The Summer Nationals 2007
16th - 17th June 2007
The Summer Nationals 2007 Race Report
The Summer Nationals had a huge overall entry of Sportsman racers but this weekend the headliners were the ultimate in doorslammers - the Pro Modified cars running in their third round of the MSA (Motor Sports Association) British Drag Racing Championship. The 220mph machines had seven British entries and one Dutch competitor but had to contend with copious amounts of rain that was deluging the country during the past week. It more or less wiped out the Saturday qualifying day allowing all competitors just a one shot qualifier on Sunday morning.
In the Pro Modified class Danny Cockerill driving his 526 cubic inch motored Chevy Bel Air sat in pole position with a fine 6.385/226.26mph clocking with the remainder of the pack stretching all the way down to the wild but slowed up 12.131/73 from Gordon Appleton’s Chevy Camaro then the DNQ (did not qualify) from Holland’s usual strong contender Marc Meihuizen in his Chevy Coupe.
Eliminations were held under warm but mainly overcast skies and were kicked of by the bye run from Cockerill who ran the weekend’s best E.T. a 6.383 at 222mph. A newly licenced Kev Slyfield took his Willys on a near collision course with the wall on his launch, rescuing it to record a losing 8.335/172 as opponent Andy Robinson turned in a 6.845/204 winning lap. Number two qualifier Ian Bishop in the only nitrous injected car in the group managed a personal best 7.129 at 189mph but lost to Gordon Appleton’s Wheelgame Camaro’s 6.452/207 who poured out vast amounts of engine smoke in the lights resulting in some hurt pistons and liners. Ray White managed a 7.999 slowing to a 139mph lose in his 526 c.i. vintage Ford Zephyr as Bert Englefield in his black Ford Coupe carded a 7.088/196 win to wrap up round one.
Danny Cockerill faced Andy Robinson in the first pairing of round two but was slower off the line then faltered to a 7.541/140 as his air bottle ran out starving him of power to shift gears, Robinson went on to capitalize with a 6.712/202 win. Bert Englefield shook the tyres severely slowing him to a coasting 12.558/64 in a lucky solo win as Appleton could not repair.
The final proved a win for Andy Robinson in a judgement ruling over Bert Englefield as the timing system locked up failing to record the race but clearly Robinson took the trophy. “Were you aware that you were ahead at the finish” was the posed question afterwards, a brief “Yes. I could tell I was ahead, I was just surprised at no times” he reflected.
In the increasingly popular Nostalgia Fuel Altered Association final after their complicated qualifying points were allotted it became a battle of the alky Topolino’s as Dennis Wratten and Frank Bennett slugged it out all the way up track. Wratten got the nod with his first six, taking the trophy with the 6.948/194 as Bennett chased, not quite having the car to pass him his 7.116/191 took runner up.
The Super Modified category fielded six cars with Andy Kirk running a 7.686/178 to top the pile. Round one and the ousted were Andrew Chilton, Nigel Payne and Paul Mander. Kirk got the second round bye run and didn’t waste the chance to get a better time than round one a 7.686/174 got him to the final. Tim Garlick left on a good light and hung on to take the win with a 7.733/174 beating the better 7.682/177 from Andy Hone’s Ford Granada.
In the money run Tim Garlick in his 368 c.i. Rover powered Ford Cortina sealed his own fate with a bright cherry on the tree handing the win to Andy Kirk in his ‘Rat Fink’ Camaro with a 7.664/175 to the fouling 7.715/175.
A bigger entry was expected but the inclement weather kept some of the Super Comp competitors away or others just gave up after the main qualifying day was washed out. Qualifying in the 8.90 index class was led by Peter Creswell in his vintage Ford Mustang with an 8.911/148 and sitting on the bubble was Dave Day in his Roadster with a breakout 8.851/148.
Several heavy hitters went out in the first round including the current point leader Belinda Bull and last years Champion Chris Johnson to name but two. Into the second round and it was Peter Creswell, Brian Pateman, Martin Curbishley and Chris Isaacs that advanced to the semis.
Creswell broke on his leave but took the win light as Pateman red lit and Curbishley tried to catch Isaacs but broke out, 8.892/155 lose to the 9.001/134 win.
The final was a solo as Creswell broke just leaving the line allowing Chris Isaacs an easy 10.321/103 win.
In Super Gas there was a sixteen car eliminator after Martin Curbishley’s Brogie Roadster took number one in qualifying with a 9.938/147 leaving Steve Wells sitting down on the bubble with a breakout time of 9.741/110. Some big names departing rounds one and two included Mike Bentley, Bob Doyle, Tim Adam, Martin Curbishley and Stuart Morrice. The semi finals saw Paul Marston break out with a 9.825/144 leaving the win with Conrad Stanley’s 9.915/154 whilst Jon Morton overcame the stout leave by Brendan Clancy and took the win with a 9.950/138 to the 9.985/130.
Into the final and Jon Morton was on a roll, once again he chased down the better leave by a wheels up launch from Conrad Stanley’s neat red Firebird, Morton’s Camaro clinched the win with a 9.920/141 to the 9.936/154 lose.
Super Street saw an eleven car chase with top qualifier position going to Mark Watkins and his blown Datsun 280ZX on a 10.963/122 and down on the bottom was Charlie Chivers Capri with a breakout 10.758/119.
The final however came down to a run off between the ‘Thatadoo’ Camaro of Ian Brown and the old Ford Zephyr of Neil Grant and it was Grant that kept his cool running a legal 10.933/131 to take the win as Brown broke out with a losing 10.814/109.
Twenty Two competitors packed the Super Pro ET ranks with the top spot going to Steve Johnson in his ‘Motor Mouse’ dragster at 7.362/179 placing Derek Flynn in his last outing in the class before a move to Top Methanol Dragster at twenty two with an under index 6.796/193.
The final was a battle of dragsters with Steve Johnson recording a near perfect leave of 0.0001 coupled with the 7.335/179 that gained him the event class trophy as opponent Barry Giles in the Giles & Hartley machine runner upped with a 7.738/169.
The huge entry in Pro ET was headed by Keith Herbert in the great looking Plymouth Sport Fury with an 11.504/113 leaving Steve Bolton and the wheelying Plymouth Scamp down at twenty-nine on a 9.396/142.
Keith Herbert remained in the frame all the way through and his 11.506/104 got the award in the final as opponent Neil Hunter in his Capri ran a losing 10.325/135 for runner up.
Lee Hollis led the Sportsman ET pack with his 19.630/67 from his Dodge Ram as Nick Gay ran a 15.520/74 in his Rover Metro for sixteenth spot.
Despite its size the Dodge Ram truck made its way through the rounds and ended up facing Lee Huxley in his Mustang. Despite a long wait for his light Huxley chased down the truck and nipped in for the win at the lights with a 15.616/85 to the 19.754/68 runner up.
There were fourteen runners in the exciting Junior Dragster ranks and it was Matthew Seamarks ‘Gingerman’ modified machine that sat on pole with an 8.150/79 with a reaction time of 0.0130. Clare Giles’ little stock dragster sat in the unenviable last place with a 15.189/39 on a -0.116 R.T.
In the final it was Zak Johnston who made a name for himself beating a red lighting Scott Hauser, last years Champion in a 9.007/72 with a 0.179 R.T. to the fouling 7.945/82 with a -0.023 runner up.
There were seventeen magnificent Street Eliminator cars racing for a win and topping the qualifiers was Jeff Meads in his yellow Ford Pop on an 8.385/164 leaving Colin Lazenby down at the bottom of the pile for a change with a below par 10.678/133 from the Chevy 210 Sedan.
Worthy mention must go to Steve Nash in his newly built Cougar who lost in round two to Jon Webster. Nash came out on a test pass after his dismissal and surprised everyone including himself with a series of huge power wheelies all the way down track.
The final had Jeff Meads leap out of the hole but his 8.510/164 was hauled in and overtaken by the 8.259/169 from the turbo powered ‘Vette of Ian Jackson.
VW Pro supplied just three racers with Glynn Morgan in his Beetle claiming the number one spot with a 12.595/102. Morgan had used his bye run to obtain his final round place against Neil Ellis who had earlier outrun Jason Aldred’ buggy. Neil Ellis was out of the hole first with a small advantage but was reeled in as Glynn Morgan recorded the winning 12.689/100 to Ellis’ runner up 12.871/110.
VW Sportsman attracted a class of ten runners with Adrian Wigley in his Skoda Octavia sitting on pole with a 16.630/81 ahead of the varied Beetles and Golf’s. However, Wigley went out in round one to Graeme Freeman who ten succumbed to eventual finalist Jacob Bailey in the semis. Graham Fairhead meanwhile was pushing his T3 Fastback past the likes of Simon Funnell, Martin Ayton and a bye to face Bailey in the money run. Even a better light on the tree failed to save Jacob Bailey’s VW Golf as he was beaten at the top end by Graham Fairhead, 15.132/83 win to the 14.004/87 lose.
VW Alternate Engine had a disappointing turn out of two with Matt Attwood sitting in top qualifier place with a 13.200/105 from his VW Fastback but in the eliminations the tables were turned and Mark Skeen pushed his 2000cc VW Van to the win in a 15.109/88 win to the 17.501/43 lose.
There were six entries in the Wild Bunch category with Darren Law atop the pile with his 10.123/131 from his ‘Wicked Lady’ dragster. Law’s luck went out with his round one loss to Terry Clifford who then had the rounds bye to enter the final. Darryl Howells ‘Chemical Reaction’ rail was the other feature in the final and he bettered the likes of Alex Coe in round one, then Chris Hartnell in two. A big holeshot from Darryl Howells coupled with a 10.372/120 got him the win as Terry Clifford’s ‘Ratcatcher’ failed to catch up with his 10.702/119.
Onto the two wheels missiles and Top Fuel Bike where a tight field of four machines was separated by just over one second. Steve Woollatt unsurprisingly took the lead with a slower than usual 6.627/165. Current ACU Champion Steve Carey was next wit a 6.945/191 whilst Ian King managed a below par 7.138/159 and Ian Turboville a 7.657/169.
Turboville’s 7.464/173 was left for dead as Woollatt powered to a 6.567/190 to start the eliminations. Carey’s game 6.898/194 was not quite enough as King ran the winning 6.749/192 to end round one.
The final went to Ian King with a 6.725/206 as Steve Woollatt ran a troubled tyre shaking 11.897/67 to get the runner up place.
Chris Hall led the Funny Bike runners with a 6.967/188, the only six in the one shot qualifier. Paul Knapp sat on the bottom of the eight bike class with an 8.940/148. Neil Midgley was on a roll after initially qualifying number two with a 7.121/150 as he despatched Dave Bailey in round one, ran a stunning 6.661/202.62 in two to beat Tim Blakemore’s 7.362/169 and go on to the final. Meeting Midgley would be Ken Cooper who managed to get by Stephen French the Chris Hall in two.
Neil Midgley wheelied his machine for most of the quarter and turned in a winning 6.768/200.08 that also provided him with the new Funny Bike speed record as it backed up his earlier 202.61mph. Ken Cooper slowed to an 8.326/140 for second place.
The small Pro Stock Bike field was led by Dave Beck with a 7.555/171 well ahead of the 7.691/168 from Len Paget, the 7.894/163 from Ray Debben and the 8.012/163 from Richard Gipp.
The final went to Dave Beck on his Suzuki after he earlier dealt out Gipp as did Paget oust Debben, a 7.506/173 halted the chain losing 18.060/37 from Len Paget’s Suzuki GSXR.
An eight bike field provided the entertainment in Competition Bike with Phil Leamon putting up the top qualifying number at 8.410/155 on his 1290cc Suzuki GSXR, the top half of the pack reasonably close but leaving Paul Wing on number eight with a 12.582/101.
Leamon’s hard charging little machine mucked it all up in the final after defeating Paul Wing in one then a breaking Sandra Chaplain in two, showing a big red on the tree and slowing to a 9.348/96 as Dave Peters beat Alan Young the set a p/b in two downing Stuart Crane with a 7.601/172 before taking the final with a winning 7.773/168.
There was a massive collection of sixteen Super Street Bikes battling it out for honours in the category and topping the pile was Steve Venables with a 7.912/182, Dave Smith and Mark Watkins were the only other seven second runners in qualifying, 7.962/180 and 7.976/176 respectively.
Steve Venables progressed at the expense of Jamie Sneddon in round one, Ady Lockley in two and Graham Balchin in the semis. The bout between Venables and Balchin got Venables a new ET record of 7.334. On the other side of the ladder it was Dave Smith pushing ahead, Gary Drury was victim number one, Gary Bow two and Richard Stubbing in round three. So the final pitted Dave Smith on his 1300cc Suzuki Hayabusa against the similar machine of Steve Venables and it was the latter than got a slightly better light and coupled it with a winning 7.413/195 as Smith slowed to the defeated 7.885/189 timing.
A whopping thirty bikes entered 9.50 Bike with Andy Burfitt getting the closest to the dial-in with a 9.569/146 and leaving Steve Ashby down at number thirty with a breakout 9.473/149.
The final still had number one qualifier Andy Burfitt in as he faced Chris Jones. Jones managed a better leave on the tree and a 9.851/144 was all that was required as Burfitt chased hard to record a runner up place with a 9.654/130.
Supertwin Top Fuel Bike unfortunately became a one man show as other competitors no showed or broke leaving Shawn Rodman to solo to a 9.883/136 win.
Supertwin Top Gas Bike was led by Chris Mott’s 1620cc V-Rod with a 9.258/140 well ahead of the others in the class. The final came down to a run off between Chris Mott and Chris Stebbings but a red light in Stebbings gave the result to Chris Mott in a 10.450/130 to the illegal 9.830/128.
Supertwin ET Bike had usual SPRC track man doing race duty this weekend and it proved well as he qualified top of the pile with a 10.107/136 on his Suzuki TL ahead on the nine runners.
It was in the final that Hackney’s luck went away, he failed to catch Peter Harrison’s Ducati, and the 9.983/140 was beaten across the stripe by the 12.153/111.
Report © Roger Gorringe. www.eurodragster.com. June 2007. Photos by DJ.
Presentation Photos © Andy Willsheer
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