Editor´s Diary 
In every edition Eurodragster.com editor Andy "Tog" Rogers shares his thoughts and fill readers in on how Eurodragster.com´s daily work is operated by its dedicated staff, all year round, more or less 7 days a week..   
At the end of my last Diary the Eurodragster.com team were getting ready to cover a large number of events in a small number of weekends, the last of which was last weekend's FIA Main Event. I have written at length before on what it is like to cover an FIA event in real time, and doubtless I will again, so let's take a look at a couple of the other events we attended.

The first event after the last Diary was Big Bang at Santa Pod Raceway. This is primarily a Volkswagen festival with Run What You Brung on the Friday and again up to mid-afternoon on Saturday at which point the Volkswagen Drag Racing Club, Outlaw Anglias and a few UK National Drag Racing Championship classes commence qualifying for their Championship rounds. Saturday was not a great day for the huge RWYB contingent with rain and high winds and ultimately hail storms, however the bad weather eventually went away and we got going with Championship qualifying at about 17:00. We went into the evening with qualifying under the lights which made for great photographs. The VW scene is Julian's milieu and so he was in his element all weekend, and Kirstie was on her usual fine form (and she hasn't killed any cameras so far this season), so we had a brace of high-quality galleries. Since this was a Sportsman-only event I could copy all of the qualifying and elimination data from the timing system so I had it very easy in our eyrie above the right lane bleach box. The Eurodragster.com / Bad Habit Racing Perfect Light Award was won in the evening qualifier by Junior Dragster racer Belle Wheeler whose dragster, like our event coverage, is sponsored by Alamo Rent-A-Car so there was a nice connection there. Belle wrote a very nice Thank You letter for her fifty pounds to Award sponsors Cath and Tig Napier, which they really appreciated.

The next weekend we had the full panoply of Sportsman racers at the Springspeed Nationals at Shakespeare County Raceway. Julian couldn't make it as he was at a VW show, and Kirstie was crewing with her boyfriend Tom who shares driving duties of the Time Is Money Super Pro ET Cortina with dad John, so we were down to the duo of Simon and I. This meant a role-reversal as Simon doesn't do trackside photography, so Simon wrote the real-time race report and I went outside to photograph a competitive event for the first time in some years. This was our second ever Webster Race Engineering / Nimbus Motorsport webcast from Shakespeare County Raceway, our first having been from last year's Springspeed Nationals, and as we set up I had a prolonged period of standing looking dumb because for the life of me I could not remember which output we used from the mixing desk to feed the commentary into the webcast.

All I could remember from last year was that "The cables were blue", which was a fat lot of good and which turned out to be completely wrong. Luckily Simon Day of APIRA's Tech Crew knows pretty much everything there is to know about sound systems and he was able to plug us in. SCR were a bit short of Tech Crew that weekend and Simon was often pulled in ten directions at once but he still managed to provide our own Simon with qualifying sheets (it's manual reporting at SCR) and was an endless source of information and assistance.
I had a lot of fun photographing. It made a nice change and I was only yards away should Simon have any queries… well, I was only yards away to start with but Simon was doing a bang-up job and didn't need me looking over his shoulder.

photo: Junior Stock Dragster racer Belle Wheeler won the Eurodragster.com / Bad Habit Racing Perfect Light Award at Big Bang with a 0.000 Reaction Time during qualifying

Thanks to the good offices of Shakespeare County Raceway's PR Jerry Cookson, Media Officer Dave Derry and Clerk of the Course Tony Smith I was given permission to go to the top end to get parachute shots, which are very popular with racers - maybe because of their relative scarcity. Shakespeare County Raceway's excellent Track Announcer Barry Bohannon kindly put out a number of calls to racers in the pairing lanes to inform them that I was at the top end and to advise them to drop their chutes if they wanted a shot.

photo: Track Announcer Barry Bohannon and DJ Paul Wright keep the Shakespeare County Raceway spectators informed and entertained

I spent one and a half qualifying cycles on Sunday and an eliminations cycle on Monday with the fire and ambulance crews at the first exit and the guys could not have made me any more welcome. They gave me a canvas chair for downtime, bottles of water, even packets of sweets. One of the safety crew had our webcast on his smartphone; he explained that it was useful to know what was coming.

I know I am not alone in this but I love the sound of race cars and bikes as heard from the top end; it is completely different from the sound at the start line as the engine note goes up, not down, and in the case of supercharged motors there is a beautiful high-pitched whine. But in this case the engine noise also had a practical use - being off to one side, and with the view up the track blocked by spectator banking and the guardrail until the vehicles got to the finish line, it was quite often the sound of the motors which gave me a clue about what was coming and whether they might be using parachutes. I got a fair number of chute shots although it could have been more: I know it is stating the obvious, but these guys use parachutes because they are going so fast and believe me when you're off to one side rather than head-on it is not easy to keep up.

When I checked the web site access statistics for the Springspeed Nationals I was surprised, but pleased, to discover that we had a reader in Myanmar (aka Burma). Given the sort of society they have there I was tickled by the thought of a guy sitting at a computer in a darkened room, glancing fearfully over his shoulder and expecting a knock on the door any moment as he furtively watched session two of Sportsman ET qualifying. We had no visitors from Myanmar when we covered the pre-FIA Main Event Test Weekend and I feared that our brave reader had been carted off in the night, but I am pleased to say that he was back for the FIA Main Event.

At time of writing we are a week and a half from flying to Sweden for the first of this year's two trips to Tierp Arena. Kirstie and Julian have day job commitments so can't come along to the Sweden Internationals, so it's Simon and I again. Our good buddy Patrik Jacobsson, who photographs for Speedgroup, has offered to provide us with shots from this race so I am back indoors reporting live on the racing whilst Simon tours the pits for notes. If you see us at Tierp Arena then please say Hello, otherwise please stay tuned to Eurodragster.com and Nitroz.se for all the news.

Super Pro ET racer Ian Powell in the shutdown area at Shakespeare County Raceway

Andy "Tog" Rogers and Ed O Connell (Eurodragster.coms US based editor)

Text: introduction by Åsa Kinnemar 
Editor´s Diary by Andy "Tog" Rogers
Photos: courtesy of Eurodragster.com

This article is part of the Speedgroup Club Europe Newsletter #4/2013

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