camaro and only squeezed in a qualifying pass in the third and final session, managing 6.841 for an unusually lowly seventh spot, although combined with a stout 231mph speed. After Robinson had beaten Roger Moore with Low ET and Top Speed of the Meet figures, 6.210/232.88, in the opener, things looked ominous for Slyfield in the semi-final.

Wayne spacer Kev spacer Bobby

Photos by Darren Skidmore

However, the benefits of Slyfield’s switch from his popular but wayward Willys to his sleek Thunderbird (both products of Andy Robinson Race Cars) are becoming ever more apparent. The T-bird is starting to run like clockwork. Robinson launched first but shook and pedalled at mid-track to a 6.525, still hitting another flying 232mph speed at the finish. Slyfield’s faultless 6.44/220 proved just enough to pip Robinson on the line, by a matter of inches.

Another racer on something of a roll is Philip ‘Bert’ Englefield. Taking back the ’38 Ford’s shared driving seat from BA Racing partner Andy Wright, Englefield clipped an ET personal best (6.489) that had stood for almost six years to qualify fourth at 6.429, then blitzed that old mark with a 6.340/224.62 (both new PBs) to eliminate Jean Dulamon in round one. Englefield struck lucky in the semi when low qualifier Garrett threw away a 6.52 on a red light, while ‘Bert’ stuttered to an 8.30 to set up a repeat of the Easter final round against Slyfield.

The difference this time was that both finalists were in fighting fettle. A great match ensued, and Slyfield emerged the narrow but deserving winner, 6.53 to 6.55. At the MSA Championship’s halfway stage, Slyfield now leads the Englefield/Wright combo by a healthy 58 points, almost three full elimination rounds, with Robinson a further 10 points distant.

Bert spacer Jean spacer Rick and roger

Another entrant making eye-catching headway this season is Jean Dulamon. After several years on the back foot, the popular Frenchman installed a new, larger engine over the winter and arrived at this event as, somewhat improbably, the second-quickest entrant in the field – only Robinson had a quicker personal-best ET. Not satisfied with that distinction, Dulamon left the Summer Nationals as the second-fastest as well. At May’s Main Event, Dulamon had clocked 6.305 to slice a clear three-tenths off his long-standing ET PB. At this event, he was a little unlucky to come up against PB-rewriting Englefield in the first round as his own, 227.83mph PB fell only 5mph short of Robinson’s Top Speed pace.

Dulamon’s progress illustrates a trend. Andy Robinson remains the runaway performance leader but behind him comes a clutch of competitors who can now reel off reliable 6.3s/6.4s and make a real race of it. Given the performance standards achieved here, this weekend may, in time, be seen as a watershed moment for the British (and French) Pro Mod scene.  With new entries expected next month from Paula Atkin and Rick Garrett’s son Ryan, plus the return of Mick Payne (present this weekend but not active), the second half of 2015’s MSA British Drag Racing Championship is looking intriguingly interesting.

Qualifying    

Po. Driver Country Time Speed Best Speed
1 Rick Garrett UK 6.3663 216.14  
2 Roger Moore UK 6.3913 214.89  
3 Kev Slyfield UK 6.4087 222.22  
4 Phillip Englefield UK 6.4292 222.22  
5 Jean Dulamon France 6.4644 222.44  
6 Chris Isaacs UK 6.6002 192.15 210.86
7 Andy Robinson UK 6.8411 231.68  
8 Bobby Wallace UK 7.1003 195.55  
Alternates
  Wayne Nicholson UK 7.4220 194.70  
No Time entered
  Mick Payne UK      

ELIMINATIONS:
Round 1:
Rick Garret 7.349, 182.09 def. Bobby Wallace NT shut off
Phillip Englefield 6.340, 224.62 def. Jean Dulamon 6.384, 227.83
Andy Robinson 6.210, 232.88 def. Roger Moore 6.463, 213.90
Kev Slyfield 6.428, 221.20 def. Chris Isaacs 6.748, 221.36

Semi-Final:
Phillip Englefield 8.302, 112.62 def. Rick Garrett 6.524, 207.98 red light
Kev Slyfield 6.448, 220.12 def. Andy Robinson 6.525, 232.84

Final:
Kev Slyfield 6.534, 219.05 def. Phillip Englefield 6.556, 221.44

Low Elapsed Time of the Event:  6.210sec. – Andy Robinson (E1)
Top Speed of the Event:  232.88mph – Andy Robinson (E1)

Personal-best performances set during event:

Jean Dulamon 227.83
Philip Englefield 6.340, 224.62
Chris Isaacs 6.600
Roger Moore 6.391
Kevin Slyfield 222.22

The 2015 points table is on the Rounds & Points page.