Here is the news from our ‘Fall Nationals’ at the National Finals at Santa Pod, last weekend, 22nd - 24th September. This was Wild Bunch Series Round 5 (Final), Spirit of Nostalgia Challenge Round 7 (Final), Springbridge MSUK Series Round 3 (Final) and the SPRC Championship for Wild Bunch Round 3 (Final). With the amount of entries and the points available, it was confirmed before the start of the event that Phil James has Won the Springbridge MSUK Challenge for this season! He has also won the Santa Pod Racers Club Championship for Wild Bunch! Many Congratulations to Phil on both of these achievements!! Well done to the whole team!!
The Wild Bunch had a field of 5 great teams competing at the event:
- Rob Brown in ‘Rebel’
- Phil James in ‘Rampage’
- Steve Field in ‘Black Pig Too’
- Andy Clifford in ‘Snake Eyes’
- Bob Hawkins in ‘Time Traveller II’
The weather forecast had improved, so we were all looking forward to a great event for the season finale! This year, the National Finals has changed from a 2-day event to a 3-day event. There were 3 qualifiers scheduled for Friday and 2 for Saturday. In the first qualifying round on Saturday, only Rob made a run. This was an out of shape pass, but it meant he was then #1 Qualifier. There was a fair bit of downtime during the day, and the first cycle did not finish until about 2pm. Two classes had their second qualifier and at the start of the third class there was a shower. The track crew worked hard and nearly had things all ready, but there were some more scattered showers and the officials were forced to call time on the day’s running. The schedule was rejigged to get everyone 3 qualifiers on Saturday, apart from the 2 classes that had already run. Luckily Saturday’s weather was okay and racing started right on time. The day stayed dry and everyone got their 3 qualifying rounds in. We had our first round at about 10:30am. Bob had bad tyre shake on the first pass and the team spent a couple of hours going through the car and sorting out any issues. After that round all 5 of our teams were safely qualified. Our second round was about 2pm. Steve Field improved his ET but broke out by nearly two tenths. Bob recorded a 6.959/198 pass on a 6.65 Dial to move up from 5th to 3rd. Our final qualifier was about 5pm, with 4 of the drivers taking part, with Bob sitting out the round. Rob improved his difference to Dial on this session and remained #1 Qualifier. Well done Rob!
Sunday was a fairly cloudy day throughout, and although there were a couple of very brief stoppages for spots of rain, the predicted mid-day shower passed by and the weather improved, although there was a bit of a crosswind. Our first round was scheduled for 11:35am. This was almost exactly on time. In the first round, our quarterfinals, there were due to be 2 good races and a Bye for Rob as #1 Qualifier. Rob ran a good 8.677 on his 8.48 Dial to progress to the Semis. In the race between Andy and Bob, unfortunately Andy was shut down before staging, with a small fuel leak. What a massive shame, and commiserations to the whole team! Bob then soloed to a slowing 8.100/116 on his 6.71, after tyre shake caused some issues! In the other race, Phil just had the edge over Steve on reaction, and recorded a closer 9.669 on a 9.56 Dial-in to Steve’s 8.691 on an 8.50 to move on to the semis. (Luckily I had just made it back to the track in time to see this round, as I had to go home to Bristol Saturday night, to work 4 hours early Sunday morning! It was great to see the full day’s racing and the Wild Bunch having a great final day of the season!).
There was a long wait for our Semi-final, which took place at about 4:20pm. This time Phil had the Bye and ran an excellent 9.629 on a 9.62 Dial-in! The closest of the weekend! The only race of the round was a much anticipated matchup between Rob and Bob. Unfortunately, Rob got out of shape shortly after launch and crossed the centre line not long after the 60 foot mark. Thankfully he regained control and got quickly back in his lane, but the car was weaving around the lane further down track. He still ran 151mph! This meant that, although Rob was closer to Dial with a 9.185 on an 8.48 Dial, he was disqualified from the race. Bob slowed to a 7.269/184 on his 6.73 Dial, and advanced to the Final. He and the team quickly got on with the inter-round maintenance as they knew it would be a fairly quick turnaround for the Final!
The Finals were held around 6pm. Phil opted for a 9.59 Dial and Bob went for a 6.75. Bob hooked up well and ran a 6.977/192 taking the win over Phil’s surprising breakout of 9.476 on his 9.59 Dial-in! Great race! Many Congratulations to Bob on the win, after conquering some issues over the weekend! Well done to Phil on another Final and a great effort! The results mean Bob is Runner-up to Phil in the Santa Pod Racers Club Championship in Wild Bunch. Congratulations again Bob and team! Many Congratulations also to Phil, who has won this year’s Spirit of Nostalgia Challenge Series! Well done Phil and team!
The Top 4 winners this weekend were:-
1st Place: Bob Hawkins in ‘Time Traveller II’ (a fantastic effort after limited qualifying and a few issues!)
2nd Place: Phil James in ‘Rampage’ (another great result, making 3 out of 3 finals this year!)
3rd Place: Rob Brown in ‘Rebel’ (Rob gave it a real great try in the Semis, to record a good Top 4 finish)
4th Place: Steve Field in ‘Black Pig Too’ (the only quarter-final runner-up, another good placing for Steve)
Here are the Spot Prizes that were awarded:-
#1 Qualifier: Rob Brown in ‘Rebel’ .125 off
Best Reaction in eliminations: Phil James in ‘Rampage’ .104 (in the Final)
Best Appearing Car & Team: Bob Hawkins & Team ‘Time Traveller II’ (brilliant show all weekend)
On a special note, well done to Harley Coulsell, who got to take part in his first ever Final in Junior Dragster nearly 10 years after his debut! He was running this as one of 3 finals that were not completed at the Euro Finals a fortnight ago! It was fantastic to see Harley get to achieve this, and even more amazing to see him win!! Huge Congratulations Harley, well done!! A very fitting finish to his Junior career as he will be 18 next month!!
Highlights of the weekend were getting 4 qualifiers and all the eliminations completed, as well as the small but excellent field of Wild Bunch! An excellent finale to the season!
Huge thanks to all the Santa Pod marshals and officials, track and safety crews and organisers for all their hard work as always!! They are all stars! Many thanks again also to our Springbridge MSUK and SPRC Title sponsor Bob Hawkins of Springbridge Direct! Very much appreciated!! Well done to all of the Wild Bunch on another fantastic show!!
All the best,
PS. Full final points and Series results will be updated as soon as I can!