UK Drag Racing National Finals Santa Pod 19th - 20th September 2015
We arrived at Santa Pod with high hopes for the weekend, the weather forecast was really good for the last meeting of the season with sunshine and no rain forecast for the whole event.
The championship was very close with Simon Gough on 3010 points, Brad on 2990, Scott Hauser 2720, Ian Powell 2690 and Rick Cook on 2330, all of these drivers in reach of winning this close battle for the title, and with 1010 points available it was going to be exciting !
First qualifying run we dialled 7.72 and ran a breakout 7.708 and started the day in 17th place. Brad’s second run was an identical 7.708 and this moved Brad up to 11th.
The weather changed for the third and final run so I dialled a 7.68 and the car ran another 7.70 but with a 4 this time, the first three contenders were very close in qualifying with them all qualifying within 70 points of each other, this still made it a whoever went the most rounds would win the title, and I guess the car was telling me what to dial in eliminations 1 on Sunday.
Sunday morning we found that our E1 competitor, Steve Kellett had an engine issue so they pulled out of the race to prevent any damage. This is not the way we wanted to progress but it made our first round more comfortable.
We were called to the start line, Brad started the car and there wasn’t any oil pressure !
We shut the car off and made the decision to tow the car to the start and then just start the car on tick over and break the beams for the run, this is what we did and towed the car back to the pits, but with only 1.5 hours before eliminations 2 the pressure was on to find and fix the issue. Nick Good and Cristiann Carlo stripped the engine to find that the plunger had stuck in the oil pump. This was a real shock to the team because Nick and Cristiann always prepared our car to the highest standards. The guys put the car back together and we just started the car and had oil pressure when we were called for eliminations 2, an absolutely fantastic job by the team!
We were very nervous what to dial because we hadn’t any data for Sunday but the weather was very similar to Saturday so Brad wanted a 7.70 but with low air density I wanted 7.68, Brad won the discussion and we dialled 7.70 but we ran a 7.78 and lost the race to Dan Giles by 0.009, this was the closest race of the day and 9 thousands of a second equated to 27.59 inches at 175 mph !
So we were out, we knew that if we had gone only one more round Brad could have either won or finished runner up, we waited for the class to finish and both Ian Powell and Scott Hauser were also eliminated, this made for a nervous wait to see what Rick Cook and Simon Gough would do.
Eliminations 3 saw Dan Giles knock out Simon Gough so we had to wait and see what Rick Cook would do! This was a repeat of last year when Rick just passed Brad in this meeting in 2014 to demote Brad to third, Rick carried and went all the way to the final, the maths were simple, if Rick won were demoted to third (again !), Dan Giles had a different idea and beat Rick to secure his first Super Pro victory so a big congratulations to Dan on his first win !
This meant Brad was second in the National UK championship, this was a great result for the team, 2014 was Brad’s first year in Super Pro and he finished 3rd, 2015 brought the runner up spot ! this is a great achievement in the toughest sportsman class in Europe.
The whole team a have made this possible but the effort that Nick and Cristiann put into the engine work made this dream a reality!
I would like to thank Nick Good and Cristiann Carlo for their mechanical knowledge, Natalie Cooper our back up girl, and Dave Catton for the occasional verbal input he enthuses and the loan of the tow car! Of course I must mention what a great job by Brad with many 0.0- reaction times and great skill as a young driver,I must also give myself a pat on the back for my (mostly ) dial in times, a job I have found fairly stressful in our ever changing climate !
I would like to say a big thank you to all our sponsors, Lucas Oil both in the UK and the USA, Pentagon Corporate Fleet, D & S signs, Martin Williams Hull, Torq/HRX Race wear, our associates Pete Walters race design last but not least Six B Apparel in the USA.