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Drag Racing Unplugged XXI

With the 2020 part-season over we are, for the twenty second year in succession, pleased to bring you the finest comments from the Santa Podcast, the year's Event Coverage on - and other quotes which we didn't publish at the time.

We open with the Quotes of the Year of the team...

Simon's Quote of the Year

"The engine, it's a precision watch, I love the sound of a screaming engine at 14000rpm, it turns into a living thing."
-- Martin Bishop defines his rate of return on racing.

Kirstie's Quote of the Year

"There's banana skins everywhere on the start line…"
-- Andy Bond remembers his anxiety waiting before a 6.99/212 defeat of Gill Medley's SUV which left before the tree had run.

Julian's Quote of the Year

"It's happy in that RF camp, you're punching your car, she's throwing her helmet, I think I'll stay with Funny Cars, away from you lunatics"
-- Kevin Kent forgets no-one likes to be beat

Diana's Quote of the Year

"The first thing I thought was "I've had one of them", and if truth be known, I've kind of always wanted one of them!”"
-- Gladiator, Jason Phelps aboard, goes kablooey at Not the Euro Finals

Kieran's Quote of the Year

"I goes down and there's 99 dragsters in Super Comp and me in my wee Pop. They said 'Hey boy, you in the wroooong claaaass!'"
-- …and Colin Millar doesn't even have a throttle stop!

Tog's Quote of the Year

"I was gutted to read you were retiring. You are God to me!"

"Now you know why I'm atheist"

-- A chance encounter on the eastbound District Line platform at Westminster

...and the rest of the 2020 Drag Racing Unplugged collection in chronological order...

"I have missed you all!"
-- Anita Mäkelä shows her regret at the season being cancelled

"The plan was to keep the no.1 on the rear wing"
-- Anita had a plan but it will need to be postponed to 2021

"As soon as we can be holding events we will be doing so"
-- Keith Bartlett was determined to start the season

"I lost my heart to a Pontiac Trans Am"
-- Anita remembers the car that got her into drag racing, which she still owns

"Our season is so short when we can have this kind of help from America, it saves so much time and money, you don't have to test everything by yourself and you can just ask, those guys in America have been doing that already for so many years there so they can tell you how to do this."
-- Anita explains why guest advisory tuners are popular in Europe

"Hanna and Heikki couldn't come to the Finals with us as they had school, but they surprised us by taking flights and a taxi to Santa Pod and when I saw them it was if I was already champion."
-- Devoted mum Anita won her second, and for her the most memorable, championship in 2016

"Keith, I think you are in trouble"
-- Anita's response when Keith Bartlett cannot choose between who he would prefer to win, his hero (Anita) or his wife Susanne

"It doesn't feel real, I still don't believe it happened"
-- Leah Kellett's 2019 Super Comp championship took a while to sink in

"We were in the States when I was a teen with loads of other people from Santa Pod and…I don't know what's going on most of the time…one of the guys turned round and said 'You're a Dolly Daydream!' and it stuck..."
-- Leah gives the origin of her car's name

My vision went very narrow, it was a shocking feeling, even if you try to keep your eyes wide open, you couldn't actually see, but when you get used to the speed then your vision becomes normal again.
-- Anita's first experience of driving Top Fuel was a visual one

"The fact we're not having drag racing, whilst it's bad, it does mean the rest of the Pro Modders aren't getting ahead of me on testing!"
-- Andy Robinson pulls a positive out of the Covid situation

"If Rex needs one [a Junior Dragster] we'll put one together for him"
-- Andy Robinson plans for his then-newly-born grandson's eighth birthday

"You've taken rubber off my racetrack!"
-- Darren Prentice to Andy Robinson after a wet photo-shoot

"I could stand next to the car all day and talk drag racing, who wouldn't want to do that?"
-- Andy Bond spreads the word

"We've got [stickers] everywhere. They're on planes, if you sit in a plane and you pull the table down to get your food you'll see 'U6LY'"
-- Andy Bond knows the impact of branding

"He's got a target on his back...If someone's out front, they will want to come and beat you"
-- Andy Robinson sums up the competition for Andy Bond in Street Eliminator

"[Freddy] said to us this is a test pass he's going to do a short burnout and a 330. And we all looked at each other and said 'He's going for it'. And that's pretty much what he did. His short burnout was probably an eighth. You let him do his thing. We were only testing…I had him off the tree and for me that was a win."
-- Andy Bond gets to jump the queue to run alongside Freddy Fagerstrom.

"We're flat out at 35mph but for that first bit we'd probably beat a race car for an inch or two…"
-- Podzilla driver Garry Anderson acknowledges the performance shortcomings of a monster truck on the drag strip

"[The rescue crew] were with me so fast I didn't have time to press my radio button to talk to Luke to tell him I was ok – which actually was a problem because he and the rest of the team didn't know I was ok until I got to the medical centre!"
-- Andy Robinson gives high praise to the safety team at Santa Pod Raceway after his 2018 crash

"The idea of doing it on the same day that we had crashed...that's what tipped the balance, it seemed like our weekend…the top end crew was bouncing and Angie had written it on a board…"
-- Andy Bond reveals his motivation for his first six second pass and learning the great news at the 2019 Summernationals

"Got to agree with you there Andy!"
-- Colin Theobald agrees with Andy Robinson about the qualities of the '69 Camaro for the strip

"I use the car all the time, the original spec was it had to run a six, I did 5000+ miles in it last year. Who cares what it does to the gallon, it's a six second street car."
-- Andy Bond reveals he uses U6LY more than his pretty '55 Chevy

"The reason that Andy's so slim is he can't afford to buy food at McDonalds!"
-- Andy Robinson recognises the shortcomings of U6LY's fuel consumption

"I've been stuck with him for three months…"

"I want to kill her!"
-- Maja Udtian and Liam Jones tell about their Lockdown together

"What have you done son?"
-- Keith Bartlett expresses shock at Liam's haircut

"I've got best appearing crew trophies, you don't need win ones, I've got Dave Mann, Gary Page, Laurie Bamford, Paul Smaxman, they could all do Baywatch!"
-- Liam Jones tries compensating for having had less wins than Maja in 2019

"Everything is so wholesome and lighthearted with Maja whereas I'm a bit more vicious"
-- Liam explains his competitiveness

"When we got the first [funny car] I wanted to drive it, it was 'can I have a go, can I have a go?'".
-- Shelley Pearson is so keen on driving a FC, she wanted to drive it before husband Kevin Kent

"When you put that plug in you said it was fine?"
-- Shelley remembers her engine explosion at 60ft after a spark plug fitted by Kevin decided to make a quick exit

"You're not kicking me out of my chair!"
-- Shelley now has her own (Funny Car seat) chair…

"The only thing I'll be punching [the air] for is my parachutes when I've gone past her"
-- Kevin looks forward to racing wife Shelley

"You don't ever want to get your foot off the throttle, I've had some photos of me smoking my tyres under the gantry"
-- Kevin says he prefers running the quarter to 1000ft

"You never need [your chutes] do you Kev? Is there a 60ft turn off for Funny Cars?"
-- Liam doesn't miss the opportunity with FC racers on the line…

"That's the problem when you uncork a Funny Car driver, they just run riot and come out with responses like that when you ask a perfectly sensible question."
-- Luke Stevenson asks if he can try Shelley Pearson's Goldstar RV with Colin Theobald at one of the events and gets advised to try a different campsite

"Colin, it's just clicked, Islanders Drag Racing, you live on an island"
-- Luke suddenly realises the provenance of Maja Udtian's team name

"You pull round and you see them all, I just see myself as a chubby bloke from Hull, nothing special."
-- Liam is asked how he feels sitting in the car with the crowd really cheering him on

"You red lit, does that mean I'm through to the final?"
-- Maja after beating Liam with a slower pass, lights a fuse…

"You can buy a Top Fuel Car for the price of a Mars Bar in Norway, they were so expensive I lost about 6 stone."
-- Liam discovers the exchange rate between Norwegian Krone and Pound Sterling.

"With this lockdown, I've can't really do much, I've got no broken bones, I haven't been to hospital, it's been pretty boring to be honest"
-- Dale Leeks's love of extreme sports takes a knock, to the benefit of the NHS

"You didn't get where you are today without melting trophies down son".
-- Martin Bishop then explains to Keith they're actually in the other room

"The only turbo I've had in my life was in a Transit van. When the nitrous runs out, the turbo's still there trying to take your arms off"
-- Dale describes the transition from nitrous to turbo.

"I put my truck on the weigh bridge and told them [the Isle Of Man police] my truck was booked in at 7.5 tonnes. It turned out to be 9.5 tonnes and it snapped a leaf spring on Douglas sea front. I couldn't get a replacement. The journey home was one of the scariest of my life."
-- Dale talks about the perils of getting three race bikes and spares in a smaller truck

"I needed to go for an 18 tonner and kitted it out. It's my workshop at home and at the track. If she's had enough of me and she kicks me out, I've lined it up so I've got somewhere to live."
-- Dale talks about his current multi-use race truck

"We like to get to and from the track extra fast with our Iveco motor home. Sometimes the weather is bad. In the pits in Alastaro the rain water was up to the clutch cover. At Santa Pod the whole tent took off. A marquee floated across the end of the track – and it was ours."
-- Martin explains his setup, and how he allegedly managed to catch his marquee with one hand whilst running his race bike at 130mph

"Most people pray for a nice clean opening parachute. I'll be honest Once you've done it a few times [free fall parachuting] you've become so comfortable with it, your heart's just not beating... Sometimes I think I like it to twist or knot up a bit so my reserve has to open. I have to have a little bit of that which if I take corrective action, it gives you a rush that makes me do the things I do."
-- Dale describes his need for an adrenaline rush that later got him into base jumping

"I've spoken to Eric Teboul over the last two years and when he retires, I'd like to have talks about that rocket bike and be the next person to sit on it."
-- Dale's ambition to increase his adrenaline rush on track might become real

"I broke my first bone when I was four, I've broken 21 bones every single one is a memory."
-- Dale assures us he does not regret his injuries

"When I was three years old I sat in Paige Wheeler's car and I said wanted one when I was older and that's the one I've got now."
-- Archie Wray is the ultimate early starter in Junior Dragster

"I got in front and then she got in front and I thought 'I'm going to have to work for this one, I was pedaling so that I didn't break out'"
-- Frankie Fordham describes his favourite win, against Caitlin Wilson, which gave him goosebumps thinking about it.

"When I'm older I want to go into Pro Mod because it's my favourite class and it's cool."
-- Archie displays clarity of thinking that most will agree with wholeheartedly

"I love Funny Cars because they're so unpredictable but you look at Jason Phelps, he only does 60fts; Liam Jones? I don't think my Dad would appreciate me kicking my car and punching his van."
-- Frankie lays the gauntlet down for a few years' time

"I advertised my wife on Ebay and described her like a car. The highest bid was from Mark Smith. I'm seeing it everywhere on the internet."
-- Dale talks about his most daring stunt of all

"I have a different name for Colin Millar, that's alright, we won't get confused"
-- Andy 'Fadster' Hadfield gets Colin Theobald's finger hovering over the bleep button

"What we ended up with is three daft Scottish laddies who are mad keen on anything to do with custom cars, hot rods and drag racing."
-- Colin Millar explains his start in the sport with mates Jerry Treit and Andy Park

"It's something I've wanted to do all my life…(which is utter b***ocks really)"
-- Fadster sells his wish to buy his T-bucket to wife Hayley back in 2004.

"I've learned a lot over the years from various people but I don't want to give any credit to Colin for anything I've done other than waking up with a really bad head in the morning."
-- Fadster falls foul of the Flyin Fyfer drinking club

"I fell asleep at the Bingo one night my whole face and head were covered from bingo pens, it took four days to rub it off in the shower"
-- Colin's tendency to fall asleep comes back to bite him.

"In the evening when racing's over and you can get into it we tend to wander around the pits until nine o'clock when he's sound asleep"
-- Fadster implies Colin's social life may be time-limited?

"You see someone coming along and five or six years later, he's the problem because he's got hooked in."
-- Colin admits Scotty Crookston is the up and coming star in Outlaw Anglia

"Freddy Fagerström - have you noticed his tow car's a Ford Model T?"
-- Fadster forges a connection with Europe's biggest Pro Mod showman

"What we'd both love to do is to get the two cars side by side, because you've got two showman doing what they do, you can expect burnouts to 1000ft, big wheelie launches and whatever we do"
-- Unfinished business for Fadster and Colin at the end of 2020, surely something for 2021

"I started off with an open trailer, as you do and got my tent over the trailer and found that I could do an event for £250. Then I got myself an American Motor Home. 5.1 mpg, £800 to go to Santa Pod, I must be off my rocker!"
-- Colin doesn't mind exhausting the planet's natural resources.

"I'm proud to be Scottish, I wear my boots and my crocs, but I'm really proud to be British… I admire and look up to the Queen."
-- Colin shows Nicola Sturgeon the way

"I was with Barry Sheavills and for the first 15 minutes I called him Barry Sheene!"
-- Fadster gets tongue tied with his idol

"When I crashed the car at Santa Pod in the wall, I decided to make a mould [of the body], then they started bothering me to make bodies …we took a new body down to Shakey to give it to somebody and thought let's tape the doors, stick a boot lid and an OA number on it and it was going to sit in the pits…but things went forward so we took it to the start line and staged it with fire extinguishers as nitrous bottles. We were going to do the full quarter mile, I did the first 250 foot - I was absolutely knackered."
-- Colin Millar takes any opportunity to have fun

"I got chatting with Liam Jones …and I said what' sit like in a Top Fuel car and he said "It's like yours but with a bit more control". Liam said could I have a passenger ride. We were supposed to be doing that this year but he's still keen. If you can't get excitement in a Top Fuel car you can get it in Twister"
-- Another one for Fadster's 2021 to-do list

"That's something we developed over the last 10 years to get where we are, we had some early success with it but it was more by luck than judgement. It's easy to make a blown car go quicker, you can put more air in, more fuel, more timing, you can gain a couple of tenths, no problem."
-- Nick Good being modest about having a dragster with a 6.8s sweet spot

"As you know Col, we never rest, if something needs to be done, we do it straight away!"
-- Dan Williams installing a wheelie bar the day after his Nova went on its rear bumper

"Back in the 70s a person let me drive their Pro Stock car, it lifted off I remember the shock, I couldn't see the track properly, it was a strange experience and it came down with a bump... I need to look at the sky again in a car and know what a proper car does!"
-- Keith Bartlett reveals his need for speed

"The Doorslammers remains my favourite event. Jimmy Alund when he won in 2018. The announcer on stage said to him "What is the best part of it for you and he said taking £10,000 off you Keith". I had a big wry smile on and said "What I really enjoyed was that it was the first time we've had on-line betting and I won £12,500 off you"."
-- Keith is quids in at the Doorslammers

"We do windscreen repair business and although we've got contracts looking after supermarket delivery vehicles, there were no other vehicles on the road to flick the stones up to chip their screens - although we were working, it was pretty thin"
-- Nick Good denies having a bag of gravel and catapult in his cab to do a 'drive-by'

"We stopped at a hotel and it was getting warm, we put the air con on to get more air through the radiator but it didn't work and we sweltered for 300miles so we rebuilt it that night."
-- Nic Williams doesn't hold back from hotel car park rebuilds

"Our trailer was smoking, we pulled up into a parking lot and our wheel bearings had disintegrated. There were a couple of strange looking people about, like a zombie apocalypse. Then another racer came up to us and said 'You can't stay here, if you're here after dark, you're going to get mugged and shot'".
-- Nic Williams receives travel tips in the U.S.

"If you drive a Funny Car, you've got to have a shaved head"
-- Keith Bartlett mentions the lack of hair of the majority of drivers in the class

"After looking him up to see if he was a girl or boy, my initial thought was to phone him up and offer him a drive in a Funny Car"
-- Jason Phelps giving career advice to Frankie Fordham (see above)

"Funny Cars are 'kin awesome, and when you stand on the gas, it's like an explosion of madness. Why wouldn't anyone? I used to lay in bed, five years old, dreaming about driving the Gladiator Funny Car".
-- You'd better believe Jason is a lifelong FC fan

"They said in Custom Car 'Jason Phelps couldn't find any traction'. It's got nothing to do with me, you need to go and speak to Dave Bryant. The whole thing is an operation and the driver is only a little part of it".
-- Jason talks about teams….

"If you have ever been involved in running a Funny Car and you factor everything in, you'd go mental. Don't even bother with timing stuff out saying I've had so many runs [on this part]."
-- Jason on the economics of running a Funny Car

"The tenacity of people and drag racers in general will keep them going to the race track. There have been plenty of times when we shouldn't have been there and said 'This is not good for us' but we will always be there and the general will of racers and the will behind Santa Pod Raceway will push it through."
-- Jason tells it like it is for the future of the sport

"When we crashed at Avon Park it shook so bad that it snapped the fire bottles off which then sprayed under the tyres, which wasn't so clever."
-- Gary Page describes his crash in Chaos, keeping FGR's Jason in business

"We planned on doing a half pass, lifted off then all of a sudden it went whooph! I saw the flames, which weren't all that bad at first and then it just erupted"
-- Gary on his fiery run in Knut Soderquist's Funny Car, before mandatory air systems in helmets

"There's no quality of air in there…even on a good run it changes colour three times…at the top it turns yellow which I assume is nitro but I've never really asked"
-- Least said, soonest mended for Jason

"It's devastation. Are we going to make the next round, is that what you're asking me? We're going to need some pop rivets and a load of aluminium.”
-- Jason interviewed 10 minutes after his NTEF boomer.

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