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Editor's Diary archive
31st October: Pete Kellett of Eurodragster.com News sponsor B&B Automotive has checked in from Las Vegas where he and daughter Leah, together with Neil Peacock of the Seven Year Itch Pro ET team discovered that they had chosen the right hotel.
"We are staying in the same hotel as Urs Erbacher and his team", says Pete. "We met them in the hotel car park as they were promoting the car. We spoke to Wayne Dupuy and he told us how excited they all are about competing in the USA, but he said that it's going to be hard because there are more than twenty cars here. The promoters from the Tahiti Village complex invited us to the press promotion function when they found out that we were staying there and that we had travelled from the UK just for the drag racing events ("Just"? - Ed).
"Vegas seems to be becoming a bit of a ritual as this is our third year here.We are also staying for the Lucas Oil Series race and then moving over to Pomona were we will meet up with Neil Hunter and Dave Cherrett. We will be thinking of you all at the Flame and Thunder Show and keeping a watchful eye on the event with the ever-informative Eurodragster.com. It is a bit warmer here, though."
Pro qualifying starts today so Urs will be making his first passes this evening UK/European time. For up-to-the-moment updates over the weekend we recommend the Drag Race Central web site at www.dragracecentral.com and NHRA's own web site at www.nhra.com which is served by the Drag Race Central crew.
Another Funny model.
31st October: Photo-journalist and graphic designer Mark Gredzinski's piece of 20th October about a model Fuel FC was very well-received and in fact Mark tells us that it generated some work, which we are always pleased to hear. Mark has been in touch to show us another modelling project, a Volvo 460 Funny Car:
It is not a complete flight of fancy as it was derived from some artwork I did for a customer in 1987. Having completed the drawing, I thought I would see what the car looked like in 3D for my own curiosity. To see how, I got along chopping about a four-door Volvo 460 kit, in order to make it look like a Funny Car. Using a generic Monogram 1/24 scale Funny Car kit for the chassis I set about lengthening the body, after which it was sectioned then cut down the middle and then the roof chopped. Inserts from plastic card and lots of filler were used. The chassis will be fully detailed with a Waterman single red fuel pump as would have been used in the era of the actual car.
As you can see from the mock-up, with wobbly injector balanced on the blower, it is still not finished after twenty years, but I will try and get it done in time for Christmas. The body will receive internal bracing and tinwork, after which the colours and lettering will be applied. It will then be obvious which team it was that was thinking about a Volvo back in 1987!
31st October: Eurodragster.com News sponsor Paul Marston has as promised been in touch with news of his latest escapade in the USA:
Unfortunately the weather put paid to my bracket racing this past weekend with rain moving into the Southern Florida area on Friday and being a little reluctant to leave. I put into place plan B which meant the road trip. I called in at Bradenton on Friday for the Inaugural Outlaw Radial Tyre event, which drew quite an entry, but it was also rained out. No matter as I was delivering a torque convertor from our 2008 Super Comp Championship-winning PiranaZ-backed dragster to JW Performance Transmissions for repair. I spent time chatting to John Winters Jr in between the brisk business of John repairing transmissions for racers whilst they wait! I left on Friday night without a wheel having turned but the event ran to completion over the following couple of days. Unfortunately the JW Transmissions-backed Nova did not fare too well.
On Saturday I passed through the weather front and across the state line in sunshine to South Georgia Motorsport Park in Cecil County for the Southern Nostalgia Festival and Night of Fire. There was a good showing of Nostalgia Fuel Funny cars including Chained Lightning, the Funny Car which won the very first Wally, and there was also a good selection of Nitro slingshots. It looked to be shaping up to be quite something but the show had to carry on without me as I got a call from ex-pat Brit Tony Morris asking where I was - Tony’s racing partner was just up the road on I-75 at Silver Dollar Raceway at the last remaining round of the NHRA Division 2 Lucas Oil Divisional Event and had no crew. Could I make it? Of course I said yes and was on my way within the hour, just down the road which by the way was 120 miles!
Mike Statsky runs one of the few remaining slip-joint chassis in Super Comp, motion comes from the usual standard 565 ci Big Block Chevy/Powerglide combo and with my help when I eventually arrived Mike ran 8.895 as his last timed run on Saturday. I shoudl explain that in NHRA there is no qualifying in Super Comp, the first round is randomly paired and the ladder set after the first round. Sunday was a beautiful Georgia morning. The economic situation hadn't really had any real impact on entry numbers with more than four hundred teams in attendance, so the Silver Dollar Facility was packed to capacity with the overflow pit area again being put to good use.
It was early afternoon before Super Comp were called. Mike went .02 on the tree, a little slow by American standards but good enough as his opponent went red. Come round two at around 5.30 pm Mike returned the favour and went red himself by .02! I then added insult to injury by backing up a borrowed scooter into another and knocking it over just as the Man Mountain who owned it showed up! The Mountain just laughed his head off and told me that it was no problem. "Hell, they even run better after they have been knocked over", he said. You just cannot over emphasise how polite and friendly these people are.
So a quick pack up, said our goodbyes and on the road for the four hundred mile trip back to Kissimmee, back by midnight. Hopefully I should have another shot at some bracket racing later this week.
31st October: Graham Ellis' big Plymouth Superbird Pro Modified takes centre stage in this month's American Car World magazine, writes Jerry Cookson. Entitled Pro Bird and written by Bob Roberts of Andy Robinson Race Cars the six-page colour feature takes you right under the skin of one of the wildest looking Pro Mods to grace a race track.
ACW also reports on the Mopar EuroNats at Santa Pod, NSRA Super Nationals, Americana and Rounds 3 and 4 of the UK Muscle Car Power Tour series at Shakespeare County Raceway. Feature cars include John Smith's awesome Henry J Pro Street, Paul Riley's '67 Ford Mustang, and Concepts from Chryslers.
The November issue is out now from all leading newsagents priced £3.75.
30th October: UK blown-alcohol altered racer Dave Grabham has had to withdraw from Saturday's Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway where he was due to make demonstration passes in Freddy's Revenge. As of yesterday the block and crank were still away for work leaving no time to rebuild even if they came back now.
Swiss Top Fuel Dragster racer and Eurodragster.com News sponsor Urs Erbacher will be contesting this weekend's AC Delco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals. For up-to-the-moment updates over the weekend we recommend the Drag Race Central web site at www.dragracecentral.com and NHRA's own web site at www.nhra.com which is served by the Drag Race Central crew.
A little closer to home and Eurodragster.com will be broadcasting the Webster Race Engineering/MPM Oil webcam from Saturday's Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway. The webcam will go on-line at approximately 07:30 and will broadcast a picture every sixty seconds until the track closes. Our Flame and Thunder Show photo gallery, definitely featuring Peter's shots and maybe with some pictures by Tog, will be published on Sunday in association with American Car Imports.
Could users of our Jeff Bull Race Engines and Performance Parts-sponsored Swap Meet please bear in mind the rule against repeatedly posting the same advertisement to move it up the page. We will remove duplicate advertisements leaving only the original, and in extreme cases we will remove all instances and any subsequent re-posts. If you wish to feel hard-done-by then please do, but at the same time please bear in mind how much the advertisement is costing you, and how much additional time and aggravation such breaches of Swap Meet rules cause us.
Editor's note: Only a very brief news update today because of pressure of work in your News Editor's day job. Tune back tomorrow for some words and pictures from Europeans in the USA, and please keep those news items coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
29th October: We were shocked to hear of the death of Kamil Korsak of Italy's Ferretti Racing Top Fuel Bike team. Kamil was killed in a road accident at the age of only 22.
"Yesterday morning Kamil was riding his motorcycle on his way to work with us", say Antonio and Luigi Ferretti. "A car crossed the road without giving way and killed him.
"Kamil had been working with our team for three years. He had a big passion for motors and he came to races with worked with us. He had also started to race in sprints in Italy. We are sorry for this terrible loss."
We are sure that everyone will join us in sending their deepest sympathies to Kamil's family, to Antonio and Luigi, and to all of his friends.
Erbacher wants a Wally.
29th October: Swiss Top Fuel Dragster racer and Eurodragster.com News sponsor Urs Erbacher has earned four FIA European Championships in his drag racing career and is now travelling six thousand miles from Geneva to Las Vegas to add another piece of hardware to his trophy case - a Wally from an NHRA National Event.
Earlier this year, prior to the start of the FIA season, Erbacher competed in four NHRA events and earned the distinction of becoming the first European-based racer in more than three decades to win an elimination round. Erbacher did so in impressive style, taking out #1 qualifier Alan Bradshaw at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston. Prior to Erbacher's big win, the last European to claim a Top Fuel round in the USA was Clive Skilton in 1977.
"That was one of the biggest round wins of my career because of what it meant back home," Erbacher said. "When we returned for our regular season in Europe, everyone was very excited for our team. All the other racers and crewmen came to us with congratulations. They were happy to see one of their own have success in America.
"We race hard in Europe. It means just as much for our teams as NHRA does for the teams here. But, it is a bit different. We don't quite have the numbers of American drag racing. The effort and the competition are just as high, but the tracks are a change from here in the USA.
"We will be ready to win again in Las Vegas. I am very excited to race once again with my American friends and to see our fans over here. Our team is really working well right now and I expect a strong outing this weekend."
Erbacher showed well in his four NHRA starts, successfully qualifying his rail at all four venues. His advantage on American soil comes from his Crew Chief Wayne Dupuy, a Louisianan who has tuned numerous Pros on the NHRA Tour including the late Darrell Russell, Whit Bazemore, Don Lampus, and Morgan Lucas.
Dupuy traveled around Europe with Erbacher for this year's FIA schedule, which was plagued by bad weather. Even so, the wildly popular Erbacher maintained his rock star status thanks to another full season of his reality television show Kings of Nitro, a smash hit on Discovery Channel EMEA which airs in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The show follows Erbacher's Top Fuel race team and his work at his custom motorcycle shop in Arlesheim, Switzerland.
Erbacher's custom motorcycle shop Fat Attack Cycles will share sponsorship space on his dragster at this weekend's eighth annual ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals with Tahiti Village Resort of Las Vegas, Midland Oil, and SCSIT.
29th October: Congratulations to Joanne Carruthers and Bruce Frame who have each won a family ticket to this Saturday's Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway in the latest contest on Eurodragster.com. Jo and Bruce correctly answered that Jari Halinen won the Pro Fuel Shootout at Easter, that Roger Goring clocked 6.237 at the FIA European Finals, and that Risto Poutiainen won the Nitro Fuel Shootout at the UK National Finals. Thanks to everybody who entered, and a big Thank You to Santa Pod Raceway for putting up the prize.
On the subject of the Flame and Thunder Show, a running order and entry list of demo racers, as well as other details such as ticket prices, are available on Santa Pod Raceway's web site at www.santapod.com.
Nigel Batsford has asked us to thank Shakespeare County Raceway's medical team, especially Ian, for their excellent and prompt help after he suffered a nitrous burn at the Halloween Bonfire Burn up at the weekend.
Much-missed UK Super Comp racer Belinda Bull has been in touch to wish husband and Eurodragster.com Swap Meet sponsor Jeff Bull a Happy 5th Wedding Anniversary. Congratulations and have a great day guys.
European Championships DVD out now.
29th October: Many thanks to Caroline Day of Santa Pod Raceway for letting us know that the official 2008 FIA and FIM/UEM Championship Review DVD is now available.
The two-disc set features 220 minutes of FIA Championship action in Top Fuel Dragster, Top Methanol Dragster, Top Methanol Funny Car, Pro Modified and Pro Stock, and ninety minutes of FIM/UEM action in Top Fuel Bike, Supertwin, and Pro Stock Bike at Santa Pod Raceway, Alastaro, and Mantorp Park. As well as the racing, the DVD set includes interviews and a look behind the scenes.
The DVD set comes in at £19.99 plus postage and packing and is available now via Santa Pod Raceway's web site at www.santapod.com or via SPR's hotline on 01234 782828 (outside the UK +44 1234 782828). Alternately, if you are coming to Saturday's Flame and Thunder Show, then you will be able to buy your copy from the Pod Shop in the pits.
We will bring you a review of the DVDs as soon as we get a look at them.
Web site updates.
29th October: Eurodragster.com Reserve Photographer Peter Donaldson has updated his Fotopic gallery with shots from the weekend's Halloween Bonfire Burn up at Shakespeare County Raceway. You can check out Peter's pictures at peterdonaldson5305.fotopic.net.
Our good buddy Alan Currans has updated his excellent Acceleration Archive with a seventh page of Comp Altereds from way back when. Amongst the forty one pictures are shots of the Page brothers' Panic, Barry Sheavills' Stagecoach, Mick Saunders' Animal and many more besides. Of particular note, given its return to the track this weekend, are thirteen images of the legendary Stripteaser. You can check out Alan's pictures via the What's New link on the Site Map at www.theaccelerationarchive.co.uk.
28th October: Brian Taylor has been in touch for help with his forthcoming book Crazy Horses which charts the history of drag racing in the UK. "I’m trying to locate a good quality black and white or colour 1966 action shots of the Golden Hind (rebuilt Harvey Aluminum Special) and Rex Sluggett’s Duke of Cornwall", says Brian. "I have some good-quality black and white static shots of the Duke of Cornwall and one colour pit shot of the back half of the Golden Hind, but if anyone out there has something special tucked away then I would welcome a call". If you can help then please drop Brian a line at email@example.com.
Pat of Shakespeare County Raceway's fire crew and wife Jackie have asked us to say a big Thank You to everyone who donated to Breast Cancer Awareness at the weekend. "The total raised was £116.36", they say. "Once again thanks to all and a special thank you to track marshal Bev for her time and effort in the fund-raising."
Web site updates.
28th October: In the latest instalment in his exclusive Racer Blog, UK Top Methanol Dragster racer and Eurodragster.com Home and News sponsor Derek Flynn announces the arrival of a big brother for his injected-nitro dragster. You can check out Derek's Blog by clicking here or by clicking on the Racer Blogs link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
27th October: Bob Roberts of Eurodragster.com Home and News sponsor Andy Robinson Race Cars writes to remind racers that Stroud harnesses and 14.1 blower restraint straps have to be returned to the manufacturer for re-certification. If any racer has any of these items which need to be recertified before next season then please forward them to ARRC as soon as possible so that they can be taken on Kate and Andy's annual visit to the PRI Show and hence save shipping costs.
Amongst the traditional seat-swaps at the weekend's Halloween Bonfire Burn Up at Shakespeare County Raceway was Alex Brawn, Director of Racing at Kawasaki UK, who took a turn on the 9.50 Bike campaigned by Tim Blakemore Racing who are of course sponsored by Kawasaki. Alex gave a good account of himself and ran as quickly as 9.7 seconds. Supertwin Fuel racer Wendy Clutterbuck took the seat of the bike yesterday (right).
A burst blower plate on the line put paid to the first launch by Nobby Hills' Houndog Fuel Funny Car at the end of the day at SCR yesterday although driver Simon Hayward will doubtless have been grateful for getting another couple of minutes' experience under his belt.
Rune Myrseth of Norway's Islanders Drag Racing Team writes on behalf of the whole team to ask us to wish Top Methanol Dragster racer Paul Ingar Udtian a very Happy Birthday. No sooner said than done, have a great Day Paul.
If you and your family fancy a day at Saturday's Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway then don't forget that two family tickets for the event are up for grabs in Eurodragster.com's latest contest, which closes tomorrow. You can check out the Flame and Thunder Show contest page by clicking here or by clicking on the Flame & Thunder contest link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
Web site updates.
27th October: We have posted a gallery of pictures from yesterday's second day of the Halloween Bonfire Burn Up at Shakespeare County Raceway. You can check out Kirstie's pictures, which are presented in association with American Car Imports, by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the Halloween Bonfire Burn up.
The official web site of the UK's Venom Racing Fuel Altered team at www.venomracing.co.uk has been updated with news of Tony Betts' racing trip to the USA.
Stripteaser set for return.
26th October: A year, almost to the day, after Andrew Gibb brought the legendary Stripteaser altered back to the UK from France the Minivan is ready to make its first outing since its restoration by Andrew and Bill Felstead of Fester Race Cars. A surprising amount of the original Jumping Doghouse will still be on the car when Andrew unleashes it at next Saturday's Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway.
"The body is original although it had to be modified slightly because the current minimum wheelbase rules meant that we had to lenghthen the car", Andrew told Eurodragster.com. "The motor is the original Jaguar rebuilt by Bill Felstead after some machining work by Gosnays - in fact Bill was Jaguar trained. We will be running on injected methanol with nitrous although at Santa Pod next week we will just run methanol so that I can get used to the car. The steering and steering boxes are the originals as are the tinwork, fuel system, front and rear wheels, back axle, body mount, brake and chute levers and the seat.
"The chassis had to be replaced and is a Mark Williams chromoly Funny Car chassis reduced from 125 inches to 90 inches and tagged to 7.50 seconds. We have a new slider clutch and three-speed air-shift Lenco with Browell bellhousing. The clutch has been around a bit as it was in Paranoia and also Danny Cockerill's Rover."
The car was started up and launched last week at Andrew's own private drag strip, otherwise known as his business Romford Self Storage. "We found some issues with the fuel system last week but it went well", said Andrew. "As usual Bob Jarrett was in touch from the USA and gave us plenty of information. Bob has been there for us all the way through this project. His memory is phenomenal - he even told us the correct shades to use and we passed that on to Dave Richards who modified the body and then applied the paint. I can't thank Bob enough as we could not have done this without him."
Sponsorship this year came from Castrol and Andrew says that negotiations are underway for backing in 2009 when he will be running Stripteaser in Pro ET and maybe Comp Eliminator. "When we have the nitrous on we will be happy with mid to high nines", said Andrew. "But the big objective has been to get the car out there which we would have done a lot earlier had we not had problems with the engine."
We took a number of photographs during our visit yesterday and we have put together a small number into a Photo Feature presented in association with John Woolfe Racing. You can check out the Feature by clicking here or by clicking on the Features, Interviews, Tributes link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
On the job training with Showtime.
26th October: In one of those spooky coincidences which crop up every so often, no sooner do we feature the return of Stripteaser than we hear from the car's former owner Bob Jarrett who is offering driver and crew training on the Showtime Fuel Funny Car team.
"To keep the momentum of Funny Car moving forward we need more cars", says Bob. "That means more teams, drivers and subsequently more crew. More cars just takes healthy cheque books. Quality crew are very hard to find.
"As far as drivers are concerned we are not offering a rent-a-ride like the Top Fuel car owners do, but a way of getting a driver licenced so that he or she can move on to their own car and team. I can supply a complete turnkey car for sale at any time."
For more information or to get in touch with Bob, check out his advertisements under the Drivers/Crew Required section of our Jeff Bull Race Engines and Performance Parts-sponsored Swap Meet.
25th October: Scott Price has dropped us this picture of the National Association of Supertwins' Mint Trophy which will be presented to the NAST's best-looking bike of 2008.
German Top Methanol Dragster racer Timo Habermann has been in touch to let us know that Werner Habermann Racing has room to spare in a forty-foot container which is leaving the USA in three weeks, after the NHRA Finals at Pomona. "If you want to put a car, engine, tyres or whatever in the container then please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk about it", says Timo.
We have three birthdays today. First up, a very Happy Birthday to our good friend Gittli Koller of Peter Schöfer Racing. Mummy Hoops, Boris, Annalieze, Little Angel, Spaniel and no less a personage than Top Fuel Dragster racer Lex Joon have been in touch to ask us to say a big Happy 19th Birthday to Kirsty Gibb. Finally, Happy Birthday to Top Fuel Dragster racer and Eurodragster.com News sponsor Urs Erbacher. We hope that all three of you have great days.
Andy and Gill of the Artful Dodger Super Pro ET team have been in touch to congratulate to UK Fuel Altered racer and Eurodragster.com Home and News sponsor Matthew Wright and his bride Danielle who were married in Las Vegas on Thursday. Best wishes to Matt and Danielle for many happy years.
Web site updates.
25th October: Jamie Dyks has updated his Fotopic gallery with shots from the UK National Finals at Santa Pod Raceway. You can check out Jamie's shots at topnitro.fotopic.net.
First-footing with Fuel.
24th October: Already hugely popular in the USA, the Nostalgia Fuel scene looks set to pick up in Europe and in on the ground floor is the UK's Jon Best whose Bassline Nostalgia Fuel Slingshot (right, click on picture for large version) made its first runs this season after two years' construction. Jon has been in touch with a review of his first season:
The car itself was fabricated from scratch with full aluminium panel work by Bill Felstead of Fester Race Cars. The engine was built by Bill and myself, and is a 426 ci Big Block Chevy with an 8/71 blower running on 95% Nitromethane, with direct drive through a Crowerglide clutch. This has been achieved with input from Brendan Murry in the US, who also runs a Chevy motor on a high nitro load.
The slingshot finally maed its début at the UK Truck Show, in static display format. It probably looked strange to onlookers to see a bare chassis with no steering, sat in the pits but at the time we weren't in a position to fire up the car anywhere else to check anything. We made a few brief warm-ups via a squeezy bottle of petrol and, having had no money or time to sort out a starter motor and batteries, we were lucky enough to borrow the starter from Nick and Sue Osgathorp's Excalibur AA/FD for the weekend - thanks guys! Having filled the tank with a brew of 95% nitro, it was time to see what the Chevy motor thought of it. I'd put together the fuel system set-up after it being given the thumbs up by my US-based consultant, Brendan Murry. Initially the idle was a bit on the lazy side, but for the impromptu cacklefest it was sufficient to make a bit of noise, which pleased the truckers and spectators. Sunday was a similar deal, but with more idle everything sounded a little stronger.
The Peak Performance Day at Santa Pod in August was the on-track début. The tinwork was largely complete bar the front panels, but it was sufficient to attempt a run. Having signed on, it suddenly dawned that I'd not travelled down a drag strip for several years, and the last time was in something fairly pedestrian. What I didn't realise at the time was that it would make me the youngest front-engined Fuel car driver and owner in the UK in a long time, and possibly the youngest in the world if you include the AA/FD Heritage guys in the US. As far as I know this is still correct.
The first burnout wasn't too bad, but having tapped the fuel lever with the brake lever, the motor leaned out as I coasted to a halt. Back to the pits to refuel and try again. We ended up being the very last car to go down the track, this time with a bit more success. The burnout was short and sharp. I found reverse eventually, but with very little stall in the clutch, it took what felt like half a week to back up to the startline. Once in forward gear, a quick check from Bill and Johnny Hall and I eased into stage under the gaze of the crew and Darren Prentice. At the hit, everything turned a little chaotic. Despite having no weight in the clutch, the front end climbed a little violently. I pedalled twice and ended up tripping the sixty foot beams on the back wheels in 1.616 seconds. I idled down the track, which took all of nineteen seconds, whilst trying to turn the fuel off with the lever gaffa-taped in the on position! The initial front end lifting was partly due to the clutch grabbing the engine, and having burnt a lot of fuel reversing from the burnout there was little in way of front end ballast weight.
By the Hot Rod Drags we were ready for a full weekend of testing. I'd progressed to my own starter motor, but had to borrow Nick and Sue's battery pack (thanks again guys). The Excalibur slingshot was pitted next to us, and it's truly gobsmackingly beautiful: a credit to both Nick, Sue, and artist Ray Mumford. On Saturday, with the motor sounding healthy, we were told to shut off due to the diaper dragging, and I'm glad we were, as it would have been ripped to shreds and diapers are £200 a pop. We also had a fuel leak which was actually the drain holes in the headers, which stop once the headers have enough heat in them.
I wanted to save the fuel we had for Sunday, having not got a run in during Saturday. However, to keep the crowd and organisers happy - a big thank you to the NSRA - we took part in the cacklefest on Saturday night, using a whole ten gallons of fuel in a few minutes. Hopefully the crowd enjoyed it, I was in heaven! On Sunday we were ready for another attempt at a pass. The diaper was not going to droop again, I made sure of that. Having been suited up for forty minutes, I was a little warm. Having got the signal to fire up I proceeded with the burnout, and having backed up in double quick time (poor Mr Mental had to get a jog on, sorry Johnny) I was shut off again and that was our weekend done.
I'll be at the Flame and Thunder Show, thanks again to Nick and Sue but for some fuel this time! I'm itching to get some track time as this year started late and hasn't been all I'd hoped for. Hopefully I'll see some of you there! A big thank you to my crew Bill, Johnny and Dave, and to Hazel for sticking by me, ICE Automotive, Brendan Murry, and Nick and Sue Osgathorp for helping with all manner of things over the last few months, along with Andrew and Sandie Gibb and the Crow Lane Mob! Lastly to Eurodragster.com for another year of top notch event and news coverage. To all racers, spectators and friends: thank you all, and have a fantastic Christmas and New Year.
In 2009 I'll be racing at selected Supercharged Outlaw events and a few Peak Performance Days, with the latter half of the year being dedicated to putting together a Nostalgia Funny Car for 2010. This will be a 1979 Corvette bodied chassis, with a current spec Nostalgia FC KB motor and another home-brewed tune up!
Full details on the slingshot are available on my web site at www.basslinetopfuel.com.
24th October: If you fancy some testing and tuning to close the season then Santa Pod Raceway are hosting two more Run What You Brungs this year: this Sunday (26th) and Sunday week, 2nd November. £10 will get you through the gate and £20 and the production of a valid DVLC licence will buy you as many runs as you can manage on the prepped track. For more details check out www.rwyb.com.
Web site updates.
24th October: Our good buddy Sharkman has updated his web site Sharkman's Top End Tales with pictures from the UK National Finals at Santa Pod Raceway. You can check out Sharkman's shots at www.topendtales.com. If you like what you see then don't forget that you can purchase prints or the usage of Sharkman's and other photographers' shots courtesy of Eurodragster.com News sponsor Supercharged Images at www.superchargedimages.com.
Olstad's innovation in action.
23rd October: Continuing a long and honourable tradition of innovation in drag racing, Norwegian Supertwin racer Hans Olav Olstad didn't give up when an approach to the Norwegian Technical High School to use their wind tunnel was rejected. After a few hours' thought, Hans Olav and his team built their own wind tunnel outside his workshop:
First we called around to find a proper fan. Some farms have lots of things lying around, and we were able to get a nice 7.5 Kw motor with a fan and frame from a hay-dryer. A six metre long tunnel was made out of eight sheets of aluminum plate. Some electric connections had to be made and the fan was working at the second attempt. The big surprise was the fan blew real fast. At the moment we are waiting for a sensor to measure the windspeed.
Next step was to borrow a smoke generator from Stravinsky Night Club in Oslo. We uses a hose from a vacuum cleaner connected to the smoke generator to lead the smoke around to different places to see how the air moved around the bike. It worked real fine, and gave us lot of answers how the air is moving.
So for next season we are probably going to show up with some interesting aerodynamic solutions on the Lightning Supertwin. For more information, go to the team web page at www.olstadracing.no.
Erbacher's charity ride.
23rd October: 2007 FIA European Top Fuel Dragster Champion and Eurodragster.com News sponsor Urs Erbacher is extremely anxious to return to the United States and compete in the final two races of the 2008 POWERade Series. But before the four-time FIA Champ left his native Switzerland, he helped raise another $8,500 for children with heart issues through his annual Days of Steel motorycle ride.
Erbacher's world renowned motorcycle shop, Fat Attack Custom Bikes in Arlesheim, Switzerland, helped start Days of Steel five years ago as a fun way to raise money for Kinderherzen, a foundation that pays for ailing children from third world countries to be flown to University Clinic-Freiburg in Germany, for life-saving heart operations.
Each year Erbacher, many of his crew personnel, friends, and the entire TriRhena Chapter of Harley Riders from Germany, France, and Switzerland, organize this fun ride to Europa Park in Freiburg, Germany, which is one of the continent's largest amusement parks.
More than one hundred bikers filled the roadways this year, parading through the triborder area much to the delight of thousands of spectators that cheered them along the way. Numerous civic groups, clubs, and associations participated and donated time and money to the effort.
On 12th Octiber TriRhena Chapter President Ismael Lopez joined Erbacher to present a check in the amount of €6,500 ($8,500) to Kinderherzen representatives in front of the Collosium Hotel at Europa Park. This amount was up considerably from the €5,000 Euros ($6,500) raised in 2007.
Next year's Days of Steel has been scheduled for 20th June 2009. More details can be found at www.daysofsteel.com.
23rd October: Stefan Graff writes from Germany to let us know that you can check out this year's final results in the All Harley Drags at www.all-harley-drags.de and in the Street Outlaw Series at www.street-outlaw-et.org.
An anonymous admirer writes to ask us to wish a very Happy Birthday to 2008 B&H Automotive Street Eliminator UK Champion Steve Pateman. No sooner said than done, have a great day Steve.
Leena writes from Finland to congratulate a rookie driver who just started his drag racing career in Finland. "His name is Leigh Umney", says Leena, "he comes from Bedford in the UK and will be racing Super Pro ET in Finland next season. 'Lee Boy' turns twenty today and we'd like to say Happy Birthday from good old Finland, the land of the Lynx and other wild creatures."
The TV show Fast Lane about which we wrote on Tuesday has been received with mixed reviews ranging from admiration for the courage of a featured Wild Bunch team to disgust at Shakespeare County and Santa Pod Raceways being depicted as "Frequented by brain-dead, sad, spotty, teenage, chav boy racers in hot hatches". Another correspondent writes "I really hope that very few people who know nothing about drag racing watched it, as it was quite possibly the worst advert for the sport that there could have been". Not having seen the programme we can't come down on one side or the other but on a straw poll basis the majority of opinion we've seen agrees with the latter views.
SCR closes out 2008 with Burn Up.
23rd October: It's the annual 'Let your hair down party' at Shakespeare County Raceway this weekend for the third annual Halloween Bonfire Burn Up, writes Jerry Cookson. This two-day Public Track Day weekend is expected to draw cars and bikes from all over to the Warwickshire drag strip which is featuring several special events in addition to the racing action.
Making a welcome return for some test laps will be Nobby Hills and driver Simon Hayward with the Houndog Chevy Camaro Funny Car, along with Junior Olley in the hot seat of the Dakota Thunder Jet Truck on Sunday.
The much talked about shootout between 4WD European record holder Mick Begley and Keith Cowie in their Skylines is set to rumble on for some late season fireworks on Sunday.
The Supercharged Outlaws are expecting to field a six car entry for their final points outing of the season with Mark Needham joining the cast with his blown methanol Topolino altered. Adding further nostalgia to the show will be the ever-popular wheel standing slingshots and altereds that is the Wild Bunch.
For American muscle car fans the weekend will see the crowning of the eventual winner of the 30th running of the NASC's Gary's Picnic along with the Muscle Car Power Tour Series. SCR will be staging its final Street Car and Bike Challenge of the season on Sunday while Saturday night sees the Halloween Ball with kids and adult Halloween costume contest, trailer decorating contest, and trailer to trailer Trick or Treating plus the usual bonfire and fireworks.
Kidderminster based circuit racer Nathan Freke is looking forward to his return visit Shakespeare County Raceway on Sunday in an attempt to blast his self-built two-litre Toyota sports car into the record books as the quickest MR2 outside America. Nathan, Champion in the 2006 UK Formula Ford Championship, has spent most of this year with teams racing in the American-based Indy Lights series as well as running the Nurburgring 24 hour race in a Fiat 500, but also took time out in July to run in the popular Ten of the Best RWD competition at Elvington Airfield. At the 2007 event, Nathan took top honours with a European best of 10.41. The current world best mark stands at 9.72/143.8 mph set by Antonio Baumgartner. At this year's event, Nathan was up in the final against a 3.5 Granada with over 1000 bhp but comfortably beat the Ford across the finish line.
This weekend at Shakespeare County, Nathan will be looking towards that elusive nine-second pass, and with the help of Mickey Thompson ET drag slicks supplied by Lee Child of LA Racing Parts, he very well may do that provided the conditions on the day are just right! Nathan has already run mid-tens at 144 mph on Mickey Thompson ET Street Radials. Nathan's car is self prepared with support of Marangoni Tyres, Owen Developments, Wizards of NOS, Rouge, and lots of time and effort.
The track is open from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm (track and weather conditions permitting) on Saturday and between 10.30/11.00 am to 5.00pm on Sunday. Admission is £10 per person per day or £20 for a weekend pass. RWYB track fee is £20 per day per driver or £35 for the weekend. As well as your costume remember to bring your driving licence. For details, check out the Events page on the track web site at www.shakespearecountyraceway.co.uk. See you at the strip!
Turbo amongst the classics.
23rd October: UK Supertwin racer Ian Turburville thought his season was over after the UK National Finals and had reconciled himself to a depressing, long, cold, winter of nitro deficiency:
What made it worse was that after our all-night thrash at the Finals to replace the damaged cylinders and pistons, the bike was all ready to race, good to go, and was going to sit there looking at me all winter. As last weekend approached the weather improved with one beautiful, brisk, sunny day after another as if to annoy me even more after a ruined, rainy, race season! I just had to have one last blast and noticed that Santa Pod were hosting the National Sprint Association's 50th Anniversary meet. There were going to be a lot of famous faces and machines including a lot of my all time heroes. I made a quick call to NSA Chair Tony Hodgson who said he would be delighted for me to join in the proceedings so I dug out my best Simpson pudding basin crash-hat, donned my goggles and set off!
Brum and Chris from Northants Nitro agreed to help at the drop of a (flat) hat but couldn't make it until the Sunday. Setting the rig and bike up takes over half a day minimum, and three people to put up the awning, so I was there Saturday by myself in a jam! They pitted my truck opposite the lovely Pit Stop restaurant, right next to Martin Hill's truck and awning, and this was to be my salvation. I tried to get hold of Martin but he was away in the States and could not be reached. I know Martin quite well and hoped he wouldn't mind one very careful squatter for the day as the strong headwind made pitting outside impossible with all the dust and debris flying around. So I cheekily moved in to his pit. Thanks mate, big drink coming your way and good luck at the Flame and Thunder Show on 1st November.
There was a big turn out of a very wide variety of machines for the 50th Anniversary, from modern to vintage and we had a great time wandering the pits and marvelling at the sprint machines which are quite different to drag machines! Henry Body, Dennis Norman, Sheelagh Neal, Bernard White, Pete Williams and John Hobbs, all the greats, there with bikes racing just as they were in their heyday. The smell of Castrol R wafted down the pit lanes as racers bump started their bikes in the Drifting area of the pits. They even had their own version of Crazy Tak, a Japanese enthusiast named Shinya Ishigami was there with a really neat 1953 Triumph T100 which he thrashed until it broke. We had a lot of visitors to the Fireforce awning that weekend curious about the strange looking monster of a bike that lurked within, most hadn't seen a modern day Supertwin close up and were amazed at the size of Mr Spokehead. A thousand questions were posed and answered on Sunday.
One very special visitor came and had a nice chat then asked to borrow some nitro. I of course obliged and he thanked me, shook my hand, and said "Nice to meet you, my names Brian Chapman", well after I got off my knees (we're not worthy) I went over to look at two of my all time favourite bikes, the legendary Mighty Mouse and its big brother Super Mouse. These were the bikes that inspired me so much in my youth and to see Brian still racing them was an all-time dream come true!
Further down the pits there was another bunch of modern racers causing a bit of a stir so we ambled down to take a look. It was Barry Eastman and Mick Hand with their new age Funny Bike on its maiden outing. What a fantastic piece of kit! Lorcan Parnell was going to do the riding honours and it all seemed to go pretty well, with a strong burn-out, but then they found out that their crank-case breather needed to be double its size! They seemed happy with it all though. John Hobbs put in some great mid eight second passes and looked like he had never taken a break. He told me that was the fastest he had gone in twenty years! The track was surprisingly good considering the cold and strong headwind, coupled with the fact that there had been no big cars laying rubber down for a while but some of the modern bikes were having trouble hooking up off the line. Keith Parnell was there on his ZX12 but also had the new re-incarnation of his old Rouge et Noir Triumph there. Bikes were buring out the proper way by putting their front wheels against the towers as they always did, the memories flooded back!
I would like to thank the NSA members who patiently lined up to race only to watch me seeming to push in at the head of the queue each time I ran. There is a reason for this! A big motor like mine, running a big dose of nitro, normally aspirated, needs to be a certain temperature to run. The pumps on our bikes are so big and deliver so much fuel that you are in danger of drowning the spark if conditions are not right, and nitro needs heat to burn. If it is below 15 C then you are in danger of blowing the motor to hell, and it was on the verge all weekend. The Pod staff know this and I was instructed to warm the bike up in the pits, bring it straight down to the line, give them the nod and they would run me there and then. They even gave the track a quick prep to help me out, total professionals! Apologies if anyone got upset at my jumping the queue, I am not really that rude!
I got three runs in and finally softened the clutch enough to make a decent'ish pass and we ended the day with a nice soft wheels-up 8.17/191. What I didn't realise until today was that it was the fastest and quickest time of the meeting! Definitely a wonderful day of racing and the perfect way to end the season.
I would like to thank the NSA for having us, Santa Pod Raceway for looking after us, Sue for feeding us, Brum and Chris for crewing and Martin Hill for housing us.
Pictures courtesy and ©Timtime.co.uk
Web site updates.
23rd October: If you've checked out and enjoyed Peter's shots from Sunday's NSA Motorcycle Sprint at Santa Pod Raceway here on Eurodragster.com, you will be pleased to read that Peter has now posted his full tranche of NSA Motorcycle Sprint pictures on his Fotopic gallery at peterdonaldson5305.fotopic.net.
Very slightly off-topic but we know we have a lot of Land Speed Record fans amongst the Eurodragster.com readership, and if you are outside the UK you may not have heard about this: Richard Noble has today announced a new World Land Speed Record challenger, named Bloodhound, designed to achieve 1000 mph. You can find out more at www.bloodhoundssc.com.
Tales from the NFAA Awards.
22nd October: The Bennett Racing blown-altered team had a good night at the Nostalgia Fuel Altered Association Awards Evening. Team member and Eurodragster.com Blogger Luke Bennett (right) says that the evening and the award of the Spirit of Fuel Altered Trophy made a superb end to a hard year:
We have had to deal with my cancer, money worries due to no sick pay from my work, my mum was involved in a huge car crash, it's not been nice to say the least. We also completely rebuilt the Topolino from the ground up, turning out a car completely self-built and of which I am very proud. We just need to get it down the track now.
Can I just say a massive Thank You to all those that voted for me. I was totally shocked, and I would also like to apologise for not saying anything, I felt like I was a bit ignorant afterwards but I genuinely didn't know what to say, for once! I was quite choked with it, to be honest.
My mum went to pieces as out of all of us it hit her hardest. But as I told her in hospital no way would it beat me, getting told you have got bowel cancer at twenty six is not nice but I took it on the chin and got on with it, nothing I could do about it other than get it out of my body. Mum would also like to say a big thank you to the NFAA for her own award. The gesture meant more to her than the trophy; she puts up with a lot from us lot and fully deserved it.
As I have probably said many times, cancer affects a scary number of people and not all pull through so I am glad to be on other side as I was about half an hour from being in the ground on Christmas Eve 2007. So again a massive heartfelt Thank You to you all. This year has not been nice for any of us, and my family has been so good in each of their own little ways. As has been mentioned on here I did vote for my family and would like to dedicate and share this award with them. Yes, we do argue a lot as some people may see at the track but that is just the passion we have for drag racing! But without them I would be dead, simple as that.
Next up I would like to say a huge thank you to Dave Grabham for shaving his head and beard, I know that he was saving that for when he ran a six and I know what it means to wait along time for a six, so I know what it meant to him. So a big thanks to him and the Freddy's Revenge crew for collecting the money, so far over £700 just on the night, bringing our total for Macmillan to over £1400 so getting closer by the day to our target of £2500. So thanks Dave, you're a star.
Last but not least I would like to say thanks to Glenn and Mandy for sponsoring and organizing the Spirit of Fuel Altered award, only been running for two years now but its really made a brilliant end to a bad year for us, so here's to next year and some 6.1s at 215+ mph!
I still think it should have gone to Sarah...her courage and strength amaze me and she helped me get through it. And Sarah, if you're reading this, keep your chin up.
Fuel Altered pilot Tony Betts also has his own tale from the NFAA Awards Evening. "Firstly, many thanks to Lawrie Gatehouse and Judith for all their hard work this year", says Tony.
"On the morning, after things came to light which happened the previous evening with a fair amount of alcohol consumed. A comment from fellow Fuel Altered pilot Jim Usher (left) about the size of my belly left us with a shake of the hands over a tank of nitro to see who could lose weight first. The agreement was the first to get down to fourteen stone. A trip to the leisure centre within the hotel lead to a weigh-in at the front desk. Jim was sixteen stone seven pounds and I was sixteen stone so once again I get a head start. The race begins!". We will be keeping track of this story during the off-season and will bring you updates as we receive them.
Roger wins Lovett Memorial placing.
22nd October: Anyone who knows Eurodragster.com Photo Editor Roger Gorringe knows that he is not one to trumpet his achievements, and we had more evidence of that this week when we more or less had to drag out of him the excellent news that he had won a Top Three placing in a prestigious drag racing photography competition. Under the threat of withdrawal of his 2009 expenses we persuaded Roger to tell us all about it:
The Leslie Lovett Memorial Photo Contest is in memory of Leslie Lovett, the famed NHRA National Dragster photographer who worked on that publication for almost three decades before succumbing to a fatal heart attack in July 1996. Each year since, American drag racing photographers have submitted their vintage shots, the remit being for entered photos to be at least twenty years old. Many a legendary photographer has entered and a few have taken one of the annual three places awarded.
In 2008, after many prompts during the last couple of years by famed US automobile photojournalist Bob McClurg (a past winner) and British photojournalist and Eurodragster.com Honorary Staff Member Andy Willsheer, I gave in to the badgering and entered my 1978 photo of Mickey Naylor's wheelie - to be found in the History section of my web site www.nitroexposure.co.uk - which destroyed the last front engined Top Fuel car in Europe, possibly the world.
The Awards were presented during the pre-race ceremonies on the Sunday morning of the California Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield, California and I was called up front to be awarded by Dave Wallace Jr. The photo had been awarded third place, a feat I never dreamed of. It was such an honour be included alongside veteran names like Steve Reyes who got this year's second place and National Dragster lensman Richard Brady who secured first prize. I am told that this was the first international entry and that I must raid my archives and submit more next year.
We're sure that everyone will join Simon, Kirstie and Tog in congratulating Roger on a well-deserved award.
Picture courtesy and ©Peter Hulbert
22nd October: Danish Top Methanol Funny Car racer and Eurodragster.com Home and News sponsor Dan Larsen's new TMFC is on its way from the USA. "The car is due to arrive in mid to late November", says Joan Larsen. "The whole team are getting excited about seeing it for real. We have our Team Christmas Party at the start of December and we are all looking forward to being able to touch the car that day". If you need a hi-fi for your car then you could do a lot worse than check out Dan's wares at www.autohifi.dk.
Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that we have started to replace the library of shots on our Home Page picture randomiser. If you should be presented with a blank picture box or experience any other problem with Home Page pictures then please drop us a line with details at email@example.com.
Westbound again with PMR.
22nd October: Eurodragster.com News sponsor Paul Marston has once again headed off for sunnier climes, with the second of his annual trips to the southern USA for fact finding and parts buying. On the last trip in February Paul and Bill Felstead rescued the parts and spares orders for about a dozen UK race teams, but this trip has more of a racing flavour:
The current credit crunch has seen the drag strips in the South fighting all the harder for the drag racer's dollar and there is just a fantastic choice of events to contest or watch. On Paul's first weekend he will hopefully, weather permitting, hit three races in two different states and cover around a thousand miles with ease. Not only that, but there is a strong possibility that Paul will be competing in a number of local track Friday and Saturday night bracket races. With our season cut short for the second year in succession, Paul is looking forward to the seat time although he is not exactly sure what he will be driving. It will most probably be a doorslammer and more than likely a Dodge.
The other purpose of the trip is to look look at the latest technology available for Super class racing and to look at how these can be incorporated into PMR's Super class entries including the UK National Super Comp Championship winning PiranaZ-backed dragster. There are also refinements planned for Grumpy's Dodge and the Whoopass Monza to make them even more consistent and competitive for the 2009 season. Paul will also be returning to the Bradenton Best of Both Worlds bracket race in early November, at which he competed in ex-pat Tony Morris' BLP-backed Dragster in 2006.
Paul has also provided his Crew Chief with a written undertaking that he will not be buying any more race cars whilst over there and he has assured the whole crew that unless he can carry it he can't buy it. Along with the Goodyear yyre order and the usual stuff, Paul will also put in a bulk order for Dzus tools as the PMR crew has in their midst a Dzus tool eating monster, who always seems to be hungry.
Paul Marston would like to thank in advance all of his racing buddies in the NHRA Division 2 for all their help and assistance enabling him to climb the logistical mountain of organising competing so far away a lot easier. Stay tuned to Eurodragster.com for updates from the USA.
Turbo Dynamics press release.
22nd October: Saturday 27th September saw two racing legends go head-to-head at Shakespeare County Raceway in a quarter mile drag shootout to see who was the fastest. The shootout was called after Keith Cowie beat Mick Begley on the drag strip at York back in July. Rumours were rife that Begley was sandbagging on the start line because he stalled, but Begley denied this. Cowie then called for a win or lose all race to prove, once and for all, who was the fastest. The stakes were to prove which driver had the fastest reaction times, best driving skills and of course, the fastest and most powerful car.
The shootout took place at the Public Track Day at Shakespeare County Raceway with Cowie driving his famed baby-blue Nissan Skyline R32 GTR. The Turbo Dynamics turbocharged and RB Motorsport tuned Skyline has seen Cowie break records in the past and boasts over 1250 bhp! The car also broke records with a Turbo Dynamics modified and blueprinted Garrett GT4245R series spec single turbo, but has since been equipped with an even more powerful Turbo Dynamics modified and blueprinted Garrett GT4547R turbo. Meanwhile Cowie's opponent, Begley, drove a white ‘Tweenie Rob' mapped Nissan Skyline R33. The fast Skyline is fitted with twin Turbo Dynamics modified and blueprinted GT3542 one-off turbochargers.
So with two powerful Skylines, an R32 against an R33, both turbocharged by England's turbocharger specialists, Turbo Dynamics, and both proven eight-second cars, the race could go either way. Tensions were high!
Craig Hodgson, Turbo Dynamics Technical and Sales Director said of the anticipated race "It's great that we're supporting both Keith and the Begley Brothers. Obviously we wish that they both have success, however, there can only be one winner. The fact that TD supply turbochargers for both cars means we have torn loyalties, but both teams get our full backing and technical expertise at all times."
When the big day arrived, it brought with it clear blue skies and sunshine. Not quite perfect racing conditions: the drag strip was dry, but slightly hot when the pair raced. Cowie and Begley only managed one shootout against each other as Cowie's car lost water through a burst pipe during the shootout, but the one race was all that was needed to prove (to Cowie at least) who was the fastest, with Cowie beating Begley.
A delighted Cowie said "It was all friendly banter; I beat Mick at York and wanted to see if I could do it again. And, I did it again!". Laughing, he continued "If you can't get your car off the line when racing, you're gonna get beat!". Cowie also achieved a new Personal Best on the day with 8.4 secs at 169 mph down the quarter mile.
Cowie and Begley remain close friends however, with the pair running the Pro Street Drag Series, along with their friend Steve Guirey. Of the shootout, Begley said "Keith's a good lad. I like him; he's a sound fellow, but I will beat him!" Begley also said that he backed off towards the end of the race because of Cowie's problems with the car, saying that Cowie was coming across towards his lane.
In another run on the day, Begley got his big result to brag about though. Joining Cowie as an official record-breaker, Begley set a new European record in his Turbo Dynamics turbocharged Skyline with an exceedingly impressive 8.21 at 176 mph. A video of Begley's amazing run can be seen at uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Hh8aRLymENA. Not stopping there, Begley also backed the result up with an 8.23 second run at 170 mph.
Begley said of the new record, "It's unbelievable! Absolutely fantastic. A lot of hard work went into the car. My wife and children were present on the day so it was great to have their support." Begley also believes that he will be able to get seven seconds out of the car: "There is a seven in the car! It's down to launching the car properly". Delighted, he also expressed his thanks to the whole Turbo Dynamics team.
Hodgson said of the day's results "It was a shame that the anticipated grudge match failed to materialise due to technical issues, but that's the nature of motorsport. It's great to see Keith got a personal best though, it is obviously a successful result for him and his team. The fact that Mick got a European Record is a fantastic result and this goes to prove that with the correct support both teams can be immensely successful. Turbo Dynamics sends their congratulations to both teams and will continue to support them through next year's drag racing season."
Begley also came close to the 4WD European record by four hundredths of a second in May when he took the car onto the drag strip for the first time. At the time Begley said, "We managed to get a time of 8.49 secs at 166 mph. The turbos are absolutely fantastic and they are only running on low boost. We won the Pro Class hands down!". A video of that first run can be seen at uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ulOows9vJfQ.
Web site updates.
22nd October: Julian Hunt has updated his web site at www.julianhunt.net with photographs from the UK National Finals. "There's a bit of everything in there", says Julian, adding that pictures from VW Action will be posted shortly.
Feature: 2008 CHRR.
21st October: The latest in our occasional series of Features presented in association with John Woolfe Racing is Roger's report from last week's California Hot Rod Reunion at Bakersfield.
Roger's report and pictures cover all classes and you can check it out by clicking here or by clicking on the Features, Interviews, Tributes link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
Roger has also updated his Nitro Exposure web site with pictures from the UK National Finals and more shots from the CHRR as well as the latest news from the Nitro Exposure studio. You can check it all out at www.nitroexposure.co.uk.
Tre Kronor ready to roll.
21st October: From Johnny Nilsson's shop in Sylmar, California comes news that his Nostalgia Funny Car, a replica of Knut Söderquist's legendary Tre Kronor Plymouth Arrow, is ready to race (click on picture for large version).
"Next year it will be thirty years since Mr King Knut Söderquist brought the Tre Kronor Funny Car to Sweden with Harlan Thompson as driver", says Johnny. "Knut has been a friend of mine for many years. Two years ago I decided to build up the old Funny Car again but not with the old parts. The car is nearly an exact copy of the old one but with a new engine design - no iron heads today!
"Victory Race Cars built the car and Jim Dunn Racing have put together the new Brad Anderson engine. We fired up the car for the first time on 18th October and everything is looking really good now. We will race the car at the March Meet at Bakersfield next year.
"I would like to thank a lot of people for all of their help with the car: Gary Burgin, Ron Williams at Victory, Jim Dunn, Jon Dunn, my tuner Jeff Gaynor, Tom Hynd at Keith Black Racing, and Jim Rehfeld at Enderle. Thanks all of you. In a very short time I will inform you about the driver."
A Leap into Europe.
21st October: Probably one of the most successful race cars in UK drag racing, certainly for its relatively limited life so far, Spencer Tramm's Championship-winning Quantum Leap Volkswagen Corrado is in the hands of a new owner. Germany's Norbert Schneider acquired the car less engine and plans to run it in Super Pro ET in 2009.
"In my time owning the car it has been flawless", Spencer told Eurodragster.com. "In 2004 it won its début meeting in VW Alternate Engine and went on to win twenty of twenty one rounds of racing. We won Alternate Engine again in 2005 and came second in the UK National Super Gas Championship. I sat out 2006 and entered 2007 re-energised. Four weeks before Easter I decided to celebrate my thirtieth birthday and my dad's sixtieth with a new 555ci Jeff Bull engine. We ended up reaching the semis there and doing OK until the summer break. We decided to go to Shakespeare County, got to the semis again and then won the Europen Finals which up until this year's National Finals was my best race ever. At the 2008 UK National Finals I made last eight and got beaten by Mark Flavell but by then we were Champions!
"This year was odd. Right after the trophy night I fell ill and couldn't drive the Corrado at Easter. Enter Chris Isaacs - our two teams are more like one big one anyway so his filling in for me was no big deal. The Corrado was back in my hands at Big Bang and the Main Event, then for the SPRC Summernationals I lent the car to Jim Smith who did a great job in getting his license in one day and qualifying in the top five.
"Then came the UK National Finals, the best weekend you could hope for. I had offered Chris the drive in Super Pro again as Easter wasn't the best track to run a small door-car, he did the business and qualified first and won, I ran the Corrado in Alternate Engine one last time and qualified first and won, and I won VW Sportsman in my Polo too so the team was three for three and we were SPRC Super Pro ET Champions."
"This year we raced two Novas in Germany, the 1962 Silver Bullet in Street Eliminator and a 1967 Nova in Super Gas", said Norbert Schneider. "We sold the Super Gasser because it was a perfect Super Gas car but not for Super Comp. So I was looking for the perfect chassis for Super Pro ET and Super Comp. Rene Kloss gave me some information about the car. Chris Isaacs built a very consistent chassis and the price was good.
"Thomas Engelage is building us a 620 ci motor running E85, and we plan to repaint the car into the Silver Bullet scheme. Maybe next year we will come and race at Santa Pod."
"I would like the thank so many people", says Spencer. "Firstly and most importantly my parents Steve and Yvonne and my sister Kirstie. Then my fantastic crew George and Rachel Georgiou, Ady Goodier, Steve and Adele Woodbridge. Chris Isaacs for building such a great car, Jeff Bull for building an engine even I couldn't blow up! Martin and Ruth Curbishley for not only painting my car but for all of their help.
"Everyone keeps telling me that I must be sad to see it go, but right now I'm not, because I know that Norbert is going to kick some Super Pro butt next year."
21st October: Two days late due to a calendar malfunction which was totally your News Editor's fault (Sorry - constantly preaching Ed) but we would like to say a big Happy ...mumble... Birthday for Sunday to the one and only Sam of Paul Marston Racing who as you can see really hasn't put on a day in years. Hope you had a great day Sam. Happy Birthday for Sunday also to Phil Brown of Santa Pod's crew who also makes a great photo mole but as a result of this sentence probably now can't get life insurance.
Gittli Koller asked us to say a big Happy Birthday to Regina Stendel, the most senior member of the Bavarian Drag Race Club and also Gittli's mother. You have a great day Regina and take this big hug with you.
David Lloyd-Jones of Santa Pod Raceway has been in touch to let us know that Top Methanol Dragster racer Dave Wilson has been added to the racing demo line-up at the Flame and Thunder Show on Saturday 1st November. Grumpy will be making two passes in the Silverline Tools-backed injected-nitro car.
David Lloyd-Jones adds that if you would like to treat your family or reward employees then there are a few VIP and Hospitality packages left for the Flame and Thunder Show. Included in the package are access to the startline VIP suite and balcony, lunch and refreshments throughout the day, VIP parking with shuttle bus, and the opportunity to meet celebrity guest Shaun Williamson (Barry from EastEnders and John Hackney's stunt double - Ed). The cost is £79 plus VAT per person or you can book a table of ten for £650 plus VAT. Under twelves go half price. More details at www.santapod.com.
Rick Cuthbert writes to let us know that the HKS Drag Series hits the airwaves this Thursday, 23rd October, on Motors TV with the first round of the 2008 Series from the PTM Show at 8:00 pm. "This is definitely worth a watch for anyone who has been following the racing this year, or is curious to find out what it's all about", says Rick. "The shows have been produced by David Coleman and also feature some superb in-car footage and interesting off-track pieces."
Eurodragster.com Home and News sponsor Derek Flynn and everyone at Gold RV have been in touch to ask us to say a big Well Done to UK Super Pro ET racer and Eurodragster.com News sponsor Peter Walters on passing his driving test at the first attempt. No sooner said than done, well done Peter!
King Racing press release.
19th October: It was a case of déjà vu for the King Racing Top Fuel Bike team heading into the final round of the prestigious 2008 European Championship at Santa Pod Raceway in England. Once again they found themselves in second place and a mountain to climb after a number of rain-affected events curtailed their chances to make up ground on early Championship leader Rikard Gustafsson from Sweden.
Following the capture of the 2007 Championship crown at last year's event despite the seemingly greater challenge of needing to win the event, the team knew that the amiable but tough Swedish rider was determined to make the crown his once again, and following his World Record performances the preceding weekend in Denmark it was going to be difficult to gain the necessary points by both out qualifying him by two positions and win one more round of eliminations. In addition, veteran Top Fuel Bike rider Peter Svensson had made a welcome return to the event after impressive early season performances and was also in with a chance of the crown should he make a significantly better showing than the Anglo-Dutch King Racing team.
The team's slim chance of overcoming Gustafsson seemed to slip away as the gloomy forecast turned into dark clouds and the inevitable rain on the first day of qualifying. Despite the tireless efforts of the hard-working track crew sweeping the water away from the track from 4:00 am until 2:00 pm it was to no avail and the Race Director called off the day's activities.
The second day and final day of qualifying was no better than the first and the as the team peered out at the torrential rain from inside the dry warmth of the awning supplied by primary sponsor Portable Shade it seemed all was lost. The Race Director called an emergency riders' and drivers' meeting and explained that the day's activities would once again be cancelled. However, there was a glimmer of hope, a one-shot qualifying session was planned for the morning of race day and the weather forecast was slightly better than the previous two day. The team retired to their beds early, sceptical at the accuracy of the forecast due to the well known 'microclimate' that seems to surround Santa Pod but knowing that if they were to have any chance of a fourth crown they needed to be prepared at the drop of a hat.
Sunday dawned bright and rain free! The Top Fuel dragsters kicked off proceedings at 9.40 am and the Top Fuel Bike teams prepared. Then, disaster. Inexplicably the rain came down. The teams returned to their pits and mulled over packing up and taking the long trip home to their respective countries as the track drier and sweepers came back out. However, the ceaseless optimism and hard work of the track crew prevailed and by early afternoon the proceedings continued with the one-shot qualifiers.
The team made their way nervously to the start line and prepared for their run. King made a strong burnout and went into stage. Conscious that a strong showing was required King let his opponent in the other lane the luxury of leaving first and nailed the throttle. A personal best 6.248/212 was the result. The challenge was back on! The outlook became better for the team when the unfortunate Gustafsson's usual consistency failed him and gearbox maladies saw him roll to the end of the track unqualified and out of the title race. King had qualified in third place out of a bumper entry of sixteen bikes and the promise of a first round against Dutch rider Rene van den Berg which he had to win to ensure Peter Svensson could not take the 2008 crown.
In the first round King made sure of his round win with a strong personal best 6.201 secs at 'only' 169 mph after dropping two cylinders at half track. This was enough for King to see off the threat of Svensson and gain a fourth European Top Fuel Championship crown. The team had defied the odds and all that the European weather had thrown at them in 2008. An ecstatic King said "What a season! After the failure to qualify for the first round of the year I thought we had little chance, but the team and our fantastic sponsors gave me belief that all was not lost and to keep on even after the Norway event was rained off and with it our chance to make up points on Rikard. I'm overwhelmed at the hard work put in by my team of Mick Beaumont, Marius van der Zijden, Chris Powell, Martin Brookman and Gerard Willemse, and the fantastic products and services supplied by our team of associates. I'm just the rider, these are the real difference between success and failure – my thanks to you all!"
The team rely on only the best parts and services from leading companies in their chosen markets:
Portable Shade The world's premier awning and modular exhibition product company
JE Pistons The world's premier manufacturer of high performance forged pistons
Kibblewhite Precision Machining, Inc The highest quality valves and components for motorsport
Swecomposite The leading supplier of carbon fibre parts to the racing, performance and custom markets
Craft Safety Helmets The ultimate in safety and unique in design
Del West Engineering, Inc Pioneers in valve train design
Torco Oils The only oil recommended by engine manufacturers Puma Engineering.
Goedhals Precision specialist gear cutting and engineering.
Mickey Thompson Tyres The best drag race tyres in the world bar none.
Goodridge UK The original and the best in fluid transfer systems.
Gates The world's most trusted name in drive belts, hoses and hydraulics.
Vanson Leathers Thirty years producing the best quality track-tested motorcycle apparel.
Performance Machine The leader in aftermarket custom wheels, brakes and components.
Kent Cams Specialists in motorsport camshaft manufacture, short runs and one-offs.
Pro Alloy The UK's leader in fabrication of alloy racing tanks, intercoolers and radiators.
PsycleWorkz The UK's best custom and race fabricators and innovators.
House of Kolor Manufacturers of the world's most stunning specialist paints.
Cannon Engineering Gear cutting and precision engineering services.
Zodiac Europe's largest supplier of performance and aftermarket HD parts.
Pixeleye Innovative graphic and website design.
MRE Leaders in trackside support for drag race components and air shifting systems.
Customize Premier sign makers and vinyl sign and design services.
Turboville Your one stop drag racing resource.
NitroShutter, The combined efforts of ace photojournalists Ivan Sansom and Rose Hughes
Wackyshack, Creators of stunning paintwork and murals.
KB on John and Graham's departure.
19th October: Santa Pod Raceway CEO Keith Bartlett has been in touch to add to the tributes to retiring SPR commentators John Price and Graham Beckwith:
I have read most of the tributes for John Price and Graham Beckwith regarding their retirement from commentating at Santa Pod Raceway, after what seems a lifetime to so many of us. However I wanted to put my own tribute to both of them, as I have been their employer and boss if you like for some twelve years now.
Firstly like all professional people who are good at their job, John and Graham made commentating from the tower on any drag racing, or classes, look very easy. It is anything but easy and something that many people do not fully appreciate. To commentate eight hours a day (oops, first boo boo...sorry boys, eight hours plus and with no overtime), and be able to make each and every commentary informative, interesting and fun, takes a very special skill which both John and Graham have in abundance. So much so that sometimes they did not even realise just how good they can be. In fact often asking or looking for confirmation "Were we good enough?". I think their past history and experience answers that and speaks for itself. They were also the stars of Santa Pod along with the drivers and teams.
I have had the pleasure of working with both them on many projects and both were always the consummate professional and there is no doubt that John Price, as far as televised drag racing goes, was and is the Voice of Drag Racing. Both are going to be a very hard act to follow, that I know better than most.
I know that the spectators and the racers had all come to just accept that John and Graham would always be there able to cover that area of the event with ease and in a total professional manner and that is exactly how I had come to view it too: taken for granted, not in negative way but in a very positive way. Again a sign of true professionals at work.
Many people especially the racers thought that the tenure of John and Graham would never come to an end. I guess it would have seemed quite natural for both of them to just pass away in the tower, while commentating on a major international drag race meeting, or finally have become so old and worn out that a more tna eight hour shift at the microphone would finally finish them off. In fact I myself was hoping that is how their tenure at Santa Pod would end, two old men worked to death in the Tower with me standing over their bodies saying "Boys, you were good today...John, Graham are you OK, what's wrong? Get up, you've still got two hours to go". I would have liked that very much, say around the year 2020.
But it is the year 2008 and not 2020 and both of you have beaten me to that scenario and the fact remains the same, you will be sorely missed and a very hard act to follow.
As some people know John Price and myself actually do have good friendship and relationship outside of Santa Pod, both of us have young daughters under ten years of age who are also friends, and our two families see each other on a fairly regular basis. Plus John and I get to play with steam trains, both real and model, and if he thinks he is now going to have more time to play with his trains I am going to leave you all with this last thought, which John knows: he will return, just like General MacArthur in WW2, and sooner than you all and he think. Enjoy your very short retirement John, we have a busy time ahead and that goes for him up north too!
In the Fast Lane with Motors TV.
21st October: Thanks to Jerry Cookson for passing on the news that Motors TV's brand new high-octane motoring experience The Fast Lane wheelspins its way onto the High Speed Television Channel this week for the first of an action packed twelve-part series interlinked with show segments and episode promos filmed at Shakespeare County Raceway's Open Sport Nationals. The show is billed as "A brand-new television concept - interact, shape and mould each week's content, a unique blend between motoring magazine and American street racing culture. You could be there and race around TFL's purpose built circuit. Don't just watch TV – Live it!"
This week, Tim Morris and the boys pit BMW's Z4 against the Nissan 350Z and Alfa Romeo Spider to discover which roadster offers the most bang for your buck. There's also the first of the weekly Spy Guide challenges: 10,000 miles and fifty European locations in a dog-eared 1988 Lotus Esprit.
The Fast Lane begins on Motors TV on Sky Channel 413 and Virgin Media 545 at 7:00 pm today (Tuesday), 10:00 am and 11:00 pm tomorrow, 2:00 pm on Thursday, and 6:30 pm on Friday.
For full listings details visit www.motorstv.co.uk or check out www.twentyfour7.tv.
Web site updates.
21st October: Peter has provided us with a gallery of shots from Sunday's NSA Motorcycle Sprint at Santa Pod Raceway. You can check out Peter's pictures, which are presented in association with American Car Imports, by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
2009 UK diaper rule postponed.
20th October: Geoff Martin who heads up the UK Tech Crew has been in touch to inform racers that the mandatory requirement for diapers in Sportsman classes in 2009 is to be postponed for review.
"The consensus is that in the light of events in 2008 the rule requires further consideration", says Geoff. "I am announcing this early as many of you will be going to the USA to buy Christmas presents."
If you have any items for the agenda of the forthcoming UK Tech Committee meeting then the deadline is next Friday, 24th October. This is to allow the 2009 rule book to be published on time. Please send agenda items to Geoff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flame and Thunder Show contest.
20th October: Eurodragster.com has teamed up with Santa Pod Raceway to offer two lucky readers a family ticket to the Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway on Saturday 1st November. Each of the two family tickets admits two adults and up to six under-sixteens.
The Flame and Thunder Show features Fuel action from Risto Poutiainen, Siw Nystad and Barry Sheavills in two of Rune Fjeld's Top Fuel Dragsters, and Thomas Nataas in the Batmobile Fuel Funny Car, John Spuffard in the Showtime Fuel FC and Gary Page in Kenneth Lorentzon's Mongoose Performance Exhuausts and Pennzoil-sponsored Fuel FC; demonstration passes by racers; a Jap racer grudge match; Martin Hill in the Fireforce 3 Jet Funny Car, Roger Goring in the Firestorm Jet FC and Julian Webb in the Split Second Jet Dragster; Ronny Picardo's Jet Truck, Jet Beetle, wheelie car and wheelie pick-up; stunt displays; drifting demos; Titan the Robot; monster trucks; show trucks; Hot Air Balloon Glow; the traditional bonfire and two huge firework displays; and much more. Santa Pod Raceway's own radio station Nitro FM will also be making their last broadcast of the season.
You can find out more about the Flame and Thunder Show on Santa Pod Raceway's web site at www.santapod.com.
For your chance to win one of the Flame and Thunder Show family tickets, simply answer the three questions below. The answers can all be found somewhere on Eurodragster.com if you don't know them already. The winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries received. Good luck!
Question A: Who won the Pro Fuel Shootout at the 2008 Auto Trader Easter Thunderball?
Simply send an E-Mail to email@example.com giving:
For Contest rules, terms and conditions check out the Flame and Thunder Show contest page by clicking here or by clicking on the Flame & Thunder contest link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
A fitting return.
20th October: When Keith Parnell ran 8.93 in June 1975, the first bike in Europe under nine seconds, the next rider in that lane at Santa Pod Raceway was Phil Steele on a Kawasaki. So it is apt that thirty three years later Phil should have been riding Keith's Rouge et Noir II at the fiftieth anniversary of the National Sprint Association at Santa Pod yesterday, writes Peter.
Built to replace the eight second bike, Rouge et Noir II was the work of McCoy Dynamics, Keith Parnell, Mick Hand and Angus McPhail. Although the motor was originally designed to run on nitro, Phil will be using Bioethanol fuel for now, but a drop or two of the hard stuff may be added to the tank next year. Phil has had help from Pete Ford of Black Dragon Motorcycles, who has done a partial rebuild on the machine which was last run in 1999. Phil intends using the 750cc twin at sprint and maybe RWYB events during 2009. In between times Phil will continue to campaign his Turbo Hayabusa in Super Street Bike.
As the fiftieth anniversary of the NSA, it was only fitting that some of the riders and bikes of the 1960s and 1970s should be present to commemorate the occasion: John Hobbs, running mid eights on his Hobbit, Dennis Norman, Ray Law, Brian Chapman, Duncan Hocking, Pete Miller, Keith Parnell, and Mick Hand to name but a few making up a Who's Who of UK sprinting/drag racing history.
Although a little cold and windy, it was nonetheless an enjoyable way to spend the day in the company of such a notable group of racers/bikes who have entertained many people over the years.
Slattery's new ride sizzles.
20th October: This dragster, a candidate for Best Looking at any event it attends, is Sizzling Sid Slattery's Jaguar-powered slingshot Destiny II which recently made its on-track début after being put together in remarkably short time. Initial testing took place at the NSRA Hot Rod Drags at Shakespeare County Raceway, where Sid takes up the story:
We found a couple of problems with the new car, one being that the motor plate was too thin and thus putting the input shaft up against the crankshaft, which ruined the brand new bearing, seals etc. This was fixed with a new 5/16 T6 item. Secondly the fuel system was over-fuelling, causing fuel to leak - well, gush from the carb overflows when we tried to move off. It was fine in the pits on stands which was very frustrating! We thought we had cured this problem but there was more frustration on our first attempt at a run at theWildcat Day at Shakespeare County Raceway.
We backed the car up through the gate in the wall and removed the fuel pill which I thought would fix the problem. By this time I was getting quite peeved at the lack of progress so instead of a little test squirt down the track I nailed it hard, with no burnout and lots of dust/stones on the rear tyres. We didn't do too badly considering, on the first pass straight off the trailer, we ran 11.01/124 and we were well chuffed to say the least! This was backed up with two other runs that day 10.93/122 and 10.96/126.
I adjusted the clutch a bit more for Sunday and straight away ran a 10.87/123, progress at last. The last run of the day was a close one against Martin Holgate in Paranoia who was also having fuel problems. We ran 11.2/119 to his 10.7/113, the best race of the weekend for me despite running slower.
I'd like to add that we had a fantastic weekend and I would like to thank Jerry Cookson and all the staff and marshals at Shakespeare County Raceway, and of course Jaguar World magazine for supporting the event. Hopefully it will happen again in the future. This weekend we have been displaying the dragster at the Doncaster Rod and Custom Show.
What next? Well, I'm very pleased to say we will be at the Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway, running the car with Team Paranoia and Andrew Gibb's Stripteaser, and having spoken to Leigh Morris, who was also at the Wildcat Day, he may be running with us too.
Finally I would like to add a special Thank You to Neal Reed at Retrophoto for supporting us as a team right from the start. Thanks fella. You the man!
You can check out more of Neal Reed's excellent shots of Destiny II at www.flickr.com/photos/retrophotouk/sets/72157607272281740 and keep an eye out for the January issue of Custom Car magazine as the dragster will be the subject of a cover feature.
Close finish for the Junior Bikers.
20th October: The weather could not have been better for the final round of the APIRA Junior Drag Bike Championship this year, and a good job too as all the five places could have changed, writes Sharron Collier:
Giselle Moor looked unstoppable with her 310 points lead at the top of the table, followed by Scott Collier on 760, Jordon Bissell and Brett Cordelle were equal in third on 745 and Joe Dear fifth on 580. Things changed slightly after signing on where all but Brett were given the extra 100 points for competing in all rounds. First round of qualifying and it was Jordon at the top of the pile with a 13.02 run on a 12.90 dial, then Brett, running 11.46 on a 11.20 dial, next was Joe with a 11.91 run on a 11.60 dial, Scott was fourth with a 11.09 on a 10.20 dial and fifth was Giselle with a 13.40 on a 12.10 dial. Session two saw no change to the positions, Giselle was a no show, and Scott Jordon and Joe all broke out! Brett didn't improve his second place slot.
The mums race took place on Saturday afternoon, with Fiona Moor, Sharron Collier, Glynda Sainsbury and Philippa Cordelle racing alongside Laffin Gas Rocket Dragster pilot Carolyne Campbell. This was a dial-in race with the winner being best of three closest to dial runs, all on Junior Bikes of course ,Glynda and Philippa looking extremely glamorous in figure hugging pink cocktail dresses. Glynda took the win in the challenge for running closest to her dial as well as the prize for the wobbliest runs (she is about seven feet tall though) with Fiona Moor in second, her chance of winner being thwarted by the huge cherry she pulled in round three. Sharron Collier broke out on every run so came last ("My wrist wouldn't listen when I told it to roll off") and Carolynne had to drop out after session one with a mechanical problem and Philippa came in at third spot but won the prize for chuckle factor, watching her pump up her air shifter in her tight dress. Huge fun was had by all the kids, laughing and taking the mickey out of their parents, but Giselle Moor was not happy when her mum went quicker on the Junior Bike than she had.
Back to the serious subject of Championship racing and session three saw Giselle back on form with a 12.15 run on a 12.10 dial taking her to the top of the pile, Joe took over second spot with a 11.78 on an 11.70 dial, Jordon didn't improve his position at third, Scott improved his run but not his fourth place with a 10.28 on a 10.15 dial, and Brett broke. So the final positions were Giselle, Joe, Jordon, Scott, Brett. At this point in the Championship it was Giselle, Scott, Jordon, Joe and Brett with five points between Scott and Jordon! And the twenty five points for RT and closest to dial still had to be awarded.
First round and Giselle got the bye run, Scott and Jordon raced together and Scott took the win, 10.34 on a 10.20 to Jordon's breakout 12.87, and Brett took the win over Joe, with a brilliant 11.51 on a 11.50 dial in. Joe had a problem and had to coast to the end. At this point in the Championship it was Giselle, Scott Brett with 110 points between Scott and Brett with Brett on a bye in the next round. Second round and it was Brett on a bye, and Scott against Giselle. Giselle got the start with a 11.95 dial to Scott's 10.20 dial, so Scott waited on the line, chased Giselle, just passed her and then rolled off to cross the line over his dial in with a 10.24 run. The squeal of rear brake could be heard from the start line! Great and determined riding from Scott Collier.
Finals time and Scott faced up to Brett, but due to a huge oil down in the right hand lane and the curfew time of 5:00 pm quickly approaching nothing could be done but run separate runs on a closest to dial basis. Brett dialled in a 11.50 and ran a 11.38 so big break out for him, and Scott ran 10.46 on a 10.15 dial in, giving Scott the event win and the number two Championship plate. Giselle took the 2008 Championship.
It's been a fantastic year for Junior Bike, the dial ins and reaction times have been incredibly tight, and the points were so close all the way through the year that nobody could guess what the final placings would be. Thanks to many people, most importantly Anthony Hodges and Julie Willcox for letting this little class run, along with Simon and Wayne who could not be more helpful with tech info and timing data, and all the great crew at Shakey who make it such a friendly and nice place to race. Thanks also to Carolyne Campbell for her support all year, and last of all but not least of all thank you to Charlotte and Dave at Dave Beck Racing for sponsoring the class this year.
These lads and lasses are the future of British motorcycle drag racing and drag bike racers in all classes should recognise and support that, and help us to get more children into this awesome, talented, professional and top fun class. Build a bike for your children, buy a bike for your children, tell all your nieces and nephews about it, we need more riders for this class to carry on and if it has to stop through lack of interest the shame will fall on all of us and no-one will be able to cry that there is no new talent coming into our sport. We want motorcycle drag racing to be going on when we're all too old to twist a throttle, so please help us to do something about it.
Well done to the class of 2008!
You can check out the final Junior Drag Bike Championship points under the APIRA Championship heading on our Speedflow-sponsored Points Standings page, which you can view by clicking here or by clicking on the Points Standings link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
Picture courtesy and ©Steve Wexler, Eclipse Photos
Outlaws close 2008 account.
20th October: This weekend's Halloween Bonfire Burn Up at Shakespeare County Raceway will be the last Championship event of 2008 for the UK's Supercharged Outlaws, writes Dave McKenzie:
We are expecting six teams to enter the showdown. Lee Gallimore's Red Mist altered, Roy Wilding's Hemi Hunter slingshot, Steve Goode's Wobble altered, Richard Davies' 1942 Willys, Paul Watts' No Easy Pick Up and Mark Needham's altered. This event will decide the series trophy for the Supercharged Outlaws and it is really close at the top. All four teams in with a chance of the big trophy will be running at SCR so if the track and weather are with us we should see some good runs to end the season.
If you would like to see some more Outlaw cars in action the Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod on 1st November is the place to be as some of the outlaws will be there putting on demo passes, more details to follow.
This year our presentation night is again at the Wild Bunch Dinner and Dance at Drayton Manor, Tamworth on 29th November. We would like to thank the Wild Bunch for letting us join in their night.
Let's see you all at SCR for the Bonfire Burn Up and have a good weekend. I hope the weather lets us have a good weekend after all the rain over the summer!
Holland Lords it up in London.
20th October: UK Sportsman ET racer Nigel Holland and the UK's 'Aveago Drag Racing Team have been invited to take part in the Lord Mayors Show in London on 8th November. Nigel will be supporting Motorsport Endeavour (MSE).
MSE will have a float and a number of race vehicles either driven or supported by people with disabilities. The sole purpose of MSE is to involve people with a wide range of disabilities in a program of car and motorcycle events and experiences including rallying, hill climbs, auto tests, navigation, trials, and visits to Motorsport Centres. MSE involves people as riders, navigators, marshals, timekeepers, administrators and spectators as well as drivers.
One of the initiatives which has taken off this year is the MSE Karting Series, go-karts which have been adapted so that people with disabilities can race them and be just as competitive as their more able competitors.
"It is an honour for the team and myself to take part in such a prestigious event and to support Motorsport Endeavour", says Nigel Holland. "We will be going down to London with the 'Aveago Mustang on a trailer on the Friday and staying over night. The one thing that Motorsport Endeavour desperately needs at the moment is a tow vehicle to take two go-karts on the trailer around the parade. If anyone is interested in helping out we would be very grateful, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Please keep an eye out for the 'Aveago Racing Mustang and Motorsport Endeavour on BBC1 at about 10:45 am on Saturday 8th November."
A manic month, but worth it.
20th October: UK B&H Automotive Street Eliminator racer Colin Lazenby and the guys of Team '56 had a madcap month leading up to the UK National Finals having been in and out of Clive Bond's Ultimate Race Cars and Andy Robinson Race Cars several times. The multiple visits were required to complete the various engine/chassis modifications to fit Colin's new behemoth Sonny's Semi-Hemi motor:
We made it, but only just and we actually only started the motor for the first time at about 10:30 pm on the Thursday evening. At which point self and our kid loaded up the '56 and left for Santa Pod, arriving sometime after 1:30 am. Friday was a bit of a haze as we recovered from the many late nights and setting up our pit space. We signed on and passed scrutineering all of which was pretty much straightforward. Crew Chief Luke Robinson and dad Andy Robinson turned up at 11.00 pm and we set about making a number of final connections for the data logging etc. Bed at 1:30 am, again. Garry Coull arrived in the wee small hours of Saturday morning.
Now it's fair to say we've not had the best twelve to fifteen months. Most know of our glance with the wall at last year's Bug Jam. Then we sheared the rear pinion, damaging the prop/output shaft and safety hoop at the first event of 2008, and followed by grenading the motor at the second event. As I say it's not been good. This all changed however as we were called for our first test/qualifying session on the Saturday afternoon. We discussed the tune and opted for a no-nitrous pass. Anything better than nine seconds would have been hugely rewarding. Naturally I was anxious as this motor has some 300+ horsepower more than our previous lump, that and the fact that we've made no more than five passes this year, two of which resulted in near disaster.
Seat time can mean the difference between winning and losing and we've not had much seat time at all this year, whereas the top teams will make around fifty laps in a season. Races are often won and lost on good reaction times. Just before the first qualifying session SE lunatic Martin Taylor gave me a hug; feeling better already I strapped myself in. Luke put me in the burnout box - a big burnout (necessary for the brand new tyres) stopping almost at the eighth mile markers. Back up, pre stage, into full stage then go; a 0.0178 second reaction against my opponent's 0.1854. Then 1.531 seconds to sixty feet (around 60 mph), 5.549 to the eighth (131 mph) and 8.885 to the quarter at 166 mph. Phew, and with the first run out of the way I could now begin to enjoy the rest of the weekend. No nitrous again for the second session. Another big burnout, back up, pre stage and stage. 0.0934 reaction, 1.419 to sixty feet, 5.585/132.8 to the eighth and an improved 8.567/164.8 to the quarter, excellent stuff. The planned third session was cancelled. All teams met at the gate for the twenty five mile qualifying cruise around the Northamptonshire countryside which I have to say was surprisingly uneventful and Luke and I made it back in the '56 without any dramas at all. Yeah, it surprised us a little too.
Sunday then and straight into eliminations. We were drawn against close friends the Staceys with Wilf driving the family high-riding Zephyr saloon. We had elected to turn on the gas but one system only, just a short squirt. A big burnout, back up and pre stage, nitrous purge which didn't work - this fazed me slightly but undeterred I eased into full stage (no nonsense with Wilf). My light was 0.0324, Wilf's was 0.1273. Then a 1.44 to sixty feet, 5.63/139.39 to the eighth, and 8.406 at the quarter mile stripe. It felt great to be back, especially with the juice. Wilf could be heard commenting something about "That's the last time I paint anything on your car" and "If that's how you treat your friends I wouldn't like to be one of your enemies". Man I still love that little guy to bits.
Next was John Hollingworth (Moose) - I don't know if the unassuming name came from the fact that John is hung like a moose, or just because he's as big as a moose. No matter, John's a big fella. My reaction was 0.0072 (almost red) against John's 0.2672. An improved 1.38 to sixty feet, 5.42/141.54 at the eighth and 8.18/177.78 at ths stripe. Back in the pits the computer trace showed that I had knocked off the nitrous at 6.97 seconds and I did this before pulling the chute. I normally do this the other way round and no, I don't know why I did it either. Back in the pits the team pondered over what could have been while I beat myself up over the error. Four-time Champion Steve Pat*man then appeared having also won his race - we would now meet in the semi finals where this year's Championship title would be decided. In essence if I beat Pat*man, the Wildcat twin turbo Cougar boys would win. If Pat*man beat me then he would win the Championship. The points really were that close. We of course had nothing to gain or lose but everything to unintentionally mess up for one or the other of the top two contenders.
Luke, Clive and Garry elected to step up the tune and Pat*man had lane choice by virtue of his quicker run in the previous round. He took the favoured left lane. We both entered the burnout box, and I did my by-now characteristic long burnout. Pat*man waited to start his burnout as I commenced backing up. As I began to eased forward I momentarily considered a burndown but didn't. Racing against Pat*man deserved respect, he got it. We both went in to full stage, the lights went down and go, my light 0.0230 against his sleepy 0.1564. A further improvement to sixty feet, a 1.36 against Pat*man's 1.32. At 330 feet he had sneaked ahead by 0.0945. At the eighth the difference was 0.0850 although my speed was up by almost four miles per hour and I was beginning to reel him in. By the thousand-foot clocks the difference was a marginal 0.0504 and by now the second kit was in and at 170 mph+ the tyres started to turn and I could feel the back end of the '56 gently drifting towards the wall. I stayed with it until the point I believed it was not going to recover and sensibly, but reluctantly, I lifted.
Old rival Steve Pat*man had deservedly beaten us with an astounding 7.9848 pass, our run netted us a losing 8.2157 at a slowing 160.68 mph, the margin at the stripe was 0.0975 (A touch under twenty three feet - Ed). We were left to contemplate what could have been, again. We began to pack up, delighted with our weekend's performance, and our potential for running with the top teams in 2009. For Pat*man Motorsports this win means a tally of five Championships over the last ten years, three of which were back-to-back - a truly staggering achievement. And hey, there's no shame in being beaten by one of the best.
Naturally I am grateful for the encouragement and support the team received in 2008. Roll on 2009.
More model work by Gredzinski.
20th October: It's always a pleasure to receive news of his latest handiwork from UK photo-journalist and graphic designer Mark Gredzinski, and this one left us breathless in admiration: a recently-repaired model which Mark originally made about twenty years ago.
"This model was based on a 1/25 scale Jo-Han Dodge Challenger kit and was an excercise in detailing a Funny Car of around the 1970 era, as depicted in the subject", says Mark. The idea was to see if I could recreate all the operating systems of a real car using available materials to hand such as plastic rod, fuse wire and guitar string etc.
"Using all the research material I could muster at the time, I made a complete fuel system including throttle linkage and fuel shutoff lever. Then the tricky task of sixteen fine fuel lines were added to run from distribution blocks to make both port and injector hat fuel injection. Also added was a dual circuit braking system, parachute release lever, cable and strop. The colour scheme was fictitious and was rendered in Ford metallic purple over a white base with masked enamel for the signwriting and stripes.
"I'm currently doing two later Funny Cars and a slingshot, as I always have a scale model project on the go. One of the Funny Cars is to a larger 1/16 scale, has around 350 small parts of my own manufacture in the chassis alone, and will be more detailed than this model. The contours of the bodyshell have been modified to get the shapes right and attention will be paid to getting the stance correct with the body mounted."
We're very much looking forward to seeing that. If anyone else amongst Eurodragster.com's readership puts together drag racing models then don't be shy about sending us pictures and details.
19th October: Rico Anthes held his annual Thank You party for his NitrOlympX organisation crew at the Auto-Technik-Museum in Speyer near Hockenheim on Saturday evening. Andrea Kloss tells us that the highlight of the evening was the speech by Hockenheim Managing Director and future Promoter of the NitrOlympX Georg Seiler who recited the milestones of Rico Anthes' career as a driver and a promoter. Rico was visibly touched when Georg Seiler presented him with the most prestigous of honours an individual can receive in motorsports, a plaque stating that the new name of the Hockenheim drag strip is the Rico Anthes Quartermile.
Congratulations to Luke Bennett of the Bennett Racing blown-alcohol altered team who won the Spirit of Fuel Altered award presented by UK Event Safety at the NFAA Awards Dinner on Saturday night. "In the end, after a tremendous dilemma due to the number of nominations, we were absolutely delighted to be able to present award to Luke, such a deserving person", says Glenn. "Incidentally one of the nominations that we received was from Luke asking if we would give the award to his family for being so supportive. Such a selfless gesture, we think you will agree. May we take the opportunity to thank everyone that has taken the time to send us nominations, it just shows the great amount of interest that there is for this superb class.
Not-unconnected with the above story, a big Well Done to NFAA racer Dave Grabham who raised £700 in sponsorship to have his beard shaved off at the NFAA Awards Dinner. The money raised will be going to the Macmillan Cancer Trust. It's not too late to make your own donation to Macmillan; for more details check out Luke Bennett's latest Blog entry which you can read by clicking here.
Sweden's Anders Envall and his fellow Best Damn Garage In Town racers including Pro Mod racer Patrick Wikström should soon be starring on The Discovery Channel after hosting a camera crew from Fifth Gear Europe on Thursday. Filming included an indoor fire-up by the Thriller Pro Mod and burnouts in the street outside the workshop. For more click on the News link at www.blackout.nu and whilst there don't miss Anders' account of his North of Sweden tour with US racer Karl Ellwein.
Marc Smith tells us that last Thursday's spy picture showed one of his and dad Jerry's race cars. "We had a '67 Satellite with tube chassis, chromoly cage etc", says Marc. "We've put the Roadrunner body on to that chassis. We plan to run the all-ally 493 to start with then change over to methanol. We've acquired an F2 Procharger, which will find its way into the engine bay soon but we want to run the 493 as it was before, to see if we've cured the problems. We've also converted to a Turbo 400. The car should be painted in new colours and have a new hood scoop and wheels by Christmas, then the slog starts to get it done by July."
Erbacher touches down.
18th October: Swiss Top Fuel Dragster racer and Eurodragster.com News sponsor Urs Erbacher has returned to the USA to compete with the world's most talented NHRA Drag racers in Las Vegas on 31st October-2nd November and Pomons on 13th-16th November. Erbacher is not only an accomplished drag racer but is known for building some of Europe's most celebrated Custom Bikes.
Recently, The Discovery Channel in Europe produced a hit reality TV series Kings of Nitro featuring Urs and his Fat Attack Racing team which was broadcast in over 120 countries. The popularity of this show has led the Discovery Channel offering Fat Attack Racing an opportunity for another reality show series but this time covering his exploits racing, possibly a 2009 NHRA schedule.
With Crew Chief Wayne Dupuy and newly appointed assistant Brian Sturgeon guiding the team of talented crew, Erbacher is primed and ready to take on the best. Dupuy is already gearing up for 2009 ordering a brand new Hadman car and possibly preparing a second Top Fuel Dragster for the team and young and talented Norwegian driver Siw Nystad.
Look for several new sponsors to be announced within the next few weeks as Fat Attack Racing positions itself for an NHRA and/or European schedule in 2009.
KB regrets Joon's absence.
19th October: European Championships promoter and Santa Pod Raceway CEO Keith Bartlett tells us that it was with some sadness that he read about the absence of Dutch Top Fuel Dragster racer Lex Joon and his team from the FIA Top Fuel Championship next year.
"I have had the pleasure to work with and watch Lex and his team develop in the Top Fuel class since they stepped up from Top Methanol Funny Car, many years back", says Keith. "They had a steep learning curve when they first entered the class, but leave it with the respect of all the other teams. In addition Lex was one of the few Champions in the class. With that said I both understand and agree with his statement why he his going into at least temporary retirement at this moment in time.
"Lex Joon is a very competitive and good driver and in the Top Fuel ranks he made the cut very well indeed. Not only is Lex a strong adversary to all the other drivers, being both hard to beat and always ready for a big pressure race, but is always concerned about the safety of both the cars and the tracks. That is something whici I very much admired in him.
"I can only add that Lex and his team will be missed in 2009, and the FIA European Drag Racing Championship will be poorer for his not campaigning it in 2009. The lowlands of Holland and Belgium need a high profile team like the MPM Oil team to help build the brand of drag racing in their country. I can only hope, for both the Championship and the sport of drag racing in Holland, that Lex and his team will return in the not-too-distant future."
19th October: Dan Welberry of Eurodragster.com News sponsor 3t Creative has asked us to thank Gittli Koller of Peter Schöfer Racing who responded very quickly to Thursday's plea for pictures of Andy Carter's 2003 crash in Norway.
Caroline Day of Santa Pod Raceway has asked us to remind readers planning to attend the Flame and Thunder Show on Saturday 1st November that next Friday, 24th October, is the deadline for advance ticket sales. "If you are planning to cash in a rainout ticket then allow plenty of time to get it into the post", says Caroline. For more information about the Flame and Thunder Show check out Santa Pod Raceway's web site at www.santapod.com.
Web site updates.
18th October: Eurodragster.com Reserve Photographer Peter Donaldson has updated his Fotopic gallery with shots from last Sunday's Wildcat Day at Shakespeare County Raceway. You can check out Peter's pictures at peterdonaldson5305.fotopic.net.
No Joon in 2009?
17th October: Dutch Top Fuel Dragster racer and Eurodragster.com Blogger Lex Joon has announced that he will not be racing in 2009 unless the right deal comes along. Lex, 2005 FIA European Top Fuel Dragster Champion and runner-up in 2007 and 2008, said that he will be concentrating more on maintaining and developing his US car business in his home town of Zaandam.
"When we started our own Top Fuel Team in 2005 I really tried to make a living out of it", said Lex. "The sport consumes you, but that's what is required to be successful and we can't continue in the sport without one hundred per cent commitment. There's no way to shortcut the job - for us it's all or nothing. I wanted to race the absolute best of the best in Europe, to see how I would stack up, and obviously I did pretty well.
"I always dreamed of doing this for a living. But owning a professional Top Fuel team in Europe does not give you enough stability. With only five races in the FIA Championship and no race track in our own country it is very difficult to find a sponsorship deal with enough funding. Without races added to the Championship the future will not look very different. So there are too many variables in this business to be doing it for a living at the moment. The real living I need to make at the moment is in my shop, and that's where I need to stake my claim.
"I've had great people on my crew. They are all volunteers but they did it for me and because they love the sport so much: Sebastian Visser, Arjan van Bemmel, Simon van Luit, Tom Stone, Karim ElBaze, Maxim Spaans, Patrick Duyzers, Hans Kramer, Hans Brings and of course my wife Gerda. A big thank you to all the great people at the MPM International Oil Company who stood behind me from the beginning of my Top Fuel career. I thank you all.
"This doesn't mean I am quitting. I never had any intention of quitting and I am definitely leaving the door open. If and when a deal arises, and if it's the right deal, I will be back. MPM Oil Company have stated they want to stay involved with Lex Joon Racing when a new opportunity arises. That's why I don't want to say I am retiring. I'll make that decision myself, as it is my decision to make. If this does end up being the end of it, then I've had a great career."
Lex's exclusive Racer Blog is currently continuing and in the latest instalment he describes in detail the routine of a burnout in a Top Fuel Dragster. This is the first in a series of Blog updates in which Lex will describe the business of driving a Top Fueller. You can check out Lex's Blog by clicking here or by clicking on the Racer Blogs link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
Firing up a sponsor.
17th October: Longtime drag racing sponsor System Edström, one of the leading brands for van interiors, celebrated its fiftieth anniversary on Thursday evening. Since System Edström is keen on motorsport, two of the major focus points were Greg Hancock and his winning Speedway motorcycle and Micke Kågered and his Top Fuel Dragster.
With more than two hundred guests, Team Kågered had a busy time answering questions. Then at around six o'clock Micke announced that he had a little surprise for all the guests and System Edström: a fire-up! The team had a little help to get the car outside and the fire-up went just like clockwork, impressing the audience big time!
Greg Hancock, who is usually as good an ambassador for Speedway as Micke is for drag racing, was unable to attend the party since he was on his way to the final Grand Prix for the season in Bydgoszcz, Poland. The two racers earlier discussed how much the two sports have in common, both being arena sports with short and very intense racing action.
Just as a curiosity, Christer Abrahamson, track announcer at Mantorp Park and employee at System Edström had two of his old-time mopeds on display.
"Sponsoring motorsport has been a major part in System Edström's marketing during the last ten of fifty years for our company", said Lars Hällsten, CEO of System Edström. "No other type of sport can provide the same fantastic base for good customer activities! Micke Kågered and drag racing gives us a whole day filled with excitement, whilst Speedway is more an intense evening arrangement. Both end up with excited and happy customers!"
Picture courtesy and ©Christer Abrahamson
2009 SCR dates.
17th October: The UK's Shakespeare County Raceway have announced their initial calendar for 2009:
Saturday-Sunday 4th-5th April: Season Opening Public Track Day/Test and Tune
Saturday-Sunday 18th-19th April: Public Track Day Weekend
Saturday-Monday 2nd-4th May: Springspeed Nationals (UK and ACU Championships)
Saturday-Sunday 16th-17th May: Public Track Day
Saturday-Sunday 30th-31st May: Yanks Weekend/NASC Gary's Picnic
Saturday-Sunday 13th-14th June: Public Track Day
Saturday-Sunday 27th-28th June: NSRA Nostalgia Nationals
Saturday-Sunday 11th-12th July: British Mini Showdown and Public Track Day
Thursday-Sunday 6th-9th August: Bulldog Bash
Friday-Sunday 21st-23rd August: Open Sport Nationals (UK and ACU Championships)
Saturday-Sunday 5th-6th September: Public Track Day
Saturday-Sunday 18th-19th September: NSRA Hot Rod Drags
Saturday-Sunday 3rd-4th October: Public Track Day
Satruday-Sunday 17th-18th October: Public Track Day
Saturday 31st October-Sunday 1st November: Halloween Bonfire Burn-Up/Public Track Day
More dates and more information will be announced in due course.
17th October: The latest spy picture to arrive at the offices of Eurodragster.com shows a Funny Car which our mole tells us should be making shakedown passes at some point in 2009. If you know any more, or if you would like to send your own spy pictures, then drop us a line at email@example.com.
We would like to wish a very Happy Birthday to Steve Turner, Crew Chief of the UK's Turner Motorsport Top Methanol Dragster team. Have a great day, Steve. It came too late to be included in yesterday's update but Hilary Grabham asked us to say a big Happy Birthday for yesterday to Freddy's Revenge team member Steph Carter. Hope you had a good day Steph.
A grudge race, Modified.
17th October: Two of the biggest hitters in the world of Modified cars are to go head-to-head at the Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway on Saturday 1st November, writes Rick Cuthbert of Santa Pod.
Steve Whittaker and John Bradshaw have traded event wins, ET records and speed records throughout the season in the HKS Drag Series, and they went into the final round of the series on equal points. Sadly, this much-anticipated final was rained out, and John Bradshaw won the Championship by scoring a handful of bonus points.
John drives the Project GTST Nissan Skyline, which currently holds the European ET record for a Japanese car of 7.75 seconds, and Steve drives the XS Power Toyota Supra Mk3, which currently holds the European Terminal Speed record for a Japanese car, currently standing at 174.93 mph. Both will be looking to snatch each other's records, and of course be first to the finish line in each race too. John Bradshaw has everything to prove, Steve Whittaker has nothing to lose, and with both competitors capable of running incredible 7.7-second quarter miles, this is certain to be an edge-of-the-seat series of races.
To make things even more thrilling, Leon Green will be the cat amongst the pigeons in his JPS Motorsport Toyota Supra Mk 4. Leon is rapidly approaching the performances of John and Steve, and his car is convincingly heading towards the sevens too, so could snatch glory from both John and Steve.
You can find out all about the Flame and Thunder Show on Santa Pod Raceway's web site at www.santapod.com. Tune in to Eurodragster.com next Monday as Eurodragster.com will be launching our annual Flame and Thunder Show contest, with two family tickets to be won.
Price and Beckwith's thanks.
16th October: Retiring Santa Pod Raceway commentators John Price and Graham Beckwith have been in touch to thank everyone who has sent messages for their tribute page here on Eurodragster.com.
"We must confess that the thought of a tribute page to us when we are still alive and kicking is a bit worrying", they say. "However, we have been overwhelmed by the amount of kind words you have bestowed upon us following our departure from the commentary box at Santa Pod last month. We both agree that it has been a humbling experience to read your comments, whilst at the same time reassuring that you have enjoyed our contributions to the sport.
"Thanks from the bottom of our hearts and would confirm we won't be strangers, hopefully seeing you all again soon.
"To everyone we wish good luck, enjoyment and success in the future of this wonderful motor sport of ours."
16th October: The latest spy picture to arrive at the offices of Eurodragster.com shows a Pro ET race car undergoing what we are told are some serious modifications. Our mole says that there are more mods to come on this car. If you know any more, or if you would like to send your own spy pictures, then drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Welberry of Eurodragster.com News sponsor 3t Creative has been in touch to ask if any Eurodragster.com reader has pictures of FIA European Top Fuel Dragster Champion Andy Carter's crash at Gardermoen in 2003. If you have pictures either of Andy's crash or of the car in the pits afterwards then Dan would be pleased to hear from you at email@example.com.
MTC congratulate Beck.
16th October: MTC Engineering would like to congratulate Dave Beck on winning the 2008 ACU UK Pro Stock Bike Championship.
Dave Beck is one of MTC's largest dealers in the UK and uses MTC parts on his Pro Stock Motorcycle. This year Dave started using MTC's billet block and piston combination and was very successful by being consistent all year long and setting new records at the end of the year at 7.19/186.48.
MTC will step up next year and increase its support of Dave Beck Racing as he targets his eleventh Championship and possibly expands his racing into Europe. If you have any questions concerning the performance of MTC's parts in this application, please contact Dave Beck directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Final 2008 UK National, SPRC points.
15th October: Many thanks to Yvonne Tramm and our very own Simon for forwarding the final standings in the 2008 UK National Drag Racing Championships, and thanks to Yvonne for additionally forwarding the final standings in the 2008 Santa Pod Racers Club Championships.
"I would like to congratulate the winners of both the National and Club Championships, and we'll see you in 2009", says Yvonne, a sentiment which we are sure that all of our readers will second. We would also like to add a big Thank You to Yvonne and Simon for their work on the UK National, SPRC and APIRA Championships, to Ian King for his work on the ACU UK Drag Bike Championships, and to all of the other Championship Co-ordinators in the UK for their work and also for sending the points to us again this year.
You can check out the final UK National and SPRC Championship points on our Speedflow-sponsored Points Standings page which you can view by clicking here or by clicking on the Points Standings link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page. The SPRC Top Methanol points will follow shortly.
15th October: If you are looking for a basic web site to get your race operation or company out there on the Net then Luke Bennett of Escape Design is offering a special deal to design, register and host your own one-page .co.uk site for a set-up fee of £75 and then an annual £40 maintenance fee. "A huge number of people use the internet every day to search for companies or products", says Luke. "If you own an established or an up and coming business then you can do worse than to give us a call and get a web site together". For more information check out www.escapedesign.info.
UK Super Street Bike racer Brad O'Connor has been in touch to ask if anyone has any photographs or video of his wild ride on his Super Street Bike during the UK National Finals. Brad uncharacteristically refers to "The second round" so he must mean Saturday's qualifying. If you can help then please drop us a line at email@example.com and we'll put you in touch.
Web site updates.
15th October: Eurodragster.com Reserve Photographer Peter Donaldson has updated his Fotopic gallery with shots from last weekend's Saturday Night Special at Santa Pod Raceway. You can check out Peter's pictures at peterdonaldson5305.fotopic.net.
14th October: 2008 FIA European Top Methanol Dragster Champion Peter Schöfer and members of his team were fêted by the Mayor of their home town of Moosburg, Germany, last night. Gittli Koller and Wolfgang Schöfer joined Peter at Moosburg Town Hall as he accepted a presentation from Anita Meinelt (left in picture).
"The Mayor said that she was very proud to have a FIA European Champion in our small community", says Gittli. "The town of Moosburg, including all of the little villages which are incorporated, has about seventeen thousand residents. She was of course very interested in the sport itself and we told her her about the different countries we visited during the European tour and also about the FIA Banquet in Monaco.
"This Sunday there will be a big presentation of our car, truck and trailer in the market place where we will be answering questions from the residents of Moosburg.
"Peter and the team appreciated the honour of being presented to the Mayor and Peter particularly appreciated his present."
14th October: Santa Pod Raceway have announced an interesting car-share to take place at the Flame and Thunder Show on Saturday 1st November, as Fuel FC racers John Spuffard, Thomas Nataas and Gary Page are to be joined by two Top Fuel Dragsters with three drivers between them. Risto Poutiainen will be in the seat of one of the Top Fuellers, whilst Siw Nystad and Barry Sheavills will share the other car. We are assuming that this is not at the same time since that conjures up images frankly inappropriate for a family web site or indeed for lunchtime. More F&T details at www.santapod.com.
14th October: Race vehicle builder, UK B&H Automotive Street Eliminator and 9.50 Bike racer, and joint Eurodragster.com webcam sponsor Jon Webster says that the 2008 season was certainly different. Jon drove his own SE MG and Ian Jackson's SE Corvette as well as riding Tim Blakemore's 9.50 Bike with one or two incidents along the way:
The intention was to run the MG in the full Championship, something we hadn't had the opportunity to do in the past. That changed suddenly when I found a problem with the car in February which required some special order parts, and that delayed us enough to miss Easter. However we had carried out some modifications to Ian Jackson's Corvette over the closed season - bigger turbos, complete Motec management, etc - ready for Ian to run the full season in earnest.
Circumstances for Ian also took a twist, which resulted in his relocation to New York rendering his Corvette surplus to his requirements. He was in a situation where he now wanted to sell the car but didn't have any runs on the new combination, so he asked me to run the car and prove the performance and reliability to aid the potential sale. Easter was a story in itself, already well documented and photographed but, briefly, amongst the inclement weather the car qualified right up there with consistent 8.40s but it unfortunately ended in a skirmish with the right hand wall during the first round of eliminations although no substantial damage either to myself or to the car. The Corvette went on to perform superbly at subsequent meetings throughout the season. We mixed and matched various meetings with the MG, once we had it back together, resulting in our best finish in the Championship since 2003 when we finished runner up to this year's Champion (again) Steve Pateman.
Amongst all of the above activities, there was some banter going on with Tim Blakemore. He mentioned that Kawasaki had extended his programme and he had been asked to build a production bike to compete in 9.50 Bike. In a brief conversation at Shakespeare County Raceway earlier in the year Tim had mentioned this and I mused that it would be interesting seeing him run with such a contrast of bikes. Little did I know at the time how pertinent those words would become. Anyway the obvious conversations took place, and subsequent actions were taken. The Summernationals arrived and there we were in the pits with proverbial contrast in machines. Apart from the quick change of outfits, with the running order placing us two classes apart, it was fun in the extreme. Tim and Kawasaki supplied a great machine, we qualified in the top five at our first event but then got a wake up call in eliminations. The conclusion of the meeting was that I had a lot to learn about the bike and how to ride it: running the numbers was relatively straightforward, but the rest needed work.
At the Open Sports Nationals at SCR, I took the Corvette and the bike. We qualified really well in both classes and went through the first round in both classes. The second round was less than perfect, first a small incident at the finish line dropping the bike at 146 mph with a breakout of 9.489 to make it worse. Then the subsequent effect of extra adrenaline in my system meant a 0.005 red light in the Corvette. I believe such circumstances are regarded as character building, all I know is that it's expensive and it hurts (a lot).
Tim was very understanding as were Kawasaki. Kawasaki gave Tim all the parts required to fix the bike and, no sooner said than done, Tim had the bike ready a couple of weeks later for the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend.
All in all a year of mixed emotion sand results but overall thoroughly memorable (I mean enjoyable). Thanks to Tim Blakemore and Kawasaki who have already invited me to run the bike next year, which I am looking forward to. Thanks to Dave Rowe and Motec Europe for their support, Alex McIntosh for his help running a number of vehicles this year including the Santa Pod two seater dragster. Not forgetting all the guys who helped after we dropped the bike, very much appreciated.
If anyone is interested in knowing more about Ian Jackson's Corvette then call us at the shop on 01933 315236 (outside the UK +44 1933 315236) as Ian is still intending to sell the car. Street Eliminator has gone through some significant changes with regard to car construction and preparation over the last couple of years. But anyone considering competing seriously would do well to consider the Corvette at less than half the required investment to be competitive. After four events this season the average ET for each pass was 8.48, running terminal speeds of 175 mph. The boost is set very conservatively building from 4 psi to 24 psi over five seconds. Full data logging is also available to view.
Tale of a rookie season.
13th October: Phil Crossley and the UK's Team Bopchop have had a fun year racing in Comp Bike. "We were all total newcomers to drag racing before the start of this year, but what a year it's been!", says Phil.
"We attended every ACU round as planned, the first event 'baptism of ice' was a good introduction...if you can stick that one out you can do anything we thought. From the first initial licensing runs at that Easter event running thirteen seconds we progressed at every round, posting at least one new PB at every event.
"The bike performed brilliantly considering it's the first drag bike we've built. There were a few small problems, including handling issues at the Open Sport Nationals that only became apparent once we started putting more nitrous in and letting the tyre pressure down. I had the wheelie bars modified as a result and the bike has gone straight ever since. We also had a couple electrical failures, including a burnt out shift kill switch at the Summernationals, followed by the nitrous controller going haywire at the same event. But no mechanical failures whatsoever.
"It wasn't until the second event at Shakespeare County Raceway that we even attempted to set the clutch up. Up until that point we had set it up as a manual clutch, releasing the lever gradually. Needless to say we guessed that we would wreck at least one clutch pack trying to get the lock-up set right and sure enough we did. It's still not right yet but our sixty foot times keep falling and our second clutch pack still looks like new, so we're getting there.
"The last two rounds were the best events of the year for us, breaking into the eights, which was our number one goal for the year, running an 8.87 at the Extreme Bike Weekend then a new best of 8.74 at the UK National Finals. The 8.74 is the quickest the chassis has gone in its varied history as both an Ultimate Streetbike then later a Super Street Bike.
"We had some trouble after our last run when a stray cam cap oil seal was lost, then found down the camchain tunnel! Luckily it doesn't look like any damage has been done and I hope to have the motor back together in time to run at the Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod.
"Thanks go to everyone who has made us welcome and helped us throughout the year, not only with advice and practical help but sometimes cups of tea too. And to all the people behind the scenes in drag racing who make it all possible, and to Eurodragster.com for the live reports and galleries that have kept those I know who can't make it to the rounds well informed of events (Thanks, you're welcome - Ed). Nice one!
"We had a great time, and next year we will try and come back for more Comp Bike action and, fingers crossed, continue to run a new PB each round and maybe even stop going out in round one for a change!"
13th October: Thanks to 2008 UK National Super Comp Champion Dave Catton for passing on the news that The Netherlands' eXplosion Drag Racing Club will next year be running Super Pro ET (6.00-8.99), Pro ET (9.00-11.99) and Street Machines/Sportsman ET (12.00 down). From now on the Club will be running Comp Eliminator as an exhibition class only.
Steve and Sara Unsworth of the UK's Gecko Racing Sportsman ET team have asked us to say a big Congratulations to Geoff Cowley on his 2008 UK National Sportsman ET Championship win.
Congratulations also to UK Supertwin ET racer and honorary Eurodragster.com staff member John Hackney on a new Personal Best of 9.703 seconds on his Suzuki TLR at the Saturday Night Special at Santa Pod Raceway at the weekend.
A Champion ride can be yours...
13th October: Eurodragster.com News sponsor Paul Marston Racing have officially confirmed that their 2008 UK National Super Comp Championship-winning PiranaZ-backed Ugly Stick four-link dragster is available for rent for the 2009 Championship season. PMR have some very attractive packages available for this proven winner which dominated the 2008 season in the capable hands of PMR Drag Race School graduate Dave Catton.
The dragster will be proudly running the coveted SC1 race number in recognition of this achievement with the kind permission of Dave Catton. With a later start to the 2009 UK National Championship season due to a later Easter, there is plenty of time to get a new shoe comfortable and competitive in PMR's dragster ready for the opening round at Santa Pod Raceway.
"Despite winning the Super Comp National Championship, Dave Catton is still vacating the seat for 2009", says Paul Marston. "It's entirely Dave's choice and was only ever going to be a one-year deal. Although there has been a lot of interest throughout the year, the seat is still vacant for 2009. So now is the time to contact us and get a deal done. The dragster is an amazing race car, very competitive and with the right driver who knows. I have absolutely no doubt there will be someone driving the Ugly Stick with PMR next year, it's just too good an opportunity to miss. We just don't know who it will be yet, but whoever it is they will have a fantastic time.
"If doorslammers are your thing then we have seats available in all classes in 2009, from Pro ET and Super Street all the way up to Super Modified. The infastructure that we currently have in PMR enables us to offer what ever people want. So bring us your ideas and budgets, we can make it happen."
For more information check out the PMR web site at www.paulmarstonracing.com.
Web site updates.
13th October: In the latest entry in his exclusive racer Blog, Luke Bennett of the Bennett Racing blown-alcohol altered team tells us of the quickest and easiest way to get involved in supporting cancer charities. You can check out Luke's Blog by clicking here or by clicking on the Racer Blogs link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
Richard Smith has updated his Fotopic gallery with pictures from yesterday's Ultimate RWYB at York Raceway. "It was a great end to the season with a big turnout for the Modders Shootout final, plenty of wheels up action, and the return of Ian Lloyd's Gonzo the Great!", says Richard. You can find Richard's pictures at richardsmith.fotopic.net.
Our good buddy alan Currans has updated his Acceleration Archive with pictures from yesterday's Wildcat Day and Test and Tune at Shakespeare County Raceway. Alan's pictures can be found via the What's New link at www.theaccelerationarchive.co.uk.
12th October: Congratulations to Ethan Lisle who was first to get in touch to let us know that the decal on Thursday's spy picture was for Dave Grady's Superpower USA. Everyone who has been in touch got it right, but Ethan gets to sit in Mark Flavell's Super Pro ET FC as he was first and in fact wrote within five minutes of Friday's news being posted.
Not exactly a spy picture but from Steve and Sara Unsworth comes this picture of fellow UK Sportsman ET racer Nigel Holland considering pimping his ride. Looks good to us.
Mark Gredzinski, Alan Currans and Brian Taylor have all been in touch to let us know that yesterday's mystery bike looks to be Lucifer which was campaigned by John Charlton and Chris Willbond. This as been passed on to Thomas Anke who was suitably grateful but who tells us that he would still be interested to hear details of its performance, when it raced etc. See yesterday's Swift snippets for more.
Web site updates.
12th October: The final standings in this year's ACU UK Drag Bike Championships are now showing on the King Racing web site at www.kingracing.com.
UK Pro Mod racer Wayne Nicholson has posted UK National Finals and 2008 season reviews on his web site at www.luckydevil777dragracing.com.
If you do Facebook then Kirstie's Guess Who games are still running at www.facebook.com/pages/Eurodragstercom/8220299411. "Some of the Mk 1s have not been identified, and I've set up a Mk 2 gallery which has a few additions", says Kirstie. "We already have a good selection of game players but it would be good if we had some new people to finish off the last remaining pictures. Who knows, your car or bike might already be on the gallery! The game will finish mid- to late-October. If it proves popular I might start a new one in the new season, and comments are of course most welcome!"
11th October: Thomas Anke writes from Germany to ask if any Eurodragster.com reader can help with information about a bike he owns (click on picture for large version). Thomas tells us that he believes that the Top Fuel Bike was built in the UK in the 1980s. "The bike has a two-litre VW Type 4 engine with supercharger and two-speed Miller air shifter and runs nitromethane", says Thomas. If you recognise the bike and have any information then please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll pass it on.
Kenneth Lorentzon's Mongoose Performance Exhausts- and Pennzoil-sponsored Fuel Funny Car will be appearing at Santa Pod Raceway's Flame and Thunder Show on Saturday 1st November. We understand that Gary Page will be making two passes on the day joining John Spuffard and Thomas Nataas fresh from their already-legendary race at the UK National Finals.
UK Supertwin racer Ian Turburville says that in answer to several queries, his snazzy Flexiframe awning was acquired from Barker Marquees whose web site you can find at www.barkersmarquees.co.uk. Barkers Marquees are appearing at The Showman's Show at Newbury Showground in Berkshire on 22nd-23rd October and will be offering up to 25% discount on their products.
Mum for a day.
11th October: The UK's Junior Drag Bike racers are expecting a good laugh at their parents' expense at Shakespeare County Raceway today (Saturday). Whilst the youngsters fight it out for the Championship mums, and some dads pretending to be mums, will be having a go on the Junior Bikes. Pleny of time is being allowed for clutch rebuilds before eliminations on Sunday.
Rocket Dragster pilot Carolynne Campbell has been invited as guest celebrity to take part in the what was originally the Mums' Race. As the field is sparse, dads will be allowed but must wear dresses over their leathers.
"They couldn't find a real celebrity so they've asked me", says Carolynne. "I'm a big fan of the Junior Bikes and the fact that they provide a very affordable class for our future racers. These little folk are the future of our sport. When I see the way that so many modern children are wrapped in cotton wool and never exposed to anything dangerous - a practice which prepares them for nothing life will throw at them! - I'm even more committed to supporting Junior Bikes."
NSCC closes as Cats run Wild.
10th October: The season-long six-event National Street Car Challenge moves to its final round destinations this weekend culminating at Shakespeare County Raceway's Public Track Day and Wildcat Day on Sunday.
This year the final shootout will be conducted at two tracks, with the qualifying round being held at Santa Pod after which all of the drivers will have to drive their cars forty or so miles over to the Warwickshire drag strip before the expected last arrival time of 7.30 pm Saturday night in order to qualify for Sunday's action. "Any breakdowns on route and they're out", says organiser Shaun Wilson.
With John 'Ozzy' Osborne and his now twice series-winning Ford 100E already confirmed as 2008 title holder, there are still three drivers in the hunt to take the runner-up place as the spotlight falls on Phil Winstanley in his 1430 cc Moggy Minor, the big 4.6 V8 '05 Mustang of Nick Fitt, and John Payne's 1990 5.0 Mustang Convertible.
It's also the last chance to try to steal away Paul Houstons 9.13 second class record set earlier this year in his '67 Pontiac Firebird. The usual suspects will be there so come on down and grab a slice of the action.
Shakespeare County Raceway is also gearing up for another busy weekend with the Test and Tune on Saturday and again on Sunday incorporating the Jaguar World magazine Wildcat Day. Back in the pioneering days the staple diet of motive power in British drag racing was not all American but instead cat power! Yes, the humble British engined Jaguar provided the racing community with all the motivation it needed to power must of national event entry in both dragster and competition altered classes. Sadly, only a handful of these Jag powered beasts are alive today. The idea was put forward by Jaguar and nostalgia drag racing enthusiast 'Sizzling Sid' Slattery, and Jaguar World editor Matt Skelton is very excited about the prospect of seeing old versus new in straight line quarter mile combat.
The weekend also features the final rounds for the Pro Street Drag Series as well as the National Street Car Challenge. The match is expected to be reunited between the north's Keith Cowie and the South's Mick Begley in their Pro class Skylines. Furthermore, Mick will be looking to dip even lower into the eights with possibly a seven just around the corner as Europe's quickest 4WD Jap car.
It's also the final round for the Junior Drag Bike class with Giselle Moor set to topple Scott Collier from the top of the pile. There's also a special mums and dads event being talked about too.
Members of the Mitsubishi FTO Owners Club will be taking up the club area display as well as cheering on their buddy and fellow club member Richard Batty as he strikes out for his first ten second time in his Pro FWD FTO. Last time out Richard ran a PB of 11.2.
As usual the weekend's Run What Ya Brung is open to all makes and models of vehicle, plus on Sunday every signed-on driver and rider will be automatically placed into the Shakespeare County Raceway Street Car and Bike Challenge to find the quickest in four, six and eight cylinder classes as well as Street Bike.
Gates open at 6:00 pm. Track times are scheduled for 10.00 am to 6.00 pm on Saturday and 10.30 am to 5.00 pm on Sunday. For further information visit www.shakespearecountyraceway.co.uk or call 01789 720180. See you at the strip!
10th October: The clouds have parted just in time for Santa Pod Raceway's much-anticipated Saturday Night Special tomorrow (Saturday). "With a crisp and clear autumn evening predicted this should be an atmospheric and fun day at the Pod", says Rick Cuthbert. "All racers are welcome to join in the extra long Run What You Brung session, and catering and entertainment have been laid on, so you can make a full evening of it. It'll be worth the trip just to see Fireforce 3 run in the dark. Details are available on the Run What You Brung web site at www.rwyb.co.uk/sat_night_special.php.
Good luck to Swedish Funny Bike racer Rikard Gustafsson who is racing Stateside at the AMA Fall Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio this weekend. You can find out more at www.amadragbike.com.
UK Super Pro ET racer Mark Flavell is offering a seat in his Funny Car during a warm-up to the first reader to identify "The guy who set up the company whose decal is on the lower door" in yesterday's spy picture. If you think you know the answer then drop us a line at email@example.com and we'll pass it on.
Carl Burton has asked us to remind UK Pro ET racers to cast their votes for the 2008 Pro ET Awards which will be presented at the Pro ET Christmas Bash on 29th November. You can cast your vote via the Pro ET web site at www.pro-et.co.uk and for more information about the Pro ET Bash call Carl on 01733 840819.
Bob Roberts of Eurodragster.com Home and News sponsor Andy Robinson Race Cars would be pleased to hear from any Eurodragster.com reader with a copy of the 1999 Super Series video featuring Andy Robinson's Pro Mod crash. Bob says he is willing to buy or to borrow. If you can help then please write to Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It went on very late yesterday (Sorry - Ed) so we'll repeat it today: Andrew and Sandie Gibb and every one at the Skunk Works of Fester Race Cars asked us to say a very Happy 10th Birthday for yesterday to Luke Felstead. Hope you had a great day Luke.
JapShow and HKS Drag Series review.
9th October: Santa Pod's Rick Cuthbert tells us that the eagerly-anticipated JapShow Finale event at Santa Pod Raceway was unfortunately badly affected by severe weather, and only the test day on Saturday 4th went ahead.
However, the weekend still left room for celebration for the Run What Ya Brung winners whose times stood from Saturday, and the brave show & shiners who utilized the rain to their advantage for a final rinse on their glittering bodywork. The official JapShow report is now online, and contains all the winners info, and also information on the ticket rain-off values at www.japshow.co.uk.
The HKS Drag Series was concluded in an anticlimactic manner, but congratulations are still richly deserved for the winners of the respective championships: John Bradshaw, Johnny McKeon and Guy Chamberlain. A full season review and points table can be found here and a short race report is located at: japdragseries.co.uk.
The 2008 HKS Drag Series Champions will be awarded their trophies at the prestigious Autosport Show at the Birmingham NEC in January.
Many of the HKS Drag Series drivers are returning to Santa Pod for a last chance to chase records at the Flame & Thunder Show on the 1st November. This fun family show will feature loads of jet and stunt vehicles, but the highlight for Japanese car fans will be the Steve Whittaker vs John Bradshaw grudge match, where the two 7-second runners are at last hoping to go full-throttle and head-to-head. Perhaps we'll see the first ever Japanese 7-second pairing in Europe? Keep your eyes peeled for a Europe vs Japan front wheel drive shootout and other awesome cars from the HKS Drag Series. More info can be found at www.santapod.co.uk.
9th October: 2008 UK Super Pro ET National Champion Rick Cooke says that his Championship route was not a straightforward one but he achieved his goal with some welcome assistance:
I attended my first drag race meeting in 1997 as a spectator, then in 2000 I purchased my blue rail as a rolling chassis from Pat and Steve Talbot. I was very lucky in my rookie year, walking away with the 2005 runner-up in the Ultimate Power Championship. Then, who would think it, three years later, I became UK National Champion.
I must admit, considering the weather we have had this year, I am amazed any of us got down the track. For the show we have put on, for the race fans, the track crews deserve a massive round of applause - you guys and girls are the best. Even when it was raining or snowing, you did not give up; thanks to all of you.
The start of the season did not go too well for me as we damaged the transmission a number of times. At one meeting, we pulled the trans out about four times which includes removing the rear axle. I was not going to give up without a fight and, in the end, I had to completely strip the trans in the workshop at home to try and find out why it was dumping fluid out the converter seal and tail shaft seal even with new seals fitted. It was pouring out like a tap when it went into gear, pressurising the seals and blowing them. It even had the transmission experts baffled, but thank you to all who helped get me back on the track.
The Euro Finals were very disappointing for everybody because of the weather, but, leading up to it, things were getting very close in Super Pro ET. I had finished the National Championship in eighth place for two years in a row so I wanted to set myself a goal to improve on that this year. When it was worked out there was seven of us going for the championship at the National Finals with myself being one of them, things did get quite exciting.
It also turned out well because Nigel Turner, who was sharing my awning, was in the running too. Things did not look good as I did not qualify as well as I wanted to. However, to get to the third round of eliminations was a good outcome and things were looking good until I went out to Barry Giles. When Barry red lit in the next round, the team and I could not believe it when Graham announced over the PA I was National Champion; we were on the banking going mad.
So, feeling good and having a smile higher than the Santa Pod gantry, I went and paid good buddies Tog and Simon a visit in the tower only to be told Dave Ward could still get the championship (I will let you off Graham, happy retirement), so the final was Dave against Chris Isaacs. I know they both run in the eights, but watching them go down the track felt a lot longer. They both cut good lights and, from the tower, it looked like it was neck and neck at the top end; it was a great close race. When the win light went on in Chris`s lane, that was it - 2008 National champion for the second time in the weekend. It was good to be told two times as it still had not sunk in first time around and I could not believe it.
I am not going to turn this into a Oscars speech but I must say I am dedicating my first National Championship win to my brother and sister that are no longer with us, this one is for you both. A big thank you to my team, crew chief Andy, Sam, and Phillipa; they have been there for me on and off the track, through all the hard times and the commitment to help me get the dragster down the track is first class.
I also want to say a massive thank you to the race fans and the racers and their crews that congratulated me on my championship win. All this would not have been possible without the help of SPRC, APIRA, Hauser Racing, Webster Race Engineering, I.C.E. Automotive, Kev at RCCS, Stanley Engineers, Gloucestershire MG Centre, Simon at mitchvillehotrods.co.uk and Nigel Turner for a nice dry and warm motorhome, as the Transit was like a ice box. I would also like to thank Eurodragster, Gold RV and Speedflow for the Perfect ET and Perfect Light awards this year, it is appreciated for your support.
Congratulations to all the 2008 winners in all classes and I am looking forward to Super Pro ET next year. With some new cars coming into the class, it's going to be faster, tougher and closer. Good luck to you all in 2009.
9th October: We're only a few days into the post-Championship season and courtesy of Kirstie we've our first spy photo. No prizes for identifying the type of car, but we are guessing the paint job may be known to only a few.
Andrew and Sandie Gibb and all the crew at Fester Race Cars at the Skunk Works have asked us to say a big Happy 10th Birthday to Luke Felstead. No problem guys, have a great day Luke.
9th October: The UK's Gingerman Racing Junior Dragster team and driver Matthew Seamarks came up trumps at the UK National Finals and the team, supported by Eurodragster.com sponsors The Curry Garden, Rushden, were first time winners. Here's Matthew's account of the event:
The weekend didn't start the way we had hoped. We came out for the first qualifying session and had planned to just get a reaction on the board, but I was too keen, leaving a red -0.0178, not what I was looking for. By the second session, it had got cold and was getting late, so we had a mad dash to change over visors and made our way down. This time I wasn't even worried about what light we pulled; we were just expecting it to be more diffcult to see the tree with the visor fogging up. But, despite hardly being able to see, we managed to crack off a 0.0022 putting us in number one spot. With more cars to run, we didn't think it would stand, but luckly no one managed to go better.
With the fifteen car field, this left us a bye run in round one, so we just dialled our 7.90 and ran an 8.1917 at 64.86mph, lifting a long way before the line. I only do this because, when we have have had a bye in round one before, we have ended up breaking in round two, so didn't want to risk the extra pressure on the engine.
Round two came and it was going to be a race. Vicky Molden was our opponent; we decided that our 7.90 dial from round one would stay the same, so it was going to be our 7.90 to Vicky's 7.97. I had a slighty better light and then it was going to be a race to the line. Luckily we got there first with a 7.9472 at 74.45 mph to Vicky's 8.0343.
It was our first time in the semi's. It had taken us so long just to get to this point, which was disappointing because just when we have got the car and engine to do it properly, I have normally let down the side with the reactions. So we went down and got told we had Charlotte Watts; again we dialed our 7.90 to Charlotte's 10.36 but it was all over on the startline. Charlotte went red and gave us our first chance in the final. I decided just to sit and wait for the light to run so 0.5212 was a terrible light but I thought it was the sensible thing to do then just drove the car up the track to a 8.2659 again lifting.
By this time we didn't care what the result in the final was, but we were all fired up. It's something we don't normally achieve, but it's an amazing experince just to be able to feel that you are in the final. It was also to be number one and two qualifiers in the final, myself and Rosie Hunt respectively. We thought about changing the dial for the final, but then decided against it so we were ready, 7.90 to Rosie's 8.10. Rosie went 0.3038 on the tree to my 0.0032 and that was it, we were on a mission. At the top end I lifted and the win light final came up after what seemed an eternity and I am pleased to say it came up on my side!
We would like to say well done as well to Rosie because it was her first final to, 2 First time finalists and we was number 1 and 2 respectively I belive we would have both been happy what ever the result was!
I would like to say thank you to everyone for the well dones and congratulations, but most of all to my Mum and Dad. If it wasn't for them, I would never have had this chance. Thank you also to everyone that has helped us along the way with the junior. Will the Flame and Thunder be my last outing with the junior? You will have to wait till next year to find out!
Nyström's new ride.
8th October: Finnish Pro Modified racer Kristian Nyström and the Alho & Lähdemaa Drag Race Team will be fielding a new car in 2009 after acquiring Danny Cockerill's '57 Chevy.
"It all started when we where on our way to the Main Event this year", Kristian told Eurodragster.com. "We had heard a rumour that Danny Cockerill's car was for sale. When at a rainy Main Event we didn't have anything to do we went over to Danny's trailer to ask if the rumor was true, and happily it was. We talked for a while about the car and had a look around it and it looked really nice. Andy Robinson Race Cars sure does build nice cars!
"We were interested to buy the car as a roller and started to plan for 2009. When the race season was over we contacted Danny and after several E-Mails and a few phone calls we were owners of a '57. We are now working on arrangements to ship the car to Finland. We know what the car can go far; Danny's low six-second runs tell the story, 6.17 best.
"After a test race at Alastaro in late August with our current Pro Mod Ford T-Bird we found the gremlins that had been with us all summer in the electrics, blower etc. The Brad Anderson engine and the whole drivetrain we ran this year will go to our new race car. The engine will be updated with a new blower. We now know that we will be very fast with the new car and the updated BAE combination.
"The FIA Pro Mod field will be huge next year, lot of rumors about new Pro Mods shipped over from USA . One racer I want to thank is Sweden's Michael Gullquist, who has helped us a lot to get things going with the blown methanol engine, and I want to thank him for all the work he does for Pro Mod. Thank you Micke, keep up the good work! Kiitos Tapsa siitä upeasta työstä jota teet meidän tiimin eteen!
"Our old Pro Mod is for sale. The Tim McAmis built '94 Ford T-Bird SC can be bought rolling or race ready with a blown 526. More details at www.promod.fi or E-Mail me at email@example.com."
Dave Beck Racing season review.
8th October: The very mixed weather of the 2008 season plus some early season challenges with a new highly modified motor, electronics and chassis package presented some challenges for Dave Beck and his crew in pursuit of a tenth ACU British Pro Stock Bike Championship title.
"I worked very closely over the winter with Rick at Ward Performance and Eric at MTC putting together a new 1655 two-valve motor package", said Dave. "This was a real departure from the motor setup of recent years. Paul Gast was as always happy to give as much advice as I needed and provided me with two new six-speed transmissions to round the package off. On the electronics side, as always Don Plesser of PR Factory store was supportive and we fitted a new MSD ignition and some Racepak mods, including four o2 sensors. Add to that a new Berry vac pump and a sixteen inch rear wheel and the bike started to feel like a pretty blank sheet of paper."
Early season challenges presented themselves, with the snow-hit Easter meeting resulting in a final round loss to Richard Gipp, when heavy wheelspin resulted in a chain of events culminating in a destroyed transmission. Dave and his dedicated crew of Ric Naylor and Tom Lynskey continued to put in long hours at the track and in the workshop, looking for the small changes which would bring the new package together.
The mid-season saw a technical infraction disqualification at Shakespeare County Raceway in May, followed by the programme finally getting on track with a win at Santa Pod at the Summernationals. August Bank Holiday at Shakespeare County, another weather-interrupted event, saw a major breakthrough when Dave notched a 7.19 in the first round of eliminations, followed by a semi-final win in 7.23 giving the necessary backup for a new British ET record. With the win bulb coming on in the final, Dave was happy with the progress, noting "It feels like we are getting a handle on the tune-up now and I'm confident that we can start to be more consistent with ETs and perhaps find some more speed."
The Extreme Performance Bike Weekend at Santa Pod in September showed the knife edge that Pro Stock bikes tune on, with the bike losing some ET and being very narrowly squeezed into number two qualifying by Len Paget. The final delivered one of the closest races for some time, with Paget defeating Beck by a margin of eighteen inches, keeping the Championship close. "It's down to me, I just didn't get a handle on the tune up all weekend", remarked Dave, "but credit to Len for a strong performance and hats off to Rick Ward for having two of his motors in the final."
The team arrived at the UK National Finals on the last weekend of September looking to finish the season on a high. The bike produced strong performances throughout the weekend, dipping into the 7.2s consistently and finally delivering the extra speed the team had been looking for, with back to back 186 mph terminals securing the National speed record as well. The win in the final produced ACU Pro Stock Bike Championship number ten for Dave, a major milestone in the UK sport. "It's been a tough but rewarding season. To close out with a 7.23 and 7.25 and the 186.48 mph speed record was a great way to finish. I'm glad to dedicate this championship to my sponsors MTC Engineering, Ward Performance, PR Factory Store and Steve Clark at Nimbus Motorsports - without these experts we couldn't begin to get close to the record setting performances we have seen. And of course it's all about delivering at the track and I can't thank my team of Ric, Tom and Charlotte enough - their dedication has been outstanding."
2009 will see Dave Beck Racing seeking to defend their British title, while also contesting some of the European rounds, thanks to increased backing from MTC Engineering. "Eric at MTC has been kind enough to increase his support for 2009, enabling us to have two fully-loaded 1655 motors ready to go", said Dave. "This backup, together with the late season performances we saw, gives us confidence to contest the Main Event and European Finals at Santa Pod - I think we can give a good account of ourselves at the highest level. And you never know, if we can secure more sponsorship, we may even contest the Nordic and Scandinavian rounds."
8th October: Steve and Adele Woodbridge are excited with the progress on the build of their '58 RHD VW Beetle. "The car is currently at Chris Isaacs' and even though we are in California at the moment - Adele raced a friend's '69 Bug at VW Bugorama at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last weekend - we managed to see some more shots of the work Chris is doing!", they say. "We only have twenty weeks to complete the build as the car needs to come back to get some bodywork finished off and then a dry build up before being shipped off to Martin Curbishley. We would like to say thanks to Chris for putting up with the ever changing list of work to be completed and congrats to both Spencer and Chris for the treble at the Finals, it was worth all the hard work!"
Andrew Gibb has been in touch with the great news that we will soon be seeing the restored Stripteaser Minivan back on the track. A dispute having been resolved with the original engine builder the Jag motor has been to Gosnays Engineering in Romford for a rebore and related work. The car is now with Bill (Fester) Felstead at the Skunk Works in Crow Lane, Romford. "All being well we will have the car up and running by the weekend and testing at our private eighth-mile drag strip at the Romford Self Storage, Sandgate Close, Romford (01708 755886)", says Andrew. All this is in preparation for débuting the Van at the Flame and Thunder at Santa Pod on 1st November."
Lex and Gerda Joon have asked us to wish a very Happy 20th Birthday to Lex's son Martijn Joon. No sooner said than done, have a great day Martijn.
Thanks from Human Touch.
8th October: Anita and Roy Human of Human Touch Training and Care have been in touch to say a huge thank you to everyone who kindly donated funds to the re-equipping of the Medical Centre at Santa Pod Raceway, which burned down in the early hours of Sunday 7th September:
We are so overwhelmed that a figure of £4600 was raised! It was certainly a very frightening and devastating experience for us all, as we had only moved in a few months earlier. It had taken a substantial amount of time and money to equip the building to a high standard and we felt we were able to offer far more than previously when we were positioned behind the bar.
We are so overwhelmed by the sentiments, practical assistance, caravans and funds that have been so kindly donated. We did not realise how much we were 'part of the family' and appreciated, it is amazing that we have been there for nearly ten years! The money will go towards replacing some of what was lost and we aim to purchase specific items of equipment that can be clearly identified as donated by you all.
We would like to thank all the individuals and clubs who donated, and those who helped us on the day, including the Fire Team who tried so hard to stop the fire spreading, the Security Team, and David and Darren for their sentiments. We would especially like to thank our crews for providing a 'normal' service to enable racing to continue just two and a half hours after the blaze was put out. We know they had lost all their belongings and some carried on with very little personal clothing in very cold circumstances.
We are always pleased to chat to anyone when you are passing, it doesn't just have to be for treatment! We understand that a new medical centre will be built soon and for the moment we are in temporary accommodation behind the bar. We will be back!
Picture courtesy and ©Andy Willsheer
Web site updates.
8th October: Sunday's JapShow Finale at Santa Pod Raceway was rained off but, showing great presence of mind, our Reserve Photographer Peter Donaldson attended the JapShow Run What You Brung on Saturday and has sent us a gallery of shots. You can check out Peter's pictures, which are presented in association with American Car Imports, by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the JapShow RWYB.
Dominic Romney has released his limited-edition 2009 calendar which can be yours for the reasonable sum of £10 including p+p. For more details check out www.modernpics.co.uk/products/calendar/calendar.html.
The official web site of the UK's Showtime Fuel Funny Car team has been updated with a report from the UK National Finals, at which John Spuffard set a new UK speed record. Check it out at www.showtimeracinguk.com.
Regular visitors to Alan Currans' excellent Acceleration Archive will know that a comprehensive feature article about the P&G Racing Top Fuel team of Pelle Lindelöw and Gunnar Elmqvist was published some time ago. A gallery page has now been added containing ninety four previously unpublished images of the team and their cars. You can access this new page via the What's New link at www.theaccelerationarchive.co.uk.
Case shatters RC record.
8th October: Following the UK round of the World Radio Control Car Speed Championship at Shakespeare County Raceway last month, American Nic Case shattered the world's previous best which stood at 134.4 mph with a jaw dropping 161.76 mph top speed at Rockingham Dragway on Sunday, writes SCR's Jerry Cookson:
Inspired by several full sized Bonneville streamliners, Nic's racer runs a single motor through a two speed centrifugal transmission with shift points adjusted by a single grub screw. Although competing on a track fully prepped with VHT for two previously booked in NHRA Pro Stock teams who were testing in the lane next to the radio racers in readiness for next weekend's Powerade race in Virginia (not in the same lane I might to add), the streamliner and thirty other teams made several runs during the day, but on the record run Case's streamliner blew a tyre as it went out of radio range smashing itself into both sides of the drag strip's concrete walls. Damage was minor with a smashed body and broken wheels and stubs.
Notes and pictures from the USA round at Rockingham can be viewed on the Fast RC forum www.fast-rc.co.uk/forum/index.php.
Houndog running at Halloween.
6th October: Webmaster and promotions man at Nobby Hills Racing Chris Blows has been in touch with some exciting news about the Houndog Fuel Funny Car:
"As the season draws to a close, the NH Racing team are pleased to announce that they intend to be testing the Houndog Fuel Funny Car at Shakespeare County Raceway on October 25th/26th at the Halloween Bonfire Burn-Up Public Track Day. The team are planning to do some burnouts and test launches.
"In addition, driver Simon Hayward has launched a Facebook Group to solicit support and funding in his quest to get a license from the Frank Hawley Drag Racing School in the States. Simon's Facebook group can be found here and donations can be made through Paypal via the NH Racing website using Simon's e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Don't forget if you are looking for an Xmas stocking filler for that drag racing fan in your family, Nobby's book is available and is receiving excellent reviews. You won't be disappointed! Check out www.nhracing.com for full details."
Financial advice for racers.
6th October: TV presenter and semi-retired Top Fuel pilot Darryl Bradford has been in touch to tell us about a new and exclusive service designed for racers:
"In my normal life and job I am an Independent Financial Adviser", Darryl said. "I'm very happy to be able to announce a FREE specialist service to any racer or spectator that comes to me via my facebook page here or by email at email@example.com.
If you need help with remortgaging or buying property, life insurance, investment or any other financial matter, do stop by and contact me.
"Also of note, I now have a range of insurers I deal with who will cover anyone while they are racing. This is especially handy if you go out and give it your all on the weekends, but still have a mortgage and family to support! I have a number of existing clients who are both racers and spectators so I look forward to hearing from everyone soon."
Appeal for pre-1999 points data.
6th October: Simon will shortly be embarking on the updating of the Champions' Champions for UK championships and has a request for data. He says:
"Whilst I have full information from 1999 onwards, I have very little for previous years and I feel I owe it to the racers who were running in previous years to include them in my survey. If you have lists of pre-1999 champions or event winners this would be invaluable. So please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any data and I will make every effort to collect and use it to get a complete analysis."
6th October: Thanks to Darren Prentice of Santa Pod Raceway for letting us know that tonight's episode of The Gadget Show on the UK's Channel 5 includes an appearance by the Fireforce 3 Jet Funny Car.
Web site updates.
6th October: The latest entry in the exclusive Racer Blog of Top Methanol Dragster racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Derek Flynn is the story of how the team ran the quickest-ever A/Fuel Dragster ET in Europe at the National Finals, even without their regular crew chief in attendance. You can read all about it by clicking here or by clicking on the Racer Blogs link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
Webmaster for the Sportsman ET website Nigel Holland tells us he has updated the site with an account of the year 2008 and a report from Dave Rushforth, Championship winner, about the Sportsman Finals at York Raceway. There are also some new videos online and the latest gallery from the National Finals. The Sportsman ET website is at www.sportsman-et.co.uk.
Photo journalist Dick Parnham has updated his Fotopik Gallery at dickparnham.fotopic.net. Dick has new collections from the 2007 and 2008 Open Sport Nationals, Extreme Bike Performance Weekend and the National Finals.
Webmaster of the Drag Racing and Custom Review web-zine Andrew Kirk says there is a preview of the forthcoming California Hot Rod Reunion on the latest edition at www.drcreview.com. There is also coverage of the 20th Anniversary Hot Rod Drags held at Shakespeare County Raceway.
6th October: Martin "Rubber Chicken Man" Stanberry has been in touch with the very sad news that Charlie Chicken has passed away.
Martin said "After getting bird flu at the Easter Thunderball he battled all summer to recover, but sadly, as nearly all meetings were wet this year he just could not get better.
"Near the end, he had one last wish, to see the jet car for the last time. So the National Finals came and the sun shone down on poor old Charlie. He came away with a little grin on his old face, and sadly passed away in his sleep last night.
"So the Barn has gone, our two top commentators have retired and now with the passing of Charlie, it's truly the end of an era. R.I.P. The Barn and Charlie."
4th October: Rick Cuthbert from Santa Pod Raceway has been asked by a well-known UK TV company to assist with finding a story regarding Swedish drag racing. If anyone knows of anything that might be worth checking out in the week commencing 13th October, please drop Rick a line to Rick@santapod.com.
From the TV company: "Do you have any ideas or great contacts for interesting dragster stories in Sweden? Some record breaking monster or a really cool event or anything like that would be ideal."
Halmhatt to move up.
4th October: The Halmhatt Racing Team from Sweden has purchased Adam Flamholc's Pontiac GTO Pro Stocker to run next year.
Team owner and driver Hakan "Halmhatt" Mattsson says: we have raced our old '85 Trans Am with a lot of success over the last eight years in Super Gas and two years in Competition Eliminator with a lot of wins, so we felt it's time to update and go one class higher. Our plans are to compete in Competition Eliminator in 2009 with our new ride with our strong Buick small block that we purchased from MMR in Malmo last year and learn to handle the new car and perhaps go to Pro stock in 2010.
We want to say Good Luck to Adam Flamholc with his new McAmis '68 Camaro in Pro Mod; it's a killer machine.
Halmhatt's web site (in English) is at www.halmhatt.com and his blog (in Swedish only) with more pictures of the GTO is at halmhatt.blogg.se.
Web site updates
4th October: Paul Lister has updated his web site with photos from qualifying at the National Finals on Saturday. To see Paul's pictures, go to www.dragcaranon.co.uk.
Marcin Gwozdz says that he has uploaded a National Finals gallery on to his website. Marcin tells us that the website itself is being re-built but there is a link from the temporary homepage to the gallery sections, with a whooping 4819 photos online. Marcin's web site can be found at www.marcingfx.co.uk.
Eurodragster.com home and news sponsor Andy Robinson Race Cars web master Bob Roberts tells us of a change in video provider. Bob said "I've switched to a different provider, Motionbox, and it's given the quality I've been looking for. The downside is that the videos take slightly longer to download but these are only short clips anyway." The two that Bob has done so far are at the bottom of a page in ARRC Customer Cars that features Graham Ellis's Superbird.
Sheavills' blackened bottom.
3rd October: UK Top Fuel Dragster racer Barry Sheavills says that it was great to be back on a decent track in great weather at last weekend's UK National Finals at Santa Pod Raceway:
On Saturday morning I got together with Eddie Corr for a briefing and we put together a strategy to get me to half track without any tyre shake for my familiarisation pass. Eddie set the car up nice and lazy to settle me in gently, if you can do that in a Top Fuel car! Everything went to plan with the first run and we decided to gradually build up the tune-up over the weekend, knowing that even with only a half pass in the first round, we weren't that far behind the leaders. Eddie definitely livened things up a bit for the second run and the car left hard, with a 0.855 PB sixty foot time, and continued pulling pretty well until just before half track when it kicked the blower belt.
The driving position in the up-to-date cars is quite different from a few years ago when I won the Championship. Its also much more claustrophobic now with the roll cage shield and padding and wearing a HANS device restricting your movement. Eddie and the crew really helped all through the weekend to get me sat in a position where, for the first time in a long while, I felt truly comfortable in a Top Fuel car.
After the second run, we were only 0.2 seconds behind leader Risto Poutiainen. After talking through the second run with me Eddie, who was tuning this weekend without a datalogger, decided that it would be a good idea to back the car down a little off the line and not risk losing traction early in the run. I was paired against Risto for the third run and on form so far this weekend, it looked like we were pretty evenly matched. Risto cut a great light and left just ahead of me but we were pretty much side by side. I hit some tyre shake around two hundred feet out but it wasn't too bad and I stuck with it until both my motor and Risto's started to drop cylinders just after the thousand foot mark. The dropped cylinders pushed me out towards the wall and I had to get off the throttle to try and avoid any engine damage and get the car straight. Risto took the stripe but it was a great side-by-side race, Risto running 5.03 to my 5.11, which put us both in the final on Sunday afternoon.
Everything was going well back in the pit for a routine service until the crew looked at the bottom end. The motor had spun a main bearing, blackened the crank and done some damage to the block too. Eddie and I went to see Rune to see what we could do but there just weren't the spares available for the combination we were running to get back out for the final. We were out and Risto was going to get a bye in the final. To say we were all disappointed was an understatement.
Now, looking back I'm much happier and we can take a lot of positives away from the weekend. Not only did we come away as runners-up in my return to competitive racing, but now I know whose door I'll be knocking on to crew and tune the car in the FIA Championship if the funding becomes available. Eddie and the guys did a great job and really made me feel at home and part of their team. I really hope we can do it again sometime soon! The success at the weekend really has poured some nitro on the flames and seriously reignited the passion to get out there in the FIA Championship so I think we are going to be looking harder than ever for that elusive corporate sponsor. It also provides us with a great opportunity to officially launch my new website at www.barrysheavills.com on which Chris at MMS has been working for a while. This will be the place to go for all the current news from Barry Sheavills Motorsport. We also have plans for the old domain at topfuel.co.uk, but more news on that at a later date.
I must just thank Eddie and the crew, Rune for the drive, Santa Pod Raceway for the invitation to take part in the Nitro Fuel Shootout, and all of the fans who supported us last weekend. Congratulations to Risto on the win - it was a real shame I couldn't be right there alongside you in the final - and congratulations also to John Spuffard and Thomas Nataas on their awesome quickest side-by-side run outside America. Lastly, to my old mates Graham and John, best of luck to you both in the future, it has been a real pleasure.
3rd October: Darren Prentice of Santa Pod Raceway has been in touch to invite racers to make demonstration passes at the Flame and Thunder Show, which takes place on Saturday 1st November. The race track will be fully-prepped. If you would like to appear at the Flame and Thunder Show then please get in touch with Darren at email@example.com.
Congratulations to Ian Cox, Darren Doughty and Kev Jenkins of the UK's Old Skool Ford club on their victories in the SM4, PS3 and OP2 classes at Malta's Hal Far Raceway after a 1700 mile trip at the end of August. Ian ran a best of 11.4, Darren 12.2 and Kev 10.84.
2008 ACU UK Pro Stock Bike Champion and contingency sponsor Dave Beck has been in touch to congratulate Chris Hall on the 2008 ACU UK Funny Bike Championship, the UK National Finals event win, and his first MTC contingency money this season, for purchasing MTC products though Dave Beck Racing Ltd. "I would like to add a thank you to MTC for supporting the ACU Championship and for paying out five times this year", says Dave.
For the record(s).
3rd October: One of the most popular pages on Eurodragster.com is our table of European Bests, which lists FIA and FIM/UEM records as well as certain UK records. As a result of several queries, Eurodragster.com Honorary Staff Member Andy Marrs of TSI Timers Europe has now produced a page of records for heads-up UK classes so that all records can be found in one place. The new UK page includes records both for Sportsman classes and Pro classes running at MSA events (including Top Fuel Dragster and Fuel Funny Car in Fuel Shootouts). All records listed have been backed up under the 1% rule.
Interestingly, there is no-one officially charged with keeping performance records for FIA and UK car classes whereas both the FIM/UEM and ACU UK bikes are well catered-for in this respect. Andy has filled the function of record keeper for a number of years for the European Championship and some UK classes, with Eurodragster.com staff and Class Reps keeping track of the rest of the UK records.
You can check out the current FIA and FIM/UEM European records, and the UK records, by clicking here or by clicking on the European Bests link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
We have a high degree of confidence in the UK records listed on the sheet, but if Class Reps or racers know better then please send details of the record, back-up, date and track to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will update the sheet.
If record-keepers in countries other than the UK would like their own records either listed or linked here on Eurodragster.com then please E-Mail details to the same address.
Two cars, three wins, good karma.
3rd October: Having put on a pretty lacklustre performance (His words - Ed) in Super Pro ET at the Easter Snowball, Eurodragster.com News sponsor Chris Isaacs says that it was nice to be asked by Spencer Tramm to drive his VW Corrado again at the UK National Finals:
There were mentions of "A chance to redeem yourself". With Spencer also running the Corrado in VW Alternate Engine, as well as his street Polo in VW Sportsman, it was looking like a busy weekend for all of us. An 8.74 on an 8.73 dial-in on our second run put us number one qualifier in Super Pro, and coincidentally a first round against Rod Harrison, who had beaten me at Easter. Spencer mentioned karma (and something about redeeming myself). Unfortunately for Rod, he jumped through the beams for a redlight and we were away with a 'free' time-trial run which resulted in a suspicious ET and a 197 mph terminal so we were left to estimate the actual time from the incrementals.
Successive lights of 0.0002 and 0.007 from Mark Flavell and Nick Good respectively in rounds two and three left me feeling like I should find a hobby where I might not get my backside so heavily kicked, but the Corrado was deadly consistent - our thousand foot times were within 0.015 all weekend - and we were able to combine this with solid enough lights to advance.
Although we had idly thought about three wins in a "Wouldn't it be nice" way during the weekend, it was at this stage - still in all three classes at the semi-final stage, with bye runs into two of the finals - that it really sunk in that the clean sweep might be possible. A bit of choreographed staging and some quick driver changes ensued, and before we knew it we were trying to work out how to run three final rounds with two drivers and two cars.
I was up first, and a slight holeshot on Dave Ward in the Super Pro final was sufficient to ease into the win even though Dave ran a fine 8.86 on his 8.85 dial. Whilst we refuelled the Corrado and pushed it back down the staging lanes, Spencer was getting set to run his Polo in VW Sportsman, and another holeshot (shortly after we arrived gasping for breath!) gave us the second win. Driving the Polo straight from the end of the track back to the collecting area whilst several other finals were run, it was a quick strap in to the Corrado for Spencer for the VW Alternate Engine final. After good lights from both the finalists, Matt Attwood had some sort of mechanical issue at mid track, and the third win was in the bag.
This had to be the most enjoyable weekend I've spent at the track for a long time, and I would very much like to thank: Spencer and all the Tramms for letting me into their car again; Steve, Adele and Ady for their sterling work all weekend; and of course the SPRC marshals and track crew who really have performed above and beyond the call of duty all year. Finally, thanks to Eurodragster.com for the excellent live coverage (Thanks, you're welcome - Ed). It's hard to find any other form of Clubman motorsport where the competitor is so well served.
Roll on next year, now!
A word from the robot...
3rd October: UK NAST Supertwin ET racer and Eurodragster.com Honorary Staff Member John Hackney has asked us to thank his fellow racers for an exciting season.
"The class is getting bigger and better every meeting", says John. "Congratulations to Joe 'Meerkat' Elliot for winning the Championship and nearly filling his front mudguard with the special 9.90 Robot stickers he had made up - for anyone who beat me, apparently - and to Aaron Sparks for being so consistent in his first year. I will be back next year with a van full of Meerkat 10.50 stickers to give out at every meeting!
"Thank you to Alison for letting me go to my other home most weekends, to Lee Child of LA Racing Parts for his assistance, to the crews at Santa Pod and Shakespeare County Raceways, and to all at Eurodragster.com for being the good friends they are (Thanks, the feeling is entirely mutual - Ed).
"I am still producing Hero Cards and top quality prints and posters from Photo, CD, or E-Mail. For more information go to www.copyprintdepot.com."
No Plan for 2009.
3rd October: UK Wild Bunch Series Champions Tony Smith and Dave Williams' third Series win was the closest yet, as they took the title by dint of a tie break.
"We won the Series by just one extra second place", says Tony Smith. "Terry Clifford had the same points as us after his win at the National Finals, but only one second to our two during the season. Well done to Terry, Crazy Chris and Scottie for their second, third and fourth places this year, and to all of those who got into the top ten.
"I can't say I have done much of the work this year. I have been so busy at the track that I had to rely on Dave and Linda to sort out the car at each event and on Dave to do the driving a couple of times. This got him a win and a second place to my second, fourth and a rain off. At this year's Hot Rod Drags I had no chance for a run on Saturday but managed three on Sunday, but this was only because of Dave and Linda, Steve and Lesley (Black Pig) and Neil (Real owner of the Pig?) towing the car with his '57 Chevy to the end of the pairing lanes where I jumped in and made a run then went straight back to work.
"I was going to announce this at our Dinner and Dance, but I think its time to do it now. Even though I will still stay a member of the Wild Bunch, I will not be taking part in the 2009 points series in The Cunning Plan. I plan to drive the at the Halloween event at Shakespeare County Raceway and then only the Mini Showdown and Hot Rod Drags next year. The car is planned to be put on the top of my MoT office after the Halloween event and taken down for the other two next year. This is for a few reasons. The first is that it is getting very busy at SCR and it's very hard to combine the two. While I have put the training for MSA Clerk of the Course on hold, I am still going ahead for the ACU.
"I still intend to have a new chassis built to spec so that I can run MSA events again. Each time I race the car, the money it costs could go towards the new chassis and parts needed. Lastly, Dave and Linda are the new owners of Roy Wilding's Chariots of Fire altered. I gave agreed to crew for them (and hopefully manage to scrounge a ride) next year. They are awaiting the delivery of a new trailer and also hope to be out for the Halloween Bonfire Burn-Up.
"Now its down to the Thank Yous: to Dave and Linda for their hard work over the last few years. Without them, I don't know what I would have done; Steve and Lesley for all the tows and runs we have had together the last few years; The Wild Bunch for putting up with me nearly every weekend; Linda for not putting up with me nearly every weekend; all the crew at SCR for letting me run the car as much as I could; My sponsors who have supported me for the last god knows when and understand why I have to do this. Alan from Newgate (Newark) Ltd who with Jeanette and AJ have been good friends and supported me from the start; Les from Tonypandy Motor Co, who lets me work and leave the car at the garage and who supplied the last couple of pairs of tyres and wheels; Ian and Mike at Tune-up Autospares for all the free parts needed for the car and van; and Gavin from Tonypandy Autos (Motorsport And Performance Solutions) for the stainless exhaust for my road car."
Drag Racing USA draw winners.
3rd October: One of the special attractions of the Drag Racing USA programme presented by Eurodragster.com News sponsor Grandstand Motor Sports was the prize draw for guests to win a day at the races with Don Schumacher Racing. The prize is an invitation to sample the VIP pitside hospitality programme of one of DSR's nitro teams on the Saturday of NHRA's season-ending Las Vegas and Pomona events.
Don Schumacher Racing is the largest professional squad in NHRA Drag Racing, currently fielding two Top Fuel teams, four Funny Cars and a pair of Pro Stock Motorcycles.
The lucky recipients for NHRA's ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals are father-and-son Super Street racers Roger and Simon Cooper from Sussex. Oxfordshire couple Rebecca Peters and Gareth Thomas receive the invitation for the Auto Club NHRA Finals two weeks later at Pomona.
The prizes may have gone but Grandstand Motor Sports still welcomes last-minute bookings for either of its individual tours to Las Vegas and Pomona or for its twenty one-night excursion to both races. Flights, quality hotels, car hire, race tickets and the services of a tour host are included and there are several added attractions. For more information on the Drag Racing USA programme, please telephone 0845 375 0300 (from abroad: +44 (0)116 231 1222), visit www.grandstandmotorsports.co.uk, or simply click on the Grandstand logo at right.
Web site updates.
3rd October: Simon Hodder, who kindly stepped in to provide us with Parade of Power coverage in September, has updated his SiMax Photography site with photographs from the FIA European Finals and UK National Finals at Santa Pod Raceway. Simon also tells us that his off-season plan is to update the site with more pictures from the 1970s to add to the Nostalgia section of the site. You can check out Simon's work so far at www.simaxphotography.co.uk.
Santa Pod Raceway's resident RWYB photographer Ian Blackett has updated his web site with pictures from the UK National Finals. As well as racing shots, Ian took a large number of crew shots at the event so if that's you on the start line then you can check out Ian's shots and buy copies at www.blackettphotography.com/lightbox.asp?eventplace=National%20Finals.
Begley scoops 4WD record.
2nd October: Congratulations to Pro Street Drag Series driver Mick Begley on capturing the European 4WD Record for Japanese imports at Shakespeare County Raceway last weekend.
Begley, who was behind the wheel of the ex-Tim Webster Duke Drag Skyline GTR R33 powered by a 2.8 Hideck RB26 engine producing a 1000 bhp at the wheels, lowered the previous record of 8.45, set by Andy Barnes at Santa Pod, to 8.218 seconds at 176.65 mph. The record was backed up with an 8.23.
"The car has so much left in her", says Mick. "Crew Chief Tweenierob won't turn the boost up until I get my sixty foot times under 1.4. Both times today were with a 1.45 sixty foot. So I need to learn a bit more.
"The surface was excellent on the Sunday. The guys at Shakespeare County did us all proud. Next time (12th October) we might even see the sevens!"
Picture courtesy and ©Dave Derry
Happy Pro ET racers.
2nd October: UK National Finals Pro ET winner Neil Hunter was pleased with the end to his season:
After the engine trouble etc. at Shakespeare County Raceway and the fire at the Main Event, we were beginning to wonder if it was even possible for us to finish the year. But over the Finals weekend all the bad luck we had been blessed with earlier in the year disappeared. Two shots at qualifying gave us number nine spot and Mark Bishop and Vegas Hustler in round one.
Knowing that we were going to be chased, a good light was needed. To my surprise, Mark appeared to leave on my light also, giving us the win. Round two was a near heads up race with Vic Amato. but fortunately a 0.1 light overcame Vic's sleeping 0.9 and troubled run. Round three gave us a bye run and up to meet Tig Napier in round four. Knowing Tig could cut a light when needed, we slightly bettered him .08 to .09. Neck and neck down the track and a lift off in both lanes as we approached the stripe. A win light in our lane, bang on the dial in by four thousandths. Then to the final and up against my ol' pal Carla Pittau and both of us wanting a win real bad after troubled seasons in each team. Lights went down and 0.03 later Carla was away, but we saved the best till last and left on a 0.008, covering the Camaro by half track and taking the win by a 0.004 margin.
We collected the trophy and were also informed of our SPRC Championship win too. Must be something about these old Capris, all three finishing in the top five in the National and SPRC Championships.
Big thanks to all the team for the season: Sue, Chloe, Alex, Chris and Neil. Also many thanks to the Pro ET sponsors WASP, Toxico Clothing, Hauser Race Cars, Alleyjax, Penn Autos, A1 Motorstores, Inkwell Printers, Motorshack, Real Steel and Black Bear Harley Davidson for their support.
Charlie Chivers writes to congratulate UK Pro ET racer John Atkinson on his #1 qualifying spot at the UK National Finals, which earned him £100 and a trophy courtesy of the Pro ET Sponsorship Scheme. "May I take this opportunity to thank Pro ET Sponsors WASP, Toxico Clothing, A1 Motorstores, Hauser Race Cars, Alleyjax, Penn Autos, Black Bear Harley Davidson, Inkwell Printing, Real Steel and Motorshack for their support of Pro ET during 2008", says Charlie. "If you would like to join the Sponsorship Scheme for 2009, support Pro ET, and have their business stickers on most of the great cars that run in the class please contact us. It doesn't cost as much as you think."
Turbo's end game.
2nd October: The UK National Finals brought to an end a pretty hard and frustrating year of intermittent racing due to the terrible weather that affected most races, writes UK Supertwin racer Ian Turburville:
Some meets we never made any laps at all and others we just got one in all weekend, so little progress was made. The Finals themselves were a resounding success however as bright sunshine and an Indian summer gave us a break for a change resulting in a very upbeat event full of smiles and fast racing. As usual, in the ACU Top Fuel Bike Championship, I was racing against the six-second Pumas of Steve Woollatt, Steve Carey and Rene van de Berg, all of whom outpower me by two hundred horses! I had little hope of actually winning but just had to go out, make every round, and do my best.
The new slick we fitted at the European Finals cured our handling problems and I could launch with confidence every time which was a big help. We had fitted our emergency spare cylinders after torching the head at the Euros so I prayed the over-bored liners would last for just one meeting before winter. We steadily improved our qualifying runs until the last one on Saturday evening and that was the one I was looking forward to the most. The air was great, I had the preferred lane and the sun had set, it was time for more nitro and big flames! Steve Woollatt and I did nice big burnouts and squared up purposefully against each other in front of a good size crowd, we were having fun! The ambers flashed and we were away together but he jumped ahead almost immediately as per usual. I twisted that throttle as hard as I could and just hoped he would spin the tyre but he didn't and beat me by a huge 1.1 seconds. I did however carry that front wheel most of the way and rode a big cushion of nitro-flames crossing the line at 196.9 mph to his 195.4 mph.
The bad news was that I looked like a wounded B52 bomber in the shutdown area, trailing a big cloud of smoke, as if returning from a mission in WW2. After all, this was an old USAF bomber base! I made it back to the mess for beer and hot dogs with the rest of the squadron but we discovered that the cylinder liners had disintegrated and dropped onto the flywheels so we wasted no time ripping it apart to replace the trashed items. My Crew Chief Rush helped until about midnight when Dave and Hilary Grabham (from the Freddy's Revenge Fuel Altered team) took over and we worked through until gone 3.00 am on it, then we just had to catch a couple of hours sleep. I woke up at 7.00 am and got back on it after Al Smith popped over with his new Snap-On endoscope to inspect the inside of the motor. He stayed and helped us complete the job in time for eliminations. Great team work from all, that's why we love this sport, great people!
In the first round of eliminations we had Steve Woollatt again and I was just so dead tired I could not concentrate, it was not looking good from where I was sitting. Still, time to cowboy-up as they say, so I shouted at myself inside my helmet and staged. I staged too quickly though and nearly went in deep, a red light was the last thing I wanted to see. Steve left on a 0.16 light and was away before I woke up to an embarrassing 0.50, damn! I gave chase and before half track Steve hit shake and had to pedal it, I was catching him! I tried very hard to snap the throttle cables and the front wheel was rotating into the air as I pulled really hard with the afterburner full on, yeeeehaaaa! We crossed the line together almost, with me a foot higher than him, but he got me fair and square, 7.2 to 7.5, both at exactly 191 mph. and the margin of victory was just 0.63 of a second. Now that was a drag race, the bike was all in one piece and I was suddenly very awake!
That was the end of my race day and our season. Tired but happy we packed up to watch the superb finals. I never thought we could actually win but was disappointed that we never got into the sixes at 200 which was my main aim. Everyone needed a lot less rain and a lot more track time this year to get their vehicles dialled in. Congratulations to Steve for winning the Championship, thanks to all the other racers for the competition, thanks to the tracks for the Herculean efforts they put in to stage the meetings, thanks to all the fans and well wishers that came and met us but especially big thanks to my super crew of Steve Leedell, Rush, Martin and Ingrid Chesworth, Tim Fountain, Al Smith, Dave Bartz, Brum, Chris, Pat, Dave and Hilary, Dave Witts and all who lent a hand. I just wouldn't contemplate doing this without you all! A special congratulations to Brum, Chris and the Northants Nitro team who won the NAST Top Fuel Championship in their rookie year, a great achievement and a very professional team. I am proud to know you all, keep it up!
Bring on 2009, first date 10th-13th April, Easter, Santa Pod Raceway, be there! And watch out for press announcements this winter as some special opportunities will arise to join our fantastic team!
Our key team members are Custom Chrome Europe, Red Line Oil, Gates Belts, Arias Pistons, Curbishley Automotive, Rush Racing UK, Timtime.co.uk, Zodiac, Sprint Dampers, Rst Wheels, Fast Lane Racing (Canada), King Racing, Innovate Dataloggers, Bentec Engineering, Aasen Tuning, Exhaust Gas Technologies, Slidercovers.Com, PSI, and Northants Nitro.
Pictures courtesy and ©Martin Chesworth
PMR's first title.
2nd October: Eurodragster.com News sponsor Paul Marston Racing sealed their first UK National Championship at the weekend's UK National Finals courtesy of Super Comp racer Dave Catton:
After qualifying the PiranaZ (Clothing with attitude)-backed Ugly Stick four-link dragster on pole once again Dave Catton, the Racing Snake himself, closed his account with a semi-final finish. This is the very first National title that a Paul Marston Racing Drag Race Driving School pupil has earned. Dave Catton came to the Drag Race School as a complete rookie and over the past four years has learnt his craft and honed his skills, driving most of the Paul Marston Racing fleet of drag race cars, culminating with his present ride.
This has been a real team effort and all of the Paul Marston Racing crew richly deserve to share in this victory. To win a National Championship you really have to be on your game right from the very start of the season. Before the season started Dave and Paul Marston set out with the intention of winning the Super Comp title at their serious first attempt. A lot of hard work and planning went into this. I would like to acknowledge Dave for a great, consistent and competitive driving job that he has done, he has learned well. As we all know you never stop learning in this business, but Dave has the maturity about his driving which we teach all the PMR drivers, which makes up for his relatively short seat time in the dragster. Secondly Paul would like to sincerely thank all the Paul Marston Racing crew for giving Dave such a great race car to win with. Without their selfless dedicated efforts, winning this Championship would not be possible. From the freezing temperatures of Easter to the lovely temperatures we enjoyed last weekend at the National Finals, they were there to give Dave the opportunity to do his job and win the National Super Comp Championship. Paul can hardly believe it even now, our first National Championship,
All in all a great end of year showing, with all the Paul Marston Racing drivers winning their first rounds, and progressing, again another first. It's always the toughest round to get through and everyone made it. Every one of the drivers would like to express their thanks to the PMR crew for giving them winning race cars last weekend.
So where from here? As you read this Dave Catton is sticking to his plan and will be vacating the seat of the Ugly Stick dragster. If you fancy driving the current PMR Super Comp Championship-winning Dragster in 2009 and defending our itle please contact us sooner rather than later. PMR have some attractive and competitive packages available and we can be reached at email@example.com or via the link on the right, or by phone to Paul Marston on 07831 650230.
There are also National Event Driving opportunities with door cars and of course the Paul Marston Racing Drag Race Driving School is now taking bookings for the 2009 season both for the School and of course the infamous Passenger Ride Experiences. Again reach us on the above contacts or visit the web site at www.paulmarstonracing.com.
Tributes for John and Graham.
1st October: As promised we have posted a page for tributes to Santa Pod Raceway commentators John Price and Graham Beckwith, who retired from track announcing at the FIA European Finals and UK National Finals respectively after long and distinguished careers.
You can check out the tribute page by clicking here or by clicking on the Features, Interviews, Tributes page on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page, and if you would like ot send your own message of tribute for John and Graham then please drop an E-Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hard to break the Habit.
1st October: Jos Vegter tells us that even when not at the track, The Netherlands' Team Force of Habit are still following what goes on via our live Event Coverage on Eurodragster.com.
"I'm talking about a team addicted to racing", says Jos. "David Vegter is on an offshore oil rig somewhere, trying to find pure Methanol I hope; I am in the Far East trying to find a place close to down-under for when the racing's done in Europe during the winter; Jaap Selles was at Santa Pod working with Derek Flynn's team to get some records down; Henriette Selles was in Holland making sure that Jessica and Lisa don't start bidding on fast cars on E-Bay; Nik Spijker in the mean time is working hard at home base, working on all our pit equipment, creating cool stuff to tow the car back - if he's not in his boat on the lake out back scaring other people into retreating to the nearest harbour for safety.
"So, this one caught my eye in your Pit Notes on Saturday: "Luke also said that the Robinson workshop is busy building two new Pro Mod cars but we will have to wait to find out who for."
"Well, I can tell you that next year one of these is ours. Andy Robinson is working hard on the completion of our Pro Mod, and it's going to be a beautiful one. Next week we'll be visiting Andy's workshop again with additional parts, and there is no doubt the high quality building by Andy Robinson Race Cars will put yet another fierce competitor on the track again. As for the other car being built there, it's not for me to tell (I guess we'll have to ask Marc Meihuizen direct then - Ed).
"I have to end by congratulating my closest friends in racing. Rene Van den Berg: We all knew you could do it, but did you wear the g-string when you went over 200 mph? You worked on this one for two years, and you did it! Derek Flynn: The ponytail will grow back eventually, you rule! Looking forward to seeing you beat everyone in 2009! Of course, congratulations to all the winners in this weekend's National Finals. It was good to see the weather-gods didn't throw another surprise at you."
Chaos coming back.
1st October: Lawrie Gatehouse has been in touch with a workshop update from the UK's Chaos Fuel Altered team. Work is well underway to put the car back together after its crash at the Open Sport Nationals at Shakespeare County Raceway:
The chassis has been completely stripped and is in Jon Webster's shop, where the jig revealed that everything from the motor plate backwards is OK. We will need to front-end it however as there are a couple of slight bends, remarkable really as it took quite a whack and a good few tumbles. The front rails neck-down twice at the moment whereas only once is necessary. Jon's advice is that we make that change and his recommendation has been accepted. It should increase the strength of the chassis also. In addition we need to make new, adjustable A-arms, using thicker gauge chromoly tubing. The wheels look to be OK, but we will get a new set of tyres front and back and crack test the wheels just to be on the safe side. We may also replace the rear member when we have had a more detailed examination.
Then we have to have a better look at the body, which stood up to being thrown down the track pretty well, all things considered. Good job it was fibreglass and not carbon fibre, otherwise they would still be sweeping up the shards. Whatever happens it will look similar to before, or the graphics on the trailer will be wasted!
This will be an interesting winter project for us but one thing is for sure: we will be back out for the 2009 Thunderball, stronger and noisier than before, but I cannot promise any straighter. But isn't that part of the appeal of Fuel Altereds? They often don't do what you expect and Nitro can always surprise you. Hey, we like the challenge!
Nearly bitten by The Fang.
1st October: After a five-hour crank-out rebuild on Friday afternoon, Carl Wadkin-Snaith and daughter Bryony took her CB125T-based sprint bike to the Public Test Weekend at Shakespeare County Raceway on Saturday.
"This would be the first time that Bryony had ventured further than the old runways used for UK sprints", says Carl. "The bike is styled on the fabulous 22,500 rpm 1966 Honda 50cc twin cylinder GP racer. Bryony's bike weighs a mere eighty kilogrammes and with a narrow power band and little front end weight it can be a little tricky to launch.
"The rapidly rising track temperature after a cold, foggy start caught Bryony out on the second run with dramatic results. A wild wheelie and tankslapper saw the bike on the brink of disaster but fortunately Bryony kept the throttle against the stop and it sorted itself out. She even managed a half decent time!
"Thanks to all those fellow two- and four-wheel racers and the staff at SCR who made Bryony feel so welcome. If anyone caught the wheelie on camera please get in touch. Full details and a photo sequence of the action can be found at www.thefang.co.uk/news2008.htm."
Two more Twins.
1st October: Also having a great time on two wheels at the weekend was Nick Holland who made his first Supertwin ET outing at the UK National Finals at Santa Pod Raceway.
"Although it was a major change from the Comp Bike I really enjoyed myself, and so did the whole team!", says Nick. "It's a pleasure of mine and all the team now to be members/associates of the National Association of Super Twins. What a fantastic group of people, so welcoming and friendly, thanks to everyone for their interest and encouragement over the weekend! I'm really looking forward to next year when my dad and I will have two identical bikes running in Supertwin Gas.
"I would like to thank Ian Marshall for letting me run up the track on Saturday afternoon after stalling the bike on the start line. See you all next year!"
PDRC Championships done.
1st October: York Raceway's UK Northern Finals on 21st September featured the climax of the Northern Drag Racing Championships and the weather couldn't have been better, writes Richard Smith:
In American Super Stock, qualifying was as tight as ever with Ashley Rawson's GTX taking top spot once again. Going into eliminations, Dave Billadeau knew he had the title pretty much sealed up. With each racer dropping their worst points round out of the eight of the season, Dave only had to worry if he went out first round and second placed Lee Chiles took his Dakota all the way, winning the event. Come round one, it was Billadeau v Billadeau, with Scott driving their new 'budget racer' Satellite four-door and Dave in his monster GTX. Instantly, the event became Dave's worst of the year as he red lit handing Scott the win but he did run a 9.99, his NPB at York, well done Dave! Lee had progressed into the second round, and the pressure was on. He had to now win the event to keep hold of his Champion status, but it was obviously too much as Lee pushed too hard off the line, red lighting therefore handing the American Super Stock crown to Dave Billadeau!
Eliminations continued and Lee could only watch as his second place crumbled away as Dan Houlston's Camaro powered through to the final against Scott Billadeau. Dan dailed an 11.3 and ran 11.48 while Scott ran a 13.25 on a 13.3 breakout, so Dan took another event win and secured the runner up spot in the Championship, in what has been a fantastic season for all involved. 2009 only looks to see the class grow even stronger!
Sportsman ET was well represented, with Al Platt's late model Camaro and Dave Rushforth's Mustang II making the final. Al took the win with a 13.84 on a 13.79 dial-in against Dave's 14.76 on a 14.75, but Dave left smiling as he had comfortably taken the Championship. In Pro ET, numbers were up as several American Super Stock racers joined in and Bob Molden also returned in the White Noise 205. It was an all-Yank final however, with Andy Reynold's Chevelle taking on Ian Johnson's Nova. A very close race saw Ian's almost perfect reaction give him the edge on Andy at the finish line, with an 11.08 on an 11.0 dail-in beating Andy's 11.76 on an 11.75. Despite Andy's late arrival to the points chase, he secured the top spot thanks to early leader Andy Bales' end of season absence.
Air Cooled Eliminator was also ultimately decided due to absence. With Nigel Hull a no show, Craig Perry had the Championship before even turning a wheel. In the final, Gary Fraser's Karman Ghia ran 14.28 against his 13.97 dail-in to defeat the 15.56 on a 14.9 of Phil Raybould's Beetle. And finally in the Hot Rod Challenge, Charlie Stirling rounded off a great year by outrunning Dale Ackworth's Rover SD1 in the final and stamping his name on the Championship trophy.
Congratulations to the 2008 Pennine Drag Racing Club Champions:
American Super Stock: Dave Billadeau
Sportsman ET: Dave Rushforth
Pro ET: Andy Reynolds
Air Cooled Eliminator: Craig Perry
Hot Rod Challenge: Charlie Stirling
All that's left for York Raceway now is the Ultimate RWYB on the 12th October, the final blast before winter returns.
My photos from the UK Northern Finals can be found at richardsmith.fotopic.net.
Championships yet to be won.
1st October: If you thought that all the UK's drag racing Championships had now been wrapped up, and all the exciting racing was behind us for the year (with the exception of Flame and Thunder Show demos of course), then we are pleased to inform you that you are very much mistaken writes Rick Cuthbert of Santa Pod Raceway:
This Sunday, 5th October, is the JapShow Finale at Santa Pod Raceway, and we are going into the final round of the HKS Drag Series Pro class with John Bradshaw and arch-rival Steve Whittaker on identical Championship points and with almost identical performance.
Steve was down to 7.781 in August, and John managed a fantastic 7.75 at the UK National Finals where he was racing in Super Pro ET, so the odds for the Championship really are fifty-fifty between these two highly-competitive racers. To make things even more exciting, the European 4WD drag racing record fell at the weekend, and went to Mick Begley in his Nissan Skyline R33 GTR, when he ran an 8.21 followed by an 8.23 at Shakespeare Country Raceway, taking the record from Andy Barnes. Andy is also racing in the HKS Drag Series Pro class at the weekend, and he aims not only to re-capture the European 4WD drag record, but also snatch the Pro class event win out of the hands of Steve and John! Andy's new turbo set-up makes this ambition seem very credible indeed.
This is an exciting time in the world of Japanese drag racing, and the whole world will be watching what unfolds at the weekend. For more information on the show, visit www.japshow.com.
Baynton doubles up.
1st October: Repeat UK National Pro ET Champion Paul Baynton says that his UK National Finals started as he had hoped, and that although he didn't have the ideal weekend he is pleased with his year.
"I was number one qualifier after the first session", says Paul. "In the second session John Atkinson barged his way into first by a thousandth of a second. This still allowed me to extend my lead in both Championships. Overnight I thought I was up against Charlie Chivers in the first round but this changed in the morning when Phil Toppin got moved from twenty seventh to third and I was then due to run against Vic Amato.
"I pulled into stage, everything was fine, then I guess my mind wandered as the lights came down. I pulled away only just before I was clamped for illegal parking! Vic took the win, and at that point I assumed that was it and that the number 1 would be on the Top Banana car for 2009. Then Charlie informed me that Lee Huxley was out, and I couldn't believe my luck. Mick Howling, as you said, "I owe you big time". I knew the title was mine again. My lead in the Santa Pod Racers Club Championship was smaller though. I saw Charlie go out in the second round and I then believed that only Neil Hunter could take the SPRC crown from me, which he did in style. A well-deserved win after his troubles earlier this year.
"We've had a good year though, reaching three out of four Pro ET finals (and losing them!) so I am very happy that the 1 stays on the Capri for another year. A big thank you to Crew Chief/Partner Mandy and my daughter Laura. Thanks also to Dave Milam for checking over the engine so quickly after the Easter Thunderball and getting it back to me in time for the meeting at Shakey. Dave has never let me down and builds very reliable race engines. Thanks also to the Pro ET sponsors WASP Speed Shop, Toxico Clothing, A1 Motorstores, Hauser Race Cars, Alleyjax, Penn Autos, Black Bear Harley Davidson, Inkwell Printing, Real Steel and MotorShack. Well done to the SPR crew who as usual worked heroically against all the weather that was thrown at them this year to get the track prepared. And finally well done to you all at Eurodragster.com for doing an excellent job keeping us informed what's happening (Thanks, you're welcome - Ed)."
SCR meets the public.
1st October: Blessed with fine September sunshine this past weekend, Shakespeare County Raceway enjoyed another bumper turnout of cars and bikes for the first of three Public Track Day weekends and Ford Day, writes SCR's Jerry Cookson:
Although it a was busy time on Saturday with many first time visitors taking to the track for the first time Sunday, mixed with the penultimate rounds for the Pro Street Drag Series and the National Street Car Challenge, was absolutely awesome with the track buzzing from the moment it opened until the last vehicle had cleared the timing traps.
As with any Public Track Day Shakespeare County held Street Car and Bikes Challenge days, the fifth of seven. Warwickshire's Danny Clarke took the Four Cylinder category having completed the day with a Personal Best of 11.506 achieved in his 2.5 Subaru Impreza WRX Sti v3. Pushing hard in another Subaru was Gennaro Sioglio from Surrey with an 11.979 followed closely by Dave Gaundy's Phoenix Fireblade Super 7 at 11.998. Quickest Six Cylinder car overall was Paul Gadsby's 2.6 twin turbocharged Mazda RX-7 with consistent 13.5s whilst in the Eight Cylinder category Mick Checkett's pretty yellow '65 SS Chevrolet Nova laid down new Personal Best numbers of 12.2 to eliminate the show'n'go 383 ci SBC Nova's previous best of 12.4.
In the Bike category Sam Sykes blasted his Suzuki GSXR 1000 Turbo into the nines with a 9.454 to qualify for another SCR trophy.
The Ford element of the weekend proved equally successful with three category trophies on offer. Taking the Front Wheel Drive trophy was Nick Drake in a time of 13.725 achieved in his 2.0 litre turbocharged 2003 Focus RS although the 13.9 second outings did face a challenge later in the day from Alex Whitlock in a similar powered Focus. Third quickest was the 2.0 litre 1990 Escort Cabriolet of Andrew Roberts. In the Rear Wheel Drive category Jay Elvy ran his first ever eleven second quarter (11.978) put down by his self built two-litre Pinto-powered MK2 Escort. But chasing Jay every inch of the way was the 1.8 turbocharged Nissan powered 105E Anglia of Glaswegian Jim Brown with times in 12.1 bracket. Third quickest was Garry Hill's Chevy powered street and strip Ford Pop with a 12.31. Quickest and only Four Wheel Drive car present was Les Ward registering a 15.2.
The Old Skool Ford Drag Challenge held its penultimate round, with the final round at the end of the month back at Shakespeare County Raceway. Topping the timing sheets with consistent 11.3s was Barry Edwards in his 2.1 litre Escort Mexico followed by Dave Reeve in a 1600cc MK1 Fiesta.
All in all another good weekend of time trials and fun was had by all. The next Public Track Day weekend open to all is 11th-12th October with Sunday billed as the Jaguar World Monthly Wild Cat Day to add to the on-track entertainment.
Web site updates.
1st October: Lizz McCarthy has been in touch to let us know that she has updated UK Funny Bike racer Kev Charman's web site with a UK National Finals report and all the latest news from the team. You can check it out at www.nitrous-junkie.co.uk.