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Watery end to National Finals at Santa Pod
Disappointed racers and dedicated fans were left to dry out and go home after a shower and wind plagued National Finals (Oct 2-3) was finally called off as persistent rain set in by Sunday lunchtime.
Qualifying was cut short in an attempt to regain some lost time due to the wet, but an overworked track crew had to throw in the towel leaving all to ponder what might have been in some un-run down to the wire Championship chases. National Champions are due to be confirmed after point totals are reworked from the unfinished weekend.
Dave Wilson tries out Top Fuel
The 2004 Top Methanol Dragster Champion Dave Wilson had elected to try and gain his Top Fuel license in one of Knut Söderqvist’s CBD fuellers, but only had one time out of three in the car – a familiarisation launch of which he said – “I am amazed how totally different the cockpit layout and the driving is compared to our methanol car. The initial launch and sixty foot wasn’t as hard as our car has been but it will be the next time when I have to do the half pass!” He will have to continue his license attempts at another time.
In the Super Modified class it would have been a real close chase with four drivers vying for championship points. Kevin Perkins, point leader by twenty, ended up top qualifier with a fine 7.67/176 from the Oldsmobile Cutlass.
The Super Comp class was led by the dragster of Zane Llewellyn with an 8.92/148 and points leader Shaun Lathan ended up in fourth spot. Spencer Tramm pushed his 468 cubic inch powered VW Corrado to pole position in the Super Gas wars but was well behind Conrad Stanley’s points lead.
Conrad Stanley - 2004 Super Gas Champion
The Super Street brigade saw point leader Mike Bentley run his 460 c.i. Sierra to lead the pack reinforcing his substantial Championship lead. Ian Tubb and his Super Pro E.T. dragster were in charge of the point table by 110 ahead of Barry Giles but Tubb had problems and did not get a qualifying pass whilst Giles ended as eleventh qualifier. In pole position Paul Marston ran his PT Cruiser to an 8.51/158. Carla Pittau put the Team Heaven & Hell Camaro into fourth qualifier in Pro E.T. to add to the teams points lead but it was Paul Baynton and his Capri that led the field with an 11.20/119 to up his ninth place point position.
Sportsman E.T. points leader Linda Platt managed a third spot in qualifying with the Team Rainy City Lightning Camaro but it was Rick Denny that was in pole position before the rain with a 13.47/97. Colin Lazenby in his huge Chevy 210 Sedan led the Custom Car Street qualifying with an 8.24/176 but John Sleath’s new Audi was the news of the weekend recording the first ever 180 mph timing, a 180.06 mph with an 8.48 e.t. It was not backed up due to the precipitation.
Colin Lazenby's Chevy 210
Another tight field in the points chase for a Championship was Junior Dragster, with Collin Morrice ahead of the field by ten points with Nicholas Mugridge in hot pursuit. Scott Hauser though put Mugridge into second qualifier with an r.t of +0.033 coupled with a 10.33/60 and Morrice was left in ninth qualifying place.
Neil Midgley on another 7 second charge
In the Funny Bike show Neil Midgley led the pack with a 7.57/137 that added to his huge lead in the Championship points table. It was another close call in the Pro Stock Bike class in the title chase that was led by Tony Clark but he could only manage a sixth qualifier position but as number two Dave Beck was not in attendance he may still secure the Championship. Qualifying leader was Martin Bishop with a 7.70/167. A battle between T.J. O’Brian who was point leader and last years Comp Bike Champ Phil Leamon continued as Leamon led qualifying with O’Brian in at sixth.
Tony Clark - Pro Stock bike
Once again Graham Dance seemed to have an unassailable point lead in Super Street Bike but it was Steve Venables who was second to Dance that secured top qualifier with an 8.42/182 to up his total a little.
John Hackney - 10.90 Bike National Champion
A close fought battle in 9.90 Bike had Richard Sawatzki lead in the Championship points table chased by Fred Furlong but the latter may have upped his tally by becoming top qualifier with a 9.91/137 ahead of Sawatzki’s 9.94/113. The 10.90 Bike class had John Hackney with a massive points lead but that position had dwindled a little as he managed third qualifier with Dave Burfitt in second and in pole was Shaun Spiers with a 10.98/102.
Story: Roger Gorringe
Photos: Roger Gorringe copyright