Drag Racing Unplugged XXIV
With the 2022 season over we are, for the twenty fourth year in succession, pleased to bring you the finest stories from the year's News on Eurodragster.com - and other snippets which we didn't publish at the time.
We open with the Stories of the Year of the Eurodragster.com team...
Simon's Story of the Year30th May: The FIA Main Event, the first FIA/FIM-E race since 2019 took place at Santa Pod Raceway. History was made with the first European Top Fuel pass in the 3.7s by Ida Zetterström. We also had new official records in Pro Modified from Jan Ericsson, Super Twin Top Fuel Bike from Samu Kemppainen (on Vesa Lipponen's machine which is now being updated for 2023), and Super Street Bike from Daniel Donat Lencses. In addition, the world's quickest and fastest run by an electric powered vehicle was made by Hans-Henrik Thomasen, also Stu Crane ran the quickest European Funny Bike pass ever. The sole incident of the weekend was Kevin Chapman's funny car accident which although was nasty-looking, resulted in no injury to Kevin. There was also a presentation to Andy Carter and Barry Sheavills on the 20th anniversary of their barrier-busting Top Fuel side-by-side 300mph runs under 5s in the quarter mile.
Kirstie's Story of the Year29th August: The NitrOlympX, being held for the 35th time, returned to the Hockenheimring for the first time since 2019 and pulled a capacity crowd for the legendary Night Show on Saturday. Pro class winners were Susanne Callin (Top Fuel), Jonny Lagg (Top Methanol), Michel Tooren (Pro Modified), Jimmy Ålund (Pro Stock) and in the bike classes Rikard Gustafsson (Top Fuel Bike), Marcus Christiansen (Super Twin Bike), Karl Heinz Weikum (Pro Stock Bike) and Mathias Bohlin (Super Street Bike). British showmanship was demonstrated in the Night Show by nitro slingshot racer Bob Hawkins putting on a fire burnout and John Tebenham in the Burnout King Ford Pop whose tyres stubbornly failed to smoke in the overly hot conditions.
Julian's Story of the Year1st March: The Dodd family reported two anniversaries in February, the 50th anniversary of dad John Dodd's 27 litre Merlin-powered Beast's first appearance at the Crystal Palace Custom Car Show and of the Olsmobile 442 which son Paul has run to many low 10s times at Santa Pod Raceway. Also celebrated was the 27th anniversary of the Surrey Muscle club in which John, Paul and Paul's son Jason have been key members.
Diana's Story of the Year4th July: The Santa Pod Raceway STP Summer Nationals had a large field and very close racing through its two days. The bike classes once again had stellar performances with the first 6.5s in Super Street Bike history from Daniel Donat Lencses and a quickest-and-fastest side by side race between Daniel and Steve Venables in qualifying. 8.50 Bike had one of its largest entries with 23 bikes qualified, and in Eurodragster.com Junior Drag Bike, Leah Morrison won her debut race. In the car classes, Eurodragster.com sponsor Andy Robinson overcame problems to win Pro Modified, Pete Creswell won Super Gas after a two season layoff from racing and seven seasons away from Super Gas. Brian Huxley became possibly the oldest event winner in British Drag Racing at 80 years of age and Mark Bailey took his first Super Pro ET win.
...and the rest of the 2022 Drag Racing Unplugged collection in chronological order... (click on date to go to original story)3rd January: We opened series 2 of our Pioneer Stories, transcribed by John Hunt from interviews and accompanied by media selected by Nick Pettitt with Part 1 of the Gleadow Family's story which has continued over 50 years. Mick Gleadow has become a welcome member of our group of British Drag Racing Historians to continue the series into 2023.
8th January: Straightliners Events, headed up by Trevor Duckworth assisted by Helen Greathead, announced a programme of drag racing and sprinting events across the UK for 2022 including Llanbedr in Wales and RAF Dishforth in Yorkshire. Enniskillen in Northern Ireland would later be added, however the planned Dishforth events were cancelled as the base was needed for operations.
10th January: Prospective UK Nostalgia Superstock racer Micky Churchill announced he would be building his 1971 Dodge Super Bee to race in the class in 2023. With additions such as Micky's the class looks set to reach fields of 64 vehicles in lifestyle events next year.
19th January: The Dos Palmos dragster, discovered by Ray Evernham and restored by original mechanic Chaves was sold at the Mecum Auction in Florida along with a number of historic drag racing vehicles. It later transpired that the group purchasing the car was none other than a consortium of Brits including Stewart Bassett, Tony Thacker, Geoff Stilwell and Nick Davies and the car will be stored at Mick's Paint in Pomona and displayed at South California nostalgia events.
29th January: Longtime NHRA crew chief Wayne Dupuy was announced as taking up the role with Kevin Chapman's Thermoreg Racing Team in 2022. Although Kevin suffered a devastating crash at the Main Event, the team have regrouped and look to return to the Funny Car Cup in 2023.
30th January: Our first ever coverage of a UK drag racing event in January, Kieran posted a gallery of photos from Spitfire Raceway's opening event of the year. Although there was a stiff sea breeze and "instant fog", there was a great turnout for the first of five events during the year, with the final 2022 event on 10th December and five more planned for 2023.
1st February: Santa Pod Raceway announced the prize fund for the Sports Compact Shootouts that took place at four lifestyle events. Although the original plan was for a maximum of 20 cars and a 16 car ladder, by the time the Japshow Finale took place, SPR allowed a full 32 car ladder to take place with increased prize money of £1,000 to the winner.
2nd February: Competition eliminator racer Kev Perkins released a CD of standards not only to raise money to run his race car but also achieve an ambition which had laid dormant for years. Son Lloyd suffered an accident in Kev's Oldsmobile Cutlass at the Euro Finals, we wonder if a follow-up album might be on the cards to fund a return to the track?
6th February: Outlaw Street, the street-legal lifestyle category announced its calendar for 2022, with nine rounds of racing and some cool new cars announced by administrator Mark Wallington. A limit of 100 for membership of the category and renewal of 70 memberships meant some early announcements of new members.
10th February: Jerry Cookson, editor of National Sprint Association periodical The Sprinter wrote in with details for the NSA's reforming to a nationwide championship replacing the previous Northern and Southern Divisions, with the addition of Llanbedr to Westonzoyland, Melbourne Raceway and the season-ending Santa Pod date.
13th February: The new drag and drive event Sick Week taking place in the south east of USA was won by Swede Stefan Gustafsson in a Corvette C4 with fellow Swede Mikael Borggren being class runner-up and expat Brit Stefan Rossi making a sterling recovery from an early accident in his Chevy Nova to finish the event. Brit Paul Mander ran the event in his Volvo 740 and we look forward to more Europeans running the event in 2023.
16th February: The record-holding 7707 Land Speed blown fuel roadster, owned by Geoff Stilwell, won two awards at the Grand National Roadster Show held in Pomona, California. First place in the Unlimited class and and award for Outstanding Engineering were along with a strong El Mirage licensing run, the high points of Geoff's year which suffered cancelled land speed events.
18th February: News came from Sweden that a proposal for Junior Dragster to qualify based on dial in time rather than reaction time was made by Lelle Olson of Nitroz Motorsport, together with a Jr Pro category for drivers between 18 and 25 running a fixed 7.90 index. The dial in qualifying proposal reflected what had already occured during 2021, however no series outside the Nitroz-supported Kjula Dragway changed its qualifying method; the Jr Dragster Pro category got off the ground in two events at Mantorp Park, the second however being a two car match race at the end of the season.
18th February: Santa Pod Raceway's shutdown area was relaid from the finish line to the end of the track. Several photos showing the works in progress and accompanying text revealed a detailed approach, collaboration with researchers and works being carried out by a specialist contractor. The result has had a universally positive response from racers.
20th February: The Elvington Open Day was held by Straightliners and attended by 3,000 people who came to see drag cars and bikes on show. Straightliners were quick to announce that the 2023 event which will again feature drag cars and bikes with more exhibition space and drag racing demos planned for 10th-11th February.
21st February: Santa Pod Racers Club hosted its annual Riders & Drivers meeting at the Hilton Hotel, Northampton on 20th February. As well as agreeing the calendar for National championship events in 2022, aircooled VW Beetle-engined cars were given their own Comp Eliminator classes, enabling them to compete at more events; in the event, only one vehicle competed in one race, so we hope for more Beetle aircooled participation in Comp Eliminator in future. The SPRC committee bade farewell to Super Twin Top Gas, however, the class into which it was absorbed, ET Bike, saw a big increase in entry numbers.
23rd February: Our US correspondent Tony Thacker reported on a birthday gathering at the Wally Parks Motorsport Museum for hot rodding pioneer Alex Xydias who was to reach 100 years of age on 22nd March. Several friends to British drag racing over the years attended.
11th March: British Drag Racing Hall of Fame founder Stu Bradbury was posthumously inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center, Gainesville, Florida. Stu's widow Bev Bradbury was there to accept the award on behalf of Stu, with BDRHoF director Robin Jackson reading Stu's citation and BDRHoF supporter Ron Hope presenting the trophy. You can see the streamed ceremony on Youtube.
13th March: We tracked the Europeans running at Gainesville Raceway in the NHRA Gatornationals. The race was marred by two and a half days of torrential rain, with SPRC Secretary Ian Marshall working on the track crew, however cudos to Lex Joon (Top Fuel), Stefan Ernryd (Pro Stock), Julie Nataas (Top Alcohol Dragster) and Dan Williams (Stock Eliminator) for qualifying for the event, Julie being runner up in her class.
14th March: A debate opened up about UK Nostalgia Superstock and Stock/Super Stock following a feature by Niamh Frances Smith on the former which was responded to by Stock/Super Stock racer Carla Pittau. Our conclusion was that both classes have a space in European drag racing and this gives competitors a real choice as to which they can race in.
16th March: Malta's dream of a dedicated motor racing track came a bit closer with the signing of an agreement between SportMalta, the National Development and Social Fund and the Malta Motorsport Federation for a €16m payment towards developing the Hal Far Raceway and surrounding area. Duncan Micallef said "This project is a strong recognition by the government towards our sport." As we write, the project appears on hold for various reasons, however reallocation of adjacent land was undertaken in March.
19th March: Scotland's only drag racing track, Crail Raceway, was about to begin its 2022 season with the Willie Robinson Memorial. The track held 16 drag and drift events during 2022 and track records were set in the major car categories with Andy Forrest's Westfield dipping into the eights.
22nd March: Dakota Raceway in Devon held their first event of 2022 with a non points scoring NSA round and a cash prize for car eliminations. Whilst conditions were blustery there was an excellent turnout. Four further events in 2022 made for a successful season for the no-prep track with five dates announced for 2023 too. But a question mark is over the continuation of drag racing for cash following withdrawal of Lee Child, promoter of these races.
29th March: Santa Pod hosted its first SFI day for two years and a number of racers were there to give us their thoughts on the upcoming season, and UK Tech Team member Geoff Martin entertained us with the story of how his Oxford Builder Reliant altered came into existence.
30th March: Rob Turner wrote to us to say that Turner Racing, now in Top Alcohol Funny Car NHRA action, is in its 40th year of racing in 2022, and revealed plans to race at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, clearly their favourite track. They also put out an appeal for crew which resulted in the team expanding for their first races for two and a half years.
5th April: During the weekend hosting a Saturday Night Special and The Fast Show, Santa Pod Raceway had an unusual visitor, MP Nick Fletcher who met SPR executives, members of the National Street Rod Association and Eurodragster.com sponsor Jon Webster to discuss an E-petition on vehicle 'tampering' offences which sought to prevent new offences for tampering with a system, part or component of a vehicle intended or adapted to be used on a road, which could have a hugely detrimental impact on the UK motorsport and custom aftermarket industry. The consultation ended on 22 November 2022 and the Government will publish a response “in due course”.
9th April: As well as class title sponsorship of Junior Drag Bike from Eurodragster.com, Warpspeed Racing and Suzuki Performance Spares to provide a cash prize fund for each round of the ACU championship. This could well have attracted more to enter the class which boasted entries of ten or more at most rounds, double that of the previous year.
14th April: Gasser Circus co-ordinator Nick Brooke-Langham announced that three new Austin Dorset builds for the class were under way for new racer Joanne Hollamby, Sean Milsom and Nick himself. Work continued on the builds during the year and we look forward to seeing the new cars in 2023.
18th April: We reported on the Festival of Power which was notable for new ACU ET and speed records being set in three bike classes by Stuart Crane (Funny Bike), Dániel Lencsés Donát (Super Street Bike) and Shawn Buttigieg (Comp Bike). All three would go on to run even quicker record times later in the season which you can see at this link.
19th April: Swedish Funny Car racer Patrik Pers performed a burnout on the E4 highway in his native country in protest at government rules and sky-high charges for sending cars to the UK for racing. Although controversial at the time, Patrik ultimately benefitted from revised paperwork requirements which Santa Pod Raceway did much to negotiate to help racers travel from the continent to the UK. With a new car for 2023, we look forward to his continued participation in the Funny Car Cup.
20th April: Four time FIA Top Fuel Champion Anita Mäkelä announced she would be taking 2022 off and retiring from FIA competition. However she and her family and team were still able to support husband Tommi Haapanen as he competed at Tierp Arena. We hope to see more of Tommi in international competition in 2023 whilst wishing Anita a happy retirement and to continue to visit the tracks where she has legions of fans.
3rd May: Our good friend Remco Scheelings reported that the first drag racing event in the Netherlands since 2019, the Drachten Internationals, was planned for 10th-12th June. Organisers Dutch Hot Rod Association and 402 Automotive put the race on, and the successful event has paved the way for another on 14th-16th July 2023 with approval of the local municipal council.
4th May: Top Fuel racer Jndia Erbacher announced she was attending one race only in 2022, the NitrOlympX at the Hockenheimring. She added "We tried as hard as we could to make it a full 2022 season. But in the end I decided together with the team to focus full on the 2023 season". We await a confirmation of her 2023 plans with eager anticipation.
6th May: Speedgroup/EDRS announced that the June Tierp race which had been cancelled as a FIA/FIM event, would go ahead as the Summit Racing EDRS Nationals, the last minute change due to Tierp Arena not having been sold, limiting the financial backing for a full scale international event. Despite a short lead up to the event, it was a success with 230+ entries, more than any race in Sweden since 2019. Sweden would have to wait two more months for a return of FIA racing to the facility.
9th May: We reported on the Melbourne Raceway Powerfest which included racers from Supercharged Outlaws, Outlaw Anglia, Gasser Circus, Nostalgia Superstock, Outlaw Street and National Street Car Club. The event was a success and another has been announced for 13th-14th May 2023. Let's hope that a diverse collection of classes will be up for attendance at the rejuvenated track.
15th May: Geoff Stilwell made his El Mirage debut and licensed, with a final run of 215.78 to cap his weekend. It was sadly to be the only time Geoff was able to run his blown fuel roadster in the year due to rain ruining the Bonneville speedway in August and September resulting in two cancelled events, then El Mirage suffering rainfall after a multi year drought causing its November event to be cancelled.
18th May: The Super Twin Top Gas season started its six round series, the first since 2019, at Malmö Raceway in Sweden. Eight bikes from four countries registered and performances improved during the season with a new record set at Hockenheim in August. The category looks to a new future as president Mike Kraaij announced his resignation as president due to other commitments.
24th May: We reported on a sucessful Doorslammers event in which no less than 48 racers improved their personal bests. Of many memorable moments, Jon Turner's runner up in the Saturday Big Bracket was achieved with the help of final round competitor Lee Huxley and dad Brian help Jon run a semi final bye after his Cuda failed to start. Less memorable were the incidents that were suffered by Luis Silva after a test pass in Helder Pereira's Batmobile Seat Ibiza TDI and Tony Underhill in his 99 Problems Willys sedan.
1st June: We reported on the first round of the Enemed Malta National Drag Racing Championship which had taken place at Hal Far Raceway on 20th-22nd May. Highlights included a successful debut of the Lixxu Racing 2JZ powered Mustang driven by Clint Fenech to Malta's first 200mph doorslammer run. Sadly, in the Malta November event the car was destroyed in a crash following an even quicker run. PBs were set by Toyota and Nissan engined dragsters, a type of car uniquely popular and competitive in Malta as we would see in November.
6th June: The first weekend in June had the Nostalgia Nationals at Santa Pod Raceway and the 17th European Dragster meeting at Clastres in France. Although both events were rained off, the Nostalgia Nationals saw Robin Read run a new Personal Best time and speed in his 'Spirit' dragster and Ronnie Mercer's Team Annie Pop won first prize at Clastres for his performance in qualifying and the two rounds of racing that took place.
14th June: The Ramsey Sprint took place on 5th and 7th June. The historic event which originated in 1963, attracts a huge number of bikes from the Isle of Man TT races to take part in the RWYB on Sunday and class racing on Tuesday. To cap off the week, the following Sunday had a drag racing event at Jurby Aerodrome all events being organised by Straightliners headed up by Trevor Duckworth.
16th June: Keith Lee who in May had published his latest book John Hobbs and the Age of the Twins, announced that Dragstalgia 2022 would be the final run on the track for John, riding his Olympus drag bike. Later in the year John was to donate both Olympus and the legendary Hobbit to the National Motorcycle Museum for fans and the wider public to see in the future. You can order John Hobbs and the Age of the Twins, the most well researched and comprehensive book on drag bike racing we have seen by going to www.JohnHobbsBook.co.uk.
20th June: The Summit Scandinavian Nationals held at Tierp proved to be a successful event. Thanks to photographer Patrick Jacobsson and Swedish timekeeping organisation Nitroz.se we were able to post Pro class qualifying and eliminations. In Pro Modified Andreas Arthursson with his turbo Chevelle ran a new track record 5.71s run, although at the cost of mechanical damage which hampered the rest of his season; Jan Ericsson took the Pro Modified win, a familiar sight after he triumphed at the Doorslammers and FIA Main Event.
28th June: We reported the results of the German FWD Shootout at Zerbst, one of the most competitive races for the category, won for the third time in four years by the VW Golf 3 VR6 turbo of Marcus Schmidt. Will Marcus be tempted to come to the UK during 2023?
9th July: The 2022 induction to the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame was announced, being the National Street Rod Association, the Stones Drag Racing Team, Jon Morton, Mark Flavell and Henk Vink.
11th July: Dragstalgia 11 was completed with Tim Garlick once again the winner of the Dragstalgia Cannonball. The successful event was marred by three incidents, Steve Wright in his Supercharged Outlaw AMC Pacer suffering an engine explosion and subsequent fire, NSA historic bike rider Jan Honee coming off his bike as he was going into stage, the bike travelling down the entire quarter mile riderless, and SPR CEO Keith Bartlett contacting the wall in his Mercury Comet. On the positive side, we were able to report eight racers attending the event as racers for the 11th time, and no less than 57 cars entered UK Nostalgia Superstock for the event. Two well known names made their Dragstalgia debuts, Paul 'Grumpy' Watson making his class debut in Outlaw Anglia and US Nostalgia Funny Car racer John Hale his UK debut in Rob Elsom's Dirty Deeds Camaro.
15th July: We reported Street Week Sweden in its fifth running with 175 vehicles signed on. Their route encompassed Bråvalla Raceway in Norrköping, Dala-Järna, Färila Raceway, Tallhed, Orsa and then a return to Bråvalla. Enormous crowds attended the tracks to watch and the event was live streamed. The winner was Timo Heliston, whose '57 Chevrolet had once run in Pro Modfied by the Lindahl brothers.
25th July: Bug Jam, the drag race-cum-rock festival was again a huge success. On the track, Andy Robinson and Kevin Kent were the winners of Pro Modfied and Funny Car Cup respectively. This event also saw the first time ever that a racer won both the Eurodragster.com/Bad Habit Racing Perfect Light Award and Eurodragster.com/Twister Race Team Perfect ET Award at the same event, well done Jonathan Newell!
1st August: We reported on the Straightliners 25th Anniversary race held at Melbourne Raceway with galleries from former editor Tog. Special feature of the race was the estored Tudor Rose dragster as raced by Rex Sluggett and Dennis Priddle, on display and fired up to the delight of spectators.
4th August: Mantorp Park's Drag Revival meeting was, apart from Tierp Arena, the largest event in Sweden and had the two Top Fuel dragsters of Stig Neergaard and Dennis Nilsson putting on match races for the crowd on the resurfaced track. Stig had announced he will not be competing in the FIA European Drag Racing Championship in future, whereas we hear Dennis will be very much an addition to the ranks of FIA Top Fuel. 15 Top Doorslammers put on a show in qualifying and eliminations, and Per Bengtsson beat Rikard Gustafsson in Nitro Bike.
8th August: Gardermoen Raceway in Norway ran their 25th Drag Challenge, part of the EDRS Championship. Top Fuel racers Ida Zetterström and Susanne Callin ran match races which Susanne was the overall winner, Daniel Jedborn was the winner of Top Methanol and Jan Ericsson continued his dominant form in Pro Modified. In Top Fuel Bike, Sverre Dahl was the victor and Ismo Mäenpää won Super Twin Top Fuel. Moment of the event: Hans Olav Olstad who suffered injuries following an engine explosion on track in September 2021, expunged memories of that day by marrying his partner Maggis Margrethe Winther Nilsen on the Gardermoen startline.
15th August: The Summit Racing Internationals at Tierp Arena came to a successful conclusion, pro class winners being Ida Zetterström (Top Fuel), Daniel Jedborn (Top Methanol), Michael Gullqvist (Pro Modfied), Robin Norén (Pro Stock), Sverre Dahl (Top Fuel Bike), Marcus Christiansen (Super Twin Bike) and Mogens Lund (Super Street Bike). Bizarrely, both Pro Stock Bike finalists Kalle Lyrén and Martin Newbury suffered broken crankshafts in their respective semi final runs, so no winner will be declared in this class.
22nd August: Santa Pod ran the STP Greenlight Nationals, a double header round of the ACU drag bike championship and a SPRC Club championship round for cars. The main talking point in the car classes was the introduction of 7.60 Heads Up, a new doorslammer index class designed by Swap Meet sponsors Jeff and Belinda Bull, with Dave Smith taking the first win. Billy Everitt suffered a top end roll and crash in the Slick Tricks dragster writing the vehicle off; he had a fractured elbow and dislocated shoulder as well as bruising but was released from hospital the same day.
2nd September: We reported on the 19th European Dragster race at Clastres which took place on the last week in July (sorry for the delay guys!). The three race series, again a success with great track prep on the narrow Clastres track, produced its champions in the five classes and a track record of 6.76 by Sebastian Lajoux.
5th September: VW Action, essentially a car show with run what ya brung action on the track, produced a number of FWD class personal bests from Markus Welte (8.028/177), Julian Hermann Bayer (8.246/169), and Petros Taxopoulos (8.512/163.08). Audi RS3 racer broke into the eights, running 8.862/157.38.
6th September: Expat Norwegian Julie Nataas had the most successful day by a European racer in the NHRA since the heady days of Jonnie Lindberg in 2015 and 2016. Over 5 days at the U.S. Nationals, Julie won the Jegs All Star competition for the second time and on Monday followed it up by winning the Top Alcohol Dragster title for Randy Meyer Racing, the first time that she and the team won both titles, and only the second time a European has won a U.S. Nationals title. The TAD title came after the team had to replace body panels which had flown off the car in the final of the Jegs competition.
12th September: The 2022 Euro Finals will go down in memory as the race we sadly lost Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and British Drag Racing legend Jon Morton in tragic circumstances. However the track officials and marshals at Santa Pod Raceway worked bravely on despite unfavourable weather to complete the event and for new records to be set. Well done to Rikard Gustafsson and Marcus Christiansen for new speed records in Top Fuel Bike and Super Twin Bike respectively, and congratulations to rocket bike pilot Eric Teboul for a barrier breaking run in his last pass before retirement to be the first motorcycle on the planet below 5s in the quarter.
19th September: The NSRA Hot Rod Drags was held in superb atmospheric conditions, with density altitude below sea level for part of the time, resulting in many personal bests. Congratulations to racers who broke barriers over the course of the weekend with Supercharged Outlaw Robbie Grabham in Freddy's Revenge and Wayne Allman in the Mental Breakdown VW Single Cab running their first six second passes, also Joe Bond running a new PB in his methanol slingshot of 6.20.
23rd September: Several European teams entered Hot Rod Drag Week taking place in the Midwest of the USA, however unfortunately many to withdraw with mechanical problems, so commiserations to Richie Webb, Stefan Gustafsson and Magnus Frost. However congratulations to Michael Westberg who finished 2nd in the Unlimited category and Mikael Borggren who came 3rd in the Modified Power Adder category, after day 5 was rained out.
26th September: The STP National Finals were curtailed after weather deteriorated and a number of on track incidents caused the event to be concluded at the 20:00 curfew time. Commiserations went to Super Street Bike rider Mark Dainty for an engine failure in the shut down area, Comp Bike racer Jacky Olie-Zijlstra who came off her bike and suffered a broken shoulder and collarbone, Funny Bike racer Roger Moore for suffering a catastrophic engine failure in his burnout, and Brett Cordelle who came off his bike at high speed but recovered quickly to be back at the startline less than an hour later. You can see the UK champions by clicking on the link.
4th October: Drag Race Union decided their Pro ET Championship at the race held in Germany at Zerbst Airfield, congratulations to Armin Widmann who joined Angel Romero who was Super Pro ET champion. We look forward to seeing the Drag Race Union championship develop, as it covers a large number of tracks and membership entry into the championship is voluntary.
14th October: Santa Pod Raceway hosted its final Sports Compact Shootout of 2022 and there was a bumper entry of 32 cars. The winner was Calvin Skerritt whose Honda Civic B series ran three eight second runs in the tight field and had a 5am Sunday morning engine replacement. We hope for more bumper fields in 2023. The mild autumn and a lack of rain in the latter half of October once again gave several teams the chance in the following two weekends to test new combinations and we published highlights of these two sessions.
28th October: Ron Hope, who has raced at Santa Pod in two Dragstalgias and has been a regular supporter of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame, retired from active racing and celebrated his long career by organising a farewell race at the California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Dragstrip, Bakersfield. We brought full results, photos courtesy Andy Willsheer and video links to the action and wish Ron a long and happy retirement with his succession assured thanks to son Brian and grandson Michael.
29th October: Scenic Kjula Raceway once again put on four sportsman events, not part of the EDRS series, and we were able to publish results and photos courtesy of Henrik Lindberg. Four more events have been announced for 2023, and this independent promotion seems to be successful on its own terms, producing some memorable images and close racing too.
2nd November: Thanks once again to photojournalist Andy Willsheer we published a photo gallery and results from the inaugural Legends Nostalgia Funny Car eliminator at the NHRA Nevada Nationals held at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Hopes are high that this series will be expanded to 8 to 10 races to be held at NHRA National Events.
14th November: Following the news in July that Hayley Hadfield, wife of Supercharged Outlaws chair Andy Hadfield and team member of Perfect ET Award sponsors Twister Racing, had sadly contracted pancreatic cancer, the drag racing community went into high gear to raise funds for charities Pancreatic Cancer UK and The Christie Hospital, Manchester. Auction items included sponsored parachute jump, sponsored swim, also rides and pit start-ups in some of British Drag Racing's most iconic race cars, art, apparel and a decal and t-shirt campaign. Santa Pod announcer Colin Theobald spearheaded the organisation and was auctioneer at the National Finals. After a raffle to raise additional funds, Colin announced that the total amount raised was a staggering £32,512.86. We sadly lost Hayley on 9th December but the amount raised and love shown is a huge credit to the drag racing community in the UK and Europe.
19th November: Although eliminations were rained off and some incidents were suffered, the MDRA Finals at Hal Far Raceway Malta was successful overall with a number of UK fans making the trip and a few teams travelling from overseas to join in. The headline feature was a gathering of nine 4-cylinder dragsters which produced five six second times, and 2017 FIA Top Fuel Champion Duncan Micallef running a 300mph pass. Although the track remains much as before despite the publicity for redevelopment, the sport nevertheless works fine at a local level and we look forward to the 2023 season from Hal Far.
24th November: Following the MDRA Finals at Hal Far Raceway, Malta, the Smurf FWD Honda Civic race car of of Sean Prout who had visited the event to compete, was stolen from the track on Sunday night. Only four days later the car was found thanks to the racing community raising the profile of the crime committed so that Sean's Civic became too hot to handle with thousands of shares of social media posts and pictures of the car. Credit also to Sean and tuner Gordon Darby staying in Malta partly at their own cost to search for the car and maintain the profile of the case.
28th November: Swedish Drag Racing celebrated the 2021 and 2022 season Summit Racing EDRS Series champions at the Aronsborg Conference Center, Bålsta near Stockholm, the first such celebration since 2019. As well as series champions, Stock/Super Stock racer Theodor Brandt won a VP Racing Fuels Special Award.
30th November: A group of seven British Drag Racing Historians met up at the National Motor Museum to discuss ways of preserving and making available their collections to succeeding generations of historians, racers and fans. The visit also marked the presentation by your Editor of the Pete Crane Spirit of '76 Award to its 2022 recipient Nick Pettitt.
2nd December: Your editor and wife Ros were honoured to be invited to be Special Guests at the Wild Bunch's Annual Prize Presentation Dinner Dance at Drayton Manor near Tamworth. Guests of Honour were Robin Read, celebrating his 50th year in Drag Racing, and partner Ella Chapman (Robin's fascinating blog on his drag racing career is at the Robin Read Drag Racing Facebook group).
6th December: Top Fuel racer Ida Zetterström was included in the 2022 30 Under 30 list of the brightest and most promising young people in drag racing, published by Drag Illustrated magazine and had a busy few days of appearances and interviews at the PRI Show, Indiana.
12th December: Straightliners announced four new car classes for 2023, three of which have dial ins with a 0.5s sportsman tree. The Straightliners championship for both cars and bikes, which will continue with the previous format, will be held Melbourne Raceway and Santa Pod Raceway. We await news on the existing class groups that will be attending Straightliners championship meetings, but cash day racing will not be continued into next year.
12th December: The best news was saved until almost last, that Swedish businessman Svante Andersson, through his company Stenhaga Invest, has signed an agreement to acquire Tierp Arena.
In announcing the transaction, Svante said that as well as continuing existing drag racing events, management will be able to arrange motorsport activities, rock concerts and horse competitions in the future, also training for the police, fire brigade, ambulance, defense and training for driving school students.
14th December:Santa Pod Raceway and Melbourne Raceway announced that Street Weekend, a drag and drive event involving both of England's two permanent tracks, will be taking place on 16th-18th June 2023. Drivers need to set and submit a time at Santa Pod Raceway in Northamptonshire before driving their cars to Melbourne Raceway in York to set a time on day 2 and then returning again and setting a time on the 3rd day, around 400 miles on the road across 3 days whilst also recording a time on track on each one of the days. We hope for big support of this event.
In memoriam - those we have lost in 2022:
Colin Kettley - builder and racer of Hemini, a Mini Pickup powered by a 392ci engine mounted in the pickup bed.
Neil Venison - co-driver of Wild Thing, a Jaguar-engined Ford Pop which ran at Santa Pod in 1966 and 1967.
Eileen Daniels - NHRA administrator of Indianapolis Raceway Park (with late husband Bob) and supporter of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
Jim Balchin - 1970s-80s motor cycle sprinter and drag racer, running the BSA-engined Gold Star and Imp-motored Neeler Weeler.
Keith Potter - competition altered racer in the '70s and '80s, racing The Devil, a '33 Plymouth Coupe which emitted a police siren when coming down the fire-up road at Santa Pod.
Veli "Jappe" Malin - Pro Stock Bike racer from Finland and 1993 European Champion.
Adolph "Butch" Severloh - U.S. Top Fuel crew and engineer, part of the "Over The Hill Gang" team who lost other members in 2022 and part-time engineer for 7707 Landspeed Team.
Tim Hines - UK Ford doorslammer racer, constructor and engineer.
Mike Boyd - Latterday owner and racer of the Wild Willie Borsch Winged Express AA/FA, fan favourite at the California Hot Rod Reunion.
Danny Ongais - First drag racer to run 200mph on UK soil at the 1965 Drag Festival at RAF Woodvale, near Southport, Danny was a star in the US in drag racing in the 1960s then moving on to sports cars, Indy Cars and F1.
Graham Nash - 1980s Pro Stock Bike racer and Funny Bike pioneer in the UK.
Reno Kraus - Member of Top Methanol Dragster owner Werner Habermann's team.
Martin Jarman - 1970s-80s dragster racer. Nik Wadsworth - Member of Andy Frost's Red Victor 3 crew and massive fan of the sport.
Jeff Glasser - Automobile artist who is best known for his work on Dennis Priddle's Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars.
Bill Schultz - Nitro tuner who worked on Knut Soderqvist's Top Fuel and Funny Car entries in Europe.
Jon Morton - former drag bike racer, four time Super Gas Champion and 2022 inductee to the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
Linda Wilson - wife and key member of the team of multiple Top Methanol Dragster Champion Dave Wilson.
Gunne Back - 1970s Top Street, Top Modified and Pro Stock racer from Sweden best known for his Frighten Chicken Corvette.
Tom Hoover - US Funny Car and Top Fuel legend who visited the UK regularly to race in the 1980s and 90s.
Bob Venison - Co-builder and racer of the Wild Thing Pop in the 1960s. Bill Haynes - Pioneer of dragsters in the UK who raced at tracks around the country between 1966 and 1977.
John Dodd - Hot rodder and automatic transmission guru who made his creation the Rolls Royce Merlin engined Beast a car for life.
Hayley Hadfield - wife of Supercharged Outlaws chair Andy Hadfield and team member of Twister Racing.
Dennis Stormin' Norman - legendary character of British drag bike racing, member of British Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
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