Elvington Top Speed Show hits the spot.
28th February: Thanks to drag racing historian Jerry Cookson for sending a report and gallery of photos from the Straightliners Top Speed Show at Elvington Airport at the weekend:
As shows go, and particularly outdoor shows coupled with wintry weather, the second Straightliners Speed Show held at Elvington Airfield certainly gave the viewing public, some of which had never encountered wheel driven and jet powered machines like this before, something to look forward to in 2023, as the countdown now begins on the years drag, sprint and top speed events some of which are calendared at Elvington’s famous 26 runway. And that’s not all, depending on what time you arrived at the airfield, there was still time to take a wander through some of the Aviation Museum’s stunning display of World War Two planes and Cold War jets displayed in the many hangers and in the open air next door to the show site!
All the displays were housed in six heated marquees which, in view of the 4 degree temperatures outside, proved to be a godsend for all of the exhibitors involved as well as the viewing public. Everywhere I went, there was plenty of footfall viewing the varied selection of cars and motorcycles, but quickly emptied once the 1/16th (100 metre) drag strip was pressed into action at intervals during the day.
Although the non-appearance of Donald Campbell’s K7 Bluebird Land Speed hydrofoil jet boat was a big disappointment, due to legal issues between the Ruskin Museum and the Bluebird Project, the project owners however, still found it in their heart to attend the show, talk to interested punters about the project, and sell merchandise to help the cause. But, come Sunday in the absence of the real thing, a fully working 1/6th scale model of K7 was brought along for its own fire-up following a minute’s silence for fallen Australian Land Speed Record legend and jet dragster driver Ken Warby who passed away last week; a fitting tribute to the one and only Aussie Invader.
For me, the best parts of the show were seeing Brian Johnson’s Imperial Wizard Top Fuel Bike, now fully restored and in the ownership of Keith Edwards, and Tudor Rose, another one of drag racing’s truly iconic late sixties slingshots in all its glory and fully restored by Richard Lyon, Mick White with assistance by Rex Sluggett; one half of the Priddle & Sluggett team.
Shortly after when Brian retired from the sport in the early nineties and sold the legendary Imperial Wizard fuel bike to American AMA ProStar rider Jimmy Brantley, everyone had thought that was the last time that they would ever see this ground breaking machine in Europe after its world shattering times achieved at both Santa Pod and Avon Park raceways. Who could forget BJ’s frightening and torturous ride at Avon Park when his crash helmet was sucked from his head at over 200 mph and for his historic 6.2s and 6.1s making the British Drag Racing Hall of Famer one of the top ten quickest riders in the world at that time.
Now fully restored by Keith Edwards, proprietor of Keith Edwards Motors, an independent Audi Specialist in Ulerston, Cumbria, Keith is no stranger to motorsport, having raced a 750 hp Group B Audi Quattro S1 E2 replica hillclimb car which has competed at the famous Pikes Peak Hill Climb in Colorado as well as conquering as many British and European hillclimbs as possible.
Keith acquired Imperial Wizard in 2021 via an incredible network of well-known European drag bike names included Ian King, Jiri Lukes and Otto Knebl. Although the bike has undergone several ownerships, there is still one mystery surrounding French ownership that is believed to have had some connection with fellow French speed ace Eric Tebeul, at which time the bike was painted green! Since Otto’s ownership when it was silver, Keith has returned all of its panels to its rightful BJ trademark deep red with gold pin striping. But Keith tells me that the bike isn’t merely for display, no Sir. When the time is right, it will be making passes some day soon with Dave "Rocket" Peters on-board, a fellow Cumbrian rider who Keith also supports.
The motor has been fully stripped down; parts acquired, checked, run in the workshop, and is ready to go. During the day I was there, the bike attracted lots of interest, and following BJ’s induction into the BDRHoF in 2008 and sad death in 2015, I duly passed on membership decals for him which now appear in pride of place on the flanks of one of the world's quickest and fastest motorcycles.
Another car I was itching to see was Tudor Rose. The first time I saw this car in anger was in the late sixties, racing against the likes of Tony Densham and Clive Skilton at Santa Pod, but at a young age I wouldn’t have remembered other that what’s written in print, although I had seen her fly down the old York and Long Marston quarter miles in the hands of current owners Richard Lyon and Mick White in the 1980s. To say that viewing this car in all its glory was indeed an understatement, with its clean and chromed Keith Black power house, everything down to its finer details is perfection on wheels for this classy slingshot.
For this occasion, the boys had managed to track down a copy of original FIA Certificate issued for the car's record run achieved over at an International Speed Organisation weekend on October 5th/6th 1968 at this very airfield. After some minor issues with the dragster’s oil filters, Tudor Rose ran its official record runs twice and in opposite directions as the rules dictate (8.291s & 8.301s) to achieve an average of 8.296s setting the FIA standing start quarter mile record attributed in Rex’s name, and beating the year old record of 8.91s held by Tony Densham in Commuter.
With the dragster's current initial rebuild, assisted by respected former JWR Rover V8 racer Steve Green and JWR boss Dave Riswick, the car is as near perfect as it can be, and with the cars reunion with Commuter scheduled for Santa Pod’s Dragstalgia in July Richard dropped into conversation that Rex, who resides in Redondo Beach, California and has also had input into the cars renovation, will be making a return visit to the UK to be with the car at Dragstalgia.
Other drag bikes on display included Phil Crossley’s 3000cc V4 nitro fuelled bike breaking cover for the first time, and indeed another fine piece of rolling art. In fact, just like Tudor Rose, the pictures doesn’t do the bike justice as Phil’s attention to engineering detail is second to none - after all, he’s spent nearly every waking hour in his shed. If you have been reading Phil’s Tales from the Shed blog on Facebook, then you’ll appreciate how much thought has gone into this project. Also, not seen for a number of years was Jules Boag’s Top Fuel bike looking very menacing and ready for some quarter mile action at a drag or sprint strip real soon! Next to them was show organiser Graham Sykes and the Force of Nature Steam rocket bike. Every time I walked past the bike, either Graham or his second in command wife Diane were in deep conversation with interested people. In fact all the machines on display attracted a great deal of interest with many questions asked over the two days.
A few other cars caught my eye in the shape of the Aidensfield Hustler! Not sure if this was a play on words or just a tribute car to the Heatbeat TV Show but in reality in had a full tubed chassis sitting underneath its Ford Anglia 100E built by Ian Brookes; and he’s Out For Justice! Creating his own smoke show in the live action arena on more than one occasion was Will Formosa’s supercharged big block Dodge Charger. After the show it’s no wonder he was judged as the burnout king at last year’s Mopar Euro Nationals. Melbourne regulars Pete Youhill (Pontiac) and Dave Rudd (Cobra) displayed their cars, and it was good to see ‘DJ Bobby’ Molden and the White Noise Peugeot again.
Although Pete & Kerrie Lane couldn’t quite get their 1977 Mercury Marquis Colony Park inside the marque without crashing into the tent's centre pole, Freddie, as it's affectionately known, had to stay outside so that everyone could admire the engineering work carried out on the ‘Long Roof's’ 545ci twin supercharged Ford in natural daylight. In addition to all of his other big toys, ‘No Prep Pete’ has acquired yet another toy in the form of a tube chassied SS Camaro roller, which I think has in the past got quite a chequered history to it. From what Pete tells me it’s quite probably the Appleton & Todd dayglo orange Super Gas car, which broke cover at Long Marston in 1989! At the moment, Pete’s not sure what he’s going to do with his impulse buy, but he did suggest going electric or putting a tried and tested big block in it. Whatever he does it will be radical, knowing Pete!
National Sprint Association
The National Sprint Association featured a very big display of sprint royalty, some of which still competes today at the NSA's annual Shootout at Dragstalgia; names like Two Faced, Super Cyclops, Ram Rod and Solitario graced the Elvington concrete. Gary Norman, son of the late great Dennis ‘Stormin’ Norman, displayed his twin engine Norton alongside Neil Baskerville’s 650cc Triumph. Just behind the display was a pop-up banner dedicated to the BDRHoF member featuring many period photos from his illustrious straight line career.
Green Light Scooters
Adie Horrocks, the man behind the fresh wave of interest in Scooter sprinting via his Tewkesbury-based Green Light Scooters, is really looking forward to the new season. Buoyant on wins and records from last season, Adie is very keen on bringing new riders and interest to the sport through his scooter rental programme which without too much capital outlay, can be taken out for practice and racing at any chosen venue where the NSA and Straightliners are participating.
He's also looking to stage a second Green Light Scooter Shootout following its success last year at Westonzoyland, at a venue soon to be announced as well as adding the world record for scooters to his list of achievements. His enthusiasm for scooters and racing is infectious, and what with his fellow scooter racing friend and adversary on the track Mike Pacey from Chisel Speed where ever this pairing go you can be sure of an enthusiastic day's sport. So, whether your interest's lie in Vespas or Lambretta's Adie's your man. This time last year he even staged a race on his 150cc small frame Vespa against a 4 litre V8 BMW E92 M3. You can view the outcome on the Officially Gassed YouTube channel.
Geoffrey Parker brought along the ex Ty Dillon Bass Pro Shops NASCAR Chevy Silverado truck which had, in its day, competed on the big and short Stateside ovals as a contender for the Craftsman Truck Series. Creator of the world’s fastest shed Kevin Nicks was there with his crazy collection of speed contenders as well as the Guinness World Record holding Barrow of Speed and a wheelie Bin; I kid you not. But topping the exhibition vehicles, alongside Martin Hill’s FireForce 3 Jet Funny Car was the Spiderman Jet Dragster of Julian Webb. Not only did Julian display the car up north for the first time, but also the well-presented team came out into the live action arena to lay on its customary fire and smoke and booming fire pops, that I’m sure woke up the neighbouring village!
In closing, I really enjoyed my visit to this show. If it happens again in 2024, which I think it should, then I suggest you get along. All credit to principal organiser Graham Sykes on behalf of Straightliners for keeping his cool despite a few hiccups encountered along the way, to the Straightliners crew led by skipper Trevor Duckworth and to the Melbourne track crew and Al Perkins for looking after the mini drags in the cold conditions, and finally to those racers who took part. If you did manage to get to Elvington, I hope that you enjoyed the day as much as I did. I’ll now leave you to enjoy a few pictures.
To see Jerry's gallery of pictures in our event coverage sponsored by John Woolfe Racing, click on this link or go via our event coverage list.
Gallery, video from first 2023 Santa Pod RWYB.
28th February: Thanks to Kieran for sending a gallery of photos from Sunday's first Run What Ya Brung of the year at Santa Pod Raceway, which we have posted with support from John Woolfe Racing at this link, including video which Kieran took on the day.
Kieran says "It was a sunny but cold day so track conditions were tricky and there were over 90 cars & bikes signed on for the day with a nice mix of vehicles on site."
Well done to Old School Stocker racer Kevin Melling who ran a new PB (and quickest time of the day) of 8.3372/153.62mph on his Kawasaki H2 following enhancements to the engine from Alan Smith. With credit to the European FWD Facebook page, FWD racer Connor Edwards took his Saab powered red Astra Saloon to a new PB of 11.29/125, whilst several others were running tens at over 130mph, with a moments for a few as they struggled to get their power to the track.
The next RWYB at Santa Pod Raceway is this coming Sunday 5th March, with the sold-out Dial In Day the following Saturday, 11th March. You can enter RWYBs by going to this link on santapodtickets.com.
Les Szabo's funeral to be streamed.
28th February: Thanks to Rob Szabo for letting us know that his late dad Les Szabo's funeral to be held at Enfield Crematorium tomorrow, Wednesday March 1st, at 2pm will be live streamed. You can see Les's funeral by clicking here and then entering the webcast login PIN 627-9915.
28th February: A busy day for birthdays today. Happy Birthday to SPR commentator, VWDRC chair and racer, and European FWD promoter Luke Stevenson, Nitro FM producer and IT/audio technical wizard Julian Parsons, retired NitrOlympX race director Jerry Lackey, ACU bike scrutineer Les Harris, and FWD racer Terry Newton. We hope you all have a great day.
Tomorrow we will announce the new sponsors who will be joining the Eurodragster.com panel of advertisers and supporters. If you would like to take up advertising on the site, which has an average of over 12,000 and rising users per month, contact email@example.com.
Pioneer Stories: Age Machine through the Ages, Part 1.
27th February: The latest in our third series of Pioneer Stories is part 1 of the story of one particular car that was raced by a variety of individuals, being the first car for some who went on to race at the highest level of the sport in the UK - Age Machine.
Age Machine was originally built by Allan Herridge in 1968/9 and was a sister car to junior fueler Motovation which has been covered in a recent article on the Drag Racing News & Nostalgia website. Its original owner was Pete “Snoopy” Bennett and it was named Red Baron. Bruce Brown bought it over the 1970/71 winter break, fitted a small block Chevy and then upgraded to a big block Chevy from the Hillbillies Topolino altered. At the end of 1972 Bruce sold the car to Dave and Roz Prior. The car was a little too small for Dave but Roz fitted it well and was a great driver from the start of her career. Ollie and Liz Burn (now Rowland) then bought the car in 1974 and ran it as the Lizard for the rest of the year, selling it to John Wright and John Sutton.
Part 1 of Age Machine through the Ages is at this link. You can see our list of pioneer stories at this link or by clicking on the link under News in the main menu.
Eurodragster.com would particularly like to thank John Hunt, Nick Pettitt and Mick Gleadow who have been invaluable in the recording, transcribing, editing and providing illustrations for our stories.
Photo credit: Colin Barlow.
Willsheer reporting from the US.
27th February: Our roving correspondent, famed photojournalist Andy Willsheer will be travelling to Famoso Dragstrip, Bakersfield, California to cover the Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet for Eurodragster.com, following which he will take a flight across the USA to Gainesville, Florida where he will be reporting and photographing on the NHRA season-opening Gatornationals.
There will be a nitro emphasis to our Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet coverage, as the ranks of front engined Top Fuel Dragsters look set to expand with the competition being a 16 car field once again, also a large field of Nostalgia Funny Cars hoped for, and Fuel Altereds running a competition albeit without our good friend Ron Hope who has retired from the cockpit of Rat Trap. Qualifying at the March Meet starts on Thursday 2nd March and whilst there will be no live stream from the event, we will publish photos as received from Andy's technology assistant Herb Andrews.
The NHRA Gatornationals, sponsored by Amalie Oils, from 9th-12th March will have many European visitors spectating and expat Norwegian Top Alcohol Dragster competitor Julie Nataas will be attempting to avenge her semi final departure from last weekend's Division 4 event at No Problem Raceway, Belle Rose. Also, FIA Pro Modified competitor Dmitry Samorukov from Russia will be competing for the first time in a couple of years, having tested with tuner Adam Flamholc.
Keep an eye out for Andy, and he will be around for a chat.
27th February: Happy Birthday for today to Top Fuel Bike guru Frank Brachtvogel and former Top Methanol Funny Car racer Jonas Staflund, we hope you have a great day guys.
Spitfire Raceway review.
26th February: Despite variable weather, the run what ya brung at Spitfire Raceway took place last Saturday and Lee Child has posted drag racing times at the track's Facebook page for the 80+ drag competitors who took part.
Lee said "We would love to thank every one of you for attending today’s drag and drift. We are yet again blown away with the support you show Spitfire Raceway when the weather forecast and weather is total yuck, it really is appreciated. Thank you once again from Kevin and the whole Spitfire Raceway Drag and drift crew."
Courtesy of Youtube channel Vantime360 you can see a short video clip of the action by clicking here.
Congratulations to Lukas Zbordwski taking the top spot on the drag strip with a solid 11.55 seconds @ 127.69 mph in his Audi, just 0.14s ahead of Nick Martin with a Mercedes on 11.698/125.46. Congratulations also to Dave Coombes for taking the burnout competition title with multiple fog outs, as shown in Michelle Walsh's Facebook video, also to Joshua Downing for Best Appearing Drift Car.
The next run what ya brung at Spitfire Raceway, Perranporth Airfield, Cornwall is on Saturday 29th April and you can enter now by clicking on this link for drag and drift participants and this link to book camping. You can drag race from £10 after admission (Crash helmet and full driving licence required). Admission is £10 per person and under 16 spectators go free. There is also Show & Shine with no charge after admission, all vehicles are welcome, gates open at 8am and track action is from 11:00 to 15:00.
Eurodragster.com's 25th birthday.
26th February: A reminder came from former editor Andy "Tog" Rogers that it is Eurodragster.com's 25th Birthday today. The date marks the publication of our first news item was on 26th February 1998 and we have kept the news service since then, with every intention to continue it into the future so long as there is European drag racing news to publish. You can read a 2005 interview with Tog and Photographic Editor Sharkman at www.greekdragster.com.
Happy Birthday to us, and congratulations to those who founded the site, Tog and the sadly departed Tony B.
26th February: Happy Birthday for today to Santa Pod Raceway Race Track Manager Darren Prentice, fuel Funny Car racer Kevin Kent, Super Twin Top Fuel racer Willem Been, Outlaw Street racer Rob Leyman and UK & European drag racing photos administrator Dave Turner, and Sportsman ET racer Connor Holt. We hope you all have a great day.
Following the withdrawal of Land Speed hydrofoil Bluebird K7's withdrawal from the Elvington Top Speed Show this weekend, Bill Smith of the Bluebird Project, who with his team raised and rebuilt the boat, running it at Bute in 2018, set out his thoughts on the legal situation surrounding the legal papers issued on behalf of the Ruskin Museum that caused the cancellation, which you can read at this link.
Westberg reveals his next car.
25th February: Sick Week winner from Sweden Michael Westberg impressed greatly with his Chevrolet S10 pickup running 6.4s at 218mph and driving between the four tracks on the drag n' drive event last week. During the event Michael announced he was selling the truck and taking the engine back to Sweden for future use following celebrating his win with a six day cruise in the Caribbean. Yesterday he revealed the rolling chassis of the car that will be taking the powerful turbo engine - the Top Doorslammer 69 Camaro of Anders Edh.
"It's time to show off the new project, a well-known car that we and Andreas Arthursson and the whole PPF team will do some magic with. We are short on time but we count on it to be ready before Street Week Sweden 2023. It should allow us to go really fast now.
"But it is only part of the large expense that we need to make, eg new carbon fiber cardan joints, a dry sump system, containment seat, carbon fiber coating and all the other small ordinary things when ordering a build such as electrical system, fuel system, cooling system among others, so, in addition to my usual faithful partners Linderoths Tryckeri, Pickup Center, @TAG, and PPF I am looking for new partners who believe in what we do. The pea also asks for a new varnish...
"The S10 will be sent home next week via ACE Racing Engines (expat Brit Stefan Rossi - editor) so we think we are a little better on time than our first plan on that front, but it will be tight when the drive line from the S10 arrives from GET Logistics, Inc. the engine should be put into the new chassis - but PPF constructor Felix Eriksson likes tight deadlines."
Photo credit: Patrik Jacobsson.
Bluebird withdrawn from Elvington.
25th February: Straightliners director Trevor Duckworth made the following announcement yesterday concerning the historic and 7 times water speed record breaker Bluebird K7 Hyroplane which had been due to be on display at the Elvington Top Speed Show this weekend:
It is with deep regret that Straightliners have to announce that Bluebird will not be at the Top Speed Show this weekend. Due to legal papers being served on Bill Smith and the Bluebird project on Thursday the boat cannot now attend our event, this is out of our control and very disappointing for all concerned.
However we still have the best collection of speed vehicles ever assembled at the show. We are disappointed, but onwards and upwards we have the best show we have ever had put on by the best crew in the business come and support us if you can. Anyone who as bought tickets just to see Bluebird can have a refund but I would say that we have the best collection of speed vehicles you will ever get to see.
For those wanting to know the story of Bluebird K7's history after the crash that killed pilot and land speed record holder Donald Campbell, its recovery, restoration and trial run at Bute in 2018, there is a documentary from Sky News which talks to key people in its recovery and a recent update from ITV News about the legal issues which we hope can be resolved to enable the car to go on public display in the future.
Greek championship date change.
24th February: Following cancellation of the two day pre-season testing at Agrinio Raceway on 18th and 19th February, due to lack of entries, organisers of the sport in Greece have announced there will be back to back championship races at Agrinio.
The first race will be at the previously announced date of 25th-26th March, this will be for cars, followed by a practice session for bikes, and the second date on the following weeked of 31st March-2nd April will be exclusively for bikes.
Organiser Manolis Diakakis said a detailed season schedule will be posted soon.
25th February: Happy Birthday for today to twin Super Pro ET racers Elodie Dubois and Fabien Dubois, Kieran's mum and grandmother-to-be Ali Jenkins, longtime fan of the site and Tierp Arena crew member Carl Zettervall, and Clastres photographer Stéphane Cousin. We hope you all have a wonderful day.
Congratulations to expat Norwegian Top Alcohol Dragster racer Julie Nataas who has qualified #1 in her first race of the year, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Division 4 at No Problem Raceway Park, Belle Rose, Louisiana. Julie ran a 5.231/281.11 pass to go top in a field of five. You can see coverage of the event streamed on the NHRA Youtube channel at this link, and follow results and live timing at nhra.com.
Pioneer stories: The Stones, part 1.
24th February: The latest in our third series of Pioneer Stories is part 1 of the story of 1970s and 1980s favourites of the sport in Britain, and members of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame, The Stones Drag Racing Team.
The Stones story is from an interview with Dave Stone and Gerry Andrews on 3 January 2015 by Simon Groves, and Dave Riswick to whom we are grateful for making arrangements and providing material. The team started in July 1969 with a Lotus Cortina which soon had an Opus One altered added, the small block Chevy motor soon giving way to a big block Chevy, the car then replaced at the end of 1971 by a T Bucket which was the first British altered into the eights in July 1972. In 1973 treated to an exotic ex Can Am all-aluminium engine on nitro. The next step up was a new chassis from Roland Pratt with which Dave went as quick as 7.55 at 198mph.
Part 1 of The Stones' story is at this link. You can see our list of pioneer stories at this link or by clicking on the link under News in the main menu.
Eurodragster.com would particularly like to thank Dave and Gerry for telling their story in detail, and Dave Riswick for arranging the interview. The Pioneer stories are also presented with the help of John Hunt, Nick Pettitt and Mick Gleadow who have been invaluable in the recording, transcribing, editing and providing illustrations for our stories.
Picture credit: Gary Lakin from UKDRN archives.
24th February: Happy Birthday for today to UK Nostalgia Superstock organiser and SPRC class champion Don Scott, Super Gas racer Tim Moore, Scarlett & Sons team member Mark Scarlett and Irwindale Raceway announcer and Great American Auto Scene host Bob Beck, we hope you all have a great day.
Important SPRC announcements.
23rd February: thanks to Santa Pod Racers Club secretary Ian Marshall for sending us some important announcements relating to the upcoming season:
Drivers using a Head and Neck restraint will in 2023 be required to wear a balaclava under their helmet, as we no longer use neck braces in vehicles that utilise full harnesses and head restraints which leaves a gap between the fire suit and the helmet. Therefore an FIA 8856-2000 / 8856-2018 or SFI spec 3.3 balaclava will be required, the exception being if you have a SFI 3.3 skirted helmet that covers the gap between the helmet and suit.
Entry Forms for Cars Only
All entrants or drivers completing entry forms must complete the SFI/FIA safety equipment sheet. We are getting lots of entries through that are not completed correctly, even Racers in Sportsman ET with a total stock vehicle still need to list their driver safety kit details as requested. The information is important to our scrutineers to enable us to use the new scrutineering protocol as outlined at the Riders and Drivers meeting.
Once your details are completed, they will only need updating when you change elements of your safety gear, after the first completion; the form will autofill for next events you enter thus making the process much quicker, however it’s important we get the right information all complete for the first event you are to compete at. Thank you for your help.
Tyres (Drag Slicks)
As usual at this time of year, Santa Pod and Santa Pod Racers Club are in need of any drag race slick tyres you may have and want to get rid of, please contact Ian Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01933 313625 and we will then set a date for us to come and collect them from you. Please note we can only use Drag Race Slick tyres, as street type tyres don’t work with our equipment. Thank you in advance.
23rd February: Thanks to former Pro Modified racer and current Funny Bike racer Roger Moore who has written in as a proud dad on the achievements of daughter Lucy Moore:
Well done Lucy, crew chief for my Box Of Frogs Funny Bike team, for achieving a 2:1 Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Lucy is now an Engineering Project Manager working in Space imaging for an American company based in Chelmsford.
Lucy has spent a great part of growing up in the pits at Santa Pod (no better start in life!) and missed it so much after I retired from Pro Mod that it was her persuasion that convinced me to return in Funny Bike. I am very proud of her success and look forward to racing again this year with Lucy's valued input.
To see Lucy's and the team's work on repairing the bike's engine after a windowed block at the National Finals, see the photos of their workshop at the Box Of Frogs Racing Facebook page.
23rd February: Happy Birthday for today to rocket bike legend Eric Teboul, Super Pro ET champion and new dad Billy Gane, Sportsman ET racer Georgina Smith, Vegas Hustler slingshot racer Mark Bishop who reaches the big four-oh, and Outlaw Street racer Rod Atkinson, have a fantastic day all.
UK Drag Racing News & Nostalgia webmaster Jon Spoard has published a great story on one of the pioneer cars of British drag racing, the junior fuel slingshot Motovation, which was built in 1968 and driven by Allan Herridge and has been preserved by current owner Harry Joseph, who now wishes to sell it. The article, including several photos, can be seen at this link. You can see a video of the car as it is now, looking as new, at this Youtube link, and contact Harry if you are interested in buying by e-mail.
You can see results of Q1 from the radial tyre doorslammer event Lights Out 14 from South Georgia Motorsports Park at the Facebook page of organiser Donald Long's Duck X Productions (sadly no European competitors, to our knowledge - Editor). You can see streaming coverage of Lights Out 14 on Floracing (subscription required).
22nd February: Happy Birthday for today to Nitro FM presenter Paul 'Oz' Wright, former Top Methanol Funny Car racer Dez Krivan, Outlaw Flat Four Racer Nigel Hull and Willys Wars racer Guy Davenport. We hope you all have a fantastic day.
In addition to historic NHRA telecasts and season reviews on Sportstribal's free streaming service, the channel is now showing the 2022 highlights "They Walked Away" review, which is broadcast today at 21:00 GMT and a video version of the latest NHRA Insider Podcast with Brian Lohnes which is at 04:00 on Friday morning.
Subscribers to streaming provider Floracing will be in line for a full five days of radial tyre drag racing from South Georgia Motorsports Park with Lights Out 14 being streamed from Wednesday 21:00 GMT, when the first qualifying session begins, through to Sunday's finals.
Another must-see is the "Hook Knows" interview from the legendary Steve Gibbs of centenarian camshaft manufacturer Ed Iskendarian which is being streamed live on Nitro Revival Facebook Group on Wednesday 16:00 PST (midnight GMT). As those of us who met Isky and Steve at the 2016 and 2017 British Drag Racing Hall of Fame galas remember, this will be a massively entertaining conversation.
Street Weekend/Sportsman Nationals classes update.
21st February: Santa Pod Raceway Events Coordinator Max Frost has sent in an update on the Street Weekend and Sportsman Nationals taking place on Friday 16th to Sunday 18th June:
To say that Street Weekend has exceeded all expectations already would be an understatement. When we set out on this project, within it’s first year, we were expecting no more than between 8-16 cars. As it currently stands, we’re at a whopping 28 entries with such variety across the entrants, we’re truly humbled by the response to our new Street Weekend event.
As you may be aware, Street Weekend is currently being held alongside the new Sportsman Nationals across the weekend of 16th-18th June. Due to the ever increasing entries, with a lot more planning to enter, we’ve had to look at track time and have taken the difficult decision to remove Big Bracket from the Sportsman Nationals roster.
Apologies to anyone that was planning on participating but it’s the only class at the event that won’t form a part of any championship or series so hopefully this won’t leave anyone too disappointed.
An up to date list of classes can be found on the Sportsman Nationals web page.
Entries remain open for Street Weekend, so be sure to get your entries in by clicking on this link! We’re super excited to see the continuation of entries and variety into the event and look forward to finding out who’s the true King or Queen of the street!
Straightliners' huge Elvington show.
21st February: Straightliners are again organising the Elvington Top Speed Show on 25th -26th February, and, make no mistake, the show will be on a much larger scale than 2022's first edition of the event. Organiser Graham Sykes writes:
With six massive heated marquees and over 150 exhibitors including Top Speed vehicles on 1,2,3, and 4 wheels, this unique event just keeps getting bigger.
The star of the show has got to go to the famous "Bluebird" K7 Hydroplane boat (below left). The team have agreed to bring the beautifully restored "Bluebird" and have it on display for all to see both days, Not only that, they will be starting the engine up both days as well. This is the first time since being raised from the bottom of Coniston water that the boat will on display and start up in public.
Along with "Bluebird", the "Vampire" Jet dragster which has been restored to its former glory will be exhibiting and starting up both days as well. Julian Webb will be debuting his amazing new "Spiderman" jet dragster (below centre) and will be performing a flame and afterburner show both days for everyone. Martin Hill will be also there displaying the magnificent "Fireforce 3" Jet funny car.
"Tudor Rose", a rebuild of the Keith Black-powered AA/FD slingshot originally built by Rex Sluggett and Dennis Priddle, and currently owned by Rex and Richard Lyon (above right, apologies to Rex for the incorrect description earlier) will be on display alongside the ex-Ken Cooper "Fourth Dimension" Slingshot Dragster. Mark Flavell will be there with the Super Pro ET "Steel River Customs" Funny Car and is hoping to fire the engine up both days in the live action Arena.
Melbourne Raceway will have a big presence selling merchandise, and many cars and bikes that race there will be on display.
Three Top fuel bikes will be on display, with the lovingly restored to its former glory, ex "BJ" Brian Johnson "Imperial Wizard" (below left) now owned by Keith Edwards making its first public debut since coming back to this country. Phil Crossley will also be displaying his Brand new "Lightweight" V4 Nitro Injected Fuel bike (below centre). This is the first time this bike has left the workshop for everyone to see. This bike is breaking new ground with its innovative approach to the class. Joules Boag has rebuilt his Fuel bike and is making the journey up North to Exhibit the bike and has plans to run it this year after many years.
Alex Macfadzean will once again be bringing the mighty "52 Express" gas turbine powered World Motorcycle Land Speed Record Attempt two wheeled streamliner (above right) that will be ridden by Guy Martin to try bring the record back to Britain. Graham Sykes Will be there with the "Force of Nature" Steam rocket bike (below left).
Motorsport innovator Adrian Reynard formerly of Reynard Racing cars and designer of the BAR Formula One cars for the 2002 and 2003 seasons, will be displaying his motorcycle on which he broke several land speed records at Elvington in 1970 and 1971; Adrian will be trying to break those records again at the Straightliners World records Speed week in May at Elvington.
The Santa Pod Raceway Mopar burnout champion Will Formosa in his Supercharged big block Dodge Charger (below centre) will be giving burnout demos with a difference over the weekend.
Sunday will bring 30 super cars who are driving to the event and will be on display in the outside area. On both days there will be a drag race demo for invited entrants twice a day over a 1/16 mile strip. Bill Barrowcliff (above right) will be judging both the cars and bikes on the Saturday and there is a Trophy and a Bottle of Bubbly for the Best Turned Out Car and Best Turned Out Bike, which will be presented on Sunday.
There will be the usual Catering, Bar and free camping over the weekend with trade stalls and merchandise. Some of the clubs in attendance and having stands are Straightliners, The Speed Record Club, NSA, NSRA, NSCC, Green Light Scooters.
This is a great opportunity to catch up with friends and meet the people behind some of the fastest vehicles in the country. Opening times 9.30 am till 5.00 pm both days £10.00 per person per day Under 16's go free. This promises to be a great weekend!
21st February: We were sorry to hear of the passing of National Association of Supertwins racer Dave Bartz last week. Fellow N.A.S.T. racer and ACU scrutineer Les Harris writes:
Dave was a character, fun to be with in the pits, never a dull moment. Dave was a long time member of N.A.S.T. I joined in 1998, he helped me do my first run. We raced in the Super Series at Avon Park, Dave on his beautiful heavily modified street Triumph, and, boy, could he ride it, a showman on the track.
Getting a win over Dave was hard, Dave also raced big inches Harleys, in Street, Modified and Top Gas with the R.M.D. team, who a had a Harley in every class. We also got asked to run demo's, at the Speedfreaks Ball, the Mopar Euro Nationals, and of course the Bulldog Bash, Dave's playground. We even raced our pit peds, at Pod - Dave won.
I think Bartz was a natural born racer and character. He will be missed at the track by so many. R.I.P. mate.
Mantorp Park revives Drag Festival.
21st February: Swedish track Mantorp Park have announced a tie-up with Meguiar’s car care products to promote the 27th-30th July Drag Festival, the first time the event has been given this name since 2010, since when it has been titled Drag Revival.
Drag Festival is once again back to Mantorp Park - a well-known event filled with everything drag racing has to offer. For keen drag racing fans, Drag Festival is a name that awakens strong memories of the 70's, 80's, 90s and 2000s. Together with Meguiar's, we bring Drag Festival back to life and welcome Meguiar’s Drag Festival to Mantorp Park. The last weekend in July is the time to create new memories together with drivers, teams and all of you who visit the festival.
Mantorp Park and SHRA Mantorp along with Meguiar’s are ready to switch things up properly and create a drag racing festival filled with top-notch driving, car show, camping and evening entertainment. This year we also welcome four of the fastest Top Fuel drivers in Europe and for the first time since 2010 we will experience a Top Fuel competition at Mantorp Park. Top Fuel racers attending are Dennis Nilsson, Susanne Callin, Ida Zetterström and Stig Neergaard.
We love everything to do with cars, everything from cleaned show cars to motorsports and racing cars, says Hampus Möllerström at Meguiar's. Now we have the opportunity to support Swedish drag racing and participate in a recognized drag racing festival that has long been synonymous with Mantorp Park. We are incredibly excited and look forward to a grand event, concludes Hampus.
We are extremely happy that Meguiar's wants to be involved in supporting the development of Swedish drag racing at Mantorp Park and we look forward to rewarding cooperation.
Find out much more about Meguiar's Drag Festival, including Top Fuel profiles and a full class list, at the Mantorp Park website.
21st February: Happy Birthday for today to Super Pro ET racer and team manager Nick Good, Nostalgia Funny Car crew member Joseph Harris and Norwegian Super Gas racer Christer Uhlin, we hope you all have a great day.
Drag racing historian has posted two more videos of historic British drag racing events, the 1996 Santa Pod Main Event and the 1996 Avon Park Summer Internationals. Both are Sky Sports productions with commentary by John Price and interviews with several legends of the sport. Highly recommended viewing for those with a nostalgic bent.
KB's speech at SPRC Trophy Presentation evening.
20th February: We are grateful to Santa Pod Raceway CEO Keith Bartlett (pictured) for sending a copy of his speech given at Saturday's SPRC Dinner Dance and Trophy Presentation:
Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. As always, it is my pleasure to be able to say few words to you all tonight – that is if I can keep to a few words, not easy when your name is Keith Bartlett.
The SPRC Dinner dance affords me the opportunity to directly address all of you- our racers, and in one location, plus hopefully in a more relaxed atmosphere than that of being at the track and concentrating on your racing. This evening also allows me to outline some of the plans going forwards for Santa Pod Raceway, and some of what we are striving to do not only to benefit Trakbak Racing Limited, our operational company, but also you the racers and teams who give so much of your time to Santa Pod every season.
The flip side of that is of course it also affords you the opportunity to abuse and heckle me if I begin to talk a load of s**t – and if I should do that I can assure you that my wife will be the first person to heckle me – followed by my other wife Caroline Holden the Commercial Manager of TBR...
I am sure many of the men here tonight will agree having one wife can be hard enough, but having two can be a little challenging to say the least – well at least for some of the time, although I suppose it is fair to say having two wives does have its advantages…with that said I wouldn’t change wife number one for anything – plus she does drive a Top Fuel car at 300mph in under 4 secs – so I can never top that in any racing conversations...
Moving on to more important issues, as I said at this dinner last year, we have survived and came out of a most difficult period in our modern-day history both nationally and at Santa Pod Raceway. The 2022 season, although mainly covid free, at least in terms of restrictions, saw another dynamic being introduced – that being the dire situation with the British economy, (thank you Brexit and Boris) which in turn has arrived at the doorstep of everyone in this room in one way or another – especially in relation to you and your racing activities, which are now burdened with large increasers in costs to go racing. The same has applied to Santa Pod Raceway. Our costs to put on events have gone through the roof, in some cases seeing increases of over 50% - even over 100% in some areas. An example is that in 2022 we very surprisingly increased our turnover and ticket sales above that of 2021 and 2019, yet only managed to make around 40% of the profit – due entirely to the increased cost of putting on events and of course the cost of salaries, labour, and materials for our day to day running of the business.
We cannot pass these huge increases on to our public or you the racers. But we have had to pass some of the costs on to the public by way of increased to ticket prices and to a lesser extent you the racers by increased entries. The 2023 season will be a challenging one for Santa Pod Raceway not as to our survival, as I will always make sure Santa Pod survive, I am not sure how Susanne will react to not have the chance to win the FIA Championship in Top Fuel - if that was because I failed to keep Santa Pod alive and well – I guess I would just have to ask wife number two have a word!
With lower profits comes less investment into the facility. This year already, we are investing before the season starts around £250k-£300k in upgrades, improvements or plain repairs to areas that are tired and worn out. Ideally, we need to invest another £1m this year, but that is easier said than done in this distressed economic environment we are all in today.
In 2022 we were able to relay the whole length of the shutdown area. This was at a cost of around £450k. What was very good for us was the fact that we negotiated with the government department ‘Highways England’ for long term deal for police forces to use the shutdown area for highway and accident and maiataince improvement. This allowed us obtain us grant funding for this project, which in turn reduced the investment required by TBR into the resurfacing of the shutdown area. I am sure that you will agree that was a huge benefit to all you the racers at Santa Pod.
To now look at some positives regarding Santa Pod raceway and the future. As some of you in this room are well aware I turned down a large multi-million pound deal to sell Santa Pod for housing development back in 2018. The main reason that I turned down such a lucrative offer was down to the simple fact I am -and always have been – and will continue to be crazy about drag racing. I purchased Santa Pod to go drag racing – not to build houses. Added to that was the fact that I had major plans and ambitions for further development of the brand Santa Pod and European Drag Racing through the FIA European Drag Racing Championship.
Both me and TBR are totally committed to the business of drag racing at Santa Pod Raceway - we are tenacious and maybe even a bit obsessive – but we also are unsentimental and pragmatic - for me personally very rarely will my heart rule my head. Business should be romantic, and I find drag racing is just that – but it should also be hardheaded. That in my opinion is how Santa Pod will achieve its goals and targets.
Just to give you an insight into some of our plans for Santa Pod in the coming years. One of my first ambitions which covid set back, was to take the Santa Pod brand out into the retail market and the high street. In 2023 we are beginning to get back on track. At Santa Pod in 2023, we have our first initial partnership with a high street clothing brand, that being Helly Hansen clothing. This year our FIA / Santa Pod range of jackets will be branded onto HH branded jackets. If this cooperation produces successful sales at Santa Pod in 2023, we are hoping to see this range going into selected high street stores possibly in 2024. We are also looking at other high street brands to partner with. One of the major benefits of these high street partnerships will be the increased profile for Santa Pod to non-drag racing and or non-direct motorsport people – especially among the younger generations – who will hopefully become our future spectators and maybe even to become racers in the future.
Another area of improvement will be the re-launch of the Santa Pod online shop. The re-launch in the spring this year will see a much-increased range of clothing and selected partner brands, not just the single Santa Pod brands.
Media and content companies in the main are crisis resilient – as they entertain their customers as opposed to say manufactures who sells products to their customers. People always want to be entertained – and one of the forms of entertainment is sport – drag racing is in the entertainment & sports business – so I do feel that in these very difficult economic times they may not be so quite so worrying for us, as it may be for other business sectors.
Just last week, at Santa Pod we had Lando Norris the young driver in the McLaren F1 team make videos to launch his new clothing range. We feel that he chose Santa Pod over other venues, including the Silverstone Circuit, as Santa Pod has a cool street and extreme sport type brand reputation, along with a huge following and one that is growing among young people.
We have a sport which is ‘made’ for the new generations of the under 20’s - the smart tech generation who often actually have very low levels of concentration and at the same time want instant gratification in the now - and not in 20 mins or 2 hours’ time. I am sure many of you in this room have young kids and or teenagers who fit this demographic. Drag racing is made for these people. Our races are over in 4 secs up to 15 secs to find a winner, plus they are exciting - don’t need much concentration or even knowledge of the sport – they in the main just want to see fast exciting runs – the KB theory that many of our younger audience the kids under 18 years of age, just want to see the ‘red’ car against the ‘blue car’ and they don’t care who the driver is or what they are racing for, they just love the instant gratification and excitement that drag racing brings them. We must harness that and use that to promote and take drag racing to even higher levels of recognition – bigger brand recognition = bigger potential monetary income which if it happens - means more money into the sport which in turn, especially from Santa Pod Raceway's perspective, means more investment into the facility.
On the physical development side of Santa Pod Raceway, the covid pandemic set us back greatly in this area too. We lost over £2m in total between 2020/2021, a tidy sum and even harder to earn back. But we have plans to go forwards with various upgrades and developments in the coming next couple of years. An area we are very keen to set in motion is to make Santa Pod a staycation venue where people can camp over with their caravans and or motor homes perhaps for a 1 weeks stay taking in at least one weekends event -if not two weekends! It is quite clear that the whole caravanning and camping sector has rapidly grown since the covid-19 pandemic. Yet another opportunity to introduce new people to our sport.
A major project that we are working on is the redevelopment of the café area. We are looking to build a 2/3 story building there which will be not dissimilar to a kind of ‘Hard Rock Café’ style facility. We looking to have a two-story building with a ground floor which contains the Santa Pod merchandise shop and the café all surround by various items of memorabilia from actual vehicles and all other drag racing memorabilia, from past heroes of drag racing from the UK, Europe and the USA. The second floor will be a corporate hospitality area catering for up to 250 people with a bar, food and dance floor along with a balcony that has seated viewing over the track at the 1000ft point. We may then add a 3rd floor roof terrace with open viewing for around 1000 people – all part of a corporate hospitality package. When will this all start? This will also take the form of a drag racing museum on the two floors. We had hoped have this building for 2023, but in all probability, this is more likely for 2024 at the earliest and quite possibly 2025. This building will be open in the weekdays to cater and serve the stycation customers.
Also this year we replacing the track lights and at the same time improving the PA system pitside. Additionally we are building a brand new and updated timing sytem for the tower. All fairly costly projects.
Back in 2019 I was involved in setting up a new company based in Sweden called DRE (Drag Racing Europe AB). This company was formed to take over the running of the FIA and FIM European Drag Racing Championships. DRE will own the commercial rights to both Championships and be the promoter of both Championships. As the Executive Chairman of DRE, I will continue to play a key role in moving that company forwards in the coming years, hopefully to the benefit of all the competitors who run in those Championships (Including the wife) and working towards securing the commercial partnerships to enhance the same.
I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone in this room for all the support that all of you have shown to Santa Pod over the past years and in particular the covid-19 years when business was so difficult. For the support that all the racers gave to us I am and remain greatly humbled - that proves yet again what a close family we all actually are.
Next, I must add my and sincere thanks to the SPRC. The club work tirelessly every year for the benefit of drag racing and for the you the racers of Santa Pod. From Ian Marshall, Phil Evans, Kath Carter, Yvonne Tramm, Karl Birkinshaw, Dave Warren, the track crews, the pit crews and the fire crew – I could go on and name so many more people all of whom make huge contributions to Santa Pod and the sport of drag racing in the UK through the SPRC. We are very lucky to have such a dedicated team of people at all our events.
The last few years, we have lost some close friends and it seems to me that the old guard of Santa Pod the founders of our sport back in the 1960’s will in the not-too-distant future no longer be with us. Just last week Nobby Hills passed away and he, like Dave Stone, was a hero of mine in the very early 1970’s. The British Drag Racing Hall of Fame allows us to keep their memory alive in our sport.
But the future must lay in the next generations both in spectators and the racers alike who will attend Santa Pod in the years ahead. I can only hope that when the time comes for me to pass the baton on that I will be leaving Santa Pod in a far better position than when I purchased it in 1996 - by the way everyone I’m not looking or planning on going anywhere soon...
Talking of our family I was amazed and proud last year when our drag family came out and gave so much support to Andy and Purdie Hadfield during their very difficult duration of Hayley Hadfield illness. A big thank you to Andy Thetford, Colin Theobald and Brad Head to name just a few. We are indeed a very close family and Andy and Purdie you are a part of our drag racing family...
I am fortunate that I sit on top of the castle called Santa Pod – and yes I am living the dream, organising and promoting drag racing not only in the UK but across Europe- but in reality I am just a simple working class boy from SE London who fell madly crazy about drag racing some 50+years ago and like most of you in this room I am the same as you – a drag racer at heart-and that will never change! I am at my happeiest being one of you guys in the staging lanes waiting to run my one of my race cars, also i’m very lucky to have a wife and two daugthers who also race and enjoy it – and a wife who is very good at it to boot - although maybe not quite as obsessive as i am about our sport.
I set up Slick Tricks Racing in the the late 1970’s with Stuart Vallance. It became a well known firm I was proud of the reputataion that it reached with the brand called Slick Tricks Racing. Fast forward to 2018 and I re-introduced Slick Tricks Racing back into UK and European drag racing. Susanne runs her top fuel dragster under Slick Triks Racing colors and branding as do my two daughetrs in their Modifed A Junior dragsters. We are now looking to take the Slick Tricks brand out into high street and into a wider retail and commercial audience.
Looking back to those years of the 1970’s, I recall that my two main drag racing pals of the time, Stuart Vallance and Norm Wilding along with myself all had dreams of what we wanted to do in drag racing. Norm Wilding just wanted to drive a nitro funny car and race in the USA. Stuart wanted to own and run a Top Fuel Dragster and run in Europe at all the tracks. I wanted to rule the world of drag racing, own teams (slick Tricks racing), manage drivers and run and promote drag racing events acroiss Europe and produce TV shows on drag racing. We all three achieved our goals - and I am lucky enough to still be doing the same to even greater levels that I had ever first envisaged all those years ago...
Hopefully in 2023 I can avoid the concrete barriers in the Comet and beat Andy Bond in our next series of match races. I come from a street racing backgound in the early 1970’s - so the match races with Andy were for me going back to my roots and maybe show what a silly old fool I have become...See you at the track!
Keith added that he will try his best in the future to reduce the length of his speech to prevent people nodding off...
Pioneer stories: Bruce Brown, part 2.
20th February: The latest in our third series of Pioneer Stories is part 2 of the story of UK drag racing pioneer Bruce Brown.
After Prospector II, Bruce's next dragster was also built by Allan Herridge as Red Baron for Pete Bennett, renamed Age Machine by Bruce. The 327ci small block Chevy engine was replaced by a big block 454ci from the Hillbillies. With this setup, Bruce became 1972 NDRC Top Dragster champion, then selling the car to Roz and Dave Prior. Bruce left drag racing in 1974 and continued sporting competition in enduros, motocross, equestrian sports and circuit racing.
Part 2 of Bruce Brown's story is at this link. You can see our list of pioneer stories at this link or by clicking on the link under News in the main menu.
Eurodragster.com would like to thank John Hunt, Nick Pettitt and Mick Gleadow for recording, transcribing, editing and providing illustrations for our stories.
20th February: Happy Birthday for today to Super Twin Top Fuel Bike racer Jaska Salakari, German Top Methanol Dragster racer Silvio Strauch, Junior Dragster dad Stuart Fagg, Pro Modified racer in waiting Steve Rawlings, Top Doorslammer racer Anne Britt Nilssen and Netherlands based Comp Bike racer Thurtny Martina. We hope you all have a great day.
SPRC Perpetual Awards winners and gallery.
19th February: The winners and runners-up in the 2022 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 Milton Keynes last night (Saturday). Each National Champion was presented with a Victory Trophy incorporating a picture of their respective vehicle. The winners of SPRC's Perpetual Awards, for whom Eurodragster.com readers had the chance to vote, were also presented with their trophies.
Congratulations to the SPRC Perpetual Award winners:
Most Promising Newcomer: Dan De'ath (JKE Raceworks 8.50 Bike)
Best Appearing Car: Ron Bartlett (Pster Nee Super Pro ET)
Best Appearing Bike: Grace Pollen (Eurodragster.com Junior Drag Bike)
Most Professional Appearing Team: Ellie May Brown (Lucas Oil Junior Dragster)
James Edgar Memorial Trophy: Luke Robinson (Motorsports UK Pro Modified)
Alex Brachtvogel Memorial Trophy: Paul Marshall (for pairing lanes marshalling)
John Ledster Memorial Trophy: Phil Kenyon (chief eligibility scrutineer)
Obsession Motorsports Sportsman of the Year Trophy: Kathy Taylor (Signing on office and support of motorcycle classes)
Trakbak Racing Ltd Spirit of Santa Pod Trophy: Rob Loaring (engine builder, car constructor, nitro tuner)
A big Thank You to everyone who submitted votes for the SPRC Perpetual Awards.
In his traditional speech in support of racers and workers at Santa Pod Raceway, Keith Bartlett struck an upbeat note on the opportunities available at Santa Pod Raceway for sport and entertainment in the coming year, and the drag racing family's support to the late Hayley Hadfield and her family, and others we have lost during the last year including Jon Morton and Nobby Hills. We will be reporting Keith's speech in the next update.
The Trophy Presentation gallery has now been posted. Photos are watermarked, meaning it is ok to copy and post them on social media; if you want to obtain free-of-charge originals please contact Simon on email@example.com or via Facebook messenger.
19th February: Super Pro ET racer Laura Turburville-Wilson has announced her retirement from racing, with her Bad Blood dragster and trailer going up for sale.
I’m not sure it is possible to truly ‘retire’ at the age of 27, but it seems like the most appropriate term for the end of this part of my career.
The first time I went to the track was at 2 weeks old, but it took another 14 years of hanging around the track with my dad while he raced for the bug to truly take hold. Now, after 12 uninterrupted seasons of championship drag racing, it’s time to draw a line. Having always been around our wonderful sport, I can honestly say that drag racing feels like a large and important part of my identity, so much so that I’m not sure who I am without it.
When we lost Jonny at the end of 2021, it gave us a break we didn’t know we needed. Combined with my dad’s recent health issues, it is no longer viable or reasonable to carry on as we were.
I’ve found there is something special about championship drag racing, the dedication and shared understanding between you and your fellow teams. Being a part of that, and a part of the Super Pro class in particular, is the thing I am going to miss the most.
Of course, we will return as spectators, but it is not the same as rocking up to the track after work on a Thursday night, waiting anxiously for your class to be called at all times of the day, post-run chats with your classmates and of course, that amazing feeling of going down the strip.
I hope the opportunity will return to me one day but until then, all that is left to say is a massive, huge, enormous THANK YOU to my amazing dad for enabling me to be a part of all this for so many years. The hard work, the money, the time, the dedication, all of it – has been a privilege to be a part of and can never be repaid.
Thanks also have to go out to my husband Chris for all his hard work (mainly putting up with me), all the sponsors – many of which have been friends, my fellow race teams and all the great people at Santa Pod. My beautiful Bad Blood dragster is now for sale, all details of which can be found on Facebook and Eurodragster. Enquiries can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to see you all at the track soon!
We wish Laura all the best for her future, you will be missed in the racing ranks but be sure to visit the pits on your future trips to the track. For details of the Bad Blood dragster and trailer go to our Jeff Bull Race Engines-sponsored Swap Meet pages.
Drag Race Union update.
19th February: Thanks to Drag Race Union Secretary Markus Münch for an update on the international Drag Race Union championship for 2023:
On January 21st, 2023, Drag Race Union met for its annual general meeting. The 2022 season was reviewed and the coming season planned. What is there to know?
The Pro ET and Super Pro ET Challenges will happen the way they were in 2022. There are small changes that I'll get into later.
The Extreme Outlaw (XO) class will also have a challenge again in 2023. There will be four named races in which the XO'ers will compete.
Sportsman ET: the class was pushed by the DRU. We would like to continue this in 2023 and support the class at the Races in Zerbst.
The homepage of the DRU (www.dragraceunion.eu) will be redesigned shortly. The Super Pro ET Challenge home page will be included in the DRU site. All information about the challenges and the DRU will then be available via a single site, which will also be used to register for the Pro and Super Pro ET Challenges.
The announcement for the Pro ET/Super Pro ET Challenge will be published promptly and entries can then be made.
There will be a small change to the Santa Pod Raceway, England races for the Pro and Super Pro ET Challenge:
“The following applies to races at Santa Pod Raceway: The first three races that a driver contests in Santa Pod can be used for the respective challenge points. Only the two best results count. If a driver drives more than three races in Santa Pod and would like to use one of the later results for the challenge points, he must report this to Hans Niesner or Markus Münch before the first race he contests at Santa Pod.” This regulation serves to ensure equal opportunities. In mainland Europe you can have a maximum of three races on one circuit, that's in Clastres. The teams based near Santa Pod have seven races there. It would be a little unfair if all seven can in principle be used to collect points. From three races in Santa Pod, only the best two count, as with Clastres.
Prize money/sponsorship: The XO Challenge manages their challenge money independently. A joint sponsorship pool will be formed for the Pro and Supro ET Challenge and then payed out the half of that pool for the Pro and the other for the Supro ET Challenge.
There is already a date for a championship celebration, DRU championship celebration 2023: Date: October 21, 2023. In the clubhouse of the Knight Riders MC in Bad Kissingen (about 100 km from Frankfurt/Main).
Personnel wanted: The DRU is open to people who want to get involved in the organization of the Challenges. Tasks would be, for example, being the contact person for the teams on the racetrack, coordinating things before and during the season... With more staff, we could, for example, consider offering a challenge for Sportsman ET, or other classes such as Super Gas or Super Comp. Unfortunately, this is not possible with the current staff. Get in touch with Hans Niesner or Markus Münch if you are interested.
Let's go, the season will come.
19th February: Happy Birthday for today to Junior Dragster racer Mackenzie Love, Audi exponent Audrius Bagdonavicius and former Super Pro ET racer Rick Cooke and Swedish photographer Cenneth Schiller. We hope you all have a great day.
The Automotive Alchemist.
18th February: Photojournalist Andy Willsheer has sent his own review of custom car builder Andy Saunders' just-published book The Automotive Alchemist, featured in the latest issue of Custom Car magazine:
Poole, Dorset resident, Andy Saunders, is in a class of his own when it comes to creating custom cars, and this splendid coffee table tome happens to be a fitting tribute to a hugely talented individual whose ingenuity on the subject of automotive extravagances knows no bounds. Boldly going where others may be more cautionary, his introduction to the wild world of unconventional conveyances came at the tender age of ten when he encountered a Mini-based Outspan Orange poodling along a road in his hometown. Suffice to say, this left an indelible impression on the youngster and later set him off on a path to fame, if not fortune. A moot point of interest for eurodragster.com readers and long-time devotees of the straight-line sport is that one example of the six constructed in 1972 as mobile advertisements for the South African Outspan brand was used for many charitable purposes by the late father of former Santa Pod Raceway chief fire marshal, Geoff Rhino Quaife. And speaking of the Pod, who can remember the memorable occasion back in the Eighties when Andy raced one of his outré creations – a street-legal, Reliant Regal 3-wheeler mounting a speedboat hull and amusingly named Run-A-Ground – against Perry Watkins infamous Dalek? Fun days, indeed.
On a more serious note, the self-taught enthusiast has come up with a plethora of intriguing creations over many decades that have graced the pages of magazines all around the world, as well as being star attractions at numerous shows and events, to say nothing of appearances on the small screen. To be honest, should you have any interest whatsoever in the alternative motoring scene, you surely must know his name…
Be that as it may, The Automotive Alchemist’s Matt Woods’ studio cover photo admirably depicts Andy’s latest stroke of genius among the sixty featured vehicles therein, the concours convertible being Deja, a stunningly modified Riley RM replete with Delahaye flowing wings that exquisitely epitomises the term ‘show-stopper’. Rather than list the totality of Andy’s prodigious number of attention-arresting one-offs, I simply suggest procuring a copy of the fascinating hardcover volume published by Dalton Watson Fine Books. It’s an extremely well written and comprehensively illustrated tour de force featuring one of the most likeable and imaginative persons ever to be involved in the UK custom scene…
You can see sample pages, video interviews with Andy Saunders, and order a copy of by going to this link on the Dalton Watson website, price £100.
Sick Week results.
18th February: Complete results from the Sick Week drag n'drive event can be seen at the excellent web site of organisers Sick The Magazine.
Sweden Michael Westberg ran another great pass of 6.435 216.45 in the final day at Orlando Speed World for a final average of 6.464/214.42 to become overall winner. Congratulations to Michael on a great driving job, aided by co-driver Rasmus Stenfelt, engine builder expat Brit Stefan Rossi and remote tuner Andreas Arthursson. Michael has sold the rolling chassis of his Chevrolet S10 pickup and will take his engine back to Sweden to go into a new car which we will see at Sweden's Street Week in July (for which general registration opens on 28th February at 10.00 CET).
A tip of the hat goes to runner up Stefan Gustafsson who battled traction issues during the last three days of the event and yesterday ran a 6.887/205.44 best for a final average of 6.5982/212.67, almost two seconds ahead of the remainder of the field. In Modified, Mikael Borggren ran a best of 7.406/181.64 for a final average of 7.5662/180.75 to go second in class. The fourth Swede, Sami Toivonen, ran his best of the event 8.575/155.52 in his Camaro to go 7th in Street Race 275 class.
You can see all the action at the Youtube site of organiser Tom Bailey, to whom cudos on an excellently run and reported event.
Photo of Michael Westberg by Sammy Solstad.
18th February: Happy Birthday for today to Daimler dragster exponent and BDRHoF member Russ Carpenter, photographer Dick Parnham, Funny Car champion and constructor Johan Lindberg FWD racer Lisette de Koning and Modified 100e racer Robert White, we hope you all have a great day.
Pioneer stories: John "Jynx" Harrison, part 2.
17th February: The latest in our third series of Pioneer Stories is the part 2 of the story of UK drag racing pioneer John "Jynx" Harrison.
This episode comprises memories from those who knew John ‘Jynx’ Harrison: John Syvertsen who was his brother-in-law, Brian Sparrow, Chris Pattison and Ken Cooper who also remembers Allan Herridge in the early days, also Dave Armstrong who bought and ran Twin Jynx.
Part 2 of John "Jynx" Harrison's story is at this link. You can see our list of pioneer stories at this link or by clicking on the link under News in the main menu.
Eurodragster.com would like to thank John Hunt, Nick Pettitt and Mick Gleadow for recording, transcribing, editing and providing illustrations for our stories.
Picture by Imagerie Mecanique from Paris show in 2017 showing Twin Jynx, run by a French team with Jaguar power.
Fraudster 2023 season update.
17th February: Kieran has sent in an update about the Fraudster C20LET Mk1 Escort driven by dad Kevin Jenkins, including exciting news about sponsors:
The 2022 season was a huge step forward for the team and the car, as we learnt a lot about clutch setup and started to get a real handle on the tune. In 2021, our PB was 7.62 at 181 mph and we ended the 2022 season with a 7.29 at 188 mph. We also beat our own little goal of taking the UK's 4 Cylinder Doorslammer ¼ Mile record which had stood for over 20 years!
So what's new for the 2023 season? We have three exciting new sponsor partnerships this season, as we continue on our quest to try and run a 6 with an OEM Cast Block and OEM Cylinder Head.
ASD Fuel Tech UK Authorised Dealer have stepped up and supplied us with the FT600 ECU which has some amazing drag racing based features as well as some other FuelTech goodies that should give us a real boost in performance!
Pro-Race Engineering who are also our fellow competitors in Comp Eliminator have been busy and prepped us a new block for the upcoming season, we are remaining with an OEM Cast Block but this one will be sleeved for a bit more strength.
DP Engine Parts UK are manufactured in Greece using the highest quality materials to the highest standards for road, race and drag cars. For the past season we have been running DP Pistons and have been impressed with the quality, we will now be running their rods too.
Thank you also to our existing sponsors who are sticking with us this year:
Burton Power | Vulcan Engineering | FCP Engineering
L A Racing Fuels-uk | Auto Finesse | Pro-S-Fittings UK
Ralloy Engineering | Mk1Kieran | CT Tuning | Melliard’s Modern | Ladmu Chassis
We are again looking to do the full season in Comp Eliminator, Doorslammers & atleast one of the 7.60 Heads Up rounds. For updates throughout the season go to the Fraudster Mk1 Escort Facebook page.
Sick Week report, day 4.
17th February: Day 4 of the Sick Week drag n' drive event was held at Gainesville Raceway, Florida and the two Swedish racers in the Unlimited classes kept their sizzling form to stay on top of the standings. Michael Westberg in his Chevrolet S10 ran a day's best of 6.452/216.55 for a four day average of 6.4713/213.91 for the overall lead. 0.05s behind is Stefan Gustafsson's C4 Corvette which had traction issues but still ran a best of 6.561/223.21 and averaged out 6.526/214.48.
Swedish fan Johan Zetterholm paid tribute to co-drivers Rasmus Stenfelt for Michael and Roine Kjellqvist for Stefan, reminding us that drag n' drive at the highest level is a team game just as much as championship drag racing.
In the Modified category Mikael Borggren in his Volvo 245 wagon ran a best of 7.662 179.95, still struggling off the line, for a four day average of 7.6063/180.52, 0.85s off category leader Brett LaSala.
Also we have neglected to mention fellow Swede Sami Toivonen who is running his Camaro in the Street Race 275 radial tyre class, running an average of 9.1083/147.60 and best at South Georgia Motorsport Park of 8.711/150.80. Sami is running seventh in his category.
Good luck to all the racers, who you will be able to see on the live stream from Orlando Speed World at this link starting at 16:00 GMT.
Picture of Stefan Gustavsson suffering bounce at Gainesville Raceway by Peter Ahlin
17th February: Happy Birthday for today to Pro ET racer Amy Watkins, former Pro Stock racer Thomas Lindström and former Top Methanol Funny Car racer Trace Froome. We hope you all have a fantastic day.
Sick Week report, day 3.
16th February: The Sick Week drag n' drive event moved from Bradenton Motorsports Park to South Georgia Motorsports Park for Wednesday and the Swedish contingent kept their leading positions. You can see coverage of day three on Youtube at this link, with highlights and interviews of the Swedish racers at this link. Thanks to Sick Week organiser Tom Bailey's team for doing a bang-up job on the streaming and collating results.
Street Week Sweden 2022 victor Michael Westberg is leading the Unlimited class after a great 6.468/218.37 pass at SGMP, a new PB for speed and giving him a three day average of a fantastic 6.4777/213.03. Michael posted that he had problems with the gearbox spraying oil smoke from a loose hose into his cabin on his first run, but solved the problem and were ready in time for his second pass. He then drove without problems to the hotel at Gainesville for today's action.
Fellow Swede Stefan Gunnarson with his Brillko Engineering Corvette C4 described his day 3 on his blog. He is only 0.04s behind Michael after four attempts yesterday with a best of 6.551/ 198.44 for a three day average of 6.5143/211.56. Stefan reported a turbo pressure pipe came off on two of his runs.
Volvo 245 racer Mikael Borggren is in second in the Modified class with a three day average of 7.5877/180.71. After traction issues yesterday his best day 3 run was 8.356/172.76, leaving him over 0.8s behind class leader Brett LaSala.
Brits Al McSweeney and Paul Mander are sadly out of competition after mechanical problems. Paul said "We damaged the motor so had to put another engine in Monday. We are having tuning problems with it so we are out of competition. We have it running, kind of, so should be at Orlando with the car on Friday." Good luck to Al and Paul who have announced they will be shipping their '86 Chevrolet Monte Carlo (pictured) to the UK in a few weeks time. You can see details of the car at this link on the Unusual Car Sales UK FB page; they are looking for £17,000 ONO.
NSA announce 2023 calendar.
16th February: The National Sprint Association have announced their 2023 calendar of 11 rounds with 8 to count towards the Elgar Championship for sprint bikes:
18th March, Dakota Raceway, Smeatharpe, Devon
15th-16th April, Melbourne Raceway, Yorkshire
22nd April, Dakota Raceway, Smeatharpe, Devon
13th-14th May, Melbourne Raceway, Yorkshire
17th-18th June, Melbourne Raceway, Yorkshire
8th July, Dakota Raceway, Smeatharpe, Devon
15th-16th July, Melbourne Raceway, Yorkshire (non-championship round)
22nd-23rd July, Llanbedr, Wales (double points round)
5th-6th August, Melbourne Raceway, Yorkshire (non-championship round)
12th August, Dakota Raceway, Smeatharpe, Devon
16th-17th September, Melbourne Raceway, Yorkshire
30th September, Dakota Raceway, Smeatharpe, Devon
7th-8th October, Melbourne Raceway, Yorkshire
15th October, Santa Pod Raceway (double points round)
Despite the loss of Westonzoyland as a venue, there are still four venues for competition.
The club will also be displaying at the Straightliners Elvington Open Day weekend on 25th-26th February and NSA members who are interested in taking part should contact Rob Brittain by email to register. Exhibitors can arrive on the Friday to set up and camp for the weekend. Admission is £10 per person to include camping.
More info on the National Sprint Association can be seen at their website nationalsprintassociation.org.
Picture of 2022 Unlimited Champion and top speed Mark Taylor by Carol Jenkinson.
16th February: Happy Birthday for today to crew member for Micke Gullvist Motorsports Fredrik Westerlind, 9.50 Bike racer Dion Hartley, Lithuanian Topolino racer Giedrius Jurevicius and former Wild Bunch racer Pete "Eddie" Yates. We hope you all have a great day.
Thanks to photojournalist Steve Moxley for pointing us in the direction of a fascinating video history of motorcycle drag racing introduced by US drag racing journalist Tom McCarthy for Rick Foulkrod of Things Extreme Photography and Video. The first episode features Elmer Trett, who visited the UK in 1984 for the NDRC Transatlantic Drag Bike Race. You can see the episide at Pittsfield TV on this link (ad blockers should be disabled).
We are nearly there.
15th February: Thanks to sponsor John Tebenham, who has been planning his 2023 season, for his latest update:
"So the man with a plan, we are going to race at Easter with my refreshed engine by the one and only I.C.E. - go and see them. My little Pop puts up with a lot of sh*t and it lived for 2 years and needed a freshen.
So Luke is preparing both cars to come and play at the amazing Doorslammers and the Main Event. Blimey - two cars, two meetings.
We will run a 5.8 this year. I ran a 5.99 with a 0.1 light, yep, a 0.1 light, be afraid, be very afraid. I am going to try to win in probably the greatest season yet with my outstanding Mike Janis blower.
Come and see us - posters are free this year. I am 100% going to try and win, but Pro Mod is crazy. A massive thanks to Ricky who runs the team and is always covered in oil. If you ever fancy a bit of crewing contact me through the one and only email@example.com.
Sick Week report, day 2.
15th February: Day 2 of Sick Week was held at Bradenton Motorsports Park in atmospheric conditions almost as good as those at Orlando Speed World on day 1. You can see footage from yesterday at this link, and keep up with the live stream today from South Georgia Motorsports Park at this link.
Yesterday was an outstanding day for Swedes Michael Westberg and Stefan Gustafsson, and a repeat issue of last year for Sick Week organiser Tom Bailey whose Camaro had terminal transmission damage. In the great conditions, Michael ran a PB of 6.400/210.83 in his 1991 Chevrolet S10 to go top of the Unlimited class with a two day average of 6.4825/210.36. Stefan Gustafsson suffered a door coming off his Brillko Engineering '89 Corvette C4 on another outstanding pass, 6.434/218.34, for a 6.496/218.13 two day average. You can see Stefan's comments at his blog.
Another Swede Mikael Borggren with his 1987 Volvo 245 Wagon got back into the sixes after some issues on the dyno resulted in some additional engine work becoming necessary on his LSX unit. A 7.498/168.94 on day 1 improved to 6.909/200.44 yesterday for a 7.2035/184.69 two day average, placing him third in class.
Sadly Brits Al McSweeney and Paul Mander, sharing driving duties in their '86 Chevrolet Monte Carlo have had to withdraw with mechanical issues.
You can get detailed results and plenty of stories on Sick Week at sickthemagazine.com.
Photo of Mikael Borggren: Ken Cox.
Custom Car March edition.
14th February: The March issue of the sport's national magazine Custom Car includes a plethora of articles for any drag racing or hot rodding enthusiast.
Rightly heading the list is a ten page piece on the latest creation of legendary hot rod builder Andy Saunders, based on a Riley 2.5 but heavily influenced by French marque Delahaye giving it a wonderful art deco look. Those interested in reading more on Andy's creations are encouraged to visit www.andysaunders.net and consider buying his autobiography The Automotive Alchemist published by Dalton Watson.
Race coverage with photography by our Julian Hunt, comprises seven pages on the Mopar Euronationals from last July with words by Mike Pye. Keith Lee provides a comparison of modern drag racing events at Santa Pod Raceway to events of the past with the pros and cons highlighted.
Tony Thacker provides a profile of the Rømø beach race in Denmark, and Alice Fairhead reports on the V8 Hot Rod meet at the Cross Keys in Redgrave and the Knuckle Busters/Stonham Barns shows, two of many UK rod runs that you can see for free.
You can buy the latest excellent edition of Custom Car from your local newsagent for £4.99, or get a subscription from www.assignmentmedia.co.uk/customcar which brings with it a free pocket lamp for £25 for 13 issues direct debit introductory offer.
Sick Week report, day 1.
14th February: You can see the live stream of today's Sick Week Drag n' Drive event at this Youtube link from Bradenton Motorsports Park. Also accessible are the results from Day 1 at this link
Day One held at Orlando Speed World saw Swedes Stefan Gustafsson (pictured left) and Michael Westberg (pictured right) in positions #2 and #3 of the Unlimited class respectively with best passes of 6.558/217.91 and 6.565/209.88. Michael commented that Andreas Arthursson had helped with the tuning, for a -500ft density altitude. In testing Michael had suffered gearbox and axle problems, and M&M Transmissions and Adam Flamholc both came to the rescue with spare parts.
Stefan and Michael made strong passes in the 6.4s in early action today. Brits Paul Mander and Al McSweeney with their 86 Chevrolet Monte Carlo were only able to manage a 20s/50mph pass in the DYO class yesterday, Al driving, but still four more days to make up time.
You can get detailed results and plenty of stories on Sick Week at sickthemagazine.com.
Picture credits: Chris Story (Stefan Gustafsson), Phillip Thomas (Michael Westberg)
Hook Knows interviews TV Tommy.
14th February: The subject of tomorrow's "Hook Knows" interview from Steve Gibbs of the Nitro Revival Group is star of the 1964 Drag Festival in the UK TV Tommy Ivo who had a number of memorable match races and exhibition runs at the six events in September and October of that year.
To see this interview go to this Facebook link at 6pm PST (02:00 Thursday GMT), or watch it on replay from Thursday morning onwards.
You can see previous interviews at the same link including last week's entertaining chat with Land Speed legend Al Teague.
Pic by Stephen Wright: Tommy at Blackbushe in October 1964. Thanks to Geoff Stilwell for the interview link.
14th February: Happy Birthday for today to the Marras, Wild Bunch racers Pete and Rob Brown, FWD racer Scott Nobby Lewry, Santa Pod Raceway marshal John O'Shae and German Pro ET racer and photographer Clarissa Czekalla. We hope you all have a lovely day.
Pioneer stories: Bruce Brown, part 1.
13th February: The latest in our third series of Pioneer Stories is the story of UK drag racing pioneer Bruce Brown.
Bruce Brown got into motorsport aged 18 with a Mini at autotests and sprints. After a few years scrambling, he bought a Daimler Dart which he took to Santa Pod in 1966. He replaced that with a '55 Chevy and then bought Allan Herridge's old Pulsation dragster from Chris Urlwin and Alan Ward. Bruce named the dragster, with its engine from the '55 Chevy, Prospector 2.
Part 1 of Bruce Brown's story is at this link. You can see our list of pioneer stories at this link or by clicking on the link under News in the main menu.
Eurodragster.com would like to thank John Hunt, Nick Pettitt and Mick Gleadow for recording, transcribing, editing and providing illustrations for our stories.
Crail upgrade timing system.
13th February: Scotland's Crail Raceway, based at Anstruther, has announced a new timing system and a revised first quarter mile date for 2023.
"Over the past few months we've been working hard behind the scenes to improve things for 2023. We've invested heavily in a new timing system from Portatree - this includes lots of new equipment, cabling, and up to date software. As you may imagine, this is not exactly a 'plug and play' system, there is a lot involved other than just buying the kit.
"We've been piecing it all together and finally making progress. However, we are still not quite there yet with the new system and have a busy week ahead ironing some issues out.
"The first event on the 19th February was originally planned to be a 1/4 mile 'Drag & Drift' Day, however we've decided to change this to an Open Track day. The first 1/4 mile day will now be on the 5th March, giving us a crucial extra 2 week period to ensure the system is operating correctly.
"We hope you understand that this date switch is so we can provide a better service for you all coming to Crail. We are confident once we deal with the initial teething troubles it will serve us well for years to come with a much more reliable timing system.
"We look forward to seeing you all back soon now that we open the doors again in 7 days time."
13th February: Happy Birthday for today to Old School Stocker racer Dan Blight and former slingshot racer Mike Oates. We hope you have a great day.
Top Methanol Funny Car team OK Racing with driver Johnny Oksa have announced they will be competing in all rounds of the FIA Drag Racing Championship, starting at the Santa Pod Raceway Main Event. Let's hope the class support continues to increase for 2023.
Congratulations to Julie Nataas who has earned her NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car license with a best 5.60 pass in her unblown nitro A/FC in testing at Houston Raceway, Baytown, Texas. Julie's first race date in her TAFC is at the Funny Car Chaos opener 17th-19th March at the Texas Motorplex. You can see her complete schedule at julienataas.com.
Our good friend Tony Thacker has published an article on the Grand National Roadster Show ’23 at his Torqtalk blog site. Included are plenty of photos and video.
Spitfire Raceway next Saturday.
12th February: The first organised race of the 2023 UK season takes place next Saturday at Spitfire Raceway. Promoter Lee Child writes:
Trophies will be up for grabs for quickest top ten on the drag strip, quickest FWD car, best appearing drift car, best burnout, best of show and best club stand.
All vehicles welcome, you can spectate or take part at Spitfire Raceway, spectators are £10 per person on the gate, under 16s go free. Drag race from £10 after admission (crash helmet and full driving licence required). Show & shine no charge after admission. All vehicles are welcome at Spitfire Raceway Cornwall. Gates open at 8am and track action is from 11am to 3pm. All vehicles have a safety check for drag racing and drifting. Drag strip riders and drivers meeting at race control 10.45am.
Vehicles competing include Luke Jasse with his super car , motorcycle slaying 1200+ BHP Audi TTRS whose car was recently featured on Youtube channel Living Life Fast.
Don’t forget to you can camp on site. Enjoy the events and the local area.
All 2023 drag and drift events online bookings are now open. No more waiting - book away. Click on the links to make bookings at Drag & Drift and Camping booking.
Please respect the surrounding areas and speed limits when travelling to and from this event.
Eurodragster.com will be attending the event for video and still photography of drag racing action.
12th February: Happy Birthday for today to Junior Drag Bike mum Kerryanne Frazier, Comp Eliminator crew Dave Hancock, supporter and former Alky FC racer Tom van der Wijden, former Top Doorslammer racer from Sweden Thomas Dahlblom. We hope you all have a great day.
Nobby Hills tribute page.
11th February: We have set up a tribute page in memory of Nobby Hills who passed away last week, and would be pleased to receive tributes to him and pictures for publishing, send your words and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
11th February: Happy Birthday for today to Santa Pod Raceway Events Coordinator Max Frost, Super Comp crew and wife Angela Hudson, Nostalgia Super Stock wife Bev Tyrell, Nostalgia FC crew Stuart Bradley and '55 Chevy racer Iain Shurey. We hope you all have a great time.
10th February: We were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of UK drag racing pioneer Nobby Hills, to natural causes last week aged 87.
Norman "Nobby" Hills was one of the few surviving pioneers who had raced at the 1964 UK Drag Festivals. After visiting Silverstone to watch the Mooneyes dragster of Dante Duce and Sydney Allard's Allard Chrysler in September 1963, Nobby became inspired and using his many engineering skills set to work and built a 3.4 litre Jaguar engined dragster named Houndog which was entered to race in the September Drag Festivals at Blackbushe in 1964 the following year. A supercharged Jag engined Houndog 2 followed in 1965, "Movin" Mike Hutcherson took over the driving, and Houndogs 3 and 4 had Cadillac power, the car going through six of the engines in 1969 as Nobby learned of frailty in their design.
In the 1970s, Nobby switched to Chrysler power for two further slingshots, Houndogs 5 and 6 , and the times improved rapidly. Then in 1973 Santa Pod Raceway came to him with an offer that couldn't be refused: the Plymouth Duster Funny Car brought over by Paula Murphy. It became Houndog 7, had a fantastic paint job, and the fearless Owen Hayward made a great driver. In their day jobs at heavy earth-moving and construction equipment distributors SLD Olding, Owen was Nobby's boss, but at the track Owen had been a team member since 1966! The following year, 1974, had a second new car in the Houndog stable, the beautiful Houndog 8 dragster based on the latest US rear engined design from Tony Nancy. Mike Hutcherson left the team after March 1975 leaving Owen as the main driver of both cars. All of Nobby’s cars were beautifully turned out, attention to detail along with high performance were two of his well-known trademarks.
Nobby and the team got quicker but there were setbacks. In August 1977 the Duster Funny Car was destroyed in an accident, but Owen was unhurt. Alan Bates took over the driving of the Houndog 8 dragster whilst Nobby and the team prepared their new Funny Car Houndog 9 nicknamed ‘Pup’. The Houndog 8 dragster was dismantled at the end of 1977, with some parts going on DLT's Needle Dragster.
The last three cars of the team were all funny cars: the 1978 Houndog 9 Vega based on a home built chassis and, a couple of years later, a Challenger bodied funny car again with a home built chassis debuted in late 1979 became Houndog 10, which came to a firey end at Mantorp Park in 1983 and finally the repaired chassis with a Corvette body Houndog 11 was run by Nobby through to the end of the 1980's with former crew chief Alan Bates in the drivers seat, the beautifully finished Corvette was the first Funny Car in Europe to record a five second run receiving a 5.99/251.8mph timing ticket on 25 May 1986.
A born showman, Nobby and his team never failed to entertain the crowd, whether it was building a Model T body for the funny car chassis to create a fuel altered whilst a new body was being prepared, or bringing SLD Olding heavy lifting equipment to the track to raise the Vega way above the crowd at a rainy event in 1978, or the many show trophies won, or their final project after two decades away from the sport, a nitro-burning Camaro Funny Car Houndog number 12.
He was literally a giant of the sport at 6'4" and could always be identified in the pits by his stetson and, if you looked down, a pair of flip-flops. Nobby joins daughter Jodie who was killed in a motor accident in 2004 and shared with Nobby a love of country music and American cars. We send our very deepest sympathies to Nobby's wife Anne, daughter Katie, six year old grandson Beau, an engineer in the making, and to all friends and team mates. RIP Nobby.
Photo credit from Dragstalgia 2022: Ken Robbins. Other photos: www.houndogdragracing.co.uk, Peter Donaldson
Pioneer stories: John "Jynx" Harrison, part 1.
10th February: The latest in our third series of Pioneer Stories is the story of UK drag racing pioneer John "Jynx" Harrison.
This story is told by John ‘Jynx’ Harrison’s son Paul; he recalls his memories of John, the family, friends and the Dragster Developments Team. John with Robin Evemy and Brian Sparrow joined fellow Heathway Engineering employee Allan Herridge to form Dragster Developments in 1962. John himself built a dragster and his DD Atlantic car raced at early drag races in the UK including the 1964 International Drag Festival. After extensive modifications in 1965 it was renamed Jynx in 1966, and Twin Jynx followed in 1972. John continued to work for Heathway Engineering until the 1980s but sadly passed away in 1993.
Part 1 of John "Jynx" Harrison's story is at this link. You can see our list of pioneer stories at this link or by clicking on the link under News in the main menu.
Eurodragster.com would like to thank John Hunt, Nick Pettitt and Mick Gleadow for recording, transcribing, editing and providing illustrations for our stories.
10th February: Happy Birthday for today to Pro Stock Bike crew chief and wife Cindy Newbury, Junior dad Andrew Willcox, FWD racer Matt Davison, and later owner of Twin Jynx Dave "Twolanes" Armstrong. We hope you all have a great day.
9th February: Speedgroup have announced the 2023 calendar for the European Drag Racing Series, the premier sportsman championship in Scandinavia. The dates are:
19th-21st May, Motorpark, Finland
19th-20th May, Vårgårda, Sweden
26th-28th May, Gardermoen, Norway
9th-11th June, Motorpark, Finland
15th-18th June, Tierp, Sweden
23rd-25th June, Tallhed, Orsa, Sweden
30th June-2nd July, Haapsalu, Estonia
7th-9th July, Piteå, Sweden
13th-16th July, Kauhava, Finland (TBC)
20th-23rd July, Sundsvall, Sweden
3rd-6th August, Gardermoen, Norway
10th-13th August, Tierp, Sweden
18th-20th August, Motorpark, Finland
25th-27th August, Sundsvall, Sweden (TBC)
1st-2nd September, Mosten, Denmark
1st-3rd September, Kauhava, Finland (TBC)
8th-10th September, Gardermoen, Norway
As ever, dates are provisional and subject to change. We note the TBC dates for Kauhava at which events have been difficult to plan for local reasons.
Skye headed towards senior classes.
9th February: With her announcement that Skye Collier has bought the rolling chassis of the S&K Dragster formerly owned by Roger Sinclair and Mick Kemp and lately driven by Roy Wilding and Lesley Prior, her path into the senior classes from junior dragsters has become clearer. She said:
"We’ve bought the car without the engine and transmission, and Ben Rushforth from EDA is building me an engine! Brother Scott works there too now, so he’ll be majorly involved in the whole thing and I’ll be having many Saturdays down there working on it too, exciting!
"We’ll be putting a Big Block Chevy in it and the end goal is to run in Super Comp, but to start off, I imagine we’ll go Pro ET while we get the hang of it. I’m not entirely sure when I will be doing the licensing runs, we’re going to strip the car to check all's good and see if anything needs doing and whatnot, and of course we need the engine to run! I think we’re aiming sort of by the end of the year, possibly, to have it running, but as you know things can change quickly so could be sooner or later!
"The whole thing is only possible as Baz Rathbone is helping us out so much, he gave us the money to be able to buy it, it’s all really because of him! The first time we get out in it, Paul Marston is coming with us to teach us what to do, because of course he does the race school!
We wish Skye the best of luck in her quest to step up, with great support from her family and friends.
9th February: Happy Birthday for today to Outlaw Anglia racer Phil Drewitt, Pro ET and UK Nostalgia Superstock racer Guy King and Swiss Super Street Bike racer Sandro Haldimann. Also a huge belated Happy Birthday to Unusual Cars UK Facebook Group admin Nigel Taylor, hope you had a great day top man!
Drag racing historian Nick Pettitt has uploaded a video of the 1995 Main Event from Santa Pod Raceway, broadcast by Sky Sports. Included are Top Fuel, Top Fuel Bike, Pro Modified and Super Gas with some names from the past (and present) plus top flight commentary from John Price. It's well worth a view at this link.
7th February: Many thanks to Santa Pod Racers Club secretary Ian Marshall for reminding us about the new rules for balaclava to be worn by drivers that use a HANS device:
"Drivers using a Head and Neck restraint will in 2023 be required to wear a Balaclava under their helmet, as we no longer use neck braces in vehicles that utilise full harnesses and head restraints this leaves a gap between the fire suit and the helmet, therefore an FIA 8856-2000 / 8856-2018 or SFI spec 3.3 Balaclava will be required, the exception being if you have a SFI 3.3 skirted helmet that covers the gap between the helmet and suit.
"This is only for racers looking to enter Permitted Championship Events at Santa Pod Raceway." Any queries should be sent to Ian directly.
Grand National Roadster Show gallery.
7th February: Thanks to Nitro Revival sponsor and Land Speed Racer Geoff Stilwell for providing a gallery of 75 photos of just a small fraction of the amazing cars at the Grand National Roadster Show in the Fairplex, Pomona.
Geoff said "I travelled here for the event to support my friends including Mick Jenkins of Mick's Paint, a number of cars he worked on are on display. I also caught up with Ron Hope, Tony Thacker, Steve Gibbs and Bob and Sharon Muravez, you don't know who you will run into, but many famous racing personalities attend.
The photos taken are from three of the nine halls in the massive Fairplex, some halls featuring boats. At the top of the gallery is Rick LeFevre's '32 Ford 3 window coupe which won the Vesey Bros Phaeton Award, a finely detailed car with a period correct feel. Geoff added "If you're around at the end of January and start of February you could get a cheap fare to LAX (book way in advance for that!) and visit the Mooneyes New Year Party at Irwindale and the Grand National Roadster Show, then you could get an appointment to visit nearby speed facilities such as Brad Anderson and Sonny Bryant's, and fit in the weekly drags at Irwindale."
Geoff will return to Pomona for the opening LSR meeting of 2023 at El Mirage which is a short drive from Pomona. You can see Geoff's gallery with some pictures from Tony Thacker at this link supported by Lucas Oil, or click on News, then Features for a list of all our photo features over the years, most recent first.
Pictured by Mark Vaughn: Jack Chisenhall's ‘32, winner of America's Most Beautiful Roadster, work carried out by Roy Brizio Street Rods.
Geoff asked if we can send Pure Hell creator and owner Rich Guasco best wishes for a speedy recovery from a broken back after a fall. We hope you are comfortable Rich and are sure your many fans in the UK and Europe wish you well.
7th February: Happy Birthday for today to Nostalgia Funny Car owner, possibly on his way to the US Rob Elsom, Willys Wars racer Mark Puddick, Swedish Top Fuel Bike racer Thomas Pettersson who reaches 60 years of age today, Pro Modified wife and crew member Belinda Nicholson expat Pro ET racer Colin Felstead, now based in Ohio. We hope you all have a great day.
Pioneer stories: Bradley Cooper.
6th February: The latest in our third series of Pioneer Stories is the story of UK hot rodding and drag racing pioneer Ken Cooper's son Bradley Cooper.
Bradley was born into a drag racing environment. Dad Ken's slingshot was stored in the garage at home and Bradley's first permanent job was at Automatic Transmission Products run by former drag racer Tony Whitehead. Ken took Bradley to Shakespeare County Raceway on his 21st birthday, Ken's first time at the strip for over 15 years. Ken was warmly welcomed back by many fellow racers and as a result Bradley acquired a deep interest in the sport. Ken built a new slingshot flathead engined dragster and in 2012, Bradley made his driving debut. Since then he has been a regular racer in Wild Bunch lifestyle events and an established part of the UK drag scene in his own right.
Bradley Cooper's story is at this link. You can see our list of pioneer stories at this link or by clicking on the link under News in the main menu.
Eurodragster.com would like to thank John Hunt, Nick Pettitt and Mick Gleadow for recording, transcribing, editing and providing illustrations for our stories.
Welcome Lando Cordelle, debut for Cameron Cordelle .
6th February: Congratulations to Brett and Charlii Cordelle on their third child, and Brett has updated us on their family's racing plans for 2023: Would just like to let everyone on that on 29th January at 00:09 we welcomed our third child into the world, Lando Lloyd Phillip Cordelle.
Last year was probably the worst year of racing as Charlii was pregnant and I decided to scare her not once but twice by coming off on the line and through top end so her stress levels were through the roof.
This year I’ve decided to take a year off the bike and focus on getting my other son Cameron into the sport, as he will be racing for the first time, he can’t wait to get to the track to race his new junior drag bike.
John Bennett Celebration of Life to be held, date to be confirmed.
6th February: Maurice Takoor has been in touch about John Bennett's funeral, and his own car going on the market:
There won't immediately be a funeral for John as he donated his body to medical science, however there will be a celebration of his life at some stage in the future, but possibly up to two years hence.
I'm selling my little slingshot dragster, Spirit, as I've decided I'll never get around to fixing it and continuing to race it. I had fun with it and hope someone will continue to look after it and enjoy it as much as I have.
6th February: Happy Birthday wishes for today to NSS racer Claire Johnson, Wild Bunch racer Wayne Colliver, former Junior Dragster race Skye Collier, and long time drag bike racers Turbo Tim Boutle and Pete Le Gros, we hope all of you have a great day, and belated Birthday wishes to Super Gas racer Andy Dibley who celebrated yesterday.
Your Editor says "Thanks for all your best wishes for a speedy recovery which seem to have worked so we are back in business. We will run the remaining stories we have tomorrow and keep the news coming."
Pioneer stories: Al O'Connor, part 3.
3rd February: The latest in our third series of Pioneer Stories is of UK drag racing pioneer and long time Super Gas racer Al O'Connor.
After modifying Al's Gasser to run consistently in Super Gas, in 1987 Al, with Lesley Digby (now Wright), started planning their ambitious tour, running in the NHRA at 21 events during the spring and summer of 1988. After winning the UK Championship in 1989, Al and Lesley returned to the States and ran a series of borrowed cars in 19 events during 1990. More UK Championships followed with a move to Outlaw Anglia and another rebuild thanks to the racing family that Al has been a part of over 50+ years.
Part three of Al's story, with extensive documentaton of his US tour is at this link. You can see our list of pioneer stories at this link or by clicking on the link under News in the main menu.
Eurodragster.com would like to thank John Hunt, Nick Pettitt and Mick Gleadow for recording, transcribing, editing and providing illustrations for our stories.
Raisvuo Brothers back in the game.
3rd February: Former Top Methanol Dragster racer Esko Raisvuo is making a return to senior classes with his son Samuel driving after a number of years in Junior Dragsters and a Junior Drag Bike. In a Youtube video, Esko describes his racing philosophy, including some quotes from US legends, and Samuel talks about his Super Pro ET dragster which has a 750hp Ford engine with an additional nitrous shot of 250hp.
Samuel who goes by the nickname "No Fear" has undertaken licensing passes, and his first race will be at Motopark Raceway 20th-21st May.
Those with long memories will remember Esko in his A/Fuel dragster running a best times of 5.500 and 435kph (269.77mph), both Finnish records and the ET record still standing.
3rd February: Happy Birthday for today to Super Pro ET racer Daniel Giles, 8.50 Bike racer Stacey Reed, Sportsman ET racer Steve Mellors, former 9.50 Bike racer Dave Bowe and Outlaw Street racer Paul Knifton. We hope you all have a great day.
A new era begins at Tierp Arena.
2nd February: Thanks to Lars Pettersson for some great news about Tierp Arena the sale of which completes on 1st March.
On Tuesday, the new owner of Tierp Arena, Svante Andersson, held an introductory meeting with 30-40 participants from several motorsport categories, clubs and representatives from the municipal council of Tierp.
Drag racing was represented by Lars Pettersson, President of the FIA Drag Racing Commission, Helen Rapp, Chairman of the Swedish Aoutomobile Sports Federation (SBF) Drag Racing Committteee and Michael Gullkvist from Speedgroup and Drag Racing Europe.
Representatives from entrepreneur Svante Andersson's company Stenhaga Invest described at the meeting how they work to develop companies that they acquire. They also described what they have built up for business at Kinnekulle Ring which is a motorsport facility they bought a few years ago. Stenhaga Invest see great potential in developing Tierp Arena with new activities such as expanding the facility with a circuit track as well as other types of events such as concert and sporting events, exhibitions and driving school exepreinces for road and track. Svante was very clear that the activities that are scheduled will happen. Svante said "The two FIA Drag Racing EDRC and EDRS are two important events for us. As a new owner, I see great potential in expanding and managing and bringing more activities to Tierp Arena all year round".
For European Drag Racing, Lars says "This is a very good news; the Tierp facility is one of the 10 to 20 best Drag Strips tracks in the world.
2nd February: Happy Birthday for today to Supercharged Outlaws racer Jake Clayton, Super Street Bike racer Dave Thomas and US Funny Car legend Ed 'The Ace' McCulloch. We hope you all have a great day.
Karsten's US tour.
1st February: Thanks to photojournalist Andy Willsheer for catching up with Dane and British Drag Racing Hall of Fame member Karsten Andersen at the NHRA Nevada Nationals last November and sending this piece:
When Karsten Andersen with drag racing partner and fellow Dane and BDRHoF member Per Andersen (no relation) opted to exit Top Fuel in 2014 following several seasons of competition that resulted in their close-knit team attaining FIA European Championship laurels with various drivers, team co-owner Karsten continued to flourish through his commercial business involvement, Landmeco, Scandinavia’s largest producer of poultry equipment. He could be seen starring in YouTube videos demonstrating the products the company offers, however Landmeco was sold in 2019 and the car was sold to Scott Palmer five years earlier. So what is Karsten up to now?
He has also maintained close contact with the sport of drag racing through his invention of a track tester that has proved to be very much the in thing for top teams desirous of having a state-of-the-art piece of kit in their inventory of parts. I well recall seeing him at Santa Pod in the early 2000s strolling behind the prototype self-propelled piece of equipment in the manner of walking the proverbial dog, holding an electrical lead keeping everything under control. A novel sight to say the least, and seemingly a major improvement over the long-used press-down- and-twist piece of apparatus.
Fast forward to current times, the shrewd entrepreneur now enjoys getting along to NHRA national events in the States, where he enjoys working as a track specialist with prominent names such as the Capco Contractors two-car Top Fuel team, which is where I caught up with him during the 2022 Las Vegas Nationals working in close company with Swedish hotshot Jonnie Lindberg, who was on hand tuning Brian Hough’s Top Alcohol Funny Car. Data from the so-called KEG (the acronym for Karsten’s Electric Grippo, named as such by Lanny Miglizzi, one of the very first track professionals responsible for assessing racing surface grip, supplying valuable information to crew chiefs in order that optimal adjustments may be made to a car’s setup prior to it making a pass along the strip) undeniably augmenting the technical side of tuning.
Developed in conjunction with aforementioned Lanny - currently employed by John Force Racing - the first example of this innovative machine was acquired by JFR in 2000, subsequent to the respected multi-car team being supplied with a further six. It was not too long, however, before other big names came on board to the point where Karsten said use of a KEG is nowadays considered de rigueur by 90% of top teams in the States’ straight-line sport.
A point of note regarding the pioneering Danish maestro is that he usually stays with buddy Jonnie in Brownsburg whenever he makes the transatlantic trip for sundry races where he has acted in 2022 as clutch and track man to the teams of of Billy Torrence, Tripp Tatum and Doug Foley. Having the brains trust domiciled under one roof in Indiana works well for all parties and Karsten also works on development with Toyota Racing Development.
As Karsten is in the US part-time, so if you are based in the US and interested in buying a KEG, you can contact Jonnie Lindberg or Todd Tutterow.
Les Szabo's funeral.
1st February: Thanks to Rob Szabo who has let us know the funeral of his late father Les Szabo will be a public event at Enfield Crematorium on Wednesday 1st March at 14:00.
"It will likely be a long journey for most that would come, but anyone who would want to make the journey and pay final tributes to Les is welcome to come", says Rob.
Enfield Crematorium is located at Great Cambridge Road, Enfield, Greater London, EN1 4DS.
1st February: Happy Birthday for today to Super Pro ET racer Martyn Jones, former Sportsman ET racer Ian Jackson, Straightliners administrator Helen Greathead and Estonian administrator
Top Methanol Dragster racer Daniel Jedborn has announced that partner Tina Høst Nedregård (pictured left) will be taking over driving of the team's A/Fuel dragster from the June FIA event at Tierp Arena, the team's first event in 2023.
Super Street Bike racer Steve Woods, who announced his retirement during 2022, has decided that he will be at one more race to obtain that elusive seven second timeslip. The race? The 2023 NitrOlympX at Hockenheim. Good luck to Woody on his quest, if achieved we expect there will be a small party.