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National Street Car Challenge (UK)


2014 Rounds 8 and 9

Blimey, it only seems like two minutes since the last race report, but here's August's! And it's only bloody September! Please do not mistake this for efficiency, and I'd advise you don't expect this in the future.

August's bank holiday double-header at York didn't start very well for Saturday evening arrivals, beginning with Biff locking his keys in his Mustang in the queue to get in (a Mercedes key, provided by a helpful guy in the queue, fitted perfectly, apparently) and followed after dark by some torrential rain. This led to many people attempting to waterproof themselves from the inside out with beer. It doesn't work, but after a while it stops you giving a shit about being wet.

 

Even with Mr Murty Sr brushing and sledding the track at midnight, Sunday started cool and very damp, and it was a while before qualifying got under way. Nobody was expecting great things from the track, but Russ managed to put the Dutton on pole with a 10.5 at 135mph anyway. Next came Simon Boot in the Bootlegger Camaro at 11.54 and Derek's TVR at 11.8, then Jo Zyla in Eddie's Mitsubishi while her own car is still awaiting major engine surgery, easily rattling off a 13.2. James managed 13.5 in the Cortina, then Steve Gilmour back on form at 13.9 in his Cortina, then Mark Butterworth led the Fox charge three hundredths later. Biff's SN95 was down at 14.5, a whisker ahead of Tom Barker's Astra now sporting a 2.0 engine and a three-second jump in ETs. John Peace was way off form in the next Fox at 14.8, another Fox from Paul Davies at 15.0, then Shaun Wilson's fresh-out SN95 on 15.3. These bloody Mustangs are getting as common as muck. Andy Errington's TVR was down at 15.7, then Nigel's hot four-pot Anglia at 16.2, rounded out by Rick Swaine in the Viva at 17.7. It says a lot that 14.5 was enough for the bottom spot in the top half of the ladder.

 

Eliminations started with Bootlegger eliminating the Viva, 11.5 to 17.6, then Biff and Tom, only five hundredths apart in qualifying, suddenly went their separate ways, Biff to a 13.6 and Tom to a 16.0. James picked up some form to a 12.5 against Shaun's 15.1, likewise the Foxes of Mark and John both picked up almost half a second, the advantage going to Mark. Gilly got the sprightly MkI Cortina down to a 13.4 against Paul's 15.0, then Derek laid down a relatively gentle 13.0 to put Nigel out. Jo squeezed a 12.9 out of the Evo to Andy's 16.0, then Russ laid down an 11.7-second bye to finish off a first round that went entirely according to the form book.

 

Into the quarter finals, and Simon Boot opened the bidding with an 11.8 at a low 100mph to Mark's 13.5 at a more-like-it 101mph, then James repeated his 12.5 second form to see off Jo's Evo at 13.1. Russ belted out a 10.7 with Biff crossing the stripe three seconds later, before Derek ran 13.1 with half a second to spare against Steve. Again, all to the form book.

 

The first of the two semis threw up a bit of a conundrum, Derek apparently running a 7.6 against Simon's 10.5, both of them crossing the line at 128mph. Simon got the win light, though, so maybe it was Derek's apparent 4.2 second reaction that lost him the race. All Derek has to do now is to back up that 7.6 within 1% and he can really stick it to the Twister... Meanwhile, Russ ran an easy 11.2 to end James's day and set up the finals.

 

That last run had produced some rather funny noises from Derek's TVR, Derek tracing the problem to a split weld on the manifold. If only...

In the final, Simon, on tyres with the remaining structural integrity of a novelty condom, managed to launch hard, picking the wheels up on a 0.5 reaction and rattle off a 10.7 at 129mph. Brilliant, but wily Russ always leaves something in the bag, which he whipped out now and dropped a 9.70-bomb to take the win. Wow.

It should also be pointed out that Derek, Russ and Simon were the last three remaining in the annual Street Racer Shootout running concurrently with NSCC, and Simon managed to put the "hot favourite" out with a 10-second blast, then Russ won overall to take the honours and the prize purse.

The evening saw the KC Cackle on the startline, then a pick-your-own cruise led everyone a merry dance around the countryside before returning to site to enjoy the band and sink another few ales.

 

Sadly, there was more overnight rain to endure from Sunday night into Monday morning, and Monday started late with a marginal track. The first round of qualifying was run, with the track telling us that that was all we were likely to get, with them running the RWYBers up as cannon-fodder for most of the morning. Then, at lunchtime, with a view to finally running American Super Stock, Super Cup and the like, they glued the track. Sadly, half an hour later, with A/SS midway through their first qualifier, a proper shower of rain came along. This, on top of the freshly-prepped track, gave indications of putting the tin hat on the rest of the day's proceedings. A kangaroo court was convened somewhere in the NSCC pits, and the majority voted to abandon the day. 

 

The rain persisted down for the next hour or so while everyone was packing up, but those who stayed were treated to a track almost to themselves later in the day, and some classes ran to completion. A bit of a whimper to end a weekend that should have gone with a bang, but at least the points could be awarded based on qualifying times. The piss-poor luck award either goes to Russ, who missed the first and what would turn out to be the only qualifying round on Monday, or to Lee who turned up to race his El Camino only to be booted at scrutineering for only having lap belts.

 

It all certainly gives James a hell of a lead in the championships. In fact, James could hang up his crash hat right now and be almost certain of lifting the trophy at the end of the year. But you never know - we're now into the last month of NSCC 2014, and with many, many people still yet to qualify, it's heading for the Last Chance Saloon with the finals just a couple of weeks away. It's all getting jolly exciting...



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