Editor´s Diary  
July 10th 2012

I had planned to be at Alastaro to report live on the FHRA Nitro Nationals but it didn’t work out. The question of why is best left for another time; suffice to say that I’ll be there next year even if I have to walk to the track and then sleep under a bush.
Luckily we have a well-established routine for races which we are not able to attend: we are sent results from the track and we make them available via an Alamo Rent-A-Car Event Coverage page on With a following wind it is as close to live coverage as you can get without being there.

Åsa had words in the right ears when she arrived at Alastaro and on Thursday morning I discovered that it was FHRA’s timekeeper Petteri Haapaniemi who had drawn the short straw as he got in touch to let me know that he would be sending timing sheets. He even sent a sample sheet to make sure that it was OK for our purposes, which of course it was because Petteri is a great guy – he is one of those people whom you like as soon as you meet them – and having been sat or stood next to me more than once during previous races watching my fingers blurring he has a perfect understanding of our requirements. I already owed Petteri for help rendered at Tierp in June so now I figure I owe him my firstborn, or I would if I had one. Åsa promised to send notes subject to her Speedgroup duties and I had long before lined up occasional stand-in photographer Patrik Jacobsson to supply us with a gallery at the end of each day.

Åsa sent some great photographs on Thursday, illustrated pit notes on Friday, and pit notes on Saturday, whilst Patrik sent three excellent end-galleries commencing with Friday. What was particularly impressive about Patrik’s work for us through the weekend was that he had obviously taken the time to look at our pictures from other races to see the kind of shots we use and selected his own pictures accordingly. We therefore had the mixture of on-track, pitside and people shots which our readers enjoy. You can see a lot of Patrik’s work on the Speedgroup web site or of course in the FHRA Nitro Nationals galleries for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday and Sunday were a slightly easier proposition for Your Reporter although being at home meant that I was liable to be allocated jobs. However thanks to Mrs Tog’s continued tolerance of my utter incompetence around the house and my commitments to, all that ended up assigned to me was the acquisition of a new tyre and rear brake light for my car. Easy enough huh? Well yes, but it would involve leaving the house whilst a race was underway and results were coming in. An added complication was that Thomas Lindström was on a European Pro Stock speed record in qualifying and so I was watching the excellent webcam so that I could get each run’s speed off the scoreboard, since if Thomas’ storming 6.688 ET did not improve then any potential back-up of the speed record would not show on the timing sheets. Petteri was already knocking himself out without my asking him to send details of each run which Thomas made. I don’t like people demanding that of me, so I won’t do it to others.

As soon as Pro Stock Q3 was done on Saturday morning the clock was running and I was out the door to the tyre place toting my smartphone and netbook: I didn’t know how long I would be out so I wanted to be equipped to carry out updates from the tyre place if necessary. Whilst the tyre guy did his stuff I watched the webcam on my smartphone, and the phone was also looking out for E-Mails from Petteri.

In the tyre place I noticed a poster of Urs Erbacher on one wall and asked the tyre guy which one of them was the drag racing fan. I was all set to have the “Oh, do you read Well, I am...” conversation which I have had in various locations including on a miniature railway on the south-east coast of England and on the London Underground, but the tyre guy shrugged and said “I don’t know. It’s just a poster”. I was of course in the right place to be deflated. But the tyre guy did his job, and fitted a new brake light into the bargain, very quickly. In fact I was back at home before Pro Q3 had finished, and that session’s bike results arrived simultaneously with my walking back through the door and a cheerful Mrs Tog offering me a cup of decaf – my stock with her went up when I got off my butt and got the car sorted.

My admittedly-light domestic duties having been fulfilled, it was plain sailing for the rest of the weekend watching the webcam and awaiting and posting results courtesy of the tirelessly-obliging Petteri, galleries courtesy of Patrik, and pit notes courtesy of Åsa. The sum total of brainwork on my part on Sunday was Fredrik Fredlund adding himself to the Pro Stock Bike record books although he handily did it the other way round, having run the back-up before the new best ET. I had to run the webcam full-screen, although that was not a bad thing, because some of the conversation in the chat window made me want to go outside and hunt down and kill Communists. I have also noticed this with the chat window on other webcasts: that a large proportion of the chat consists of people asking the same two questions over and over and over again, i.e. “What time is (insert class name) running?” or “What did (insert racer name) run?”, and judging by the constant repetition no attention paid to the answers which could in any case have been found in moments on It drove me bloody mad but maybe I’m just a grumpy old man. Either way, the day you find a chat window on's Webster Race Engineering / Nimbus Motorsport webcam you can safely send a sympathy card to Mrs Tog since I will be dead before it happens.

As you all know the FHRA Nitro Nationals was eventually rained out; from where I was sat it looked as if, as usual, the track was pretty much there when the final downfall came. Just before the end I gained much amusement from watching people walking into view of the webcam, often with mobile phone to their ear, waving to family or friends: Messrs Ålund and Fredlund amongst them as well as members of Speedgroup. I have been known to stop our own webcam when someone does this at Santa Pod Raceway; either that or I try to fine them 10 GBP. At the end of the Run What You Brung before the Easter Thunderball a guy walked in front of the webcam with his phone to his ear and, seeing what he was up to, I stopped it broadcasting. You could tell from his body language that he was saying “Well, I am standing in front of it, what do you mean you can’t see me?”. He then came upstairs and asked where he had to stand to appear on the webcam. When I told him that he was standing in the right place, but that for fun I stop the webcam when people on phones walk out in front of it, he was not amused - even less so when I mentioned the ten pound fine.

At time of writing some of the team are going into three weekends in a row at Santa Pod Raceway: Dragstalgia, Bug Jam and the Mopar Nationals. The webcam will be running at all three events and you will be fined for standing in front of it and waving, unless you can prove that you are waving to SPRC Club Secretary Paula Marshall who will be watching from home. After that trio, weekend off and then we make the trip to Hockenheim for the NitrOlympX. The staff will definitely be there; according to the large transactions draining the web site’s bank account we will definitely not be walking from England to Hockenheim and we will definitely not be sleeping under bushes. Hopefully we’ll see you at Santa Pod Raceway on at least one of these weekends. If so then say Hello, if not then stay tuned to and we’ll bring you all the news.

Text: Andy Rogers
This article is part of the Speedgroup Club Europe Newsletter #9/2012

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