Moore wins MSA British Drag Racing Championship
PODINGTON, UK – Rain won the day at the VP Racing Fuels National Finals, sweeping in to stop play after Sunday’s opening round of eliminations, but not before Roger Moore had secured his first MSA British Drag Racing Championship.
Moore was practically home and dry before the race. In a field shortened by pre-event breakages, Moore held a 103-point lead over his next-nearest challenger on the premises, Andy Wright, with a maximum of 103 points on the table. Moore needed only to put in a qualifying pass (worth 10 points) to make it official, which he did in Saturday morning’s opening session.
Once again, Moore was the epitome of consistency. Two qualifying shots netted 6.8sec timeslips; his third clocked 6.679. Together with his first-round pass in eliminations (6.765), all four trips he made down the track produced 208mph terminal speeds. Having set personal bests, either in time or speed, at each of the four previous MSA rounds, his attempt to achieve a clean sweep fell narrowly short.
Moore was pipped to the low-qualifier spot, however, by a resurgent Kevin Slyfield, whose arrow-straight barnstormer of a first qualifying run – a certain PB for the often wayward Willys – was scuppered when the parachute popped out at mid-track. A 7.154 at just 142mph showed what might have been. Undaunted, Slyfield clocked 6.660 alongside Moore’s 6.679 in a third-session pairing which clinched the top two spots on the qualifying ladder. A pair later, Andy Wright hit 6.794/214.00 to take third spot and set Top Speed of the Meet.
Rick Garrett was an impressive debutant in the colourful nitrous Willys he imported from America earlier this year. With a pit crew formed by his three sons, Garrett needed to complete two sub-7.4sec observed runs to obtain his licence. His opener, 6.968/194.60, accomplished the first stage in style but an 8sec pass in the second session left him on the brink with work still to do. A third-session 7.024/193.74 sealed the deal and entered him in Sunday’s field. Garrett then sailed comfortably through the opening eliminations round (7.779/178.50) when Andy Wright failed to show, having damaged the crankshaft in qualifying.
Jean Dulamon journeyed all the way from south-west France to little avail. Following a “nitrous burp” while moving into stage for his first qualifier, Dulamon clocked a season’s-best 7.095/202.32 in the third session which was still only good enough for fifth and last spot on the list. He then lost reverse after the burnout in his opening elimination match with Roger Moore and could not be pushed back in time to stage.
The weekend proved even more fruitless for Wayne Nicholson, though at least his Yorkshire team hadn’t had to travel so far. Just feet into his first burnout on Saturday morning, the Lucky Devil’s driveshaft tore itself in two. The transmission system was also damaged but fortunately Nicholson lifted off the throttle quickly enough to stop the motor zinging into orbit. Disappointed, Nicholson had hoped to build on the revived form shown at the European Finals. But there’s always next year.
Despite its slender entry list, the race re-shaped the final points table. Moore, Wright, Slyfield, Nicholson and Dulamon each snapped up the 100 bonus points on offer to those who compete at all five MSA championship rounds. Moore’s closest pre-race challengers – Graham Ellis and Andy Frost, absent through breakage, and Bruno Bader, absent in Switzerland – all slipped from contention. On the strength of his solitary elimination pass, Rick Garrett managed to finish 15th of the 18 point-scorers who made the final list. If Garrett finds himself still heading the likes of Robert Joosten, Norbert Kuno and “Fast Freddy” Fagerström this time next year, not to mention just three places adrift of Michael Gullqvist, he will have had a pretty encouraging first full season in the class.
1. Kevin Slyfield Dorset 6.660 204.41
2. Roger Moore Essex 6.679 208.87
3. Andy Wright Surrey 6.794 214.00
4. Rick Garrett Surrey 7.024 193.74
5. Jean Dulamon France 7.095 202.32
Roger Moore 6.765sec, 208.94 def. Jean Dulamon, broke
Kevin Slyfield 6.747, 188.93 bye
Rick Garrett 7.779, 178.50 def. Andy Wright, no show
Rain stopped play.
Low Elapsed Time of the Event: 6.660sec. – Kevin Slyfield
Top Speed of the Event: 214.00mph – Andy Wright
Career-best performances set during event:
Rick Garrett 7.024 193.74 - official qualifier
Rick Garrett 6.968 194.60 - observed licence run