2009 UK National Finals
Saturday


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Latest update: 21:15

Funny Bike racer Dave Holland had to get seven helpers turn his bike over for him to work on the bottom end.

Top Methanol Dragster racer Dave Wilson said "Sooner or later I might get it right. The no.1 piston burnt in the first session and smoked in the second session. We are testing for next year. We went to the US last two years to find out about A/Fuel but still need to decide this year."

Top Methanol Funny Car racer Steph Milam with husband Dave fitting a borrowed mag from Eurodragster.com sponsor Andy Robinson. "On the first pass the two step failed then on the second the ignition had problems on the burnout and it lost fire", said Steph who has been working flat out on the car over the last two weeks.

Nostalgia Fuel Altered pilot John Wright's team has suffered bad luck even before the meeting. Clutch discs found their way to Beirut rather than the UK and were picked up this morning. Then on the first run eight pistons, liners and the clutch needed to be replaced. "At least there was no hole in the block", said team member Tony Pearson. John said "We have tipped the balance with new water and fuel pumps which have caused the car to be more aggressive, so we will probably have to go back to a four disc clutch rather than three. We are testing and that includes my patience."

Pro Mod racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Andy Robinson ran a PB of 6.05/235 but suffered this damage when a crank broke and parts of it were lodged in a rod that also had broken. Earlier he said "It was good to run a PB after our disappointment at the Euro Finals and shows perhaps we are not as far behind Mats as we thought." Andy has a busy winter with new builds and repairs for fellow Pro Mod racers Marc Mehuizen and David Vegter.

Funny Bike racer Dave Bailey suffered a fire near the start line when inlet valves did not seat properly. "There was no problem apart from the heads and some wiring and we will be back out tomorrow. This is the seventh run we have made and something has gone wrong on each one."

Comp Bike racer Nick Daniels shows the broken main shaft in his turbo which happened in the first session. "We rebuilt it after I went back to Leicester to get our spare turbo but ran out of time as the race was running ahead of schedule.

Comp Bike racer Dave Peters said "I had clutch problems as it ran 131 at the eighth and only 135 at the quarter. Ivan Birch helped us set it up and it had been brilliant but was slipping down the track." The nitrous turbo machine has PB times of 7.39/187.

Super Street Bike racer Steve Venables ran a 7.53, good for fourth spot. "The championship is between Rich Stubbins, Graham Balchin, Dave Smith and me. I have changed some things such as running Michelin tyres which have better durability than M/T and in the US ran a 7.18 after 59 passes. But let's see how they fare on a cold track."

Super Street Bike racer Thomas Granica, pictured with brother and crew chief Peter, was delighted with a new PB of 7.78. "Dave Smith helped me solve the cluch problems from Hockenheim and I ran a 60ft time of 1.3. The 7.7 was with a 1.4 60ft time so I think we can run a 7.6 this weekend. We get a really great welcome here, the track is fantastic and the staff work so hard."

9.50 bike racer Steve Ashby has been racing for 28 years in bikes. "I've had this Suzuki GSX for nine years with paint by Devilised Paintworks a couple of years ago. It has turbo and nitrous but only use the nitrous in eliminations where it can be useful if I have a bad start. I might enter 8.50 Bike at the Extreme Bike Weekend depending on how I do tomorrow." Steve thanks Dave Dunlop for his help with the engine.

9.50 bike racer Shaun Spiers has missed some events this year after the arrival of a baby in the family. Today he was back in the zone running close to the index after a change from Shinko tyres to Michelin Power One tyres. "We had to repair the undertray which got damaged from heat."

Super Street Bike racer Nigel Barker wheelied his way to an 8.04 best today. "I bought the bike recently from Brad O'Connor as part exchange recently and have run a best of 7.93 after changing the front wheel. The bike is a lot quicker and I will be looking to take out boost in second and third to keep the wheel on the track." Nigel's crew chief is Dave "Diesel".

Supertwin ET racer John Munday made a return to racing this year after a break. "I started with the Wild Bunch in 1998 and raced a couple of slingshots. I had a chance recently to drive Ramraider which I was involved in the building of. I built an altered but it was getting too expensive, so I sold it to Gareth Kent. I wanted to ride a bike as I don't have a road licence for one. The bike which is for sale is from 2001 and has been MOT'd and can be used as a road bike as I may go back to cars."

Supertwin Gas racer Martin Holgate also races in the Wild Bunch and has a superb-looking bike imported from the US. "I bought it on Ebay. I used to race in Ultimate Street Bike in the mid-1980s. It was built by the late Bill Marchetti andhas had two owners in the UK neither of whom got it on the track. I did the work with Sid Slattery to get it race ready. It has run a 10.1/136. I still race the Paranoia altered and the original owner Brian Thomas came to see it run. Brian's PB was 8.7 and I ran a 9.08 at the Hot Rod Drags.

Supertwin Gas racer Don Irvine is emigrating back to his country of birth New Zealand later this year. "We went on a holiday there last year and though why not? There is a laid back lifestyle and we will be living near a motor sports complex and drag strip. I will take the bike there in a container."

Supertwin Gas racer Les Harris said "I had a leak from the clutch master cylinder on the start. It had failed and thanks to Steve Venables for lending us a spare which meant we were able to qualify with a 9.9. Les is selling copies of his 2010 calendar with some great bike shots.

Pro Mod racer Graham Ellis was a bit despondent when extended downtime resulted in his third pass being on a colder than anticipated track. "We also changed fuel pump and that results in other things having to be changed. We wanted to run 6.2s without being in the danger zone. It's too late to be playing with the clutch in the pairing lanes." Graham is happy with the outcome of the championships. "We have secured runner-up in the UK championship and when you look at which racers were lower placed than myself in the FIA championship, we haven't had a bad year. I guess we will do the FIA tour next year if God permits. The crew's wives will be ecstatic."

Pro Mod racer Bert Englefield said "We are missing crewman Rob Chilton - where are you Rob?" The absence did not harm Bert's performance as he ran a 6.48, suffering only one cracked cylinder liner, causing him to miss the second session.

Top Fuel Bike racer Steve Woollatt has been working with the clutch this weekend. "That's really what we need to improve on to go quick", he said moments before a 6.49/212.

Super Comp and Super Gas rookie Dave Rapier is starting his new drag racing career with a proven car, the Corvette previously campaigned by multiple champion Frank Mason. He said "My first visit here was in the mid 1960s and I ran street cars in the 1980s. The car was set up superbly by Frank who went quite over the top in labelling everything and changing some parts he wasn't quite happy with. I will run both classes to get more track time but at this stage even the logistics of getting the car here are all new to me." Dave works at Cole Mechanical which maintains hydraulic equipment.

The Morrice Boys are double entered with Collin in Super Comp and Stuart in Super Gas. Collin said "The engine was destroyed earlier in the year and we had a new Jeff Bull unit in at the Euro Finals. Stuart qualified first and I was fourth. We will continue in 2010 with the same combination." Malcolm Francis of Eurodragster.com sponsor Air Sea Logistics who is a sponsor of the Morrice Boys is hoping to get back to the track in 2011 following the arrival of a new baby.

Top Methanol racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor and blogger Derek Flynn, pictured with crew chief Gary Jenkins, said "We have put in a new crankshaft bought from Mark Niver since the old one became bent at the Euro Finals. The new crank in turn needed other realignment of engine parts to fit." A 5.541/221 qualifying effort saw another bearing damaged which will be repaired by the team in time for round one of eliminations tomorrow. Derek said "We're travelling to Las Vegas to race in Larry Miersch's injected-nitro Top Alcohol car in four weeks' time and Gary will joing us at Pomona." For further details of the Gold RV/Miersch Industries Battery Pack Tour, see our 21st September news update.

Constructor Kev Cerasale built this beautiful Brogie Roadster himself over a period of eight years and is planning to race the car in Super Pro ET next year. He said "I built it between doing work for customers. It's the first time I will be racing so I have asked Paul Atkin to shake it down this event", he said. "The body is the last one that the late Warren Brogie produced and I have modified it including placing slots in the front wing. The engine is a naturally aspirated SBC with single four barrel carb. Paula ran an arrow-straight 9.3 on the car's maiden pass and is looking forward to bringing out her Mustang with a new 650cu in Shotgun engine.

Super Pro ET racer Sandro Bellio has this '55 Chevy Funny Car this weekend. "I first ran it at Drachten this year," said Sandro, whose role on the FIA European tour is crew chief for dad Danny. "The car broke traction after 60ft and I lifted", he said after the initial pass. "We would like to run a six with the car and the BBC 500cu in engine with 8/71 supercharger produces 1500hp to do that." The car, previously owned by Frank Knokje, has run a best of 7.0 in the US.

Super Pro ET racer Karl Harrison is also running a Funny Car. A new PB of 7.28/166 with the chutes out early showed the car's potential. "We had some rocker and pushrod damage, but will put it all back together and come out later." Happy Birthday to Natasha, Karl's girlfriend, whose birthday it is today.

Super Pro ET racer Brendan Clancy had a bit of a wild ride in the left lane against Karl Harrison. "We had tyre shake and the car made a hard turn to the right", he said. "I hung on and the car went left and away from the Christmas tree. The car is making a really hard launch even with a mild tune-up. Overall everything is falling into place though and the car picked up half a second at the last meeting." Brendan has a lot of high tech equipment including a new ECU on the 3D injectors which gives a lot of data, BigStuff3 digital injection with separate data, and data for the chassis which has electronic shocks.

Super Pro ET champion John Everitt and his team. John has over a thousand passes under his belt and this is his first national championship. "I cannot say enough about Kirstie Tramm who has chosen my dial-ins, and Nigel Turner, who has spotted all the mechanical issues and solved them without fuss. It's been a good year for me as I got married to Mags as well."

Super Pro ET racer Rick Garrett has a new Nissan Skyline built by Eurodragster.com sponsors Webster Race Engineering. "I have put my Dodge B-1 engine from my red Dart into this and am looking to run a high seven with single carb normally aspirated." Rick is joined by crewmen Mick and Ryan. In only the third session he ran an 8.46 which placed him

Sportsman ET racer Nick Gay is in one of the tightest championships this year. "I am second behind Ralph Young and either of us or Spencer Tramm could get the title, and Geoff Cowley has a long shot if we go out first round. It has been close racing all year with tight qualifying." Nick has developed his Metro to run in the 13s having started in the 16s range. "I modified the body to lose weight, fitted a supercharger and then a Rover gearbox after breaking a few." The car is for sale, and plans include some modifications to the front subframe and developing a Rover V6 engine with Sprintex supercharger, which may eventually reside in an altered.

Sportsman ET racer Ralph Young is leading the championship in only his second season. "I wasn't expecting that as the racing is so close. I faced Nick three times in the final and each race was rained off until the Open Sport Nationals, which I won and with it the APIRA championship." Ralph runs the Corvette on the street at the weekend and has taken it to US car shows and rwybs. All he has to change when he arrives at the track is fit new tyres to road-legal slicks and bolt in a door bar in the Jim Smith of Cotsweld-built roll cage.

Sportsman ET racer Ian Jackson is advertising his MOT and repair business vividly on his Camaro. "I have about eight racing related customers", he said. "This will be my last race in Sportsman ET. Next year my stepson Jake Handy will be racing it in Sportsman ET and it will have a nitrous kit so that I can run in Street Eliminator - I might be Mr Slow, but at least I drive the car on the street almost every day."

Pro ET racer Rick McCann continued the sky-high wheelie tradition into the first session of qualifying and then the car disappeared in a huge clod of smoke. Rick said "We think there is bottom end damage. The car went straight through it and felt normal - I think the damage happened when I unloaded the engine. When we got back to the pits the engine still had oil pressure but we had lost an awful lot of oil through the headers. We then found some debris in the camshaft area. Unfortunately we cannot strip or fix it here and have no spare engine." Carla Pittau added "A spare engine will go on our shopping list so that we can have the pleasure of going back home to change it."

Pro ET racer Roy Walker's wife Michelle has this beautiful Plymouth Suburban as a runabout and Roy has an identically blue coloured '55 Chevy. She said "I drive it whenever I can even if the weather isn't good."

Roy Walker has been booked by announcer Colin Theobald to chauffeur his daughter to her school prom next Summer. They are bound to make an impression. You will be able to hear Colin's dulcet tones with those of Eurodragster.com News Editor Tog on the Audiorealm streamed coverage of Nitro FM.

Pro ET racer Mick Howling, who is a tutor at the Paul Marston Racing School, is pretty close to clinching the championship. "I need to qualify well and go one round, possibly two. The key has been running consistently and finding and fixing problems in time. The team dealt with the issues so that the car was able to run in virtually every round. At the Euro Finals, the gearbox broke in the semi-finals and we sent it for repair to Al's who did all the work on it and got it back to us in time. Next year we will have several cars available but I will want to defend the championship."

Is this the real Super Gas and Super Comp racer Jon Morton? The answer is surprisingly no, as the team placed a cardboard cut-out version of him on the rear of their trailer to advertise car covers, which are waterproof and cottoned lined and available in Large and XL sizes for 50 and in other sizes. In the points, Jon is leading the Super Gas championship and in second place in Super Comp

Super Mod champion Nigel Payne ran a 7.36 at the Euro Finals in Super Pro trim, which he said was at 'as near as dammit' Super Mod legal weight. But this performance came at the price of an engine blown to pieces. "We won the National and APIRA championships and wanted to run at this race to have a chance of the SPRC championship." At short notice all that was available was a Big Block Chevy that has not been started for nine years. "We will pootle it down the track for first round points and see what happens", he said. "Something I want all racers to know is having rodded the block and sump the diaper held 16 litres of oil and two gallons of cooling fluid without a drop on the track - spending $300 on a diaper could avoid having their car on its roof and my experience proves why everyone needs one." Nigel was considering a year out before the engine let go but is still in discussion with offers of help and US suppliers. Nigel is pictured with wife Sarah and children Milly and Jordan. Thanks go to main sponsor Nimbus.



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