National Street Car Challenge (UK)

2013 Rounds 3 and 4

NSCC Rounds 3 and 4, May 5th and 6th, 2013

After the Arctic shizzle we'd had to put up with at the previous double-header over Easter weekend, the racing gods redressed the karmic equilibrium (shit-house, Pulitzer here I come!) with an absolute bloody scorcher over Spring Bank Holiday. We'd paid our dues, and were rewarded with sunshine, warm temperatures and even a following breeze.

Most of the usual suspects were already there by Saturday evening, including Russ Pursley back out to play with the Dutton, the Hughes dynasty with their old Consul now wearing a Land Rover body, and a new face, Billy '4-speed' Cattell and family with the candy red Austin. James set a new record for tardiness. Having spent the previous week trying to make one good gearbox out of several wrecks, he came to fit it and found out that it was as tight as a mermaid's minge so, at 8pm, he was removing it and fitting a whole other 'box again. Coupled with the road from Howden to the track being closed at the level crossing, meaning a lengthy diversion, James finally arrived at 4.30am.

At least he was able to rise (like some dishevelled phoenix from the boot of his Cortina) to a sweet, sunny spring day, and get stuck into qualifying. The Hughes clan were all dashing about because they'd left home in a rush and neglected to pack any harnesses or seatbelts, but some kind soul found them some. Russ topped the pile with an 11.2 at 120mph, Derek not that far behind in the TVR on 11.81 at 118. James managed 12.99 despite his new gearbox having a rather short first gear, followed by Billy walloping out a 13.3 at 100.00mph. Sandra-Lee was doing NSCC duty in the Land Rover, under orders to take it easy and running a 13.9, followed by John Peace on a strong 14.0. Steve Gilmour in the Pinto-powered Cortina came in on a 14.1, with Dave being tail-end Charlie on 15.2.

In the first round, Russ dispatched Dave easily, 11.1 to 15.1, followed by James taking out John 12.8 to 14.2. Sandra-Lee stepped up a notch to run 11.9 to Billy's 13.2, then Derek ran an easy 12.8 to top Steve's creditable 14.0. A massive gap later, the semi finals started with Derek getting his revenge on James for the previous double header by putting him out 11.9 to 12.9, followed by Sandra-Lee stepping up again to 11.5, but not quite enough to cover Russ's 11.0 in the next lane.

This left the two 'glass kit cars ( :-P ) in the final, and it was one of the closest races anywhere. Both Russ and Derek left on a 0.8 reaction, and both ran 11.0 but the win light came on in Russ's lane, 11.049 at 121mph to 11.097 at a whopping 128mph! Closer than a good girl's knees when the fleet's in dock.

All this set us up a treat for a pleasant cruise-out to the Barnes Wallis – including Derek starting at the back and car-hopping up the queue with the Go-Pro running - where there was just time for a swift half and a laugh in the beer garden before sitting down to a bin-lid full of meat and sixteen veg. Just what the doctor ordered. Then a steady ride back and a couple of shandies down at the bar after a damn fine day's racing.

We awoke on Bank Holiday Monday to find more of the same sort of weather; if anything, it was even lovelier than the Sunday! We also had a couple more bodies in the billet – Scott and Mark Presland who had done something to do with football on Saturday and got sufficiently bladdered that they were fit for nothing on Sunday. In qualifying, Russ was on pole again with a 10.8, followed by Derek on 11.18. Sandra-Lee had jumped the queue to third with an 11.7, with James pulling yet another 12.99 and Billy another 13.3. John Peace was really quite happy with his 13.7 (a NPB, I believe), Steve Gilmour a little off-form with what he believed to be electrical problems running 14.4, and Dave on a 15.0. Mark and Scott, the Crossflow twins, ran 18.7 and 18.9 respectively.

Today was another day when the schedule seemed to get thrown out of the khazi window and everything ran late. The first round saw Russ running 10.9 against Scott's 19.0, then Derek running an easy 12.6 against Mark's 18.8. James ran a 13.8 but Steve had graduated from supposed electrical gremlins to serious-sounding engine noises and was jumping ship. Sandra-Lee picked it up again to run 11.3 at 125mph against Dave's 15.2, while Billy ran yet another 13.3 to beat John's 14.7. Later, John would go on to run a demonstration run where he got spanked by a small children's ride, then suffer non-starting issues that would thankfully turn out to be nothing more serious than a fuel pump relay.

In the quarter-finals, Sandra-Lee managed to beat James 11.7 to 12.7 despite a sleepy 1.8-second reaction time, then Billy got through thanks to yet another dose of bad luck for Derek who, presumably, killed a Pope in a previous life. Derek broke a solid inch-thick halfshaft clean through, allowing Billy through with a 14.2 and leaving Derek to pack up and get towed to a nearby pub to sup a couple of well-deserved beers while waiting for the yellow wagon. Russ, who had been suffering fuelling problems thanks to the pump soaking up engine heat, then went out and ran 9.7 at 134mph and made it look easy.

In the semis, Sandra-Lee's new form was no match for Russ on a 9.8 at 135mph flyer, but when Billy came up for his bye he stalled in stage after the burnout. He managed to break the beams by simply rolling out of stage, then got pushed back to the pits to prepare for his surprise appearance in the final. Those finals would get run rather late in the day, and the shadows were pretty long when Billy and Russ lined up. Billy was off the line first with a two-tenth holeshot, but it would take more than that to stop Russ on a 10.2 blast at 135mph.

Two days of tremendous sunshine and tremendous racing, two doses of maximum points for the Barnsley Barnstormer, some good early results for Billy, the new guy, and yet more bad luck for Derek, who doubtless will be back out for Mallory Park less than two weeks later.  

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