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The minute's silence for Paul Willis this morning was immaculately observed and the Pro Stock Bike racers lined up with their bikes on the start line in a touching tribute. We'll all miss you, Paul.
It was a real race against time to get finished this afternoon and just as we got into the finals, Dave Bartz oiled the length of the track with his Supertwin Modified bike. The track crew leapt into action and cleaned the track in record time, only for another incident to occur in the final of Super Gas as Pete Creswell got out of shape and tagged the guardrail at the top end. Pete with extraordinary presence of mind pulled his chute and got straight, saving the car and doubtless preventing a much worse accident.
The final of Fuel Funny Car was contested by John Spuffard on a solo as the North Herts Engineering FC had spun a bearing and blackened a crank preventing Gary Page making the call. Spuff hit tyre shake on the hit and got off the throttle to clock 11.353/75.13.
The third/fourth place FC run-off didn't take place as both Gordon Smith and Smax Smith had trashed their engines.
The final of Top Methanol was win by Rob Turner over Lex Joon. The cars left the line together but Lex started to drift and then took out the eighth-mile reflectors, crossing the centre line and disqualifying himself. Rob clocked a great 5.813/239.36 to Lex's 8.049/113.64 effort.
Fuel Funny Car: John Spuffard 11.353/75.13 was unopposed
Top Methanol: Rob Turner 5.813/239.36 def. Lex Joon 8.049/113.64 DQ
Super Pro ET: Barry Giles 7.852/165.44 (7.80) def. Martyn Jones 7.600/157.89 (7.58) red light
Pro ET: Bob Doyle 11.488/95.74 (10.90) def. Carla Pitau 10.771/129.31 red light
Sportsman ET: Al Platt 13.657/103.93 (13.50) def. Chris Newsam broke
Super Comp (8.90): Martin Curbishley 8.900/146.58 def. Tim Adam 8.955/148.03
Super Gas (9.90): Pete Creswell 10.142/124.65 def. Frank Mason 9.891/137.20 TO BE CONFIRMED
Super Street (10.90): Dave Cherrett 10.900/110.29 def. Leigh Morris 10.991/124.31 red light
Junior Dragster: Holley Glassup 8.854/70.75 (8.60) def. Ronan Heatley-Smith 14.505/42.29 (14.50)
Super Modified: Graham Ellis 7.995/173.08 def. Andy Hone 8.421/155.71
Custom Car Street Eliminator: Steve Neimantas 8.921/156.25 def. Steve Pateman 9.047/163.64
Outlaw Anglia: Rob Stone staged for win, was unopposed
Wild Bunch: Ed Yates 10.197/126.40 (10.14) def. Mark Coulsell broke
Top Fuel Bike: Steve Woollatt 6.795/201.79, was unopposed
Pro Stock Bike: Helen Curran 8.206/148.03 def. Martin Bishop broke
Funny Bike: Neil Midgley 19.029/29.88 def. Tim Blakemore broke
Comp Bike: Phil Leamon 8.917/152.03 def. Chris Hannam 10.173/138.89
Super Street Bike: Tony Clark 8.656/166.05 def. Karl Larcombe 8.788/157.89
9.90 Bike: Jamie Sneddon 9.971/130.43 def. Ian Warren 10.194/138.46
10.90 Bike: Darren Winnard 10.873/128.94 def. David Warren broke
Supertwin Gas: Ric Davies 9.837/128.21 def. Sefton Whitlock 9.990/122.62
Supertwin Modified: Nigel Mason 10.761/130.06 def. Dave Bartz 22.009/30.47
Supertwin Street: Les Harris 11.416/123.97 def. John O'Sullivan 12.369/104.17
That's the end of our coverage of the Super Series Springnationals, thanks for staying with us and apologies for the disrupted service due to the phone problems. A huge Thank You to Wayne, Simon and Ozzy of the Tech Crew for going out of their way to try to help with the phone line but circumstances were against us.
Thanks for their help this weekend to: Wayne, Simon and Ozzy of the tech crew; Race Director Richard Warburton; Chief Starter Scott Talbot; all the APIRA race officials; Bruno and the FAST team; Tina Gibbs; APIRA Press Officer Jerry Cookson; track announcer John Price; Tracy in the media centre; Dave Alexander; Jon Cross; Jim Broome; Geoff Martin; Mark Pointer and Sharon; Lex Joon and Gerda Dijkstra; the Showtime Fuel FC team; and the American Car Imports Racing TMD team.
Our next event coverage will be from the Speedfreaks Ball at Santa Pod Raceway; our next live coverage from Shakespeare County Raceway will be the Midsummer Nationals in mid-June.
This weekend's coverage was brought to you in asssociation with American Car Imports.
The second round of Top Methanol had its dramatic moments and went as follows:
Rob Turner 5.910/234.38 bye
A very consistent pass for Rob, within three thousandths of his previous run. Not a sign of tyre shake on the concrete/asphalt transition.
Lex Joon 7.267/142.41 def. Dave Wilson NTR
Great burnouts from both racers and then Dave Wilson's engine fell silent and he was pushed back leaking fluid onto the track. Then the photographers at trackside started to notice pieces of aluminium on the track and by the guardrail, which proved to be warm when we picked them up - looked like piston and con rod parts. Lex took the solo, drifting towards the centre line, pedalling then getting off it.
Turner v Joon in the final, then, with Turner taking lane choice.
The first round of Fuel Funny Car went as follows:
John Spuffard 5.486/254.24 def. Smax Smith 12.659/43.77
It's not the warmest day here and we wouldn't have been at all surprised if every Fuel FC on the facility blew the tyres away but that's not what happened. Great burnouts from both racers then Spuff was up and gone on the green, blacktracking from half-track to the finish line and setting a new track ET record. Smax launched strongly but was off the throttle at about 300 feet. Smax's blower belt shredded and the FC left a fine mist of oil on the track.
Gary Page 6.264/200.00 def. Gordon Smith NTR
The North Herts Engineering FC left very strongly and went straight down the track, Gary off the throttle just before the finish line. There was a flash of flame from Gordon's engine off the start line and the car trailed smoke down the track, both chutes deploying at half track and Gordon stopping at about 1200 feet. Gordon came back to the start line and told us that the engine had blown to pieces. The Shockwave team have a spare and Gordon said that they may try to fit it for the third/fourth place run off.
Congratulations to Super Pro ET racer Mick Cheley who won the Eurodragster.com Perfect Light Award with a 0.500 in the first round of Super Pro ET eliminations.
We've had the first round of Top Methanol and this is how it went:
Lex Joon 6.164/234.38 def. Steph Milam 8.991/89.82
Lex's crew were worried about getting the power to what is a very cold track and a very cold day. Lex had nothing to worry about since the car stuck to the track and recorded a new TM track speed record. Steph was off the throttle at half-track, stabbed it once more, then backed off.
Rob Turner 5.913/233.16 def. Doug Bond 8.727/98.68
Doug went into this race with last year's engine and set-up and put up a good showing off the start line, backing off at about half-track. Rob stuck to the track and went arrow-straight.
Dave Wilson 5.987/240.64 bye
A superb pass from Dave with the replacement engine in the car. One brief pedal at about 200 feet and still into the fives and over 240. In these conditions you have to take your hat off to the Top Methanol guys.
It's Joon v Wilson and a bye for Turner in round two.
Good morning and welcome from Shakespeare County Raceway on a chilly, overcast but dry day. It's race day and we're here to bring you all the action in association with American Car Imports.
Our usual raceday greetings to Ed O'Connell and Kathy Hileman in Rye, USA, and to Steve and Jacky Young whom we know are tuned in.
We still have problems with the phone lines so we will bring you all of the results and highlights at the end of today and then the pictures will be posted later on tonight or first thing tomorrow.
Just before we go, a few brief notes from the pits.
Pro ET racer Dave Potter gave us the inside view on Saturday's crash. "It was a very strong sixty foot", he said. "I didn't know anything was wrong until the car suddenly turned left. I saw Steve Wells in the other lane and steered to avoid him. Then car went hard right, and you know what it's like when you know what's going to happen, it all went quiet...until I hit the barrier!".
Steve Neimantas is now #1 qualifier in Custom Car Street Eliminator. Previous #1 John Sleath has suffered engine damage and so has gone home. Championship co-ordinator Lee Child tells us that everyone else made the cruise last night.
The Shell Racing TMD is back in action after its engine became a V6 on Saturday. Doug Bond, Martyn Hannis and the crew have put last year's engine and set-up back in the car. "We've taken all the bits back home and we'll see what we can repair", said Doug of the engine which was wrecked on Saturday.
Pro ET racer Carla Pitau is back in the seat of the Heaven and Hell Camaro this weekend after testing at the APIRA Test and Tune a couple of weeks back. Carla celebrated her return to the wheel with #1 qualifier. This got her a bye in yesterday's first round of eliminations, which she told us was just as well. "I got a lot of wheelspin on that run", said Carla. "We'll have to investigate why that was. But I am very confident in the car."
The Showtime Fuel FC is running with the Pontiac Firebird body and a new engine today. Crew Chief Bob Jarrett told us that #2 cylinder went lean and the piston melted, debris got into an intake valve and the engine backfired. The burst panel blew and the backfire blew the front of the body off. Bob said that yesterday's exceptional air quality probably contributed to the cylinder running lean.
Smax Smith says that everything is going to plan in his newly-repainted FC. "I didn't have an issue with being bulbed yesterday, I did take a long time", he said. Smax's two passes yesterday caused no damage at all. "My second run yesterday was the hardest thing I have had to do in my life, backing off when I was in front!", he said.
North Herts Fuel FC owner Mark Hawkins was very happy indeed with Gary Page's 6.037 yesterday. "We thought it might run a five, but next run!", he said. "We put in more fuel pump overdrive and more nitro". Mark said that Gary was doing a good job of driving the FC. "Gary done good - but they just get in and drive though!".
Stay tuned and we'll be back with news from eliminations.