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MSA British Drag Racing Championship

Championship Rounds Race Reports

Round 4: Santa Pod Raceway – FIA European Finals – 4-7 September 2008

Against all odds, half a drag race took place at Santa Pod Raceway over the European Finals weekend.

Among an entry list of almost 300 from Britain and a dozen other European countries, 26 Pro Modified racers had come to settle the FIA European Championship and to contest Round 4 of the MSA British Drag Racing Championship. For three interminable days, the only action they saw was the falling of rain. Around Sunday lunchtime, on the fourth and last day, sunshine gingerly broke through and organisers began the battle to condense a scheduled four-day event into a single afternoon and evening.

Had the rain not returned at 7.30pm, it would have worked.

Danny spacer Bruno spacer Roger

For the Pro Mods, four qualifying sessions scheduled over Friday and Saturday were reduced to a single, sudden-death, Sunday shoot-out for a place in the 16-car eliminations field. Most of the big names survived but, in such lottery conditions, surprises were always likely. Chelmsford’s Roger Moore, entered mainly for the experience on only the second outing in his brand new car, was not just overjoyed to qualify 13th but singularly amazed to find himself placed ahead of Europe’s two quickest and fastest Pro Mod racers, Mikael Lindahl and Mats Eriksson. The fairy tale ended, predictably, in Moore’s first-round encounter with Dutch high flyer Robert Joosten, but the experience whetted the Essex racer’s appetite no end.

Germany’s Ingo Rolla was another newcomer to the class making a surprise entry into the field. Some likelier candidates were not so lucky. The most spectacular failure came from the Netherlands’ Marc Meihuizen, who veered over the centre line and crossed the finish door-handle to door-handle with Mikael Lindahl. Lindahl was allowed a re-run; a wild, snaking pass produced no better than 7.772sec. and Europe’s quickest racer and FIA champion-elect was fortunate to make the bump spot.

Sweden’s Freddy Fagerström left a trail of fluid on one of his trademark mega-burnouts and was shut off. Graham Ellis, so eager to continue his rapid rookie rise into the higher performance echelons, also suffered the same frustrating fate.

Lindahl spacer Wikstrom spacer Graham

Two rounds of eliminations were conducted. Then the rain returned and the event was abandoned before the semi-final round could take place.

Swedish racers scooped the main performance honours. Roger Johansson was low qualifier at 6.324 seconds in his monster-motored (830 cubic inches/13.6 litres) nitrous Ford Mustang. In eliminations, Michael Gullquist achieved Low Elapsed Time of the Meet at 6.166sec. and Urban Johansson hit Top Speed at 232.31mph.

Mikael Lindahl was confirmed as FIA European Champion for 2008.

Surrey’s Philip ‘Bert’ Englefield entered the event leading the MSA British Drag Racing Championship. Englefield managed to qualify 10th with a sub-par 7.139sec. pass and narrowly lost his first-round match with Germany’s Norbert Kuno despite running an improved 6.841sec. at 209.11mph.

Engine damage had already forced Englefield’s closest challenger for the MSA title, 2007 champ Andy Robinson, to withdraw for the season, and third-placed Graham Ellis’s qualifying failure had stymied his hopes of making up ground. It was left to Danny Cockerill to attempt to close the gap.

Cockerill qualified 5th, at 6.594sec., and after a lucky break against Sweden’s broken Michael Nord, fell in the second round to Robert Joosten despite clocking an improved 6.553.

Cockerill still has a mathematical shot at the MSA Championship but Englefield looks set to claim the crown when the series concludes at Santa Pod’s National Finals (27-28 September).

Qualifiers:
1. Roger Johansson Sweden 6.3248 - 221.06
2. Urban Johansson Sweden 6.3591 - 227.98
3. Michael Gullqvist Sweden 6.3728 - 215.10
4. Robert Joosten Netherlands 6.3895 - 228.78
5. Danny Cockerill UK 6.5943 - 219.99
6. Rolf Ammann Switzerland 6.7391 - 208.00
7. Norbert Kuno Germany 6.7414 - 212.65
8. Bruno Bader Switzerland 6.7601 - 157.32
9. Johan Lindberg Sweden 6.8862 - 210.02
10. Philip Englefield UK 7.1397 - 176.39
11. Patrik Wikström Sweden 7.1520 - 195.49
12. Michael Nord Sweden 7.1984 - 207.05
13. Roger Moore UK 7.3860 - 187.35
14. Mats Eriksson Sweden 7.4728 - 172.27
15. Ingo Rolla Germany 7.5558 - 172.35
16. Mikael Lindahl Sweden 7.7720 - 193.79
Non-qualifiers:
17. Marco Maurischat Germany 8.2076 - 185.88
18. Henri Joosten Netherlands 8.3176 - 113.81
19. Wayne Nicholson UK 8.9870 - 114.48
20. Robert Koper Netherlands 11.0161 - 78.84
No time: Ulf Rapp (S), Kevin Slyfield (UK), Graham Ellis (UK), Fredrik Fagerström (S), Marco Lantto (Fin), Marc Meihuizen (NL).

Eliminations:

Round 1:
Bruno Bader 6.528-212.64 def. Johan Lindberg 7.590-133.98
Norbert Kuno 6.535-215.78 def. Philip Englefield 6.841-209.11
Patrik Wikström 6.552-218.17 def. Rolf Ammann 6.598-210.76
Danny Cockerill 7.203-153.14 def. Michael Nord broke
Robert Joosten 6.205-230.06 def. Roger Moore left before lights
Michael Gullquist 6.204-225.49 def. Mats Eriksson 6.794-226.82
Urban Johansson 6.317-225.80 def. Ingo Rolla 7.834-166.57
Roger Johansson 7.198-198.71 def. Mikael Lindahl 9.882-99.66

Round 2:
Roger Johansson 7.136-182.00 def. Bruno Bader broke
Urban Johansson 6.174-232.31 def. Norbert Kuno 10.528-72.96
Robert Joosten 6.263-226.63 def. Danny Cockerill 6.553-201.59
Michael Gullquist 6.166-226.59 def. Patrik Wikström 6.487-220.30

Race abandoned owing to rain.

Low ET of the Meet: 6.166 - Michael Gullquist
Top Speed of the Meet: 232.31 - Urban Johansson

Career-best performances set during event:

Name ET MPH
Roger Moore 7.386 187.35
Marco Maurischat 8.207 185.88

MSA British Drag Racing Championship Round 4 points:

Name R4
Roger Johansson 78
Urban Johansson 77
Michael Gullqvist 76
Robert Joosten 75
Bruno Bader 53
Danny Cockerill 54
Norbert Kuno 53
Patrik Wikstrom 52
Rolf Ammann 34
Johan Lindberg 32
Philip Englefield 32
Michael Nord 32
Roger Moore 31
Ingo Rolla 31
Mats Eriksson 31
Mikael Lindahl 31
Henri Joosten 10
Ulf Rapp 10
Robert Koper 10
Marco Maurischat 10
Fredrik Fagerstrom 10
Marc Meihuizen 10
Marko Lantto 10
Graham Ellis 10
Wayne Nicholson 10
Kev Slyfield 10

The 2008 Season Standings are on the Rounds & Points page.