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We have lost the phone line again here so we won't be able to post the pictures tonight. Tune back in the morning and we will let you know how we're going to play things.
Here are the top two qualifiers in each class at the end of the first day's qualifying. Many thanks to Simon Day of the timing crew for going above and beyond the call of duty to collate the data for us.
Fuel Funny Car: Gordon Smith 9.955/88.41
Top Methanol: 1. Dave Wilson 5.840/226.13, 2. Rob Turner 5.982/230.77, 3. Doug Bond 6.911/167.29, 4. Steph Milam 6.955/213.27
Super Comp (8.90): 1. Tim Adam 8.959/146.58, 2. Phil Bennett 8.963/141.96
Super Gas (9.90): 1. Pete Creswell 9.902/145.63, 2. Frank Mason 9.914/140.19
Super Street (10.90): 1. Leigh Morris 10.900/123.63, 2. Bob Lees 10.904/120.97
Super Pro ET (own dial-in): 1. Martyn Jones (7.57) 7.572/175.78, 2. Steve Johnson (7.55) 7.616/174.42
Pro ET (own dial-in): 1. Steve Dunn (9.98) 9.993/132.35, 2. Rob Faulkner (9.23) 9.252/144.69
Sportsman ET (own dial-in): 1. Darren Hulkes (12.67) 12.670/105.63, 2. SPET 176 (13.00) 13.013/109.76
Junior Dragster (reaction time): 1. Ronan Heatley-Smith 0.524, 2. Holly Mitchell 0.605
Custom Car Street Eliminator: 1. John Sleath 8.940/163.64, 2. Steve Pateman 9.115/164.84
Super Modified: 1. Danny Cockerill 7.978/173.08, 2. Rob Smallworth 7.978/172.41
Outlaw Anglia: 1. Paul Hensher 8.698/155.17, 2. Cliff Griffin 10.800/125.00
Wild Bunch (own dial-in): 1. Tony Smith (12.40) 12.422/110.84, 2. Darryl Howells (12.40) 12.426/107.91
Top Fuel Bike: Steve Woollatt 7.847/151.52
Funny Bike: 1. Neil Midgley 7.374/170.45, 2. Tim Blakemore 7.390/177.87
Pro Stock Bike: 1. Nick Pepper 7.763/174.42, 2. Martin Bishop 7.763/171.10
Comp Bike: 1. Klaus Sarembe 8.270/155.71, 2. Klaus Brinkmann 8.302/154.64
Super Street Bike: 1. Tony Clark 8.325/175.10, 2. Graham Dance 8.727/167.91
9.90 Bike: 1. Dave Hall 9.922/143.77, 2. Andy Stephens 10.015/116.888
10.90 Bike: 1. Lewis Honey 10.963/111.11, 2. Darren Winnard 10.967/126.40
Supertwin Gas: 1. Ric Davies 9.907/129.68, 2. Sefton Whitlock 9.970/127.48
Supertwin Modified: 1. Nigel Mason 10.742/134.33, 2. Tim Boutle 12.134/121.62
Supertwin Street: 1. TJ O'Brien 10.985/126.05, 2. Les Harris 11.031/125.00
Stay tuned for news of today's pictures.
It's been a busy afternoon with a few lenghty stops for oil and deconstructed engines on the track - it's been that sort of day.
Pro ET racer Dave Potter is just fine after a head-on crash in qualifying. The engine blew and put fluid under the slicks. The car turned hard left towards Steve Wells in the other lane, Dave managed to get it away from Steve and then the car turned hard right and t-boned the barrier. Dave got himself out of the car and had to be persuaded to get into the ambulance for a routine check-up.
During one of the oildowns we popped round to the American Car Imports TMD pit to see how bad the damage was. One whole corner of the block has gone, and a rod is poking through the hole. Driver Dave Wilson said that the car shook very badly indeed and that several bits and pieces fell off or came detached. He also confirmed that the car was well out of shape at the top end so he really had his hands full.
The second round of Top Methanol qualifying was contested by four racers. First up were Rob Turner and Doug Bond in their TMDs. Nice burnouts from both racers and then a clean 5.982/230.77 from Rob, whilst Doug's engine was smokeing most of the way down the track and finally gave out with a bang, Doug clocking 6.911/167.29. Doug's engine was shedding aluminium all the way down the track with small shards to pieces an inch square being found even near the start line.
The second TM pairing was between Lex Joon and Steph Milam in their TMFCs. Lex pulled a superb long burnout as promised earlier this week. Steph took it easier but on the green they both hit it hard. Lex was bllack-striping and shaking from sixty feet to about two hundred feet. He feathered the throttle and slowed to an 8.491/117.80. Steph hit shake off the line and cruised to a 15.100/21.31.
The first round of Fuel Funny Car qualifying was contested by John Spuffard and Gordon Smith. Gordon started first but seemed to have some sort of problem before pulling forward for his burnout. He backed up very quickly so Spuff was not kept hanging around. There was then a real shock as Spuff left before the lights ran and so got no time or speed. A real pity since despite pedalling once the car was really moving fast at the top end. Gordon was on the throttle for about 300 feet or less and recorded 9.955/88.41.
The second cycle of sportsman qualifying is now underway and we've just had the lead change hands in Super Street. Bob Lees consolidated his lead at 10.904 before Leigh Morris took it away at 10.900/123.63. On the next pass, Dave Cherrett clocked 10.907 so seven thousandths separate the top three.
In Supertwin Gas, a double for Jade Racing as both Sefton Whitlock and Rick Davies have run into the nines clocking 9.970/127.48 and 9.907 respectively.
Pete Creswell has just taken the lead in Super Gas with a 9.902/145.63. Phil Bennett is out of Super Comp having put a rod out on the finish line.
The timing crew will be supplying us with provisional standings at the end of qualifying today so stay tuned and we'll catch up with all the placings and action from the last runs today.
We've just finished the first cycle of qualifying here at Shakespeare County Raceway. There were a few problems with the top end displays which means that we didn't catch everything which happened but here are some highlights.
The first round of Top Methanol qualifying was contested by Dave Wilson and Steph Milam. A very nice burnout from both cars and then on the green Dave Wilson streaked away, pedalling once over the concrete/asphalt transition. The dragster got very squirrely after half-track, then smoke started to appear from the engine, Dave clocking 5.840/226.13. Meanwhile Steph in the other lane put in a nice straight pass and smashed her personal best out of sight, into the sixes and over two hundred to clock 6.955/213.27. The word then came down from the shutdown area that there was metal on the track in Dave Wilson's lane, Sharkman reporting that the bits started out small and got bigger the further you went down the track. It seems like the American Car Imports Racing team have a big job on their hands, we'll go and visit them later on and see what has happened.
Outlaw Anglia is led by Paul Hensher in the Gas Attack, like he'd never been away as he put in a straight and solid 8.698/155.17. Bob Lees put in a good showing in Super Street at 10.911, and John Sleath leads Custom Car Street Eliminator with an 8.940/163.64.
On two wheels, Pro Stock Bike is led by Martin Bishop with a 7.73/173, Funny Bike by Tim Blakemore at 7.390/177.87 and Super Street Bike by Tony Clark at 8.325/175.10. Klaus Brinkmann put in a great pass in Comp Bike at 8.302/154.64.
Super Modified is led by...guess who...Danny Cockerill at 7.93/173.08.
Steve Woollatt unveiled his newly-painted Top Fuel Bike, it looks just great! We'll post a picture later on. The bike also has a lot of new parts. Steve put in a checkout pass of 7.847/153.52, on and off the throttle, and his crew all looked very happy.
Also unveiling a new look is Chris Hope whose Pro Stock Bike has a swoopy Hayabusa body and one of the most beautiful paintjobs I think I have ever seen on a bike. Chris was on a very hard run until the engine gave out at about 1100 feet, word from the top end is that he may have put a rod out. Chris 'Cannon' Hannam's Hayabusa Comp Bike also looks very nice indeed, Cannon had the bike up on the wheelie bars more or less all the way down the track.
Come back later and we'll bring you more of the news.
We've had a few problems with phone lines this morning, updates will be sporadic but we'll do what we can.
Wild Bunch racer Mark Turton is A-OK after a top end crash in his 'Growler' Topolino altered. The car turned left just past the finish line and rolled over after a pass of 14.072/79.65. Mark was taken to the medical centre but is just fine.
In Sportsman ET, Darren Hulkes has bounced back from his Thunderball problems by qualifying with a 12.670 on a 12.67 dial-in.
Stay tuned and when qualifying resumes and we get the phone line we will bring you the latest.
Good morning and welcome from Shakespeare County Raceway for the first day of our coverage of the Springnationals, brought to you in association with American Car Imports. It's a nice day, the pits are full, and we're set for a busy day of qualifying.
We have had a couple of strolls around the pits since we got here yesterday, and we found plenty of racers to talk to.
Super Street Bike racer Dave Smith is here with his eight-second street-legal Hayabusa. We asked Dave if he ever rode the bike on the street. "Oh yes, it has a tax disc", he said. "The last time I was here I rode into Stratford". Dave has run a best of 8.89 and is looking for eights again having made a lot of changes over the winter. "I've run three 9.0s this year, it's just a case of getting to grips with all the changes. If all goes to plan I'll be back in the eights."
Returning to 9.90 Bike is Brian Bowen. Brian took a year out to get married in 2001, but told us that he is back to spending money on racing in 2002. "The bike comes before the kitchen refurbishment", he said. Luckily his wife Kate is a big racing fan, although she told us that she didn't fancy taking a turn on the bike herself. "I can't control a moped!", she said. Brian said that his last outing at Santa Pod was blighted by what he termed "LRA - lack of rider ability! The bike has over 250 horsepower now and has a Mickey T on the back. I've run 10.001 but hope to get into the nines this weekend."
Super Street Bike racer Mark Watkins is also back, having done nothing much to his bike save for a session on the dyno. "I'm after a mid eight, or an 8.40, or it's not worth doing", said Mark. "It beats work!".
Another returning racer is 9.90 Bike racer Dave Hall. "This is my first race this year", said Dave. "I have put the gas back on the bike."
Turner Racing TMD Crew Chief Steve Turner told us that he traced the problem which affected the Netcall and G Max-sponsored dragster at the Easter Thunderball. "I found a problem with the points box", said Steve. "It was a frustrating weekend, we were dropping cylinders on every run and it wouldn't respond to anything we did. I went through everything and found a wire not connecting". Even with the electrical problem, the car's new PSI blower was still making the power. "I spoke to Norm Drazy", said Steve. "I had all the readouts with me, Norm said that based on what I told him it's a 5.30 blower so now it's a case of getting everything else together. With this new set-up we're shifting for the first time at 330 feet, two and a half seconds into the run. Rob said that it seemed like a very long time but it gives him time to get settled into the run". Top Methanol has two qualifying sessions both today and tomorrow, and Steve said that the first pass today would be a 1000-foot checkout. "If the track is as good as the last time we ran here, then we can run 5.6s", said Steve.
Fellow TMD team American Car Imports Racing have unveiled the car's stunning new colour scheme this weekend, and it is getting a lot of attention. Driver Dave 'Grumpy' Wilson has also changed colour schemes. "I have a new firesuit, and my helmet has been repainted and is my secret weapon", he said. "I've had no luck since painting the helmet black so I've changed it back to white!". This is the new dragster's first appearance at Shakespeare County Raceway. "We don't know if it will stick to the track, that's what we've come here to find out!", said Dave. "We're not changing everything at once, you have to be patient. Runs are like money to racers, you can never get enough!". Team owner Anthony Cohen is very pleased with the car's new look. "When we got the car it had four layers of paint", he said. "It took twenty man-days to get the paint down to the bare magnesium panels. Aziz, Master Repairs' chief paint-sprayer, headed up a team of twelve people. When it was down to the bare panels we took a photograph of the car and sent it to Total Design so that they had something to work on. The car was firstly painted black with a single layer of a special, very light helicopter paint. Then the panels were masked and the red was sprayed on, and the panels were sent to Custom Graphics who applied Bob's design". The ACI team also have a new pit scooter courtesy of First Line Motorcyles. The team tried it out last night, led by Crew Chief Andy Bissett who has become something of an expert on pit vehicles around Europe.
Dave Milam of Top Methanol FC team She Devil Racing said that Steph Milam and the team are looking for both a six-second time and a 200 mph speed this weekend. "At the Thunderball we burnt out a low gear clutch pack on every run, so the car never locked up in high gear", said Dave. We changed the clutch and built a new transmission. We also spoke to Andy Robinson and Dave Wilson who both said that we are doing it right". The team have also put in more mag, and have moved the throttle pedal so that Steph's foot is not pushed off it. A hi-helix blower, purchased from Martin Canto, proved to be the final part of the equation. "The computer gave us inroads, but it was clear that the blower wasn't doing enough", said Dave. "We bought this blower from Martin and immediately went faster. We feel like we've done two years of apprenticeship! Everyone has been very helpful: without guys like Dave Wilson and Lex Joon around we'd still be struggling. At the Thunderball we put in eight passes which is one third of all of the passes we've ever made! We had the chance to go down the track again and again and the officials at Santa Pod were very helpful."
Roger and David Moore are here with their Super Pro ET Triumph Herald which everyone will remember did a lumberjack job at the Easter Thunderball. The car is battle-scarred but perfectly serviceable and is sporting a new rear wing. "We used to run 150 mph with no wing, it was hairy!" said Roger. Dave is to drive the car this weekend. "I usually drive here, Roger is the test pilot", said Dave. "I've got a learning curve with the Lenco". The brothers are hoping for a solid eight-second pass this weekend and then the plan is for the car to go for painting and the repair of the damaged panels.
The Shockwave Fuel FC crew were hard at work last night putting the car together. The body has been repaired and looks just great in its new colours. "A lot of work has gone into the car", said driver Gordon Smith. "We've got the spare heads on and have taken a little power out of it. Another late night!". The Shockwave team are going to run in today's optional qualifying session. "We're going to run to 800 feet or so", said Gordon. "There is a lot to check. The new rear wing is making a lot of downforce, in fact it bent the spill plates outwards and so needs more support wires. We need the downforce here to stop it turning the tyres in the second half of the track. We also have a brand new pair of slicks."
Super Modified racer Danny Cockerill told us that he hasn't had a lot of time to look at the car since the Thunderball. "We're getting somewhere close to it, though", he said. "We're keeping an eye on the others, and doing enough to stay ahead of them - that's the plan. We want to have SM1 on the car next year but so does everyone else!". Danny revealed that the team had a thrash before the Thunderball. "The block was cracked, so we had a new one rushed in from the States, put it in, and won the meeting!", he said.
Top Methanol FC racer Lex Joon only decided to come here on Friday of last week. "We were coming here anyway to meet with Bob Jarrett", said team member Gerda. "We looked at the entry list and Lex said that if we are coming then let's take the car. It was in 100 pieces!". Lex and the team have appeared at a number of exhibitions over the winter. "It's a lot of fun to do exhibitions", said Lex. "You get a lot of media attention and that's the only way to get the sponsors interested". Lex brings a new set-up here to SCR. "Last time we were here we ran in the low sixes, we want to get into the fives this time", he said. "We're going to try out some different clutch settings to sort out the tyre shake. When we ran 5.8s last year it was a handful in the first eighth. The power is there, so it must be possible to run 5.7. We're going to try out some different ratios in the transmission, if they work here they'll work at Santa Pod".
Junior Dragster racer Ricky Emms is looking to run consistently and maintain his UK National points lead this weekend. "We tested at the Run What You Brung after the Thunderball, with the correct fuel settings this time!", said Ricky's dad and crew chief Chris Emms. "We ran two 8.85s and then an 8.900 and you weren't there to see it! (I was at home doing chores to amass brownie points to come here - Ed) We now have forty pages of fuel settings from Half Scale Dragsters, we will test some of them here because we don't have a set-up for this track". Ricky's Cool Green Racing pit features a new banner and other signs from sponsor Peterborough Signs.
Qualifying is now underway; stay tuned and we'll be back soon with the first action.