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Exclusive interview with Barry Sheavills
Eurodragster interviewed 1998 FIA European Top Fuel Champion Barry Sheavills on Thursday 5th November, the day after UK motorsport newspaper Motoring News reported that Barry planned to turn professional in 1999.
We asked Barry about this, and also about his appearance at the Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway which was to take place a couple of days after the interview.
We are very grateful to Barry Sheavills for agreeing to be interviewed.Eurodragster: Motoring News this week is reporting that you are to turn professional in 1999.
Barry Sheavills: Is it? I'll have to get hold of a copy and look at that! That's certainly not what I said - I'm not turning professional by the proper definition of the word. The idea is to do something business-wise which allows me more time to devote to the racing. That may mean relinquishing my share in my business. Obviously I won't just need money to run the car, I'll still need a wage so I am looking at various options including a change of job to something which allows me the spare time I need.
Eurodragster: What did your sponsors think about your Championship win...
Barry Sheavills: (Laughs) Phone them up and ask them!
Eurodragster: ...and how is it looking for next season?
Barry Sheavills: I'm taking the car to Belgium on November 19th for a show sponsored by Wynns - their European Head Office is in Belgium. It's the first time the Belgians will have seen a Top Fuel car! Whilst we're there we will talk to Wynns about next year. It's pretty obvious that drag racing plays a major part in their plans worldwide.
Eurodragster: Obviously your plan is to do the full FIA Tour and win the Championship again in 1999. Is it right that the FIA Tour will be visiting some new tracks next year?
Barry Sheavills: Pass!
Eurodragster: Are Rune Fjeld and the crew still on board for 1999?
Barry Sheavills: Yes, it's the same set-up as this year. But we want to get a new chassis, that's the priority.
Eurodragster: Is there any one of your competitors upon whom you've already got your eye in the Championship chase next year?
Barry Sheavills: Jens Nybo has just been to the USA and bought a brand new car. After losing out in the Championship this year they are obviously going to be particularly motivated. But they're all tough competitors, I think everyone will be running Fours next season.
Eurodragster: What is the plan for the Flame and Thunder Show this Saturday?
Barry Sheavills: We are not absolutely sure yet. We know that we're going to "do something"! But we're definitely not planning to go out and break any records.
Eurodragster: How many passes will you be making?
Barry Sheavills: Two.
Eurodragster: One in daylight and one at night...
Barry Sheavills: Yep. But like I say we're not planning to break any records, though it would be great to run another Four right at the end of the season just to make all of the other Top Fuel teams sit up and say "He's done it again! He can even do it in England in November!"...
Eurodragster: The weather forecast is for it to be very similar to the Sunday of the European Finals, and in fact it looks like it could even be a little warmer...
Barry Sheavills: Yea?
Eurodragster: ...you should go for it!
Barry Sheavills: Well, it won't happen because at this time of year you just don't know what the track is going to be like. I will probably run it hard to the eighth-mile and then click it off because it's the second half of the track which is tricky. You remember what the car was doing from half track most of this season, the wheels were spinning. But it's very strong on the first eighth so it will easily run a good five on a half pass, and you know what one of my half passes is like! (Laughs)
Eurodragster: You mean those half passes where you stay on it to about 1000 feet! Thank you very much for your time Barry, we will all be there on Saturday cheering you on.
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