Drag Racing Unplugged VII

With the 2005 season over we are, for the seventh year in succession, pleased to bring you the finest comments from the year's Eurodragster.com event coverage - and others we didn't publish at the time.

We open with Simon, Tog and Sharkman's Quotes of the Year and that of occasional Pitside Reporter Christer Abrahamson.

Simon's Quote Of The Year

"You can't sell a number one qualifying spot, but if you could we'd have ours on E-Bay!"
-- Embarrassed Super Street Bike racer Chris Reed qualifies #1 in 9.50 Bike

Tog's Quote Of The Year

"I said 'How much do you know about drag racing?' and he said 'Enough to know you got your ass whipped at Pomona' "
-- US Funny Car legend John Force encounters a compatriot on the streets of London

Sharkman's Quote Of The Year

"Now we run 6.2"
-- Pro Mod racer Freddy Fagerström after a new PB of 6.346 in testing. The next run was a 6.286

Christer's Quote Of The Year

"You do your job and it all seems very easy, but when I tried to explain it to Jörgen's team I suddenly realised how difficult what we do is!"
-- Pro Mod Crew Chief Bengt Olsson gives tuning lessons

And the rest of the 2005 Drag Racing Unplugged collection in chronological order...

"I might let Andrew drive it once or twice!"
-- Sandie Gibb has the keys to the Gibb family's Sportsman ET Opel

"Unlike Paul Marston in your news item about our being at the show, I am making no predictions!"
-- Top Methanol FC racer Paul Wratten keeps mum about the 2005 season

"It's going to be a good year and I am going to give it everything"
-- Business as usual, then, for Top Fuel Dragster racer Andy Carter

"We found that when we shut down the jet at the finish line, there was a lot of air in the body which the jet suddenly didn't need any more"
-- Jet FC pilot Martin Hill discovers why Fireforce 2 has been making like a hovercraft

"The clutch is lovely. It's one of the best things which Roland has bought me!"
-- Comp Bike racer Sandra Chaplain found it under the Christmas tree

"In the last two years we have done three years' worth of racing and that's a lot in terms of maintenance"
-- Top Methanol Dragster racer Dave Wilson, Mister 150%

"At races you don't dare to test!"
-- Pro Stock racer Michael Malmgren sticks to what he knows

"Last year Knut said that Micke was more experienced than me so he could go quicker. Now that I have the experience I can go just as fast!"
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Jöran Persåker has the stabilisers taken off

"We had more problems at the European Finals but those problems were in the right direction"
-- We think we know what Fuel FC racer John Spuffard means, it just sounds weird

"Our Formula One guests have been surprised at the level of technology especially in the clutch area"
-- Nigel Hoskison of Titanium International shows the F1 boys how superior we are, yet again

"What we need is a webcam inside the containers so we can keep an eye on the cars on the journey"
"Oh yes, I can see you sitting at your computer asking yourself 'What's that fish doing there?' "
-- Street Eliminator racer Jeff Meads asks Tog for yet more live coverage as he crates up his Pop for the World Street Race

"I'm too poor for Super Street Bike!"
-- Why Kev Charman headed for Comp Bike

"I started it up for the first time on a workshop visit a couple of weeks ago and I thought 'Bloody Hell'!"
-- David Warren gets his first taste of Super Street Bike

"It's tecched, it's all ready, and I can't wait to go!"
-- Unfortunately UK Super Pro ET racer Derek Flynn was speaking in the middle of the off-season

"Going on Dad's bike was the greatest thing I ever did!"
-- Wendy Clutterbuck loves Supertwin Fuel

"New pistons, new bearings, new liners, new headers and some work on the front of the body. A few expensive bits!"
-- Uncle Tony explains the off-season work on Trev Capewell's Top Methanol FC

"I've always loved altereds, and I'm not into throttle stops and braking!"
-- Dave Grabham explains the attraction of the Nostalgia Fuel Altered Association

"Luckily the diaper caught everything"
-- NFAA racer Frank Bennett looks on the bright side

"I should have done this years ago, it goes like a dream and it's obviously where I'm supposed to be!"
-- Super Comp racer Andy Williams likes his new dragster

"I've had to find room in the cockpit for a second parachute lever"
-- Top Methanol Dragster racer John Parkinson was originally going back to Super Pro ET

"I'm running out of space on the car!"
-- Andy Carter has associate sponsors coming out of his ears

"It will probably be the weekend before Easter before we know how it will look!"
-- Turner Racing Crew Chief Steve Turner has the Top Methanol Dragster in primer

"We've got a bigger fuel pump which we've not used yet, now we've got a bigger 'bigger' fuel pump!"
-- Top Fuel Dragster Crew Chief Peter Knight lines up the spares

"The car moved around a bit in the shutdown area but I thought that's what happened when you went 230 miles per hour!"
-- What had actually happened to Jet Dragster pilot Ian Caseley was that a rear tyre blew on the finish line

"I didn't want to get stranded on the shutdown area so I hit the throttle to give it some speed and the blower burst plate blew"
-- Nostalgia Fuel Slingshot racer Johnny Hall explains the bang

"The cannon fodder is here"
-- John Parkinson arrives at the Easter Thunderball

"It's unbelievable what shake can do to a narrow chassis"
-- ...and it probably gave Trev Capewell a bit of a headache, too

"The car is ready, we just need to warm it up and get out there!"
-- Team Manager Gerda Dijkstra can't wait to play with the new MPM Top Fuel Dragster

"Hopefully I will be able to shut up a few people by going faster than I have before!"
-- Super Street Bike racer Pete Bellenie did it, too

"Text and tell me what I am wearing, and tell me what it says on the back of my fleece"
-- Naughty Nigel of Nitro FM has a Jim Bowen moment...

"Speaking of little pricks, I was just talking with Tog..."
-- ...but he gets his revenge on Eurodragster.com for the subsequent ribbing

"I shook his hand, and then I told him not to do it again!"
-- Santa Pod Raceway's Race Director Darren Prentice 'has a word' with Martin Hill for breaking the rule book's Jet FC speed limit with a 336 mph blast...

"Now I'm going to go and tell him off for not going fast enough!"
-- ...and then heads for the Fireforce pit after Martin did what he was told

"It's an all-family thing this year and that's a good thing. You are giving all your time to your nearest and dearest and that feels really good."
-- Christer Gustafsson enjoys crewing for son-in-law Jonas and daughter Jenny

"It was hard to get off the burnout because it felt so good, and then it was hard to get off the throttle at sixty feet because that felt so good!"
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Lex Joon likes his new ride

"I am pleased with the way things have gone so far and the car has had a great reception - people have been asking me for T-Shirts and key rings and I haven't got any!"
-- Street Eliminator racer Pete Smith's new 'Vette turns heads

"The main change is to use more revs and to brake less at the end of the track!"
-- 9.50 Bike racer Fred Furlong's strategy for the new index

"It broke a rod and the block is in a sorry state"
-- Probably an understatement from Fuel FC racer Gordon Smith

"It will need a new block, pump and pistons. The new blower is making a lot of power though!"
-- Super Street racer Mark Watkins, another one to look on the bright side

"I have run Run What You Brungs for the last three years and thought I'd give the racing a try. I didn't think I would qualify and then got number one right up until the last minute!"
-- Pro ET racer Anthony Wilkins must be doing something right

"My grateful thanks go to Bob Atchison, who has been tuned into Eurodragster this weekend"
-- Pro Mod racer Danny Cockerill turns ambassador for Eurodragster.com

"It's a bit legendary in Pro Mod circles!"
-- Jörgen Karlsson has one of Roger Johansson's engines

"At Easter when the front wheel came down it was trying to go out from under me"
-- Funny Bike racer Dave Holland recounts a crossed-up episode

"It's so flat and gutless you wouldn't believe"
-- Pro Stock Bike racer Len Paget needs a new engine

"New ignition, new plugs, new coils, and a new rider!"
-- And that's after Super Street Bike racer Steve Venables ran a seven

"Double entry certainly keeps you working"
-- Kev Slyfield runs in Pro ET and Super Street

"That will get it singing!"
-- Outlaw Anglia racer Mark Pointer has a Procharger back at base

"I let Luke drive and I stuck my head out of the car to listen to the engine and I thought it was something to do with the headers"
-- Problem determination by Street Eliminator racer Colin Lazenby

"That's not Tog, he's sitting too high up"
-- Santa Pod's top end safety crew argue about the driver of Grumpy's Dodge

"So how good is 128 miles an hour for a car like that?"
-- Mrs Tog needs some context before she is impressed with Tog's new Personal Best

"We asked, but the Beaver remained tight-lipped"
-- Track announcer Jerry Cookson wins the 2005 I Can't Believe You Said That On The PA Award

"You learn to adapt. I can only just see the top amber!"
-- Danny Cockerill can't see past the blower

"It's a rolling scrapbook!"
-- Kenneth Lorentzon describes the paintjob on the Lorenzton and Möller Top Fueller's trailer

"We need to get to the start line and make some noise"
-- Pro Mod racer Andy Robinson is eager to get testing

"It was a brand new car and we would have to have taken a hacksaw to it!"
-- Chief Adrian Spencer explains why Pro Mod racer Gordon Appleton stayed with the Nitrous in 2004

"This test engine has turned out to be very promising!"
-- It'll be staying in Michael Malmgren's Grand Am, then

"It will either work or fall flat on its face!"
-- Steve Turner has found a couple of things on the computer

"Urs was very happy with his timing slip from the first run because it said the Reaction Time was 0.400 but then someone told us that they changed it to show 0.000 for a perfect time!"
-- We can now reveal that that "someone" was Tog, but it was crew member Horst Pauli who told Top Methanol FC racer Urs Erbacher

"Driving it is a bit of a shock to the system - it works well though!"
-- Crew Chief Craig Owen stands in for second-honeymooning Super Pro ET racer Mark Flavell

"All the fans identify with it as it does great wheelies!"
-- A selling point for Ray Eldred's Super Pro ET Celica

"The other racers say they missed the car, but not me!"
-- Returning Super Gas racer Brendan Clancy

"My E-Mail has been going crazy with people wishing me luck and wanting to come to the track to see me!"
-- Smax Smith back in the UK to race Top Fuel shortly after emigrating to Canada

"I didn't see any birds flapping through the windows this time!"
-- Pro Mod racer Peter Wacker doesn't pull a vertical wheelie on this occasion

"I had to drive it a lot but I was really happy when I crossed the finish line!"
-- Pro Mod racer Mats Eriksson gets a handle on the tyre shake

"We're really happy with the 0.86 sixty foot time. It works out to a 4.8 - but that is theoretical!"
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Thomas Nataas applies the caveat

"The testing helped and it is good to have the team back together after six months being away from the track"
-- It was a long off-season for Urs Erbacher

"That's my tune-up in his car!"
-- Top Fuel Crew Chief Alan Jackson meets friend and fellow Crew Chief Peter Knight next round

"Yes, we're running a Harley pushrod in our Chrysler B-1 Motor!"
-- Pro Mod racer Ian Bishop gets spares from Supertwin racer Ton Pels

"Tommy's only run 308"
-- We like that "only", Smax

"The oil and smoke looked worse than it actually was"
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Gary Page in reassuring mood

"The sport has really improved with a lot more professionalism evident"
-- Top Fuel Dragster Crew Chief Bill Schultz gives the US view of European drag racing

"He thought they would throw him out but they loved it!"
-- Crew member Anders Magnusson tells how Top Methanol FC racer Leif Andréasson's sponsor Kamasa Tools greeted his Mechanic Challenge idea

"This is my fifth weekend away from home"
-- Tell us about it...Top Methanol FC racer Jonas Staflund still makes the Kamasa Tools Mechanic Challenge

"After that the only thing which could go wrong was dropping washers!"
-- Leif Andréasson's crew puts up a great showing in KTMC round one

"One of my friends said that when he first saw his girlfriend it was like he had seen the light. Then he got married and he got the electricity bill"
-- Let's just make this clear, Top Methanol FC racer Ulf Leanders is not talking about himself

"That will have been the longest half-second of Krister's life!"
-- Erik Zettervall of Svensk Dragracing watches Comp Eliminator racer Krister Adeén go sideways and up on two wheels

"There are so many good chassis builders in Europe, why go overseas for more expensive kit?"
-- Comp Eliminator racer Pelle Eriksson shops locally

"To accumulate points you do need to go a long way north"
-- Fellow Comp racer Per Mikkelsen finds the NDRS a wide-ranging series

"The car could do Super Comp if we removed the throttle stop"
-- ...and it would pull stratospheric wheelies. Do it, Bosse Hall!

"If I could get a six-second run and be in round one on Sunday the weekend will be a success!"
-- Yngve Solberg moves to Top Methanol Dragster

"There is no reason for it and just a chance that it might correct itself!"
-- Top Methanol Dragster racer Krister Johansson hunts a misfire

"The gravel trap slowed the car down very quickly and we only went for a few metres in the field"
-- Top Fuel Dragster racer Susanne Callin still took the distance record, though

"I was cross because I think we could have bumped the car into reverse after the burnout"
-- Top Methanol FC racer Arvid Grødem has to shut off

"Every run is a test run. We're not being flamboyant!"
-- Jerry Clayton of Andy Robinson's Pro Mod crew keeps the lid on

"I have had to learn to use the handbrake only at the start"
-- Pro Mod racer Urban Johansson changes to a blower set-up

"The power tends to lead to the bike wanting to go to the right. Therefore it's much better to choose the left hand lane"
-- Supertwin racer Greger Johansson goes after lane choice

"The bike felt very stable so the old demons are totally gone."
-- Supertwin racer Anders Karling makes his first full pass after hitting the guardrail at Santa Pod

"We have tried one or two new things as we want to run a 6.2. We won't say what they are until we've tried them"
-- Pro Mod racer Patrik Pers remains tight-lipped

"We have kept in touch with Eddie throughout the meeting but my mobile phone bill is getting astronomical!"
-- Lex Joon and Crew Chief Eddie Corr keep a phone company in business

"We schedule to change rods after twenty runs and rotate and overhaul the heads too. You've got to do your work before it does you!"
-- Dave Wilson does his preventative maintenance

"I made an old lady's mistake and did not have enough rpm when I staged"
-- Disarming honesty from Top Methanol FC racer Martin Lundqvist

"The crew gave me the power!"
-- Andy Robinson credits the real engine room

"We have very good brakes and are careful to get off the throttle and brake at the right point"
-- Anders Karling knows the secret of Mantorp Park's shutdown area

"I'm sorry but we didn't manage to get you the 9.9 we promised"
-- Super Gas racer Nev Mottershead's way of telling Tog that he had run a 9.897

"We want to maximise our points and to be seen to have dominated the Championship this year"
-- We think it's fair to say that Street Eliminator racer Colin Lazenby did just that in 2005

"There was a big clang on starting, if it had happened in the middle of the run we would still have been picking up the pieces"
-- If Jet FC pilot Roger Goring had to have engine damage then there is a good time and a bad time

"It was one of those runs where you see the centreline and the guardrail!"
-- Sharkman goes for a passenger ride with Outlaw Anglia racer Mark Pointer

"Slowing it down is the problem"
-- You don't see Super Comp/Super Gas racer Jon Morton break out too often so he must be on top of it

"We need more power to compensate for the treaded tyres - they cost about half a second ET"
-- Street Eliminator racer Andy Frost is technically running sevens, then

"You never know, one comes along when you are least expecting it"
-- Derek Flynn about six-second passes

"Matt Gatland, who crewed with us for years, had number one and I took it off him!"
-- Super Gas racer Tim Adam grabs #1 qualifying spot

"The Chrysler motor's fine but the Chevy drivetrain has not held up so well"
-- That could only be Stephen or Pat Talbot speaking - on this occasion it's Super Pro ET racer Pat

"We've had too many rainouts on the continent this year and I hope I haven't brought the wet weather with me this weekend"
-- ...and shortly afterwards we discovered that Super Gas racer Zane Llewellyn might just be the Jonah

"The driver's lead foot bent the throttle pedal and it damaged the clutch timer switch"
-- Smax is too eager to get going

"If I could go straight and change gear, then we would go really well"
-- Comp Bike racer TJ O'Brien gets to the root of the problem

"When we find the sweet spot with this car, it will fly"
-- Pro Stock racer Jan Murén looks for for the handle of his new Grand Am

"We want to be top qualifier and in order to survive you need to run 4.8s"
-- Andy Carter, as ever in competitive mood

"When I went to switch the data recorder on, I accidentally hit the switch to kill the magnetos - my name was mud with the crew!"
-- Team member Mark 'Animal' Bodimeade 'fesses up about Susanne Callin's failed qualifying attempt

"The best cars in Europe could qualify for an NHRA AMS Pro Mod field"
-- Troy Critchley's Crew Chief Darren Meyer likes what he sees on this side of the Pond

"I probably kept on it longer than I needed to - we had tyre shake and were out of the groove. With the bigger tyres, it feels safer"
-- Pro Stock racer Magnus Hansson keeps the hammer down

"We simply want to go racing and are not thinking too hard about the Championship"
-- Nice attitude from Supertwin racer Ronny Aasen

"Niclas was last in the Team Kågered go-kart challenge, so anything can happen!"
-- Gentle mind games from Martin Lundqvist

"We've taken him in the past but need more runs to get a good feeling about the match-up"
-- Ulf Leanders prepares to take on multiple FIA Champion Urs Erbacher...

"I had to squeeze the tree because I know that Ulf has run faster than us"
-- ... but then Urs redlights by 0.002

"If conditions stay this way, we will be Champions but we are not looking for the easy way out"
-- It's crunch day for Lex Joon...

"When I pulled the chutes, I thought 'Thank You Eddie' for giving me such a great set-up"
-- ...and he takes another step towards his FIA Championship

"We saw Andy Carter's red light and waved at him as we went by"
-- Kenneth Lorentzon in typically irreverent mood

"It hasn't done our race car building business any harm"
-- Luke Robinson reveals one benefit of dad Andy's record-setting exploits

"Today I've made more cock-ups than a dog in a forest"
-- Tog confesses that his gob's manual override failed whilst track announcing

"Well, he's never driven my car!"
-- Susanne Callin puts Formula One racer (sic) Jenson Button in his place after some sexist comments

"Gone, we can't find them"
-- The location of Bahrain International Circuit's top end sponges following a test pass by Trev Capewell

"I have taken some power out, I wouldn't do it on the usual settings!"
-- Pro Stock Bike racer Paul Watson hunts for traction in Bahrain

"When I saw Ronny coming past I was disappointed!"
-- Supertwin racer Per Bengtsson gets off the throttle a touch too early

"It was an ignition problem which might have been as simple as a spark plug but we just changed the motor"
-- Michael Malmgren goes for the overkill option

"Hum? They sing with a full orchestra"
-- Roy Human of APMS Medical Services encounters a smelly pair of feet (not his own)

"I have been to England. You see this mall. You have them in England. Here, I think it is like Salisbury"
-- Eurodragster.com travel over three thousand miles from England to Bahrain and a Saudi compares the place to Wiltshire

"This is the first time in my twenty five years of marriage that my wife has actually acknowledged me as a human being - the fact that we brought her to London"
-- John Force should be good for another twenty five years of bliss

"We went for Chinese food last night downstairs, one of those big black doors. A little Chinese guy said to me did I have a coat? And I said 'Son, this Powerade Championship jacket cost me about four million dollars. And this is my suit' "
-- John Force, properly attired

The Basildon Hospital collection

In mid-May, conveniently between race weekends, Eurodragster.com News Editor Tog was taken to hospital with an erratic heartbeat. Although not directly racing-related the episode produced some choice quotes and confirmed the old adage about knowing who your friends are...

"Can I put 'drag racing'?"
-- Tog is asked his religion for the admission form

"We need a urine sample, could you put it in this?"
"What, from here?"
-- Simple homage to Norman Stanley Fletcher

"So is there a news update tonight?"
-- One Eurodragster.com reader's first question upon Tog's return home

"It's not as though your heart has to pump blood very far, and most of what it does pump only has to go horizontally!"
-- Andy Marrs is aghast to hear the news

"Did the doctor tell you not to buy any more long-playing records?"
-- Tog's brother Martin enquires after the prognosis

"I'm a trained first aider, so stay away from me if you feel giddy at all"
-- Graham Beckwith offers sound medical advice

"But I've already sent them! At least 'Tog' was cheap to have done in flowers"
-- John Hackney hears that the floral tribute may have been a little premature

"It would only have been a small hole - four feet by two feet"
-- Gary Page visualises The Funeral Which Never Took Place

"Glad to hear you are keeping your pecker up, or was that the cause of it all?"
-- Libby Mottershead knows Tog too well (not in the biblical sense)

"You drove here didn't you? Then you can drive a race car"
-- Some months later the cardiologist returns Tog's race licence

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