European Drag Racing News

SPRC Trophy Presentation pictures.
31st January: The official Trophy Presentation pictures are now available from Saturday evening's SPRC Dinner Dance. The gallery, which is presented in association with
Lucas Oil Products, can be checked out by clicking here or by clicking on the News link, then Features in the main menu at the top of the page.

High-resolution copies of any picture, which will print up to A0 or larger, are free and can be obtained by E-Mailing with the image number.

Many thanks to photographer Julian for his hard work on Saturday night.

Keith's speech at SPRC dinner.
31st January: We are grateful to Santa Pod Raceway CEO Keith Bartlett (pictured with members of his team) for sending a copy of his speech given at Saturday's SPRC Dinner Dance and Trophy Presentation:

Ladies & Gentlemen and Juniors - welcome to you all here tonight for the SPRC Dinner Dance.

We have not been able to hold this dinner for the past two years due to the covid-19 pandemic – so it is indeed a pleasure to be here and see so many of you all attending tonight.

My wife I know would want me to make this a short speech – not only is that not in my DNA – but after the last 24 months there is much to be said – but I will try not to bore you all too much.

This will be my first chance to say a direct big thank you to all you here tonight for all your support during these past 24 months – more of that so... What a past 24 months we have all had. The whole country and everyone in this room has been affected in one way or another as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Santa Pod Raceway and Trackback Racing have been no exception to that situation and the resulting restrictions that hit Santa Pod in 2020 and 2021 – to put it bluntly we lost a few million pounds in 2020 and during the first half of 2021 - and were in a fight for survival...

Despite all the doom and gloom I and my management team and all the staff at TBR (Trak Bak Racing) never gave up and or caved in. In our darkest moments I was determined to only see the way forwards not backwards down the slippery slope – as always for KB the glass is always half full - not half empty. Through tireless work and effort TBR secured government support through channels that no other motor sports organisation had succeeded in.

But this is story is not just about TBR its management and staff – its also about all of you in this room, the racers, the teams the individuals, plus organisations like motorsport UK, all of whom came and gave their support to TBR and Santa Pod in many different ways – resulting in a huge boost to Santa Pods survival. Additionally and most importantly our customers the drag racing fans showed us huge support by supporting us with credits on their advance ticket purchases – when they could easily have made claim backs for several hundred of thousands of pounds.

All of this I have just mentioned has been the support that Santa Pod had during this period, which helped us to make Santa Pod survive the pandemic and the resulting restrictions, so from me and all my team at Santa Pod to all of you in this room - a big, big thank you.

I know that so many people when making award type speeches - thank their families, friends, dog, cat, rabbit and any long lost uncles and aunties etc – without whom they would never have made it or even got to work in the first place. But I really want to say a massive thank you to my wife Susanne and my kids, Jacqueline, Lara and Alice. Without the support of them and especially Susanne I may never have made it to being here tonight with the same confidence and satisfaction of a job well done.

As a note just to prove I am not playing with words with you all here tonight I only saw my family for about 39 days in the whole of 2020 while fighting for Santa Pod's survival in the UK, (we live in Sweden for those of you who do not know) and for not much more in 2021. My daughter Jacqueline, who is here tonight, was a young 13 year old in January 2020 and by the end of the year when I returned I could hardly recognise the grown up 14 year old girl I had left behind, this long period of absence from my family due to me having to remain in the UK and fight to keep Santa Pod alive and saving all the staff their jobs etc.

Now onto some more positive things...

We are all looking forwards to a full racing season in 2022….hopefully without any more restrictions or event closures. The FIA and the FIM Championships are planned for a full return in 2022, including the two rounds to be held at Santa Pod Raceway.

As some of you may be aware we have formed a new company DRE (Drag Racing Europe AB) to run and administer both the FIA and FIM Championships, which will now take place in 2022. I am pleased to say that we have been able to get the FIM Championship back running side by side along with the FIA Championship. The FIM Championship will be campaigned over 5 rounds while the FIA Championship will be campaigned over 6 rounds in 2022.

I mentioned earlier that we were successful in obtaining government support from a fund which was basically a more general ball and sports fund, i.e.; Football, Rugby, Athletics, Swimming etc - as attractive as this support is it is only a loan not a grant – and like all loans they have to be paid back – no matter how good the terms are! Regardless of that basic fact, I am extremely proud that Santa Pod was the only motorsport (at least on 4 wheels) to be able to tap into that fund and that the government gave us that support purely based upon the sport of drag racing at Santa Pod and its huge impact into the community along with its diversity and especially our grass roots and life style drag racing events – by that I mean the fact that we have the strongest motor sport worldwide in terms of women competiting on and against their male counterparts equal teams - children the juniors play a big part in that – and where women regularly beat their male competitors – the Government actually made press releases to say that they had supported Santa Pod and the sport of drag racing in the UK. You have all played your part in that press release and the British governments recognition of our sport in the UK – you the racers and competitors that drive our sport – and the government's recognition we have gained also belongs to all of you here tonight.

Talking about diversity in our sport and women in drag racing I know all about that one from Susanne Callin it’s one thing to live in a house with 4 women – but when three of them are drag racing you can’t win – literally on or off the track! – but of course I am immensely proud of all of them.

That loan and support from the UK’s Minister of Sport of course helped us enormously, although ironically as of tonight we have still not received the actual money – but I am assured by the government that the check is in the post! – thank you Boris – of course I believe you, you're our Prime Minister! At the same time as fighting for our survival we have also been working hard on new projects and new investment for Santa Pod. Once such project involved the Highways England and all police departments across the UK. This is in relation to motorway clean ups and how to improve the clean ups after accidents and oil and fuel spillages etc. We have now signed a 5-year contract with the police and Highways England to further look into how to improve clean ups on motorways. One of the first benefits of this partnership is that we are now able to relay and resurface the complete shutdown area - for a fraction of the cost, but still a lot of money might add. As many of you are more than aware the shutdown area was rapidly heading towards its ‘sell by date’ So we are coming out of the last 2-years of restrictions financial losses with a real impact for you the racers and the SPRC. The contactors will be starting on site on the 9th February – some 11 days away from tonight.

I am also pleased to state that the women's shower block has been renovated this winter as was the men’s last year – now that is diversity at work! Seriously I am very disappointed that we did have the funding to renovate both the women's and the men’s showers last year – but the men need every advantage to be able to beat the women on the track and a cold wet angry female competitor can easily lose her concentration on the start line – which means this year boys you better watch out because the women are coming after you...

At TBR I am looking to begin further investments and improvements in the coming 2-3 years provided we do not go backwards with covid-19 as we have seen over the past 24 months. So watch this space for updates in 2022.

On a personal note, I cannot wait to bring my two race cars back out in 2022 (work schedules allowing), and it was the highlight of my year to go back and race on the track after almost 45 years, running in the ‘Gasser Circus’ with Roarin' Rat was real fun and trying to learn to drive the John Webster 64 Comet - I might be the owner of that car but it will always be the John Websters Comet - I am determined to drive that car into the 7 sec zone this year. However the best part of going back racing has been being around you the racers in the pits and on the race track – time and time again it just proves to me what a big family we are – despite trying to beat the **** out of each other on the track.

I must also say an big thank you to the Williams Bros and John Webster (and Jeanette for the tea after runs) for their support and help in 2021...more of that in 22 please!

Finally, in closing I hope I have not bored you too much, although I am sure to get a b*****king when I sit back down at my table from my two wives no 1 Susanne and No 2 Caroline Holden, its not easy having two wives and I’m sure that Paul Holden will say its not easy having to be part of a double husband situation, I must make it clear that marriage number two is of course purely work related...

Thank you all - have a good night and as usual with KB I will sign off with ‘see you at the track!’

Victory trophy - the background story.
31st January: Many thanks to Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Ian Marshall for writing to us with the story behind the new SPRC Victory trophy:

The Trophy is called the Victory, based on the fact the only the winner will ever receive it, but also as a tip of the hat to the 92nd Bomber Group who were stationed at Santa Pod. during WW2 Victory being victory in Europe, but more of a thank you to the American ladies and gents of the 92 Bomber group than a reminder of what happened between us and our Foes in Europe.

This is depicted on the back of the trophy as a black V with the 92nd between the points of the V and the British and American flags, once again a small gesture to say thank you the 92nd but also for help we have had in the past from American drag racing and Drag Racers.

I designed the trophy about 3 years ago, as this was something that I felt our Racers deserved and have wanted to do for some time. When anyone in drag racing hears about someone winning a Wally they instantly know what they are talking about, Wally Parks being the founder of modern drag racing across the planet has been immortalised with the NHRA’s trophy for many years, I knew I would not equal the heights of the Wally but wanted in some way to give racers something that eventually would become synonymous with winning at Santa Pod Raceway.

We don’t really have a Wally Parks, and I didn’t want to copy the Wally any way as that’s NHRA’s trophy, therefore after many scraps of paper going in the bin I came up with the Gantry idea, the gantry is a piece of the Santa Pod history that has stood since 1972 and therefore longer than any single owner of the track, the tyre is about not make the trophy point towards any particular genre as it’s for Riders and Drivers, the base of the trophy obviously goes back to of heritage of a tarmac or asphalt track that’s why it has a texture to it, the yellow lines of course being the track centreline.

That’s about it in a nutshell, but all winning Sportsman Racers will receive a Victory at all National events, and I’m working on an addition to the trophy for Championship winners of the 2022 trophy, this hopefully will be ready in time, providing Covid stays out of the way.

I would like to thank the SPRC Committee for giving me the opportunity to put this together as they are the ones that allowed me to progress this, also to thank Rob Ferguson and Bob Jordan at Aford Awards for all of their help during the design and production of the Victory.

Pioneer stories: Gleadow family, part 5.
31st January: Today's Pioneer story is part five of the Gleadow family's story and history by brothers Brian, Mick and Bob. This part concentrates on Mick Gleadow's return to drag racing in a slingshot dragster.

Mick got back into drag racing in 2007, quickly contacting friends to obtain a chassis and drivetrain for a slingshot dragster, running it in Wild Bunch as Jurassic Parts. It was succeeded by a new build chassis, Jurassic Parts 2, which has run into the eights with a small tip of the can. As Mick's retirement project, we look forward to seeing it run in 2022.

The Gleadow family's story will be told in seven parts bringing it to the present day.

Part four of the Gleadow's story is at this link. You can see our list of pioneer stories at this link or by clicking on the link in the main menu. would like to thank John Hunt and Nick Pettitt for recording, transcribing, editing and providing illustrations for each of our stories, and Clive Rooms for providing further information.

Swift snippets.
31st January: Many happy returns to today's trio of birthdays. Photojournalist Andy Willsheer, Top Fuel Bike engineer and builder Phil Brachtvogel, and Super Comp racer Leah Kellett all have their special day today and we're sure all our readers will want to join in to wish them Happy Birthday.

You can see video footage of the run what ya brung at Spitfire Raceway on Saturday posted by Kieran at his Mk1Kieran Youtube channel.

Congratulations to sponsor Geoff Stilwell (pictured above) who won two awards yesterday at the Grand National Roadster show in the Fairplex, Pomona, California, one for Outstanding Engineering on the Lucas Oil 7707 Land Speed roadster.

SPRC Perpetual Awards winners.
30th January:
The winners and runners-up in the 2021 Motorsport UK British Drag Racing Championship, SPRC National Drag Racing Championships, ACU UK Dragbike Championships and SPRC Club Championships were presented with their trophies at the Santa Pod Racers Club Dinner Dance and Trophy Presentation in Bedford last night (Saturday). Each National Champion was presented with a newly designed trophy (pictured) which will be the standard trophy for winners of National Championship events from 2022. The winners of SPRC's Perpetual Awards, for whom readers had the chance to vote, were also presented with their trophies.

Congratulations to the SPRC Perpetual Award winners:

Most Promising Newcomer: Elliot Day (Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator)
Best Appearing Car: Marc Huxley (Modurstang Pro ET)
Best Appearing Bike: Jake Mechaell (Taylor's Trophy Super Street Bike)
Most Professional Appearing Team: Team Annie - Ronnie Mercer (Modurstang Pro ET and Renegade Outlaw Anglia)
James Edgar Memorial Trophy: Jedd Guy (Renegade Outlaw Anglia)
Alex Brachtvogel Memorial Trophy: Peter Walters (for designing and implementing online SPRC event entry system and website)

John Ledster Memorial Trophy: Kathy Taylor (Signing on office and support of motorcycle classes)
Obsession Motorsports Sportsman of the Year Trophy: Jedd Guy (Renegade Outlaw Anglia)
Trakbak Racing Ltd Spirit of Santa Pod Trophy: David Warren (SPR starter and marshal)

A big Thank You to everyone who submitted votes for the SPRC Perpetual Awards.

In his speech thanking racers and fans for helping to keep the track running through the pandemic, along with a government loan unique in UK motorsport, Keith Bartlett announced that the shut down area of Santa Pod Raceway will be completely relaid before the start of the 2022 season, contractors starting work on 9th February. We will be reporting Keith's speech in the next update.

The Trophy Presentation gallery will also be available here on very shortly.

Spitfire Raceway gallery.
30th January: With thanks to Kieran who braved the sea breeze and instant fog at Spitfire Raceway, Perranporth, Cornwall to bring us a gallery of 43 pictures from yesterday's Run What Ya Brung, at which a staggering number of vehicles and sizeable crowd attended to enjoy track action for four hours during the day.

You can see Kieran's photos by clicking on this link or via our event Coverage link on the main menu. Kieran will shortly be posting video of the event to which we will post a link.

Thanks to John Woolfe Racing for their continued support of our Event coverage.

Dual Fuel Racing pre season update.
30th January: Many thanks, and commiserations, to Dual Fuel Racing's Steve Mellors who has supplied an update on what seems to have been a disastrous fire-up of their Mazda engine:

"Well it looks like time has been called on Hulk MX5, we can't possibly raise enough to replace the engine and test the car before racing season so I have to make the decision to sacrifice our race season and be miserable for 6 months, or sacrifice the car and be miserable for just as long.

I vowed to always keep this car alive and at Santa Pod, however I just can't do it any more. We drag race on a shoe string budget and we just do not have the funds. I have tried so hard to secure sponsors for the team in 2022 but with racers being so undecided on whether they will race, we lost the opportunity of sponsorship with a few companies.

So, as of tomorrow, I will be stripping the MX5 for parts in the hope it can make enough to buy a replacement and take it to the track. I'm not sure I even want to race after posting this, because I know people want to see Hulk but unfortunately, this time next week all the wrapped parts will either be sold or de-wrapped.

Dual Fuel Racing will be back this year, however missing both our well-known-to-the-track cars.

Lucas Oil 7707 at Grand National Roadster Show.
29th January:
With thanks to sponsors Geoff Stilwell and Lucas Oil, we have posted a gallery of photos taken at the Grand National Roadster Show, Fairplex, Pomona California over the last couple of days. Geoff says:

"We flew in last Sunday. Thanks to Izzy and the team at Micks Paint, 7707 is looking superb. All we needed to do was put the body panels on and it was ready to go in the trailer. But our first stop on Tuesday was a trip to our good friends at Simpson Safety Equipment at Harbor City to pick up my new firesuit. When we got back to the Raceshop we had a visitor who I was so glad to see, it was the great Bill Schultz and I took him for a spin in my '34 roadster.

On Wednesday morning we got the call to get 7707 into the Hall 6 of the Fairplex, so it was all hands to get the race car loaded and thanks to everyone at Mick's Paint for their help.

The GNRS means so much work for the guys at, they are a really fantastic crew. They will have 9 cars that we have painted on display. As well as the Lucas Oil 7707 land speed racecar there are two AMBR winners: Brad Lindig's Indy Speedster that won in 2012 and Bruce Wanta's Mulholland Speedster that won in 2017. Also there will be Joe Rogan Experience Fan Page Novaro, Robert Florine's Plymouth Scamp and a staggeringly new build from @Troy Ladd's Hollywood Hot Rods.

Bob Beck, announcer at the 2019 British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Bench Racing, said "GAAS Great American Auto Scene, part of Too Tired Guys Group will be back in building 4 this year. We will be interviewing some the top people in motorsports today. As well as Geoff, we will have 100 year old legend, Ed "Isky" Iskenderian, Rodding USA magazine publisher, Paul Martinez, Hot Rod Holly Ansman and many others as the list keeps growing. The who's who of rodding and racing will be there, presented by BUA Motorsports. We will be in the GAAS Great American Auto Scene, Too Tired Guys booth brought to you by BUA Motorsports. Watch us on Facebook, Youtube and listen on Anchor, Apple and most places you find podcasts." We will post a link shortly after Bob's interviews have been posted.

Wayne Dupuy to join Thermoreg Racing.
29th January: Longtime NHRA crew chief Wayne Dupuy has announced he will be with Kevin Chapman's Thermoreg Racing team this year. Wayne was brought up in the sport as his father, Lynwood Dupuy owned and operated several race tracks and had a variety of roles within the management team of the NHRA.

Wayne's first crew chief roles in the late 1980s were with Tony McCallum racing, and he has moved between several Top Fuel and Funny Car operations during his career. Around the turn of the millenium he worked on the "Nitro Fish" owned by Whit Bazemore with several drivers and the TF entry of Don Lampus, following which he served as Crew Chief to Joe Amato's team with the late Darrell Russell as driver. After recovering from a 2005 road accident, Wayne got busy again with Mike Salinas in TF and Terry Haddock in FC where he continues. Wayne worked in Europe in 2008-9 when he was crew chief for Urs Erbacher.

The European Funny Car Series, which last took place in 2019, will be revived this year with rounds at the Festival of Power, Main Event, Bug Jam and European Finals.

Swift snippets.
29th January: UK Nostalgia Superstock organiser Don Scott has asked us to wish a Happy Birthday for today to NSS racer Neil Frances, have a great day Neil. Also celebrating today are former Shakespeare County Raceway official Julie Willcox and Undertaker FC crewman Steve Loader, best wishes both.

Pioneer stories: Pat and Chris Church - Part 2.
28th January:
Our series of stories about UK drag racing and hot rod pioneers today again features hot rodders and drag racers Pat and Chris Church.

After selling their Gold Rush Ford Anglia, the Church brothers stayed close to drag racing whilst developing their own hot rods. Their first was a T Bucket, widely displayed at UK drag races in the early 1970s and featured in mainstream publications. Having founded the NDRC Roadster Register, in 1971 they founded Brighton Speed & Custom, later moving back into replica and hot rod building and restoring.

Part two of Pat and Chris's story is at this link. You can see our list of pioneer stories at this link or by clicking on the link in the main menu. would like to thank John Hunt and Nick Pettitt for recording, transcribing, editing and providing illustrations for each of our stories and Clive Rooms for providing further information. event coverage 2022.
28th January: We have posted our event coverage plan for 2022 which you can see at this link or by clicking on 'Event Coverage' in the main menu at the top of the page.

As ever, the usual caveats apply: event coverage is dependent on weather and track conditions, the Covid-19 restrictions in place at the time of the event, and team availability. However we are more confident than at any time in the last two years that we will actually be able to report on the events listed.

The event list has increased from previous years and we are thankful to our team for setting aside their time to make in some cases lengthy journeys to attend events. We are for the first time scheduling events at Spitfire Raceway at Perranporth, Cornwall and Dakota Raceway, Smeatharpe, Devon. Also, as a sponsor of Melbourne Raceway, we are pleased to announce coverage of all events at the track this year, with former editor Tog attending six of them and Mad Welshman Paul Evans sending us pictures from the Powerfest event.

At Santa Pod Raceway we are covering all championship events, both SPRC National and FIA/FIM-E, and plan to travel to Tierp and Hockenheim for the FIA/FIM-E events at those tracks (Tierp TBC for FIM-E). Thanks to Julian and Kirstie for giving their time for overseas trips and to Kieran for his coverage of SPR lifestyle events.

Swift snippets.
28th January: Today's Happy Birthdays are to Straightliners announcer Paul Cumpstone who reaches 70, British Junior Dragster Club organiser Edel McDonald, and Modified 100e racer Troy Bull (who also happens to be pioneer Harold Bull's grandson). We hope you all have a great day.

Keith Potter.
27th January: We were greatly saddened to learn of the passing of competition altered racer Keith Potter from his son Justin Reus. Justin writes:

"My Dad was a veteran of Santa Pod, racing in the 70´s and 80´s at the helm of The Devil; both himself and my Mum Lynn were well known and loved by all, still talked about often even to this day. Santa Pod life was a family event, we were Team Potter, Keith and Lynn, myself and my sister Lisa. My Dad was such a larger than life character, on and off track, with an energy, love for life, and devilish sense of humour. He was a huge part of all our lives, and will be missed greatly."

Keith Potter was born in Stevenage and started drag racing at Santa Pod in 1974 running in Senior Street with his black Lotus Elan 'Lotus Eater'. Brother Barry Potter later bought this car after which Keith had a another, larger engined, Lotus named Hey Jude, running down to the elevens in Modified.

Keith bought Mike Kason's 'Kerbdozer III' altered at the end of 1975 and entered it at the 1975 Fireworks Meet at Santa Pod. The Altered used a Rays Rods fibreglass Plymouth Coupe body, the ex-Aardvark, ex-Sneaky chassis and a 427 Ford motor. Keith ran it in Senior Competition Altered.

In 1976 he renamed it 'The Devil', changing the paint scheme to black with flames and immaculate lettering and swapped the Ford lump for big block Chevy power with a Mike Churchill-designed fuel injection system with wild Crower stacks. The car was put on display at the 2nd International Drag Racing Show at Crystal Palace in February 1977.

Many will remember it was fitted with a police siren which could be heard each time he came down the fire-up road. In 1979, following a tendency to do wheelies on launch, the chassis was replaced with one Keith built longer and a copy of the Dennis Priddle Monza Funny Car chassis. A blower was added and the car in Super Comp when it went eventually into the sevens.

Keith took The Devil to the Italian Motor Show at Bologna in 1979 with Dave Page and Steve Murty, however all did not go well and after a demo run, the car ended on its side and a rebuild with new body became necessary. You can read more about this incident at this link on

Keith retired from racing in 1986 he sold The Devil to Barry Sheavills who ran it as 'Stagecoach III'. The same chassis was used later in several other altereds, a sign of a great build.

In later times Keith lived in Spain for 20 years but moved back to a village near Olney, Northants, from where he made the occasional trip to Santa Pod Raceway, for instance at the Easter Thunderball in 2011 where we had the pleasure of chatting to him (see picture).

We send our deepest condolences to Justin, Keith's family and friends.

Information courtesy Nick Pettitt and Ron Clark (Hot Rod and Custom Nov 1978), pit photo by Ken Robbins.

VP Racing Fuels continues as exclusive fuel at Santa Pod Raceway.
27th January: VP Racing Fuels, Inc., regarded worldwide as the leader in racing and performance fuel products, announced today that it is continuing as Official Fuel of Santa Pod Raceway for 2022.

"For well over ten years, VP Racing Fuels has been proud of our association and our growing relationship with Santa Pod Raceway. Our support of drag racing in the U.K. continues," said Tom Davis, VP’s U.K. & European Business Development Manager. "With the raceway’s history and its outstanding reputation for racing events, we’re delighted to be the exclusive fuel and lane prep."

VP’s exclusive Official Fuel arrangement provides a wide array of VP products for pre-order in time for the large amount of testing and race day events held throughout the year. Race teams can pre-order at VP fuels are also available at the Raceway on the day of each event.

"We are delighted that VP has been our fuel partner for these ten-plus years," added Santa Pod’s CEO, Keith Bartlett. "Together, we are able to offer the very best race fuel and other world-class automotive products to all of our competitors and visitors."

For more information about VP and its products for racers, enthusiasts, and general consumers, visit

VP's contact is Tom Davis, +44 (0) 7376 388916 or Santa Pod Raceway's Track Manager/Fuels Manager is Darren Prentice on 01234 782828 or

Swift snippets.
27th January: Happy Birthday greetings to sponsor, former Pro Modified racer and car builder Geof Hauser, and to Junior Dragster racer Harley Darby. We hope you both have a great day.

Thanks to Paul Martin for letting us know that due to demand he has reprinted a small run of the Drag Seen 2 photo book, which we first showed on 18th November. All details as before including the free sticker. The new Ebay link for the publication is here.

You can read about the 2022 inductees to the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame at Drag Illustrated, including the late Stuart Bradbury, at this link.

If you are interested in SPRC Dinner Dance tickets for Saturday night at the Mercure hotel Bedford, two are up for grabs for £90. The tickets are being offered by Pro ET racers Brian and Lee Huxley who are happy to take the tickets to the hotel. Whilst the Huxley party will be reduced, we are reassured that a few will still be there to cheer on Lee for winning the Pro ET Championship. Brian can be contacted on and Lee on or via social media.

Pro ET bash report.
26th January: Pro ET bash organiser Mike Lacey described last Saturday's Pro ET bash held at at the Fownes Hotel in Worcester was a tremendous event.

After another great Pro/et bash where the food and dancing were both excellent, I think most if not all had a great night. The trophy presentation also was a great success again; the winners are listed below. Thanks to all who attended for coming.

Thanks also to Elaine Southworth for the most incredible trophies again and in drag racing as a whole. No one does it better than Pro ET.

The category winners are:

Comical Moment: Lauren Molden
Spirit of Pro ET: Bob Molden
Best Wheelie: Tig Napier
Best Crew Chief: Kev Morris (for Leigh Morris)
Hard Luck Award: Geoffo Cowley
Best Appearing Team: Ronnie Mercer for Annie.
Best Appearing car: Marc Huxley
Rookie of the Year: John Bean
Congratulations to the winners. Well deserved.

Pro ET thanks its fantastic sponsors for their continued support as none of this could happen without them. They are:

Engine Data Analaysis
Power Engineering
H&H Consultancy
Hauser Racing
Jon Turner Upholstery
Supercharged Outlaws
MPM Oils
SES Automotive
P J Improvements
Maverick Diagnostics
Pedder Suspension
Nemesis UK
Spirrac Air Conditioning
Brett Featherstone
Premier Rosette Comp
TMC with RDR Performance Carburetors
Tig & Cath with event prizes.

Any new members of the Pro-et Sponsorship Scheme would be welcome, sponsorship is only £175 with 100 stickers with your logo on. Monies go towards number 1 qualifiers, spot prizes at each event, a summer band in the pits, trophies, end of year presentation trophies and t-shirts.

Each sponsor is again entitled to two VIP tickets for one day at the Summer Nationals courtesy of Santa Pod Racers Club, with the opportunity of reduced price tickets for any event on request. Sponsorship enquiries should go to Lee Huxley on 07967 157899.

Photos with trophies: Geoff Cowley, John Bean with Chloe Wilkins and Ronnie Mercer, Marc Huxley, Bob and Lauren Molden.

Wild Bunch musical chairs.
26th January: Sonic Attack Racing, the Wild Bunch team with Steve Garlant as driver and Vinnie Killington as Crew Chief, have bought the Couped Up 362ci competition coupe from Ollie Hutchings-Smith.

The increase in performance to the ten second range with the larger V8 engine in Couped Up will give Steve more thrills down the track. As a result the Sonic Attack Rover V8-engined Ford 23T altered is up for sale. Vinnie says "It's a proven reliable car". You can contact Sonic Attack Racing via Facebook Messenger.

Meanwhile Mick Pitfield who put a lot of work into rebuilding his 128" wheelbase slingshot, has decided to sell it to return to his first love of motorcycle racing. It's a rwyb car for lifestyle events like dragstalgia etc. Originally called the Trespasser, then Wheel of Fortune and finally Jolly Boys Outing, and first put together by Tony Wynne Jones with the engine out of his Westfield, it has a low milage turbocharged Mazda 1.8 engine with gearbox, all belts and sensors renewed.

There is a new radiator and fan enabling a stress free drive back to the pits. The turbo, intercooler, fuel system are all new, as are the brakes, rear wheels and tyres, with new front tyres. A new axle bearing makes for smooth running. The engine is all up and running on a base map using a Motorsports Electronics ME 221 programable ECU with one off electronic gear control. Update 4th February: Mick's car, now dubbed That Slingy Thingy, has now been sold. Picture of original car - credit Jerry Cookson

Swift snippets.
26th January: Happy Birthday wishes to UK drag racing author, photographer and commentator (often all at the same time) Keith Lee, also to future Nostalgia Funny Car racer Martin Maxwell and to perennial dragbike supporter Sharron Collier, we hope you're all having a great day!

Pioneer stories: Gleadow family, part 4.
24th January:
Today's Pioneer story is part four of the Gleadow family's story and history by brothers Brian, Mick and Bob. This part concentrates on Mick Gleadow's circuit racing and karting during the period 1998-2006.

Mick left Top Alcohol drag racing at the end of 1997, and went circuit racing, buying and restoring a Formula 750 car, making his debut in October 2000. After a couple of years racing at many of England's circuits, Mick sold his car and ran his son Stewart in TKM Karting for a couple of years after which he joined the karting fray. At the end of 2006, Mick decided to sell his kart and return to his drag racing roots.

The Gleadow family's story will be told in seven parts bringing it to the present day.

Part four of the Gleadow's story is at this link. You can see our list of pioneer stories at this link or by clicking on the link in the main menu. would like to thank John Hunt and Nick Pettitt for recording, transcribing, editing and providing illustrations for each of our stories, and Clive Rooms for providing further information.

Swift snippets.
24th January: We have several birthdays to celebrate today. A very Happy Birthday to sponsor and race car builder Jon Webster who reaches the milestone of 60 today, Funny Car racer Kevin Chapman, VW Pro racer Paul Jackson, Santa Pod Raceway's IT/New Media Manager Dave 'DJ' Jones, and Comp Bike racer Blade King. Have a great day all.

Following his t-shirt offer to raise funds for Melbourne Raceway announced on 7th January, Andy Flavell has been in touch with the results. "I ended up raising £520 for the track fund and £80 for Bloodcancer UK, which considering it's January and we’re not in the best economy at the moment, is not a bad amount to raise. I had a lot of good feedback too from buyers. If anyone else wants one I have a handful of late orders that I'm going to put through including children’s sizes." You can contact Andy at or by Facebook PM.

Airship to fly from Santa Pod over Bedfordshire.
23rd January:
On Friday the newspaper Bedford Today reported that today will be the maiden flight of the restored Airship 101 - and that Santa Pod Raceway will be the takeoff point.

Preparations for the Airships Dreams Escaping Gravity exhibition at The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford revealed the treasures of local collectors of airship history - and collectors of airships themselves, such as Bobby Frankham - who recently purchased the Airship 101 and restored it.

The airship is now ready to fly regularly, and - having completed its test flights - its first longer flight will be across Bedford, making it the first to fly over the town for many years.

Bobby said: “Eight years ago I was asked, with a few select others from the Lemmings Paramotor Club, to fly at the Isle of Sheppey. It was for the unveiling of a statue of the Short brothers who made the first powered flight in England in 1909. A Spitfire was also doing a display, I was so excited and thought it don’t get much better than this!

"Until now… I’ve been asked to fly my airship over the centre of Bedford to celebrate the Airships Dreams Escaping Gravity. I hope to fly over Shortstown and Cardington where the R101 airship was built. It needed 400 ground crew and 42 crew on board. My airship is not so big just 120,000 cu ft compared to 5,000,000 cu ft but it all needs putting back in a bag at the end before we go to the pub.

The airship is due to fly over Bedford town centre and past Cardington between 12pm and 2pm on Sunday, subject to good weather.

The Airships Dreams Escaping Gravity exhibition was commissioned by Bedford Creative Arts (BCA) and The Higgins to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the last flight of the R101 airship from Cardington on October 4, 1930. The exhibition is open until March 23.

Story and photo courtesy Bedford Today.

Spy picture.
23rd January: We received this spy picture with the message "The freshen up is going well."

If you know more, or have a spy picture of your own to send, please contact us at

Santa Pod lifestyle & nostalgia race entries online next Friday.
21st January: Many thanks to Santa Pod Raceway events coordinator Dan Melrose who has been in touch to tell us that Santa Pod lifestyle & nostalgia race entries will be going online next Friday 28th at 11am.

Entries for lifestyle & nostalgia events include those for Doorslammers, four Sports Compact Shootouts and Dragstalgia. All entries will be available online through RedBox at

Callout for French demo drag cars at Le French Fest.
21st January: Santa Pod is on the lookout for the quickest French drag cars in the country to do demonstration runs at its brand-new event Le French Fest on March 27th.

If it has a French body and/or French engine and runs quicker than 11.99, we want to hear from you! For anyone interested, please send an email to Dan in the Santa Pod office at before Monday, March 14th including your personal best ET, photos, and a blurb about the car.

Pioneer stories: Pat and Chris Church - 'Gold Rush'.
21st January: Our series of stories about early campaigners of Ford's post-war Anglia, Ford Anglias of Yesteryear today features hot rodders and drag racers Pat and Chris Church.

Pat Church and brother Chris got interested in hot rods as teenagers, Pat buying a Ford Model B after leaving school. Pat learned engine building at his first day job and, after attending the 1964 Drag Festival at Blackbushe, built his Gold Rush Pop. Pat and Chris campaigned Gold Rush with the support of their father from 1967 to 1969. After stopping racing, they sold the Pop to Barry Treacy who rebuilt it to the iconic Mister T hot rod.

Part one of Pat and Chris's story is at this link. You can see our list of pioneer stories at this link or by clicking on the link in the main menu. would like to thank John Hunt and Nick Pettitt for recording, transcribing, editing and providing illustrations for each of our stories.

Things coming together for Craig.
21st January: Many thanks to 8.50 Bike racer Craig Wright who has news about plans for his 2022 season:

Happy New Year to everyone. Things are really coming together for our debut in 8.50 Bike on Ian Chrichlow's multi race winning Turbo charged Hayabusa.

The bike has had a complete overhaul by Jay Roe with various new electronic parts, new swing arm with integrated Fuel Tank and air tank as well as some new faring panels. The bike was fired up a few days back and sounds strong and all was good. The work Jay and Ian have put into the bike is unreal. We can't thank them enough.

We have been busy prepping the body panels for a new CW Motorsport look. We've also been busy sourcing sponsorship and we have got a very strong package/team for 2022. I can't wait for the new experience and learning curve and we can't wait for the new challenges ahead. We also have Peter Walter of PWRD taking care of the new look team shirts.

Massive thanks to our 2022 Sponsors:-
  • Big Davey and Kim Murdoch of David Murdoch Services.
  • VP Race Fuels.
  • Rock Oil.
  • Route 21 Racewear.
  • Dan Randell at DR Bikes.
  • Stu Brook at SB Promo Vids.
  • Andy Wain at Gentle Podiatry.
Many thanks also to my Parents Eileen and Graham, Kathy Taylor and our good friends Scotty Crookston and Callum Pudge for their help and support as always. Then of course the boys Ian Chrichlow and Jay Roe of Fossil Fuellers Drag Racing Team for putting all their work into the new bike. It will soon be time for shakedown and testing.

The crew this year will consist of just me, Kat Rudd and our lad Harrison who now wants to start learning things so he'll be getting his hands dirty this year just as I did when I was 7 years old.

So that's it so far. Not long to go now. We really look forward to joining the 8.50 class and get going. Thanks to Callum Pudge for working so much out for us and putting our vision onto a screen (above).

Swift snippets.
21st January: Happy Birthday greetings for today to Santa Pod Raceway starter David Warren, Pro ET racer Will Clark and nostalgia drag bike racer Terry Homan. Have a great day all.

Expat Swedish Pro Modified racer Adam Flamholc has announced he will be one of no less than 60 Pro Mods competing at at the U.S. Street Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park competing for $32,000 to win, $10,000 to runner up and more. The event will be taking place on 27th-31st January and will be streamed on FloRacing (subscription costs $150/yr).

Jim Balchin.
20th January: We were sorry to hear of the passing of 1970s-80s motorcycle sprinter and drag racer Jim Balchin. Jim passed away at his home in Portchester aged 82, still tinkering around with motorbikes until the end.

Jim was associated with two bikes, the first a single cylinder supercharged BSA that had a distinctive 'dustbin' fairing (pictured left). With this machine, dubbed 'Double J' Jim utilised the tiny 340cc engine to run into the nines as early as September 1974 at the Cambridge Centaur Sprint. He also ran sprints at Gaydon, Long Marston and other venues. This bike was the fastest BSA-powered drag bike in the world and one of the fastest single cylinder machines as well. It ran a best of 9.63 and hit 170mph at a World Records meeting. Jim Reynolds recalled "He had what looked like a grappling iron on a stout rope and would hitch it around the wheelie bar axle, the other end around the barrier, and burnout with the bike restrained from behind."

Another bike that Jim raced (pictured right) was a Hillman Imp engined rear-engined four cylinder supercharged bike 'Neeler Weeler', complete with home made cylinder head made from solid bar.

We send our deepest condolences to Jim's family and friends.

Pictures: Louise Balchin (BSA Gold Star) Kelvin Fagan (Neeler Weeler); information: The Acceleration Archive.

Women in Motorsport, Limited Funz Racing out on display.
20th January: Many thanks to Limited Funz Racing crew chief Steve Cassisi who reports that the team have been invited to be showcased at Coventry Transport Museum as part of their new exhibition, Women in Motorsport. Steve writes:

Ada Cassisi’s Cherry Bomb Junior Dragster was delivered to the museum today (19th January) and will be on display for 6 weeks along with an insight into the roles in the team from hard working crew members Lynne Coulsell and Anna Cassisi.

The Women in Motorsport exhibition runs from 29th January - 31st May 2022. Showcasing vehicles, displays, interactive elements and motorsport memorabilia based around the celebration of Women in Motorsport both historically to the present day with inclusion of grass roots racing to professional level. The MSUK Girls on Track will also be showcasing some educational events during the exhibition.

More info on the event and about the can be found at Coventry Transport Museum's web site, also you can read about Women in Motorsport at the Motorsport UK's girls on track feature.

Women in Motorsport is a fast growing initiative to help rightfully raise the profile of woman’s involvement in motorsport from grass roots up to professional level and is featured on the FIA website.

Spitfire Raceway's cash January meet.
20th January: Cornish drag and drift season comes alive on Saturday 29th January at Spitfire raceway, writes promoter and sponsor Lee Childs:

"Cash prizes of £200 each will be awarded to the quickest all wheel drive time, quickest rear wheel drive, and quickest front wheel drive. There will be printed times and speeds for every run so riders and drivers will have a record of their performance.

"Camping is available on-site so why not make a weekend of it? You can spectate or take part at Spitfire Raceway. For those using the drag strip, there will be run what you brung drag racing, all vehicles welcome. To enter click on this link. Drifters can also enter for drift what you brung (£60 fee), all welcome, by clicking on this link.

"There will be a show & shine (no charge after admission), spectator entry is £10 per person, under 16s go free. You can event drag race after admission from £10 for one run (three runs will cost £20, unlimited runs will cost £35). Crash helmet and full driving licence are required and all vehicles are welcome at Spitfire Raceway Cornwall. Clubs can reserve their clubstands area by sending a PM to Spitfire Raceway's Facebook page.

"Gates will be open at 8am on Saturday 29th January with track action 11am to 3pm. All vehicles have a safety check for drag racing and drifting. There will be a drag strip riders and drivers meeting at race control 10.45am. Please respect the surrounding areas and speed limits when travelling to and from the venue."

Swift snippets.
20th January: A very Happy Birthday to UK Nostalgia Superstock and Pro ET racer Tom 'Cherry' Watkins and Nostalgia Funny Car racer Andy Raw. Have a great day guys from all of us at

For those with a strong stomach (particularly those directly involved), Santa Pod Raceway have posted on Youtube their Ultimate Crashes & Saves Compilation!. One of the least desired, but at the same time, most crowd-pulling aspects of our sport.

Team 2 Brits doing Sick Week.
19th January: Many thanks to Paul Mander, former Super Modified racer and crew member for Jordan Payne, for letting us know that he and Al McSweeney will be heading over to the US to compete in a 'drag-and-drive' event in Florida at the start of February:

Street Eliminator racer Al McSweeney and I (we've named ourselves Team 2 Brits) have purchased a street legal Volvo which we intend to race at Sick Week which will be held in Florida from 7th February. The event has been organised by Tom Bailey of Drag Week fame. Al McSweeney (Street Eliminator) and I picked the car up from Massachusetts just before Christmas and drove it South through 13 States and 1600 miles and is now in storage in Florida for our return. There will be a lot of British fans attending including a number of Street Eliminator teams.

The five day event, with 350 entries, starts at Bradenton Motorsports Park on 7th February after a registration day, then moves to Orlando Speedworld, Gainesville Raceway, South Georgia Motorsports Park and then back to Bradenton on 11th February. VP Racing Fuels will be the official fuel supplier to the event. You can read all about the event at the Sick Week website. To get latest updates go to the Sick the Magazine Facebook page or join the Sick The Mag FB group.

Pictured are photos of the Volvo on a recce to several hostelries across the eastern US.

Dos Palmos and Ivo cars sold at Mecum.
19th January: During the last two weeks at Osceola Heritage Park, Kissimmee, Florida, Mecum Auctions held their annual and largest auction of collectible vehicles. The event has become a 'must see' for the opportunity to view at close quarters some iconic cars from drag racing that may not have been on public display in recent times. During this year's event the connection between cars sold and British drag racing was strong as a car from the 1965 Drag Festival and after, and cars owned by one of the stars of the US Team at the 1964 Drag Festival were sold.

The Dos Palmos car, restored after its discovery by Ray Evernham and documented on Americarna went for $27,000. Then several of TV Tommy Ivo's cars from the collection of Jackie and Gary Runyon, his 1976 Dodge Charger Funny car which sold for $66,000, a 1970 front engined Top Fuel car which raised $77,000, his 1974 Top Fuel Dragster (first recorded over 250mph but this speed later found to be incorrect) going for $93,500, and the legendary 1981 4 engined, 4WD Buick Wagonmaster for an amazing $297,000 (all including 10% buyers premium).

Other drag vehicles sold were a 1968 Tom Mongoose McEwen Top Fuel dragster ($110,000) and 1969 Dodge Little Red Wagon A100 Exhibition Wheel Stander. Several of the vehicles sold had been extensively renovated, however they represent earlier golden years of our sport and it was great to have a chance to see them.

As ever, the quality of the auction information and web site was stunning, with the dragsters of TV Tommy (to whom a Happy Birthday for today) shown being cackled, minus driver and (hopefully) driveshaft, in this Facebook video.

With the auction raising $217m as the largest single car collector auction ever held, future editions of the January Mecum Kissimmee event are a must-see event if you happen to be in Florida.

Swift snippets.
19th January: A very Happy Birthday to the multi-talented Accidental Polymath Dave Gibbons, who reaches what used to be State Pension age today. We hope you have a great day Dave.

As an addendum to our story of Brian Gibson and Bob Venison with their Ford Anglia Wild Thing, drag racing historian Jerry Cookson has uncovered a piece from Custom Car in 2017, revealing the identity of the then owner of the car, which you can read by clicking on the image to see large version. The original story of Wild Thing can be seen at this link (Part 1) and this link (Part 2).

Pioneer stories: Gleadow family, part 3.
17th January:
Today's Pioneer story is part three of the Gleadow family's story and history by brothers Brian, Mick and Bob. This part concentrates on running an altered, an econo Funny Car, and a Top Methanol Dragster from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s.

In the mid-1980s, the brothers moved on to running a Ford 23T altered with their Rover V8, the body and chassis of which having origins from other UK racers. They combined forces with Steve Clarke, latterly of Nimbus Motorsports, the altered running quicker with his expertise. As a result, the team got sponsorship, making the trip to Hockenheim in 1989. The team progressed to their Time Machine Econo Funny Car in the early 1990s, then for two years running a Top Alcohol Dragster in the highly competitive Top Alcohol Championship with guidance from Dave Wilson.

The Gleadow family's story will be told in seven parts bringing it to the present day.

Part three of the Gleadow's story, accompanied by over 90 images, is at this link. You can see our list of pioneer stories at this link or by clicking on the link in the main menu. would like to thank John Hunt and Nick Pettitt for recording, transcribing, editing and providing illustrations for each of our stories.

Swift snippets.
17th January: Happy Birthday wishes to Funny Car driver Shelley Pearson, to former Top Fuel racer Andy Craddock and to future Pro Modified racer Matt Peters. We hope you are all having a great day.

Photojournalist Steve Moxley has written in to let us know his report on the 2021 STP National Finals is now live on Tim Hailey's Eat My Ink web site. Included are photos and notes on the National and ACU bike classes with Motorsport UK Pro Modified and Wild Bunch covered as well.

Eileen Daniels.
16th January:
We were sad to hear of the passing on Friday of Eileen Daniels, NHRA administrator and supporter of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame at the age of 86.

Eileen was one of the first people employed by the NHRA. Back in 1959 her late husband Bob Daniels was appointed by Wally Parks as NHRA North Central Division (Division Three) director for the six Midwestern states and adjacent Canadian provinces.

Working with Eileen, he served in this role for two decades, coordinating the activities of NHRA members and tracks, assisting with the design and construction of more than 20 racing facilities, helping the NHRA grow to its current prominence.

They were instrumental in influencing the NHRA to consider Indianapolis Raceway Park as the permanent home of the U.S. Nationals and after its acquisition Bob was appointed its General Manager with Eileen at his side working on the administration and hospitality at the track. They were so successful that Bob was named 1988 Auto Racing Promoter of the Year by a vote of his fellow promoters taken through Racing Promotion Monthly magazine. In later years Bob and Eileen were very active with the NHRA Hot Rod Reunions and nostalgia events. Eileen attended the BDRHoF gala in 2015 and 2016, regaling the attendees at the Bench Racing with stories from her days at the NHRA.

We send our deepest condolences to Eileen's family and friends.

Pictured: Eileen with the late Stuart Bradbury, founder of the BDRHoF.

SMR triples power.
16th January: Many thanks to Super Street Bike racer Stephen Mead who has written in with the latest cunning plan from Steve Mead Racing (SMR) to get ahead of his main rival in the class:

I've spent many years in Super Street trying to beat Steve Venables in the quarter mile with no success, so I've decided to try beat him back to the pits from the top end of the race track.

I'm currently changing the standard 125cc engine in the pit bike for a 250 engine which will give it approximately three times the power! Once this bike is completed I'll be selling conversion brackets for anyone else wanting to follow suit and beef up their Honda Grom. I must start work on my Super Street bike as well, I have a feeling that this season will be more competitive than ever!

Editor's note: the pit speed limit remains at 10mph. And - don't try this at home...

2022 FIA Drag Racing Regulations.
15th January: Many thanks to FIA Technical Delegate Frans Steilberg who has been in touch to tell us the 2022 Regulations for FIA Drag Racing are now published:

The regulations can now be found at

Frans says "The update includes Technical and Sporting regulations including some Sportsman categories, Competition Eliminator indexes, a clarification note concerning the Top Methanol Index and the procedures for the recognition of Drag Strips."

The Technical and Sporting regulations are marked up to identify changes from the 2019 versions. Also notable are the continuation of the 0.22 index for Top Methanol Funny Cars, Competition Eliminator indexes being for traditional classes (i.e. excluding Stock and Super Stock running in that category at FIA events), and a minimum of three championship events in two countries to constitute a full season.

For full sportsman rules for UK racers, the 2022 rulebook will be published soon and be available from the SPRC website.

Swift snippets.
15th January: A very Happy Birthday to three-time FIA Pro Stock champion Michael Malmgren who reaches 65 today, we hope you have a great day Michael!

The January 2022 issue of Revolution, the Motorsport UK on-line monthly magazine, includes an introduction to drag racing penned by Santa Pod Raceway PR Robin Jackson. You can read this at pages 46-47 at Drag racing is also featured in the previous December issue which on page 42 profiles Super Comp/Pro ET racer Allan Schofield, and on page 33 shows the fire burnout of Steve Heaven, the photo by Dave 'DJ' Jones of SPR being featured in the Photograph of the Year collection.

Big Daddy hits 90.
14th January:
The Directors of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame wish a very Happy 90th Birthday to distinguished Member and all-around greatest drag racer of them all, ‘Big Daddy’ Don Garlits.

‘Big Daddy’ is one of just four individuals honoured with membership of both British and International Drag Racing Halls of Fame, alongside Sydney Allard, Carl Olson and Dennis Priddle. A fifth member will join this illustrious group in March when Britain’s Stuart Bradbury is inducted posthumously into the International Hall of Fame during its annual banquet at Gainesville.

Having survived a recent severe encounter with Covid, the indefatigable Garlits is resuming his quest to crack 200mph in an electric dragster. After raising the four-wheeled electric mark to 189mph driving his latest Swamp Rat – number 38 – in 2019, Garlits had to cede the 200mph goal when Steve Huff clocked 201mph in 2020. A revised Swamp Rat 38b, equipped with a more potent EV drivetrain, is being readied at the Garlits Museum in Florida and Garlits will pursue his own double-ton shot during Gainesville’s NHRA Gatornationals in March.

Today, a family gathering at home in Ocala to mark Garlits’ 90 years will include video tributes from friends and colleagues around the world. And there is more family birthday news to follow: Don’s younger daughter, Donna Garlits, one of the British Hall of Fame’s International Ambassadors, celebrates her own anniversary tomorrow.

Pioneer stories: Brian Gibson and Bob Venison, part 2.
14th January: Our series of stories about early campaigners of Ford's post-war Anglia, Ford Anglias of Yesteryear today features Brian Gibson and Bob Venison.

After a couple of seasons, Brian upgraded the engine in Wild Thing in 1968 to a small block Chevy and install suitable rear suspension. He met pioneering UK drag racing engineers Allan Herridge and Don Beadle along the way. 1972 was the last season that Brian raced the car, selling it eventually and later tracking it down 45 years after its debut..

Part two of their story is at this link. You can see our list of pioneer stories at this link or by clicking on the link in the main menu. would like to thank John Hunt and Nick Pettitt for recording, transcribing, editing and providing illustrations for each of our stories.

The Rocket is landing soon.
14th January: Many thanks to Si Prest who has revealed the car being shipped over to the UK which we posted a spy picture of on 3rd November, and will be making its second trip to the UK...

"Following the spy shot I sent early in November, as it’s now just a few days away from landing here, I can reveal the car joining the Gasser Circus ranks this year is The Rocket. Built by Dale Snoke of Snoke’s Metal Shed in California for himself, it’s a 1964 Mercury Comet.

I fell in love with the car when he raced it at Dragstalgia in 2014. Dale is giving racing round corners a try in his new car so decided to sell The Rocket and I look forward to taking over as the Rocket’s new Commander! I’ve been more or less a Groupie for the Gasser Circus for a number of years now and it’s time to get behind the wheel. I can’t wait for the season to start at Melbourne Raceway in May.

New website for 2022 Lucas Oil Junior Championship.
12th January: Lucas Oil Ambassador Wayne Jackson is pleased to announce the continuing support of Lucas Oil for the 2022 Junior Dragster Championship. This season, the Championship will have its own Lucas Oil website.

“We plan to feature news about the cars, about the drivers and the teams,” he says. “We also want it to be the go-to website for results and pre-race news, so we are actively seeking pictures and information right now!”

You can help. He’s looking for:
  • Head shots (x1 per driver) without helmet (png or jpeg)
  • Full body shots (x1 per driver) in team overalls (png or jpeg)
  • Short biographies (3-4 paragraphs) about drivers (age, achievements, interesting facts)
The website will be administered by Andy Fensome, who is the guardian of junior dragster racers Jake and Kai Cooper.

Please email images and information to:

Straightliners gear up for Elvington open day.
12th January: Straightliners have been really busy over the winter period and are beginning the 2022 season next month with the Straightliners open day weekend on 12th-13th February, writes Graham Sykes:

"Two days covering all the events that Straightliners hold, from top speed events, world record events, drag racing events, sprint events, drag and drift events with this new static event. There will be top speed and drag racing vehicles all on display under cover along with engineering displays and top speed seminars.

"Get to meet world record holders from many different types of vehicles. The event will have guided tours of the world famous Elvington speed surface. There will be catering, merchandise stands and motorsport product related stands also.

Straightliners chief Trevor Duckworth added: "The event will be open to the public, all are welcome. If you have an interest in what we do, come along and talk to our experts, have a tour of Elvington and stand at the end of the two mile runway and see what the record breakers see as they set off on a run.

"This all takes place on the 12th-13th of February at Elvington Airfield, Elvington, York YO41 4XS. Admission fee is £5 per person, kids go free and parking is free also. If you would like to exhibit please email See you next month."

Swift snippets.
12th January: We would like to say a Happy Birthday to four time European Top Fuel Champion Anita Mäkelä have a great day Anita and hope to see you back at Santa Pod Raceway for the FIA Championship. Birthday wishes to Pro Stock star Stefan Ernryd also for today.

Photojournalist Steve Moxley has written in to let us know his report on the 2021 STP Green Light Nationals is now live on Tim Hailey's Eat My Ink web site. Included are photos and notes on the National and ACU bike classes with Outlaw Anglia and Wild Bunch covered as well.

Steve mentioned he covered the burgeoning Pro Modified class of which pictures from Part 5 of our history of UK Pro Modified show Steve in a prime position capturing the action. "In the first decade of Pro Mod I did a lot of IHRA stuff (when IHRA was big). I went to events in 1986, 1991 and 2001 and they raced till 3.00am in the morning - fantastic. You don’t get them events anymore sadly. In 1991 they had 30 Pro Mods, in 2001 they had 52 Pro Mods at Rockingham for a 16 car field. Happy days."

Also writing in, with a link to a video titled Funny Car Chaos - The Movie in the US, was reader James Connolly, not quite our core area of coverage but well worth a look anyway.

Pioneer stories: Gleadow family, part 2.
10th January:
Today's Pioneer story is part two of the Gleadow family's story and history by brothers Brian, Mick and Bob. This part concentrates on their slingshot dragsters run in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Always running on a tight budget, the brothers got interested in running flathead-engined slingshots, contacting other like-minded racers. They separately bought cars in 1973/4 but both were sold as unfinished projects, buying one back in 1978 when they decided to get back into racing together. 'Vintage Tin' came out for the first time in 1979 and ran until 1984 when the engine was replaced by a Rover V8 and the car renamed 'Time Machine'.

The Gleadow family's story will be told in seven parts bringing it to the present day.

Part two of the Gleadow's story, accompanied by almost 120 photos, is at this link. You can see our list of pioneer stories at this link or by clicking on the link in the main menu. would like to thank John Hunt and Nick Pettitt for recording, transcribing, editing and providing illustrations for each of our stories.

Micky's Super Bee for NSS.
10th January: A new name to UK Nostalgia Superstock is Micky Churchill who has a distinctive and rare '71 Dodge Super Bee and will be joining the class this year:

My 1971 Dodge Charger Super Bee is a proper vin number car; I saved her from ending up at the breakers. She has bucket seats, rallye dash, tuff wheel, hideaway headlights, 440 six pack, and 727 auto.

I am waiting on a factory correct air grabber kit to arrive, along with a vinyl top and a few other cosmetic parts. Right now the rust is getting sorted and the engine, transmission and rear end are all being gone over. The 440 engine was very tired but at least the six pack carburretors were salvaged.

The 440 is being turned into a 440 stroker, and taken up to 8 litres from 7.2. The goal is to get the car into the 11s; for a weighted car that's a street driving car it's quite the challenge, but I have faith in my engine builder, he is rebuilding my 440, however the block itself is a piece of history, it's from 1966. It's just a time crunch now of when parts get here to see if she can be finished for this season.

This car used to be a racer back in the 70s, but after 20 years she was dumped, then halfway restored by a car flipper, then left for another few more years, then I rescued her from being deleted from history. Something told me she wanted to go fast again, so here I am.

As for me I am 28, I still listen to cassette tapes and I am happy trying to live in a era I never got the chance to be a part of, I love the music, the culture and everything about the 70s. The '71 Super Bee was my dream car from when I was a kid. I had a bunch of NASCAR VHS tapes I grew up with, and the 71 Chargers was always my heroes.

Now I have the chance to save my childhood hero, from the scrapper, so I went for it, my vision for the car is a 70s era day 2 street machine, I plan to daily the car and I am well aware of how thirsty she will be...

There are not too many 71 Super Bees left these days, from the sources I have there are only around 300 to 400 left, with only a little over 5,000 made new for 1971.

Micky's good-looking Dodge will join the ranks of NSS in 2022 when we will be seeing upwards of 12 new cars, making the field size at lifestyle events likely to be greater than 50. You'll be able to see these wonderful machines first at Santa Pod Raceway at the Springspeed Nationals on 30th April-2nd May; the first lifestyle event will be the Nostalgia Nationals from 3rd-5th June.

JT doubles up, again.
8th January: Many thanks to Pro Modified and Pro ET racer John Tebenham for sending his thoughts as we head into the 2022 season:

As there are some brilliant teams in Europe and we are trying really hard to be one of them; as I have two mad cars and am trying to buy two more - I personally think it’s time we try to build a brand.

We have so many fans who want to know more and even help with the cars by buying more merchandise. We even do breakfast and curry nights etc etc. Even do a Q&A with my no 1 crew (I personally think we have the best team).

We sell loads of posters and t shirts. But they still want more, we sell out at most meetings. I know they all do it in the USA, like Murder Nova who does a fantastic job of it.

So I am trying to find somebody or a company to follow the next dream. It’s no secret I am desperately trying to build the Pro Mod Pop for example. If you have the vision too start the new future contact me.

We have Keith Bartlett who is right behind my team of the future, as we are trying to push UK drag racing forward to the next level. Mail me at

Picture of non-contact Pop burnout courtesy and © Callum Pudge

Straightliners announce 2022 schedule.
8th January: The Straightliners organisation have announced their list of dates for 2022. You can download a pdf of the official list by clicking here.

The series, which includes both drag and top speed events, covers no less than ten venues. Melbourne Raceway has seven championship events, Elvington eight top speed events, four JM Racewars and the Ten Of The Best event, Smeatharpe five NSA events, Weston Zoyland four NSA events, there are four events on the Isle of Man (Ramsey sprint and Jurby Aerodrome), Dishforth has three championship events, the new Llanbedr, Wales venue (a championship round), the Brighton Speed Trials, and the series is bookmarked by the opening and closing events both at Santa Pod Raceway, the latter a championship round. The championship is decided by the best nine out of twelve events' points.

Pending an updated website, the Straightliners site is currently down, and any queries should be sent by e-mail to Trevor Duckworth or Helen Greathead.

Swift snippets.
8th January: Drag racing historian Jerry Cookson writes to ask if "anyone has got in their photo collections any engine, cockpit or general pit shots of this European Top Fuel Dragster of Rico Anthes from 1996 when the German racer and promoter competed in the ETFA Championship and the Avon Park Raceway Summer Internationals." Jerry posted this sample shot taken by Paul Duxbury.

"I have just started to prepare parts for a 1:25th scale model kit that Rico had commissioned by Revell and Slixx Decals. Photos must be from 1996 and not 1999 when Rico brought a similar car to race at the August Super Series race against Andy Carter." Perhaps readers might have the required shots, which could be from Avon Park Raceway, Santa Pod, Hockenheim, Mantorp and Pitea if available. If you do, please contact Jerry by e-mail or via Facebook.

Drag racing historian Nick Pettitt has posted more historic footage to his Youtube channel. Nick's latest posting is the Anglia TV production of the 1990 Santa Pod Easter Thunderball, infamous for the tragic accident that ended the Top Fuel career of US star Darryl Gwynn. Also posted is John Hutchinson's video from Shakespeare County Raceway's 2002 Fall Nationals in two parts, part one at this link and part two at this link.

Pioneer stories: Brian Gibson and Bob Venison, part 1.
7th January:
Our series of stories about early campaigners of Ford's post-war Anglia, Ford Anglias of Yesteryear today features Brian Gibson and Bob Venison.

Brian and Bob got interested in hot rods and drag racing in the early 1960s and were inspired by the 1964 Dragfest to build a gasser. Learning as they went, the Jaguar-engined Wild Thing Ford Pop ran at Santa Pod in 1966 and 1967.

Part one of their story is at this link. You can see our list of pioneer stories at this link or by clicking on the link in the main menu. would like to thank John Hunt and Nick Pettitt for recording, transcribing, editing and providing illustrations for each of our stories.

Picture of Wild Thing on the start line against Alan Allard in the Dragoon Anglia credit Brian Sutton.

T-shirt donations for Melbourne Raceway.
7th January: Many thanks to Andy Flavell of Mark Flavell Racing who has come up with a great idea for raising funds for Melbourne Raceway improvements - donating the profits from the sale of team t-shirts:

"Happy New Folks! Thought I'd go for a New Year Melbourne Raceway shutdown area fundraising boost. We have Team MFR Steel River Hot Rod t-shirts and will be doing a limited run on the two sided grey t-shirts. They are £20 shipped in the UK, naturally I can post overseas but will have to charge an extra £15 for this.

90% of all t-shirt profits will be donated to the track fund!! The final 10% will go to Bloodcancer UK previously known as Bloodwise as a nod to top racer and all round good guy Derek Flynn and his Bloodwise promotions. Don’t forget to give blood.

In the meantime, don't hold back, start 2022 looking the part and get ready for an exciting season ahead. I am taking pre-orders initially to ensure I get the correct sizes ordered. Sizes range from small to 3XL. Just email me at or PM me on Facebook Messenger your size details and address and I'll give you payment details. Finally a big thank you to Steve at Bad Yeti Custom Print for the use of the photograph in the design."

SPRC Dinner Dance announcement.
6th January: Many thanks to Yvonne Tramm of
Santa Pod Racers Club who gave us the following announcement regarding the Dinner Dance and Trophy Presentation being held on Saturday 29th January at the Mecure Centre Hotel Bedford:

"If anyone finds that they are not able to attend the Dinner Dance, can they please let me know as soon as possible and preferably by Sunday, 16 January to secure a refund. After that date, can they please contact me urgently by email to so that we can hopefully make arrangements for people on our cancellation list to take their place."

Pro ET bash confirmed.
6th January: Thanks to Lee Huxley for forwarding good news about the Pro ET bash on 22nd January:

"I'm pleased to say the Pro ET bash on the 22nd of January at the Fownes Hotel in Worcester is going ahead as planned. Anyone is welcome to attend and you can even get tickets on the day. See ya there!"

Contact Lee Huxley on 07967 157899 to confirm numbers. Tickets are just £15pp and rooms are on a special rate of £65 for single, double or twin. Just quote Pro ET party or Lee Huxley. The Fownes Hotel number is 01905 613151. Book direct, then parking is free. The address of the hotel is City Walls Rd, Worcester WR1 2AP.

VP promotes Dolan to Vice President of Marketing.
6th January: VP Racing Fuels, Inc., a world leader in fuel technology and product innovation, announced the promotion of Ben Dolan to Vice President of Marketing. "The VP team takes pride in having star players in every division and at every level," said Alan Cerwick, VP’s President and CEO. "Since joining the VP team as Director of Marketing in September of 2020, Ben has proven his star power, bringing unique and creative marketing ideas and leadership qualities that are being applied across all business units. Ben is a VP team player who has earned this promotion with his skills and strong work ethic."

Prior to joining VP, Dolan was Director of Sales and Marketing at holding company UGGM, LLC, where he was responsible for the marketing and sales of the company’s five largest divisions, ranging from signage fabrication to diesel mechanics. He has over 20 years of marketing and sales experience across a broad range of industries. Dolan earned his BS in Marketing and MBA with a digital marketing concentration from the University of Dayton.

"My first short sixteen months at VP have been exciting, challenging, and fun," added Dolan. " I am humbled by the timing of this recognition and pledge to continue doing my part to bring the very best products to our end-users, and the strongest sales and marketing tools to our distributor and retailer colleagues."

UK and European customers of VP Racing fuels can contact their usual outlet or UK & European Business Development Manager at +44 7376 388916 or

Swift snippets.
6th January: Thanks to readers for their positive response to the first part of the Gleadow family story published on Monday. We will be publishing Part 2 next Monday. Drag racing historian Nick Pettitt has found a couple of short videos of Motor Psycho running in the early 1970s, which you can see by visiting the links included in the story, or direct to this link for 1971 and this one for 1972.

Bicester Heritage Scramble.
4th January:
Thanks to Motorsport UK Pro Modified PR Robin Jackson for letting us know there is an event at Bicester Heritage on 16th January for which there is an appeal for pre-1990s drag cars to attend a static show.

Bicester Scramble is an event devoted to historic motoring and motorsport held regularly at Bicester Heritage (formerly RAF Bicester), located between Oxford and Milton Keynes. The site is also the headquarters of Motorsport UK. The next Bicester Scramble takes place on Sunday 16th January and you can see details by clicking this link.

Motorsport UK has just issued this invitation: "If you have any contacts who have a pre-1990s drag car that they would like to show outside our building, we would be happy to display."

The event takes place from 9am until 2pm and you can experience a behind the scenes glimpse of the hub for historic motoring enterprise at the best-preserved WW2 RAF Bomber Station in the country. The January Scramble promises a range of surprises from 45 on-site specialist businesses.

Robin says "Drag racing has not yet been represented at a Bicester Scramble, but ought to be. If any owner of a pre-1990s car would be keen to correct this omission at fairly short notice, please email Robin Jackson at And if any owners might be interested in displaying their vehicles at later Scrambles, please also email."

Bicester Heritage is based at Buckingham Road, Bicester, Oxfordshire, OX26 5HA.

Swift snippets.
4th January: Happy Birthday wishes for today to Nostalgia Funny Car racer Tim Garlick, Team Walters crewman Mick Slocombe, and Swedish Funny Car and Top Fuel Dragster racer Patrik Pers. Have a great day all from us at

Having looked at our Perpetual Awards inbox, we thought it would be congruous with earlier announcements to mention that voting for the 2021 Awards closed on 31st December 2021.

Colin Kettley.
3rd January: We were sad to hear of the passing on New Years Eve of British drag racing pioneer Colin Kettley. Colin built two cars for the track, one of them, Hemini, being such a wild concept it made the front cover of two leading publications of the day.

Colin Kettley was born in Feltham, Middlesex in 1938 and was a founder member of the British Drag Racing and Hot Rod Association. His trade was machine tool fitter which skills came in useful in race car construction, when a lot of parts fabrication for race car builds was a necessity. He built his first Jaguar-powered hot rod named Ratcatcher which had the look of a GT, however it was too expensive to insure for the road and too frail for track use. Instead he came up with the idea of a mid engined altered based on a Mini pickup (converted from a written off van) with an injected 392ci Chrysler Hemi engine. The idea for a mid engined vehicle came from his experience racing Formula 2 Cooper circuit racing cars.

Colin, working with friends Neville Bowles, Terry Crabtree and Brian Bettles, undertook the build behind the Crown Hotel in Chertsey, but the engine was found to be too worn to run reliably so was rebuilt but even after that was not a well-running unit. Another barrier to performance was the Moss gearbox from a Jaguar XK140.

The distinctive look of the car came out of a visit to Sweden to display the car at an early 1968 show in Stockholm alongside Tony Densham's Commuter and Harold Bull's Strip Duster. The car was transported in primer applied by Calbrook Cars, however on arrival in Sweden, noted hot rodder and show organiser Bo Sandeberg applied metalflake stripes in candy apple green and gold.

Back at Santa Pod, where Colin raced with the help of crewman Mike Huggins, footage survives of Colin making a pass at Santa Pod in 1968 uploaded by Nick Pettitt to his Youtube channel. After a couple of years Hemini disappeared from the scene, but left a big impression on those who had viewed it in those early days.

We join BDR&HRA pioneer Maurice Takoor who said "Sad to hear of the passing of Colin Kettley, a true pioneer of British Drag Racing with his amazing Hemini. Our condolences to son Matthew Kettley and all the family".

Source: Brian Sparrow, Drag Racing & Hot Rod, November 1968. Photos by Gleadow brothers.

Pioneer stories: Gleadow family, part 1.
3rd January: Today we commence the second series of stories of British drag racing pioneers which will be published on Mondays and Fridays in January to April 2022.

Brian, Mick and Bob Gleadow first got into drag racing seeing an early meet at RAF Chelveston, becoming mobile caterers for some early British events in the sport. Their first car was a Ford Pop which started with a flathead Ford engine, later upgraded to an Olds V8 and named Mangler. Learning more about mechanics and obtaining often hard to get parts, the brothers upgraded the car comprehensively including a strong roll cage and fibreglass body parts with new engine pieces. In 1970 the car was renamed Motor Psycho and was run until the end of 1973, with a new engine in that year, before selling it to Al O'Connor as the original Al's Gasser.

The Gleadow family's story will be told in seven parts bringing it to the present day. Later, we have a further series of stories about early campaigners of Ford's post-war Anglia, and their collected stories will be titled Ford Anglias of Yesteryear.

Part one of the Gleadows story is at this link. You can see our list of pioneer stories at this link or by clicking on the link in the main menu. would like to thank John Hunt and Nick Pettitt for recording, transcribing, editing and providing illustrations for each of our stories.

Swift snippets.
3rd January: We wish a very Happy Birthday to Competition Eliminator racer Jordan Payne, we hope you have a great day Jordan!

Earlier news