Santa Pod season gets under way
Following round one’s rained-off start in May, round two of the Motorsport UK British Drag Racing Championship finished unscathed by adverse weather last weekend.
COVID-19 restrictions continue to reduce the entry list, with several European regulars still unable to attend. The race nevertheless delivered career-best performances, a little drama and an unexpected finalist.
Pro Modified is the championship class. Pro Mods are drag racing’s quickest, fastest ‘doorslammers’, a vernacular term encompassing all full-bodied cars with sprung chassis and functioning doors. These, however, are pure-bred racing machines clad in lightweight replica bodyshells. Any resemblance to roadgoing vehicles is not even skin-deep.
Five-second elapsed times are Pro Mods’ gold standard, and Nick Davies laid an early marker during Friday qualifying with a career-best 6.001 seconds, before breaking the barrier at 5.973s on Saturday. Davies’ 243.72mph secured Top Speed of the Meet.
The turbocharged Pontiac Firebird fielded by Davies and business partner Rob Loaring from their Silverstone engineering firm is still a work in progress, despite debuting in 2018. American Pro Mod racers typically make more runs in a single season than their UK counterparts accumulate in three.
Kevin Slyfield’s supercharged Ford Thunderbird, 2015’s champion, is favourite again this year. On Friday, an internal engine component reputed never to break, broke. Slyfield spent Saturday at his precision engineering works in Dorset fabricating a replacement and returned to set Low Elapsed Time of the Meet at 5.943s in Sunday’s opening round. Slyfield beat Davies in a semi-final ‘match of the day’ to set up a final-round bout with Yorkshire’s Wayne Nicholson.
A Pro Mod racer since 2008, Nicholson had never reached a final, and squandered a chance of a maiden victory with a red light, earning instant disqualification, while Slyfield, out of shape, slalomed wildly to a lucky win.