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Race Report – Round 1 – 25th Anniversary Challenge Cup

After a slow drive on a very busy M6 due to 50 mph average speed checks the A14 looked quite inviting for a change. Already a dry and warm Friday we had a taste of how the weather was going to be for the May Bank holiday. Arriving at a quiet Santa Pod shortly after 4pm I finally put a face to the man who I had been emailing to make all this happen.

When I contacted Ian Marshall to see if it was possible to stage the NAST “Challenge Cup” he put me in touch with James Forster who some may remember invited the SuperTwins to the very first Dragstalgia event. With his guidance and bouncing a few dates around we eventually settled on May, September and October “Saturday Specials RWYB”. He also put me in touch with timekeepers David & Kieran who sorted out the elimination ladders on the day – A big thank you to all concerned including the pairing-lane marshals.

Back to Friday night and rolling up to pit near to the jet funny car “Fireforce” I was met by Peter Harrison and Ian Chrichlow who were already settled in but had given the ticket staff a headache. Ian had bemused the staff by providing his tickets on his phone but the necessary scanners were only available on Saturday! Peter went one better and dodged the gate staff but he was eventually found out and handed over the necessary cash. (Just so we get it right for next time, if arriving on Friday – before 5 or the gates are locked – you will need to pre-book entrance tickets for each individual in your party. This can be done by post or printed download but not on your phone and they are to be shown at Reception by the main gate).

Not a lot of people about, which was probably unsurprising being the night before a RWYB, but track preparation was in progress with squealing passes from the contra-rotator scrubbing in rubber until early evening.

To also break the silence was an impromptu display of a naked Fireforce just yards from where we were enjoying a cold beer.IMG_6691IMG_6698IMG_6693IMG_6703MVI_6696

While unloading the van so I had somewhere to sleep Peter spotted my leathers hanging up and suddenly realised that his were also hanging up, unfortunately well over a hundred miles away at his house! While he went to find a cat to kick I had a word with Ian who arranged his spare set of leathers to be brought to the track in the morning and Andy Ball had phoned so he too would bring his. Not the only one to forget his leathers Leo Lester had the same problem on Saturday but remembered on route and returned home to collect them adding a considerable extra mileage to his journey.

The view from my bedroom – IMG_6704

Saturday arrived very bright and early with the pits filling quickly with a large number of cars and ‘bikes. Plan was to get in the pairing lanes for 9.30 but even before signing-on there was a long line of impatient cars queueing for their first run.

Most of our 16 riders had arrived so we made our way for the first qualifying session with the hope of a further 3 – time permitting.

By 9.50 14 ‘bikes had qualified with Joe Elliott recording the best reaction time of 0.41 (oddly we all commented on our poor reactions?), Paul Adams recording best ET of 9.34 and Mick Winyard fastest at 147.26 MPH (for him a slow speed). Gary Hester was top of the qualifiers with 0.20 off his posted ET with Chris Mott in second – but first on a Twin – with 0.21.

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For the second qualifier we had our full 16 when Leo Lester finally arrived and Chris Neary joined us. The queue was now well past the Pod shop and unfortunately did not move for some time as oil had been dropped for the full quarter which took a while to clean up. By 12.30 we had our 2nd run which, with a lunch break at 1.00, meant it was our last qualifier before eliminations. Chris Mott swapped places with Gary Hester as number 1 with a 0.033 off his dial-in to Gary’s 0.093 with Dave Grundy in 3rd with a 0.095. The first 9 places being within 0.6s of their dial-ins, there was a promise of some close racing.

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Eliminations round 1 was completed just before 2.00 with Chris Mott- Harley, sideways off the line being taken out by fellow Twin racer Robbie Dobbie – Honda SP1 who would lose to Twin racer Peter Harrison – Ducati ST2 in the next round. Ian Chrichlow – Honda CB250 K4, Andy Ball – Yamaha TZR250, Gary Hester – Suzuki Katana 1170cc, Dave Grundy – Triumph Tiger Explorer, Paul Adams – Suzuki GSXR1000 and Joe Elliott – Italjet Dragster 180 made it to Round 2 by eliminating Duncan Barron – Kawasaki ZX9R, Mick Winyard – Suzuki, Fiona Moor – Yamaha TRX850, Leo Lester – Turbo Hayabusa, Chris Neary – Turbo Hayabusa, Steve Moor – Buell 1100 and Mike Nelthorpe – Polaris RMK900 who didn’t compete not wanting to damage his machine.

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Round 3, which was run at about 4 o’clock, saw Andy Ball, Joe Elliott and Gary Hester removed from the competition and the semi-finals then saw Peter Harrison narrowly lose to Dave Grundy. Ian Crichlow on the 250 Honda beat Paul Adams on his very tidy Suzuki GSXR1000 after Paul sat for what seemed like an eternity before the amber lights on the tree finally came on in his lane.

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Into the final at gone 7.00pm, and despite both riders breaking out, Dave Grundy on the Triumph was given the win over Ian Chrichlow on his Honda CB250.

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With trophies presented together with a share of the £260 prize fund we look forward to Round 2 with a surprised Ian Crichlow leading the SuperTwins Challenge. Regular racer Peter Harrison a very close second, and no doubt glad he didn’t return home after forgetting his leathers, and Andy Ball in 3rd with only 30 points separating the top 3 runners the next round is going to be very interesting.

Also seen at the event but only to start the engine without annoying their neighbours was Terry & Diana with the new Harley minus bodywork.

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Next round, 22nd September – although we cannot promise record temperatures there will be close racing and lots of fun!

 

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