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22nd November: Trakbak CEO Keith Bartlett is pleased to announce the undertaking of a major new project that will be a landmark in the continuing development and improvement of Santa Pod Raceway.
KB says "The current surface, along with all the previous racing surfaces at SPR, were asphalt (tarmac) and we have been long-term holders of many records set on asphalt but we have had numerous problems with the tarmac surface since it was laid in 2013. We have been very aware that these problems would need addressing at some point. I have made the decision to replace the tarmac with a full quarter-mile, wall-to-wall super-smooth concrete racing surface."
Partnering with concrete specialists Knights Construction, the consultation and design process has been under way for several months including fact-finding trips to top NHRA tracks in the US and liaison with NHRA representatives. "This is a very significant investment heading towards £1m for Santa Pod and I believe it shows our commitment to the sport of drag racing and to the actual racers. I am confident that we will start the 2018 season with an extremely fast track; possibly to become one of the best tracks in the world."
Speaking as work on the track began, KB continued "We are starting from scratch and the work will entail ripping out the entirety of the existing track including the 1943 WW2 runway that lies beneath the track and the foundations beneath that. Knights will then install an extensive drainage system to ensure the track's integrity over the long term, then the process of rebuilding the foundations can start and I'm pleased to say that all of the old WW2 runway will be recycled and included in the foundation."
Once Knights have removed the original track and the area is down to sub-formation they will begin to install more than 13,000 tons of construction materials including 10,000 square metres of concrete to achieve the new track design. Concrete for the project will be supplied from Tarmac's Northampton plant where a close eye will be kept on the production process.
Knights Construction Group Managing Director Matt Jones said "The consistency and quality control of material is of tremendous importance on a project like this. It's just one part of a long line of processes that Knights will be closely managing to ensure the success of this very exciting project."
Though Santa Pod hosts a variety of different types of event, it is the track itself that is the beating heart of the venue and the new surface will be welcomed by everyone involved in the sport. The prospect of presenting the European drag racing community with a new concrete track fills KB with a sense of anticipation. "I don’t mind admitting that when Santa Pod records started falling to Sweden's Tierp Arena it was distinctly unsettling. I'm looking forward to hopefully getting those headline-making records back - along with giving the drivers and race teams a much more consistent and predictable surface. I really can't wait for the new season to start."
The construction work will continue in stages throughout the winter period ready for the start of the 2018 season. Santa Pod's Festival of Power held over the Easter weekend will be the inaugural Championship event on the brand new track and promises to deliver the first of many top-line performances from a range of race classes including the ever-popular Jet Car Shootout.
Keep up to date with all the progress via Santa Pod's Facebook page, or visit www.santapod.com for full details of the 2018 calendar and to book tickets.
Feature: Hal-Far Finals.
22nd November: Courtesy of a billet-doux from Eurodragster.com management Carl Kirk attended the weekend's Finals at Malta's Hal-Far Raceway as media and sent us this report and a gallery of pictures:
Hal-Far Raceway is south of the island of Malta, and is not far from anywhere as the island is small. Visitors could stay anywhere on the Island and still get to the track. Hire a car; driving is easy as they drive on the left, same as the UK. When we arrived we found a small but very nice race facility. I'm guessing that Santa pod are running low on jackets by the amount spotted there.
Some classes were different to the UK and some cars were entered into more than one class so it was difficult to keep track. There were approximately 120 entries.
Friday was a day of rain showers but we saw every car qualify at least once, with some PBs achieved.
On Saturday sun cream and hats were required for a great day of qualifying. The grandstands were at least a third British racers and race fans with a well-known Scotsman amongst them.
Top Dragster was a combination of twin-turbocharged Ford Cosworth or Toyota four-cylinder power plants. The DISS car ran a Personal Best of 6.491/202.50 making it the world's fastest four-cylinder Toyota. The Mibrum ran 7.031/193.88.
There are a lot of Mk 1 Ford Escorts on Malta and Andy Harris' British team of two bright red Escorts were hard to beat. Consistently running mid-tens at over 120 mph. Another car which stands out in this class is a Blue Ravenol Opel.
For rotary-powered doorslammers the target is six seconds and Nathan Bartolo did not disappoint running 6.895/197. The Dilja car driven by Gary Camilleri ran mid-sevens at 178 mph. The Terminator car of Justin Muscat had a number of issues over the weekend, unfortunately resulting in below-par performance.
There were a few bikes in two classes but the General Lee ran a best of 6.767/201.
2017 FIA European Top Fuel Dragster Champion Duncan Micallef put in a half pass on Saturday as they had a problem with the fuel pump. Sunday morning was different: the Maltese Lion was hunting a three-second pass at over 300mph, nice clean run all the candles lit resulting in a 4.16/289, the crowd were happy and they knew he would be back for another assault on the track. Shake and a quick pedal and the run was over, maybe next year.
Those who are already spectating over here will confirm that this is a great place to visit. Personally I think we may have witnessed the future of drag racing power of the next generation. Sometime soon Malta will send a Sportsman team over to the Pod. They will be coming to win not just to put on a show, and I for one would not bet against them. Cheers Hal-Far Raceway, it was a blast. See you next year.
In association with Lucas Oil Products we have posted a gallery of forty of Carl's shots from the Finals which you can check out by clicking here or by clicking on the Interviews, Features, Tributes link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
A banner day at SCR.
22nd November: A bit more British drag racing heritage recently came to light with the discovery of an original Revell GB Model Kits trackside advertising banner. Shakespeare County Raceway's Jerry Cookson takes up the story:
While looking through one of the many outbuildings at Long Marston Airfield with fellow scavengers, track officials Chris Schreier and Dave Rowlands, we came across some advertising banners which, in my estimation, had been lying around untouched and still rolled up for some forty three years! The find also revealed some original advertising boards displayed at the 1979 Custom Car Show at Alexandra Palace, but these items were in a very poor state, part of the Blackbushe start line A-board and a multitude of Rallycross items including the original course marked tyres still bound together. You can imagine our faces when the banner was rolled out to reveal the American model kit manufacturer's logo and the wording Ravell make the world's greatest model dragster kits.
So with the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Bench Race session coming up we took the banner along and asked Dennis Priddle if he would very kindly sign it for us as Revell, along with STP, were the primary sponsors of Dennis' famous slingshot dragster Mr Revell in the early 1970s. We also asked Ed The Ace McCulloch to sign as well following his longtime association with the Revell Corporation in the States.
I reckon that this banner, alongside the Gauloises banner also found, hasn't seen the light of day since 1974 where it could clearly be seen track side at legendary NDRC venues Blackbushe, Silverstone, Fullbeck, Wroughton and of course Long Marston.
22nd November: Santa Pod Raceway are holding a Black Friday sale in their on-line shop for everything from merchandise to Festival of Power tickets. The sale takes place this Friday (24th) and you will be able to pick up some great deals at www.santapodshop.com.
Bench Race thanks.
22nd November: Geoff Stilwell of the weekend's Bench Race organiser and sponsor Beech Underwriting, has been in touch to thank everyone who attended not only the now-famous Bench Race session but also the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Gala.
"I don't think people realise the number of hours that go into the planning and execution of such a big event", says Geoff. "I have to thank Stuart, Bev and Genna Bradbury, Simon Groves, Robin Jackson, Tony Thacker and Nigel Payne for all their hard work. Also it could not be done without the support of the other sponsors of the event and Tog at Eurodragster.com for all the coverage (Thanks, you're welcome - Ed).
"I also have to thank our friends from the USA for their unending support in attending and bringing along very special items so that we could raise money for the BDRHoF Benevolent Fund(see below - Ed). In particular we have to thank Waterbed Fred Miller, Sharon and Bob Muravez (for the help on the auction sales), Don Prudhomme, Ron and Brian Hope, Dale Emery, Bob McClurg, Marvin Graham, Jim Oberhofer, Ray Iddings, Roland Leong, Jerry Inuye, Joe and Gigi Schubeck, Steve Gibbs and Family, Ace McCulloch, the fantastic Connie Kalitta and Kalitta Racing, Tom Hoover, Jeff Lutz and last but not least Clay Millican... I hope you all saw the live Facebook broadcast which Clay did on Sunday. If not get to Clay's Facebook page right now.
"On Sunday Kathy Taylor of Santa Pod Racers Club very kindly organised for Clay, Jeff and Ray to visit Santa Pod. I know that they really enjoyed it. Thank you Kathy.
"It is now back to the day job but, once again, thank you to everyone from those attending to those who made it happen."
Neil Marks has also been in touch to let us know that he has posted a short video clip on YouTube featuring some of the racers' responses to the question about their first time at a drag strip. You can check it out at www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKV3j06i83g.
Our own account of the Bench Race, published on Monday, has generated a lot of positive and grateful feedback for which many thanks.
Legends honoured at BDRHoF Gala.
22nd November: The twelfth annual British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Gala Awards Dinner, held on 18th November at the Oatlands Park Hotel, Weybridge, Surrey, was another huge success. New inductees to the Hall of Fame from the sport in the UK were joined by a group of sixteen US drag racing legends, and former Land Speed Record holder Richard Noble OBE. The Gala is one of the leading motor sport presentation events in the world and the BDRHoF would like to acknowledge all who made it possible.
The evening, compered by writer and former NHRA Motorsports Museum Director Tony Thacker, included the induction of eight new members of the BDRHoF, presentation of the Sydney Allard media awards, the Lucas Oil Global Achievement Award, and special surprise presentation for a drag racing legend who has combined a racing career over almost sixty years with running successful international airlines.
The Lucas Oil Global Achievement Award was presented to Steve Gibbs, the former Board Member and Vice President - Competitions of the National Hot Rod Association. It was awarded for his own achievements in managing over four hundred NHRA National Events in a forty eight-year career with the sport's main sanctioning body, founding NHRA Historical Services in 1992 which gave birth to the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion at Bowling Green, Kentucky and the California Hot Rod Reunion held in Bakersfield, California.
A BDRHoF trophy went to Connie Kalitta for operating one of the most successful Top Fuel and Funny Car teams in NHRA history over a period of six decades. The inscription on Connie's trophy was In recognition for his contribution to drag racing and the presentations were warmly applauded by the two hundred and fifty people present.
The 2017 inductees to the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame were: Top Fuel car owners and tuners Karsten and Per Andersen, European record holders, presented by NHRA Top Fuel Dragster racer and current record holder Clay Millican; Fuel Altered owner series organiser and former photo-journalist Lawrie Gatehouse, presented by Ron Hope; Funny Bike and Pro Stock Bike pioneer Pip Higham, presented by Marvin Graham; Multi time UK Top Fuel Bike Champion Steve Woollatt, presented by Bob Muravez); and Top Fuel tuner and Club organisers John and Lesley Wright, presented by Roland Leong. There was also a special induction for BDRHoF Chairman and former Santa Pod Raceway starter Stuart Bradbury, presented by current Santa Pod CEO Keith Bartlett. Trophies were sponsored by the Santa Pod Racers Club.
The Sydney Allard Media Awards, for written, photographic and videographic journalism went respectively to Ian Wagstaff for his race track profile on Santa Pod Raceway published in the May 2017 edition of PRI Magazine; Mike Collins' photo of Top Fuel racer Timo Lehtimäki, taken in 2011 and published for the first time on Eurodragster.com in December 2016 and previously in Mike's own Blog Retro Ramblins; and Barney Campbell's video Welcome to Santa Pod Raceway, published on the Santa Pod Raceway YouTube channel in January 2017. The awards were presented in association with Octane Magazine and the Guild of Motoring Writers and the trophies sponsored by Lucas Oils UK.
Gala day also included the third Beech Underwriting Bench Racing Session with the guest American and British racers and personalities telling uproarious stories about their racing exploits, with questions from the floor. The session was introduced by Bob McClurg, leading drag racing photojournalist for almost fifty years. Personalities present were Jim Oberhofer, Tom Hoover, Dennis Priddle, Ron Hope, Bob McClurg, Clay Millican, Jeff Lutz, Roy Phelps, Joe Schubeck, Roland Leong, Steve Gibbs, Ed McCulloch, Bob Muravez, Marvin Graham, Dale Emery and Connie Kalitta.
Over $10,000 was raised from charity donations to the BDRHOF Benevolent Fund including an auction of an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2018 NHRA Gatornationals supplied by DialAFlight and Kalitta Racing, and sales of memorabilia.
The event would not have been possible without practical help and support from sponsorship partner Beech Underwriting Agencies, major sponsors US Automotive and Santa Pod Racers Club, and event sponsors Lucas Oil Products UK, DialAFlight, the Institute of Professional Drivers, Atlantic Fluid Tech, Rat Trap Racing, Mac Tools, Kalitta Motorsports, Kalitta Air, Aptitude, the National Street Rod Association, and Prop Portfolio. Thanks also to the Pennine Drag Racing Club, Eurodragster.com and Avon Park International Racing Association for their support.
2018 APIRA, SCR, NAST Trophy Evening.
20th November: Avon Park International Racing Association, Shakespeare County Raceway and the National Association of Supertwins are pleased to announce details of their combined Championship Trophy Presentation Evening honouring the 2017 APIRA Champions and runners-up, APIRA and SCR Perpetual Award winners, and NAST winners and runners-up and special awards.
The Trophy Evening will take place on Saturday 3rd March 2018 in the Avon Room of the Hilton Warwick, Stratford Road, Warwick CV34 6RE, located on Junction 15 of the M40, commencing at 6:00 pm with pre-dinner drinks at the bar followed by a full sit-down dinner which will be served at 7:00 pm. The Championship presentation begins at 8:30 pm and will be MC'd by Track Announcer Shaun Wilson and Angie Woods. There will be the usual raffle during the course of the evening and a disco 'til late provided by Kenny's Bar resident DJ Jamie.
Tickets are £25 per adult and £15 for under-twelves which includes a three-course sit-down meal finished with tea and coffee. A vegetarian option will be available on request but please tick the box on the booking form. The children's meal will be creamy tomato soup, chicken nuggets, chips and beans followed by chocolate torte with Irish cream sauce. If you wish to book a complete table for your team or group then please indicate this on the form; tables seat a maximum of ten.
APIRA have negotiated a preferential rate for rooms in the hotel at £90 for a double or £80 for a single. All rates are inclusive of breakfast, car parking and VAT. To book your room please call the reservations team on 08008 568000 or visit the web site at www.hilton.com/warwick quoting reference code ASRAS. Cut off for bedroom bookings at the special rate is twenty eight days prior to arrival.
You can download your booking form (PDF format) from the Downloads page of the Shakespeare County Raceway web site at www.shakespearecountyraceway.co.uk. Payments can be made by BACS; account details can also be found on the booking form. Please note that all booking forms should be returned to the address on the form by 17th February 2018. If you have any queries then please call 01789 720180, or E-Mail email@example.com.
2016 Perpetual Award winners please note that all trophies should be returned to APIRA / SCR as soon as possible. To make arrangements for return of trophies please E-Mail Jerry Cookson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01789 720180 during office hours.
A gathering of geezers.
20th November: Fresh from a day at the Brooklands Museum (below left, picture courtesy and ©John Goodman) the US and UK guests of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Gala headed to the Oatlands Park Hotel for Saturday's Bench Race organised by Geoff Stilwell of Beech Underwriting.
The Bench Race panel, from left to right in the picture above right, were top row Jim Oberhofer, Tom Hoover, Dennis Priddle, Ron Hope, moderator Bob McClurg, Clay Millican, Jeff Lutz, Roy Phelps and lower row Joe Schubeck, Roland Leong, Steve Gibbs, Ed McCulloch, Bob Muravez or Floyd Lippencotte Jr (We never can tell them apart - Ed), Marvin Graham, Dale Emery and Connie Kalitta.
During introductions Bob McClurg set the tone by introducing Tom Hoover as "A legend - just ask him". Ed McCulloch, feeling somewhat encouraged, said about Connie Kalitta that "We all remember when he was a kid!". Jim Oberhofer on being asked to introduce himself quoted Connie's description of Kalitta Motorsports as "A drag racing team which owns an air cargo company".
The Bench Race was a mix of questions from the floor and pre-prepared questions and good-natured insults from Bob McClurg. The session opened with a question from the floor to Jeff Lutz about what went through his mind whilst driving his race car from track to track during Hot Rod Drag Week, towing everything he needed. "You've paid three hundred dollars to put yourself through this - they should pay us!", said Jeff. "It's pure hell. You're in survival mode. Winning is easy, getting to the next track is hell. There's no fun to it!". Jeff later related a story about banging up the same race car three times in the space of two weeks, which will feature in an episode of Street Outlaws which has yet to be aired.
Bob McClurg then asked the panel what was the most spectacular thing they had ever seen. Ed McCulloch led. "Jungle Jim and his notoriety", he said. "The bitchinest run I ever saw was in New Jersey. Jungle turned up late, barely got through tech, left with the front wheels two feet in the air and didn't put them down until the first light. And then he went off match racing!". Roland Leong related a story of one of Don Prudhomme's legendary crashes, this one in Seattle. "Somehow I was first to Prudhomme and he could barely breathe", said Roland. "I went to hospital with him. At Seattle there was only one way in and one way out, but there was a second gate for emergencies. The ambulance stopped by gate two, the gate was opened, Prudhomme was laying there moaning and groaning, the driver hit the gas and I fell on top of Prudhomme! At the hospital a nurse came in with a container for Prudhomme and asked me to hold it for him. I said "We're close but not that close"!".
Steve Gibbs' most spectacular moment was at Irwindale. "We booked in eight wheelstanders including Connie Swingle in the Trash Truck. Swingle made his run and went on to the return road so we let Bob Riggle go. I should have known... Riggle was making his run and Swingle appeared wheelying up the return road and they passed at mid-track. It took my breath away!".
Bob McClurg related a story about Connie Kalitta at Pomona in the days of push starts. "Connie's car wouldn't start and they kept pushing, they got to the end of the fire-up road and Connie turned left and the car hit the fence on the left turn, and then that's all the car was good for - turning left". Steve Gibbs told the rest of the story. "Another team hit the fence again so there was no fence. Then Fred Farndon took the gap and hit a portable toilet with someone in there, and he still didn't shut off! The guy came out of the toilet and he was wet all over."
Connie Kalitta's first story was about Tommy Ivo's legendary crew member Tarzan. "Ivo had a bad case of poison ivy. He was in the truck naked under a sheet. They pulled up to a toll booth and there were two women in there. So Tarzan whipped the sheet off Ivo!"
The next question from the floor was to Bob Muravez who was asked how he persuaded his wife to let him carry on racing considering some spectacular incidents. "Before I ran I suited up and kissed her goodbye, then when I was strapped in I would point at myself, make a heart, and point at her - I love you", he said.
Continuing the theme of spectacular incidents Dale Emery was asked to tell the story of a crash in which he ended up strapped into his race car upside down in a ditch. "The steering wheel came off", he said. "I was struggling for breath. They got me out and the ambulance driver tried to take off my helmet... without undoing it. One of my crew hit him and he ended up halfway across the ditch. The driver asked me who hit him and I said "You don't want to know"."
Roy Phelps was asked how he persuaded US racers to come to Santa Pod Raceway. "Well, in the last fifty years they invented the telephone!", he said. "In the early days we had Dick Lawrence and Bob George who would call, and back then you had to call the operator and book an overseas call. You had to fly by the seat of your pants but I saw it as a thing we needed to do. The spectators wanted a good show and I wanted to give them a good deal and something new each year. Paying for it wasn't easy."
The panel were asked about their first visit to a race track. Jim Oberhofer said "Island Dragway on Long Island. I was five or six years old and I saw Jungle Jim and Don Garlits". Tom Hoover said "There was a straight road behind my school, we practiced before school but it wasn't street racing. My first race track was Twin City Raceway in Minneapolis". Dennis Priddle said that he started in sprinting at Duxford. "Tony Gane built a motorcycle with a 500 cc Rudge motor. But my first proper drag race was the Drag Fest". Ron Hope said "I was sixteen and Pomona used to run every weekend. I promised my parents I wouldn't race. I took my Chevy there and accidentally raced". Clay Millican vividly remembers visiting Lakeland Dragway: "My first memory was seeing Don Garlits and I thought "Dear Lord, let me be able to drive one of these things"!", he said. Jeff Lutz said that his first visit to a race track was National Trail Raceway in the late 1980s seeing some of the old-time big names. "It was like a drug and I've been hooked ever since", he said. "The Drag Fest at Blackbushe was my first drag race", said Roy Phelps.
"My first race was at Akron Airport", said Connie Kalitta. When asked the year he said "Before Jesus, I think!". Dale Emery first attended Kingdom Drag Strip in 1955. "There were three Fuel cars there", he said. "I thought it would be the coolest thing to do to run one". Marvin Graham borrowed his dad's car "But I didn't tell him I was going to race!". Bob Muravez bought a Corvette which previously belonged to Betty Grable and took it racing, "But I quickly worked out that you don't race the same car you want to take your girlfriend in, it breaks!". Ed McCulloch's parents were farmers and had an orchard near a drag strip. "I took my dad's '55 Buick to do my work and drove it back home", he said. "I was working on the tractor and I saw them racing across the street. I went and made laps then went back to the tractor". Steve Gibbs did not do much racing himself but went and hung around outside the entrance of San Gabriel and watched race cars go in and out. "There were so many different types of race car, you didn't know what you would see - this was in late 1956", he said.
Roland Leong said that he grew up with the wrong crowd. "I used to play in a band", he said. "The other guys were older than me. We'd go and race on side streets. As soon as I got my licence at fifteen I went to the drag strip with my mum's car. My sister and her boyfriend were at the races and told Mom and Dad. Back in those days the reputation of drag racers was like Hell's Angels. But I survived!". Joe Schubeck started racing at Dragway 42. "I built a new car around the 392 Chrysler", he said. "I won that day and they gave me a trophy. "Any money with this?" I asked and they said "No, just the trophy". My mom was a big fan and was so excited that I won a trophy. We were king of the hill every week, I would get home and mom would be waiting for my trophy with her cleaning rag in her hand. One day I came home without a trophy, Gordon Collett had beaten me but mom said "Maybe he won't be there next week". It got worse the next week because Kalitta was there too! On the Saturday night we took Kalitta out to a place with good broads and gave him a good night. The next morning I was still drunk and I needed oxygen to sober me up so I went to the ambulance and Kalitta was already there with his face in the oxygen mask!"
Bob McClurgh then asked the panel how many times any of them had been on their heads. "We were doing well in IHRA", said Clay Millican. "The balance of the car had always been weird. We had done a deal with Warner Brothers and had The Dukes of Hazzard on the car. We were up against the Lucas Oil car and the front end moved, I pedalled, and it made another move. The car kept on rotating and everything was very silent. I got in the foetal position and it went over and slid backwards. I thought "Kloeber's going to be pissed off with me". I radio'd the crew "I'm OK", then I saw the wall beside me. I hit the button again and said "I'm OK". Then I saw fire. I stopped upside down and one of the safety crew tried to undo my belts. He said "Are you OK?" and I said "I'm OK as long as you don't undo the belts!".
Ed McCulloch recalled his famous two-car crash with John Collins at Baton Rouge in 1984. "The track was marginal at best", he said. "We left the start line and then eighty feet out the car took a hard right turn. I T-boned Collins, went upside down, slid across the track, hit the wall and the fuel tank exploded. When we stopped Collins was upside down and I was right side up. We were both OK, got out and embraced, but it was the worst day of my life". Marvin Graham recalled a run in Michigan. "We were running Low ET every round but we ran left lane every time", he said. "This time I went right lane. I didn't know about the bump. The front wheels came up and at three hundred feet I was looking at the floorboards in the car. The front came down, a front wheel came off, I hit the throttle and it hit the rail - in those days there was a gap at the bottom of the rail and the front of the car went in the gap. I hit the throttle again and the clutch went "Boom!". One of my crew got to me and he was pissed. He said "Get out of the car and let your daughter know you are OK - she is going frantic on the start line!".
Dale Emery's big Moment came at Indy in 1978. "I was carrying the front end, it came down and hit the rail and the car went in the air", he said. "I thought "This will hurt". The next day Ray Beadle asked me to work with him". Tom Hoover remarked how far safety has progressed. "Back then front motor fires were a problem", he said.
Joe Schubeck related a story about racing Connie Kalitta at Dragway 42. "I watched Kalitta walking up the right lane and down the left lane", he said. "He had a rag and he was cleaning patches and removing stones. Then he came to me and said "I can't see out of one eye, can I take the right lane?". I said "OK" and of course the left lane was covered in oil and my tyres spun. Kalitta had Gordon Collett next round, I watched him walk the lanes again and then he went to Gordon and said "I can't see out of one eye, can I take the left lane?"."
Roland Leong said that for a short while he and Connie Kalitta were dating the same girl. "My last wife!", interjected Connie. Roland went on "I went to one race and there were two big testicles on his trailer and underneath it said "These ain't pineapples"!". One of Connie Kalitta's Bounty Hunter dragsters famously had a panel on its rear listing all of the racers he was going after, with a line through the name when he had beaten the racer. Don Garlits looked for his own name on the list and asked Connie why he was not included. "I told him "Go get your own list"!", he said.
Steve Gibbs told the story of a huge crash which Connie Kalitta suffered in the early days of rear-engined dragsters. "Connie had a wedge-shaped car", he said. "It was a spectacular accident, he got into the finish line sign. We had a guy sitting at the finish line, a black guy, and he was at the sign which Connie took out. Connie was being looked after, we dealt with Shirley, and then we thought "Where is the finish line guy?". We expected to find pieces of him everywhere. But we found him drinking a Coke in the finish line tower. We told him he couldn't sit there again and I think he thought we were discriminating against him."
Dennis Priddle was asked about his first experience of night racing. "Tony Densham was in Commuter and I was in Tudor Rose", he said. "We looked and we both thought it didn't look too bad. Back in those days you sat very low in the car and all you could see was the back of the supercharger. It looked like a lit track but it was very dark. We got to the end and it was completely black. I got stopped and it was totally silent. I heard a voice calling "Dennis?" and I called back "Is that you Tony?". He replied "Yes, where are you?". We could only see when the push car came. I was right on the outside edge of my lane and Tony was right on the outside edge of his lane. I promised myself that next time I would go to the end of the track and see how dark it was."
Bob Muravez agreed about the inadequacies of lighting in the early days. "Taft Drag Strip had a big searchlight looking down the track", he said. "As you took off your shadow got bigger and bigger and you were driving into a big black hole. You don't need lights, you need stupid young men."
During the Bench Race original paintings by Paul Whitehouse were presented to Clay Millican, Marvin Graham, Jeff Lutz, Roland Leong, Dale Emery and Connie Kalitta. Tony Thacker conducted the auction to raise funds for the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Benevolent Fund including the sale of a crash helmet worn by the legendary Raymond Beadle on his first visit to Santa Pod Raceway. The winning bid for the helmet was from Santa Pod's CEO Keith Bartlett and the item is destined for the track's forthcoming museum.
See Post en Dros for 10% off Racepak.
20th November: Dick Koster says that Eurodragster.com sponsor Post en Dros is offering a 10% discount on all Racepak products:
It won't get any better than this. This is the moment to “Stop guessing and start einning” with the Racepak winter sale. From 15th November until 31st December you get 10% discount on all V-Net based Racepak products. V-Net based products are, for example, the V300, V300SD, V500, V500SD, Sportsman, UDX Dashes IQ3 Display Dash, IQ3 Drag logger Dash and the IQ3 Street (logger) Dash. The 10% discount includes these dataloggers and dashes and all of the sensors related to these products.
Orders will be collected until 31st December and sent out in the first week of 2018.
So get your V500SD for €2059, V300SD for €1345, Sportsman for €679 and IQ3 Drag Logger Dash for €1399.
Check out all of the Racepak and other items in our web shop at www.post-en-dros.nl. For orders, questions and quotes please E-Mail email@example.com.
16th November: Mark Windridge writes that the UK's Supercharged Outlaws are holding their AGM in February and that all interested parties are invited to attend. The AGM takes place at 13:00 on Saturday 3rd February at the Fosse Leicester Premier Inn. "If anyone wants to find out more about us they are more than welcome to come", says Mark. "Our main rules are V8, Roots-type blower, any vehicle type, quicker than 10.90."
The latest spy picture to reach the offices of Eurodragster.com (below left) came with no words. If you know more, or if you would like to send your own spy picture, then drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The whole family write to wish "Wild Bunch racer, crew extraordinaire, totally top bloke, brilliant son, brother and uncle Mark Hartnell (above right) a very Happy 30th Birthday for today. Hope you have a great day, Mark! Best wishes and lots of love from Mum and Dad Chris and Claire, brother and family Lee, Sarah, Liam, TJ and Bella, and sister and fiancé Jade and Ben. Plus the whole of the Wild Bunch and all of your many friends send you their very best wishes!". To which we add our own best wishes; have a great day Mark.
2017 Czech Series standings.
16th November: Many thanks to Herman Jolink for forwarding us the standings in the 2017 Czech Drag Racing Series.
FAO SPRC Perpetual trophy holders.
15th November: Before jetting off on honeymoon Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Ian Marshall has had time to get in touch with an important message for the current holders of the SPRC Perpetual Award trophies:
Perpetual Award holders are asked to return their trophies before Christmas so that we can have them prepared for the SPRC Dinner Dance and Trophy Presentation in January. Please either arrange return by contacting SPRC at email@example.com or call 01933 313625 or, if more convenient, please drop in your trophy at the Santa Pod Raceway office.
Nominations for the 2017 season are currently being considered by the SPRC Committee and the annual Perpetual Awards vote will commence shortly here on Eurodragster.com.
More possible sightings...
15th November: Robin Jackson says that further sightings of a man resembling legendary Top Fuel / Funny Car owner / tuner Roland Leong have been reported from the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu (admiring the Allard-Chrysler dragster) and from some field with a load of stones in a cold wet place.
It's believed that this mysterious phenomenon could be repeated in Central London today (Wednesday). Anyone approaching the man and saying, in time-honoured fashion, "You must be Roland Leong and I claim my prize" probably won't be given a prize but will undoubtedly be courteously received. Reports of such meetings will be welcomed by Eurodragster.com.
It is rumoured that reinforcements in the form of other legendary drag racing figures will be jetting into Britain over the next few days.
Overheard on the South Coast...
13th November: "So I'm walking along the seafront, like, under the White Cliffs of Dover, and I see this bloke standing there, I swear he's the absolute spitting image of Roland 'Hawaiian' Leong. Ain't that crazy, huh? I mean, Roland Leong! What would he be doing in Dover? And at this time of year? But I swear to you, the bloke looked just like him!"
Crazy? Or could it be that it's nearly time for the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Gala?
Robin Jackson also tells us that Jerry and Terri Inouye and Bob McClurg have also arrived and are safely ensconced in the Oatlands Park, venue of this Saturday's Bench Race and Gala Dinner. The visitors were introduced to downtown Weybridge and checked in at the tux shop, which turned out to have all the kit ready and so Roland and Jerry were fitted out. The florist two doors down was consulted for a corsage which is also all set. Stay tuned for further updates.
13th November: At right are the newly-wed Ian and Nikki Marshall nearing the end of a long and joyful day on Saturday. After being married by registrar and VW Sportsman racer Polly Judge the happy couple and guests were photographed by drag racing photographer Matt Woods, regaled with reasonably embarrassing stories by best man and Santa Pod employee Darren Prentice, and entertained by a band led by Junior Dragster dad Ian Hart. Ian and Nikki are headed on honeymoon in Sri Lanka and all of our love and best wishes go with them.
Utility Cart auction update.
11th November: The current high bid for Utility Cart, donated by Kalitta Motorsports sponsor Mac Tools to benefit the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Benevolent Fund, stands at £400. Bidding closes tomorrow night (Sunday).
Shipping to the UK has been kindly funded by USAutomotive. The winner may collect the Cart from USAutomotive's warehouse in Bedford, or alternatively it will be delivered to the winner provided they are based in the UK; carriage costs will be borne by the BDRHOF Benevolent Fund.
Bidding is open until 23:59 UK tomorrow with settlement due by end of 14th November.
If you would like to make a bid for the Utility Cart then please E-Mail our own Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPR and Lucas play the Classic.
11th November: Donna Finnegan of Santa Pod Raceway writes that Eurodragster.com sponsor Lucas Oil Products has joined forces for a joint stand at the Classic Motor Show at the NEC in Birmingham:
Whilst Santa Pod has exhibited at the Classic Motor Show for many years, this is a long-awaited return for Lucas Oil who haven't exhibited since 2013. Located in Hall 2 Henry Hirise, the Two Seater Thrill Ride Dragster and the Lucas Oil drag racing simulator are attracting crowds.
Yesterday was extremely busy for the 'quiet' day so we are all bracing ourselves for the main days today and tomorrow. We are armed with 5,000 goody bags complete with 2018 calendars and flyers to distribute to the masses.
Many thanks and welcome back to Les Downey and his guys from Lucas Oil for supporting Santa Pod for this show.
11th November: All best wishes for a happy future to Nikki Skinner of Nitro FM and SPRC Club Secretary and Chief Starter Ian Marshall who are to be married in Bedford today (Saturday).
Congratulations to Julie Nataas on the third-best Top Alcohol Dragster run of all time, and the best under the current rules, of 5.115/280.49 to take #1 spot at the NHRA Auto Club Finals at Pomona. Good luck and stay safe to Julie, Jonnie Lindberg, Fred Hanssen, Ulf Leanders and Rob Turner who are representing Europe at this weekend's race. Qualifying continues today (Friday) and you will be able to stay in touch with our heroes' progress at www.dragracecentral.com.
Tog would like to say a big Happy 25th Birthday to his niece Jennipher. Half way to fifty, have a lovely day Jenn.
Smax loses Ground.
10th November: Ex-pat UK Top Fuel Dragster racer Smax Smith, taking a breakfast break from setting up a charity Halloween party for five hundred people, got in touch to let us know about the latest outing of the Ant Hill Mob Top Alcohol Funny Car shoe'd by son Aidan and his own most recent event in the Leverich Family Racing Top Fueller:
We were pulling our hair out trying to find the gremlin which would flatline the rpms at seven grand then go lean and pop the burst panels. My dad always says it's the simple things, well guess what... it was the spark plug wires! The first thing we did when we had the problem was to ohms test and swap a couple of wired which were not perfect. What we hadn't realised was that the metal tip inside the boot was too close to the end, so under load it would take path of least resistance to the spark plug tube inside! Bummer - we had chased that all season and had changed the mag, coil, points box, kill switch etc etc.
We wanted to end season on a high so Aidan thrashed to rebuild the whole motor and we went to Cayuga, Toronto to test it out. After we loaded Friday our F350 had issues which we couldn't fix in time so in Smax style we got a Chevy 3500 Dually with broken shifter cable and bodged it to get it going. Then had to buy a pair of bedrails and install the gooseneck plate all of Friday afternoon
Up early on Saturday in the rain, went for diesel and a brake line failed so I grabbed some fluid and headed to meet Aidan and crew for brekky but the trailer brakes didn't work either, so only foot brakes and 27,000 lbs rolling. Damn! Got to brekky but then had a flat tire on the Dually so sorted that and made it to Cayuga on time.
We fired the car and we were excited to see it perform. After the usual checks we towed Aidan down and I said just go to 400 feet and we will check it all. I put a bit more fuel into motor for safety too. Aidan did a perfect burnout and the motor sounded strong, he did a perfect launch but it shook at the top end of first gear so lifted, but it transpired that the clamp for the fuel pump broke so he did a great job saving it. We were ecstatic that it revved to 9000 rpm and ran his best sixty foot of 0.994.
A complete check revealed zero damage so I said do an eighth mile and shut it off for checking. However with issues at the track and an early curfew there was only enough time for one more pass so I told Aidan to go further but not all the way. After another perfect burnout he brought the rpms up to 6500 and launched hard to a better 0.990 sixty, then it drifted left so he corrected but had to do a long pedal to straighten it out then back on it and shut off at 800 feet and pulled the chutes. 6.7 to the quarter, Aidan's first six-second pass, running 4.14 to the the eighth even after a long pedal! We had the same early incrementals as a 5.75 so we are pumped for next season. On the way home the Dually burst a heater hose!
My last outing was a match race at Grand Bend with Larry Dixon, Ike Maier and Jeff Veale. It was a great weekend although addressing issues, but racing Larry was a treat - see the video.
10th November: UK Outlaw Anglia racer Barry Woodford tells us that the Outlaw Anglias are represented at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show at the NEC, Birmingham, between today (Friday) and Sunday. Simon Barlow, Mick Taylor, Garry Hill, Rob Stone, and Barry will have their race cars on Stand 640 in Hall 5. Eurodragster.com sponsor OCS Group can also be found at the Show promoting their engine building, dyno and painting services. You can find out more at www.necclassicmotorshow.com.
Michel Tooren and The Netherlands' Pro Dutch Racing Pro Modified team recently held their annual and legendary end-of-season party. Bianca Booij kindly sent us an account (Dutch-language PDF) which you can check out by clicking here.
Eurodragster.com News Editor Tog would like to thank everyone who sent and posted birthday greetings on Tuesday, and to forgive Simon for sneaking the Snippet onto the news update. The happy day which everyone kindly wished came true, featuring Afternoon Tea and (after a very long walk) fish and chips with Mrs Tog and friends including Eurodragster.com US Correspondent Kathy Hileman who was on her last day of a week's holiday in England. Thank you all again.
Web site updates.
10th November: The British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Benevolent Fund, which exists to offer financial and other assistance to members of the racing community struck by misfortune, has launched its own page. You can take a look, find out the facts, support the Fund at www.britishdragracinghof.co.uk/bdrhof-benevolent-fund.
Paul Bryan has updated his Flickr site with 130 pictures from the recent Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway. You can check it out at www.flickr.com/photos/paulbryan_photopedia.
Also updating a Flickr site is The Mad Welshman who has posted a gallery from October's Late Autumn Madness Public Track Day at Shakespeare County Raceway at www.flickr.com/photos/the_madwelshman.
7th November: We have a birthday on the team today (Tuesday). Kirstie, Julian and Simon wish News Editor, Race Reporter and Photographer Tog the Happiest of Birthdays. Have a great day buddy.
Men on gas.
4th November: Last Saturday's Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway was an eye-opener for Colin Millar, Scott Crookston and the Flyin' Fifer Outlaw Anglia team. Colin says:
Scott and I have never actually driven a car at this event as the heart of the car and the drive train are usually removed before the month of October. We left the car in one piece as it had behaved itself for a whole year without a breakdown or missed race. With an E-Mail to James Forster at Santa Pod Raceway and a quick reply to give us the green light, we certainly looked forward to the days going by after Hot Rod Drags to get one more hit, one more adrenaline shot and maybe, if the weather was kind, a few quick runs as we would have nothing to prove and we could join in and race against anyone.
Leaving after tea on the Thursday night, and bearing in mind that the track was not open until after midday on Friday, we had a wee pit stop at Gretna Green and then headed down in the morning through some horrendous traffic, arrived in good time and got the car ready for the morning run. Even with the oil heater and the block heater on for some time she was dour to start and we ended up heating her up on C16 which is always an expensive activity.
We were early on track and it was still a bit challenging with both Ginner and I easing our way up the track, with a throttle squirt by Ginner at the hit as he always wants to win. 10.1 for me and 9.9 for Ginner. Back down and then we were approached by Santa Pod and asked if we would like to race Robin Read in his Daimler-powered dragster. I did hear on the grapevine that Tog had some influence in this decision when he heard that Wayne Nicholson, who was due to match-race Robin, had had to withdraw... is that true Tog? (I cannot tell a lie - Ed)
As always you see cars which probably shaped the way you are now, and I started going to the Pod in 1982 so it was a very easy decision: of course I would love to race alongside Robin. We had a chat to ensure that we were both focused on what had to be done and agreed on a one-second delay running a Pro Tree. We would have had a great race but a wee mistake which meant that we got a Sportsman Tree meant that as always I was away like a scalded cat on the first amber. Hey ho, it's all about having fun and Robin again so, so close to the magical 200 mph. We wish Robin and all of his lovely crew all the very best for next season still aiming to break the magical number and possibly début his new dragster (see below - Ed).
Back to the pits, refuel and a fresh bottle of NOS, I shouted to Scott to go and sign on and to have a go with some gas. Was he keen? Of course he was keen... mad keen! The news quickly spread and Scott's mother Lynn was on tenterhooks and even more stressed out than normal. He was told not to go too fast!
It was probably the best time of the day when Scott and Ginner went head-to-head. Little did Ginner know that Scott was on the gas! Off they went and the car launched so hard with both front wheels of the ground with a ground shaking 7.6651, but even more impressive a 1.09 sixty foot, the quickest-ever sixty foot in the history of Outlaw Anglia! On Scott's return to the pits Ginner was quickly on scene asking "Did you run gas maaaaan"!
Everyone was ecstatic with a great vibe in the pits. We got ready to go to race Robin again but unfortunately he had broken and was unable to continue. We had a long old wait but in the end at about 7.30 pm Paul Dale in the Acute Anglia and I teamed up with great big rolling burnouts. With a track temperature of around 5° we didn't expect too much but we were both keen to try and it turned out to be a great race. A storming 7.6609, phew! I just managed to beat the youngster but he still held the sixty foot with a 1.11 from me, great for the evening conditions and what a way to end the last run of the event and the last run of the year, it could hardly get any better. Thanks Paul and see you next year.
Sometimes it is hard to see how you can top an awesome season. We have been to so many places, we have travelled thousands of miles, we have spent more money than we have earned, we have been with great friends new and old. We have won the OA Championship and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved who helped us on our way with the OA family: our friends, family, supporters and of course the fantastic people who run and marshal at both Shakespeare County Raceway and Santa Pod Raceway. Have a great winter and see you all real soon.
Roll on next week when we can hopefully sit in the sun in Malta with beers in our hands watching four days of drag racing, wooooooo hooooooooo!
Man on nitro.
4th November: The man in the other lane, Robin Read, also got in touch to let us know how he got on with his blown-nitro Daimler-powered dragster at the Flame and Thunder Show:
We had made a plan to go hard on our first run, no feeling our way into the tune-up. When we set up our pit bay on the Friday conditions were pretty much perfect, warm and sunny with little or no wind but on arrival at the track on Saturday it was disappointing to find that conditions had changed and were now far from ideal: cold, overcast and very windy! We knew that with the strong wind blowing straight down the strip our terminal speed would be affected, but by how much we had no way of knowing until we ran, nor how the track would be for grip with no direct sunshine.
It was great to get to run with Colin Millar in the Outlaw Anglia. We had not met Colin before but you get the opportunity to get to know people while waiting in the staging lanes and he's a really nice chap running a lovely car. I know that he wanted to win, as did I. We chose a one-second delay on a Pro Tree in Colin's favour but sadly something happened and we got a Sportsman Tree causing Colin to redlight. Never mind! Hopefully another time things will go right.
Our run was very good, 6.71/194.68. All felt good in the driving seat but the car got a little loose at 1000 feet and drifted towards the wall. It caused some concern about whether I would have to terminate the run early but the car responded well to driver input and came back, allowing the full pass. Upon inspecting the timing slip from our best 6.69 pass and comparing it to this run's ticket we could see that our sixty, 330 foot and eighth-mile times were all quicker, Personal Bests! The eighth mile speed was down 2 mph so we now knew that the headwind would not allow a 200 mph terminal speed. The positive side was that we had just made made the second quickest run on the car.
During the usual post-run turn-round we found a broken exhaust rocker on number five cylinder and a bent pushrod on number eight cylinder. These parts were changed and we thought that we were ready for the second run, but when we started the engine to get some heat in it, it only ran on seven cylinders. Further checks showed 100% leakdown on cylinder number eight - it was leaking though the exhaust valve. Sadly with no time to effect repairs the decision was made to withdraw from the meeting.
What a year though: record runs for both ET and speed. 200 mph will have to wait until next year and will be attempted with the old car. The focus this winter is to get on and complete the new car to run in 2018.
My usual heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported me and the little nitro Daimler during 2017.
The sale is off...
4th November: UK Pro ET team Paul Brown Motorsport had a fun 2017, apart from the weather. Paul writes:
With the Shorty gone, my other dragster up for sale, other commitments for the team including Lee's wedding (congratulations mate), team holidays and a knee replacement due for Dad this was never going to be a serious season for team Paul Brown Motorsport, so we set out to have some fun. My return to Pro ET got off to a flying start at Easter, being one of only two racers to beat the Huxleys all season in the UK, but losing to Mike Lacey in the final.
The Main Event was manic. I managed to turn up for most of the qualifying runs and Zoe and I also manned our sPeedZ Drag Racing Start Line Simulator in the entertainments area throughout the weekend (with Mum covering for me while I was racing and Tom Margesson delivering the dragster to the pairing lanes). The rushing around didn't do me any harm and I went into number one with a perfect ET in Q5, claiming the Eurodragster.com / Bad Habit Racing Perfect ET award in the process. Taking out Laura Baynton in round one and enjoying a bye in the second, I was feeling good about my racing and the car but the Monday weather meant that I didn't get to find out how race day would actually turn out as the meeting was called off without any further racing for us. During the weekend we were visited by hundreds of spectators at the sPeedZ stand and they all had a lot of fun learning how to race and discovering that getting a perfect light is not easy. We were also visited by several racers during the rain on Monday and it included a very competitive match-up between Tethys and Duncan Micallef!
My team had deserted me to go on holiday during the SPRC Summernationals but luckily Tom Margesson and pit mate Andy Harrison ably stepped into the breach. I was struggling with my ETs, slipping into the 9.30s, but it didn't affect race day and I was happy to get my revenge against Mike before Laura got her revenge on me in round two.
The European Finals proved to be extremely frustrating for all of us – the spectators, the racers, and the track crew who worked tirelessly all weekend to dry the track. But the rain just kept on coming and so another event was left unfinished. I had never raced Carla Pittau before and before the rainout we had a cracking first round race in which I took the win, but that was the end of racing for Pro ET. We took advantage of the downtime though, and with the expert guidance of Tony Morris we rebuilt the carburettor hoping to find the missing power, but we had to wait until UK National Finals to find out.
The National Finals and at last we had a great weekend for racing and what a close meeting it was! Straight off the trailer for a near-perfect ET which was only good for fourth place in the first qualifier followed by two amazing PBs, I was well happy with the dragster. Thanks Tony! Racing Dave Cherrett is always a challenge and this resulted in my only first round exit of the season but we had a great weekend and enjoyed the sunshine too.
I was chuffed to finish fourth in the Santa Pod Racers Club Championship and eighth in the UK National Championship and I am so happy with my PBs and the car's consistency that I decided to keep it, spend a bit of money on it, and work on it over the winter ready for next season. Congratulations to the Huxleys and to Nic Williams on their Championship wins.
We didn't race at Shakey this year due to trailering issues but I went along as crew member for Andy Harrison as well as helping him at the Pod. Andy had a tremendous first season in Super Gas winning the APIRA Championship, getting number one qualifier at European Finals with a Perfect ET, and finishing second second in the National Championship. Well done Andy!
We’re looking forward to next season already. Meanwhile sPeedZ is available for private hire, so if you fancy a bit of competitive fun at your party, stag do or any other occasion give us a call on 07947 945935, E-Mail us at email@example.com, or check us out on Facebook.
4th November: Amongst the most eagerly-awaited off-track events of the year is the unveiling of the front covers of the Zeon TV UK season review DVDs, and Helen and David have now released this year's covers. As ever the covers front and rear include a sizeable contribution from Eurodragster.com. You can take a closer look at www.quartermilehigh.com and stay tuned for details of pricing, ordering and our annual review.
Maja Udtian and her Nitro Vikings Top Fuel Drag Racing Team had a busy but also very successful and enjoyable two weeks at the Offshore Technology Days and the Oslo Motor Show. You can read more on the Drag Racing Europe Blog courtesy of our good buddy Remco Scheelings by clicking here.
Buick Boy, a man desperate to acquire an classic VW air-cooled project, is that keen to do so that he is willing to swap everything he has to do with drag racing. Parts to build an altered, die-cast models, autographs, rare Fuel Altered books and a lot more are on offer. If you are interested then get in touch on 07450 974381.
Today's news update should have been published yesterday (Friday) but unfortunately your News Editor has been dealing with a crisis away from the world of drag racing. We can't go into details but please be assured that no-one is unwell or anything like that.
Morris goes GET'M.
4th November: International drag racer and carburettor specialist Tony Morris has joined the US' GET'M Garage team as Carburettor Department Manager. In this role, he will be responsible for all facets of carburettor assembly, carburettor rebuilds and on-site diagnostics.
"I am excited to be included in the GET'M Garage fold", sais Tony. "After being at the Fall Fling in Bristol with Trevor Wiggins, it's easy to see the missing element at the track. I'm looking forward to helping GET'M Garage fill that void – which means meeting the racers' needs."
"Tony, a lifelong racer, understands the racers' needs and that converts well to the goals of GET'M Garage" commented co-owner Mike Laws. "Tony is well-respected, has a tremendous international following and is a real top-notch carb expert. We are thrilled to have him join our team."
Prior to joining GET'M Garage, Tony worked for fourteen years with a well-known carburettor modifier in Orlando where he started manufacturing small precision parts. Because of his in-depth carburettor knowledge, he was later promoted to carburettor department manager, where he oversaw all aspects of carburettor production and worked closely with Mike in carburettor development. In addition, he was a mainstay at the track, providing on-site technical support to racers.
Originally from Birmingham, England, Tonys saw his first drag race at Santa Pod Raceway at the age of five and got behind the wheel of his first race car as soon as he was old enough to race. Before moving to the United States Tony raced competitively in Germany, scoring five Championships there. Always looking to broaden his horizons, Tony moved to the United States in 1990 and continued to race. He has wins in Super Comp, Super Street and Pro Am, just to name a few. He continues to race internationally any chance he can and travels to Europe several times a year to tune customer carburettors.
For more information, visit www.getemgarage.com or check our the GET'M Garage Facebook page.
BDRHoF to hold Charity auctions.
4th November: The Benevolent Fund of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame will be auctioning, raffling and selling some great items at the Gala Dinner in Weybridge on Saturday 18th November as well as auctioning a Mac Tools utility cart to open here on Eurodragster.com on Monday (6th):
The BDRHOF Benevolent Fund was established as a Registered Charity to provide benefit to people involved in drag racing who are in need of financial support through injury, accident or financial circumstance, including organisations which operate in drag racing but also for the public benefit. So the money raised by donation goes back into the sport. No money goes to the BDRHoF, which is funded by separate sponsors.
In advance of the BDRHoF Gala Dinner to be held at the Oatlands Park Hotel, Weybridge, Surrey, fund-raising opportunities have been gathering speed. During the day there will be sales, raffles and auctions of some eye-watering prizes, and this theme will be continued into 2018 with chances to win more fantastic items and contribute to the sport's own charity at the same time.
At the Beech Underwriting / BDRHoF Bench Racing session at noon on 18th November, where sixteen legends from the sport will be regaling the hundred-strong audience, a range of memorabilia will be for auction and sale. The star auction prize is the very crash helmet worn by the late Raymond Beadle when he raced at Santa Pod Raceway from 1977 to 1980. Also for auction is a pewter tankard presented to Raymond for setting a new speed record of 221 mph during his very first appearance in 1978, and a Skoal Bandit team shirt signed by Don 'The Snake' Prudhomme, who raced at Santa Pod in September 1980.
For sale after the Bench Racing session will be signed copies of the books Six Seconds To Glory by Don Prudhomme and Mongoose, The Life and Times of Tom McEwen signed by the Snake and Mongoose themselves. Also for sale are pistons signed by John Force and other goodies. Our grateful thanks to 'Waterbed' Fred Miller and Bob and Sharon Muravez for helping to source these items and getting them signed.
Les Downey of Lucas Oil UK has very kindly agreed to raffle one of Lucas Oil's remote-controlled racing trucks (valued at over £300) at Saturday night's drinks reception. Tickets will be £2 each and will be sold on the entrance to the drinks reception, again in aid of the BDRHoF Benevolent Fund.
At the Gala Dinner a silent auction will be held for an amazing prize, worth £2000, of two event tickets and Kalitta Motorsports VIP passes to the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway on 15th-18th March 2018. The package includes return flights from the UK to Orlando, seven days' car hire and up to £500 towards hotel costs booked through DialAFlight. The opportunity to make a sealed bid is open to all attendees at the BDRHoF Gala Awards Dinner, except Board members and advisers and BDRHoF Selection Panel members. The winning bidder must settle their bid no later than forty eight hours following the Gala Dinner.
Kalitta Motorsports' major sponsor Mac Tools will be supplying a Three-Drawer Utility Cart, worth over £1000, which will be auctioned on-line here of Eurodragster.com. The auction commences next Monday, 6th November, and concludes at the end of Sunday 12th November, with settlement due by end of 14th November. Shipping to the UK has been kindly funded by USAutomotive and the winner may collect the Cart from USAutomotive's warehouse in Bedford, or alternatively it will be delivered to the winner provided they are based in the UK; carriage costs will be borne by the BDRHOF Benevolent Fund.
Stu Bradbury, trustee of the BDRHoF Benevolent Fund and Chair of the BDRHoF, said "We are truly grateful to 'Waterbed' Fred, Bob and Sharon Muravez, Les Downey, DialAFlight and Mac Tools for making these incredible prizes available which will raise money for our Charity and benefit racers directly in the future."
The Gala Dinner is now sold out, but on-going news about the Gala, sponsors and other events in which the BDRHoF is involved will be published on the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame web site at www.britishdragracinghof.co.uk, on Eurodragster.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.
NSRA events move to Santa Pod.
1st November: The UK's National Street Rod Association have announced that their Nostalgia Nationals and Hot Rod Drags will take place at Santa Pod Raceway starting next year:
2018 marks the 25th Annual NSRA Nostalgia Nationals and the 30th Annual Original Hot Rod Drags, a milestone year for sure. With continuing uncertainty and much speculation about the immediate future of the facility at Shakespeare County Raceway a decision has had to be made to secure the long term future of both events, which have become a major feature in the calendar for both hot rodders and drag racers alike.
With that in mind, both events will now take place at Santa Pod Raceway, the Nostalgia Nationals over the weekend 11th-13th May and the Original Hot Rod Drags on 14th-16th September. The formats will remain the same, with a firm commitment to pre-1973 RWYB, coupled with the ever-popular and entertaining action provided by Outlaw Anglia, the Gasser Circus, Supercharged Outlaws and the Wild Bunch, as well as some additional track action which will be announced in the not-too-distant future. We are still confident that we can retain the distinct flavour of both meetings with the emphasis still being that of a Rod Run which just happens to take place at a race track.
It will still be the same team promoting the events and sorting all the details, we've even been assured that the admission fees will stay the same, so we look forward to welcoming you all at our new home.
On a final note, we would like to thank the management and crew at Shakespeare County Raceway for their tireless support over the last three decades, as well as recognising the support we have had from the team at Santa Pod and their desire to secure the long term future of both events. Most of all though, we want to thank each and every one of you who have supported us through the years, you make it all worthwhile. Here's to the next thirty years!
See you at the track!
Halloween Bonfire Burn-up gallery.
30th October: In association with John Woolfe Racing we have posted a gallery from yesterday's (Sunday's) second day of the Halloween Bonfire Burn-Up at Shakespeare County Raceway.
There are 175 pictures in all; you can check out the Halloween Bonfire Burn-Up gallery by clicking here or by clicking on the John Woolfe Racing Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
30th October: Congratulations to Sweden's Ulf Leanders who took the Top Alcohol Funny Car win in an eventful final against Larry Dixon in Las Vegas yesterday. You can find out more at www.dragracecentral.com.
We would like to say a big Happy Birthday to Sandie Gibb. Have a lovely birthday Sandie. No news update yesterday so we were unable to say Happy Birthday to MSA British Drag Racing Championship PR Robin Jackson. Hope you had a great day Robin.
Flame and Thunder Show gallery.
28th October: In association with John Woolfe Racing we have posted a gallery from today's (Saturday's) Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway.
There are 470 pictures in all courtesy of Kirstie, Julian and off-track photog Diana Macrae; thanks to all three for their hard work.
You can check out our Flame and Thunder gallery by clicking here or by clicking on the John Woolfe Racing Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
2017's last 200 mph shot.
27th October: The UK's Robin Read, whose blown-nitro Daimler-powered dragster is the quickest and fastest British-engined car on the planet, is looking forward to taking another tilt at 200 mph at tomorrow's Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway:
You will remember that we managed to run 199.89 mph on our last run at Dragstalgia in July. Of course we would really like to be the first team to run the first British-powered 200 mph pass, and the Flame and Thunder Show is our last opportunity this year. Many thanks to Santa Pod and to James Forster for allowing us the chance.
As most race fans know I have a new dragster under construction, but I really would love my old car to be the first to 200 mph. There will be other firsts for the new car, but the old car was the first and only to run sub-sevens so wouldn't it be great to add the first 200 mph as well?
Many thanks to my wonderfully hard-working and loyal crew Mark Evans, Bertie Hopkinson, Bill Mears and of course my girlfriend Ella Chapman. There are other individuals and companies who assist with parts or services; it wouldn't be happening without you all.
As this news item arrived we learned that Pro Mod racer Wayne Nicholson, whom Robin was due to match race tomorrow, had unfortunately had to withdraw. Robin sends his commiserations to Wayne but told Eurodragster.com that he will be happy whoever is in the other lane and whatever the scenario: "I get the opportunity to run my car and if we can entertain the race fans at the same time then all the better!", he said. Your News Editor has suggested one particular match race and reserves the right to be insufferably smug should it take place.
A Fuel Altered with cheerleaders.
27th October: The 2017 California Hot Rod Reunion, being what many consider to be the premier Nostalgia race meeting of the US calendar, was to be a fitting end to the US Tor of the UK's Havoc Fuel Altered team, regardless of results. Driver Nick Davies writes that the actual result was something of a fairytale:
We arrived at the event as part of a thirteen-strong field of the best classic Fuel Altereds on the planet, competing in a Chicago-style shoot-out in which the two quickest cars would run off against each other in a final after three qualifying sessions. Rules: Any ET quicker than 6.00 would be discounted; anything else goes...
We knew that if PBs for the assembled cars were ranked in order, we would sit sixth or seventh behind some pretty experienced and heavyweight talent, but this is drag racing and more particularly Fuel Altered drag racing, in which nothing can be predicted with any certainty.
Qualifying session 1: Bryan Hall, owner and driver of The Tramp altered, proven five-second runner and winner of the March Meet, asked us for a race and we were very happy to oblige. We had made a few changes to the car and were quietly hopeful of improving our own PB of 6.29 by up to a tenth. With the planned Friday session lost to rain, the slot was bumped to midday on Saturday. We rolled into the left lane and Bryan in the right. Burnouts complete and into stage. Cars left together and our normal slow first hundred feet enabled me to see Bryan in my peripheral vision. By half-track, I was surprised to notice that I accelerated past him pretty comfortably. A ticket of 6.135/232 was a welcome surprise! At the end of the session, we were second behind Dave Hough's Nanook which had run 6.125.
Qualifying session 2: Last run of the year against Rat Trap Racing Team mate and great friend Ron Hope in Rat Trap. Ron and I have had great fun all year. The Havoc team are under no illusions about the magnitude of the input which Ron, Brian, Rebecca and the whole Hope family have had to our whole venture and it is with genuin pride that we call them friends and part of our racing family. Ron had one of his typically-entertaining wheelstanding runs and we were lucky enough to back up our first qualifier with a 6.15/230. Nobody else improved significantly so we sat in second place overnight,
Qualifying session 3: Last qualifier and we got to race Shawn Callen in the ex-Jackson Bros High Heaven altered. Havoc consistently drops cylinders at the hit and then picks them up once the engine is under increased load. We haven't really had the opportunity to address the issue but thought we would try this time by adjusting the fuel system. The fix seemed to work but resulted in the car standing harder than usual on the wheelie bars and firing it towards the centre line. A couple of pedals and I gave up on the run in the knowledge that several fast cars were yet to run and potentially take our second position. We ran 6.99.
Team mate, Rat Trap Racing Team Manager and great friend Brian Hope in Rich Guasco's Pure Hell was the first threat. Brian came through, having run the quickest classic Fuel Altered pass in history at 5.92 shut off just after a thousand feet, with possibly the biggest smile I had ever seen. Did he care that the run didn't count towards the Chicago qualifying? Not remotely! Other hitters Bryan Hall and Jason Richey failed to overhaul our 6.13 so we were into the final against Nanook.
Final: Wheelie bars adjusted and we are put in the right lane by the Houghs. On tour, we were 1-1 with Nanook. We had a great race in Bowling Green where both cars ran 6.44 but we took the win light, then Nanook took revenge in Martin, Michigan when he ran 6.11 and we were nowhere to be seen, A third race would be a fitting decider for the year. Anticipating a staging battle similar to that in Martin, I was prepared to sit in pre-stage for as long as was necessary. Vince had other ideas and went into stage quickly and deeply. The Tree ran and both cars left together, Havoc having the edge with a .11 to a .13 light. I saw Vince in my peripheral vision for an age but, as in Bowling Green, Havoc ran the back half hard and i could see the gap closing. Was the track long enough? By the stripe, it was too close to call. Vince, Nanook's driver didn't know either.
The crew arrived and realisation dawned. Another PB and our 6.117 beat Nanook's 6.136. We had won the 2017 California Hot Rod Reunion. An extraordinary way to complete the year. And an amazing meeting for the whole Rat Trap Racing Team with Ron and Rat Trap competing in the 3rd-4th place run-off and Brian in Pure Hell running that extraordinary five-second pass.
It was one of those weekends that is difficult to explain. They seem to come around very rarely but, when they do, a feeling of confidence seems to surround everything you do. With the huge exception of the tragic incident which took the life of a friend and fellow racer, the Havoc team's weekend could scarcely have been bettered. The support from the travelling British fans was remarkable to not only us, but also seemingly to our fellow US domestic racers. Honestly guys, you cannot even start to understand the difference it made to us hearing the chants of "Havoc! Havoc!" before each pass (listen to the footage on the Havoc AA/FA Fuel Altered YouTube account). That it intimidated the opposition is also a possibility. The organisers told me that they had never had so many people with a car in the Winners Circle. There were even a few tears shed from unexpected eyes! The additional support and congratulations from social media was also just remarkable! Quite a community!
On behalf of Rob, Scott and myself I would like to thank each and every person who has supported us through what has been an extraordinary year. They won't forget us in a hurry, that's for sure!
Thanks from the team also goes to our Tour partners Beech Underwriting Agencies, Rat Trap Racing, the NFAA, USAutomotive, Motorstate Distributing, Lucas Oils, ARP Fasteners, Goodyear Tyres, VP Racing Fuels, Thacker & Friends and the Sherratt family. See you next year!
27th October: Good luck and stay safe to Jonnie Lindberg, Fred Hanssen, Ulf Leanders and Rob Turner who are representing Europe at this weekend's NHRA Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas. Qualifying commences today (Friday) and you will be able to stay in touch with our heroes' progress at www.dragracecentral.com.
Mike Franks has been in touch seeking his Against All Odds Firenza Super Gasser which he sold seven years ago. If you can help then you can contact Mike via Cars Wanted on our Jeff Bull Race Engines-sponsored Swap Meet.
Also currently on offer on the Swap Meet are Steve Pateman's seven-second street-legal Vauxhall Calibra and Steph and Dave Milam's She Devil Racing Top Methanol Funny Car-cum-blown-alcohol Altered. You can find out more via Cars For Sale on the Swap Meet.
York Raceway nears first target.
27th October: With the track under threat, York Raceway, Pennine Drag Racing Club, racers and friends have been working hard to attract funding in order to create a new race surface, redevelop the track infrastructure and secure drag racing on the current site:
Through donations and both new and existing sponsorships, York Raceway has at time of writing raised £79,817.10 and is well on the way to meeting the target figure of £200k.
The first £100k raised will pay for a new racing surface and will put York Raceway in a strong position to negotiate terms on the minimum ten-year lease which is being offered by the landowner. The further £100k York Raceway is aiming to raise will be used to redevelop site infrastructure and facilities, allowing the track to become truly sustainable and improving the potential for further investment with the aim to make York Raceway a national event-standard drag racing facility.
York Raceway welcomes new sponsors Darkside Developments, Willis Performance, Behemoth Enterprises Ltd, ADImages, The Turbo Shop, Evil Tuning and Youhill Machinery Ltd and would also like to thank their existing sponsors Performance Unlimited, LA Racing Parts, Nationwide Electrical, Northrace Speed Shop, Max Car Care, Aford Awards, KC Speed Shop and Blue Bar Catering for their continued support.
Chris Murty, York Raceway General Manager, said "The level of commitment shown by our supporters and the UK drag racing community as a whole has already been outstanding and we are extremely grateful to everyone who has donated so far and all those businesses who have chosen to work with us. The level of momentum has skyrocketed over the past few weeks as it becomes clear that together we can really make this happen. This level of enthusiasm gives us great confidence that the future of drag racing in the north of England is bright and we will continue to work tirelessly to make York Raceway the best that it can be."
York Raceway are still looking for further sponsors and business partners who wish to invest in UK drag racing and are looking for a healthy return on their investment. Sponsorship brochures and further investment information is available upon request.
For both racers and RWYB participants York Raceway will have a new advance membership card system, with cards available for purchase for either one or three years. This will give the bearer free admission to the venue and a £10 discount on RWYB / Test'n'Tune. PDRC are also considering further discounts on race entries for membership card holders.
For more information on membership cards and sponsorship and business opportunities, interested parties should contact Chris Murty on 01422 843651 or E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Event Coverage double-header.
27th October: Eurodragster.com will be covering two events this weekend in association with John Woolfe Racing.
Tomorrow (Saturday) we will be at Santa Pod Raceway to bring you all the action from the Flame and Thunder Show. We plan to post an end-day gallery courtesy of Kirstie, Julian and off-track photog Diana Macrae, and the Webster Race Engineering / Nimbus Motorsport webcam will be on-line broadcasting live video and commentary / Nitro FM audio so long as the track is open.
We will post a direct Home Page link to our coverage as soon as it commences tomorrow but in the meantime you can check out our Flame and Thunder Show event coverage index, which includes links to the official entry list and provisional running order, by clicking here or by clicking on the John Woolfe Racing Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
On Sunday we will be at Shakespeare County Raceway to bring you all the action from day two of the Halloween Bonfire Burn-Up. We plan to post an end-day gallery, and the Webster Race Engineering / Nimbus Motorsport webcam will be on-line broadcasting live video and commentary so long as the track is open.
We will post a direct Home Page link to our coverage as soon as it commences on Sunday but in the meantime you can check out our Halloween Bonfire Burn-Up event coverage index by clicking here or by clicking on the John Woolfe Racing Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
27th October: If you are watching this weekend's Webster Race Engineering / Nimbus Motorsport webcast from tomorrow's Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway then we will be encouraging you to send pictures of yourself watching the broadcast. There will be a prize for our favourite picture and a Long Distance Award (the latter naturally needs to be verifiable). Keep an ear open on the webcast for more but the hashtag to use will be #eurodragsterlive.
Pictures of yourself watching the webcast will not, of course, be viewed as a breach of our no-screenshots rule.
25th October: If you look very carefully you can just about make out the UK's Havoc Fuel Altered in amongst a crowd of supporters after Nick Davies and the team took the victory at the California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield. Photo-journalist Andy Willsheer, who kindly sent the picture, says that it was great to see the supporters' club in attendance.
We have quite a long birthday list today (Wednesday). Happy Birthday and hugs to Kirsty Giles, a manly handshake to Super Pro ET racer Joe Kellett, and back to the hugs for our good friend Deborah Marrs. Finally, Happy Birthday to Top Fuel Dragster racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Urs Erbacher. Have a great day all.
Heaven in Hyperborea.
24th October: Carla Pittau and Rick McCann have been in touch with a season review of the Heaven and Hell Stock / Super Stock team's successful season in the EDRS Pro Series and elsewhere:
Our season started with the hope of soon having two cars running in Stock / Super Stock. As often happens in racing, things didn't move as fast as we'd hoped, but perhaps the delay on Carla's car helped the team concentrate on Rick's attack upon the EDRS Pro Series.
Rick's Camaro, a 1984 GT / GA Camaro - the GT means that in this class you are allowed to use an engine combination which was not offered in the model year - is not hugely competitive where qualifying is concerned. For a few years we had issues with leaky heads as with our engine combination we are forced to use iron heads which are now very rare, very overworked, porous, and basically fragile, as well as being impervious to most repair attempts which only last a couple of meetings. At the beginning of last year we acquired a second engine with the same spec as the first, but with thankfully good sealing heads, and although we found cracked rockers on our first outing (a manufacturing defect) this finally allowed us to compete without further breakage. The engine didn't make as much power as the first and although once in competition this does not put us at too much disadvantage unless we meet another GT / GA car (in which case we would run heads-up, no breakout) we wondered if we could improve the power a little.
This is not as easy as it sounds when you have strict rules as to what modifications you are allowed, so we decided to see if we could use the block, cam and rotating assembly from the first engine with the heads of the second. Fortunately the two engines are similar enough and only minor adjustments were needed, although we measured and re-measured to make absolutely sure that no issues were missed. All we needed was different length pushrods, a good hone to the block, new bearings and a thinner head gasket, so we set out to put together the combo. In the UK we would have gone to good old Kenny Coleman at EDA for the honing, checking, dyno etc but luckily we have our very own Swedish Kenny in the person of Raymond Karlsson, of R Karlsson Stålteknik in Harbo, a fantastic guy who is a real genius of machining and making all sorts of steel parts to order. He even built his own honing machine as he didn't think the Sunnen one was accurate enough! He did of course do a superb job of preparing the block for us, so we proceeded to build it and then put it through its paces at the Williams Brothers dyno just before the Main Event.
Tuning at the Williams' produced good results, with the engine making over 600 HP, and we were happy with the transplant. A little more tweaking to get a good balance between max torque and max HP by advancing the cam produced an ET which was quicker than the first engine, even only just. Now we needed to solve a few chassis issues to make the car really consistent, but the adjustments we made did not seem to achieve the desired results.
Fortunately, at the FHRA Nitro Nationals in Alastaro we happened to discuss the issues with good friend and diamond geezer Mikael Sjökvist, Crew Chief and owner of the Samantha Pro Stock Racing Dodge Avenger. After telling us off in his inimitable humorous way, Mikael told us to take the car to his pit, where he put it on four corner scales and proceeded to completely reset the four-link until he was happy with the result. He explained that the accurate set-up he earlier suggested for the driveline - linking the crank, transmission and driveshaft in a straight line as much as possible, which we had done - added to optimising the car's stance using the four-link, would prevent the components fighting each other during the run and thus stop wasting horsepower. As usual he was right, and although this led to a big breakout and a third round loss at Alastaro (Rick lifted in rounds one and two) the work he did gained us as much as a tenth! Not a ground-breaking ET in the class, but a great improvement for us, and now everything worked well: car and engine and also, I must add, the gearbox built by Björn Bondesson.
With high hopes and a second place in the points of the EDRS Pro Series we travelled to the Drag Challenge at Gardermoen Raceway in Norway, where we were welcomed like family by the drag racing community, the track officials, competitors. Stock / Super Stock were treated like the Pros we really are, and Gardermoen is definitely another home from home in the making! Great also to be there with the top competitors in the class. We enjoyed the atmosphere, the banter and the friendship; we have the greatest respect for all of them and felt privileged racing with them. Winning the race was really the cherry on the cake, as we had great fun and the car performed really well with no issues and no dramas, just good runs.
Now we could go to the Tierp Internationals leading the points. Here unfortunately Rick pulled a -0.008 in the second round after some excellent lights and the race was over, although as all other possible winners of the Series had gone out in the first round, the first crown outside the UK was finally ours. Hooray!
With the Championship done and dusted and out of the way we travelled to England to pick up Carla's car, which had been completely rebuilt by Williams Brothers Racing. The Camaro is now completely legal for NHRA Stock Eliminator, where it will compete in D/SA. It's totally steel, it has had a body-off restoration and too many new parts to even begin to list, bumpers and trim are back to chrome and it looks simply stunning. As it was a well known and immediately recognisable car, we decided that the distinctive Heaven & Hell design should stay, and therefore the artwork was redone by Andy Stroud of Hairy Designs who also did the previous artwork, and of course Andy did a great job again. The NHRA Stock legal engine was built by one of the top Stocker engine builders in USA, Brian Tilburg, the transmission by A1 Transmissions and all other work, top to bottom, was done by Nic and Dan Williams. Last but not least the Williams brothers also managed, somehow, to reduce the car's weight so dramatically that not only was the Camaro too light for its natural class of E but we had to add lots of weight to reach the legal minimum weight for D! This is a very good thing as we were able to add the weight exactly where we wanted.
All that was needed now was to compete at the European Finals to give the driver a chance to learn to drive again! As it happened it took a few runs to get comfortable in the car and despite the two .01 lights in qualifying, in the first round of competition Carla snoozed on the line and lost despite a dead-on run, although the rain then put everyone on the trailer.
As a last chance in the season we travelled to Kjula Raceway to test and hopefully compete in Carla's first Stock / Super Stock race. Fate got us there late and we learned that it was a one-day event so we managed just two test runs which netted a 10.74, which is 0.81 under the index and good enough to qualify in the top half of the field at any meeting. We know that there is more in the bag and it's just a matter of getting it out, a tweak here, an adjustment there...
We can finally compete with two cars in the class in 2018, and being enthusiastic about it doesn't even begin to describe how we feel.
We couldn't, of course, have got there without the work, help, encouragement, suggestions and support of many people to whom we would like to give heartfelt thanks: our great crew who travelled to the races, sacrificing holidays, abandoning family, pets, hope and sanity to be with Heaven & Hell Racing, the Williams Brothers who built a fantastic Stocker for us, Mikael Sjökvist, Raymond Karlsson, Björn Bondesson, all of the competitors in Stock / Super Stock and Pro ET, the fantastic track officials at Gardermoen Raceway, the indefatigable Santa Pod crew who battled horrendous weather conditions to try and give us a race, and finally the staff at Eurodragster.com without whose reporting we wouldn't have a clue of how things go (Thanks! You're welcome - Ed) and whom we would very much like to attend all races everywhere in Europe. Please?
Pictures supplied for this news item courtesy and copyright Jari Tänkänen of Tierp Idag, Dave G Wilson, Paul Bryan, Chris Buckland and Dave Buckland.
24th October: Some of UK Wild Bunch racer Scottie Durrant's ashes now grace Famoso Raceway at Bakersfield after Wild Bunch colleague Ed Yates arranged for them to be spread during Sunday's race day. Originally intending to scatter Scottie's ashes off-track, Ed quickly changed the plan to a ride in the chute pack of the Fighting Irish Nostalgia FC. The FC having unfortunately DNQ'd, the UK's Havoc Fuel Altered team agreed to take Scottie on a pass in the final qualifying session of their Chicago Shootout. Nick Davies duly took Scottie for a 6.995 ride before pulling the chutes and setting him free in the shutdown area. Ed would like to thank the Fighting Irish team especially Rich, Nick and the Havoc team, Martyn Payne, Alan Marsh, and Glyn and Annette Jones.
The first spy picture of the 2017-18 off-season (above right) came with the words "Introducing Typhon". If you know more, or if you would like to send your own spy picture, then drop us a line at email@example.com.
They will be deleted soon but we currently have the source BurnoutCam and TrackCam video files from our Webster Race Engineering / Nimbus Motorsport webcam for VW Action, the pre-European Finals Pro Peak Performance Day, the FIA / FIM European Finals, the Sunday of the NSRA Hot Rod Drags (TrackCam only), the pre-National Finals All Torque Test Day, and the UK National Finals. If any racer would like a video of a particular run from any of these events then please E-Mail Tog at firstname.lastname@example.org with event, day of event, time of day of the run, ET and speed, and identifying mark on the vehicle. This is a limited-time offer on a best-endeavours basis and is first-come first-served.
Staying with the Webster Race Engineering / Nimbus Motorsport webcam, we plan a double-header this weekend with webcasts of the Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway on Saturday and then Day 2 of the Halloween Bonfire Burn-up at Shakespeare County Raceway on Sunday. In addition there will be an end-day gallery of each event presented in association with John Woolfe Racing. More details later this week but as ever you can reach each event's coverage index by clicking here or by clicking on the John Woolfe Racing Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
Web site updates.
24th October: In the latest instalment of his exclusive Racer Blog presented in association with Gearhead Garage Paul Marston brings us up to date with the construction of his twin-turbo Cortina. You can take a look by clicking here or by clicking on the Gearhead Garage Blogs link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
23rd October: Further to Wednesday's and yesterday's news items, congratulations to Nick Davies, Rob Loaring and the Havoc Fuel Altered team on their victory in the Fuel Altered Shootout at the California Hot Rod Reunion. Nick will be along with his observations soon, possibly including your News Editor's prediction to Nick of victory several days ago.
Our good friend Jim Kelly, formerly of Eurodragster.com sponsor VP Racing Fuels, has returned to writing and has released his first novel. Found in Time, a time-travel thriller about two US marines, has attracted good reviews including from readers in the miltary. You can find out more on Jim's web site at www.jkkelly.com or the book can be ordered on Amazon by clicking here. Jim tells us that his next book is non-fiction and about the international motorsports industry.
Getting in first with the 2018 calendars is photographer Matt Woods whose full-colour calendar is yours for £10 plus £2.99 p+p. You can contact Matt via his web site at www.mattwoodsphotography.com or via his Facebook page.
Web site updates.
23rd October: In the latest instalment of his exclusive Racer Blog presented in association with Gearhead Garage, Luke Bennett brings us up to date with developments in the workshop of UK blown-alcohol altered team Bennett Racing. You can take a look by clicking here or by clicking on the Gearhead Garage Blogs link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
The Mad Welshman has updated his Flickr site with pictures from the Saturday of the NSRA Hot Rod Drags at Shakespeare County Raceway. The update includes on- and off-track shots and you can check it all out at www.flickr.com/photos/the_madwelshman.
Single to Chicago, please...
22nd October: The UK's Nick Davies writes from California where the Havoc Fuel Altered goes into today's final Chicago Shootout qualifying session in second spot courtesy of two PBs:
Friday's rain meant that the schedule changed and that the Fuel Altereds' planned first qualifier was cancelled. Onto Saturday and in the first qualifier we were paired up with March Meet winner and proven five-second runner Bryan Hall in the Tramp. Bryan deep staged and left first. I saw him appear in my peripheral vision then, as cylinders picked back up, he was gone by 400 feet. Havoc responded to the changes we had made but a 6.13 at 232 mph surprised everyone, including us. We were hoping for a low 6.2 despite not having run close to last year's 6.29 PB at Santa Pod a year ago. Second place in a field of thirteen cars...
In Q2 with stablemate and great friend Ron Hope we backed up the first run with a 6.15 and so we are still second with one final qualifier this morning.
We can't thank everyone enough for the support - it has been truly extraordinary and make us proud to be British and proud to be drag racers - and thanks also to our Tour partners Beech Underwriting Agencies, Rat Trap Racing, the NFAA, USAutomotive, Motorstate Distributing, Lucas Oils, ARP Fasteners, Goodyear Tyres, VP Racing Fuels, Thacker & Friends and the Sherratt family.
Return of the DoorSlammers.
21st October: Trakbak Racing and Santa Pod Raceway have announced the return of the famed DoorSlammers event in May 2018. CEO Keith Bartlett writes:
This event, which ran in the 1980s and 1990s, will return to Santa Pod in a bigger and better format, along with a huge prize fund. The DoorSlammers will return with six heads-up classes along with one huge Bracket class. The cash prize money up for grabs will be £75,000 (seventy five thousand pounds sterling). This will be the largest prize money ever paid out for this type of event in the UK.
The event will be held on the weekend before the Main Event, 19th-20th May, and it is hoped this date will encourage the entry of some of the top European racers who are competing in the FIA Championship the following weekend. It will be a two-day event. TBR have structured a street racing-style event, although on a prepped track and over the full quarter mile. This will come with all the normal safety, fire and medical services on hand, plus it will be filmed on our own Santapod TV. I have personally been wanting to put this style of event on for some time - and feel the time is right to do just that!
Watch this space for more details - coming very soon...
See you at the track.
Bakersfield, via Chicago.
18th October: This weekend's California Hot Rod Reunion at Bakersfield is the final meeting in the 2017 US Tour of the UK's Havoc Fuel Altered team. Driver Nick Davies writes:
Havoc will be joined by a dozen of the fastest classic-style Fuel Altereds in the US. It should be quite a show. The format is currently planned to be a Chicago-style shoot-out with two runs scheduled for Saturday, then the fastest two cars race for the money on Sunday.
Tough for the three-man team from the UK? Well, six of the twelve cars against which we will race have PBs more than a tenth quicker than ours, but we have a couple of ideas we are planning to try and we also have a huge contingent of travelling fans supporting us. Rest assured, we have no intention of being there to just make up the numbers.
Being an NHRA-affiliated meeting, coverage will be available via NHRA All Access, rather than the free-to-view Bangshift which covered the March Meet.
Thanks from the team goes to our Tour partners Beech Underwriting Agencies, Rat Trap Racing, the NFAA, USAutomotive, Motorstate Distributing, Lucas Oils, ARP Fasteners, Goodyear Tyres, VP Racing Fuels, Thacker & Friends and the Sherratt family, as well as to the travelling and non-travelling fans whose support is hugely appreciated.
We will try to keep everyone abreast of progress via Facebook, Instagram and, of course, Eurodragster.com. If you are there then be sure to drop by and say hello, but forgive us if we are a little busy...
OCS Group open for business.
18th October: With so many customers and more diverse requirements, Eurodragster.com sponsor OCS Paint and Williams Bros Racing are delighted announce that Stage 1 of the move into their new purpose-built facility in Northamptonshire has now taken place:
To coin a phrase we needed a bigger boat , so new premises were needed. We started with building the engine dyno room which was a massive task due to air ventilation, exhaust extraction and, being a superflow dyno, a plentiful water supply. We have had some fantastic results so far and some very well-known racers are already reaping the rewards of this service. We even have a viewing room where you can see your engine on the dyno. Logically the next step was the operating theatre, I mean the engine build room. Dan Williams can build your engine to any specification and his knowledge of V8 race engines is becoming legendary. Workshop next and the ultra-clean environment theme continues.
So far then WBR Race Engines and WBR Dyno Shop have their new home but it doesn't end there. We will soon have our parts counter ready so yet another stage of the move will be completed with the inclusion of the WBR Speed Shop. We have regular shipments from many of the major suppliers in the USA and can offer anything from dial-in marker pens to complete engines and gearboxes. Another speciality is our ability to supply and fit CalTracs and we offer set up assistance to our customers. Dan Williams is extremely happy with the new facility and is also actively training their workshop apprentice who is no stranger to the world of drag racing. We have mentioned him before but we would like to take this opportunity to officially welcome former Junior Drag Bike, ET Bike and now 8.50 Bike racer Louis Davies to the team. Louis has adapted very quickly indeed and is a valued asset.
The next stage will be the move of OCS Paint into the same facility. This should be completed within the next two months so that all of the services we can offer are under one 7000 square foot roof. Nic Williams and master sprayer Ashley Hickles are relishing the thought of the completion of their side of the new building. We will have a dedicated dirty area where we can strip down cars before they move into the main preparation bays of the workshop. Once painted they can then be moved to the assembly shop for final build or just polishing, depending on the job.
With the new premises and continued expansion a restructuring of the business was required so the OCS Group has been formed as the umbrella for all of the separate sides to the business. Nic says that with so many different products and services on offer the move and restructuring was required to meet the needs of our expanding customers needs. If you have any work, parts supply or paint and restoration requirements, along with engine building, race car set-up, engine dyno and not forgetting full builds from Hot Rods to complete NHRA-legal stockers, in fact any requirements, then please feel free to contact Nic on 07572 096920 or 01327 220777. Dan can be reached on 07736 768306. E-Mail enquiries can be sent to email@example.com.
To promote the new facility, and to offer our services to a wider audience, we will be exhibiting at the Classic Car Show next month at the NEC in Brimingham. Our sizeable stand will feature the SPRC Modurstang Pro ET Championship-winning 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle, a newly-built carb-to-pan Small Block Chevrolet engine, some classic car restoration items, and a seven metre wide backdrop wall featuring pictures of many of the cars built or painted by the teamtaken by Callum Pudge of Pudgey's Pictures. The dates for your diary are 10th-12th November, please come and see us there.
UK Tech Committee last call.
17th October: Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Ian Marshall has been in touch with a reminder that the UK Tech Committee will be convening in Northampton this Sunday (22nd).
If you have any suggestions for the agenda, or if you would like to attend the meeting (all welcome), then please get in touch with Ian on 01933 313625 or by E-Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org by close tomorrow, Wednesday.
All welcome at SCR Track Weekend.
13th October: Jerry Cookson writes that Shakespeare County Raceway hosts this season's penultimate Public Track Weekend this Saturday and Sunday:
There's another in the series of Shakey's Bracket Gamblers races plus the final round for the Japanese Drag Racing Series. Will Martin Lee, driving his rapid Nissan GTR, take the series or will Jeff Ludgate steal away the series win in his Millers Oil-supported Nissan Skyline?
It's an open RWYB so anything is welcome to participate both days. The full-prepped track is open from 10:00 to 17:00 both days. The only requirements at Signing on and Scrutineering will be your driver's licence and a crash helmet. General admission is £12 each day and the track fee is £25 a day or £40 for the weekend. See you at the strip!
13th October: From the Best Swift Snippet Ever Department and courtesy of Gray Harrison the forerunner of all those Eurodragster.com We understands, from the September 1961 issue of Practical Motorist magazine (below left). "My sister bought me this magazine for my birthday; I don't know why as I was born in September 1966!", says Gray. "But I found that it contained this piece about the Allard Dragster."
Continuing the Nostalgia theme, if you fancy owning a clasically-styled and all-original UK drag bike then this handsome Hagon-framed bike (above right), believed to be a former ride of Jeff Byne's, is for sale courtesy of Les Eggleton on our Jeff Bull Race Engines-sponsored Swap Meet. The 700 cc Royal Enfield parallel twin with Judson supercharger runs on nitro / methanol mix and has been raced in France. For more details check out Bikes For Sale on the Swap Meet.
Frank Johansen tells us that his buddy Per Magnusson has acquired the Pro Modified Camaro last raced by Patrik Wikström. You can find out more by clicking here.
Good luck and stay safe to Jonnie Lindberg, Fred Hanssen and Ulf Leanders who are representing Europe at this weekend's AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals. Qualifying commences today (Friday) and you will be able to stay in touch with our heroes' progress at www.dragracecentral.com.
Help SPR answer the Vnuk call to arms.
13th October: Caroline Holden says that Santa Pod Raceway are doing their bit to oppose the latest crackpot scheme from the unelected commissars and writes citing the MSA's and Motorsport Industry Association's opinions:
Our industry and sport faces a serious, immediate problem which you can help resolve. Many of you will be aware of Vnuk, a 2014 European Court judgement that threatens the future of all UK motorsport. In simple terms, the EC plans to issue a new Motor Insurance Directive, as a result of which all EU Member States must put into their National Law compulsory and unlimited third-party liability insurance to cover personal injury between motorsport competitors and car-to-car damage during any competition – from drag racing, Formula One, Moto GP, World Rally to karting, historic and grass roots, whether regulated by the FIA or FIM or not.
However such widespread unlimited new insurance is not currently, and, we understand, will not in the future be available - so motorsport will be unable to continue anywhere in the EU. The MIA and the Department for Transport in the UK have had discussions with London-based motorsport insurance specialists which provide most of the current insurance to motorsport organisers and teams across the EU. They are unable to confirm any company who will write motorsport insurance to meet the unlimited levels of liability required by the Directive - the majority believe such risks are, effectively, uninsurable.
Please read the MIA's summary if you wish to fully understand the serious nature of this problem.
We have until 20th October to respond to this important EC consultation, if we fail to secure the amendment we seek then the likely outcome is that all motorsport activity, in every EU Member State, will cease.
Currently, the European Commission are looking for responses from employers, suppliers and businesses in motorsport, major teams but, as yet, not competitors / individuals. Therefore, we need to act - by working together we can change this. We must make the European Commission fully aware of the economic importance of motorsport and the employment which our sport and industry provides across the European Union. If you know of anyone in the business of motorsport in any way, then please pass the message along.
If you are reading this as an individual/race fan, we urge you to contact your local MP or MEP (Beats posting messages on social media instead of doing anything practical to help, doesn't it - Ed).
In responding to the Vnuk issue, the MSA has been working with a wide range of groups including the Motorsport Industry Association, and we are now calling on the motorsport community to respond to a European Commission consultation by 20th October.
The MSA has previously responded to a Department for Transport consultation on Vnuk. To view the MSA's response to that consultation, click here.
Take action now! To view the MIA's call to action, which the MSA fully supports, please click here.
An off-season as busy as racing...
13th October: Paul Marston writes that the Paul Marston Racing team are looking forward to a very busy off-season:
2017 was a good year for us. The Drag Race School was busy: we showed a fair number of pupils what it's like on the other side of the windscreen. This is a good sign for our great sport, plenty of interest, despite the ongoing fights which two UK drag strips are currently facing.
The joint venture Twin Turbo Cortina in which PMR and Comanche Race Cars are currently involved - about which, incidentally, you can read in Eurodragster.com's Gearhead Garage-sponsored Racer Blog, is still an interesting and exciting project which is scheduled to receive a lot of work during the off-season. We have identified areas where we can see performance improvements, so to follow this story just keep an eye on the Blog.
I elected not to go on my annual pilgrimage to South Georgia Motorsports Park for No Mercy 7, Street Outlaws in Memphis then Outlaw Drag Radial at Bradenton. To be honest it was a tough decision to make. It's been a busy season with PMR at the track seventeen times in one year. Often in the States you don't get so many good events to take in but 2017 had the stars aligned and it would have been one heck of a trip. We simply have so much going on here in the UK which really needed prioritising despite everything I would have learned out there. On my trips to the States I have always learned a lot whilst crewing on whichever car Tony Morris is driving at NHRA events. But we have not got far enough into the Twin Turbo Cortina project to learn a bunch off of the racers at No Mercy. The chassis needs figuring out long before we start power upgrades. It will most probably take most if not all of next season to get there and that's providing that the motor stays healthy. Losing the best part of a month and a half in the States was just time I could not afford to sacrifice. A lot of small things that made the decision for me really; the dollar is still not good, work is still busy, plus we have not broken much in 2017 and already have most of the parts and pieces in stock which I will need during the off season. Lastly there is a long list of jobs I need to get done - the off-season is never as long as you think it is.
First in the shop before the UK National Finals was Grumpy's Dodge. It has been a few years since she had a full teardown and was properly gone through. Not that there is anything wrong - in fact the car has been faultless and a joy to use - I just like to go through them every few years to keep then in A1 condition mechanically and appearance-wise. The last time for Grumpy was when I had the interior redone by Bill at Comanche Race Cars. I had a few ideas which I wanted to include in the upgrade and Bill and I worked it all out. The job came out real nice, but now it's time for a freshen up.
All the usual boring stuff which race fans never get to see needs doing as well. Go through the RV and winterise her, sort out its maintenance, plus the two trailers need same. It's a long list of jobs which just stack up during the year ready for the off-season.
Hopefully Grumpy will be done before the end of the month and put into winter storage then the Whoopass Monza, which again was a real good weapon during the 2017 season and in which Tony Morris and I enjoyed a fair share of success. Neither of us lost a single round in Super Gas and I finished runner up in Super Street in UK and SPRC Championships. If it wasn't for being turned back for two small but different leaks in both Super Gas and Super Street at Easter then the season might have been quite different. That's racing! Some small jobs on the Monza to do but not much, it's just the usual maintenance.
Meanwhile there are a couple of motors to build, maybe three: two for customers, one for us. Once all that is attended to then it'll be time to go through the Cortina, and then complete our long-standing Super-class project. All in all a busy winter!
Lastly PMR have their old web site address back and have also changed E-Mail addresses, so you can now find us either by clicking on the Paul Marston Drag Race School banner on Eurodragster.com or at www.paulmarstonracing.com, and our new E-Mail address is email@example.com.
Jolink closes out 42nd year.
13th October: European Top Gas racer Herman Jolink took top spot at last week's season-closing Weekend of Champions at The Netherlands' Drachten Drag Strip, closing out his forty second year of racing and all on Ducatis. Herman writes that it was a good weekend despite losing the middle day of three to the weather, and that the future looks good for Drachten.
Supertwin Top Gas:
There were demo Runs from Gert Jan Laseur NL on his 2800 V-Twin on nitro (ex-Cannon). This is Gert Jan's first year on a Supertwin, it is not easy to ride a bike of about 400 kilos. On every run Gert Jan was on and off the throttle but on the last test run he did well over the eighth mile 4.948/174 to give him confidence for next year. After two runs the team put new oil bearings in the con rods.
Street Modified Bike:
Junior Drag Bike, best Reaction Times:
There were not so many competitors but it was a strong event and everyone who was at Drachten did it for the good of the sport, those who thought Drachten was finished were wrong. About ten or fifteen years ago some people put a lot money into the new asphalt at Drachten, it is very easy to forget this. But next year there will be a lot of racers at Drachten.
Tomorrow we have the prizegiving for the Czech Drag Bike Champinships at Mlada Boleslav. Competiton Bike:
Web site updates.
13th October: Inspired by Duncan Micallef's FIA European Top Fuel Dragster Championship Liam Lodge has updated his European Drag Racing Blog with a nod to the achievements of Malta in drag racing. You can take a look at liam66europeandragracing.wordpress.com.
Free Bench Race seats selling out.
11th October: The British Drag Racing Hall of Fame and Beech Underwriting say that there are only twenty seats left for the Bench Race which takes place at lunchtime on the day of the BDRHoF Gala Dinner, Saturday 18th November, at the event venue, the Oatlands Park Hotel in Weybridge, Surrey. Since the original announcements another big name has joined the line-up and some more very desirable auction lots have been added:
We are very proud to announce that Connie Kalitta will now be attending the Bench Race. What a line-up we have: Connie Kalitta, Clay Millican, Jeff Lutz, Roland Leong, Marvin Graham, Steve Gibbs, Ed Ace McCulloch, Jim Oberhofer, Joe Schubeck, Ron Hope, Blue Max Crew Chiefs Waterbed Fred Miller and Dale Emery, Tom Hoover, Bob Muravez, Dennis Priddle and Roy Phelps. This will be your only chance to talk to, listen to and get up close to these true legends of drag racing.
We will also be auctioning some very special items at the Bench Race to raise funds for the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Benevolent Fund (see below - Ed). For example Raymond Beadle's son has donated the very helmet which Ray wore in the UK and which he was wearing when he won his first Indy. We have engine parts signed by John Force Racing, books signed by Snake and Mongoose, T-Shirts and even Skoal Bandit team shirts.
The Bench Race is open to everyone even if they are not attending the Gala Dinner in the evening. If you would like to attend then to reserve your seat please get in touch with Geoff Stilwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BDRHoF Chair Stu Bradbury has also forwarded a copy of the Certificate of Thanks sent by Magpas Air Ambulance for the £1000 donated at the FIA / FIM European Finals by the BDRHoF Benevolent Fund on behalf of last year's involuntary Medevac passenger, Pro Mod racer Roger Johansson. Two Paul Whitehouse paintings were also raffled at the Finals to benefit the Fund. The BDRHOF Benevolent Fund was launched at last year's Hall of Fame Gala Dinner with a generous donation from an American guest, and is a Registered Charity formed with the object of helping distressed members of the racing community. A BT MyDonate internet fund-raising page is on-line at mydonate.bt.com/charities/bdrhofbenevolentfund.
Finally, Geoff Stilwell asked us to congratulate US legends and Hall of Fame supporters Gigi Carleton and Joe Schubeck who were married in Las Vegas on 2nd October. "I am personally thrilled for Gigi and Joe", says Geoff. "They absolutely adore each other - theirs is a true love story dating back over fifty years. Many, many congratulations". We'll second that, congratulations Gigi and Joe.
UK Tech Committee meeting.
9th October: Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Ian Marshall tells us that the UK Tech Committee will be convening later this month.
If you have any suggestions for the agenda, or if you would like to attend the meeting, then please get in touch with Ian on 01933 313625 or by E-Mail at email@example.com.
You're gonna need a bigger block...
9th October: If you were at Dragstalgia at Santa Pod Raceway in July then you may well have witnessed the passing of the faithful motor of Bruce, the Camaro belonging to SPR Track Announcer Colin Theobald. Colin has been in touch with an update on the new incumbent:
It's very weird commentating on your own car especially when something like this happens. Keith Williams was putting in his first round qualifying run when the engine cried "Enough!" and a conrod decided that it was time to make a break for freedom, exiting the sump right next to the starter motor. Keith handled the car perfectly and stopped safely despite a small amount of oil under the car.
The initial inspection in the pits didn't reveal anything: the engine wasn't seized and there was no trace of oil anywhere. It wasn't until we had the car back at Williams Bros Racing HQ that the damage became clear. Once the engine had been taken out and the starter motor removed the exit point was revealed: the hole was right at the top of the sump which is why hardly any oil was lost. As the engine was stripped the full extent of the damage was revealed. One totally destroyed piston and conrod, blackened crank, bent valves, two other damaged pistons, holed sump, damaged head.. then, the final fateful blow, the block had been split. Well, if you're going to break it, break it properly.
We actually think that the engine was already wounded, as the performance levels had dropped off at the SPRC Summernationals, but all of the fluid levels and temperatures were normal. It didn't matter who was behind the wheel as it was going to happen anyway, but I'm so grateful to Keith for reacting so quickly.
Fast forward three months and finally we have a plan in place. After numerous discussions with Nic and Dan Williams, and having exhausted all other options, a new Dart block has been ordered. There was nothing salvageable apart from the carburettor, so Dan will be building a totally new engine under the banner of Williams Bros Racing Race Engines. Dan and Nic have been incredibly helpful and have specified the new 454 ci engine to be as streetable as possible, but with some of the best parts available. The end result will be a lighter, more powerful engine so don't be surprised to see Bruce possibly dip into the tens.
Williams Bros Racing will be carrying out some other upgrades at the same time, more on that later, but to answer two questions straight away: No, Bruce is not turning into a Stocker (Not until Carla gets on the phone - Ed) and Yes, Bruce will remain normally-aspirated, no power adders whatsoever.
Bruce will have a loan engine installed in the next week or two so that he can be a bride's transport in November, then back into the workshop until next year. As far as racing is concerned it will be the same as this year: subject to work commitments so we just plan to run at the SPRC Summernationals, but this time hopefully in Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator.
At this point I'd like to thank Lucas Oil Products for their continued support and fantastic products which are used throughout the car; Santa Pod Raceway for always allowing me to take passengers for a blast down the quarter mile, AutoGlym for keeping Bruce looking so good, and Eurodragster.com for keeping everyone updated at all times (Thanks, you're welcome - Ed). Finally a massive Thank You to the team at OCS Paint and Williams Bros Racing. They really are that good at what they do. So to Nic, Dan, Keith, Lorne, Ollie, Alix and Elaine huge thanks, and congratulations to Nic Williams on his National event win at the UK National Finals, which also secured him the SPRC Modurstang Pro ET Championship.
Bruce might be down but he will be back. Better, harder, stronger... look out!
9th October: No news update yesterday (Sunday) so we were unable to pass on John Hackney's best wishes for a very Happy Birthday to his wife and SPRC marshal Alison Hackney. Hope you had a great day Alison.
Another defeat, but Bloodwise win.
7th October: Darren Prentice writes that the Bloodwise Bombers managed to extract one victory from the jaws of defeat as, although they lost the annual UK National Finals Charity Football Match 4-3 to Highlander United, the teams and the racing community raised a fantastic £6500 for Bloodwise:
Although one of the best day's racing I have ever seen continued right up to the curfew, it didn't deter anyone from attending. The Charity Football Match went ahead in front of a packed grandstand and the Field of Dreams was full to the rafters. The aim was simple: to beat the £3000 raised last year. As in previous years Bloodwise was the chosen charity for the UK National Finals. They do a fabulous job raising funds for research as well as providing practical and emotional support whilst raising awareness of blood cancer.
The Bloodwise Bombers assumed that a slightly new team line-up would, this year, give us a fighting chance against Highlander United. After going 1-0 up, the Bloodwise Bombers thought things were looking great but a string of unfavourable refereeing decisions (unbiased opinion) turned the game around and then suddenly the Bloodwise Bombers were 3-1 down. Player-Manager James Forster made a fantastic half-time substitution and brought on our number one goalkeeper.
The racers made a good second half start by scoring what can only be called a silly goal, with the ball bobbling around everywhere and creeping in over the line to take the score to 4–1 in favour of Highlander United. Then with a brace of goals from Rick Mills for the Bloodwise Bombers it looked as things were about to be turned around. With only a few minutes left on the clock and more missed chances from the best team on the pitch (Bloodwise Bombers) the score finished 4–3 to Highlander United.
I was going to name all the goal scorers but you will know exactly who they were as their pit bays will be in the field next to the fun fair in 2018.
But there was really only one real winner and that is of course, Bloodwise! A huge £6500 was raised, double last year's total.
Do forgive me for this long list of Thank Yous but it just needs to be done:
FAO racers: SPRC prize funds.
6th October: Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Ian Marshall has been in touch with an important message for racers regarding 2017 prize money:
Following discussions between the SPRC Committee it has been decided that, rather than hold on to the Sportsman class prize funds from the FIA / FIM Main Event and FIA / FIM European Finals, we will this week begin to pay out the funds based on the finishing positions achieved by the individual racers at each event. This is instead of the doubling up the prize money for the 2018 events.
We will pay out to racers who remained in eliminations at the point at which the prize fund begins pay out, which differs depending upon the size of the qualified field. So if your bank account swells over the coming week, you now have a possible explanation. The Committee felt that, rather than carry over the funds to 2018, it would be better suited deposited in the deserving round winners' accounts.
The exception to this rule will be Lucas Oil Junior Dragster as the prize fund for Juniors is paid in a different manner; the Junior Dragster prize fund will be carried over to 2018.
2017 BDRHoF Allard Award winners.
6th October: The British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Sydney Allard Media Awards, sponsored this year by Lucas Oil Products UK, pay tribute to the influence of journalists, photographers and videographers in the promotion of drag racing, along with the rôle played by Sydney Allard in establishing the sport in Europe during the early 1960s. Congratulations to this year's winners:
The winner of the 2017 Sydney Allard Photo Journalism Award was Mike Collins for a dramatic launch shot of Finnish racer Timo Lehtimäki's Top Fuel Dragster which was taken from the pitside grandstand at Santa Pod Raceway in 2011 and first published in Eurodragster.com in December 2016. It was taken using a Nikon D3000 with a 55-200mm telephoto lens and 3D-tracking. Mike has entitled it The Razor's Edge.
Guild of Motoring Writers President and Pink Floyd drummer, Trustee of the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, and Co-Patron of the Allard Chrysler Action Group Nick Mason selected the top three and chose the winner. The independent judge from Octane Magazine, Associate Editor Magazine Glen Waddington, then ratified Nick's selection.
Second place went to 2015 winner Jeni Long of Yawning Cat Photography for her photo of Graham Smith's '57 Chevy Snow White burning out at Shakespeare County Raceway at the 2017 NSRA Nostalgia Nationals. Third place also went to Jeni Long for another burnout photo, this time of the 327 Chevy-propelled Outlaw Anglia of Merv Barnett and also at the 2017 NSRA Nostalgia Nationals.
The second Media Award is for Video, which is a new category this year. Nick Mason considered amateur and professional videos reflecting coverage of British drag racing and associated activities during the twelve months ending July 2017. The winner is Barney Campbell of Box Lane Productions for his video entitled Welcome to Santa Pod which is full of wonderfully innovative camera work using a hoverboard amongst other devices.
The winner of the 2017 Sydney Allard Written Journalism Award is someone very well-respected in the motor industry, award-winning author and motoring journalist Ian Wagstaff. One time Press and Promotions Manager for Silverstone Circuit and member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, Ian first attended drag racing events in the early 1960s. Ian wins the award for his race track profile on Santa Pod Raceway. The Chief Judge was Guy Loveridge, Deputy Chairman of the Guild of Motoring Writers. The piece was published in the May 2017 edition of PRI Magazine which has wide circulation in the US and internationally.
Ian's piece summarises the history of drag racing in the UK and the importance of the variety of events taking place at Santa Pod Raceway - eighty in total per year. Interviews with Trakbak Racing Chief Executive Keith Bartlett and Commercial Manager Caroline Holden show their passion for the culture of the sport in the UK and the importance of family involvement.
The winners will be presented at the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Gala Dinner at the the Oatlands Park Hotel in Weybridge, Surrey on Saturday 18th November.
Over the last twenty years Awards sponsor Lucas Oil Products has spent countless hours on the race track and in the laboratory to develop a wide range of high performance motor oils and lubricants. From this, Lucas Oil now has a lubricant to cover all aspects of the motor industry, from motor racing to your every day vehicle. For more details check out the Lucas Oil Products UK web site at www.lucasoil.co.uk.
Hall of Fame Gala stop press.
6th October: British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Chaor Stu Bradbury tells us that the Gala Dinner, which takes place at the the Oatlands Park Hotel in Weybridge, Surrey on Saturday 18th November, is sold out. "The event is fully-booked and we have a sizeable reserve list of people who have little chance of getting seats", he says.
However Stu adds that a few tickets are still left for the free Bench Race session, also at the Oatlands Park Hotel at noon on the same day. For more details check out our news item of 2nd October or to book your place E-Mail Geoff Stilwell at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is recommended that you apply soon as the Bench Race tickets are going fast.
Altereds juiced by VP Racing Fuels.
6th October: Ron Hope, Team Owner and principal driver of the Rat Trap AA Fuel Altered, has announced that Eurodragster.com sponsor VP Racing Fuels has agreed to support the international Rat Trap / Havoc / Pure Hell team's racing effort.
"Our association will kick off at the California Hot Rod Reunion on 13th-15th October", said Ron. "VP will supply fuel for not only Rat Trap but also for Rich Guasco's Pure Hell which will be driven by my son Brian, and the British Fuel Altered Havoc driven by Nick Davies."
Beside the three cars mentioned, Ron has assembled a formidable group of twelve Fuel Altereds for the Reunion including Nanook, the Winged Express, Randy Bradford's Fiat, High Heaven, Pure Heaven, Iron Mistress, Godzilla, Patriot and the 134 Coupe.
"We like to support the racer where we can" said Fred Turza, Technical Manager of VP Racing Fuels. "Rat Trap Racing can take the VP brand around the world."
Nick Davies would like to thank both Fred and Marc Wesler, VP's Regional Sales Manager. "Racing these nitro-powered cars gets expensive and we truly appreciate the help provided by VP Racing Fuels and our other sponsors Beech Underwriting Agencies, Rat Trap Racing, Lawrie Gatehouse's NFAA, USAutomotive, Lucas Oil, Goodyear Tyres, Motorstate Distributing, ARP Racing Products, Thacker & Friends and the Sherratt Family."
See ARRC for Wilwood Brakes.
6th October: Eurodragster.com sponsor Andy Robinson Race Cars have been using Wilwood brakes for many years, and they have now taken the next step and become full function dealers:
Wilwood Engineering design and manufacture high-performance disc brake systems. Since the company's inception by Bill Wood in 1977, they have developed a substantial matrix of brake components and engineering techniques which allow them to quickly and reliably create brake systems for almost any application. Their core ability is the rapid development of custom-engineered brake systems using a combination of off-the-shelf and custom components. In addition to designing and manufacturing brakes for all types of competitive motor sports, Wilwood also manufacture brake systems and components for agricultural equipment, industrial applications, utility vehicles, snowmobiles, quads, motorcycles and military vehicles.
Wilwood have a huge range of braking options for both street and competition use. For example they offer eighteen different combinations for bolt-on fitting to 1969 Camaro fronts, everything from OEM style four-piston solid rotor discs to ceramic-carbon six-piston ultra-stoppers. Not content with offering a huge range of alternative fitting and sizes Wilwood can now supply their calipers in a choice of twenty four colours including basic black and traditional red.
ARRC will continue to use Wilwood on many of their turn-key builds but if you want to talk brake sizes, fitting and colours call 01256 880589 or E-Mail email@example.com.
Lost a weather station?
4th October: Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Ian Marshall tells us that he is in possession of someone's weather station which was handed in to the Signing On office on the Sunday of the UK National Finals.
If you thought you had lost your weather station then please get in touch with Ian on 01933 313625 (outside the UK +44 1933 313625) or by E-Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you can describe it correctly then he will arrange its return.
Hall of Fame Gala hotel filling.
4th October: The Management Board of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame have been in touch to let us know that the venue for the BDRHoF Gala on 18th November, the Oatlands Park Hotel in Weybridge, is almost out of bedrooms at the concessionary rate. It is recommended that you book a room very soon if you wish to stay.
If you would like to book a hotel room - or indeed a Gala ticket - then please contact the BDRHoF at email@example.com or call 01933 279102 (outside the UK +44 1933 279102).
4th October: Thanks to Robin Jackson for letting us know that a report of the Pro Modified action at the UK National Finals is now available on the official MSA British Drag Racing Championship web site at www.msadragracing.co.uk.
Thanks a million!
3rd October: Thankfully now out of hospital after suffering a heart attack at Pistons and Props at Sywell, Shakespeare County Raceway Promotions Manager and top bloke Jerry Cookson has been in touch with some words of thanks:
First of all a massive thank you to the Tazz Racing guys and all who support Mark Ashman's Rodfathers UK club who were hosting the drag demos at Pistons and Props. You really touched my heart in more ways than one Saturday night. It was really appreciated but you shouldn't have done it. Also thanks to the paramedic team from Oak Valley Fire, Medical and Training Services who got me to hospital in double quick time for Dr Shaukat and his team to carry out the procedure needed to kick start me up again and insert five stents. There's still more work to do in a couple of weeks' time. Also to all the nurses (and there were many) for being so understanding and to members of the Shakey crew who were with me at Sywell: Janet, Wayne, my start line buddy Chris Schreier and Nigel Statham. Sorry guys for keeping you out so late after a busy day on the track.
A further overwhelming thank you to everyone involved in the drag racing community the world over who posted Get Well Jerry messages after Chris' updates on Facebook all of last week. Further thanks to BDRHoF Chairman Stu Bradbury, Supercharged Outlaws racer and all round good guy Andy Fadster, track official and radio goddess Angie Woods and John and Lesley Wright who took time out of there busy schedules to pay me a visit, and finally my crew at Shakespeare County Raceway (including Emily and Rachel Hodges) who not only made sure that the weekend's event took place but for not giving me a hard time for turning up on Sunday and to Ian Dance for taking care of business in the announcers' booth and minding the booth.
And finally to my partner and super nurse Ali who for the last six days has made that journey from Warwickshire to Northamptonshire so many times to stay with me during the permitted visiting hours especially when I had my off-days of going stir crazy. I couldn't have got through this without you honey.
Sorry for going on a bit (In a good cause - Ed) and if I've missed anyone out but this needs to be said. Thank you again guys. You don't get rid of me that easily. See you all soon.
3rd October: One of those occasional things which makes the hard work worthwhile is the picture at right from a feature in the new issue of Sweden's Bilsport magazine. Our good buddy Anders Envall documented a day in the life of multiple FIA European Pro Stock Champion and FIA Pro Modified racer Jimmy Ålund on double duty at the Dico Internationals. Jimmy is seen here reading Eurodragster.com's John Woolfe Racing-sponsored Event Coverage to find out how his Pro Stock run went whilst being rushed back to be strapped straight in to the Old 51 Pro Mod. Ursäkta vad är klokkan? - which also happens to be a superb John Cleese reference from the Fawlty Towers-mad Bostic - can be found in Bilsport on sale on Thursday.
Forster's fitting finale.
2nd October: Last week's UK National Finals was always destined to be the final event for UK Modurstang Pro ET racer James Forster and the 4Star Fox Mustang as the car is up for sale. James writes:
The car is for sale so that the funds can go elsewhere - away from drag racing unfortunately - but I never really expected the weekend to go the way it did. Well, to a point...
I came into the season looking to improve on last year's third place finish in the Modurstang UK National Pro ET Championship and didn't end up a million miles away. The problem was no less than three defeats out of seven rounds this year to Brian and Lee Huxley, the deserved Champions for three years running - massive congratulations to them! This included a Round 2 exit last weekend.
The part of the weekend which was unexpected was progress in Sportsman ET. After a few years in Pro ET I have always been one of, if not the, slowest entry in the class so I had never actually had a race where I'd left the start line second. So for the last event with the car I decided to have a play in Sportsman ET where I would certainly always be chasing! Qualifying was pretty fun trying to figure out where to lift and also practising a chase by letting whoever was in the other lane go first. Unfortunately my plan of some close finishes in qualifying didn't really work out due to my poor counting abilities, the plan was to count the difference between our dial-ins on the line before launching, so I ended up ninth having only made one run on the right side of the number after three qualifiers. It wasn't looking good.
Sunday was a new day and a new game and after the Pro ET exit I had a chance to concentrate on Sportsman ET, going all the way through to the final and taking my first ever event win after some incredible races throughout the day. And, to top it off, in the final the car even ran the quickest it has ever run at Santa Pod!
So that's a wrap on my racing for the time being. I just need someone to take the Mustang off my hands. It's still up for sale and I know it will bring the next owner as much joy as it has me. If you're interested in a hard-running, reliable car which runs elevens all day long then please do get in touch. This is a complete, competitive race-road car for just nine thousand pounds. Take it away now and get your head round it over winter ready for Easter!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the sport who offered help and services in one way or another, but especially to Martin Hill and Horace without whose help and support I would never have bought the car in the first place, never mind been able to run it.
2nd October: Licencing for Top Fuel Dragster seems to be the growth industry right now with the latest to qualify Dennis Nilsson, no stranger to the news pages of Eurodragster.com, who put in passes at Santa Pod Raceway at a RWYB just before the UK National Finals. Dennis is planning to run the FIA Championship next season and you can read more about it on the Drag Racing Europe Blog courtesy of our good buddy Remco Scheelings by clicking here.
Steve Young writes that a very special race took place at the recent NSRA Hot Rod Drags at Shakespeare County Raceway (below left). "Grandad Ian Coulsell took on his grandson Harley Coulsell in a match race over the eighth mile", says Steve. "Ian was in his restored Junior Dragster from the 1970s and Harley was in his Daniel Giles-fabricated modern Junior Modified car. Starter for this race was Ian's son Mark, Ian was staged by Mark's brother Louis and Harley was staged by Steve Cassisi. The family have been avid drag racing fans for all of their lives,crewing and driving several cars. Ian is 72 years old and is a true petrolhead which he has passed on to the whole clan. Who won you ask? The old Junior car put the modern car in its place! A very unique event."
Natalie Haas wrote from Switzerland to ask us to say a big Happy 50th Birthday for today (Monday) to her husband, Super Pro ET racer Thomas Haas (above right). We are very happy to do so, have a great day Thomas.
Bennetts welcome CTM Performance.
2nd October: Luke Bennett writes that the Bennett Racing blown-alcohol altered team are delighted to welcome CTM Performance Engineering as a sponsor:
CTM Performance Engineering are a very well-established and respected engine modification company who have been in business since the early 1980s. They offer a one-stop full service and supply for engine reconditioning from the initial assessment, design and planning, to the build, commissioning and ongoing maintenance of the modified engine. Services also include engine balancing and cylinder head modification.
As you can see from the photos they have performed magic on our tired old billet heads, turning them into nearly new condition. Nick at CTM replaced all the valve guides, replaced all inlet and exhaust seats, and converted them so that we can use shaft-mounted rockers rather than stud-mounted, meaning a stronger valve geometry, enlarged all the push rod tube holes to take a larger diameter set-up, and lastly a minimum skim on both heads. So much care and pride has been shown in the work; thank you Nick, we're chuffed to bits.
We literally couldn't be happier, the heads are near-on brand new and will enable us to push the Chevy combination to our custom camshaft's 9,200rpm limit.
Check out CTM Performance Engineering's Facebook page or their web site at www.ctmperformance.com.
Bench Race III now booking.
2nd October: The British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Gala, to be held at the Oatlands Park Hotel, Weybridge, Surrey on Saturday 18th November, will again be preceded by the popular Bench Racing session.
In 2015 and 2016 a varied panel of US and European legends entertained a packed audience for two hours with their stories and views on the sport in the afternoon prior to the main Gala dinner and presentations in the evening. Beech Underwriting Agencies, major sponsorship partner of the BDRHoF, are delighted to announce that the Bench Racing session will return and be held at the Gala's new venue, starting at the earlier time of 12:00 noon.
New members of the panel for 2017 are Dale Emery, Marvin Graham, Connie Kalitta, Roland Leong, Jeff Lutz, Clay Millican, Jim Oberhofer and Roy Phelps. They join Steve Gibbs, Tom Hoover, Ron Hope, Ed McCulloch, Bob Muravez and Dennis Priddle who entertained us last year. Acclaimed US motoring and drag racing journalist and writer Bob McClurg will again be hosting the event.
BDRHoF Chair Stu Bradbury said "The Bench Racing session is a wonderful chance to see and talk with legends of drag racing from decades past, and those currently competing at the highest level. We are also offering the press the opportunity for individual interviews with panel members on the same day. And there will be a unique opportunity to mix with legends socially before, during and after the Gala dinner."
Beech Underwriting Agencies managing director Geoff Stilwell said "We are grateful to all those on the panel who have agreed to come and share their stories and the Bench Racing has been one of the most popular events during previous galas. Bob McClurg did a fantastic job of facilitating the discussions, he got stories from the participants that we will remember for a very long time and there will be plenty more this year. I can only urge everyone to apply for registration now to avoid disappointment."
There will also be a sale of memorabilia, including engine parts signed by John Force and a crash helmet and trophy of Raymond Beadle's, to raise funds for the BDRHoF Benevolent Fund, and there will be free goodies for those attending.
The BDRHoF Bench Racing session sponsored by Beech Underwriting Agencies will take place from 12:00 to 14:00 at the Terrazza at the Oatlands Park Hotel. Free admission is available by registering by E-Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. But hurry: the maximum capacity of the room is one hundred and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Be there!
Tickets for the 2017 BDRHoF Gala Awards Dinner are £65 per person. More details are available by clicking here. For advance booking of tickets contact email@example.com or telephone Stu Bradbury on 01933 279102.