The National Finals 2007
Sat 29th - Sun 30th September
2007 Race Report
The UK National Drag Racing Championships drew to a fine and successful conclusion on the last day of September, it had to endure a damp start on Saturday with lots of track drying then, after losing a half day of qualifying the track had to endure many an oil down and assaults with coolants making it a tough end of season for the hard-working track crew.
Pro Modified qualifying at the end of all the sessions was led by Andy Robinson, there was no great surprise as with his normal consistency he delivered a best of 6.358 at 222mph almost four tenths quicker than nearest rival Bert Englefield who shoed his mount to a personal best of 6.730/208 that in turn was well ahead of both Ian Bishop at 7.068/191 and class rookie Kev Slyfield on 7.538/193.
Opening the elimination rounds on a fine autumn day was Bert Englefield who once again kept his ride glued to the race track producing a 6.907/204 winner as Ian Bishop trailed with a non tardy 7.028/195. Kev Slyfield knew he was up against it but leapt and bounced his way to a wild 7.279/193 and Andy Robinson zoomed to a great 6.223/221 win.
On the money run it was Robinson’s Studebaker all the way running another great 6.259/225 as Englefield’s Direct Plastics Online Ford Coupe slowed with problems at half track losing with an 11.134/75 which left Andy Robinson the event winner and MSA Pro Modified Champion for 2007.
It was the current FIA Champion Dave Wilson in his Silverline Tools dragster that led the small field in Top Methanol continuing his rampant pace with a 5.523/257 top qualifier. Usual Crew Chief Steve Turner took his turn at the wheel of the family dragster allowing brother, Rob a rest and showed he is not just a good wrench when a 5.994/216 got him second place. Bringing up the rear was the other class rookie Derek Flynn with a 6.725/184.
Wilson had the first round bye and did not hold back with a 5.531/250 win. Steve Turner meanwhile managed the win in a close encounter with Derek Flynn, Flynn shook the tyres hard and recovered enough to record a 6.525/215 but just ahead by 0.0548 was Turner’s win with a 6.470/201.
Wilson showed there were problems as he just blipped the throttle on the burnout then staged, Turner though took everything seriously in his first ever final leaving on a good light and going on to gain the win with a personal best of 5.783/245 as Wilson ambled down the track having damaged push rods and valves on the last pass, however Dave Wilson locked up the National Championship win.
Some of the Nostalgia Fuel Altered Association cars unfortunately suffered a number of mechanical woes including Frank Bennett breaking the crank in two but the best news was the stunning number tabled by Tony Betts a 6.440/215 just before the final. The two cars that met for the money run were Dennis Wratten and Joe Bond in an all Topolino bout. Bond left but immediately started to slow with problems allowing Wratten to power to a 7.128/190 win. Clayton Round in his ‘Rebel T’ ’23 T BBFA managed to secure the class Championship.
Super Modified saw seven machines vying for supremacy and was led by Andy Hone in the Granada with a 7.542/177 ahead of Rob Smallworth’s 7.698/176 that left Tim Garlick down in seventh place on an 8.387/120.
With Craig Gibbs, Rob Smallworth and Andy Kirk out in round one beaten by Nigel Payne, Tim Garlick and Paul Mander respectively it was into round two where Andy Hone caught and passed the 7.898/171 from Nigel Payne’s ’62 Corvette the winning numbers were 7.526/175. In the other pairing a better leave by Paul Mander coupled with a 7.851/174 got him the light as Tim Garlick failed to catch the lead, losing with a close 7.805/173 to end the semis.
The final came down to a solo as Andy Hone in the Gleeson & Wright Security Ford Granada shut off after the burnout leaving Paul Mander, complete with ‘Giant Killer’ pasted onto the rear window to run a 7.942/173 winner with a lot of smoke in the lights from the little S.O.S. Advertising Promotions Plymouth Arrow. The Championship win went to Andy Kirk in his ‘Rat Fink’ Camaro.
It was Spencer Tramm in his VW Corrado that topped the small field of Comp Eliminator cars with an 8.742/152 ahead of both Chris Isaacs and Jim Smith. Tramm took a bye to the finals and Isaacs also a solo as Jim Smith had broken.
The figures were really close in the final as Chris Isaacs Standard Vanguard wheelied out first closely followed by Spencer Tramm’s Corrado but at the stripe it was Isaacs that got the winning numbers with an 8.799/144 to the 8.708/153 lose.
A stella field of cars in Super Comp was led by Peter Creswell in his Mustang with a near perfect 8.9001/150 that got him the Eurodragster.com/LA Racing Parts Perfect ET Award.
Peter Creswell was in fine form all weekend pushing his Mustang to win after win, downing the likes of Paul Letchford in one, Paul Knight in two before meeting Sarah Day in the semi final, her reaction time was slower than Creswell’s and it showed in the lights as Creswell notched up another win with an 8.937/145 to Day’s close but losing 8.941/151. On the other side of the ladder came the leaping Roadster of Martin Curbishley, a solo in round one as Mark Fairhurst’s dragster broke, then in two Shaun Lathan was defeated on a late leave before the outgoing champion Chris Johnson was just nipped in the lights with an 8.910/144 to the losing 8.924/149.
Martin Curbishley’s weekend was ended with the win going to Peter Creswell in the Samco Sports Mustang with an 8.919/149 to the losing 8.924/151. It was Paul Knight in his ‘Knightmare’ Trans Am that amassed enough points to take the Championship.
Super Gas was led by Jon Morton with a 9.914/147 to head the fifteen strong class with Euro Finals event winner Stuart Doignie sitting on bump spot with a too quick 9.849/151. Morton lasted until the quarter finals going out to Brendan Clancy but securing the Championship in the process.
It would be Dave Catton and Martin Curbishley that would meet for the run off and Catton started his day by seeing off Matt Eley in one, Stuart Morrice in two then in a real close call beat Brendan Clancy in the semis with a from behind 9.936/127 win to the 9.950/121 lose. Martin Curbishley was continuing his entertaining wheelies and beating Dave Day in round one, getting even for the Super Comp loss by beating Peter Lane in two then getting the legal number of 9.904/129 as Stuart Doignie broke out with a 9.871/149 in the semi.
Dave Catton in the Team Paul Marston Racing Monza must have been elated with his win with a 9.992/121 as Martin Curbishley’s wheelie landed him close to the wall incurring a boundary violation and negating his 10.916/148.
It was defending Champion Bob Lees that held pole position in the Super Street class with an almost perfect 10.9009/129 ahead of the ten car field. Sitting down on the bump was Dave Cherrett with a breakout 10.777/99 try.
Bob Lees was on a mission to retain his title and do so he did firstly managing to oust Leigh Morris in round one before a bye into the semi final. It was Frank Griffin that would face Lees in the final and he made his way through courtesy of Martyn Sanger in round one, and Ian Brown in two, Brown defeating Lees challenger for the title Neil Grant in round one. Griffin had the semi final bye run and entered the final with a 10.954/97 as Lees had to fight off Chris Kenny in his stint coming off with the win in 10.967 seconds at 129mph to the breakout time of 10.897/116 from Kenny.
Bob Lees in his big blue Mustang had the Championship wrapped up and added the event win as icing on the cake when his 10.859/125 was the lesser of the double breakout with Frank Griffin’s Chevelle on a 10.847/99 in a battle of the top end brake lights.
Chris Orthodoxou in his Dodge Viper GTS led the pack after qualifying in Super Pro ET leaving the sixteenth place bump spot to be held by Kerry Rolfe in the ‘Stardust’ dragster with a way under index 7.498/173.
Making an impression were both Mark Flavell and Paula Atkin. It was Atkin that managed to get wins over Barry Giles in round one despite a fiery nitrous belch then a round two bye before taking out Roy Wilding in the quarter finals. Flavell made his way past Dutchman Sijm Wilco in one, John Everitt in two and Spencer Tramm in three. Mark Flavell had the semi final round bye win with an easy 13.840/82 as Paula Atkin ran a winning 7.538/178 as Steve Johnson red lit away his 7.305/181 chances in the ‘Motor Mouse’ dragster.
With both Barry Giles and Steve Johnson out the Championship went deservedly to Spencer Tramm and his VW Corrado. The event win was yet to be decided and it was a doorslammer versus a dragster, Mark Flavell became a little urgent and bulbed the red spoiling his 7.426/182 and as Paula Atkin had calmly left in her Ford 100E and recorded a winning 7.551/117.
The Pro ET guys once more fielded a huge class that was led by Keith Herbert in his Sports Fury with an 11.402/116 with Kim Bishop down in twenty-ninth place with an under index 10.732/123. Herbert unfortunately red lit himself out in round two and Bishop also went out in two.
There would be two names that would feature throughout eliminations, that of John Morris in his ‘Animal Magic Racing’ Ford Probe and Rick McCann taking his turn in the leaping ‘Heaven & Hell’ Camaro. Morris managed to get by Mo Blackburn in round one then new Champion Paul Baynton in two before despatching Charlie Chivers in three. McCann meanwhile saw off Antony Wilkins in one, had the rounds bye in two then beat Dave Cherrett in the quarter final.
Brian Huxley gave it his all in the Roadster with a 10.576/122 but was chased down and beaten by John Morris with a 9.867/125 in the semi final bout as Rick McCann wheelied his way to the win with a 9.804/135 as Ian Brown carded a red light time of 10.721/121 that was also under index.
The final had John Morris take a good light and his 9.841/128 became the event winner as Rick McCann lost with an under index 9.794/135 try.
In the Sportsman ET category Holland’s Hans van der Spek carried on from where he left off at the Euro Finals and led the ensemble with a 12.341/110 clocking over the thirteen strong class leaving Ian Jackson holding onto the last place with an 18.528/80.
Hans van der Spek managed wins over Martin Lewis in two after a round one bye then dealt out defending champion Geoff Cowley with a 12.321/109 to the 15.364/83 in the semis. Lee Hollis was running the huge Dodge Ram truck and surprised many by beating firstly Ian Jackson in round one then the new Champion Lee Huxley in two before running the winning 19.541/63 against Teresa Letchford in the semi whose 12.934/104 failed to pass the truck in the lights.
The final pitted Geoff Cowley’s red and white consistent Camaro against the huge truck of Lee Hollis and as Hollis trundled up the track Cowley launched after him but in the lights it was Lee Hollis’ day with a 19.477/68 win to the 15.320/78 lose.
The Junior Dragster brigade was led by Ross Norris with an RT of 0.0130 and times of 9.736/68 leaving Rebecca Evans down in seventeenth place. Ross lasted until the second round succumbing to Scott Hauser.
Two names were in the frame for the points before the National Finals and it was the same two that featured all the way to the final – they were Nick Mugridge and Anna Stanley. In round one Mugridge dealt out Rhiannon Bellenie then Zak Johnson before dismissing the current champ Scott Hauser in the quarter finals. Stanley though in her half of the ladder saw off Daniel Giles in one Vicky Molden in two before a bye in round three put her in the finals.
The two challengers faced off for the Championship and the event win and Nick Mugridge in his ‘Rolling Thunder’ machine chased hard after Anna Stanley in her Panther Racing dragster, at the stripe it was Nick Mugridge with a 7.989/77 as Anna Stanley runner upped with a 9.152/70 try leaving Nick the Champion.
The phenomenal Real Steel Street Eliminator class was led by Steve Pateman in his Vauxhall Calibra with an 8.142/173 leaving George Scanlon on the bump with a 10.385/136 in his Chevy S10.
The eliminations were to feature two names both running seven second cars, the Calibra of Steve Pateman and the Cougar of Steve Nash. It was the pole position holder than had a bye in round one before taking out Alan Simms in the second round then Jerry Charles in the third round with an 8.061/177 to an 8.616/168 lose. Steve Nash meanwhile broke into the sevens with a first round win over Jason Weir then an 8.3 despatched Mark Perkins before Jeff Meads was trounced with a storming 7.840/181 to an 8.846/160 try in the semis, the 7.840 from Nash becoming the class record.
The final was almost beyond belief as it produced the first side-by-side seven and backed up the 7.840 record for Nash. Steve Pateman got his first seven of the round on a holeshot and needed every inch of the 7.951/177 as Steve Nash roared by in the lights to get the event win and the Championship with a stunning 7.848/181.
The VW Pro class was indeed small for the Finals and was wrought with mechanical woes throughout. Holding pole was Toby Wright with an 11.475/112 from his Speedster. Wright red lit in the final run off against Michael Geraghty’s VW Beetle giving the win to Geraghty’s 12.835/101 to the smoking 13.181/99 lose.
A full eight car field gave the VW Sportsman a good innings with Adrian Wigley leading the fray with a 17 dead with Daniel Smith bringing up the rear with a 23.031/68.
Adrian Wigley beat a broken Paul Herbert who had the indignity of being lifted onto trolleys after breaking in the burnout box then Wigley went out to Martin Ayton in the semis. Meeting Ayton in the final would be Steve Parfitt who saw off Mark Malone in round one then Daniel Smith in two.
The final was taken by Martin Ayton’s Scirocco with a better leave and a 14.962/91 as Steve Parfitt failed to catch the lead runner upping with a 13.263/101. Paul Herbert is credited with the new Championship.
The VW Alternate Engine class also suffered a paucity of numbers and lots of breakages but was led by Matt Attwood’s good looking Fastback unfortunately sans the Bug Jam wheelies as it now sports big wheelie bars, his 12.712/104 was ahead of Ian Duggan and Mark Skeen.
The final was a solo as Ian Duggan’s Beetle broke after seeing off a broken and new Champion Mark Skeen leaving Matt Attwood to take the event title with a 12.411/108.
The Wild Bunch qualifying was led by Phil Sweeney’s 23T altered with an 8.529/148 well ahead of the pack this gave him the first round bye then on to be defeated by Darryl Howells dragster in two. Darren Law meanwhile came from number five qualifier to see off the likes of Peter Yates in the ‘Ramraider’ dragster then Terry Clifford in the ‘Ratcatcher Ressurection’.
It was the ‘Wicked Lady’ rear engined dragster of Darren Law that took on the slingshot ‘Ramraider’ of Darrly Howells in the trophy run and the better leave coupled with the 9.623/144 got Law the win as Howells came in second with a 10.200/125 try.
Steve Woollatt carded some his best numbers in Top Fuel Bike when he qualified top with a 6.377/211 but at cost when he could not make the eliminations due to broken parts, as his first round no show indicated leaving the way open for Dutchman Rene van den Berg to run an ever improving 10.925/120 to enter the final. Ian Turboville also suffered mechanical attrition leaving Steve Carey to get his final place with a 7.342/198 in the first round.
It was frustrating for Rene van den Berg after reaching his first TFB final only to be shut off with a leak allowing Steve Carey’s ‘Purple Princess’ an unopposed route to the event win with a 7.342/198 clocking. Steve Woollatt retrieved the ACU Championship from Steve Carey’s care this year.
Neil Midgley stormed to a 6.785/197 to lead the field in Funny Bike, well ahead of the other riders and leaving Dave Bailey in the bump spot with a 7.999/154.
It was Dave Bailey that met the might of Neil Midgley in round one and Bailey’s 8.201/155 was severely eclipsed by the outstanding 6.626/205 that gave Midgley the win. In the other pairing all Steve French had to do was stage as Tim Blakemore had broken.
Neil Midgley’s bike was loaded according to team member Chris ‘Cannon’ Hannam and was out to back up the numbers in the final, it was really no contest but Steve French gave it his best shot with a slightly better light but then saw Midgley steam past to record the event win and sew up the Championship with a record setting 6.735 at 196mph.
In the Pro Stock Bike ranks Dave Beck held pole with a fine 7.306/179 over a tenth in front of Len Paget and well ahead of the other six runners that had Paul King in on the bump with an 8.276/152.
Paul King was the first victim to fall to Dave Beck’s onslaught then a bye in round two put Beck into the final. Len Paget meanwhile was running numbers of his own, a 7.455/175 saw off Ray Debben then a 7.396/173 trailered Frenchman Philippe Runget’s 7.780/166 in round two.
The old track foes once again faced off and it was Dave Beck’s Suzuki that was out first closely followed by Len Paget’s Suzuki GSXR but the numbers on the top end score board had the winning 7.297/180 in Beck’s lane against the 7.397/177 from Paget in the other lane. The Championship went to Dave Beck.
Competition Bike was led by Kev Charman with a 7.573/173 well ahead of the other riders in the eight bike class with Stuart Crane in last position with a 10.221/167. There were a few surprises in the pack as Charman broke allowing Stuart Crane through to round two and Phil Leamon was beaten by Alan Young also in round one.
Stuart Crane broke in round two allowing Alan Young into the final and Nick Holland who had taken out Sandra Chaplain in one then despatched Gary Jones to enter the final.
It was Alan Young that left first in the final and his 8.428/171 managed to stay ahead of the hard charging 8.305/128 from Nick Holland who gained the runner up spot. The Championship was taken by Phil Leamon.
The Super Street Bike class was absolutely dominated by the now Champion Steve Venables on his Suzuki Hayabusa carding a 7.523/194 top qualifier then going all the way to record the event win.
Into the semis and Venables who had earlier taken out Garry Bowe in round one then a bye that saw him into the semi against Richard Stubbings who in turn had got by a broken Sean Mills then beaten Jamie Sneddon, now it was Stubbings turn to fall and his 8.174/173 lost as Venables recorded the 7.485/186 win to get him into the final. Facing Venables on the money run would be Graham Balchin who ran a solo round one win as Pete Bellenie had broken then Mark Watkins went out in round two leaving Balchin to get the better of Dave Smith’s try of 7.519/190 to the winning 7.582/193 win.
A better leave by Steve Venables added to the victory with a stunning 7.385/196 win over the hard charging 7.646/188 from Graham Balchin.
There were twenty-two riders vying for places in the 9.50 Bike class and it was led by Chris Reed on a 9.503/139 pass, last man in was Augy Harrison with an under index 9.401/151.
The eliminations starting from the semis saw Julian Harris who had earlier picked off the likes of Geoff Connor in one then Richard Hann in two before seeing off Fred Furlong to get to the semi where his opposition was an easy bye, a 9.530/140 got him into the final. On the other side of the ladder was Chris Jones, his first victim was Eddy Smiley then Dave Burfitt and number one qualifier Chris Reed in round three before a close duel with Carl Atkinson in the semi final, it was all over for Atkinson as his 9.790/137 failed to catch and pass Jones’ 9.764/129.
It was a Suzuki Hayabusa versus a Suzuki GSXR that faced off in the final and it was Chris Jones’ ‘Busa that tried to play catch-up as Julian Harris led the way recording a 9.528/140 win to the 9.742/144 runner up. It was Chris Jones though that clinched the Championship.
In the Supertwin Top Fuel Bike field it was Wendy Clutterbuck that held the reigns with a 9.023/151 top qualifier. Wendy Clutterbuck should have faced Shawn Rodman but his fuel tank split as he approached the line leaving it an unopposed final for Wendy where she broke into the eights with an 8.791/150 to take the trophy and the Championship.
Supertwin Top Gas Bike had Chris Stebbings take control with a 9.619/131 clocking for top qualifier then a round one bye before he succumbed to Chris Mott in the semis. Les Harris meanwhile donned his streamliner front end and managed to beat the try from Don Irvine in round one before a bye got him to the final.
The streamlined proboscis of Les Harris’s bike obviously did the business as he made use of a better light and kept with it to record the win with a 9.637/136 as Chris Mott chased but despite recording a class speed record ended up runner up but took the Championship with a 9.363 at 145.14mph.
Steve Partridge ran a 12.582/105 to head the cast in the Supertwin ET Bike class of nine riders. With that pole he won the first round bye then went on to beat David Shorthose in round two before losing to John Hackney in the semi final. Mike Nelthorpe meanwhile was making his way up the other side of the ladder, a first round defeat of Barrie Gregory then ousting John O’Sullivan before getting the semi final round bye to meet Hackney in the final.
It was a big catch up for John Hackney on his Suzuki TL1000 but a feat that he accomplished with a 10.053/116 passing Mike Nelthorpe’s try of 14.151/103 on his little Aprilla. Steve partridge wrapped up the Championship.
Report © Roger Gorringe 2007. www.nitroexposure.co.uk, Photos by DJ.
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