National Street Car Challenge (UK)

2012 Round 1 report

After a whole winter of anticipation, round one was held on Easter Monday at York Raceway. Many of the handful of participants took advantage of the open RWYB on the Sunday to put in a few shakedown passes and, as it turned out, the Sunday was to be the better of the two days weather-wise.

Class record-holder, Andy 'Fadster' Hadfield was back out with his insane Fad T freshly weighed down with about a hundredweight of metalflake. It seems that anything that stayed still long enough to be metalflaked chez Fadster was given a dose of 'flake over black, including the bodywork, the seats, the steering wheel and apparently, rather puzzlingly, his third member and helmet. Make of that what you will. Perhaps Fadster should be renamed Gary Glitter? Proclivities notwithstanding, Andy set the pace on the Sunday with a 9.4 at 155mph.

Returning to the ranks after a long, long layoff was Russ Pursley in the Chevy-powered Dutton. Slated to run way below its true potential due to a few safety rule compliance issues, it was all academic as the car didn't run in the end, but it was damn good to see Russ back again – it's been a long time. Another car back out and looking good was Simon Boot's freshly-logoed 'Bootlegger' Camaro, the new graphics adding a whole new dimension to an already tough-looking car, but mechanical gremlins would piss on Simon's chips before the qualifiers.

Sunday night was a damn good piss-up, with many folk getting bladdered as a first line of defence against the fact that it was sodding cold and throwing it down with rain. Some people had started as early as Saturday afternoon before they'd even got in through the gates, with an early casualty being Simon Boot who stepped out of his wagon for a late-night waz, temporarily forgetting that his door was about five feet off the deck. He had a nice lump on his head to show for it, and insists that he was pushed... we reckon 'pished' is nearer the mark.

Monday dawned cold and wet, and despite constant reassurance over the Tannoy that it would clear up and we'd be racing any time soon, not many people were convinced. It came very close to being abandoned, with a show of hands from the drivers tipping the balance in favour of sticking around to race the round. American Super Stock had all but packed up and pissed off before we got called for our first qualifier at lunchtime.

When we did line up, Boot and Pursley were already out of the running, but Derek Beck had the TVR set to stun after some emergency clutch surgery just a few days beforehand. He wasn't out to waste any nitrous, running a 13.6 at 107mph on a cold, damp track to take first spot. After a winter's intensive work on the Cortina that included... erm, hoovering it, James Murray wasn't out to waste any nitrous either because he'd forgotten to turn it on, but still ran a 14.0 at 98mph to take second. Work continues apace on John Peace's little red Fox, but he wouldn't see the benefits of it today, carding a 15.4 at 94mph in third. If John's Fox Mustang is Dorien Gray, then Dave Smith's Mustang is the picture in his attic, the crusty Fox just behind on a 15.6 at 89mpg. This was particularly galling for Dave as, the previous weekend, Nancy had taken it out in RWYB at Shakey and carded a 15.2 on her second ever run up the strip. Dave did point out that Nancy had a glorious weekend on a prepped track whilst he was racing with his wipers on, but it just sounded like sour grapes.

A full six seconds later was fifth qualifier, Scott Presland with the crossflow Pop, 21.6 at 50mph, whilst running an almost identical time for sixth was Andy Hadfield, who had suffered a serious meltdown in the valvetrain and would have been out of the rest of the meeting anyway. Bringing up the rear with a 25.8 at 47mph was newcomer Rick Swain in the stock 1300cc Viva.

Then the rain came down. Again. We never got a second qualifier in, and, after a couple of hours of watching the hot hatches running laps in the rain, we were told by Des on the start line that we may as well forget it. The meeting was called at 3pm.

It's been a long time since a round at York has been called because of rain, but that's the way things go at the beginning of April. We had a lot of laughs, got clattered in the Osbornes' hospitality suite, and raced on a mightily twitchy track. John Peace has taken an early lead in the points, with Dave Smith just behind and Derek Beck biting at their ankles. The next round is a double-header on the first weekend in May – let's make it a blinder.

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