National Street Car Challenge (UK)

2013 Round 9 finals

NSCC Final round, 2013

This year's earlier-than-usual final round happened on September 22nd. This was very bad planning, as it meant that anyone attending Nigel Swift's 50th birthday party the preceding evening had to exercise prudent restraint... so of course, nobody did.

Thus, with thick heads but tremendous bacon sandwiches, we headed for the track at previously unheard-of hours on Sunday morning, with Nick Gunby's late-night assurances that there were plenty of petrol stations along the way.

Arriving at the track with the car seemingly running on dregs, fumes and hope (because after we passed one petrol station that made us think Ah, we need fuel, we'll stop at the next one, it tuned out that the one we passed was in fact the only one) and joining the mighty queue for scrutineering, it seemed that a whole load of racers had arrived for the finals of most of York's series', and were rewarded with gorgeous sunshine, T-shirt temperatures and a following wind.

Thirteeen cars qualified for NSCC. This included a trio of cars that, strictly speaking, shouldn't have been allowed to run as they hadn't fulfilled all of the qualifying criteria, but after we'd had a quick tot-up we decided that none of the final points standings for those who had fulfilled the criteria would be affected by any possible outcome, so it would be churlish to turn them away. Top of the heap was Jamie Hughes, the twin-turbo Land Rover finally approaching its potential on a 10.00 so close at 141mph. In second and third, and tighter than a fat lad's mankini, were Russ on 11.046 and Derek on 11.047. Simon Boot was chasing hard on 11.1, then a big gap to James on a 12.9. Des Taylor was out in a new toy (borrowed, I believe!) - a Chevy-powered AC Cobra rep, running 13.2 ahead of Billy Cattell's Austin on 13.3, then Biff on Sniff at 13.7, and Jo Zyla in a Mitsubishi running 14 dead. John Peace was carding 14.1 without gas, Steve Gilmour's Cortina on a 14.2, then Dave and Scott filling in the last two slots.

In the first round, Simon Boot took it relatively easy on an 11.2 at 118mph, with Steve Gilmour carding a losing but stunning 13.3 in the next lane. Russ never takes it easy, and saw off Scott's Pop by eight seconds, then Des beat Jo on reactions. James's 13.1 was enough to cover John's 14.1 (though he had already sewn up the championship by this point in the game), while Biff on Sniff had suddenly turned the wick up, beating Billy's 13.5 with a tremendous 13.1 at 107mph in the SN95 Mustang. Derek, who had to perform an emergency driveshaft change in between rounds, took a stroll to beat Dave 13.4 to 15.3, while Jamie just broke the beams on his bye, reversed back across the line, and lined up for his Pro ET race!

Into the second round, James ran a closer-to-form 12.6, but still not enough to beat Simon's easy 11.4, Russ had a bye but still have it 11.0-second licks, Jamie waited 1.8 seconds spooling up on the line before blasting off a 10.3 against Biff's 13.6, then Derek ended Des's run, 12.1 to 13.4 to line up the Semis.

The Semis were all about the elevens. First off, Simon rattled off an 11.2 against Jamie, who ran a slowing 11.4, then Derek ran a stonking 11.2 against Russ's 11.1 that must have been as close as a nun's knees, because Derek had a one-tenth advantage off the lights and crossed the line at 127mph to Russ's 115mph, but Russ got the win to ensure an all-Chevy-powered final.

It was a good'un, too. Russ's ever-reliable Dutton peeled off an 11.2, but no match for Simon whose 10.74 at 128mph really put the icing on an excellent day of NSCC cake. It was a damn fine day for NSCCers in other classes, too, with James scoring the overall win in Sportsman ET, and Jamie and Derek making it to the final of Pro ET, Derek taking the cup home to Barrow. Derek had even more reason to celebrate, finally running that elusive 10 a 10.949 at 128mph in Pro ET eliminations meaning that the TVR has finally come good.

What a tremendous way to wind up the NSCC season. With the final points tallied, reigning champion John Peace has successfully defended his title and gets to keep the Boyd's pot for another year so no need to rush back to Cash Converters just yet! Congratulations, John, hard fought and well deserved. Runner-up spot goes to James Murray, no stranger to the podium in the past 15 years, followed by Derek Beck, another fighter who has overcome plenty to earn his third spot. Dave Smith finished fourth, ahead of Steve Gilmour and Mark Presland, a sixth place spot proving that you don't need to run in single digits to beat the odds in NSCC. Newcomer Billy Cattell in the glorious Candy Austin finished a very respectable seventh, ahead of Scott Presland in the other Crossflow Pop in eighth. Russ Pursley got ninth, and despite a late start in the season, Biff Bailey rounded out the top ten with plenty of promise for next year in the Black Pig VI. Simon Boot has really been proving his street-cred this year, taking the nine-second Camaro on the Hot Rod and Hills cruise as well as (attempting) a track day at Mallory Park. Shaun in the lesser-spotted Syclone and Phil in the off-form Moggy finish off the qualifying runners.

It's been a fun season, even though some of last year's front-runners have been absent and some NSCC competition cars still remain unfinished. Is this all building up to a sudden flurry of winter activity and a very healthy entry list for NSCC 2014? We can only hope so. Stay tuned...

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