2005 Bahrain Drag Racing Festival
Thursday (qualifying)

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We were called to a halt after Thomas Nataas ran. I don't know if there is an official curfew here at BIC but it is one in the morning which is plenty late enough.

The plan for later today is qualifying at 13:00 and then eliminations and Pro demonstrations commencing at 19:00.

We will again post today's pictures tomorrow morning, so have a pleasant evening and we will see you again tomorrow.


Like Freddy, Thomas Nataas ran in the left lane which is more or less virgin since all of the other Pro runs today have been in the right-hand lane which is starting to show a groove. The Batmobil Top Fueller pulled a nice burnout and then on the green the inevitable happened, the tyres struck on the hit and Thomas idled down the track to a 23.21/93.59.


Freddy Fagerström came back for another run, this time burning out to half-track and rolling almost to the 1000 foot mark in the Pro Mod pick-up. It doesn't seem to matter how far Freddy burns out, he always gets back in the same amount of time, i.e. not very much. On the green Freddy's rear tyres started to spin instantly, he got off the throttle and back on several times and each time the tyres spun. The car was really starting to move around so Freddy got off it - you know it's bad when Freddy calls it a day! 12.38/128.71 at the stripe.

Thomas Nataas is next.


Shaun Saunders has been in touch from Arizona to ask if we have seen his old Super Gas Datsun which he believes is now in Bahrain. We think we've found it - the latest run was by Ahmed Al Feraih and the car looks exactly like Shaun's former ride. We're a bit removed from things here in the media office so at this precise moment I can't tell you what has happened to the rest of the Pro racers. Some of the National Championship racers are however returning to the pits.


Michael Malmgren pulled two burnouts in his Pro Stock: the first very similar to Richard, on the front brakes for a long while, and then the second burnout on the power to 400 feet, stopping in between the eighth-mile beams. The engine then stopped dead. After a short while Michael got out of the car to the cheers of the crowd and the track crew pushed him to the side of the track to await rescue. There was some clean-up where the Grand Am stopped.


Richard Sundblom led off the Pro Stock action with a very big burnout, sitting on the front brakes for a very long time before carrying on to sixty feet. Richard carried a Finnish flag in the burnout. The Cavalier shot off the start line as if fired from a gun, a couple of brief pedals at about sixty feet then full throttle all the way, 7.59/306.86. Michael Malmgren is next.


Freddy didn't disappoint with another 400-foot burnout from the Pro Mod pick-up, stopping at the eighth-mile speed trap beam. Another high-speed back-up and then Freddy shut off and was pushed back - nothing visibly wrong from here.


It looked as if Trev Capewell left both bits and fluid on the track, necessitating a long clean-up.

Next up was Patrik Pers in his Pro Mod, again a 300-foot burnout with the Swedish flag flying proudly on the 'Vette. A good launch but then Patrik had to start pedalling and from here it sounded as if the car was not on full throttle for the rest of the run, 9.09/197.67.

Next up is Fast Freddy.


Trev Capewell was again first up in the Pro demo session. The crowd started cheering and clapping as soon as Trev's Top Methanol FC fired up. He pulled a 300-foot burnout and then rolled to half track. On the green the tyres started to spin, Trev stayed with it pedalling very lightly and it sounded as if he shifted just as he came past me at about 500 feet, 9.96/317.26. As I type the crowd are cheering Trev's crew.


Badr Ahli has put in his first pass of the event in his '41 Willys Pro Mod. Badr pulled a big burnout to 300 feet, on the green you could tell that his game plan was to tiptoe it off the line and then hammer it but when he put the throttle all the way down the car started to skate and he got off the gas, 11.87/127.15.

Next up is a demo session by the FIA and FIM/UEM racers.


Pro ET racer Khalid Rashid has taken Low ET of the day with a tremendous 7.63/259.47 in his Grand Am. Khalid backed off a little before the start line so there is much more to come there.

Hussain Mahdi Aljary put down a nice 9.65/220.90 whilst Fadhell Abbass clocked 15.18/157.24 in his Super Street 4/6 Cylinder RWD entry.


Khaled Shatti has put in a pass in the McDonald's Pro Mod under the watchful gaze of Pat Musi and Joe Lepone. A nice burnout and then a very hard pass, only a little hesitation off the line, 8.51/199.43 and a huge cheer from the crowd for that one.

Abdulla Al Khaja was next up in his turbo Mustang, a great burnout and then pushed back which was a real pity.

Tariq Hadi followed in the Pro class, a 100-foot burnout had the crowd cheering and whistling. Gently off the line then hammered it at about 200 feet, off the throttle early but still Low ET of the day at 8.19/261.76.


Two of our Street Bikes laid down times of 10.14/229.56 and 10.03/224.83 and then we went back to cars, in the first pairing Abdulla Faisal clocked 12.88/174.19 in his Super Street 4/6 RWD entry.

The crowd are really responding to the National Championship racers. Some of the guys are obviously local favourites since they get huge cheers as soon as they appear on the giant TV screen.


In the first set of Test and Tune runs Mohammed Jassim Haji clocked 11.98/192.67 and Hassan Yousif 13.63/167.07 in their Super Street V8 entries. Mohammed Ali Mohammed clocked 13.16/137.34 in his Super Street 4/6 cylinder RWD entry.

One of the National Pro Stock Bike racers pulled a huge burnout only to fall off the bike as he got off the throttle. It looked to have hurt pretty bad as the bike fell on top of him and he was put into an ambulance to be checked out but the good news came back that he was just fine.


We've had a change in schedule because of the problems with the timing equipment and the frequent stoppages tonight.

Firstly the Pro bikes have been sent back to the pits for an hour or so and the National Championship racers are on track.

Secondly, all National Championship qualifying has been cancelled. Qualifying has been rescheduled for 13:00 tomorrow, racing will commence at 19:00 tomorrow, and the rest of this evening will be a Test and Tune.

The Pro racers are, according to the schedule, due to run again tonight and of course we have not seen the bikes yet so they at least will be back.

Stay tuned and we will bring you some of the Test and Tune highlights and news of the Pros.


Michael Malmgren, Patrik Pers and Freddy Fagerström were next up. Michael went first in his Pro Stock, a sixty foot burnout and then tyre spin at the hit. Michael feathered the throttle very skilfully and got back on the throttle at 300 feet, and off the pedal at 1000 feet. No ET or speed were displayed.

Pro Mod racer Patrik Pers was flying a huge Swedish flag during his 200-foot burnout. Patrik also hit tyre spin at the hit, he pedalled a number of times but then got off the throttle and cruised through, 15.33/92.72. Patrik's crew got a huge cheer.

You just knew that Freddy was going to do something special with his Pro Mod pick-up and he opened his account with a 400-foot burnout - at the end of the burnout the car went way out of shape, turning right and going up on two wheels to a huge roar from the spectators. Was Freddy worried? The usual fast back-up and you could hear the crowd cheering above the noise of the engine. Freddy's tyres spun off the line, he tried several times to hook the tyres up but eventually got off the throttle. No time or speed again. Freddy's crew got the biggest cheer of the night so far as they went to get him.

Next up is Top Fuel Bike, Ian King is first in the queue.


An early candidate for Run of the Day from Richard Sundblom in his Pro Stock. A big burnout had the crowd cheering and then on the green the car launched very hard indeed, a brief pedal and then on the power all the way down. Richard drifted towards the centre line, taking out the eighth-mile reflector and then straddling the line for much of the rest of his run, but he stayed under power and got it back in his lane. No time or speed were displayed but this was easily the quickest and fastest run so far and the crowd showed their appreciation as the crew drove past.

Michael Malmgren will be next when the timing crew have replaced the reflectors and the track crew have cleaned up the shards of plastic. Freddy Fagerström's pick-up is in the queue.


Susanne Callin pulled a very nice 100-foot burnout in the Carbon By Design Top Fueller. On the green the header flames went above the wing on both sides and the tyres hooked for the briefest moment before growing and going up in smoke. It all happened very quickly but from here it looked as if Susanne pedalled very briefly but she was off the throttle by a hundred feet, again no time or speed were displayed. Knut Söderquist and the rest of Susanne's crew got a huge round of applause from the crowd as they went to retrieve her.

The track crew are just touching up the surface, Richard Sundblom is next to run, stay tuned.


Thomas Nataas wowed the crowd with a 100 foot burnout and then a sixty-foot squirt in the Batmobil Top Fuel Dragster, the car was obviously set very gentle on launch but it looked and sounded just great. Thomas cruised through the top end, no time or speed were displayed.

Susanne Callin is next to run.


Having fixed the Tree the timing system then failed, the first racer to appear after everything was sorted out was Trev Capewell in his TMFC. Trev pulled a 300 foot burnout, rolling to half track to the cheers of the crowd. On the green the tyres started to spin, Trev feathered the throttle very finely, as he came past me at 500 feet he was full on the gas again and clocked 9.77/349.12 (216.93 mph). Trev's crew got a rapturous reception as they drove along the side of the track to pick him up.

Next up is Thomas Nataas.


The Tree has just failed so the timing crew are working hard to rectify it.


Qualifying has started for the 2005 Drag Racing Festival with groups three and four. Our friends at BDRC will be bringing us the results of the National Championship qualifying through the evening so stay tuned and we'll bring you the news.


The Pro racers will be running at 20:30 and again at 23:30. Susanne Callin and Freddy Fagerström have been shown on the giant TV screen walking around the collection area, Freddy went out on the track accompanied by a tiny child who did the Pro Stock Shuffle with his feet testing the surface just as Freddy did. Stay tuned and we will bring you the news as soon as we get going.


After the clean-up we went into a session of bike Test and Tune, a mixture of Street Bikes and Pro Stock Bikes. The quickest pass of the bike session was a 9.05/245.10 from a PSB followed by a 9.73/239.77. The Street Bikes are not far behind with a best run in this session of 10.03/222.19 and a 10.15/229.85.

We will be stopping soon for the introductory laser show (the webcam is directly opposite one of the laser stations) and then qualifying starts for the Drag Racing Festival. The BDRC guys will be giving us the qualifying results for their National Championships and of course we will be bringing you all the news from the FIA and FIM/UEM demonstration passes.


We're on hold for clean-up in the shutdown area, stay tuned.


Younis Al Jahani was next in his Super Street 4/6 RWD car, a very tidy 12.53/205.44 whilst the racer in the other lane had an impressive carb fire at about 300 feet which didn't seem to slow him down any. Jameel Hallal clocked 13.86/165.11 in the next pair, Jamal runs in Street 4/6 Cylinder RWD.

Mohammed Haji followed on for Pro Street with an 11.26/192.55 and Mansoor Hasan put in a 13.50/162.30 in his Super Street 4/6 RWD.


The Test and Tune opened with Street V8 and John Pasnak was up first with a 12.87/172.73. Khalid Janahi clocked 11.54/92.72.

Next up was a pair of Super Street 4/6 cylinder 4WD contestants and whilst one broke off the line, the other guy whose number I didn't catch threw a piece of bodywork at 330 feet and got off the throttle early but still clocked 9.89/173.90.


The track will be opening for Test and Tune very shortly, stay tuned.


A couple of the National Championship cars have been out on the track to check out the surface. Both had some spin off the line but nothing like last night. We understand that the track crew are happy and that the next step is to have the Test and Tune later on.


If you were tuned in to our coverage of last night's Test and Tune you will have noticed the number of vehicles which hit wheelspin off the line, and the extra sessions of track prep. Watching from the media centre it was pretty obvious that all was not well with the track as even street cars were having problems getting off the start line although Trev Capewell's 321 kmh blast last night showed that there was some grip to be had further down. It transpired that the glue was lifting off the track surface - burnouts were creating strings of glue not unlike the cobwebs we used to see with traction compound many years ago.

Of course this is the first major race since the start line was moved back some 500 feet so that part of the track is to all intents and purposes virgin.

After a very late finish last night and a very early start this morning the track crew have come to the conclusion that the two brands of glue which have been used on the strip are reacting adversely to one another. Historically the BIC drag strip has been sprayed with VP whereas the European track crew have been using VHT for the last week and a half.

Right now the track crew are spraying the track with solvent which will remove the top layer of VHT. Tests on the start line after cleaning have already proven positive even in the heat of the day, trial burnouts over the new coating of VP have worked just fine. The track crew are now very optimistic that the problem is solved and they are working very hard putting down solvent and then sledding the rest of the length of the strip.

The plan is to bring a couple of our Pro racers down at lunchtime to test the track surface and if all goes well to give both the National and Pro racers a Test and Tune session this afternoon. Stay tuned for details about that.

You will also remember from last night that our position in the media centre some 500 feet down the track made it difficult to identify the local race cars as they came past - trying to read shoe white numbers in night racing conditions when a vehicle is at speed is not an experience I can recommend. We were offered a place in Race Control, which was much appreciated, but Race Control has no web access so we would not be able to post reports. We have a possible solution in that we have control of the start line CCTV cameras which will allow us to zoom in on the vehicles and hopefully catch their numbers. Also we have been promised qualifying results for the National Championship on a round-by-round basis which will be of great help.

We'll be back at lunchtime with news of the runs to test the track surface.

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