National Street Car Challenge (UK)

2012 Round 9 report

It seems like there was a monster gap between the last round of racing on August Bank Holiday weekend and the finals. Well, there was over six weeks, but in that time there was the Hot Rod Drags, Sheffield, and bundles of other stuff, but it still seemed like a damn long time.

Still, despite a low qualifying field overall, there was still plenty of enthusiasm for the last points-scoring opportunity of 2012. It started on the Saturday evening with another gargantuan meal at the Barnes Wallis, though the bar began to need propping up before 6pm. The lesser-spotted Gunby family arrived – we haven't seen nearly enough of them this year – and the very welcome appearance of John and Margaret Peace, John looking in exceptionally good shape and still full of enthusiasm. Derek and Tony had been to the strip to set up before coming back to the pub, where Derek had a grilled pheasant - well, he had a pheasant stuck in his grille – but soon, some grave news was received that put a stop to the banter and made everyone go very quiet and introspective. Apparently, the bar at York would not be opening. Fortunately, James was running late (no, really!) and a quick phone call saw him stop in Howden and pick up a crate of ale so that was alright.

One feast later, the softies (read: not daft) ones among us went home while the rest headed for tropical Melbourne and the comedy spectacle that was Dave trying to get an erection. This is touch and go at the best of times, and when it's damn cold and dark it's doubly tricky, but he got it up in the end, with a little encouragement from bystanders. If you're going to be assembling a trailer tent for the first time, it seems it would be a lot easier in daylight. Then we discovered that not only was the bar not open, but the building housing the bar was also off-limits, so everyone sought the only source of warmth in sight – Paul and Tanya's “barbecue” - and stood around chatting shite until the cold reached the bones. Shaun and Flick did consider pimping out their herd of Alsatians as tent heaters but the dogs complained about the smell.

Sunday morning, everyone agreed about one thing: it had been bloody cold the night before. That said, despite the low overall number of qualifiers for NSCC 2012, there was a good showing for the finals. Dave Smith's Mustang was suffering incontinence of the power steering and elected not to share his ATF with the drag strip, but 10 others did qualify. Top of the heap was Russ Pursley in the Dutton with a stellar 11.38 at 115mph on a very cold, damp track. Right behind was Keith Freeman in the blown '32 out for his first NSCC race of the year and carding a 12.1, while Derek in the TVR ran 12.5 with a tall terminal of 118mph. James was next with a 12.9, followed by Shaun in the newly-re-propshafted Syclone with a 13.6. John was still not racing – doctor's orders – so Ian Armitage was drafted in again to record a solid 14.1 in the 2012 championship-winning Fox Mustang, while Howard Fletcher's Moggy-powered special had suddenly sprouted a supercharger and ran a 17.1, clouds of black smoke indicating a mixture erring on the side of caution. Scott Presland's crossflow Pop was next on 18.6, with Mark's similarly-powered 100E on 18.7, and Rich Swaine's Viva on a 23.9.

There were no major upsets in the first round, which started with James's 12.6 handily beating Howard's 17.4, but there's plenty more to come from that little special. Next, in the closest race of the round, Ian was a tenth quicker off the line, but Shaun clawed it back and took the win by the narrowest of margins. Scott drew Derek, and Scott's 18.9 was no match for a hard-charging Derek running a 12.0 but crossing the line at a mighty 122mph. Richard Swaine fell victim to Russ's untouchable 11.4, while Mark fell to Keith's 12.8, Keith's frantic spannering to cure the '32's incredible body lean under power only slightly successful.

Amid the occasional spot of rain, NSCC hurried (at a leisurely pace) into the quarter finals. Russ took it easy on a bye, only carding an 11.4, while Shaun got a half-second holeshot on Keith off the line and held onto it for about 300 yards before the '32 came charging past, Keith finishing on a 12.8 to Shaun's 13.9. In round one, Derek's potential was showing itself but at the expense of his clutch, the brand-new, bloody expensive paddle clutch already showing signs of slippage, so with a 300-mile journey to Portsmouth ahead of him that evening, Derek bowed out of the quarters leaving James to run a solo 14.0 into the semis. More bad luck for a guy who's had quite enough this season.

The semis … didn't happen. A short sharp shower gave the strip a damn good soaking, and after plenty of brushing and a few cannon-fodder RWYBers, it still wasn't dry enough to race properly, so the meet was called. Another year of NSCC was wound up, and it was strange to be saying goodbye and “Happy Christmas” to people in the middle of October. By 5pm, the pits were empty bar a lot of puddles and a mysterious dead pheasant.

Congratulations to this year's overall points Champion, the more than deserving John Peace and his Fantastic Fox. Congratulations also to everyone else that qualified, and to everyone who took part or just enjoyed being a part of NSCC this year.  

Hey ho, here's to 2013! See you at the drivers' meeting?

For photos from most NSCC events, see Drakie's website.  For photos from the finals, see:


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