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MSA British Drag Racing Championship

Championship Rounds Race Reports

Round 4: Santa Pod Raceway – European Finals -5th to 8th September 2013

Bruno Bader won a scintillating victory with the finest Pro Mod display of precision tuning and driving seen in Britain. After a 6.328sec ‘sighting shot’ in the first qualifying session, Bader delivered seven consecutive 6.0sec elapsed times to carry him all the way to the trophy, setting fresh personal-best marks in the semi-final.

No one could live with the Swiss driver’s pace. Marc Meihuizen was the only quicker racer in the show, and the only one to penetrate the 5-second zone, but sustained race-ending engine damage setting the event’s Low ET and Top Speed (5.940/242.39) in the second round. Michael Gullqvist – crowned for the fourth time as FIA European Champion and setter of new European records in Sweden just two weeks earlier – had an oddly muted weekend. After three mediocre attempts, Gullqvist qualified fourth in the final session, at a promising 6.095/241.59, but stuttered to defeat in round two.

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Gullqvist’s conqueror was the charging Dutchman, Robert Joosten, whose ’70 Camaro is at last achieving its potential. In Sweden two weeks earlier, Joosten had broached time and speed barriers, clocking 5.990/241.22, and was in consistently quick and fast form here at Santa Pod. Plainly he benefited from the semi-final absence of his compatriot Meihuizen, which was a pity as the match promised to be a cracker, but he made up for it with a superb final-round contest against Bader, which Bader won, 6.056/230.19 to Joosten’s 6.191/231.65. It was Bader’s second close call in a row against a Dutchman, having narrowly nipped a match-of-the-day semi-final against the ever-competitive David Vegter, 6.044 to 6.061.

There was an unusual composition to the semi-finals: one Swiss, three Dutch. No Swedes.

In fact the qualifying table was visibly one of two halves: the top half the preserve of Dutch, Swiss, Swedes and Germans; the bottom half home to the Brits. Come the second round of eliminations, Andy Robinson was the only British survivor, though he should have been joined there by Graham Ellis had Ellis not redlit away a 6.478 shot against Gullqvist’s 11sec slouch. Roger Moore and Kevin Slyfield also redlit and Wayne Nicholson and Andy Wright both broke. Andy Frost lost a straight fight to Norbert Kuno while improving once again his world’s-best marks for a street-legal car.

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Yet this was far from the dismal British showing the statistics suggest. Andy Robinson’s new Camaro is starting to look worthy of the high hopes pinned on it; remember that Marc Meihuizen’s Robinson-built Firebird debuted as long ago as 2009 and has matured over the seasons into its present, flying form. Andy Frost continues to amaze: a week before hitting 6.403/229.31, Red Victor 3 was filmed motoring to the shops. Once Wayne Nicholson puts this season’s mechanical bad luck behind him, he will be flying too. Rick Garrett is doing better in his first Pro Mod season than anyone could have imagined; here he set fresh PBs, becoming Britain’s quickest/fastest nitrous entry, and remains in the thick of the fight for the MSA British Championship, an unprecedented achievement for a rookie. Graham Ellis’s redlight 6.478/238.60 was his best pass of the season; there is no reason to suppose his new turbo Mustang, once on song, should not match the 250mph exploits of Nordic turbomeisters Lundkvist and Laukkanen. Andy Wright and the ’38 Ford he shares with ‘Bert’ Englefield made their first start of the season and got straight down to business with some stout, 6-second passes. Roger Moore always intended 2013 to be a regrouping year with new engine and chassis developments, and now has Garrett’s fellow nitrous entry to pique his competitive instincts. Kevin Slyfield really shouldn’t be here after his shunting of both walls on his very first pass at Easter promised to end his season there and then, but has engineered a thoroughly respectable campaign out of the damage. Steve Hall’s new ’55 Chevy was making only its third race appearance; beneath this most eminently traditional Pro Mod bodyshell lies a state-of-the-art Pro Mod racecar, out of the same litter as Andy Robinson’s Camaro but with several small improvements. Once the new-car bugs are cleaned out, here is another flyer-in-waiting.

One fact remains, however: above all else, this was Bruno Bader’s race – his second FIA/MSA victory and the finest performance of his considerable Pro Mod career.

Bruno spacer Robert spacer Trophies

RESULTS:

Qualifiers:

Po. Driver Country Time Speed
1 Marc Meihuizen   NED   5.963 241.15  
2 Bruno Bader  SUI 6.051 232.43  
3 Mattias Wulcan SWE  6.064 241.12  
4 Michael Gullqvist SWE  6.095 241.59  
5 Robert Joosten    NED  6.105 236.18
6 David Vegter NED  6.180 231.26
7 Mats Eriksson   SWE  6.188  232.88 
8 Norbert Kuno  DEU  6.222 232.75 
9 Andy Frost GBR 6.407 225.88
10 Andy Robinson  GBR 6.447 232.55 
11 Wayne Nicholson  GBR 6.501 215.97 
12 Rick Garrett  GBR  6.533 210.92
13 Graham Ellis GBR 6.595  
14 Andy Wright GBR 6.705 211.10
15 Roger Moore GBR 6.790 209.13
16 Kevin Slyfield GBR 6.982 200.76
Non-qualifiers:
  Steve Hall GBR 7.521 164.85

Eliminations:

Round 1:
[Norbert Kuno 6.444sec, 224.50mph def. Andy Frost 6.732, 229.32 DQ RL]
[Result annulled – staging system problem. Re-run later.]
Andy Robinson 6.413, 232.78 def. Mats Eriksson 7.190, 223.36
David Vegter 8.754, 100.29 def. Wayne Nicholson broke
Robert Joosten 6.100, 236.08 def. Rick Garrett 6.764, 213.07
Michael Gullqvist 11.029, 81.90 def. Graham Ellis 6.478, 238.60 DQ RL
Mattias Wulcan 8.956, 103.03 def. Andy Wright broke
Bruno Bader 6.051, 229.05 def. Roger Moore 9.641, 90.52 DQ RL
Marc Meihuizen 5.978, 236.19 def. Kevin Slyfield 7.054, 209.04 DQ RL
Re-run:
Norbert Kuno 6.283, 228.96 def. Andy Frost 6.403, 229.31

Round 2:
Marc Meihuizen 5.940, 242.39 def. Norbert Kuno, shut off on line
Robert Joosten 6.084, 231.22 def. Michael Gullqvist 6.397, 225.88
Bruno Bader 6.057, 231.21 def. Andy Robinson 6.399, 232.86 DQ RL
David Vegter 9.189, 92.72 def. Mattias Wulcan 6.090, 234.07 DQ RL

Semi-final:
Robert Joosten 6.283, 232.45 def. Marc Meihuizen, no show
Bruno Bader 6.044, 233.65 def. David Vegter 6.061, 233.96

Final:
Bruno Bader 6.056, 230.19 def. Robert Joosten 6.191, 231.65

Low Elapsed Time of the Event:  5.940sec. – Marc Meihuizen (E2)
Top Speed of the Event:  242.39mph – Marc Meihuizen (E2)

Personal-best performances set during event:

ET  MPH
Bruno Bader  6.044 233.65
Andy Frost 6.403 229.31
Rick Garrett   6.533 213.07
Equalled existing PB:
Norbert Kuno   6.222  -

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