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Words and photos by Ivan Sansom and Rose Hughes
Thanks to TSI Timers (Europe) for access to the timing data
A couple of weeks after the hectic activity of the European season opener at the Main Event, it was back to Santa Pod for the more sedate SPRC Summernationals with the emphasis very much on the sportsman classes that get squeezed and shunted around the schedule at the FIA/UEM rounds. The headliners included the domestic MSA Pro Modified field (a number of whom having one eye on the European challenges ahead), the Nostalgia Fuel Altered Association, together with a whole host of competitors chasing event wins in the remaining 23 classes.
The rear view is all a lot of Pro Mod racers are seeing of Andy Robinson in 2009 as the team have the ARRC Studebaker running sweetly over the past two meetings. Having set the Euro record at 6.100 at the Main Event, Robinson has dropped out of the 6.1s bracket on three passes in the last two meetings. He qualified low at the Summernationals with a 6.147 and then ripped through the field with a 6.136/231.35 (new PB speed), 6.189/229.91 in the semis and a 6.156/230.08 to defeat Graham Ellis in the trophy round to lay down a serious marker to the rest of the FIA competition before the start of the Scandinavian and central European swing.
Graham Ellis is another Brit committed to the full European tour this season, and the Summernationals illustrated that the Superbird will go down a storm with a major step up in performance in qualifying to place second on the ladder behind Robinson with a 6.281/226.62 (a big hole being blasted in Ellis’s PB ET mark). Ellis kept in the low 6-second zone in the first two rounds of eliminations, a 6.359/226 accounting for Kev Slyfield and then a 6.271/227.34 semifinal bye nudged his best mark a little lower, demonstrating that the newly installed 4.56 rear end gear is working well.