National Finals 24th - 25th September 2011
| Championship Order ||Best Run|
|2||Andy (Fred) Hone
||8.24 @ 174
The National Finals
Santa Pod Raceway
Super Modified Final Round
September 24th & 25th 2011
Four teams made the entry for this final round of the year. Championship leader Andy "Fred" Hone (1986 Ford Scorpio)and second place man Nigel Payne (1962 Corvette) were joined by Craig Gibbs (1969 Camaro)and Peter Thompson (1968 Chevelle). Peter was making a welcome return after hitting the wall hard at the Summer Nationals in July.
Many weeks of hard work and dedication by Peter and his team resulted in the car arriving at the track on Saturday morning with work still outstanding before he could run.
The status of the championship was very close at the top. Fred arrived with a narrow points lead over Nigel and everything to lose. Nigel needed to make the number one qualifying spot and take the win in the final, regardless of who he was running against, to clinch the title. Despite having an encouraging start to his season at the Thunderball Nigel and team had struggled to repeat their initial success and Fred had gradually but consistently chipped away at his lead to put him 150 points ahead going into the final round.
It was these two who made the call for the first round of qualifying on Saturday morning, both eager to find a combination that would work for the weekend as early as possible.
Nigel showed the better reaction of the two, a 0.07 to a 0.25, but to no avail as the Corvette lost traction almost immediately, smoking the tyres before pedalling and regaining traction, clocking a disappointing 11.40. Fred had similar traction problems but used his manual clutch to his advantage and took an early lead with a below par 8.04.
Round two saw Fred come out to try and improve his early lead but similar problems prevented this. Craig Gibbs moved up into second place with a lack of traction off the line and an 8.24 to open his account. Peter's team were still working hard in the pits to get the Chevelle ready to run while Nigel had the transmission out of the Corvette to replace a broken starter ring gear.
The third and final round of qualifying came just after four in the afternoon and the first pair out were Craig and Fred. In the right hand lane Craig failed to improve on his previous time while Fred spun and shook hard off the line but drove through it to set a new target of 7.91 putting him in a slightly better position for the title. Peter had been unable to make the call which left only Nigel to run. Any hopes of staying in the running rested on him clinching the number one position at this stage. The Corvette launched and struggled to find grip before shifting into second and suddenly finding the traction required, picking up the front wheels and crossing the line in 7.59 seconds.
With number one qualifier and only three cars in the eliminations Nigel now had the advantage of a bye into the final round. Both he and Fred still had the chance to take the title in the next days competition. Bad news in Peter Thompsons pit. Despite all the hard work put in by his (and other peoples) crews a crack in the Chevy's water pump was found and, with no time to repair or replace the item, he was not going to be able to get out on the track at all. But rest assured he will be back next year.
In the pits Fred had another problem to contend with as his laptop had died, leaving him unable to change any settings on his ignition. Nigel had decided to leave the set up of the car exactly as it was in the hope that it would be enough to get him through. The battle for the title was wide open and it was too close to call. It was impossible to predict the outcome.
Sunday arrived and it was time for the first round of eliminations. Fred and Craig were paired up for the first race. Fred in the left lane. On the green light there was tyre shake in both lanes but Fred soon had the advantage and ran his best time of the weekend so far, a 7.85 taking the win to Craigs 8.32. The terminal speeds of 176 and 174mph reflecting the strong headwind that had developed. Nigel came around for his bye run and managed a 7.56, again his best time so far of the meeting. The final pairing had been decided and the championship title rested on the very last race of the season.
It was towards the end of Sunday afternoon when the finalists were called to the pairing lanes and there was still no indication of which way the result would go. Nigel had lane choice by virtue of having the quicker time in the previous round. He chose the right hand lane and the cars fired up and made their way around to the start line. Strong burnouts from both cars and the teams got the cars up to the staging beams. With both cars staged the atmosphere was as tense as could be as the lights turned green. Fred got the start but quickly found he had a driving job to do with a lack of grip. Nigel made the slower start but the Corvette seemed to have less of a traction problem. It was neck and neck for the first half of the quarter mile but then it looked like Nigel was beginning to take a small lead. Fred chased hard, determined not to let the title escape from him at this late stage. But the Corvette was getting away from him no matter how hard he tried, Nigel was not going to give up easily either and after a great display of driving from both drivers it was Nigel's win light that came on first, a 7.61/179 to an 8.00/177. A great race and a fitting climax to a hard fought season.
So there you have it. Nigel Payne and the Sticky Situation Corvette are the 2011 Super Modified UK champions after a close and exciting season of racing. Andy Hone proudly takes the Santa Pod championship, having won more rounds at the Northamptonshire track.
Although there are no more meetings for the class this year stay tuned to the website as there will be news over the next months of what's happening in the class, winter rebuilds and photos and videos to be added. Updates will be posted to Eurodragster.com. Thank you all for reading the race reports and providing us with valuable feedback on how we can make the website even better for the next season.