FT 5 was earmarked to close the drag racing season on a rather elevated note. We wanted to maintain the extensive joy that the festive season gave rise to. Competitors and their machines were adequately informed of the relevance of the event and based on the scorching performances during eliminations, they understood and were executing their roles in the electrifying atmosphere that existed at Vernamfield on Dec 17.
Approaching 5 pm, there was ample material to gloat about. The machines were definitely on point, the battles were grimy, frenetic and overwhelmingly satisfying. Like jubilant footballers celebrating the winning goal, speed was being embraced by the throng at Vernamfield.
But, the best was approaching the ‘tree’.
In a year when the ‘Red Donkey’ was visibly absent, Dean ‘White Camaro’ Shaw, like an unsupervised child at Emancipation Park, was allowed to frolic recklessly. On any given drag racing day, Dean’s Camaro, thanks to its overbearing, V8-supercharged rumble and its tyre-shredding capabilities, is by far one of the most eagerly anticipated machines.
But, the performance bar, like Cardi B’s net worth after Bodak Yellow, has been raised considerably by the Red Donkey. Think you are fast? You need a seven seconds pass to enter the VIP Room!
Dean has been on the breathless chase. At FT5 he clinched a major milestone. After tireless work and repeatedly arriving at Test and Tune long before everyone else, Dean and the White Camaro manufactured a crowd-pleasing 8.077 seconds pass, incinerating the finish line at 172 mph!
At FT5, time and other constraints encouraged a proactive approach – the 8 seconds final was next!
NEVILLE ‘THE REAL’ HOGG
Neville ‘The Real’ Hogg (Chukku)can rightfully claim that he has single-handedly resurrected the Toyota Supra. We knew that the Supra, like Burger King, was awesome. But, when Chukku’s ‘Blue Demon’ entered the fray, we were reminded in no uncertain terms, how devastating, a tool of speed the Supra was. Others took note and became disciples of the faith. Hailings Chukku!
‘Chukku’ and Dean were the 8 seconds finalists. If burnouts decided winners, the 8 seconds finals would be declared a draw! Vernamfield could not decide. Both machines departed from mercy’s path and brought torches to their rear tyres! We loved every millisecond of the tortuous display!
The impartial ‘tree’ released the machines. I am still not in a position to accurately process what unfolded. It appeared as if ‘Chukku’, like Shelly Ann Frazer before the toe injury, left the blocks like a rocket! Dean was far from tardy. The ‘White Camaro’ went hunting for Blue prey.
I lost focus. Both machines were barreling with resolute purpose. Power-overload greeted the Camaro and from the same lane that Rory Smith occupied (the right lane), another magic wand appeared! The Camaro exhibited a version of Ding Dong’s dance, only this time the back of the machine was threatening to overtake the front!
FULL THROTTLE 5
Dean Shaw, love him or hate him, is now driving the damn machine! Somehow, I am not sure if he knows how, he rapidly realigned the machine. Did he lift? I do not think so! Full Throttle 5 was applied, the Camaro appeared re-energised.
Where was ‘Chukku’? It all happened supersonic fast. Who was ahead? Who won? Who crossed the finish line first? No one knew with certainty who won. Not the NDRC. Not ‘Chukku’ and definitely not the partial fans!
Add a palm-in-face-moment. Dean put his foot in his mouth. He confirmed that ‘Chukku’ won and later claimed that the did not understand what he was being asked. Chaos visited Vernamfield.
Discussions were still being had, patrons were exiting and many rounds of racing remained when it was announced that the stewards had decided that racing could not proceed – bad light! A cricket? (Am not serious – lol)
It was billed as the Final Showdown. The rumor mill, prior to the event, was suggesting that whatever arrangements the NDRC had, which allowed it to host events at Vernamfield, would come to an end in 2017, thus drag racing would officially end at the venue (insert the appropriate emoji).
Perennial Vernamfield, drag racing announcer, Audley, made it abundantly clear from what he referred to as official correspondence, that the NDRC will continue to stage drag racing events at Vernamfield Motorsports Park in 2018. The announcement was well received. Despair averted!
FT 5 did not end on the expected note. Was it the Final Letdown? No, absolutely not! What we saw on the 1320 would force us to be appreciative of the efforts of all the individuals who make drag racing the pulsating sport it still is.
Here is where I would publicly thank EVERY drag racer who completed a registration form in 2017. We are thankful and we anticipate your continued participation in 2018!
We, however, cannot mask our disappointment regarding the incomplete manner in which FT5 ended. But, for that, the NDRC has a kind-hearted solution. Half-price – admission fee for the first 2018 event? Stephen Gunter, your call!
Cecil Munroe Gleaner On-Line Writer