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MSA British Drag Racing Championship

Championship Rounds Race Reports

Round 4: Santa Pod Raceway – European Finals– 10-13 September 2009

An all-Swedish finale capped an astounding race at Santa Pod Raceway’s FIA European Finals. The MSA British Drag Racing Championship’s penultimate Round 4 was combined with the concluding rounds of the FIA European Pro Modified Championship and the Scandinavian NDRS Bilsport Series to bring the Continent’s best Pro Mod racers to Santa Pod.

Sweden’s Mats Eriksson unleashed an onslaught unmatched in Europe’s Pro Mod history. Friday’s opening qualifying session, marred by an ugly mid-track collision between Germany’s Ingo Rolla and Dutch newcomer David Vegter from which both combatants emerged mercifully uninjured, ended with Eriksson unloading the quickest (5.988sec), fastest (241.59mph) pass yet seen, the first 5-second elapsed time achieved on this side of the Atlantic. Alongside him in the other lane, Britain’s Andy Robinson was running the second-quickest pass ever, at 6.073sec.

To put matters in perspective: Eriksson completed eight passes over the weekend; two were duff; the remainder comprised the six quickest Pro Mod times achieved in Europe.

Roger spacer Bruno spacer Mats & Michael

One of Eriksson’s ‘duff’ ET’s (if 6.94 can be called duff) came in the opening round of eliminations – perhaps Mats had spotted Henri Joosten’s redlight in the other lane. Thereafter it was 6.0’s all the way. Each of his subsequent opponents set a personal-best ET in vain pursuit, with beaten finalist Michael Gullquist adding a terminal speed PB into the bargain.

The win secured Eriksson both FIA European and NDRS Bilsport crowns. Andy Robinson had entered the event leading in all three championships at issue but, in the upset of the season, lost a first-round match to Roger Moore when the car’s supercharger belt became dislodged in a manner that technically could not happen, but did. Readers with long memories may recall that Robinson forfeited his tilt at the 2007 FIA title when an ‘unbreakable’ titanium clutch link broke at an equally critical moment.

The second-quickest-ever pass (6.073) with which Robinson had opened Friday’s qualifying had fallen to seventh on the all-time list by the time Eriksson completed his rout on Sunday afternoon.

Eriksson, Robinson and Gullquist were among 10 drivers who clocked career-best performances at the event. On the home front, Graham Ellis nipped his elapsed-time PB twice while 2008 MSA champion ‘Bert’ Englefield delivered five consecutive 6sec/200mph passes, improving both ET and terminal speed PB’s.

One of the event’s most gladsome moments belonged to Kevin Slyfield. At last, after three years’ struggle, the wayward Willys ran straight and true to its first 6sec/200mph timeslip to qualify the Verwood engineer 12th. Moreover, Slyfield produced similar figures for his first round-win in major competition over Germany’s Norbert Kuno, subbing for the withdrawn Patrik Wikström. Cue rejoicing in Dorset!

The Exhaust Coating.de Pro Mod Challenge shootout took place during Friday and Saturday qualifying, when the season’s eight leading FIA qualifiers battled for a 2,000-Euro prize put up by the German company. For the second year running, Switzerland’s Bruno Bader beat Robinson in the final.

Andy Robinson ended the European Finals with a 106-point lead over Graham Ellis in the MSA Championship points. While he will start the forthcoming National Finals as favourite, the double points posted at this concluding event leave Robinson still vulnerable to the determined Ellis’s challenge. And Robinson will be the first to admit that nothing is settled till it’s truly settled.

Patrick spacer Matts spacer Robert

RESULTS:

Qualifiers:

Qualifiers:
1.     Mats Eriksson             Sweden              5.9880     241.59
2.     Andy Robinson            GB                     6.0739     231.38
3.     Bruno Bader               Switzerland         6.1370     227.92   [ 229.20 ]
4.     Roger Johansson         Sweden              6.1559     228.15
5.     Patrik Wikström           Sweden              6.1618     231.38
6.     Marco Maurischat        Germany             6.1921     227.77
7.     Michael Gullquist         Sweden              6.2113     222.27   [ 228.16 ]
8.     Graham Ellis                GB                     6.2401     229.03
9.     Mikael Lindahl             Sweden              6.2887     228.05
10.   Philip Englefield           GB                     6.5115     216.16   [ 218.24 ]
11.   Urban Johansson         Sweden              6.5590     210.03
12.   Kevin Slyfield              GB                     6.8113     207.21
13.   Jöran Persåker            Sweden              6.8503     188.84
14.   Robert Koper              Netherlands        6.9608     206.26
15.   Roger Moore               GB                     6.9833     192.12
16.   Henri Joosten             Netherlands        7.4180     163.65

Eliminations:

Round 1:
Graham Ellis 6.3180 / 225.50  def.  Mikael Lindahl 6.4106 / 225.77
Michael Gullquist 6.2157 / 223.29  def.  Philip Englefield 6.6637 / 212.08 DQ r/l
Urban Johansson 7.2242 / 208.17  def.  Marco Maurischat 10.2220 / 102.12
Kevin Slyfield 6.8732 / 204.41  def.  Norbert Kuno alt. 13.8302 / 103.74
Roger Johansson 6.4330 / 218.25  def.  Jöran Persåker 7.1987 / 164.83
Bruno Bader 6.1182 / 224.50  def.  Robert Koper 8.6043 / 109.64
Roger Moore 6.9668 / 203.47  def.  Andy Robinson 9.0048 / 99.41
Mats Eriksson 6.9402 / 160.17  def.  Henri Joosten 12.9117 / 65.22 DQ r/l

Round 2:
Mats Eriksson 6.0443 / 238.89  def.  Graham Ellis 6.2381pb / 229.07
Roger Johansson 6.8973 / 164.25  def.  Kevin Slyfield 7.2512 / 171.07
Michael Gullquist 6.2028 / 223.41  def.  Roger Moore 19.9795 / 38.53
Bruno Bader 6.1182 / 228.94  def.  Urban Johansson 8.6833 / 105.79

Semi-final:
Mats Eriksson 6.0163 / 239.03  def.  Roger Johansson 6.1449pb / 227.81
Michael Gullquist 6.1910 / 229.33  def.  Bruno Bader 8.4350 / 106.93

Final:

Mats Eriksson 6.0289 / 238.91  def.  Michael Gullquist 6.1415pb / 231.42pb

Low Elapsed Time of the Event:  5.988sec. (European record) – Mats Eriksson
Top Speed of the Event:  241.59mph (European record) – Mats Eriksson

Career-best performances set during event:

Bruno Bader                     -   229.20
Graham Ellis               6.238           -
Philip Englefield           6.511   218.24
Mats Eriksson             5.988   241.59
Michael Gullquist         6.141   231.42
Roger Johansson         6.144           -
Marco Maurischat        6.192   227.77
Jöran Persåker            6.850           -
Andy Robinson            6.073           -
Kevin Slyfield              6.811   207.21

The 2009 points table is on the Rounds & Points page.