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1st April: Speedfreaks Ball organiser Martin Hill has announced that the bike and thrust-powered vehicle festival at Santa Pod Raceway on 6th-8th May will include the first outing for a new rocket-powered vehicle. The Mental Rocket Kart is the latest project from the 'Skunk Works' of B + J Nostalgia and will be piloted by Nostalgia fuel slingshot racer Johnny 'Mental' Hall.
"This is something I have wanted to do for a while", Johnny Hall told Eurodragster.com. "When I first got into drag racing I remember reading about The Captain, Jack McClure, and his rocket kart which ran in the fives and over two hundred miles per hour. It just appealed to me. I am not predicting five-second passes out of our kart yet but we will go quick enough for me and put on a good show!"
The Mental Rocket Kart is powered by ammonium perchlorate, a solid fuel which comes ready-formed in small rings. The fuel is lit by a simple but powerful glowplug and each 'doughnut' burns for one second. The kart's fuel chamber can hold five fuel rings but Johnny will be using a maximum of two rings during testing. "Obviously I'm not going to be doing anything stupid", said Johnny. "The first runs will just have the one fuel ring so that I can get a feel for the acceleration and handling under power. Then we will add more fuel."
To begin with, the Mental Rocket Kart will not be able to appear at Permit events so appearances will be limited to events such as the Speedfreaks Ball and Run What You Brungs. "I don't have a problem with not running at race events for the time being", said Johnny. "We need to get a handle on the kart and see how it performs. When we are happy with the kart's performance and we have proved that it is safe then we will approach the powers-that-be about making demonstration passes at races. Of course we have the Nostalgia Fueller which we can run at permitted events and that will take priority."
The Mental Rocket Kart has been built amidst secrecy but Johnny thought that the secret was about to be blown at the Easter Thunderball at Santa Pod Raceway. "When Eric Teboul ran on Monday, Graham Beckwith started to talk on the PA about Jack McClure's rocket kart and I froze", he said. "I thought any minute now he is going to say "I heard Johnny Hall is building one..." but luckily he didn't say anything. I won't say I wasn't worried for a moment though! Driving the kart will be a lot easier than keeping it quiet!"
Watson takes his turn.
1st April: Paul Watson of Eurodragster.com Home and News page sponsor Dynospeed Developments will be contesting 9.50 Bike at the FIA Main Event at Santa Pod Raceway. Paul will be riding Jamie Sneddon's Honda Blackbird Super Street Bike, which ran into the sevens at last weekend's Easter Thunderball. Paul raced in Pro Stock Bike to the end of last season, but is spending this year as Jamie's Crew Chief.
"When Kent Stotz was over here at Easter, he mentioned to Jamie that he ought to let me have a go on the Blackbird", said Paul Watson. "Jamie said "No" immediately but he has come round to the idea during this week. It makes sense that the Crew Chief should have a go on the bike, I have experience of running mid-sevens on the Pro Stock Bike and I have raced in Super Street Bike so it's not as if I won't know what I'm doing!"
Super Street Bike does not run at the FIA events at Santa Pod Raceway but it has become traditional for SSB racers to enter what is now 9.50 Bike and break out spectacularly in qualifying before sportingly putting themselves out early in eliminations. However Paul said that the only reason for riding the Blackbird at the Main Event is more track time and more familiarity with the bike which has only been on-track at two events including a Run What You Brung. "I'm not going there to run sevens in 9.50 Bike, but it gives us the chance to try out different set-ups", he said. "If I run a seven then so be it but that's not the aim."
1st April: We understand that the FIA are considering a rule change for the 2007 season which will limit the use of engine blocks in European Championship classes at any Championship event. The plan under discussion will restrict teams to one engine block per event in all Professional classes including Top Fuel Dragster. Stay tuned and as soon as we receive more details we will bring them to you.
Santa Pod Raceway have announced the addition of an event to fill their only empty weekend of 2005. Rick Cuthbert of Trakbak Racing tells us that Saab Jam, to be held at Santa Pod Raceway on 27th-28th August, will be the first of its kind. "Saab Jam is is Saab-only Run What Ya Brung, Saab Show and Shine competition, and will also feature the awesome new Saab-bodied Jet Car fresh from Sweden", says Rick. "There is evening entertainment on Saturday night from Abbalicious the famous Abba tribute band, and a whole host of off-track attractions and entertainment. For more event information, check out the event's official web page at www.santapod.co.uk/saabjam.php."
Ripley stands aside.
1st April: 2004 MSA British Drag Racing Champion Doug Ripley will be stepping out of the seat of his CC Racing Top Methanol Funny Car for one day next week. After driving Paul Marston's Grumpy's Dodge and Nev Mottershead's Toyota Supra Super Gasser, Eurodragster.com News Editor Tog will be doing a burnout and a launch in the six-second TMFC at next Saturday's (9th April) Webster Race Engineering Test Day at Santa Pod Raceway.
"I read the piece Tog wrote about driving the Super Gasser and I wondered what he would write about having a go of a car like mine", says Doug. "I mentioned it in passing to Cliff (Gould, Crew Chief - Ed) and he said "Why not let Tog do a burnout and a launch?". It's a big step to get into one of these cars, but I spoke at some length to Paul Marston who said he thought Tog could handle it and then last weekend I had a word with Darren Prentice who said the same thing. There's not a lot can go wrong in the first sixty feet - as long as it is only sixty feet!"
The seat fitting and initial instruction took place during Tog's workshop visit to the CC Racing workshop in March (right). "I couldn't believe it when Doug made the offer", says Tog. "Then I had the fitting at the workshop visit and went home and I don't think I slept that night. I was excited and scared at the same time, I kept imagining the body coming down with the engine running. At about two o'clock in the morning Mrs Tog turned over and said "If it bothers you that much then say you won't do it and I can get some bloody sleep!" but by then I knew that I really wanted to drive the car. I am very grateful indeed to Doug and Jane, and to Cliff and the team, and I promise I will do exactly what I'm told!"