2010 FIA Main Event

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Latest update: 17:10

US Pro Mod and Funny Car racer Melanie Troxel and her team comprising manager Travis Rice, crew chief Al Billes and blower guru Darren Mayer arrived at the track early Friday afternoon. The R2B2 Roger Burgess-owned Pro Mod Camaro was airfreighted from the US and as we write is in Amsterdam having cleared customs and awaiting being transported by ferry and road to Santa Pod.
Melanie said "The idea of me racing at the Main Event started when Micke Gullqvist came over to help drive a team car and of course, at the Atlanta race, he won. Roger wanted to arrange a return gesture and what started as sending a blower over, developed into sending the car over and now with me to drive it. Roger wants to promote the proposed Pro Mod World Series which is becoming a greater likelihood with the class now included officially within the NHRA championships.
It has been a thrash to get the car transported, so we had to hold off announcing the deal, but I'm glad we're here.
It's my first time racing in the UK and have only been here for a short vacation before. I have had a chance to see European drag racing when I visited Hockenheim last year and there is a wide range of cars and they are great quality."

Melanie continued "It has been Roger's project to promote Pro Mod. He is very passionate about the class. I only started racing Pro Mod in 2009 after sitting out the first half of the year and working for the R2B2 team in the meantime. I had an interesting start - they are wild cars.
This year I have a Funny Car drive as well, with the In-N-Out Corvette and at quite a few meetings I will be driving both. The Pro Mod I will be racing is the car Roger drove last year and I have tested. The team runs three cars at races but have spares back at the garage in Duluth, Georgia and ran a fourth when Micke came to Atlanta. I test the cars in weekdays and have driven all four; they are similar but the pedal layout and seat position are slightly different."

A part of the increased NHRA exposure of Pro Mod is the NHRA Unleashed programme. This allows cars to compete for grading points in order to enable them to secure entry at National Events. There are more cars than available spots in NHRA entry list. The programme kicks off at Atlanta and there are other rounds at divisional tracks which will also help to give more exposure to Pro Mod including TV time. It will also pay $7-10,000 in prize money and a small Wally trophy.
Melanie started her pro racing career after four years in the late nineties in the Darien and Meadows A/Fuel team, which has also trained Ashley Force, Gary Scelzi and Brandon Bernstein. That team was also backed by In-N-Out Burger who were planning to back a Top Fuel car for Melanie in 2000. Sadly the company owner Guy Snyder died before his project could be fully realised and the team was put on ice after three races. Melanie did keep contact with Guy's daughter Lynsi who is a drag racing enthusiast and became company president in 2006.

The R2B2 team also includes famed alcohol funny car racer Bob Newberry and work is ongoing with Darren Mayer to develop proprietary blowers for use in the team and selling to others. Roger Burgess can't be here this weekend but if he is tuned in, thanks from European drag racing community for arranging a drag racing star to come to race in Europe and to try to pay Micke Gullqvist back for his first European Wally.

Super Pro ET racer Mathijs Kraetzer has put industrial strength wheelie bars on the back of his wild hot rod but is having power problems on the launch keeping the wheels on the ground on his first two passes. First pass was a 12.8 on an 8.6 dial-in for the 409ci entry, the second a 11.15.

Super Gas racer Stuart Doignie suffered transmission woes during last season."We lost the 1st gear set and the clutch. After some searching we found the problem was the 'Rooster Comb', part of the shift linkage in the Powerglide trans. Stuart said "We solved our problem thanks to Zane Llewellyn. What happened on the start line was the transbrake could not help select first gear properly. The part is inexpensive itself but caused a lot of other damage."

Super Gas racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Paul Foote was qualified no.2 after the first session. He said "Andy Robinson installed a new rear end because the car was crabbing. It was too hot last weekend but we will see how it runs." The 1956 Ford F100 was built as a hot rod for car shows but has now progressed to a 540 cu in big block producing 850hp which the original chassis has to handle. Paul said "I love traditional hot rods and we are not running an electronic throttle stop."

Super Gas racer Jon Giles has invested in new equipment. Atop the 555 cu in engine (ex-Andy Raw) sits a new carb bought from Jeff Bull. Jon also has a new torque converter and Carl Monroe gearbox. He said "I ran an 8.87 personal best in testing with the new setup.

Super Gas racer Dave Gadney is returning to the sport after a break of five years. "This is the same car I last ran, the old Jim McGee Nitemare car from the early 90s. I did the mods on the body, cut weight out such as the second battery and repainted it. The work was done by my company, Sutton Car Care which does body and paint work. The wheel arches have been widened and thanks to Andy Robinson who I used to crew for for help on the chassis." The power train is the same as before, a 468cu in big block and Powerglide.

.2009 Champion Pro Mod racer Mats Eriksson being weighed. Scrutineer Glenn Stockton said "The scales we use are made by Intercomp and we weigh each axle in turn and add the results to obtain the total weight. We've started on the Pro Mod and Pro Stock cars this morning, Mats being the first, and will scrutineer the dragsters and funny cars at their pit."

Pro ET racer Gordon Northway had a successful testing session last Sunday and continued with a 9.64 on a 9.58 dial-in in the first session, good for no.6 at that point. The MS Trust which Gordon supports is the official charity of the event and there are stands in the merchandise area and at Gordon's pit at the far end of the track. At Gordon's pit you can have a high quality picture of yourself in the car taken for only £5 and Team Edge T shirts are for sale for £12 to charity. there are also publications about MS Trust where you can visit by clicking on www.mstrust.org.uk and www.racingformultiplesclerosis.com

Pro ET racer Lee Huxley has been busy over the last few weeks preparing his new Mustang. He said "The car was shipped over from Florida where the previous owner had run it to a best of a seven. My brother Marc did the chassis mods to get it tagged and powder coated it. My dad Brian and I made the panelling and fitted the 540 cu in Tim Hines-built engine and Ford C6 trans (heavier but more reliable)." Last minute dramas included missing head studs; the team went to Cheltenham to obtain some spares from Ian Hook and the rebuild was complete at 3am; the team then got up at 6am to go to Webster Race Engineering to have the car baselined. The car should be seen on track later today.

Pro ET racer John Reeve from Braintree has owned his Chevy "Dirty Boy" 454SS Pickup for seven years. "I have been watching the sport since I was a child and then I started American Vehicle Services about 25 years ago. I loved this truck and Chevy only built it for four years, '90-'94. I first ran it stock at rwybs, and then changed the engine to a blown 540cu in with Enderle injector on top of an 8-71 blower running methanol. Bill Felstead helped me build the chassis." American Vehicle Services does work on late-model US cars including electronic engine diagnostics and modding engine management.

Pro ET racer Dave Bailey is running his '64 Plymouth Valiant which he has owned for ten years. For this year he has replaced the headers and fuel cell and installed a new Dana axle. The engine is a B1 with twin Dominator carbs and the trans a Torqueflit 727. The car is all original and the paint which has amazingly been on it since 1990 is a mixture of Ford Azura Blue with pearl mixed in. The chassis work was done by Tony Jarvis in the early '90s and Dave is now looking to run the car at more races.

Pro ET racer Deborah Laugher has put in a new header tank to cure a big overheating problem and the thermostat housing has also been lifted as a result of new heads and manifold. Deborah said "I'm proud of the engine but equally proud of the new graphics. Now it's time to get more practice."

Pro ET racer Andrew Gibb is appearing with the historic Jaguar-powered Stripteaser for the first time this season. "We want to be consistent and then will put the nitrous on to go quicker", he said. "We will be appearing at the Xtreme Wheels show."

Pro ET racer Mike Lacey caused a stir in Rushden last weekend when his burnouts were some of the best at the Powerfest street demo, resulting in a popped left slick. "I had my old tyres on so I thought I would go for it", he said.

Super Pro ET racer Peter Walters is in his third year with the Canon dragster. "The first year we had a lot of teething troubles and engine problems. The second year the problems were fewer and we found some consistency at the Euro and National Finals. Now the car feels consistent and we are leading the championship. I hope I can do well here to help my points lead." The key to consistency seems to be making few changes as possible to keep the car in the 8.1s.

Super Comp and Super Gas racer Dave Raper is in his first full season after appearing at the Euro Finals. Here with wife Marian, he said "I am still getting used to the car but am now doing some good passes, the best being 8.95." The car is supported by Colemech, an engineering company that Dave works for and stores the car between meetings.

Super Gas racer Christer Uhlin from Malvik, South Trøndelag, Norway is a regular visitor in his '64 Ford Fairlane. The car has a Ford Big Block 514 cu in producing 720hp. The best 60ft is 1.31 with a new engine which Christer spent 2009 sorting out. The car also has had new wheels and rear axle.

Super Gas racer Olav Skyervoe races as a team with Christer. Olav is from Skogn, Nord-Trøndelag and has this '67 Mustang also with 720hp. This season, their old bus has been replaced with a new coach with room for two cars and for the crew to sleep.

Super Street racer Halvor Overby is here for the fourth time. The trip involves two boat trips, from Sweden to Denmark and then from Denmark to Harwich. "I have had the car for nine years and drove it every year apart from one when my son drove it after a few years in junior dragster. He is now a marshal and his girlfriend is a bracket racer so the sport is still in the family."

Super Street Bike racer Alexander Rose from Berlin tested yesterday running an 8.72/161. He runs his Hayabusa mainly at Drachten.

Super Street Bike racer Garry Bowe was no.1 after the first session with a 7.5744/183.58. He said "I'm really pleased although it has been a time coming".

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