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Editor's Diary archive
30th October: In association with John Woolfe Racing we have posted a gallery from yesterday's (Sunday's) second day of the Halloween Bonfire Burn-Up at Shakespeare County Raceway.
There are 175 pictures in all; you can check out the Halloween Bonfire Burn-Up gallery by clicking here or by clicking on the John Woolfe Racing Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
30th October: Congratulations to Sweden's Ulf Leanders who took the Top Alcohol Funny Car win in an eventful final against Larry Dixon in Las Vegas yesterday. You can find out more at www.dragracecentral.com.
We would like to say a big Happy Birthday to Sandie Gibb. Have a lovely birthday Sandie. No news update yesterday so we were unable to say Happy Birthday to MSA British Drag Racing Championship PR Robin Jackson. Hope you had a great day Robin.
Flame and Thunder Show gallery.
28th October: In association with John Woolfe Racing we have posted a gallery from today's (Saturday's) Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway.
There are 470 pictures in all courtesy of Kirstie, Julian and off-track photog Diana Macrae; thanks to all three for their hard work.
You can check out our Flame and Thunder gallery by clicking here or by clicking on the John Woolfe Racing Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
2017's last 200 mph shot.
27th October: The UK's Robin Read, whose blown-nitro Daimler-powered dragster is the quickest and fastest British-engined car on the planet, is looking forward to taking another tilt at 200 mph at tomorrow's Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway:
You will remember that we managed to run 199.89 mph on our last run at Dragstalgia in July. Of course we would really like to be the first team to run the first British-powered 200 mph pass, and the Flame and Thunder Show is our last opportunity this year. Many thanks to Santa Pod and to James Forster for allowing us the chance.
As most race fans know I have a new dragster under construction, but I really would love my old car to be the first to 200 mph. There will be other firsts for the new car, but the old car was the first and only to run sub-sevens so wouldn't it be great to add the first 200 mph as well?
Many thanks to my wonderfully hard-working and loyal crew Mark Evans, Bertie Hopkinson, Bill Mears and of course my girlfriend Ella Chapman. There are other individuals and companies who assist with parts or services; it wouldn't be happening without you all.
As this news item arrived we learned that Pro Mod racer Wayne Nicholson, whom Robin was due to match race tomorrow, had unfortunately had to withdraw. Robin sends his commiserations to Wayne but told Eurodragster.com that he will be happy whoever is in the other lane and whatever the scenario: "I get the opportunity to run my car and if we can entertain the race fans at the same time then all the better!", he said. Your News Editor has suggested one particular match race and reserves the right to be insufferably smug should it take place.
A Fuel Altered with cheerleaders.
27th October: The 2017 California Hot Rod Reunion, being what many consider to be the premier Nostalgia race meeting of the US calendar, was to be a fitting end to the US Tor of the UK's Havoc Fuel Altered team, regardless of results. Driver Nick Davies writes that the actual result was something of a fairytale:
We arrived at the event as part of a thirteen-strong field of the best classic Fuel Altereds on the planet, competing in a Chicago-style shoot-out in which the two quickest cars would run off against each other in a final after three qualifying sessions. Rules: Any ET quicker than 6.00 would be discounted; anything else goes...
We knew that if PBs for the assembled cars were ranked in order, we would sit sixth or seventh behind some pretty experienced and heavyweight talent, but this is drag racing and more particularly Fuel Altered drag racing, in which nothing can be predicted with any certainty.
Qualifying session 1: Bryan Hall, owner and driver of The Tramp altered, proven five-second runner and winner of the March Meet, asked us for a race and we were very happy to oblige. We had made a few changes to the car and were quietly hopeful of improving our own PB of 6.29 by up to a tenth. With the planned Friday session lost to rain, the slot was bumped to midday on Saturday. We rolled into the left lane and Bryan in the right. Burnouts complete and into stage. Cars left together and our normal slow first hundred feet enabled me to see Bryan in my peripheral vision. By half-track, I was surprised to notice that I accelerated past him pretty comfortably. A ticket of 6.135/232 was a welcome surprise! At the end of the session, we were second behind Dave Hough's Nanook which had run 6.125.
Qualifying session 2: Last run of the year against Rat Trap Racing Team mate and great friend Ron Hope in Rat Trap. Ron and I have had great fun all year. The Havoc team are under no illusions about the magnitude of the input which Ron, Brian, Rebecca and the whole Hope family have had to our whole venture and it is with genuin pride that we call them friends and part of our racing family. Ron had one of his typically-entertaining wheelstanding runs and we were lucky enough to back up our first qualifier with a 6.15/230. Nobody else improved significantly so we sat in second place overnight,
Qualifying session 3: Last qualifier and we got to race Shawn Callen in the ex-Jackson Bros High Heaven altered. Havoc consistently drops cylinders at the hit and then picks them up once the engine is under increased load. We haven't really had the opportunity to address the issue but thought we would try this time by adjusting the fuel system. The fix seemed to work but resulted in the car standing harder than usual on the wheelie bars and firing it towards the centre line. A couple of pedals and I gave up on the run in the knowledge that several fast cars were yet to run and potentially take our second position. We ran 6.99.
Team mate, Rat Trap Racing Team Manager and great friend Brian Hope in Rich Guasco's Pure Hell was the first threat. Brian came through, having run the quickest classic Fuel Altered pass in history at 5.92 shut off just after a thousand feet, with possibly the biggest smile I had ever seen. Did he care that the run didn't count towards the Chicago qualifying? Not remotely! Other hitters Bryan Hall and Jason Richey failed to overhaul our 6.13 so we were into the final against Nanook.
Final: Wheelie bars adjusted and we are put in the right lane by the Houghs. On tour, we were 1-1 with Nanook. We had a great race in Bowling Green where both cars ran 6.44 but we took the win light, then Nanook took revenge in Martin, Michigan when he ran 6.11 and we were nowhere to be seen, A third race would be a fitting decider for the year. Anticipating a staging battle similar to that in Martin, I was prepared to sit in pre-stage for as long as was necessary. Vince had other ideas and went into stage quickly and deeply. The Tree ran and both cars left together, Havoc having the edge with a .11 to a .13 light. I saw Vince in my peripheral vision for an age but, as in Bowling Green, Havoc ran the back half hard and i could see the gap closing. Was the track long enough? By the stripe, it was too close to call. Vince, Nanook's driver didn't know either.
The crew arrived and realisation dawned. Another PB and our 6.117 beat Nanook's 6.136. We had won the 2017 California Hot Rod Reunion. An extraordinary way to complete the year. And an amazing meeting for the whole Rat Trap Racing Team with Ron and Rat Trap competing in the 3rd-4th place run-off and Brian in Pure Hell running that extraordinary five-second pass.
It was one of those weekends that is difficult to explain. They seem to come around very rarely but, when they do, a feeling of confidence seems to surround everything you do. With the huge exception of the tragic incident which took the life of a friend and fellow racer, the Havoc team's weekend could scarcely have been bettered. The support from the travelling British fans was remarkable to not only us, but also seemingly to our fellow US domestic racers. Honestly guys, you cannot even start to understand the difference it made to us hearing the chants of "Havoc! Havoc!" before each pass (listen to the footage on the Havoc AA/FA Fuel Altered YouTube account). That it intimidated the opposition is also a possibility. The organisers told me that they had never had so many people with a car in the Winners Circle. There were even a few tears shed from unexpected eyes! The additional support and congratulations from social media was also just remarkable! Quite a community!
On behalf of Rob, Scott and myself I would like to thank each and every person who has supported us through what has been an extraordinary year. They won't forget us in a hurry, that's for sure!
Thanks from the team also goes to our Tour partners Beech Underwriting Agencies, Rat Trap Racing, the NFAA, USAutomotive, Motorstate Distributing, Lucas Oils, ARP Fasteners, Goodyear Tyres, VP Racing Fuels, Thacker & Friends and the Sherratt family. See you next year!
27th October: Good luck and stay safe to Jonnie Lindberg, Fred Hanssen, Ulf Leanders and Rob Turner who are representing Europe at this weekend's NHRA Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas. Qualifying commences today (Friday) and you will be able to stay in touch with our heroes' progress at www.dragracecentral.com.
Mike Franks has been in touch seeking his Against All Odds Firenza Super Gasser which he sold seven years ago. If you can help then you can contact Mike via Cars Wanted on our Jeff Bull Race Engines-sponsored Swap Meet.
Also currently on offer on the Swap Meet are Steve Pateman's seven-second street-legal Vauxhall Calibra and Steph and Dave Milam's She Devil Racing Top Methanol Funny Car-cum-blown-alcohol Altered. You can find out more via Cars For Sale on the Swap Meet.
York Raceway nears first target.
27th October: With the track under threat, York Raceway, Pennine Drag Racing Club, racers and friends have been working hard to attract funding in order to create a new race surface, redevelop the track infrastructure and secure drag racing on the current site:
Through donations and both new and existing sponsorships, York Raceway has at time of writing raised £79,817.10 and is well on the way to meeting the target figure of £200k.
The first £100k raised will pay for a new racing surface and will put York Raceway in a strong position to negotiate terms on the minimum ten-year lease which is being offered by the landowner. The further £100k York Raceway is aiming to raise will be used to redevelop site infrastructure and facilities, allowing the track to become truly sustainable and improving the potential for further investment with the aim to make York Raceway a national event-standard drag racing facility.
York Raceway welcomes new sponsors Darkside Developments, Willis Performance, Behemoth Enterprises Ltd, ADImages, The Turbo Shop, Evil Tuning and Youhill Machinery Ltd and would also like to thank their existing sponsors Performance Unlimited, LA Racing Parts, Nationwide Electrical, Northrace Speed Shop, Max Car Care, Aford Awards, KC Speed Shop and Blue Bar Catering for their continued support.
Chris Murty, York Raceway General Manager, said "The level of commitment shown by our supporters and the UK drag racing community as a whole has already been outstanding and we are extremely grateful to everyone who has donated so far and all those businesses who have chosen to work with us. The level of momentum has skyrocketed over the past few weeks as it becomes clear that together we can really make this happen. This level of enthusiasm gives us great confidence that the future of drag racing in the north of England is bright and we will continue to work tirelessly to make York Raceway the best that it can be."
York Raceway are still looking for further sponsors and business partners who wish to invest in UK drag racing and are looking for a healthy return on their investment. Sponsorship brochures and further investment information is available upon request.
For both racers and RWYB participants York Raceway will have a new advance membership card system, with cards available for purchase for either one or three years. This will give the bearer free admission to the venue and a £10 discount on RWYB / Test'n'Tune. PDRC are also considering further discounts on race entries for membership card holders.
For more information on membership cards and sponsorship and business opportunities, interested parties should contact Chris Murty on 01422 843651 or E-Mail email@example.com.
Event Coverage double-header.
27th October: Eurodragster.com will be covering two events this weekend in association with John Woolfe Racing.
Tomorrow (Saturday) we will be at Santa Pod Raceway to bring you all the action from the Flame and Thunder Show. We plan to post an end-day gallery courtesy of Kirstie, Julian and off-track photog Diana Macrae, and the Webster Race Engineering / Nimbus Motorsport webcam will be on-line broadcasting live video and commentary / Nitro FM audio so long as the track is open.
We will post a direct Home Page link to our coverage as soon as it commences tomorrow but in the meantime you can check out our Flame and Thunder Show event coverage index, which includes links to the official entry list and provisional running order, by clicking here or by clicking on the John Woolfe Racing Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
On Sunday we will be at Shakespeare County Raceway to bring you all the action from day two of the Halloween Bonfire Burn-Up. We plan to post an end-day gallery, and the Webster Race Engineering / Nimbus Motorsport webcam will be on-line broadcasting live video and commentary so long as the track is open.
We will post a direct Home Page link to our coverage as soon as it commences on Sunday but in the meantime you can check out our Halloween Bonfire Burn-Up event coverage index by clicking here or by clicking on the John Woolfe Racing Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
27th October: If you are watching this weekend's Webster Race Engineering / Nimbus Motorsport webcast from tomorrow's Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway then we will be encouraging you to send pictures of yourself watching the broadcast. There will be a prize for our favourite picture and a Long Distance Award (the latter naturally needs to be verifiable). Keep an ear open on the webcast for more but the hashtag to use will be #eurodragsterlive.
Pictures of yourself watching the webcast will not, of course, be viewed as a breach of our no-screenshots rule.
25th October: If you look very carefully you can just about make out the UK's Havoc Fuel Altered in amongst a crowd of supporters after Nick Davies and the team took the victory at the California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield. Photo-journalist Andy Willsheer, who kindly sent the picture, says that it was great to see the supporters' club in attendance.
We have quite a long birthday list today (Wednesday). Happy Birthday and hugs to Kirsty Giles, a manly handshake to Super Pro ET racer Joe Kellett, and back to the hugs for our good friend Deborah Marrs. Finally, Happy Birthday to Top Fuel Dragster racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Urs Erbacher. Have a great day all.
24th October: Carla Pittau and Rick McCann have been in touch with a season review of the Heaven and Hell Stock / Super Stock team's successful season in the EDRS Pro Series and elsewhere:
Our season started with the hope of soon having two cars running in Stock / Super Stock. As often happens in racing, things didn't move as fast as we'd hoped, but perhaps the delay on Carla's car helped the team concentrate on Rick's attack upon the EDRS Pro Series.
Rick's Camaro, a 1984 GT / GA Camaro - the GT means that in this class you are allowed to use an engine combination which was not offered in the model year - is not hugely competitive where qualifying is concerned. For a few years we had issues with leaky heads as with our engine combination we are forced to use iron heads which are now very rare, very overworked, porous, and basically fragile, as well as being impervious to most repair attempts which only last a couple of meetings. At the beginning of last year we acquired a second engine with the same spec as the first, but with thankfully good sealing heads, and although we found cracked rockers on our first outing (a manufacturing defect) this finally allowed us to compete without further breakage. The engine didn't make as much power as the first and although once in competition this does not put us at too much disadvantage unless we meet another GT / GA car (in which case we would run heads-up, no breakout) we wondered if we could improve the power a little.
This is not as easy as it sounds when you have strict rules as to what modifications you are allowed, so we decided to see if we could use the block, cam and rotating assembly from the first engine with the heads of the second. Fortunately the two engines are similar enough and only minor adjustments were needed, although we measured and re-measured to make absolutely sure that no issues were missed. All we needed was different length pushrods, a good hone to the block, new bearings and a thinner head gasket, so we set out to put together the combo. In the UK we would have gone to good old Kenny Coleman at EDA for the honing, checking, dyno etc but luckily we have our very own Swedish Kenny in the person of Raymond Karlsson, of R Karlsson Stålteknik in Harbo, a fantastic guy who is a real genius of machining and making all sorts of steel parts to order. He even built his own honing machine as he didn't think the Sunnen one was accurate enough! He did of course do a superb job of preparing the block for us, so we proceeded to build it and then put it through its paces at the Williams Brothers dyno just before the Main Event.
Tuning at the Williams' produced good results, with the engine making over 600 HP, and we were happy with the transplant. A little more tweaking to get a good balance between max torque and max HP by advancing the cam produced an ET which was quicker than the first engine, even only just. Now we needed to solve a few chassis issues to make the car really consistent, but the adjustments we made did not seem to achieve the desired results.
Fortunately, at the FHRA Nitro Nationals in Alastaro we happened to discuss the issues with good friend and diamond geezer Mikael Sjökvist, Crew Chief and owner of the Samantha Pro Stock Racing Dodge Avenger. After telling us off in his inimitable humorous way, Mikael told us to take the car to his pit, where he put it on four corner scales and proceeded to completely reset the four-link until he was happy with the result. He explained that the accurate set-up he earlier suggested for the driveline - linking the crank, transmission and driveshaft in a straight line as much as possible, which we had done - added to optimising the car's stance using the four-link, would prevent the components fighting each other during the run and thus stop wasting horsepower. As usual he was right, and although this led to a big breakout and a third round loss at Alastaro (Rick lifted in rounds one and two) the work he did gained us as much as a tenth! Not a ground-breaking ET in the class, but a great improvement for us, and now everything worked well: car and engine and also, I must add, the gearbox built by Björn Bondesson.
With high hopes and a second place in the points of the EDRS Pro Series we travelled to the Drag Challenge at Gardermoen Raceway in Norway, where we were welcomed like family by the drag racing community, the track officials, competitors. Stock / Super Stock were treated like the Pros we really are, and Gardermoen is definitely another home from home in the making! Great also to be there with the top competitors in the class. We enjoyed the atmosphere, the banter and the friendship; we have the greatest respect for all of them and felt privileged racing with them. Winning the race was really the cherry on the cake, as we had great fun and the car performed really well with no issues and no dramas, just good runs.
Now we could go to the Tierp Internationals leading the points. Here unfortunately Rick pulled a -0.008 in the second round after some excellent lights and the race was over, although as all other possible winners of the Series had gone out in the first round, the first crown outside the UK was finally ours. Hooray!
With the Championship done and dusted and out of the way we travelled to England to pick up Carla's car, which had been completely rebuilt by Williams Brothers Racing. The Camaro is now completely legal for NHRA Stock Eliminator, where it will compete in D/SA. It's totally steel, it has had a body-off restoration and too many new parts to even begin to list, bumpers and trim are back to chrome and it looks simply stunning. As it was a well known and immediately recognisable car, we decided that the distinctive Heaven & Hell design should stay, and therefore the artwork was redone by Andy Stroud of Hairy Designs who also did the previous artwork, and of course Andy did a great job again. The NHRA Stock legal engine was built by one of the top Stocker engine builders in USA, Brian Tilburg, the transmission by A1 Transmissions and all other work, top to bottom, was done by Nic and Dan Williams. Last but not least the Williams brothers also managed, somehow, to reduce the car's weight so dramatically that not only was the Camaro too light for its natural class of E but we had to add lots of weight to reach the legal minimum weight for D! This is a very good thing as we were able to add the weight exactly where we wanted.
All that was needed now was to compete at the European Finals to give the driver a chance to learn to drive again! As it happened it took a few runs to get comfortable in the car and despite the two .01 lights in qualifying, in the first round of competition Carla snoozed on the line and lost despite a dead-on run, although the rain then put everyone on the trailer.
As a last chance in the season we travelled to Kjula Raceway to test and hopefully compete in Carla's first Stock / Super Stock race. Fate got us there late and we learned that it was a one-day event so we managed just two test runs which netted a 10.74, which is 0.81 under the index and good enough to qualify in the top half of the field at any meeting. We know that there is more in the bag and it's just a matter of getting it out, a tweak here, an adjustment there...
We can finally compete with two cars in the class in 2018, and being enthusiastic about it doesn't even begin to describe how we feel.
We couldn't, of course, have got there without the work, help, encouragement, suggestions and support of many people to whom we would like to give heartfelt thanks: our great crew who travelled to the races, sacrificing holidays, abandoning family, pets, hope and sanity to be with Heaven & Hell Racing, the Williams Brothers who built a fantastic Stocker for us, Mikael Sjökvist, Raymond Karlsson, Björn Bondesson, all of the competitors in Stock / Super Stock and Pro ET, the fantastic track officials at Gardermoen Raceway, the indefatigable Santa Pod crew who battled horrendous weather conditions to try and give us a race, and finally the staff at Eurodragster.com without whose reporting we wouldn't have a clue of how things go (Thanks! You're welcome - Ed) and whom we would very much like to attend all races everywhere in Europe. Please?
Pictures supplied for this news item courtesy and copyright Jari Tänkänen of Tierp Idag, Dave G Wilson, Paul Bryan, Chris Buckland and Dave Buckland.
24th October: Some of UK Wild Bunch racer Scottie Durrant's ashes now grace Famoso Raceway at Bakersfield after Wild Bunch colleague Ed Yates arranged for them to be spread during Sunday's race day. Originally intending to scatter Scottie's ashes off-track, Ed quickly changed the plan to a ride in the chute pack of the Fighting Irish Nostalgia FC. The FC having unfortunately DNQ'd, the UK's Havoc Fuel Altered team agreed to take Scottie on a pass in the final qualifying session of their Chicago Shootout. Nick Davies duly took Scottie for a 6.995 ride before pulling the chutes and setting him free in the shutdown area. Ed would like to thank the Fighting Irish team especially Rich, Nick and the Havoc team, Martyn Payne, Alan Marsh, and Glyn and Annette Jones.
The first spy picture of the 2017-18 off-season (above right) came with the words "Introducing Typhon". If you know more, or if you would like to send your own spy picture, then drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
They will be deleted soon but we currently have the source BurnoutCam and TrackCam video files from our Webster Race Engineering / Nimbus Motorsport webcam for VW Action, the pre-European Finals Pro Peak Performance Day, the FIA / FIM European Finals, the Sunday of the NSRA Hot Rod Drags (TrackCam only), the pre-National Finals All Torque Test Day, and the UK National Finals. If any racer would like a video of a particular run from any of these events then please E-Mail Tog at email@example.com with event, day of event, time of day of the run, ET and speed, and identifying mark on the vehicle. This is a limited-time offer on a best-endeavours basis and is first-come first-served.
Staying with the Webster Race Engineering / Nimbus Motorsport webcam, we plan a double-header this weekend with webcasts of the Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway on Saturday and then Day 2 of the Halloween Bonfire Burn-up at Shakespeare County Raceway on Sunday. In addition there will be an end-day gallery of each event presented in association with John Woolfe Racing. More details later this week but as ever you can reach each event's coverage index by clicking here or by clicking on the John Woolfe Racing Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
Web site updates.
24th October: In the latest instalment of his exclusive Racer Blog presented in association with Gearhead Garage Paul Marston brings us up to date with the construction of his twin-turbo Cortina. You can take a look by clicking here or by clicking on the Gearhead Garage Blogs link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
23rd October: Further to Wednesday's and yesterday's news items, congratulations to Nick Davies, Rob Loaring and the Havoc Fuel Altered team on their victory in the Fuel Altered Shootout at the California Hot Rod Reunion. Nick will be along with his observations soon, possibly including your News Editor's prediction to Nick of victory several days ago.
Our good friend Jim Kelly, formerly of Eurodragster.com sponsor VP Racing Fuels, has returned to writing and has released his first novel. Found in Time, a time-travel thriller about two US marines, has attracted good reviews including from readers in the miltary. You can find out more on Jim's web site at www.jkkelly.com or the book can be ordered on Amazon by clicking here. Jim tells us that his next book is non-fiction and about the international motorsports industry.
Getting in first with the 2018 calendars is photographer Matt Woods whose full-colour calendar is yours for £10 plus £2.99 p+p. You can contact Matt via his web site at www.mattwoodsphotography.com or via his Facebook page.
Web site updates.
23rd October: In the latest instalment of his exclusive Racer Blog presented in association with Gearhead Garage, Luke Bennett brings us up to date with developments in the workshop of UK blown-alcohol altered team Bennett Racing. You can take a look by clicking here or by clicking on the Gearhead Garage Blogs link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
The Mad Welshman has updated his Flickr site with pictures from the Saturday of the NSRA Hot Rod Drags at Shakespeare County Raceway. The update includes on- and off-track shots and you can check it all out at www.flickr.com/photos/the_madwelshman.
Single to Chicago, please...
22nd October: The UK's Nick Davies writes from California where the Havoc Fuel Altered goes into today's final Chicago Shootout qualifying session in second spot courtesy of two PBs:
Friday's rain meant that the schedule changed and that the Fuel Altereds' planned first qualifier was cancelled. Onto Saturday and in the first qualifier we were paired up with March Meet winner and proven five-second runner Bryan Hall in the Tramp. Bryan deep staged and left first. I saw him appear in my peripheral vision then, as cylinders picked back up, he was gone by 400 feet. Havoc responded to the changes we had made but a 6.13 at 232 mph surprised everyone, including us. We were hoping for a low 6.2 despite not having run close to last year's 6.29 PB at Santa Pod a year ago. Second place in a field of thirteen cars...
In Q2 with stablemate and great friend Ron Hope we backed up the first run with a 6.15 and so we are still second with one final qualifier this morning.
We can't thank everyone enough for the support - it has been truly extraordinary and make us proud to be British and proud to be drag racers - and thanks also to our Tour partners Beech Underwriting Agencies, Rat Trap Racing, the NFAA, USAutomotive, Motorstate Distributing, Lucas Oils, ARP Fasteners, Goodyear Tyres, VP Racing Fuels, Thacker & Friends and the Sherratt family.
Return of the DoorSlammers.
21st October: Trakbak Racing and Santa Pod Raceway have announced the return of the famed DoorSlammers event in May 2018. CEO Keith Bartlett writes:
This event, which ran in the 1980s and 1990s, will return to Santa Pod in a bigger and better format, along with a huge prize fund. The DoorSlammers will return with six heads-up classes along with one huge Bracket class. The cash prize money up for grabs will be £75,000 (seventy five thousand pounds sterling). This will be the largest prize money ever paid out for this type of event in the UK.
The event will be held on the weekend before the Main Event, 19th-20th May, and it is hoped this date will encourage the entry of some of the top European racers who are competing in the FIA Championship the following weekend. It will be a two-day event. TBR have structured a street racing-style event, although on a prepped track and over the full quarter mile. This will come with all the normal safety, fire and medical services on hand, plus it will be filmed on our own Santapod TV. I have personally been wanting to put this style of event on for some time - and feel the time is right to do just that!
Watch this space for more details - coming very soon...
See you at the track.
Bakersfield, via Chicago.
18th October: This weekend's California Hot Rod Reunion at Bakersfield is the final meeting in the 2017 US Tour of the UK's Havoc Fuel Altered team. Driver Nick Davies writes:
Havoc will be joined by a dozen of the fastest classic-style Fuel Altereds in the US. It should be quite a show. The format is currently planned to be a Chicago-style shoot-out with two runs scheduled for Saturday, then the fastest two cars race for the money on Sunday.
Tough for the three-man team from the UK? Well, six of the twelve cars against which we will race have PBs more than a tenth quicker than ours, but we have a couple of ideas we are planning to try and we also have a huge contingent of travelling fans supporting us. Rest assured, we have no intention of being there to just make up the numbers.
Being an NHRA-affiliated meeting, coverage will be available via NHRA All Access, rather than the free-to-view Bangshift which covered the March Meet.
Thanks from the team goes to our Tour partners Beech Underwriting Agencies, Rat Trap Racing, the NFAA, USAutomotive, Motorstate Distributing, Lucas Oils, ARP Fasteners, Goodyear Tyres, VP Racing Fuels, Thacker & Friends and the Sherratt family, as well as to the travelling and non-travelling fans whose support is hugely appreciated.
We will try to keep everyone abreast of progress via Facebook, Instagram and, of course, Eurodragster.com. If you are there then be sure to drop by and say hello, but forgive us if we are a little busy...
OCS Group open for business.
18th October: With so many customers and more diverse requirements, Eurodragster.com sponsor OCS Paint and Williams Bros Racing are delighted announce that Stage 1 of the move into their new purpose-built facility in Northamptonshire has now taken place:
To coin a phrase we needed a bigger boat , so new premises were needed. We started with building the engine dyno room which was a massive task due to air ventilation, exhaust extraction and, being a superflow dyno, a plentiful water supply. We have had some fantastic results so far and some very well-known racers are already reaping the rewards of this service. We even have a viewing room where you can see your engine on the dyno. Logically the next step was the operating theatre, I mean the engine build room. Dan Williams can build your engine to any specification and his knowledge of V8 race engines is becoming legendary. Workshop next and the ultra-clean environment theme continues.
So far then WBR Race Engines and WBR Dyno Shop have their new home but it doesn't end there. We will soon have our parts counter ready so yet another stage of the move will be completed with the inclusion of the WBR Speed Shop. We have regular shipments from many of the major suppliers in the USA and can offer anything from dial-in marker pens to complete engines and gearboxes. Another speciality is our ability to supply and fit CalTracs and we offer set up assistance to our customers. Dan Williams is extremely happy with the new facility and is also actively training their workshop apprentice who is no stranger to the world of drag racing. We have mentioned him before but we would like to take this opportunity to officially welcome former Junior Drag Bike, ET Bike and now 8.50 Bike racer Louis Davies to the team. Louis has adapted very quickly indeed and is a valued asset.
The next stage will be the move of OCS Paint into the same facility. This should be completed within the next two months so that all of the services we can offer are under one 7000 square foot roof. Nic Williams and master sprayer Ashley Hickles are relishing the thought of the completion of their side of the new building. We will have a dedicated dirty area where we can strip down cars before they move into the main preparation bays of the workshop. Once painted they can then be moved to the assembly shop for final build or just polishing, depending on the job.
With the new premises and continued expansion a restructuring of the business was required so the OCS Group has been formed as the umbrella for all of the separate sides to the business. Nic says that with so many different products and services on offer the move and restructuring was required to meet the needs of our expanding customers needs. If you have any work, parts supply or paint and restoration requirements, along with engine building, race car set-up, engine dyno and not forgetting full builds from Hot Rods to complete NHRA-legal stockers, in fact any requirements, then please feel free to contact Nic on 07572 096920 or 01327 220777. Dan can be reached on 07736 768306. E-Mail enquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To promote the new facility, and to offer our services to a wider audience, we will be exhibiting at the Classic Car Show next month at the NEC in Brimingham. Our sizeable stand will feature the SPRC Modurstang Pro ET Championship-winning 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle, a newly-built carb-to-pan Small Block Chevrolet engine, some classic car restoration items, and a seven metre wide backdrop wall featuring pictures of many of the cars built or painted by the teamtaken by Callum Pudge of Pudgey's Pictures. The dates for your diary are 10th-12th November, please come and see us there.
UK Tech Committee last call.
17th October: Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Ian Marshall has been in touch with a reminder that the UK Tech Committee will be convening in Northampton this Sunday (22nd).
If you have any suggestions for the agenda, or if you would like to attend the meeting (all welcome), then please get in touch with Ian on 01933 313625 or by E-Mail at email@example.com by close tomorrow, Wednesday.
All welcome at SCR Track Weekend.
13th October: Jerry Cookson writes that Shakespeare County Raceway hosts this season's penultimate Public Track Weekend this Saturday and Sunday:
There's another in the series of Shakey's Bracket Gamblers races plus the final round for the Japanese Drag Racing Series. Will Martin Lee, driving his rapid Nissan GTR, take the series or will Jeff Ludgate steal away the series win in his Millers Oil-supported Nissan Skyline?
It's an open RWYB so anything is welcome to participate both days. The full-prepped track is open from 10:00 to 17:00 both days. The only requirements at Signing on and Scrutineering will be your driver's licence and a crash helmet. General admission is £12 each day and the track fee is £25 a day or £40 for the weekend. See you at the strip!
13th October: From the Best Swift Snippet Ever Department and courtesy of Gray Harrison the forerunner of all those Eurodragster.com We understands, from the September 1961 issue of Practical Motorist magazine (below left). "My sister bought me this magazine for my birthday; I don't know why as I was born in September 1966!", says Gray. "But I found that it contained this piece about the Allard Dragster."
Continuing the Nostalgia theme, if you fancy owning a clasically-styled and all-original UK drag bike then this handsome Hagon-framed bike (above right), believed to be a former ride of Jeff Byne's, is for sale courtesy of Les Eggleton on our Jeff Bull Race Engines-sponsored Swap Meet. The 700 cc Royal Enfield parallel twin with Judson supercharger runs on nitro / methanol mix and has been raced in France. For more details check out Bikes For Sale on the Swap Meet.
Frank Johansen tells us that his buddy Per Magnusson has acquired the Pro Modified Camaro last raced by Patrik Wikström. You can find out more by clicking here.
Good luck and stay safe to Jonnie Lindberg, Fred Hanssen and Ulf Leanders who are representing Europe at this weekend's AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals. Qualifying commences today (Friday) and you will be able to stay in touch with our heroes' progress at www.dragracecentral.com.
Help SPR answer the Vnuk call to arms.
13th October: Caroline Holden says that Santa Pod Raceway are doing their bit to oppose the latest crackpot scheme from the unelected commissars and writes citing the MSA's and Motorsport Industry Association's opinions:
Our industry and sport faces a serious, immediate problem which you can help resolve. Many of you will be aware of Vnuk, a 2014 European Court judgement that threatens the future of all UK motorsport. In simple terms, the EC plans to issue a new Motor Insurance Directive, as a result of which all EU Member States must put into their National Law compulsory and unlimited third-party liability insurance to cover personal injury between motorsport competitors and car-to-car damage during any competition – from drag racing, Formula One, Moto GP, World Rally to karting, historic and grass roots, whether regulated by the FIA or FIM or not.
However such widespread unlimited new insurance is not currently, and, we understand, will not in the future be available - so motorsport will be unable to continue anywhere in the EU. The MIA and the Department for Transport in the UK have had discussions with London-based motorsport insurance specialists which provide most of the current insurance to motorsport organisers and teams across the EU. They are unable to confirm any company who will write motorsport insurance to meet the unlimited levels of liability required by the Directive - the majority believe such risks are, effectively, uninsurable.
Please read the MIA's summary if you wish to fully understand the serious nature of this problem.
We have until 20th October to respond to this important EC consultation, if we fail to secure the amendment we seek then the likely outcome is that all motorsport activity, in every EU Member State, will cease.
Currently, the European Commission are looking for responses from employers, suppliers and businesses in motorsport, major teams but, as yet, not competitors / individuals. Therefore, we need to act - by working together we can change this. We must make the European Commission fully aware of the economic importance of motorsport and the employment which our sport and industry provides across the European Union. If you know of anyone in the business of motorsport in any way, then please pass the message along.
If you are reading this as an individual/race fan, we urge you to contact your local MP or MEP (Beats posting messages on social media instead of doing anything practical to help, doesn't it - Ed).
In responding to the Vnuk issue, the MSA has been working with a wide range of groups including the Motorsport Industry Association, and we are now calling on the motorsport community to respond to a European Commission consultation by 20th October.
The MSA has previously responded to a Department for Transport consultation on Vnuk. To view the MSA's response to that consultation, click here.
Take action now! To view the MIA's call to action, which the MSA fully supports, please click here.
An off-season as busy as racing...
13th October: Paul Marston writes that the Paul Marston Racing team are looking forward to a very busy off-season:
2017 was a good year for us. The Drag Race School was busy: we showed a fair number of pupils what it's like on the other side of the windscreen. This is a good sign for our great sport, plenty of interest, despite the ongoing fights which two UK drag strips are currently facing.
The joint venture Twin Turbo Cortina in which PMR and Comanche Race Cars are currently involved - about which, incidentally, you can read in Eurodragster.com's Gearhead Garage-sponsored Racer Blog, is still an interesting and exciting project which is scheduled to receive a lot of work during the off-season. We have identified areas where we can see performance improvements, so to follow this story just keep an eye on the Blog.
I elected not to go on my annual pilgrimage to South Georgia Motorsports Park for No Mercy 7, Street Outlaws in Memphis then Outlaw Drag Radial at Bradenton. To be honest it was a tough decision to make. It's been a busy season with PMR at the track seventeen times in one year. Often in the States you don't get so many good events to take in but 2017 had the stars aligned and it would have been one heck of a trip. We simply have so much going on here in the UK which really needed prioritising despite everything I would have learned out there. On my trips to the States I have always learned a lot whilst crewing on whichever car Tony Morris is driving at NHRA events. But we have not got far enough into the Twin Turbo Cortina project to learn a bunch off of the racers at No Mercy. The chassis needs figuring out long before we start power upgrades. It will most probably take most if not all of next season to get there and that's providing that the motor stays healthy. Losing the best part of a month and a half in the States was just time I could not afford to sacrifice. A lot of small things that made the decision for me really; the dollar is still not good, work is still busy, plus we have not broken much in 2017 and already have most of the parts and pieces in stock which I will need during the off season. Lastly there is a long list of jobs I need to get done - the off-season is never as long as you think it is.
First in the shop before the UK National Finals was Grumpy's Dodge. It has been a few years since she had a full teardown and was properly gone through. Not that there is anything wrong - in fact the car has been faultless and a joy to use - I just like to go through them every few years to keep then in A1 condition mechanically and appearance-wise. The last time for Grumpy was when I had the interior redone by Bill at Comanche Race Cars. I had a few ideas which I wanted to include in the upgrade and Bill and I worked it all out. The job came out real nice, but now it's time for a freshen up.
All the usual boring stuff which race fans never get to see needs doing as well. Go through the RV and winterise her, sort out its maintenance, plus the two trailers need same. It's a long list of jobs which just stack up during the year ready for the off-season.
Hopefully Grumpy will be done before the end of the month and put into winter storage then the Whoopass Monza, which again was a real good weapon during the 2017 season and in which Tony Morris and I enjoyed a fair share of success. Neither of us lost a single round in Super Gas and I finished runner up in Super Street in UK and SPRC Championships. If it wasn't for being turned back for two small but different leaks in both Super Gas and Super Street at Easter then the season might have been quite different. That's racing! Some small jobs on the Monza to do but not much, it's just the usual maintenance.
Meanwhile there are a couple of motors to build, maybe three: two for customers, one for us. Once all that is attended to then it'll be time to go through the Cortina, and then complete our long-standing Super-class project. All in all a busy winter!
Lastly PMR have their old web site address back and have also changed E-Mail addresses, so you can now find us either by clicking on the Paul Marston Drag Race School banner on Eurodragster.com or at www.paulmarstonracing.com, and our new E-Mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jolink closes out 42nd year.
13th October: European Top Gas racer Herman Jolink took top spot at last week's season-closing Weekend of Champions at The Netherlands' Drachten Drag Strip, closing out his forty second year of racing and all on Ducatis. Herman writes that it was a good weekend despite losing the middle day of three to the weather, and that the future looks good for Drachten.
Supertwin Top Gas:
There were demo Runs from Gert Jan Laseur NL on his 2800 V-Twin on nitro (ex-Cannon). This is Gert Jan's first year on a Supertwin, it is not easy to ride a bike of about 400 kilos. On every run Gert Jan was on and off the throttle but on the last test run he did well over the eighth mile 4.948/174 to give him confidence for next year. After two runs the team put new oil bearings in the con rods.
Street Modified Bike:
Junior Drag Bike, best Reaction Times:
There were not so many competitors but it was a strong event and everyone who was at Drachten did it for the good of the sport, those who thought Drachten was finished were wrong. About ten or fifteen years ago some people put a lot money into the new asphalt at Drachten, it is very easy to forget this. But next year there will be a lot of racers at Drachten.
Tomorrow we have the prizegiving for the Czech Drag Bike Champinships at Mlada Boleslav. Competiton Bike:
Web site updates.
13th October: Inspired by Duncan Micallef's FIA European Top Fuel Dragster Championship Liam Lodge has updated his European Drag Racing Blog with a nod to the achievements of Malta in drag racing. You can take a look at liam66europeandragracing.wordpress.com.
Free Bench Race seats selling out.
11th October: The British Drag Racing Hall of Fame and Beech Underwriting say that there are only twenty seats left for the Bench Race which takes place at lunchtime on the day of the BDRHoF Gala Dinner, Saturday 18th November, at the event venue, the Oatlands Park Hotel in Weybridge, Surrey. Since the original announcements another big name has joined the line-up and some more very desirable auction lots have been added:
We are very proud to announce that Connie Kalitta will now be attending the Bench Race. What a line-up we have: Connie Kalitta, Clay Millican, Jeff Lutz, Roland Leong, Marvin Graham, Steve Gibbs, Ed Ace McCulloch, Jim Oberhofer, Joe Schubeck, Ron Hope, Blue Max Crew Chiefs Waterbed Fred Miller and Dale Emery, Tom Hoover, Bob Muravez, Dennis Priddle and Roy Phelps. This will be your only chance to talk to, listen to and get up close to these true legends of drag racing.
We will also be auctioning some very special items at the Bench Race to raise funds for the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Benevolent Fund (see below - Ed). For example Raymond Beadle's son has donated the very helmet which Ray wore in the UK and which he was wearing when he won his first Indy. We have engine parts signed by John Force Racing, books signed by Snake and Mongoose, T-Shirts and even Skoal Bandit team shirts.
The Bench Race is open to everyone even if they are not attending the Gala Dinner in the evening. If you would like to attend then to reserve your seat please get in touch with Geoff Stilwell at email@example.com.
BDRHoF Chair Stu Bradbury has also forwarded a copy of the Certificate of Thanks sent by Magpas Air Ambulance for the £1000 donated at the FIA / FIM European Finals by the BDRHoF Benevolent Fund on behalf of last year's involuntary Medevac passenger, Pro Mod racer Roger Johansson. Two Paul Whitehouse paintings were also raffled at the Finals to benefit the Fund. The BDRHOF Benevolent Fund was launched at last year's Hall of Fame Gala Dinner with a generous donation from an American guest, and is a Registered Charity formed with the object of helping distressed members of the racing community. A BT MyDonate internet fund-raising page is on-line at mydonate.bt.com/charities/bdrhofbenevolentfund.
Finally, Geoff Stilwell asked us to congratulate US legends and Hall of Fame supporters Gigi Carleton and Joe Schubeck who were married in Las Vegas on 2nd October. "I am personally thrilled for Gigi and Joe", says Geoff. "They absolutely adore each other - theirs is a true love story dating back over fifty years. Many, many congratulations". We'll second that, congratulations Gigi and Joe.
UK Tech Committee meeting.
9th October: Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Ian Marshall tells us that the UK Tech Committee will be convening later this month.
If you have any suggestions for the agenda, or if you would like to attend the meeting, then please get in touch with Ian on 01933 313625 or by E-Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You're gonna need a bigger block...
9th October: If you were at Dragstalgia at Santa Pod Raceway in July then you may well have witnessed the passing of the faithful motor of Bruce, the Camaro belonging to SPR Track Announcer Colin Theobald. Colin has been in touch with an update on the new incumbent:
It's very weird commentating on your own car especially when something like this happens. Keith Williams was putting in his first round qualifying run when the engine cried "Enough!" and a conrod decided that it was time to make a break for freedom, exiting the sump right next to the starter motor. Keith handled the car perfectly and stopped safely despite a small amount of oil under the car.
The initial inspection in the pits didn't reveal anything: the engine wasn't seized and there was no trace of oil anywhere. It wasn't until we had the car back at Williams Bros Racing HQ that the damage became clear. Once the engine had been taken out and the starter motor removed the exit point was revealed: the hole was right at the top of the sump which is why hardly any oil was lost. As the engine was stripped the full extent of the damage was revealed. One totally destroyed piston and conrod, blackened crank, bent valves, two other damaged pistons, holed sump, damaged head.. then, the final fateful blow, the block had been split. Well, if you're going to break it, break it properly.
We actually think that the engine was already wounded, as the performance levels had dropped off at the SPRC Summernationals, but all of the fluid levels and temperatures were normal. It didn't matter who was behind the wheel as it was going to happen anyway, but I'm so grateful to Keith for reacting so quickly.
Fast forward three months and finally we have a plan in place. After numerous discussions with Nic and Dan Williams, and having exhausted all other options, a new Dart block has been ordered. There was nothing salvageable apart from the carburettor, so Dan will be building a totally new engine under the banner of Williams Bros Racing Race Engines. Dan and Nic have been incredibly helpful and have specified the new 454 ci engine to be as streetable as possible, but with some of the best parts available. The end result will be a lighter, more powerful engine so don't be surprised to see Bruce possibly dip into the tens.
Williams Bros Racing will be carrying out some other upgrades at the same time, more on that later, but to answer two questions straight away: No, Bruce is not turning into a Stocker (Not until Carla gets on the phone - Ed) and Yes, Bruce will remain normally-aspirated, no power adders whatsoever.
Bruce will have a loan engine installed in the next week or two so that he can be a bride's transport in November, then back into the workshop until next year. As far as racing is concerned it will be the same as this year: subject to work commitments so we just plan to run at the SPRC Summernationals, but this time hopefully in Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator.
At this point I'd like to thank Lucas Oil Products for their continued support and fantastic products which are used throughout the car; Santa Pod Raceway for always allowing me to take passengers for a blast down the quarter mile, AutoGlym for keeping Bruce looking so good, and Eurodragster.com for keeping everyone updated at all times (Thanks, you're welcome - Ed). Finally a massive Thank You to the team at OCS Paint and Williams Bros Racing. They really are that good at what they do. So to Nic, Dan, Keith, Lorne, Ollie, Alix and Elaine huge thanks, and congratulations to Nic Williams on his National event win at the UK National Finals, which also secured him the SPRC Modurstang Pro ET Championship.
Bruce might be down but he will be back. Better, harder, stronger... look out!
9th October: No news update yesterday (Sunday) so we were unable to pass on John Hackney's best wishes for a very Happy Birthday to his wife and SPRC marshal Alison Hackney. Hope you had a great day Alison.
Another defeat, but Bloodwise win.
7th October: Darren Prentice writes that the Bloodwise Bombers managed to extract one victory from the jaws of defeat as, although they lost the annual UK National Finals Charity Football Match 4-3 to Highlander United, the teams and the racing community raised a fantastic £6500 for Bloodwise:
Although one of the best day's racing I have ever seen continued right up to the curfew, it didn't deter anyone from attending. The Charity Football Match went ahead in front of a packed grandstand and the Field of Dreams was full to the rafters. The aim was simple: to beat the £3000 raised last year. As in previous years Bloodwise was the chosen charity for the UK National Finals. They do a fabulous job raising funds for research as well as providing practical and emotional support whilst raising awareness of blood cancer.
The Bloodwise Bombers assumed that a slightly new team line-up would, this year, give us a fighting chance against Highlander United. After going 1-0 up, the Bloodwise Bombers thought things were looking great but a string of unfavourable refereeing decisions (unbiased opinion) turned the game around and then suddenly the Bloodwise Bombers were 3-1 down. Player-Manager James Forster made a fantastic half-time substitution and brought on our number one goalkeeper.
The racers made a good second half start by scoring what can only be called a silly goal, with the ball bobbling around everywhere and creeping in over the line to take the score to 4–1 in favour of Highlander United. Then with a brace of goals from Rick Mills for the Bloodwise Bombers it looked as things were about to be turned around. With only a few minutes left on the clock and more missed chances from the best team on the pitch (Bloodwise Bombers) the score finished 4–3 to Highlander United.
I was going to name all the goal scorers but you will know exactly who they were as their pit bays will be in the field next to the fun fair in 2018.
But there was really only one real winner and that is of course, Bloodwise! A huge £6500 was raised, double last year's total.
Do forgive me for this long list of Thank Yous but it just needs to be done:
FAO racers: SPRC prize funds.
6th October: Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Ian Marshall has been in touch with an important message for racers regarding 2017 prize money:
Following discussions between the SPRC Committee it has been decided that, rather than hold on to the Sportsman class prize funds from the FIA / FIM Main Event and FIA / FIM European Finals, we will this week begin to pay out the funds based on the finishing positions achieved by the individual racers at each event. This is instead of the doubling up the prize money for the 2018 events.
We will pay out to racers who remained in eliminations at the point at which the prize fund begins pay out, which differs depending upon the size of the qualified field. So if your bank account swells over the coming week, you now have a possible explanation. The Committee felt that, rather than carry over the funds to 2018, it would be better suited deposited in the deserving round winners' accounts.
The exception to this rule will be Lucas Oil Junior Dragster as the prize fund for Juniors is paid in a different manner; the Junior Dragster prize fund will be carried over to 2018.
2017 BDRHoF Allard Award winners.
6th October: The British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Sydney Allard Media Awards, sponsored this year by Lucas Oil Products UK, pay tribute to the influence of journalists, photographers and videographers in the promotion of drag racing, along with the rôle played by Sydney Allard in establishing the sport in Europe during the early 1960s. Congratulations to this year's winners:
The winner of the 2017 Sydney Allard Photo Journalism Award was Mike Collins for a dramatic launch shot of Finnish racer Timo Lehtimäki's Top Fuel Dragster which was taken from the pitside grandstand at Santa Pod Raceway in 2011 and first published in Eurodragster.com in December 2016. It was taken using a Nikon D3000 with a 55-200mm telephoto lens and 3D-tracking. Mike has entitled it The Razor's Edge.
Guild of Motoring Writers President and Pink Floyd drummer, Trustee of the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, and Co-Patron of the Allard Chrysler Action Group Nick Mason selected the top three and chose the winner. The independent judge from Octane Magazine, Associate Editor Magazine Glen Waddington, then ratified Nick's selection.
Second place went to 2015 winner Jeni Long of Yawning Cat Photography for her photo of Graham Smith's '57 Chevy Snow White burning out at Shakespeare County Raceway at the 2017 NSRA Nostalgia Nationals. Third place also went to Jeni Long for another burnout photo, this time of the 327 Chevy-propelled Outlaw Anglia of Merv Barnett and also at the 2017 NSRA Nostalgia Nationals.
The second Media Award is for Video, which is a new category this year. Nick Mason considered amateur and professional videos reflecting coverage of British drag racing and associated activities during the twelve months ending July 2017. The winner is Barney Campbell of Box Lane Productions for his video entitled Welcome to Santa Pod which is full of wonderfully innovative camera work using a hoverboard amongst other devices.
The winner of the 2017 Sydney Allard Written Journalism Award is someone very well-respected in the motor industry, award-winning author and motoring journalist Ian Wagstaff. One time Press and Promotions Manager for Silverstone Circuit and member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, Ian first attended drag racing events in the early 1960s. Ian wins the award for his race track profile on Santa Pod Raceway. The Chief Judge was Guy Loveridge, Deputy Chairman of the Guild of Motoring Writers. The piece was published in the May 2017 edition of PRI Magazine which has wide circulation in the US and internationally.
Ian's piece summarises the history of drag racing in the UK and the importance of the variety of events taking place at Santa Pod Raceway - eighty in total per year. Interviews with Trakbak Racing Chief Executive Keith Bartlett and Commercial Manager Caroline Holden show their passion for the culture of the sport in the UK and the importance of family involvement.
The winners will be presented at the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Gala Dinner at the the Oatlands Park Hotel in Weybridge, Surrey on Saturday 18th November.
Over the last twenty years Awards sponsor Lucas Oil Products has spent countless hours on the race track and in the laboratory to develop a wide range of high performance motor oils and lubricants. From this, Lucas Oil now has a lubricant to cover all aspects of the motor industry, from motor racing to your every day vehicle. For more details check out the Lucas Oil Products UK web site at www.lucasoil.co.uk.
Hall of Fame Gala stop press.
6th October: British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Chaor Stu Bradbury tells us that the Gala Dinner, which takes place at the the Oatlands Park Hotel in Weybridge, Surrey on Saturday 18th November, is sold out. "The event is fully-booked and we have a sizeable reserve list of people who have little chance of getting seats", he says.
However Stu adds that a few tickets are still left for the free Bench Race session, also at the Oatlands Park Hotel at noon on the same day. For more details check out our news item of 2nd October or to book your place E-Mail Geoff Stilwell at email@example.com. It is recommended that you apply soon as the Bench Race tickets are going fast.
Altereds juiced by VP Racing Fuels.
6th October: Ron Hope, Team Owner and principal driver of the Rat Trap AA Fuel Altered, has announced that Eurodragster.com sponsor VP Racing Fuels has agreed to support the international Rat Trap / Havoc / Pure Hell team's racing effort.
"Our association will kick off at the California Hot Rod Reunion on 13th-15th October", said Ron. "VP will supply fuel for not only Rat Trap but also for Rich Guasco's Pure Hell which will be driven by my son Brian, and the British Fuel Altered Havoc driven by Nick Davies."
Beside the three cars mentioned, Ron has assembled a formidable group of twelve Fuel Altereds for the Reunion including Nanook, the Winged Express, Randy Bradford's Fiat, High Heaven, Pure Heaven, Iron Mistress, Godzilla, Patriot and the 134 Coupe.
"We like to support the racer where we can" said Fred Turza, Technical Manager of VP Racing Fuels. "Rat Trap Racing can take the VP brand around the world."
Nick Davies would like to thank both Fred and Marc Wesler, VP's Regional Sales Manager. "Racing these nitro-powered cars gets expensive and we truly appreciate the help provided by VP Racing Fuels and our other sponsors Beech Underwriting Agencies, Rat Trap Racing, Lawrie Gatehouse's NFAA, USAutomotive, Lucas Oil, Goodyear Tyres, Motorstate Distributing, ARP Racing Products, Thacker & Friends and the Sherratt Family."
See ARRC for Wilwood Brakes.
6th October: Eurodragster.com sponsor Andy Robinson Race Cars have been using Wilwood brakes for many years, and they have now taken the next step and become full function dealers:
Wilwood Engineering design and manufacture high-performance disc brake systems. Since the company's inception by Bill Wood in 1977, they have developed a substantial matrix of brake components and engineering techniques which allow them to quickly and reliably create brake systems for almost any application. Their core ability is the rapid development of custom-engineered brake systems using a combination of off-the-shelf and custom components. In addition to designing and manufacturing brakes for all types of competitive motor sports, Wilwood also manufacture brake systems and components for agricultural equipment, industrial applications, utility vehicles, snowmobiles, quads, motorcycles and military vehicles.
Wilwood have a huge range of braking options for both street and competition use. For example they offer eighteen different combinations for bolt-on fitting to 1969 Camaro fronts, everything from OEM style four-piston solid rotor discs to ceramic-carbon six-piston ultra-stoppers. Not content with offering a huge range of alternative fitting and sizes Wilwood can now supply their calipers in a choice of twenty four colours including basic black and traditional red.
ARRC will continue to use Wilwood on many of their turn-key builds but if you want to talk brake sizes, fitting and colours call 01256 880589 or E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lost a weather station?
4th October: Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Ian Marshall tells us that he is in possession of someone's weather station which was handed in to the Signing On office on the Sunday of the UK National Finals.
If you thought you had lost your weather station then please get in touch with Ian on 01933 313625 (outside the UK +44 1933 313625) or by E-Mail at email@example.com and if you can describe it correctly then he will arrange its return.
Hall of Fame Gala hotel filling.
4th October: The Management Board of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame have been in touch to let us know that the venue for the BDRHoF Gala on 18th November, the Oatlands Park Hotel in Weybridge, is almost out of bedrooms at the concessionary rate. It is recommended that you book a room very soon if you wish to stay.
If you would like to book a hotel room - or indeed a Gala ticket - then please contact the BDRHoF at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01933 279102 (outside the UK +44 1933 279102).
4th October: Thanks to Robin Jackson for letting us know that a report of the Pro Modified action at the UK National Finals is now available on the official MSA British Drag Racing Championship web site at www.msadragracing.co.uk.
Thanks a million!
3rd October: Thankfully now out of hospital after suffering a heart attack at Pistons and Props at Sywell, Shakespeare County Raceway Promotions Manager and top bloke Jerry Cookson has been in touch with some words of thanks:
First of all a massive thank you to the Tazz Racing guys and all who support Mark Ashman's Rodfathers UK club who were hosting the drag demos at Pistons and Props. You really touched my heart in more ways than one Saturday night. It was really appreciated but you shouldn't have done it. Also thanks to the paramedic team from Oak Valley Fire, Medical and Training Services who got me to hospital in double quick time for Dr Shaukat and his team to carry out the procedure needed to kick start me up again and insert five stents. There's still more work to do in a couple of weeks' time. Also to all the nurses (and there were many) for being so understanding and to members of the Shakey crew who were with me at Sywell: Janet, Wayne, my start line buddy Chris Schreier and Nigel Statham. Sorry guys for keeping you out so late after a busy day on the track.
A further overwhelming thank you to everyone involved in the drag racing community the world over who posted Get Well Jerry messages after Chris' updates on Facebook all of last week. Further thanks to BDRHoF Chairman Stu Bradbury, Supercharged Outlaws racer and all round good guy Andy Fadster, track official and radio goddess Angie Woods and John and Lesley Wright who took time out of there busy schedules to pay me a visit, and finally my crew at Shakespeare County Raceway (including Emily and Rachel Hodges) who not only made sure that the weekend's event took place but for not giving me a hard time for turning up on Sunday and to Ian Dance for taking care of business in the announcers' booth and minding the booth.
And finally to my partner and super nurse Ali who for the last six days has made that journey from Warwickshire to Northamptonshire so many times to stay with me during the permitted visiting hours especially when I had my off-days of going stir crazy. I couldn't have got through this without you honey.
Sorry for going on a bit (In a good cause - Ed) and if I've missed anyone out but this needs to be said. Thank you again guys. You don't get rid of me that easily. See you all soon.
3rd October: One of those occasional things which makes the hard work worthwhile is the picture at right from a feature in the new issue of Sweden's Bilsport magazine. Our good buddy Anders Envall documented a day in the life of multiple FIA European Pro Stock Champion and FIA Pro Modified racer Jimmy Ålund on double duty at the Dico Internationals. Jimmy is seen here reading Eurodragster.com's John Woolfe Racing-sponsored Event Coverage to find out how his Pro Stock run went whilst being rushed back to be strapped straight in to the Old 51 Pro Mod. Ursäkta vad är klokkan? - which also happens to be a superb John Cleese reference from the Fawlty Towers-mad Bostic - can be found in Bilsport on sale on Thursday.
Forster's fitting finale.
2nd October: Last week's UK National Finals was always destined to be the final event for UK Modurstang Pro ET racer James Forster and the 4Star Fox Mustang as the car is up for sale. James writes:
The car is for sale so that the funds can go elsewhere - away from drag racing unfortunately - but I never really expected the weekend to go the way it did. Well, to a point...
I came into the season looking to improve on last year's third place finish in the Modurstang UK National Pro ET Championship and didn't end up a million miles away. The problem was no less than three defeats out of seven rounds this year to Brian and Lee Huxley, the deserved Champions for three years running - massive congratulations to them! This included a Round 2 exit last weekend.
The part of the weekend which was unexpected was progress in Sportsman ET. After a few years in Pro ET I have always been one of, if not the, slowest entry in the class so I had never actually had a race where I'd left the start line second. So for the last event with the car I decided to have a play in Sportsman ET where I would certainly always be chasing! Qualifying was pretty fun trying to figure out where to lift and also practising a chase by letting whoever was in the other lane go first. Unfortunately my plan of some close finishes in qualifying didn't really work out due to my poor counting abilities, the plan was to count the difference between our dial-ins on the line before launching, so I ended up ninth having only made one run on the right side of the number after three qualifiers. It wasn't looking good.
Sunday was a new day and a new game and after the Pro ET exit I had a chance to concentrate on Sportsman ET, going all the way through to the final and taking my first ever event win after some incredible races throughout the day. And, to top it off, in the final the car even ran the quickest it has ever run at Santa Pod!
So that's a wrap on my racing for the time being. I just need someone to take the Mustang off my hands. It's still up for sale and I know it will bring the next owner as much joy as it has me. If you're interested in a hard-running, reliable car which runs elevens all day long then please do get in touch. This is a complete, competitive race-road car for just nine thousand pounds. Take it away now and get your head round it over winter ready for Easter!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the sport who offered help and services in one way or another, but especially to Martin Hill and Horace without whose help and support I would never have bought the car in the first place, never mind been able to run it.
2nd October: Licencing for Top Fuel Dragster seems to be the growth industry right now with the latest to qualify Dennis Nilsson, no stranger to the news pages of Eurodragster.com, who put in passes at Santa Pod Raceway at a RWYB just before the UK National Finals. Dennis is planning to run the FIA Championship next season and you can read more about it on the Drag Racing Europe Blog courtesy of our good buddy Remco Scheelings by clicking here.
Steve Young writes that a very special race took place at the recent NSRA Hot Rod Drags at Shakespeare County Raceway (below left). "Grandad Ian Coulsell took on his grandson Harley Coulsell in a match race over the eighth mile", says Steve. "Ian was in his restored Junior Dragster from the 1970s and Harley was in his Daniel Giles-fabricated modern Junior Modified car. Starter for this race was Ian's son Mark, Ian was staged by Mark's brother Louis and Harley was staged by Steve Cassisi. The family have been avid drag racing fans for all of their lives,crewing and driving several cars. Ian is 72 years old and is a true petrolhead which he has passed on to the whole clan. Who won you ask? The old Junior car put the modern car in its place! A very unique event."
Natalie Haas wrote from Switzerland to ask us to say a big Happy 50th Birthday for today (Monday) to her husband, Super Pro ET racer Thomas Haas (above right). We are very happy to do so, have a great day Thomas.
Bennetts welcome CTM Performance.
2nd October: Luke Bennett writes that the Bennett Racing blown-alcohol altered team are delighted to welcome CTM Performance Engineering as a sponsor:
CTM Performance Engineering are a very well-established and respected engine modification company who have been in business since the early 1980s. They offer a one-stop full service and supply for engine reconditioning from the initial assessment, design and planning, to the build, commissioning and ongoing maintenance of the modified engine. Services also include engine balancing and cylinder head modification.
As you can see from the photos they have performed magic on our tired old billet heads, turning them into nearly new condition. Nick at CTM replaced all the valve guides, replaced all inlet and exhaust seats, and converted them so that we can use shaft-mounted rockers rather than stud-mounted, meaning a stronger valve geometry, enlarged all the push rod tube holes to take a larger diameter set-up, and lastly a minimum skim on both heads. So much care and pride has been shown in the work; thank you Nick, we're chuffed to bits.
We literally couldn't be happier, the heads are near-on brand new and will enable us to push the Chevy combination to our custom camshaft's 9,200rpm limit.
Check out CTM Performance Engineering's Facebook page or their web site at www.ctmperformance.com.
Bench Race III now booking.
2nd October: The British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Gala, to be held at the Oatlands Park Hotel, Weybridge, Surrey on Saturday 18th November, will again be preceded by the popular Bench Racing session.
In 2015 and 2016 a varied panel of US and European legends entertained a packed audience for two hours with their stories and views on the sport in the afternoon prior to the main Gala dinner and presentations in the evening. Beech Underwriting Agencies, major sponsorship partner of the BDRHoF, are delighted to announce that the Bench Racing session will return and be held at the Gala's new venue, starting at the earlier time of 12:00 noon.
New members of the panel for 2017 are Dale Emery, Marvin Graham, Connie Kalitta, Roland Leong, Jeff Lutz, Clay Millican, Jim Oberhofer and Roy Phelps. They join Steve Gibbs, Tom Hoover, Ron Hope, Ed McCulloch, Bob Muravez and Dennis Priddle who entertained us last year. Acclaimed US motoring and drag racing journalist and writer Bob McClurg will again be hosting the event.
BDRHoF Chair Stu Bradbury said "The Bench Racing session is a wonderful chance to see and talk with legends of drag racing from decades past, and those currently competing at the highest level. We are also offering the press the opportunity for individual interviews with panel members on the same day. And there will be a unique opportunity to mix with legends socially before, during and after the Gala dinner."
Beech Underwriting Agencies managing director Geoff Stilwell said "We are grateful to all those on the panel who have agreed to come and share their stories and the Bench Racing has been one of the most popular events during previous galas. Bob McClurg did a fantastic job of facilitating the discussions, he got stories from the participants that we will remember for a very long time and there will be plenty more this year. I can only urge everyone to apply for registration now to avoid disappointment."
There will also be a sale of memorabilia, including engine parts signed by John Force and a crash helmet and trophy of Raymond Beadle's, to raise funds for the BDRHoF Benevolent Fund, and there will be free goodies for those attending.
The BDRHoF Bench Racing session sponsored by Beech Underwriting Agencies will take place from 12:00 to 14:00 at the Terrazza at the Oatlands Park Hotel. Free admission is available by registering by E-Mail at email@example.com. But hurry: the maximum capacity of the room is one hundred and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Be there!
Tickets for the 2017 BDRHoF Gala Awards Dinner are £65 per person. More details are available by clicking here. For advance booking of tickets contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone Stu Bradbury on 01933 279102.