National Street Car Challenge (UK)

2015 Finals

September was a busy month, with the ever-popular NSRA Hot Rod Drags over the 12th and 13th, followed by the hotly-anticipated NSCC finals the following weekend. The HRDs were terrific as ever, with the weather coming along to spoil parts of Friday and the last bit of Saturday, but otherwise race-party-race-party-race … which is how it should be.


The following Saturday, a lovely day saw the faithful heading Yorkwards mid-afternoon to set up camp ready for a full Sunday's racing. Cruising towards the track from Howden, Simon Boot's crew wagon was already parked smack in front of the Barnes Wallis and looked like it had been there a while, and didn't look like moving any time soon. A quick set-up at the track then led to everyone heading back to the Barnes for a scran. We'd booked seats for 15 arses, and had all chipped in to buy the landlady a lovely bouquet and a big box of chocs, which she thought was delightful. It wasn't so delightful for the last four to arrive – Ian, Adam, Lorraine and Doug – as there were already 15 arses on seats so she told the latecomers to bugger off! Looking on the bright side, Doug did get an extended ride in Ian's Cortina, which he said was... exhilarating. After a properly good nosebag, everyone returned to the track to fill any remaining space with beer either in the bar or around the Boot Camp brazier.


Sunday began early with a mist as thick as a bricky's butties, but it soon burned off to leave a gorgeous, clear, sunny day. Qualifying got under way, Ian Walley posting an early 10.6 at 127mph, a reward for having thrashed to repair the damage done on last round's mighty, explosive launch, and for Adam, who chucked some cash into the pot to get Ian to the finals at all. Next up was Doug on 11.8 at 118mph, and just by qualifying he managed to sew up the 2015 championship. James followed on 12.5, then Pete Smith in the family late-model Shelby on 13.1. Steve Gilmour was next up, wringing 13.3 out of the Pinto-propelled Cortina, then Sandra-Lee in the Cummins-powered Land Rover, improving to a 13.8. Terry Morgan's rat Morris was top of the bottom half of the ladder with 13.9, just ahead of Lee's Punto at 14.1. Andy Errington was back with the black Mustang at 15.1, followed by Rick in the other black Mustang at 15.84, then championship runner-up Nigel in the Anglia at 15.86. Dave Smith in the big barge Lexus was bringing up the rear at 16.1. Blimey, for a Hot Rod series there's not one car there powered by a Chevy engine – what's going on? There was already some drama afoot, as a somewhat sideways launch from James was traced to a broken link on the four-link that looked like putting him out of competition for the day. Fortunately, some quick thinking assisted by a portable generator, an arc welder, a SEAT van with a tow-hitch and the expertise of Andy Leigh and Ian Walley got the thing fixed and ready for the first round.



The first round opened with Gilly cranking out a terrific 13.2 to out Lee's Punto, followed by Terry shutting down Sandra-Lee 13.3 to 13.7. James was gently testing out his freshly re-engineered rear end with a 13.6 over Rick's 15.8, then new champ Doug and the second placed chap Nigel met up, Nigel cherrying the race away against Doug's extremely sleepy 1.6-second reaction. Pete's Shelby beat Andy's SN95 13.5 to 15.2, then Ian beat Dave by the narrowest of six-second margins to complete the first round of eliminations.


Quarter finals started with a close match-up, Pete wringing a 13.0 at 111mph out of the blown Shelby, but it wasn't enough to catch James's 12.4 at 113mph. So that Aldi arc welder seems to have been up to the job, then. Doug's 11.6 at 119mph was plenty to cover Gilly's 13.5, while Terry went out to Ian 13.6 to 10.9.


The semis opened with what should have been a race as tight as a whale's clout, but there was some gamesmanship afoot – Doug had apparently run out of gas, while James had more gas than Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut*, meaning that the race should have gone James's way, but Doug was then seen fitting a bottle courtesy of Ian Walley Racing... When the lights ran down, Doug ran a 13.4, a no-gas time, while James took the win light with an on-gas 12.6. Like Doug gave a shite – he was already champion! Ian had a bye into the final, but, never one to waste an empty track, ripped off a 10.3 at 130mph.


So, the round finals and the final NSCC run of the year was set up, and it was two shonky old MkII Cortinas. James was well away when the lights ran down, but half a second later Ian gave one of his explosive launches and hunted him down. James managed a 12.4 at 112mph, but Ian's 10.3 at 130mph was more than a match and gave him the win.


It had been a tremendous day's racing, a really fitting end to yet another excellent season of NSCC. Doug had the championship sewn up, and had earned it well with a car that had been reliable and daily-drivable whilst still rattling off low elevens like a stroll in the park. Yes, we may have taken the piss about it being a bright orange ricer, leading to the superb nickname Uncle Ben, but he's certainly shown the more traditional HRG fare what it takes to win NSCC. A close runner-up was Nigel in the little four-pot Anglia, a proper little street rod that's been absolutely everywhere this season, and so close to the top of the table. It's been a good year with a handful of rain-outs and the odd disaster, but lots of superb racing, plenty of laughs, and an excellent turn-out of qualified NSCC cars. With plenty of winter garage reshuffles, projects and new cars ready for next season, 2016 looks like it could be another bumper year... Thanks to everyone concerned!

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