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MSA British Drag Racing Championship

Championship Rounds Race Reports

Round 5: Santa Pod Raceway – National Finals – 26-27 September 2009

Andy Robinson sealed 2009’s MSA British Drag Racing Championship with another record-breaking display at the UK National Finals. The Hampshire racing car constructor secured the MSA crown for the second time in the three seasons since Pro Modified became the championship’s designated class.

During Saturday’s qualifying, Robinson set new British-best performance marks of 6.054sec and 235.19mph. A subsequent 6.069sec elapsed-time might well have turned into an historic 5-second pass but for a broken crankshaft which slowed him at the finish-line and kept the crew busy till midnight replacing the motor.

Andy spacer Kev spacer Graham

In Sunday’s eliminations, Robinson used steady (by his standards) rather than spectacular performances to defeat his closest rivals, Philip ‘Bert’ Englefield and Graham Ellis, and steer his way to the event and series titles. It was Robinson’s third race win in five championship rounds this year.

Essex racers Ellis and Roger Moore both faced mechanical problems over the weekend. Moore’s were severe enough that he made only a token pass to ensure qualifying for the short field, then staged and redlit in the opening round against Ellis.

Ellis ran close to his best form in qualifying, then shook and swerved his way through eliminations into the final to secure himself second place in the MSA points for the second consecutive year.

Like Andy Robinson, Surrey’s Englefield and Dorset’s Kevin Slyfield also ended the season in high-performance style. Having clocked career-best figures of 6.511sec/218.24mph two weeks earlier at the European Finals, Englefield again improved his elapsed-time mark to 6.489 (at 216.85mph) to qualify third.

Slyfield made the 6-second, 200mph breakthrough at the European Finals and now just gets quicker and faster. Twice he blitzed his personal-bests to end this National Finals weekend at 6.528/212.96, figures he must have started to think he might never see as the team struggled for most of three seasons to tame the unruly car. Taking horsepower out of the fearsome beast proved the key to the solution. The joy diminished a touch in the first round of eliminations, where Englefield defeated him by a whisker, but Slyfield and his crew can now sustain themselves through the long off-season with the satisfaction, at last, of making their mark as a bona fide, genuinely competitive Pro Mod team.

Bert spacer Roger spacer  

Photos courtesy & © of Blackett Photography.co.uk.

RESULTS:

Qualifiers:
1. Andy Robinson - GB - 6.0547 235.19
2. Graham Ellis - GB - 6.2756 227.83
3. Philip Englefield - GB - 6.4895 216.85
4. Kevin Slyfield - GB - 6.5285 212.96
5. Roger Moore - GB - 11.4869 120.92

Eliminations:
Round 1:
Philip Englefield 7.2539 / 199.69  def.  Kevin Slyfield 7.4023 / 206.26
Graham Ellis 7.9234 / 207.92  def.  Roger Moore DQ r/l no time
Andy Robinson 6.2349 / 224.38  bye

Semi-final:
Andy Robinson 6.3602 / 214.87  def.  Philip Englefield 8.3608 / 139.83
Graham Ellis 14.9562 / 54.55  bye

Final:
Andy Robinson 6.2295 / 219.09  def.  Graham Ellis 7.0194 / 189.00

Low Elapsed Time of the Event:  6.0547sec. (British best) – Andy Robinson
Top Speed of the Event:  235.19mph (British best) – Andy Robinson

Career-best performances set during event:

Philip Englefield - 6.489
Andy Robinson - 6.054 - 235.19
Kevin Slyfield - 6.528 - 212.96

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