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National Street Car Challenge (UK)


2014 Rounds 3 and 4 report

NSCC Rounds 3 and 4

May 4th 5th


Well, seeing as we've just run Round Five I thought I might get the report for the previous two rounds written up. Unfortunately, as I suffer from CRS, I've almost entirely forgotten what happened, so some of what you read here is complete fiction and fabrication. Or possibly it isn't. I don't know – I can't remember. Now what am I doing here again? Yes! Round write-ups.

Right, so back to the 4th of May; May The Fourth Be With You and all that shite. After a couple of tins and a good night's kip the previous night, there was much pluviosity afoot on the Sunday morning which didn't bode well. Still, it dried up fairly quickly, I think, though I may have imagined it. Anyway, there were some heavy hitters out for qualifying. Top of the pile was Andy Hadfield in the recently re-motored Twister T-bucket, and he set the benchmark high with an 8.95 at 154mph. Next was HRG15, and I can't remember who that was so I'll just look on www.nscc.info, and while I'm at it I'll just check Facebook …


… ah, yes, it's Ian Walley with a 10.3 at 129mph showing more to come, followed by HRG11, now who's that again? I'll look on www.nscc.info again and I must just check that eBay auction I've been watching...


… of course, it's Simon Boot with a 10.88 at 127mph. I wish some of you cockshites would fill in your announcer's info slips at York so I don't keep having to do this. Quick was the word, though, as 13.0 was only good enough for eighth spot – Paul Hughes in the blown Fox was there – then there was a two-second jump to Shaun Cockcroft in the hot Crossflow-powered Escort on 15.0, then Shaun struggling to control the boost on the Syclone in 10th. Mark Butterworth with the old Y-block F100 was revelling in the delights of a three-speed manual on the column but surprised himself with a 17.9, while Lee Ward was struggling to get the El Camino hooked up and was tailing the pack in 19th with a 19.8. Bad luck award for the day went to newcomer Robert 'Knobby' Colquhoun in the lairy Focus ST, who managed to bust his halfshafts in the burnout before his first qualifying attempt.

The sun was scorching in between the snow showers, and as soon as it melted the ice cap at the top end of the track we got into round one. Though that might have been a dream I had. Any road up, in round one, the midfielders faced off first with Andy Errington's TVR sneaking past Shaun's struggling Syclone 15.2 to 15.3, followed by Shaun Cockcroft beating Dec Hughes' Golf with a quicker reaction. Paul Hughes ran 13.8 to see off Nigel's smart little Zetec Anglia, while Fadster took it easy on his bye with a 9.5, still managing to card a 162mph terminal... Jamie Hughes was clearly sandbagging with a 12.8 in qualifying, as he managed to whip a 10.4 out of the hat to put Dave Smith out, then Simon waited 2.7 seconds on the line before taking off to run 12.9 against Rick Swaine's 19.3. Russ Pursley comprehensively hammered Scott Presland, then Lee Ward picked up two seconds but would have needed another seven and a half to stop Ian Walley. James Murray ran a 13.8 against Mark Presland's 18.6, then Keith Freeman polished off the round by pulling a 12.0 out of his bottom to beat an ever-improving Mark Butterworth in the classic Ford hauler.

Between rounds one and two, the capacity crowd in the grandstand was treated to a spot of culture in the shape of the entire Murty family performing their Kabuki Japanese theatre-style interpretation of that Chuckle Brothers episode where Barry and Paul have to paint a battleship. Again, I may have dreamed this. Definitely the bit about the capacity crowd, anyway.

We started round two with something of an upset in the race between Jamie's Land Rover and Russ's Dutton. Both guys red-lit, and although Jamie ran a whopping 10.0 to Russ's 11.0, Russ got the win under the 'first or worst' rule. Next up, Simon's Camaro ended Paul Hughes's run, the Camaro carding a 12.30, then Keith Freeman plopped an 11.7 on the table to end James's day. Andy Errington red-lit trying to get the drop on Andy Hadfield, but he'd have had to have a drop like the Enola Gay to have beaten Fadster's 8.69 at 162mph. Talking of an atomic meltdown, Ian Walley managed a 10.8 against Shaun Cockcroft's little Escort, but went over the line in a cloud of smoke that even woke the fire engine driver. Ian won the race, but that was his weekend over as having your pistons in a puddle in the sump is considered bad from an engineering perspective.

What made it worse is that Ian should have been on a bye into the semis in the following round, but the car was too sick to even break the beams. Gutted. It also meant that there were two pairs in the quarter finals, which confused everyone else even more. In the first pairing, Russ ran a strong 11.0 to put Simon out, while Keith Freeman ran a valiant 11.8 against on-a-mission Andy's 8.47 at 169mph.

This meant that the semi finals comprised of just Russ and Andy, both on solos, so both just broke the beams then backed up again for the final. It was a magnificent sight looking down the strip in the late evening sunset, the heat haze shimmering off the desert sand on either side of the track while multi-hued tropical birds swooped around the oasis on the return road and the mournful song of the Bedouin … hold on, never mind that last bit, I may possibly be over-elaborating. Either way, these two scruffy herberts lined up and were away, Russ having the slightly better reaction but his 10.9 was nowhere near enough to cover a blistering 8.24 at 170mph from the flying Fadster.

Another corking day's racing, but with some casualties along the way. Gasket still hadn't solved his over-boosting problems, and these were later accompanied by gears going hidey in the transmission. Dave Smith had a similar problem, except it was just reverse that had disappeared from his. Ian's Cortina was definitely out for the count but that didn't stop him helping patch up Knobby's driveshafts so he could at least get to the Barnes Wallis for the cruise. Yes, the Barnes was the place to be for a full nosebag with live music from Motley Crue on the final date of their farewell tour. Tremendous. Or I may have just listened to them on my iPod on the way back. But I don't have an iPod.

Anyway, you're confusing me now so, after a good night's sleep and a very welcome sauna and massage at the Seaton Ross Hilton, there was just time for a swift 18 holes before qualifying opened on bank holiday Monday morning. Despite the handful that were whores du combat from the previous day, another handful of brave souls had stepped into the breach to give us another 19-car field. Andy Hadfield topped the bill again with an 8.8, followed by Jamie on a 10.1 and Russ on 11.0. Simon Boot was closer to form with an 11.4 followed by Keith's 11.9, while in at number eight was Paul Everitt in a smart Rover-powered Pop running 14.9. Lee Openshaw was in the house with his blown Punto to re-engage in the war with his mate Dec, Lee Ward was closer to where he should be in the small-block El Camino with a 16.3 in 14th place, while Gasket had dropped to the bottom of the heap in the sickly Syclone, his 19.02 at 72.47 just sneaking in behind Rick's 19.00 at 72.45mph.

We all lined up in the staging lanes, watching a herd of majestic Wildebeest sweep across the East Riding veldt on their way to wallow and frolic in the vast lake of slurry and pig shit at the top of the return road, and it certainly made us all feel grateful that we weren't hamsters. Waking us from our reverie was Andy Fadster, chasing the title of fastest doorslammer at York (despite the goalposts constantly moving – I blame that continental drift, myself) and opening the bidding with an 8.26 at 173mph on his first-round bye. Paul Hughes was gifted the win by a red-lighting Lee Ward, followed by an old skool Ford showdown with Paul Everitt's Pop besting Nigel's 105E. Russ Pursley put Rick Swain eight seconds to the deficit, while Keith Freeman pulled a similar trick on Scott Presland's Pop. Scott's cloned twin, Mark Presland, however, fared better when Simon Boot threw away a seven second advantage by red-lighting, followed by James Murray pulling a similar trick and giving Mark Butterworth a free trip to the second round. Shaun Wilson recovered some form to card a 15.8, but Jamie Hughes had him covered in the next lane with a mighty 9.93 at 137mph. Lee Openshaw scored a result in his ongoing grudge-match with Dec Hughes as Andy Errington's red-light put Lee through to the next round while Dave Smith just squeaked ahead of Dec to put him out for the day.

It had been a tense first round, not helped by the discovery just before lunch of the exceptionally rare – thought to be extinct – Trackbite Newt living in the grass at the side of the strip and occasionally jumping out to nibble away at the track prep. The local Environmental dudes slapped a preservation order and a cease and desist writ on the whole gaff, but after James Murray and Gasket headed off to petition the appeal court, the whole thing was overturned when it was discovered that the newt sighting was nothing more than a half-chewed Haribo that Al Perkins had lost during a sneezing fit at the previous meeting. Thank God for that, we could get on with the second heat.

It started with Russ Pursley laying down a 10.8 at 124 to bring Paul Everitt's day to an end. Keith Freeman ended Mark Butterworth's good fortune, 11.4 to 17.4, while Paul Hughes did likewise for Mark Presland, 13.7 to 18.6 and Jamie did for Lee 9.9 to 16.1. Jamie sat for four seconds, spooling up on the line, just to unleash bloody hell on Lee. In a similar fashion, the only way Dave could have topped Andy's 8.8 would have included an eighth-mile of bungee rope between the two cars.

The quarters went according to the form book, Russ's 10.8 putting Paul Hughes out, and Jamie rattling off a 10.2 on his bye. The two old Ford rods were quite a match-up, Keith's 11.7 not standing up against Andy's 8.55 at 169mph though.

There was a small drama in the semi finals, as Russ's opponent Mike Bye had a bit of an emotional meltdown and announced that he was abandoning the soul-crushing daily grind of being a circus performer and was running off to join a troupe of travelling chartered accountants, leaving Russ to run 11.6 unopposed. Immediately afterwards, though, it was all high-speed fun as Jamie clocked off a storming 9.70 at 143mph, but that still couldn't come close to Fadster's 8.25 at 168mph.

And so the scene was set for the final. Russ in the featherweight small-block Dutton; Fadster in the brain-scramblingly hard-hitting wheelbarrow-dodging T-strainer. The short odds were on the T, but upsets have been known to happen and … as should happen in any good narrative, that's exactly what happened here, albeit in a rather disappointing fashion. As the two proponents headed for the line, the excitement caused the T-bucket to turn into a wee-bucket and have a trousers-accident in the fire-up lane. It was only a small radiator leak, but rather than hold up proceedings trying to patch up a car that had already suffered enough of a pasting that weekend, Andy gallantly bowed out leaving Russ to run a solo 11.1 to take the trophy and maximum points for the day.

Another superb double-header, only slightly marred by Vladimir Putin walking onto the startline and proclaiming “Right, I'm having zis, too” before being dragged off by his missus. Although I can't remember exactly what happened, I'm sure I managed to blend the fact and the fiction together seamlessly enough to convey that it was a terrific weekend of fun, on and off the track, and even those pesky alligators couldn't spoil it for us. Cheeky buggers, walking around like they own the place when they're nothing more than some rather camp cowboy boots waiting to happen. Anyway, see you next time.



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