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National Street Car Challenge (UK)


2016 Round 1 report

Setting off for York on the Saturday afternoon wasn't great, with high winds and rain that varied between persistent drizzle and overtaking Noah on the M18. It was dry in the bar, though (which, over the past few years, hasn't exactly been a given. Many of us remember those old Portacabins. If you can make anti-biotic out of mouldy bread, then God alone knows what you could make out of what was growing on the inside windowsills), and the recent revamp had encouraged a few more bodies in. It was all going so well until Fadster trashed the place.

A quick head-count on the Sunday morning showed that nobody had actually blown away, against all odds, and despite a brisk, cold crosswind, conditions were actually pretty decent. Plenty of folks had completed winter rebuilds and were busting to test them out, but most were being sensible. Andy Hadfield wasn't getting much grip from the cold track and was mired in the 10s. Simon Boot's Camaro was fresh off the rolling road and just shaking down, but with some stonking burnouts. James, whose winter rebuild comprised of changing a leaking sump gasket, went out and ran a 12.4 and was more than happy. Derek Beck's fresh motor was being run in gently - he'd deliberately left the nitrous at home to prevent 'over-exuberance' but was running strong anyway. Russ made a few passes but then trailered the Dutton with a little top end rattle that later turned out to be a broken rocker arm. Andy Errington was a superstar - he made a couple of NPB passes at 14.5, but on his first run, he missed the first turn-off for the return road so he decided to take the second. It was only after driving over a rutted road, a muddy field, through a builder's yard, out onto the road and back in through the main gate (where they tried to charge him to get in) that he realised that there isn't a second turn-off for the return road. Although, as he quite rightly stated, he's always been told he should never turn around and come back down the track at the strip. Fair enough. 

It was a good day, better than we could have hoped for given Saturday's conditions, and we were about to get a revisit. Despite booking the correct number of seats at the Barnes, we still managed to turn up with more arses than chairs, but a good nosebag was welcome after the cold wind. While we were eating, we were treated to thunder, lightning and a hailstorm - it was better than the telly. 

It didn't get much better. The bar was rammed, and a damn good craic, but by 10.30pm it was drunk dry and everyone was peremptorily hoofed out. With nowhere big enough to gather, the evening just farted into nothing and everyone went to bed by 11pm. Overnight, the rain started, and didn't give up. It belted down. Although the forecast was for it to stop raining around lunchtime, many people who had suffered a night of being soaked, frozen and wind-battered (I blame the Barnes' vegetables) couldn't face sitting around for four or five hours on the offchance that it might stop raining, and before noon the pits were mostly empty. The track's organisers hadn't called the event off, though, so a handful hung on just in case, and, as predicted, by 1pm the rain had stopped, by 2pm there were RWYBers on track, and by 3pm, the classes were being called. Not that there were many - 19 RWYBers, one car in American Super Stock, one in Hot Rod Challenge, one in Pro ET, and a handful in JDM and Sportsman. Many people appeared on more than one of those lists... There were four NSCCers left on site, although one, Andy Frear, was staying on the bench due to teething issues with turbo pipework. So three cars qualified, Derek topping the tree with a 12.6 at 113mph, James second with a 13.3 at 107, and Dave 'Red Nose' Mears in the Firebird on a 16.0.

James and Dave met in the first round (which was also the semis), James coming out on top 14.0 to 15.7 while Derek just staged and broke the beams to go through to the finals.
 
In the finals, Derek stole 0.2 from James on the tree then went on to run 12.7 at 112 to James' 13.5 at 102mph. A first round full points haul for Derek, and well deserved, but hopefully he'll have some stiffer competition at the next round and we'll be plus a full field of racers and minus Storm Katie. A damp start, but things can only get better!

 



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