Summer Nationals 25th-26th June
| Meeting Order ||Best Run|
|1||Andy (Fred) Hone
||7.49 @ 182.89|
||7.49 @ 180.64|
||7.60 @ 175.76
||7.64 @ 175.76
||7.72 @ 176.43
The Summer Nationals
Santa Pod Raceway
Super Modified Championship Round Four
July 25th/26th 2011
Santa Pod's Summer Nationals event saw the largest turnout of cars so far this year in the Super Modified ranks.
Belinda Bull (1999 Chevy S10) and Craig Gibbs (1969 Chevy Camaro) made their first appearances of the season alongside regulars Andy (Fred) Hone (1986 Ford Scorpio), Nigel Payne (1962 Corvette), Rob Smallworth(1955 Chevy) and Peter Thompson (1968 Chevelle). Unfortunately Tim Mugridge, who had been present at the three previous rounds did not enter.
Saturday had four rounds of qualifying scheduled and Round One got underway on time with opening runs from Belinda and Craig. Craig had been testing in the Obsession Camaro the previous day and opened his account with a strong 7.64/175.76 in the right hand lane. Belinda also started well, running just one hundreth of a second slower at 7.65/176.44. Next up was a solo pass from Rob Smallworth. The Chevy shook a little off the line, running 8.16/175.75. The next pairing saw Fred, who was currently second in the championship points, come to the line against the rapidly improving Peter Thompson. Fred put down a loose looking but effective run to take the lead spot with a 7.56/179.24 but there was disaster in the right hand lane. The big Chevelle got water under it's tyres towards the top end of the track and turned hard right into the wall. A huge impact at speed and Peter was along for the ride as the car crossed the line, recording a 9.10s and still travelling at 96mph, before hitting the opposite wall in the shutdown area. The track safety crew were as good as ever and were quickly on the scene. Peter was conscious when they arrived and had unbuckled his belts but waited to get checked out by the medical crew before climbing out of the car. The bad news is that the car suffered a lot of front end damage. The good news is that Peter fully intends to rebuild the Chevelle and come back to Super Modified although a return this year will not be possible. After the clean up on track Nigel Payne, the only remaining competitor made his first qualifying pass in the right hand lane and sneaked into number one position, running just over five thousandths of a second quicker than Fred with a 7.56/179.84.
Round two and the weather was getting warmer. Nigel opened the session with an almost identical 7.56/179, only just failing to improve on his previous time. Rob failed to improve also, recording an 8.71/169 in the right lane. The only other two cars to make the call for this round were Craig and Belinda who also both failed to improve with a 7.65/176.42 and a 7.67/177.15 respectively, keeping them at numbers three and four in the table. Fred had not made the call as he found that his slicks had turned on the rims during his first pass.
Round three and things began to change as Fred came out alongside Rob for his second shot at qualifying. A disappointing 9.57 for the Chevy but Fred regained the top spot with a 7.532/179.94. Craig and Belinda ran together again next, each failing to improve again, a 7.92 for Craig and a consistent 7.66 for Belinda. Nigel held back until last and gave it his best shot at holding onto the number one position with a not-quite-quick-enough 7.536/179.21, just four thousandths of a second too slow!
With the top of the qualifying table so close it was all to play for in the fouth and final round. First up was the pairing of Belinda and Nigel. Disappointment for Belinda again as she failed to improve on her first run of the day with a 7.70/177.13, but Nigel clocked an almost identical run to Fred with a 7.5325/180.56, going all the way to the fifth decimal place to confirm him as having regained the number one spot. Fred was still to run however and had tried to step the performance of the Scorpio up a notch to finish the day at number one, but to no avail as a 7.70/177 kept him at number two. In the opposite lane however Rob took the '55 Chevy to an improved time of 7.72/176 although this was still not enough to lift him off the bottom of the table.
After a full day of thrills and spills and some of the closest qualifying the class has seen the final standings were as follows;
1. Nigel Payne - 7.5325/180.56
2. Andy Hone - 7.5325/179.94
3. Craig Gibbs - 7.6485/175.76
4. Belinda Bull - 7.6515/176.44
5. Rob Smallworth - 7.7245/176.43
Sunday dawned overcast but with the promise of some hot weather and close racing.
Round one of eliminations saw Belinda and Craig running side by side again, but this time for a place in the next round. It was Belinda all the way as she beat Craig on the tree and took the win with her best time of the weekend so far, a 7.60/179 to a 7.74/175. Next up was number two qualifier (by point three of an inch apparently!) Fred who advanced to the next round with the fastest time of the weekend so far, a 7.51/180 defeating Robs 7.73/177. Nigel had a bye run, the benefits of being at the top of the qualifying positions, but was not going to take it easy as he wanted lane choice for the next round. A resounding 7.49/180 ensured this and became the new low E.T. of the weekend.
The weather forecasters had got it right and the teams baked in the heat for most of the day and by the time round two arrived the heat of the day had reached it's maximum, and Nigel and Belinda were first out on the track. Nigel chose the right hand lane and took the win after a red light put an end to Belinda's run. Consistency for the Corvete with a winning 7.51 to a 7.66. Fred had a bye into the final but wanted lane choice and went for a quicker E.T. than Nigel. A great run but his 7.53 was just two hundredths too slow and gave Nigel the pick of the lanes for the final.
Time for the final round arrived and Nigel picked the right hand lane. The two cars that had provided such close competition over the weekend, and for most of the season so far, came to the line. A win for Fred would see him narrow Nigels lead at the top of the championship table to a mere 100 points. On the green light Nigel was away first but as the pair accelorated away Fred began to reap the advantage that nitrous provides in poor air conditions and take the lead. Nigel did all he could in the naturally aspirated Corvette but by the finish line was nearly a whole tenth behind, a 7.57/179, his slowest of the weekend, not enough to beat a 7.49/182, Fred's quickest of the weekend.
Close stuff from start to finish all weekend and a great race to round things off. Just 100 points separate the two top cars in the field as the championship crosses into the second half of the season. The next round takes place again at Santa Pod at the Bug Jam event on the weekend of July 23rd/24th.
We hope to see you there!