29th July-1st August 2004 - Veidec Nitro Festival, Mantorp Park, Sweden.
FIA European Drag Racing Series, Round 3
Photographic equipment; Courtesy of Olympus and Richard I. Stirling. Picture courtesy of Darryl Bradford (in between very busy TV duties!! Cheers Darryl!) Copyright © 2004
The weekend of the 30th July to 2nd August 2004, saw the third round of the 2004 FIA Drag Racing championship at Mantorp Park near Linköping in Sweden. The entry list was huge and there were 8 Top Fuel dragsters entered, including the very welcome return to the FIA Tour of Monica Oberg. There were 8 cars in Top Alcohol Funny Car, 11 cars in Pro Stock and an unbelievable 26 cars in Pro-Modified attempting to qualify for the 16 car field. The entry list had all the promise of a great and seriously busy weekend!
http://topnitro.co.uk was reporting from the event and our intention was that we should have an interesting flavour to our presentations. http://topnitro.co.uk is not a dedicated results service - so we are always eager to find those interesting little snippets and events going on all round, as well as pictures of the racing. At this meeting, we intended to be posting fairly regularly over the weekend with both pictures, reports and perhaps the odd mp3 recorded on a digital talkbox. In the future, it is the intention of the author to prepare a detailed team profile of the teams headed by Knut Söderquist and to add to that detail with an interview or two, depending on his busy schedule.
Travelling to the track
Friday 30th July 2004
Saturday 31st July Report and Pictures
What's this? Do you need Beer Mugs for glasses?
Sunday 1st August - Raceday report and Pictures
Monday 2nd August - Load up and go home!
** Completely Rebuilt and re-posted Full Event Picture Gallery
Final Eliminations Audiocast. Well worth a listen!
Thanks to one and all:-
As always, we could not even start to put together any sort of report without the assistance of . Before I even packed my case, he got in touch and sent me a spreadsheet with all the event records for Mantorp and all sorts of other useful things (Including some Swedish phrases!) and I thank him very much indeed for thinking of us. I would also like to thank and generally, I must thank who were at Mantorp providing reporting services for our friends at Svensk Drag Racing.
It was good to bump into Sharkman late afternoon on Friday as he was wearily making his way out of the track or to the press centre. Peppered with rubber particles from his track side position, he sounded like he'd absolutely had enough and was aching for his accommodation - a more dedicated and gifted trackside photographer you could not ask for. It was also good to see Tog, briefly, outside race control. I find it difficult to keep my concentration going for 12 minutes at a stretch, never mind the 12 hour stretches that he has to perform his concerted mental peristalsis. The wonderful scriptures which, we all have become accustomed to on www.eurodragster.com, do not come out of thin air, of that I can assure you. Besides not having a moment to spare, he kindly took the time to say hi and, as always, it was most appreciated.
A particularly hefty round of thanks must go to Mr. Knut Söderquist and the personnel from his four Top Fuel teams. I was made most welcome and was allowed unfettered access in and around the trailers and team locations and the like. It was just like the good old days, when I'd get in the way, helping out with the crews. Now, I was still getting in the way, but instead I was just holding a camera or two, which was probably preferable to me holding a screwdriver or spanner - and on reflection, this certainly posed less danger to the dragsters!!. Seriously, much additional thanks must, again, go to Mr. Söderquist for including me in the mealtime arrangements, despite my sincerest efforts at claiming I wasn't hungry, or feigning that I was 'just off to get something' and was actually famished.
This weekend at Mantorp Park turned out to exceed my every expectation, in terms of material gained and enjoyment of the break away. The flight back to Stanstead was uneventful, other than Ryan Air's previously mentioned attempt at 'Airway Robbery' in exchange for a drink and a snack. I was exhausted but had agreed to give a crew-member chum a lift to his mother's home which was 48 miles out of my way, to Walsall in the West Midlands. Even though I wasn't feeling well, I did not see this as a problem. Just as we were loading up the car with our bags, my mate suddenly popped the idea of skipping Walsall and running him to Liverpool John Lennon Airport instead, where he was to catch an early morning flight. I find it extremely difficult to say no to friends and I stupidly agreed. The 179 miles out of my way was more than my tiring frame could take. My diabetes was completely all over the place, anyway and this over the course of the next few hours and the journey ahead, it all developed into something much, much more serious and the net result was a stay in hospital for 11 days.
I was absolutely delighted to receive, among the many cards that came for me, a card signed by all the Fuel teams and crew members on the FIA tour (Many thanks to Mark & Paul Turner for organising it) and I couldn't help noticing that my chum had also signed it with a cheeky message "Any chance of another lift to Liverpool Airport!". Cheeky Git! The answer's NO by the way!
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