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MSA British Drag Racing Championship

Championship Rounds Race Reports

Round 6:  Santa Pod Raceway – National Finals - 20th - 21st September 2014

Round 6 WebTV Show

Round 6 Report

Andy Robinson ‘ran the table’ – low qualifier, low elapsed time and top speed of the meet, plus race victory – to cement his fourth season title since Pro Modified became the designated class of the MSA British Drag Racing Championship in 2007.

It was a funny old race in a number of ways, not least for Robinson. His apparently dominating triumph was secured on the strength of just two decent passes. In qualifying, a 6.266sec/234.07mph was sandwiched between a shut-off on the line for a fuel leak and a shake-and-pedal 9sec stutter, but was sufficient to earn him low qualifier and top speed of the meet. In eliminations, he was fortunate to reach the final without having faced an opponent: a first-round bye run in the seven-car field was again ridden with tyre-shake and his Camaro broke its gears just off the start line in the semi-final, again with no one in the other lane since potential opponents Chris Isaacs and Wayne Nicholson had both failed to muster a pass in their opening match.

Rick, Bobby spacer Wayne spacer Chris, Rick

Robinson’s return to form in the final against a thundering Rick Garrett was much needed and illustrated the performance gulf that exists between him and his fellow British racers. Till then, Garrett had been the star of the show, reeling off mid-6sec ETs on each of his three qualifiers and three elimination runs, twice setting fresh personal-best times and three times raising his speed PB. Garrett’s final-round 6.406/215.83 was just a whisker short of his quickest time and delivered his fastest-ever speed, yet Robinson batted it away with an easy 6.250/231.69.

Once Robinson cures his Camaro of its frequent tyre-shake tendency, he can resume his rightful place among Europe’s Pro Mod elite. His best figures this weekend were well short of the 5.968/239.05 he hit at the European Finals but were still comfortably ahead of his opposition here. Marc Meihuizen’s 5.90/244 Firebird has shown the capabilities of a Robinson-manufactured car, and that in a vehicle which now has six seasons under its belt and lacks perhaps some of the later sophistications built into Robinson’s two-year-old Camaro.

Garrett is now the next-quickest among the current crop of British entrants, although several others – Andy Frost, Philip Englefield, Chris Isaacs, Wayne Nicholson – still hold a substantial edge over him on terminal speed. This weekend produced surely Garrett’s best performance of his two-year Pro Mod career, notwithstanding his race win at Easter 2013. In six trips down the track, the vividly-hued Willys ran no slower than 6.562 and clocked its first 6.3 (6.391) in his opening elimination match defeat of Englefield, who was no slouch himself setting a new career-best speed of 222.54mph.

Andy spacer Bert, Wayne spacer Bobby

There was a sense of relief, indeed rejoicing, in Wayne Nicholson’s pit after the Lucky Devil Corvette at last shook off its 2014 lethargy and returned to something approaching its expected form to hit 6.626/212.97 and qualify fourth. The Yorkshire team then opted not to race on Sunday but to keep its powder dry, so to speak, until next year – a decision Nicholson may now regret given the way circumstances unfolded. As it turned out, a pair of gentle cruises up the track would have ushered him to the second final of his Pro Mod career. First-round opponent Chris Isaacs, troubled with a damaged reverser, performed a static burnout and was promptly shut off with a fluid leak without ever reaching the start line. Semi-final opponent Andy Robinson did cross the start, but only just, shuddering to a halt within yards, crippled by broken gears. Once it had meandered into the final, another full-on pass from the rejuvenated Lucky Devil would at least have given Rick Garrett a run for his money and would have offered Nicholson an even chance of a first Pro Mod trophy. How does the saying go? “You have to be in it to win it”?

Another fuel leak stymied third qualifier Roger Moore as he lined up to face Bobby Wallace in the first round. (What is it, all of a sudden, with these leaks? Something in the late-September air?) Wallace’s fuel lines presented no problem; instead, it was a parachute retaining-pin that spelled his downfall, popping out from the package it was meant to contain as he pulled into stage against Garrett in the second round. There is a fine old battle for nitrous-car supremacy building between Moore, Garrett and Wallace. Currently Garrett holds the upper hand, by a narrow margin, and it promises to be an intriguing sub-plot come next season.

The weekend began on an unsavoury note during Friday’s test session when Amanda Cox – planning for a Pro Mod debut next year – tipped her turbocharged Chevy Nova on its lid at the finish line. Fortunately the driver was reported unharmed and the car little damaged and it is to be hoped that Ms. Cox will be fit to enter the fray when the 2015 season kicks off at Easter.

Until then, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers.

RESULTS:

QUALIFYING:

Po. Driver Home Town / Country Time MPH Best MPH
1 Andy Robinson  GBR  6.266   234.07  
2 Rick Garrett   GBR  6.441  214.09   
3 Roger Moore  GBR  6.530 211.09  
4 Wayne Nicholson    GBR  6.626  212.97   
5 Chris Isaacs   GBR   6.645  222.26  
6 Bobby Wallace   GBR   6.652  208.97  
7 Philip ‘Bert’ Englefield GBR 6.793 219.30 220.02

ELIMINATIONS:
Round 1:
No contest: Chris Isaacs shut off vs. Wayne Nicholson no show
Bobby Wallace 6.626, 210.09 def. Roger Moore shut off
Rick Garrett 6.391, 214.95 def. Philip Englefield 6.618, 222.54
Andy Robinson 7.770, 156.33 bye

Semi-Final:
Rick Garrett 6.562, 213.88 def. Bobby Wallace shut off
Andy Robinson no time – trans failure after taking green light

Final:
Andy Robinson 6.250, 231.69 def. Rick Garrett 6.406, 215.83

Low Elapsed Time of the Event:  6.250sec. – Andy Robinson (final)
Top Speed of the Event:  234.07mph – Andy Robinson (Q2)

Personal-best performances set during event:

Philip Englefield 222.54
Rick Garrett 6.391, 215.83
Chris Isaacs 6.645, 222.26

The 2014 points table is on the Rounds & Points page.