The Main Event was the 2nd round of the new European Funny Car Series. The 4 cars who had contested Round One at Easter were joined by a fully fit Leif Helander and newcomer Henrik Christiansen from Denmark who would be doing observed licensing runs.
The newly re-laid track was getting “rubbered-in” and was expected to provide some great racing – it didn’t disappoint – thanks to the staff and track crew for an excellent job in preparing the surface.
Qualifying began on Saturday, the first run around 2pm, John running with Shockwave. A little slow on the green and a 0.92 sec 60 foot. The racing groove was still quite narrow and when the car dropped a cylinder just before half track it got out of the groove and spun the tyres. John idled through the top end in 7.22 seconds. Servicing was routine. Having got some valuable data it was decided to miss the second qualifier and look at the tune up options for Sunday when there would be more rubber on the track.
Qualifier 3 at 12.25 alongside Leif Helander. Better RT this time and 0.94 secs to 60 foot. John ahead until just after the 1/8th when again spun the tyres. Well that’s the first 1/8th sorted
out. Now all we needed to do was get the second 1/8th sorted.
Qualifier 4 just after 5 pm would decide the 4 qualifiers for Monday’s eliminations. Going in to the session John was “on the bump” with a 6.39 secs. Kevin in the West Ten car ran immediately before us, recording a 5.80secs to bump us out. All down to this run –0.96 to 60 foot, dropped a cylinder before the half, then flashes of orange flame which disappeared briefly then came back. Through the top end in 5.669 secs with smoke evident, but we were through to eliminations.
During the service we found we had a damaged lifter and cam-shaft. So the spare motor was readied and installed for eliminations on Sunday.
Round 1 against No.1 qualifier Jason Phelps, John was away first and never headed, 5.44 secs at 277mph – that was more like it! No problems on servicing and a date in the final with Leif Helander.
What a final, Leif cut a light but John had the better incrementals all the way down. A holeshot win for Leif 5.496secs at 278.1mph to John’s 5.460 at 278.9mph. Margin of defeat 0.068 secs( just about 1 cars length)
We now go to Hockenheim in August laying second in the championship, 1 round win behind Jason.
As you read this our preparations for Hockenheim are well underway. The clutch plates have been machined by Whiteley Brooks www.whiteleybrooks.co.uk and the crank is being serviced at Arrow Precision www.arrowprecision.com
Thank you as always to all our sponsors for your continuing support
Our thanks to race fan and Showtime supporter Peter Norton for this shot of John taken from the spectator banking. (Click to enlarge)