Super Series 1
Saturday (qualifying)

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21:40

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Thanks to Simon of the tech crew who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to give us the current qualifying standings. Here are the top two qualifier in each class:

Top Methanol Dragster: 1. Rob Turner 6.333/190.68, 2. Doug Bond 6.381/209.30
Super Pro ET (own dial-in): 1. Steve Green +0.017 (8.737/154.11), 2. Nick Stephenson +0.024 (8.674/160.14)
Pro ET (own dial-in): 1. Simon Farmer +0.000 (9.870/136.78), 2. Malcolm Motler +0.013 (11.043/117.49)
Sportsman ET (own dial-in): 1. Rick Denny +0.014 (13.564/97.83), 2. Gareth Mogford +0.022 (12.572/109.22)
Super Comp (8.90): 1. Tim Adam 9.087/147.06, 2. Shaun Lathan 9.106/147.54
Super Gas (9.90): 1. Dave Townsend 9.935/135.14, 2. Frank Mason 9.948/136.36
Super Street (10.90): 1. Bob Doignie 10.901/119.05, 2. Dave Cherrett 10.904/112.50
Custom Car Street Eliminator: 1. Steve Nash 9.286/155.71, 2. Jeff Meads 9.367/147.06
Super Street Rover (11.00): 1. Adie Thorpe 12.151/119.68, 2. Steve Law 13.211/111.94
Wild Bunch (own dial-in): 1. Colin Aldred +0.053 (10.953/120.32), 2. Peter Yates +0.059 (10.539/125.35)
Junior Dragster (reaction time): 1. Joe Bond 0.511, 2. Katie Gibbs 0.524

Top Fuel Bike: 1. Steve Woollatt 7.163/193.97, 2. Ian King 17.868/29.18
Funny Bike: 1. Chris Hannam 7.647/165.44, 2. Neil Diggens 7.726/164.84
Pro Stock Bike: 1. Dave Beck 7.654/167.29, 2. Martin Bishop 8.130/160.71
Competition Bike: 1. Helen Curran 8.427/147.06, 2. Andy Newcombe 8.877/154.64
Super Street Bike: 1. Tony Clark 8.533/170.45, 2. Dave Bailey 8.703/164.23
9.90 Bike: 1. SB603 9.963/121.29, 2. Paul Watson 9.968/135.95
10.90 Bike: 1. Dave Stanley 10.910/121.29, 2. Ady Reade 10.964/119.68
Supertwin Fuel: 1. John Williamson 9.848/104.90, 2. Dave Witts 10.428/134.73
Supertwin Gas: 1. Jerry Collier 9.784/128.94, 2. Ric Davis 10.107/124.65
Supertwin Modified: 1. Dave Bartz 10.636/136.36, 2. Simon Hodgson 11.005/126.76
Supertwin Street: 1. Les Harris 11.352/121.95, 2. Brian Udall 11.590/114.21

So that's the end of day one of qualifying here at Shakespeare County Raceway; tune in tomorrow for day two of Super Series 1.

18:30

We were going great guns until an oildown or two and then a self-destructing Supertwin Fuel engine put us way behind. The curfew kicked in at 6:00 so we lost Funny Bike, Custom Car Street Eliminator, half of Pro Stock Bike and the second round of Top Methanol qualifying. We understand that Top Methanol is going to be one of the first classes on track tomorrow to try to ensure that they get their remaining three sessions.

In four-wheeled highlights, Bob Doignie took the Super Street lead away from Dave Cherrett at 10.901, whilst Paula Atkin smashed into the sevens with a 7.775, unfortunately on a 7.85 dial-in but the team didn't look too bothered! Fay Fischer ran 7.99 on a 7.98 dial-in in Super Pro; also in Super Pro, Nick Stephenson took the wildest ride of the day in his 'Vette, skating all over his lane and almost paying Mick Cheley a visit at the top end, a very close thing.

On two wheels, Tony Clark consolidated his lead in Super Street Bike with a great 8.613, whilst Steve Venables got into the eights with a pass of 8.995 and Dave Bailey smashed his way into the eights with an effortless-looking 8.703. Dave Beck got in a pass on his Pro Stock Bike before the shutdown, stamping his mark on the number one spot at 7.654/167.29.

Simon the the tech crew is going to run us off the current qualifying standings, and we're working on today's pictures, so stay tuned as there's a lot more to come yet.

16:30

The first (of two) Top Methanol qualifying session was action-packed. The first pairing was between Dave Wilson and Doug Bond. Dave pulled his customary butnout to about 100 feet, rolling to 300 feet before backing up. Doug Bond pulled what started as a languid burnout but then the revs suddenly shot up, no problem apparent though. On the green Dave Wilson was out of the hole very quickly but hit vicious tyre shake just as he passed the Tree. The shake dropped one of the parachutes and Dave was on the throttle against the chute, eventually getting off it as the chute pulled the car out of shape, recording 9.056/66.37. Meanwhie Doug was on a straight run, off it slightly before the finish line to record a solid 6.381/209.30.

Rob Turner was next up, on a solo. Rob pulled a nice burnout and on the green hooked up very nicely, shooting across the concrete/asphalt interface. Towards half-track the car started to skate, Rob pedalled at the same time as he pulled it straight, eventually getting off it but still going into number one spot at 6.333/190.68. Lyndsay Deuchar went next on his return to competition; we werren't sure exactly how far he was going to run under power but he stayed on it to half-track when there was a bang and an ominous cloud of smoke. Lyndsay recorded 7.199/115.68 although he was clocked at 163 mph at half-track.

Wendy Baker made her second observed run, a solid burnout followed by a gentle launch and then on and off the throttle to record 8.523/104.90. Darryl Bradford didn't appear although he told us that there were only a couple of niggling problems to sort out and that he would be there for the next qualifier.

Tim Adam now leads both Super Comp and Super Gas, his pass of 9.953 giving him the double-header at present.

On two wheels, Steve Woollatt went up in smoke off the line, his 8.121/182.93 showing just how much time was lost to the dreaded wheelspin. Cannon consolidated his lead in Funny Bike with a 7.647/165.44 although we were surprised when the time came up since it looked a lot faster than that. Steve French joined the wild ride club with his latest qualifer; the bike was pulling to the right and Steve was fighting it, but as he was on a solo run he eventually let the bike get its own way and drifted into the other lane and then straightened it out.

Dave Beck has taken over the lead in Pro Stock Bike at 7.964/168.54; Chris Hope broke another chain off the line whilst Martin Bishop improved to an 8.130/160.71. Alan Cook clocked 8.746/151, still getting used to his Pro Stock Bike.

Turbo Tim Boutle has done the first part of the job in his quest to set a new world record for a 650 CX Turbo, clocking 11.128/130.43. It looked effortless so the back-up should be a formality.

No change in the top CCSE standings although John Sleath is quicky getting back to form with a great pass of 9.694/148.20. Steve Pateman pulled out of the queue in the fire up road, here's hoping that it's nothing serious.

We're now about half way through today's last qualifying cycle. Another Top Methanol session is scheduled at the end of today so stay with us and we'll bring you more news later.

13:45

We've just finished the first cycle of qualifying here at Shakespeare County Raceway; we've had a few minor delays for oil and stranded vehicles, but nothing serious.

First casualty of the day was Keith Charman whose Rainbow Racing dragster appeared to blow a burst panel. As he left the line, one wheel went up in smoke whilst the other hooked up, Keith stayed on it as the revs climbed and eventually came the inevitable bang.

The next casualty was the top end scoreboards which went out for a short while, so we didn't get all of the times and speeds during those classes which ran whilst ther were out, but here's what we got.

Tim Adam was the only Super Comp racer to appear in the first session, and so leads with a 9.22. His crew chief (this wekened) Nick Davies told us that one of his cardinal rules is that you never miss a session. "You don't know if it's going to rain, and you get an extra run's worth of data", he explained. Super Comp are currently near the front of the queue for their second session and there is a large contingent waiting this time including the PT Bruiser, Jon Hogarth's 'Vette, and Shaun Lathan's Calibra which up until now has run in Super Gas.

Joe Bond leads Junior Dragster after two sessions with a reaction time of 0.511. Supertwin Gas is led by Jerry Collier at 9.93.

Steve Law took a very wild ride, even by his standards, in his Super Street Rover Escort. The car was all over its lane and Steve did a great job of keeping in in the road. Super Gas is led by Dave Townsend at 10.195 although Frank Mason came very close indeed at 9.896, breaking out by a mere four thounsandths.

Malcolm Motler currently leads Pro ET with a pass of 11.043 on an 11.03 dial-in, although Team Top Banana are only just behind him at 10.914 on a 10.90 dial-in - it doesn't get much closer than that. Super Pro is currently led by Martyn Jones at 7.638 on a 7.60 dial-in.

On two wheels, Tony Clark leads Super Street Bike with an excellent 8.533/170.45. Competition Bike is led by Helen Curran at 8.427/147.06, a nice straight pass which presages even quicker times since there was a problem with the transmission on the pass. Ken Cooper tells us that the aim is for Helen to be the first woman into the sevens in the UK. On the subject of Ken Cooper, he put in a normally-aspirated checkout pass on his newly-repaired Pro Mod Bike, a steady 9.301/134.73. Nitrous is planned to be added on the next pass.

Pro Stock Bike was a session of attrition. The usual two class of the field, Chris Hope and Dave Beck, both broke off the line, Chris with a broken chain and Dave with some other problem. Martin Bishop currently leads PSB at 8.149/159.57.

Funny Bike also saw a lot of breakages. Steve French had a ride and a half when his front wheel came down off-centre and the bike developed an evil twitch. Steve's experience paid off as he got off the throttle and straightned things out. Chris Hannam currently leads at 7.828/148.51.

Top Fuel Bike is led by Steve Woollatt at 7.163/193.97. Sharkman who was at the top end tells me that Steve had a "moment" at half-track. From the start line it appeared that the trouble started when the front wheel touched down; Shrakman said that Steve really had his hands full but nevertheless rode it out of the back door. Ian King had a very strong launch indeed but was off it at about sixty feet. It wasn't clear whether it was a planned squirt; Ian clocked 17.868/29.18 but he is qualified at least.

Custom Car Street Eliminator is close-fought with two of the top three qualifiers running identical terminal speeds. Steve Nash leads at 9.286/155.71, Jeff Meads not far behind at 9.367/147.06, and Steve Pateman is third at 9.644/155.71. That's not the whole story though, Jeff Meads was on and off the throttle on his pass and was feathering it at the finish line.

Dave Cherrett leads Super Street at 10.904, a picture-perfect pass. Tim Adam leads still leads Super Comp after the second session, with a pass of 9.087, Shaun Lathan is not far behind on his first ever SC qaulifying pass, a great run of 9.106. Paul Marston put in his final observed run in the PT Bruiser. This is meant to be representative of the class performance and Paul did the business, although just breaking out at 8.891/149.01.

We're well into the second cycle of qualifying now; Top Methanol is due within the hour, stay tuned and we'll be back with more of the action.

09:40

As promised we have grabbed a word with Funny Bike racer Ken Cooper. He told us that he is fine in himself, still a little sore but ready to race. Ken says a big thanks to Andy Robinson at Robinson Race Cars for fixing his bike so well and so quickly.

09:00

Good morning and welcome from Shakespeare County Raceway on a glorious morning. There's not a cloud in the sky, no breeze, warm, what more could you want. Perfect drag racing weather! The track looks just great, the pits are full, and we're fair set for a great weekend's racing.

We got here yesterday afternoon as racers were arriving and setting up; we took a walk around and here's what we found out.

Top Methanol Dragster racer Lyndsay Deuchar is back out for the first time since last year's Main Event. He's been through a rough time in the intervening months, at one point considering retirement and then after the decision to carry on suffering problems with spares such as his new block being bored to the wrong size. And the woes kept on coming right up to this race with the discovery that the front end of his crank was incorrectly bored, and a large number of a batch of new rods being out of alignment. "They were 14 thousandths out", said Lyndsay. "I've made do the best I can, the engine is on makeshift settings. It's not where we want to be, but it will be OK. We'll be treating this weekend as a test and tune, just checking that everything is alright. I won't be doing any Maltese sixty-foot passes!"

Nearby in the Top Methanol pits, the adornment in Wendy Baker's Krypton pit has gone one further. If you were tuned in for our Thunderball coverage you will remember that Wendy placed a row of potted plants between her pit and that of Nemesis team-mate Dave Wilson; at this event the plants have been joined by a standard lamp - we'll publish a picture later on. Gnomes or a water feature have been mooted for the Main Event.

The Nemesis crew had a bad start to their weekend when the truck broke down on the way to the track, and on arrival at the track they discovered that their generator is playing up. The lights over the pit were going off and on in time with the engine note of the generator. For those who keep track of such things, the engine in the car this weekend is Zippy. "Bungle is not finished yet", said crew chief Andy Bissett. "We have all the parts but the new block is still on its way - we'll have two complete engines at the Main Event". Driver Dave Wilson is on treble duty this weekend; his son David who normally does the clutch and top end is away this weekend so Dave is doing these jobs in addition to driving. "We didn't hurt anything at the Thunderball", said Dave. "It's got some new clutch plates in it because the others were wearing out. We'll start it up in the morning and check everything out."

Paula Atkin has moved from Super Comp to Super Pro ET with her Rapid Fit-sponsored Ford 100E. This is her first appearance this season having sorted out various gremlins. "Clive Bond has completely rewired the car", said Paula's husband and crew chief Stan. "We also had problems with the fuel system. We've changed quite a lot so we're back on the learning curve. We want to take it nice and easy and have a relaxing weekend and enjoy ourselves - if you stop enjoying it then you should stop doing it". Stan said that the team will be aiming for a dial-in around 7.75 to 7.80, whilst Paula was worried about the switch to a Sportsman Tree. "I call them Hickory Dickory Dock lights", she said. Paula also told us that BTCC star Anthony Reid will be driving the 100E at the Main Event Press Day: you may remember that he had a go in the car at a Ford Rapid Fit press day over the closed season, and was promised a drive at a drag strip this year. Paula and Stan have also been raising money for charity, helping a workmate who ran the London Marathon for an autism charity by selling raffle tickets for a ride-along at 5 a time. The draw was held yesterday - if you had ticket number 50, you've won!

The Shockwave Fuel FC team were beavering away on the car yesterday afternoon, preparing it for a blower borrowed from Smax Smith. "We slightly damaged our blower at the Thunderball", said driver Gordon Smith. "The new parts came from the USA and they turned out to be wrong, so we've had to borrow a blower to get us through this weekend. It was used by Alan Jackson when he owned Smax's car, so it has a proven record. It throws the combination out a bit but we should be OK, I have high hopes for this weekend". Shockwave has been on display all week at a motor components trade show at the NEC, flying the flag for sponsors Autolite Bendix who are featuring the FC in a three-month promotion. "We have representatives from Autolite coming along this weekend", said Gordon. The FC also suffered mag damage at the Thunderball, but it was quickly repaired. "We are very grateful to Tom at Carillo who arranged for the mag to be rushed through, we got it back very quicky indeed" said crew chief Dave Bryant. Gordon won't forget one of his Thunderball passes in a hurry. Not only did he run down both out edges of his lane, eventually crossing the centre line, but he couldn't shut the fuel off. "It wasn't very pleasant for me", said Gordon, "I was sitting there hanging on to the fuel shut-off. It probably only took the emergency crews a few seconds to get to me, but it seemed an age."

We went to the Custom Car Street Eliminator pits to visit Ian Hook, who has had a mad thrash since the last race after suffering engine damage. Unfortunately the Fat Boys couldn't talk to us as they were eating.

Top Fuel Bike racer Steve Woollatt looks a lot healthier this weekend. At the Thunderball he had an abscess under a tooth which was not only agonising, but his swollen face left it difficult to see out of one eye. "I wanted to go in the left lane so that I could actually see the Tree", said Steve. "So of course I put him in the other lane!" said fellow TFB racer Ian King.

Funny Bike racer Chris 'Cannon' Hannam has taken a fair bit of ribbing after disqualifying himself on a bye run at the Thunderball, leaving before the lights ran. But he had some words of warning for his colleagues. "I beat myself", he said, "but the day I start drag racing then everyone else will start losing!".

Fellow Funny Bike racer Chris Hall has painted his new bike in red, black and silver, and very nice it looks too - we will publish a photograph later. He has cured the first-race gremlins which affected his weekend at the Thunderball, and has added a new jacket for his Nitrous bottle which was thrown together at the last minute using some material which was destined to stuff a teddy bear! Chris got some value out of the Thunderball even though he had problems. "The most important thing with a new bike is to discover which direction it wants to go in", he said, "two seventeen-second runs were heaven!".

Some very welcome news in Funny Bike is the return of Ken Cooper and his Pro Mod Bike, from which he parted company at 163 mph at the Thunderball. The Cooperised team had not arrived when we walked around the pits yesterday, we will try to grab a word with Ken today.

Junior Dragster racer Ricky Emms couldn't stop his Junior Modified Dragster from going too quickly at the APIRA Test and Tune a couple of weekends back; dad Chris explained. "No-one believed that we couldn't slow it down, but as we were backing it off the air was getting better!". Ricky's car is on display this weekend since he is not quite old enough to drive a JM, and the Cool Green Racing team have been putting in a lot of work to promote the sport elsewhere. "We're going to take the car to as many National Street Rod Association events as we can", said Chris, "and also to Run What You Brungs". Chris' company Suresafe Training Services are also putting up 50, a trophy, and a bottle of bubbly for the best appearing team at every Super Series round this season.

One of the more intriguing entries this weekend is a small rear-engined dragster which is running in the Wild Bunch. Peter Watkins' Small Time rail has a 2.9-litre engine from a Ford Scorpio topped by a Jaguar supercharger. Only marginally bigger than a Junior Dragster, the car weighs in at 747 pounds without the driver, and ran a 10.8 at the APIRA Test and Tune even though the supercharger seized at half track. We'll keep an eye out this weekend and let you know how Peter gets on.

Also on the subject of the Wild Bunch, we hear that the nostalgia racers have signed a sponsorship deal with Real Steel. We'll get some more news on this and bring you details over the weekend.

Qualifying commences at 10:00 this morning with three complete cycles scheduled for Sportsman classes, and two sessions for Top Methanol. Tune back later and we'll bring you the latest qualifying news.


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