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30th November: Thanks to Sebastian Lindau for sending us the 2017 Icelandic Sand Drags calendar:
29th April: Hafnarfjörður
14th June: Akureyri
22nd July: Hafnarfjörður
2nd September: Akureyri
"Hafnarfjörður is the track of the quarter mile club near the capital Reykjavik, on which also Martin Hill has raced already", says Sebastian. "This summer they built a fabulous all-new sand drag strip next to the quarter mile. This track has now been added to the Championsship and the first official event there will also start the 2017 season.
"Akureyri is also known as the Capital of the North and is the home of many petrolheads. Due to this, one of Iceland's biggest and oldest motorsport clubs was founded here in the 1970s. The Club owns a real nice and big facility in the mountains above the town, the sand drag strip is always well-prepared and records have been set there.
"If anyone is interested in visiting a sand drag race or maybe taking part with a car or bike then I can help with everything you need. It doesn't matter whether it's "Where can I get a paddle tyre", "How can I get there" or "Where can I sleep", just ask me at email@example.com. call +49 176 496 122 80, or visit www.sanddragracing.de."
30th November: Congratulations to UK blown-alcohol slingshot racer Dave Nelson who has won a GoPro award for a video of one of his fire burnouts at Santa Pod Raceway:
"The video is currently going viral all over the world with links and shares on sites in America, Russia and Taiwan", says Dave. "I believe it was even shared by Fast and Loud's Richard Rawlings. At time of writing far it has had 236,154 views (Hell's bells, that's even more than our Pete Youhill drifting video - Ed). Mind-blowing stuff!
"We believe that there is a cash award coming our way which will hopefully help us back out on track next season after a disappointing year for us racing-wise. We were hoping to be back out this year, but we found some damage over the off-season, bought parts to replace, and rebuilt only to suffer a failure of the replacement part on first fire-up. In conjunction with entering the real world of home ownership, mortgages and getting married we just could not afford to come back this season. Fingers crossed for next year though."
30th November: The latest spy picture to arrive at the offices of Eurodragster.com came with no words. 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.
Eurodragster.com's annual Christmas Gift Mart will be published at the end of next week. If you are selling the ideal gift for racers, race fans and all those in between then drop a paragraph or two and, if you like, a picture to email@example.com.
Robin Jackson tells us that the January edition of Octane magazine contains a five-page article by the distinguished motoring writer Richard Heseltine, entitled Temple of Zoom, on the subject of fifty years of drag racing at Santa Pod Raceway. The article is illustrated by a selection of photographs covering the venue's half-century of activity. Octane magazine focuses on classic and performance cars and the January edition is currently available from good newsagents, priced at £5.
Robin adds that for the technically-minded reader, Race Engine Technology's latest annual report on drag racing, Drag Race Technology Volume 7, is also published now. Alongside a detailed feature on John Force's current fleet of Camaro Funny Cars, the various learned articles include a dissertation on suspension geometry by Britain's own Luke Robinson. Drag Race Technology is available for £20 from www.highpowermedia.com or call 01934 713957.
Phil Evans of the FIA European Drag Racing Commission, UK Tech Comitte and various other good deeds has alerted us to the presence of his legendary Super Vogue in rotation on the home page of the new DriveTribe.com web site. "I am happy to see that an ancient drag racing Singer Vogue is considered to be front page material", says Phil, "and I would imagine that some people think they have no taste!". Only if they are stupid, Phil. A drag racing tribe has already been set up with the UK's Team Turboville amongst the first to fly the flag.
No news update yesterday so we were unable to wish Happy Birthdays to our good friend Alison Bohannon and to Slot Drags guru Steven Dudley. Hope you both had a great day guys.
Strictly it's early days yet but we have posted Eurodragster.com's provisional Event Coverage schedule for 2017. Events will likely be added, or less likely removed, although nine events in eight consecutive weekends starting with the NitrOlympX next August might be pushing it a bit. Please note that event coverage and webcasts are subject to the approval of venue and/or event management. You can check out our Event Coverage schedule by clicking here or by clicking on the John Woolfe Racing Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
Spitfire's Santa special.
28th November: Lee Child of Eurodragster.com sponsors LA Racing Parts and Lee Child International Track Prep Services writes that it gets all festive at this Saturday's (3rd December) Santa Drag and Drift at Spitfire Raceway, Cornwall's only quarter-mile drag strip:
Performance is heating up very well on the no-prep surface. Launceston's Matt White holds the car track record with his street-legal GTR R35 in the 10.0s and Devon's Mark 'Wolfy' Smith holds the bike record in the 9.9s.
The drag strip is open to all for Test and Tune and it is also the final round of the 2016 South West points series which has taken place at Spitfire Raceway and Devon's Dakota Raceway this season. Plenty of trophies are on offer as top three Quickest Times of Day in all categories will be awarded. We have to thank Vince at Westcountry Rider Training who has kindly sponsored both south west tracks this season by providing these top three trophies.
With the festive theme we have trophies for the quickest Santa down the track and best festively-decorated vehicle on track. As most hard-core drag racers know, the start line lights are known as the Christmas Tree. To finish off, Spitfire Raceway's Tree will be decorated and the Chief Starter, true Yorkshireman and Competition Bike rider Phil Gilson, will be dressed as a fairy.
As ever at Spitfire Raceway there is plenty going on: the drifting, which is a sell out, very well-attended club stands, Show and Shine, kids' go-kart track, and festive fancy dress competition.
For more information check out Spitfire Raceway Cornwall on Facebook. You can find Spitfire Raceway at Perranporth Airfield, Perranporth, Cornwall TR5 0XS (map).
28th November: If you need to replace your race harness for next year then you can save 10% by ordering from Eurodragster.com sponsor Andy Robinson Race Cars and paying before Christmas. Your harness will be supplied with a 2017 date so that you get the full lifetime. If you are interested then please call Kate Robinson on 01256 880589 or E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Challenge winners wake the larks.
28th November: Our good buddy Markus Münch writes that this year's Supro ET Challenge turned into a mainland European Super Pro ET Championship with contestants from Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy and Südtirol taking part:
In the end Florian Uebel, a member of HARA (Germany's oldest Dragster Club) and the Bavarian Dragracing Club, took the win in the Challenge overtaking Switzerland's own Mike Bruckmüller in the last race of the season, Italy's famed Hills Race at Rivanazzano Dragway. Third was Rookie of the Year and NitrOlympX runner-up Franz Aschenbrenner who overtook Switzerland's Nicole Rechsteiner, also at the Hills Race. Fifth was Stefan Eisenhauer and sixth was Marc Henney, a regular Santa Pod visitor in the yellow Ethanol Guzzler dragster.
We had thirty four drivers, team members, helpers and friends at the Trophy Presentation in Karlsruhe to celebrate the end of the season and to fête the winners in style. We had our annual Drivers' Meeting at Carls Wirtshaus and then we enjoyed a delicious dinner and honoured the winners with speeches, trophies and prize money. Those who like to turn night into day had a blast at the Alte Hackerei until five in the morning... one of the greatest trophy parties in the nine years of the Supro ET Challenge.
This leads us to the tenth edition of the Challenge in 2017, the longest-extant drag racing Championship in Central Europe. Entry is open now and as in past years 75€ gets you in the field; this money will form the basis of the season's prize money. You can collect points at all official sanctioned races in Europe and your four best results count, although no more than two races from any one track will be counted. For more information please visit www.suproet.de. See you at the track in 2017.
Thanks to our sponsors in 2016: MSTO, Schumann Motorsport, Beat Rechsteiner Bedachungen, Turboscheune.com, Ehrismann AG, Mike Bruckmüller-Team '74, Eisenhauer KFZ Service and Hillbilly Hellfire Racing.
Beech back Jordan.
26th November: UK National Junior Dragster Champion Jordan Payne and the Sticky Situation Junior Dragster Racing Team are very proud to announce that Beech Underwriting Agencies Ltd has come on board as a sponsor for the 2017 season.
Geoff Stilwell, CEO and Managing Director of Beech Underwriting says, "I am very proud to be able to help Jordan going forward with his professional outlook and commitment to the future of drag racing. The Juniors are the Top Fuel pilots of tomorrow. Meeting Jordan at the Hall of Fame dinner convinced me that he is the one to watch."
Not only does Beech Underwriting now support the Sticky Situation Junior Drag Race Team, it also supports Rat Trap Racing and Havoc Racing's tour of the US.
Jordan would also like to thank his other sponsors VP Racing Fuels, Goodridge, Nimbus Motorsport, Cam Auto Developments, CTR Developments, Mantis Web, Windrush Roofing and Simon Cox Marketing Solutions for their support.
APIRA ACU Affiliation Codes.
25th November: Shakespeare County Raceway's Jerry Cookson has been in touch to let bike racers know that 2017 ACU Affiliation Codes, required for either on-line or paper licence applications, are now available by E-Mail at email@example.com.
"If you are a member of APIRA then please make sure that your membership is fully up-to-date and please include your APRIA membership number when applying for your 2017 ACU Affiliation Code", says Jerry. "If you are a member of SPRC then please submit your request to SPRC (see news item of 10th November - Ed)."
25th November: As ever well in time for Christmas our good friends at Zeon TV have released their 2016 UK drag racing DVDs. As well as MSA Pro Modified, Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator and Wild Bunch season reviews there are reviews of Dragstalgia, the Mopar EuroNationals, Gearhead Garage UK Top Sportsman and Nostalgia Super Stock, and the NSRA Hot Rod Drags. Each DVD is £14.95 plus postage and various package deals are available. The usual photographic contributions from the Eurodragster.com team are this year joined by some footage from our Webster Race Engineering / Nimbus Motorsport webcasts. You can check out trailers and order your DVDs at www.quartermilehigh.com.
UK Comp Eliminator racer Robin Orthodoxou would be pleased to hear from anyone who has 1927 Model T altered body moulds or if anyone is manufacturing such bodies. If you can help then please drop Robin a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
US stars check in at Santa Pod.
25th November: Santa Pod Raceway marked the close of its 50th Anniversary season with a visit by two eminent figures from American drag racing. Steve Gibbs and Ed 'The Ace' McCulloch had attended the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame's annual Gala Awards Dinner last Saturday and travelled up from London to view the historic UK track.
Gibbs had visited before, in the 1980s, during his long tenure as NHRA's Vice-President of Competition. For McCulloch, the former Funny Car and Top Fuel star who numbers six US Nationals victories in his illustrious driving career, the trip was another highlight of his first visit to Britain.
Accompanied by Steve's wife Gloria and Ed's partner Cindi, the pair discussed the venue's history and its future plans with members of Santa Pod's management before being driven to view the track and the surrounding premises. At that moment, the day's torrential rain ceased and the sun shone through, and photographs were taken on the start line. In the Santa Pod shop, Ace was pleased to find a die-cast model of the Brut Revolution Dodge Stratus Funny Car which he had tuned for Ron Capps while serving as Crew Chief for Don Schumacher Racing ten years ago. The model car now bears Ace's signature.
Brian Cross' funeral.
24th November: Many thanks to Don Cross and Robin Read for passing us the details of Brian Cross' funeral.
The funeral will take place at 3:00 pm next Wednesday, 3rd November, at Nene Valley Crematorium, Doddington Road, Wellingborough NN8 2NX (map). The procession will start from and return to 19 The Banks, Wellingborough, NN9 5YX (map). "It will be a good day filled with many happy memories", says Don. "Dress code is team colours if you have them, old or new we don't care."
The family have requested no flowers please but if you would like to make a donation to the Northamptonshire Air Ambulance in memory of Brian then please visit the Abbott and Sons web site where you can donate and leave a tribute.
24th November: Andy Willsheer's and Keith Furness' portraits and presentation pictures from Saturday's British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Gala are now available for viewing and print purchase at www.photobox.co.uk/my/album?album_id=4545053037.
Santa Pod Raceway are holding a Black Friday Sale offering 50% off 2017 Festival of Power tickets with discount code BLACKFRIDAY at www.santapod.com, and 40% off selected Santa Pod merchandise at www.santapodshop.com. The sale starts at midnight UK tonight (Thursday) and ends at midnight tomorrow.
We would like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers in the United States of America.
SPRC Dinner Dance reminder.
22nd November: Yvonne Tramm has been in touch with a reminder that booking is still open for the Santa Pod Racers Club Dinner Dance and Trophy Evening, which takes place at 6:00 pm on Saturday 11th February 2017 at the De Vere Staverton Park Hotel in Staverton.
You can find full details about the SPRC Dinner Dance in our news item of 14th September, and/or you can download the Dinner Dance booking form (PDF format) by clicking here. Please note that booking forms should be sent to Yvonne Tramm at the address specified on the form and not to the SPRC office.
"If you have any special dietary requirements then please get in touch with me and not the hotel", says Yvonne. If you have this or any other query about the SPRC Dinner Dance then you can contact Yvonne at email@example.com.
22nd November: Congratulations to Ray White who beat his target of burning 2500 calories in a four-hour Spin class to benefit the British Heart Foundation. "I managed to burn 2930 calories in the four-hour period, achieving my goal of 2500 in three hours and twenty minutes", says Ray. "My heart rate averaged 129 over the four hours, I drank four and a half litres of water, eight electrolyte gel packs, two bananas, and a handful of jelly beans. But best of all is that with all your generosity up until Sunday I have raised £1130 for the BHF. If you haven't yet had a chance to pledge any money it's still not too late; go to www.justgiving.com/ray-white2."
Geoff Stilwell asked us to send best wishes to UK Fuel Altered racer Nick Davies who had an operation on his foot yesterday (Monday). "A big Get Well to you Nick so that you will be fit to take on all comers in the US Nostalgia Tour next year", said Geoff. We second that, best wishes for a rapid recovery Nick.
For those racers putting together sponsorship proposals for 2017 we have compiled readership / viewership statistics for Eurodragster.com's 2016 John Woolfe Racing Event Coverage and Webster Race Engineering / Nimbus Motorsport webcasts. You can view or download the file (PDF format) by clicking here. The current plan is to cover equivalent events next season.
Brian Cross remembered.
22nd November: Many thanks to Robin Read for passing on Don Cross' biography of and tribute to his brother Brian Cross, who died last week:
1978 was the year that Brian announced that he was going to build a race car. It took from then until 1982 for us to complete the job. The chassis was made by Allan Herridge, 120" wheelbase, Ford 289 V8 running gas through twin four-barrel Holley carbs via a tunnel ram inlet manifold. Behind that sat a single-plate clutch and a three-speed Lenco with reverser. The drive shaft connected to the Strange Engineering rear axle via a fourteen inch drive shaft with a Greek coupling. The picture below right shows the car in 1983 in typical pose, launching off the line, front wheels up and fuel pouring out of the fuel tank overflow under the raised front. Brian and Ray built that engine to rev like you wouldn't believe, many a time the telltale on the rev counter would be at 11,500. Man oh man did she scream.
We ran the Ford until the end of 1984, running a best of 10.26/129. For 1985 my brothers built the 355 Chevy, the engine came from a Camaro which was being scrapped and the bores were so worn you could see the ridges in the barrels. Brian and Ray put everything they could into that motor. Forged rods and pistons, zero gap rings and the weird Isky direct drive reverse motion cam, everything had rollers on it. On top sat a Hilborne fuel injection system. The Lenco now had an air shifter instead of levers, she ran on methanol and still revved to 9500 although there was one memorable race when Brian shifted into top gear too early and the engine bogged down so he pulled on the air shifter and changed back down to second. Brian later confessed that the revs went all the way to 12000. Nutter! Brian was always very particular about servicing the motor, three start-ups and we changed the oil, after every meeting the engine was stripped down and new main and big end bearings were installed. The Chevy was so reliable as to be unreal, we raced her for four seasons then sold her to Barry Giles who ran her for another four or five years before she finally blew.
Brian loved his drag racing and was always willing to help anyone having problems and he could talk, blimey could he talk and talk and talk. He would organise trips to Germany with other racers as a bought-in show to entertain the crowds and this was one of the things he was passionate about: you raced hard, you raced legal but most of all you were there to entertain the paying public. I think that was one of the reasons he used to do enormous burnouts, he knew the crowds loved them.
I'm going to miss Brian. He could be stubborn and cantankerous but if you had a problem he was the most generous bloke around, even as his health was failing on that last cruise his only thought was to buy fluffy toys for the two young children who lived opposite him. That was Brian - he was my brother, my best friend and the best bloke I've ever met.
BDRHoF Bench Race Unplugged.
21st November: One of the undisputed highlights of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Gala is the Bench Race which takes place in the afternoon, before the dinner and presentation. This year's Bench Race was no exception with thirteen of the sport's historical figures telling anecdotes and answering questions from the floor. Legendary photo-journalist Bob McClurg hosted the Bench Race whose panel consisted of Eileen Daniels, Paula Murphy, Steve Gibbs, Harry Hibler, Ron Hope, Tom Hoover, Ed Iskenderian, Ed McCulloch, Waterbed Fred Miller, Bob Muravez (Floyd Lippencotte Jr nowhere to be seen this year), Carl Olson, Dennis Priddle, and Joe Schubeck.
Here are some of the best stories and quotes from Saturday's Bench Race:
Waterbed Fred Miller on 100% nitro: "We ran a lot of everything! We didn't use a lot of alcohol except for drinking."
Bob Muravez' first race car: "A '53 Corvette which was Betty Grable's car. I got a lot of tickets, twenty seven to be exact."
Carl Olson's holeshot methodology: "We raced on a taxiway at Salinas Airport. There was a dog-leg at the end of the track then drums full of sand. We called that "The dead end" for obvious reasons. The starter was a short guy and a bit nervous especially when it was a pair of Fuel cars. There was no red light system so he was the judge. He got the nod from both racers and then waved the flag. When he got the nod from the second racer I would whack the throttle, the starter would jump and throw the flag in the air and I was gone."
Ed McCulloch's new slant on borrowing the keys: "My dad had a boat with a big motor but it spent the winter in the garage. HL Shahan had a dragster and I asked Dad if we could put the boat's motor in the dragster. At the age of fifteen there I was putting a motor in a dragster. And it was all good until we put the rods out of it."
Ron Hope's safety kit: "In 1963 or 1964 they decided we should wear fire-retardant clothing. We bought Air Force surplus suits and the SCTA dipped them into a chemical which turned them into a wick! In 1966 I bought a silver suit and the arms were too long so I just rolled them up."
Waterbed Fred Miller and the credit card limit: "We travelled from LA to Indy with Billy Meyer's credit card but it had a $10 limit. We were filling up $10 a time all the way to Indianapolis."
Waterbed Fred Miller and Billy Meyer's record-busting 6.17 at Indy: "Billy's 6.17 at that race - you're asking me what happened? I still don't know!"
Isky on Scotty Fenn: "He spoke with a lot of authority even if he didn't know the subject."
Isky and the five-cycle cam: "I'd heard of a five-cycle washing machine. How could I justify a five-cycle cam if an engineer asked what I was talking about?"
Isky on promotion: "We knew that the dragsters could go fast and make us famous."
Dennis Priddle's first ride: "I raced motorcycles before cars. I was crewing with Tony Gane and we put together a sprint bike with a 1934 Rudge motor. Then we went to the Drag Fest and decided to move to four wheels, built a rear-engined car with the Rudge motor."
Joe Schubeck sources nitro by accident: "I had a Flathead which couldn't get out of its own way. We decided to go nitro but no-one would sell it to us, they didn't want to know us. I was burned at sixteen fooling around with a car and when I was in hospital the guy in the next bed owned a company making paint stripper and the process of making paint stripper included nitro. I became "friendly" with his daughter and he said "I think I can get you nitro". And so I was getting nitro for thirty five cents a gallon!"
Bob Muravez: "How long did the girl last?"
Waterbed Fred: "Until the nitro ran out!"
Why Tom Hoover moved to Funny Car: "It was quite simple - you could make more money in Funny Cars."
Bob McClurg: "You know, "Money" is Hoover's middle name."
Steve Gibbs and racers with fireworks: "A good M-80 is a good thing. We had an old car at the end of the track which was just sitting there and someone decided it should be burnt. I put two inches of gas in a jar and floated an M-80 in the gas. I lit the fuse and right away I knew that was a mistake. The fire was so loud that we didn't even hear the firecracker going off. When I had been away getting the fire extiguishers one of the guys emptied the gas can into the car. The Fire Department were coming before we called them, we told them "We don't know what happened" and they said "That's the third time this week" and left."
Carl Olson and racers with fireworks: "First we need to establish that I was an innocent bystander! When it rained you made your own entertainment with drinking and fireworks. We used to pass a warehouse which sold fireworks and we always stocked with a case of M-80s. We would cut the top off a nitro drum and put it over an M-80 and see how high the M-80 would blow it. Kuhl used more than one M-80 and added nitro. The drum didn't go up in the air, the explosion blew the lid off the drum and it became a scythe. Luckily it only went through a trailer. We also discovered that you can launch an M-80 a great distance with a slingshot. Then Kuhl built a mortar. Four inches diameter, same as a TRW piston. We dropped in a piston and fired it. Then he decided that if one M-80 was good then two were better and with timing you could put a piston through the bottom of a 747. Well, the explosion in Hiroshima was nowhere near. The piston didn't disappear, the mortar disappeared and there was a four-foot hole in the ground."
Bob McClurg: "This is the man who works at SFI!"
Hand Grenade Harry Hibler: "They called me "Hand Grenade Harry" because I drove cars with very short fuses. My Crew Chief was setting fuses to 1000 feet long before NHRA changed it!"
Harry Hibler on a promotional visit: "A local High School was campaigning for funds to send a team to Norway and they had a parade with my car at the front. The school bell rang, I fired the car up and drove it around the corner. Someone noticed that the door to the gym was open and they told me to drive in there. I drove into the gym then whacked the throttle a couple of times and shut it off. The only noise was tinkling glass. I blew out every window in the gym and after they had paid for the repair I don't think they went to Norway."
Paula Murphy does promotion: "We had a shop in Geneva on the Lake in Ohio. Racers would stop by during the week. Jack Bynum put up a sign saying Fat Jack's Charm School. Tourists would come in and we would fire up the cars."
Bob Muravez' passenger ride: "At the end of the track there was a guy by a gate. He said "If you have trouble stopping I open the gate and stop the traffic"! So I went through and went past him and I felt a little tug. When I got out of the car the parachute was getting itself up off the ground. The guy had stepped forward to see if I was OK and the chute picked him up. I asked him if he was OK and he said "That was real cool!"."
Paula Murphy crashes a Rocket Dragster: "I pulled the chutes and they both came off. I tried to shut off and it didn't. I ended up about seventy feet in the air and when it came down I crushed several vertebrae."
Carl Olson: "I was at the top end and Kuhl and I agreed that that was the most spectacular crash we had ever seen but we also thought that we must have seen a fatality happen. Then a truck came past and Paula was sitting in the truck waving!"
Paula Murphy: "I wanted my time slip!"
Carl Olson's favourite crash quote: "After the third flip I lost control!"
Joe Schubeck goes off the end: "There was a farm at the end of the track and the owners hated everyone and certainly didn't like racers. They had been robbed several times and they thought racers were robbing them. So I went off the end and ended up in their corn field and when my crew came to get me the owner's wife pulled a gun on him. My crew managed to convince her that we weren't there to rob them and smoothed everything out, and then he reversed the tow truck and ran over her cat."
Harry Hibler in the lights: "In those days the timing lights were on the track and racers would go near them and move them out of line. At San Fernando the lights went out at the quarter mile so I went out to put them back. I heard something and I looked up and saw two clouds of smoke. Then I realised two cars were coming towards me. I stayed where I was, trying to move wouldn't have been smart. They came through and Gary Gabelich gave me the finger as he passed. That was quite an experience, being on one knee in the middle of the track when two cars came by at 200 mph."
The panel's proudest moments:
Tom Hoover: "Winning the 1979 Winternationals."
Joe Schubeck: "The Lakewood bellhousing."
Ed McCulloch: "I won the US Nationals five times."
Dennis Priddle: "The International Drag Racing Hall of Fame trophy."
Paula Murphy: "The Round the World Drive."
Isky: "Karamesines sent back a cam and said it was junk. Then he needed a cam and all we had left was the old cam he didn't like. We changed the number on it and sent it back. He said "You son of a bitch! We set Low ET and high speed"!"
Eileen Daniels: "Marrying Bob. Meeting Wally Parks. One night we drove to the beach, Wally was driving and we were drag racing from light to light."
Harry Hibler: "We had a three-hour window to run Fuel cars at San Fernando and one day fifty four cars showed up and we ran the event in those three hours. Everyone got one qualifier and we finished eliminations. Putting Bernstein's Top Fuel Dragster on an aircraft carrier. The Navy told me that it was their most popular poster ever. As a result of that I got to fly back seat with the Blue Angels for years."
Question from the floor: "How many people did you drive for?"
Harry Hibler: "I have no idea!"
Carl Olson: "Winning the last race at Lions Drag Strip."
Ron Hope: Motorsports have taken us all over the world. My wife and granddaughter have set records in land speed racing, we got Geoff Stilwell licenced. My son Brian driving Pure Hell - there is nothing better than racing your son at 200 mph, except when you're five feet ahead of him!"
Bob Muravez: "Winning Bakersfield as a snot-nosed kid. Crewing for Craig Breedlove. Getting in the Western Hoist car, winning races and having my wife and kids in the winners' circle."
Waterbed Fred Miller: "Timing is everything. Walking in to Ed Pink's and ending up working with Ray Beadle and Dale Emery."
Bench Race organiser Geoff Stilwell of sponsor Beech Underwriting Agencies says that the event was amazing. "All those memories being shared with so many people", he says. "We had a full house. I cannot thank all those on the panel enough for taking part. For those in the audience I hope you all enjoyed it (Hell yes - Ed). You really were in the presence of greatness. The only down side was the air conditioning system which seemed to be overwhelmed with all the people in there. We did try to fix it."
You can see our Lucas Oil Products-sponsored BDRHoF Gala gallery, which includes shot from the Bench Race, by clicking here or by clicking on the Features, Interviews, Tributes link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
Hall of Fame honorees presented.
20th November: This year's inductees to the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame and Special Awards were presented at last night's BDRHoF Gala Dinner at the Sheraton Skyline Heathrow. Congratulations to (in order of presentation):
BDRHoF Honorary International Ambassadors
Bob and Sharon Muravez
Special Award for Fifty Years of Racing
Special Award for Innovation and Excellence in Engineering
Sydney Allard Media Awards sponsored by Mintex
Photography: Julian Hunt
Writing: Brian Taylor
NSRA Global Impact Award
The Beach Boys, accepted by David Marks
International Drag Racing Hall of Fame re-presentation
Lucas Oil Global Achievement Award
NHRA, accepted by Steve Gibbs
British Drag Racing Hall of Fame inductions
Bob Keith, accepted by Lee Keith and Chris Goodnight
Paula Marshall, accepted by Ian and Holley Marshall
Santa Pod Raceway, accepted by Keith Bartlett and Roy Phelps
Thank You from Santa Pod Raceway
In association with Lucas Oil Products we have posted a gallery from Friday's trip to London for our US VIPs, the Press Call, Beech Underwriting Agencies-sponsored Bench Race and the Gala itself featuring pictures taken by Simon, Grace and Tog. You can check out the gallery by clicking here or by clicking on the Features, Interviews, Tributes link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
We have reams of pages of notes from yesterday's Press Call and Bench Race; right now we are feverishly deciphering and typing and the next news update will feature the best quotes from the Bench Race.
18th November: We were sorry to hear from Robin Read of the death of UK Comp Altered and Pro Comp racer Brian Cross. After a long illness Brian passed away peacefully at home with his family at the age of 62. Robin Read writes:
Brian and his brothers will be remembered by many for their exploits with the Deadly Messiah Competition Altered. He later ran in Pro Comp using my father's Le Patron dragster.
I came to know Brian and his brother Ray during this period, although I had met up with them before that at Tony Morris' father's garage in Germany. I was based there between meetings at the Osterreichring and Hockenheimring repairing the gearbox in the methanol dragster. I remember that it was raining, so the Cross boys barbecued inside the garage! Of course the place filled with smoke and so I had to work on the gearbox on the floor because that was the only place where I could see or breathe. Everyone except me thought it hilarious!
After they had fulfilled their ambitions in Pro Comp, both Brian and Ray crewed for me on my nitro Daimler dragster . This was a busy and happy time for me; I ran my dragster successfully at home and abroad during the period 1990 to 1996. Brian took it upon himself to attend to all the driving duties and indeed towed the dragster trailer everywhere including the overseas meetings, venturing as far as Monza in Italy with Bill Mears as navigator. However Brian's usual and constant companion was his brother Ray, they were indeed inseparable. During this time it would not have been possible for me to have undertaken such an intense race programme without the help and commitment of the Cross boys.
Our deepest sympathies to Brian's family and friends.
UK Top Sportsman TV confirmed.
18th November: Thanks to Paul Marston for letting us know the TV broadcast schedule for this year's Gearhead Garage-sponsored UK Top Sportsman event which took place at the Mopar EuroNats at Santa Pod Raceway in July. As ever the coverage is produced by Zeon TV which guarantees its quality.
The first three showings will be on Motors TV at 18:25 UK on Monday (21st), at 05:05 on Tuesday, and at 15:45 on Tuesday. The show will also be repeated later next week; check out your Electronic Programme Guide or Motors TV web site for details.
18th November: Simon, who is involved in setting up for this weekend's British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Gala, has been in touch to let us know that a lot of the US contingent are already enjoying English hospitality. Below left is Ed Iskenderian, aka Isky, at the Swan Inn in Denham, and below right are Harry Hibler, Bob McClurg, Waterbed Fred Miller, Ed McCulloch, Steve Gibbs, Gigi Carleton and Joe Schubeck at dinner last night (Thursday). Stay tuned for more from the Gala.
Amongst the latest postings on our Jeff Bull Race Engines-sponsored Swap Meet is the Peter Schöfer Racing Top Methanol Dragster which is up for sale turn-key. If you fancy going Top Methanol racing then you can check it out under Cars For Sale at www.eurodragster.com/classifieds or by clicking on the Jeff Bull Swap Meet link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
Web site updates.
18th November: The latest update to Alan Currans' excellent Acceleration Archive is a tenth page of Mark Gredzinski's work. "This is a unique showcase of Mark's skills of photography, drawing, painting and model making", says Alan. "This man is truly a polymath of drag racing if ever there was one!". As ever you can check out the latest updates via What's New at www.theaccelerationarchive.co.uk.
The Mad Welshman has updated his Flickr site with two large albums from the recent Halloween Bonfire Burn Up at Shakespeare County Raceway, including a large selection of fire burnout and return road shots. You can check out Mad's pictures at www.flickr.com/photos/the_madwelshman. "Can I say a quick Thank You to everyone who has taken a look at my page over the past year, to the racers, officials and crews who have made this a fantastic year, and to yourselves at Eurodragster.com for providing coverage of the events which I couldn't make it, and for posting the links to my uploads throughout the year (Thanks, you're welcome - Ed). Roll on the 2017 season!"
York Raceway: 40+ years and counting.
18th November: Chris Murty writes that 2017 will be the fortieth anniversary of drag racing at the UK's York Raceway although the story of the Northern venue actually starts several years earlier:
A group of new drag racers and sprinters from the Pennine Hills were having their resources stripped by having to make four hundred-mile mile round trip to be apart of the sport they fallen in love with. With loads of enthusiasm and a flyers' map of airfields they went out looking for a suitable venue to host their own events.
It was agreed that the key to success would be a venue within twenty five miles of the M62 which links Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds. After sixty airfields, numerous shotguns to the face, and dogs set loose they landed on Melbourne Airfield. Melbourne had a lot of potential: the site was large enough to host events, the airfield was long enough for quarter mile racing and half a mile braking, the layout was perfect, and the owner was welcoming and entrepreneurial. The main issue was its condition; having been built in a hurry during the Second World War and hammered by farm vehicles for thirty year it was unsuitable. But in 1972, after the racers had exhausted all airfields and had become somewhat disheartened, a miracle occurred.
One of the keen Pennine racers' cousins, a keen flyer whose flying maps they had borrowed, bought a farm on the outskirts of Huddersfield which had a small airfield. Perfect! It was on the outskirts of town, was part of a major bus route, and was within the sight of the M62. It couldnt fail. In 1974 the Pennine racers became the Pennine Drag Racing Club and set to, raising cash from sponsorship and holding hugely-popular eighth-mile drag racing which featured superstars such as Clive Skilton and Roz Prior. After two great events and after the airfield had become a fully-established drag racing venue the local council shut it down, and thus began a long legal battle with Kirklees Council.
In 1975, desperate to keep momentum and spirit, Aintree was proposed as around the famous horse track was one of the original British Grand Prix circuits with the benefit of huge 20,000 capacity grandstand which overlooked the circuit. Again the perfect ingredients to host drag racing. The PDRC came in and again hosted two hugely-successful events, filling the grandstand. Unfortunately, due to the relationship with the owner of Aintree, and issues with local residents there was no future. In 1976 and with a small amount of capital the PDRC returned to Melbourne Airfield. With shovels and barrows and sponsored asphalt they worked hard to create a usable race surface. York Raceway was born in 1977!
In the late 1980s racers Pip Higham and Ian Lloyd decided that the future of York Raceway was in jeopardy as it was not attracting enough racers. The feedback was that track required resurfacing. It was agreed with Stephen Murty that whatever money they could raise would be matched by Steve and Pennine Raceway Ltd. Along with other racers Pip and Ian managed to raise £12,500 from individuals and local companies and Pennine Raceway Ltd matched another £12,500 which could only pay for asphalt material and laying. Around twenty five volunteers had to dig up with shovels and barrows and plane around half a mile of track to remove all the lumps and bumps and achieve the most level surface they could.
In those more than forty years there have been two elements working side-by-side: the PDRC, the UK's oldest Drag Racing Club, and Pennine Raceway Ltd and the Murty family, the UK's longest running drag racing promotion company.
York Raceway wants to welcome any of the independent drag racing series which may be looking to expand their classes with northern racers. Some facts you may not know about York Raceway:
We have been here for forty years and we're not looking to change that any time soon.
No Prep Doorslammer Nats date.
16th November: Paul Marston tells us that there was such a positive response to his proposal of a No Prep Doorslammer Nationals, posted here on Eurodragster.com on 18th October, that he has been able to approach Maitland Racing, who organise events at North Weald Airfield, to ask Tony Huck for a date:
Tony has kindly given us a date of Sunday 2nd July 2017. For this inaugural event the entry will be limited to a sixteen-car field. It will be pre-entry only and there will be an entry fee, but a nice cash prize fund will be up for grabs. At this stage the event will take place over the quarter mile. Full details will be published on our Facebook pages Paul Marston Racing and UK Top Sportsman in due course, but if you are considering entering and would like more information now then please contact me on 07831 650230 or via Facebook.
There are two other Run What You Brung events at North Weald after July, which can be used if weather is unkind to us on the original date. There are also two RWYBs in May and June so there is time for testing and running in the usual Quick 8 competitions, which you can enter at lunchtime on the day. The Quick 8 is open to anything on four wheels, there is also a Quick 8 for bikes, and those contests are free to enter. Judging by how busy the opening event was in 2016, Tony would advise that if you plan to attend the May event then you arrive very, very early as it was a roadblock in 2016.
Once again thanks for your support everyone. This is going to be a very interesting race, to say the least!
16th November: John Hackney asked us to say a big Good Luck and Stay Safe to UK Super Comp racer Richie Webb, who is racing one of his wild VWs in Open Comp at this week's PSCA Jegs Street Car Super Nationals. Richie himself got in touch to tell us that he is packed and ready to go. "Open Comp doesn't have an index as such", he said, "so I am not sure how I can run way under, but I will try anyway." Additional great news on this front is that our friends at Bangshift.com will be broadcasting the event starting tomorrow (Thursday); you can read more by clicking here. Las Vegas is -8 hours on UK time and -9 hours on European time.
Web site updates.
16th November: Dick Parnham has updated his Flickr gallery with another tranche of pictures from this year's FIA / FIM Main Event at Santa Pod Raceway. You can take a look at www.flickr.com/photos/dickparnhamdragracing.
Lots sought for charity auction.
14th November: Timing guru and Honorary Eurodragster.com Staff Member Andy Marrs of TSI Timers has been in touch seeking the help of the racing community with a charity auction which starts imminently.
The auction is organised by RCI Europe in aid of two charities who provide palliative and respite care for children with terminal illnesses and their families. Zachary's Shack helps families in the area covered by Kettering General Hospital who have a child with any life-threatening or life-limiting illness by arranging a holiday stay at a caravan at Butlins Skegness, whilst Cransley Hospice provides hospice and palliative care services for the population of north Northamptonshire.
RCI's last auction raised more than £1500 and organisers Sue and Russ Cockings would like to beat that. Andy would be pleased to hear from any member of the racing community who can offer t-shirts, pictures or other souvenirs, tickets or indeed anything which could be auctioned for these two very worthy causes.
If you can help then please contact Marrs as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org.
14th November: Congratulations and best wishes for a long and happy life together to bike racers Kev Charman and Lizz Charman (McCarthy-that-was) on their wedding which took place on the start line at South Georgia Motorsports Park on Friday, during the 40th Annual Mann Hill Garage World Finals. Lizz tells us that she was taken completely by surprise; nineteen years' experience of the usual level of secret-keeping in the racing community only makes this fact all the more impressive to us. Thanks to Nicola Stubbins and, very shortly after, Lizz herself for letting us know.
Retirement? Who said retirement?
12th November: Having sold his eight-second Camaro, retired (sic) Super Comp racer Paul Watson has announced a bid at Jon Giles' all-time stopping-racing record with the acquisition of the former Rebel T and Pink Lady Racing blown-alcohol altered:
This was most definitely my last year, but ever since I sat in Charlie Draper's EMS Togo Funny Car it's been my dream. Things have also happened in the last year to change the way I think about life.
I had been interested in this car when Jayne was selling it, but I hadn't sold my Camaro. In saying that I'm not sure I would have bought it, instead taking the safer option of stopping racing. It was Tony Betts who told me that the car may be available and within days the deal was done. I have had loads of help already; big thanks to Tony Betts, Charlie Draper, Chris and Clayton Round, Sam Freeman and Nick Davies who have all been stars.
The car will be stripped and checked and a few upgrades will be applied and then we will hopefully be out testing after Easter; at the Festival of Power I will be busy with Ben Bridges and my old Camaro. See you all at the track.
12th November: Having done for Paul Watson's pension fund, Tony Betts felt that it was only fair to do the same to his own, so he has acquired a Nostalgia Fuel Funny Car which he will campaign in the UK in 2017. The apportionment of responsibility, starting above with Paul blaming Tony, is becoming a bit like a house-buyers' chain; Tony explains...
I blame this on Richard Hartman who gave me the opportunity to fulfil one of my life-long ambitions and race a Nitro Funny Car at the Hot Rod Reunion at Bakersfield in 2015. While we were at Richard's workshop in South Carolina he showed me a Nostalgia Funny Car which he had built for someone who made a few runs before his father was taken ill, but then the car never ran after that. I asked Richard to put together a deal for the car, fully certified with all the spares required to run for a year.
After returning from the USA, where we were crewing for Baz Young, we decided that it was about time that we got some Nitro in our lungs so we struck a deal and put things in motion. The first thing to sort was where we would get the money - that's what Elaine said anyway, not that I am scared of her. So I guess something will have to go, which I am in the process of sorting now.
Next was my amazing crew - would they be up for it as the '34 Ford was so good on parts and maintenance plus they're all getting old. Well after a few concerns that was put to bed by two of the best Crew Chiefs over here and in the USA, Rob Loaring and Richard Hartman, who both showed confidence in our team and our Crew Chief Kevin Miller. So then we could get the deal sorted.
I contacted a few of our old sponsors and I was really pleased that they were so welcoming to the idea of Venom back in their fold. NGK, Teng Tools and Superpower Unlimited are the first to come back on board with Venom Racing. For now I will finish with our Crew Chief's statement "We get one life so let's live it".
Rat Trap aims for 2017 FoS.
12th November: The Fiftieth Anniversary World Tour of the legendary AA / Fuel Altered Rat Trap was such a success that more dates around the world have been added for 2017, with additional appearances now scheduled for New Zealand and England.
"We had a fantastic time racing at Saskatoon, Canada, at Santa Pod in England and Hockenheim, Germany" said team owner / driver Ron Hope. "However, I'm excited to be going back to New Zealand where we always receive a warm welcome. Fan reaction has been so strong that we're also planning on returning to England for the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2017. And, of course, we've booked a full schedule of races in the US too."
The 2016 Tour wraps up with a prestigious display of the Rat Trap race car at the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Gala on 19th November at the Sheraton Skyline Hotel at London's Heathrow Airport, England.
Rat Trap events currently scheduled for New Zealand and England in 2017 include:
4th-5th February: Leadfoot Festival Hahei, New Zealand
22nd-26th March: Beach Hop, Whangamata, New Zealand
2nd April: Nostalgia Drags, Meremere Dragway, New Zealand
22nd-25th June: Goodwood Festival of Speed, Goodwood, England
"This is a terrific opportunity to continue celebrating the history of Rat Trap Racing, and to give even more fans a chance to experience the excitement of a bad-to-the bone fuel-altered", added Hope. "Racing in front of the fans is what drives us to continue, and we're grateful to all our sponsors for helping make this tour possible."
12th November: Norway's Fred Hanssen is OK after his blown-alcohol Top Alcohol Dragster got out of shape, went up on a side and hit the guardrail in the second qualifying session at the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona. Fred's weekend is done but at time of writing Manty Bugeja (TMD), Jonnie Lindberg (TAFC), Johan Lindberg (TAFC), Ulf Leanders (TAFC) and Markus Svensson (Stock Eliminator) are still standing. You can stay in touch with our heroes' progress at www.dragracecentral.com.
Michel Tooren and the Pro Dutch Racing Pro Modified team have published a review of their 2016 season which you can check out by clicking here.
Lindbergs' Vegas jackpot.
12th November: The 2016 NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a landmark event for Lindberg Bros Motorsports. Sweden's Jonnie Lindberg clinched his second consecutive NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Championship, and he did so with the help of older brother Johan, who made his US driving début behind the wheel of Steve Harker's Rovalin AB Monte Carlo. On Monday following the event, the newly-crowned Champion earned his Nitro Funny Car licence with a best time of 3.91 seconds in Tim Wilkerson's Ford Mustang Funny Car.
The 27-year-old driver / tuner from Upplands Vasby, Sweden, became the first European driver to earn a major NHRA Championship last season when he wrapped it up by a mere two points on the final day of the season. This time, his performance allowed him to claim the title early in front of the many European fans who came to attend the Las Vegas event. He earned National event wins in Pomona, Norwalk, Brainerd, and Indianapolis in 2016 along with an additional Regional event win in Norwalk. This marks four consecutive Championship seasons for the team when you include Jonnie's 2013 and Johan's 2014 FIA European Drag Racing Top Methanol Funny Car titles. It is the eleventh season title for supporters Karsten Andersen and Thomas Nataas.
"The competition has been tougher, because everyone has stepped up and is running hard" said the driver of the Landmeco Camaro. "We learned so much this year, me as a driver and tuner and the crew. It feels good. It hasn't sunk in yet, I guess.
"There are so many Europeans and guys from Sweden that come to Vegas and Pomona that it feels like home almost. The fans say that it's cool that they travel all the way across the world to watch us. They're pretty crazy, the Swedish fans with the flags and the viking hats. That's why I did an eighth-mile burnout after I clinched it."
The celebration took place after Johan Lindberg scored his first round-win on US soil that Saturday. Johan entered the event in the same Rovalin AB Monte Carlo which he wheeled to the 2014 FIA European Drag Racing Championship after selling it to Steve and Jenelle Harker. His #13 qualifying position matched him up with Doug Gordon, the only driver who could mathematically catch Jonnie in the points standings. Johan took care of business with a 5.59-second elapsed time.
"It's like a dream", said Johan. "Everything has fallen into place, and the stars aligned. When we first shipped Jonnie's car over here, I wanted to drive here also, but it would have been too much for us to run two cars out here. I had to support him one hundred per cent. I thought about it for a long time, and now it's a dream come true to race.""
"It's always good to have your family with you when it happens, especially when your big brother comes to take care of business when little brother gets in trouble", said Jonnie. "It was a funny coincidence that he qualified where he did and beat Gordon first round. It worked out like a Hollywood movie."
Though both brothers made their exits during the second round of eliminations, Jonnie reached another career milestone on Monday when he upgraded his competition licence for the Funny Car class with an early shutoff run of 4.183 seconds followed by a 3.915 at 321.27 mph and a 3.965 at 321.35 mph under the guide of Tim Wilkerson. He is the only known Funny Car driver to record a three-second pass during his licence attempts (video).
"It's been my dream to drive a nitro car, and one of my goals for this year was to get my licence", said Jonnie. "Thanks to Tim for helping me out."
The West Region event at The Strip at LVMS the following weekend wasn't as kind to the newly-crowned Champ. Following three ill-fated qualifying attempts which carried out Murphy's Law of "Everything that can go wrong will go wrong", Jonnie quipped "I think my race car knew that I was in a nitro car, because it was mad at me". Johan qualified for the remarkably tough eight-car field but fell victim to Gordon in round one.
Both brothers finish out their seasons at this weekend's Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona. For Jonnie, the events are a pressure-free situation in which he will get the chance to compete for wins and test for 2017. For Johan, he will savor the opportunity to compete against the best of the best on American soil with 2014 Champion Harker calling the shots.
"I was hoping to finish out the season myself, but the car was a bit late getting here to do Dallas, plus I wasn't fit enough to get my licence back with my damaged ribs" said Harker. "With the time frame that we were working in, I suggested that he might like to drive the car if he could talk to his sponsor and work something out. It's been good for him, good for his sponsor, and great for us. I'm getting to test and sort that combination out.
"It's great to be back. It's obvious that we love it. It's what we do. It's great to have the chance for Johan to get in the car. He fits the car like a glove, he knows it, and it's perfect. It's just a matter of getting the tune-up right."
Lindberg Bros Motorsports appreciates the support of Landmeco, Oslo Tapet & Gulvbelegg AS, Manton Pushrods and Rockerarms, CP-Carrillo, Manley Performance, Noonan Race Engineering, Garmin VIRB, Leanders Clutches, Bullet Cams, Red Line Oil, XRP, Kjelland Transport, CPI, Geoveta, Scania, BST, Fastec, VSM, and VP Racing Fuels.
2017 UK ACU affiliation codes.
10th November: Ian Marshall of Santa Pod Racers Club has been in touch to inform bike racers that 2017 ACU affiliation codes, required for licence applications both on-line and paper, are now available from SPRC:
These codes are for racers wishing to apply for their 2017 ACU licences. Please note that your SPRC membership must be up-to-date and that requests must be sent only to email@example.com. In most cases replies will be sent by return.
If you are a member of APIRA then please submit your request to APIRA.
If you have any queries then please contact Ian at the above E-Mail address or call 01933 313625.
FAO SPRC Perpetual Award holders.
10th November: Ian Marshall has also asked that current holders of SPRC Perpetual Award trophies make arrangements for their return to the Club:
We would like to have tropies returned by Christmas please, so that we can get them engraved with the new winners in time for the SPRC Dinner Dance at the start of February. Please either return them to SPRC at PO Box 12, Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 0ZU or alternately send to or drop in at Santa Pod Raceway's office.
If you have any queries then please E-Mail Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 01933 313625.
The vote for the SPRC Perpetual Awards for the 2016 season will commence here on Eurodragster.com shortly.
Brooks' bike for sale.
9th November: We were sorry to hear from the UK's Bob Brooks that, after racing in Comp Bike and Funny Bike for nearly thirty five years, he has taken the difficult decision to hang up his leathers and put the Yellow Metal blown-alcohol Funny Bike up for sale.
"Early retirement from work is fast approaching and I simply can't afford to race on a reduced income comfortably", Bob told Eurodragster.com. "I've no plans to sell up the workshop so there will still be heaps of swarf in the wheelie bin, just not from making parts for my bike.
"The plan is to keep racing through 2017 until a buyer is found. Meantime I'll keep trying to get the elusive six-second pass. Then once the bike is sold I'll see if anyone is in need of another crew member, so I'll still be around (Good news - Ed).
9th November: Many thanks to Ian King for letting us know that the final standings in the 2016 UK ACU Drag Bike Championships have been ratified and are now available on the King Racing web site at www.kingracing.com.
Our good buddy Steve Moxley has had reports of the UK National Finals and Extreme Performance Bike Weekend posted on the ACU web site at www.acu.org.uk.
Good luck and stay safe to Jonnie Lindberg, Johan Lindberg, Ulf Leanders and Rob Turner (Top Alcohol Funny Car), to Manty Bugeja and Fred Hanssen (Top Alcohol Dragster), and to Markus Svensson (Stock Eliminator) and teams who are contesting this weekend's Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona. Qualifying commences tomorrow (Thursday) and you will be able to stay in tune with our heroes' progress courtesy of Drag Race Central at www.dragracecentral.com and on the racers' own web sites and Facebook pages.
7th November: If you were at Santa Pod Raceway's season-closing Run What You Brung last Sunday or if you checked out our John Woolfe Racing-sponsored RWYB gallery then you will have noticed Paul Marston Racing's Cordoba Beige twin 88 mm turbo-equipped, fuel-injected Big Block Ford Mk5 Cortina on test. Paul Marston got in touch to let us know how he got on:
After sustaining a drivetrain failure at the Open Sport Nationals at Shakespeare County Raceway in August it took us a while to get all the bits and pieces back together. Although we were fairly sure we would break something at the event we did not know what it would be, so we did not have spares readily available. In the end it broke a rear UJ which damaged the axle yoke and destroyed the propshaft and first gear. The simple reason it broke was that the Cortina had never been run on slicks before; we figured the grip would be the downfall and we were right. The spares situation is now remedied and the drivetrain is now a lot stronger.
All we intended to achieve last Sunday was a couple of hits with the correct launch boost to see if it broke anything else. It didn't break anything in our two hits and we got a best sixty foot of 1.25 seconds still turning the tyres a little. On the second hit I got it out to 330 feet under power but it overpowered the track and started skating pretty bad before the eighth so I clicked it. You can see videos of the two hits on the Paul Marston Racing Facebook page.
The test has given us a solid platform on which to build and there is a lot to do with the Cortina over the winter months, but not before we found out the first incrementals in its current guise. The tune will initially stay the same when we return to the track next season, just upgrades in other areas to be taken care of; there is no point in adding more power until you can use what you have currently, properly and efficiently. Just to keep you feeling warm over the winter you can watch us freeze and monitor our progress with a new Blog which will go live on Eurodragster.com shortly and which will be regularly updated over the off-season.
Meanwhile special thanks go to Bill and Luke at Comanche Race Cars, who have been instrumental in moving this project forward. Thanks also to Chris Isaacs at Chris Isaacs Race Cars, Gary and Aaron Springford at Drag Race Engineering, Terry Robbins at RRC, Eric Seccur at JW Performance Transmissions, and all of the PMR crew, especially the Crew Chief and Sefton Whitlock who always do a superb job. Thanks fo course to Eurodragster.com for being who you are (Thanks, you're welcome - Ed). Special mention to Dave Warren and the rest of the Santa Pod and SPRC track crew for all their track prep efforts, much appreciated and does not go unnoticed.
7th November: The December 2016 issue of Custom Car magazine includes a well-illustrated feature by Keith Lee covering the life and times of one of the sport's enduring icons, Nobby Hills, and his memorable line of Houndog cars. Keith tells Eurodragster.com that the article was well-timed. "You could say it is an early birthday present for Nobby, as is only a week until he celebrates his eightieth birthday", he says. "It was nice to catch up with him at this year's Dragstalgia, and it was very entertaining subsequently chatting over some great times at the strip. The Houndog team were always ready to entertain the fans, and it was a pleasure to be able to relive some of those great moments with him. The combination of stetson, flip-flops, country music and fast cars just sums up this larger-than-life old houndog!"
The British Drag Racing Hall of Fame is offering iron-on / sew-on patch to allow you to show your support. The embroidered patch is 3.5" in diameter and costs £3.50 including postage. To order your patch please visit the BDRHoF shop at www.britishdragracinghof.co.uk/shop or contact the BDRHoF at www.britishdragracinghof.co.uk/contact-us.
Staying with the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame, if your journey to the Gala Dinner at the Sheraton Skyline Heathrow on 19th November involves the M3 motorway then Brett Featherstone tells us that the M3 will be fully closed between Junction 2 and Junction 3 between 21:00 on Friday 18th November and 05:30 on Monday 21st November. Full details by clicking here.
Multiple FIM European Top Fuel Bike Champion Ian King has been in touch to let us know of the release of the first in a series of videos leading up to his attempt to set a new motorcycle Land Speed Record. This video features Ian talking about about Scary moments and you can check it out on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWeOGqqSF40.
Staying with YouTube, if you are a fan of thrust-powered vehicles and of our Webster Race Engineering / Nimbus Motorsport webcasts then you can indulge both of your pleasures by checking out the latest uploads to Eurodragster.com's YouTube channel which include a run by Eric Teboul on his Rocket Bike and night runs by the Fireforce 3, Split Second and Reign of Fire jet cars at last week's Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway. Our channel also features Fuel Altereds both US and UK, Nostalgia Funny Car and various other highlights and no-so-highlights from this year's events. You can check it all out by clicking here.
We would like to say a big Happy Birthday for today (Monday) to Ella Lameir and to Julie Pateman. Have a lovely day ladies.
The organisers of the Bulldog Bash are holding an early Christmas party to thank all those who helped to make the event a success. All are invited to the Shoulder of Mutton on Blackwell Road, Huthwaite NG17 2RG (map) on Saturday 26th November. Live music, food and beer are on offer.
A very Happy Birthday for today (Monday) to Eurodragster.com News Editor, Race Reporter and Photographer Tog. Have a great day buddy, and many happy returns from Kirstie, Julian and Simon.
Provisional 2017 FIA calendar.
5th November: Many thanks to Lars Pettersson of the FIA Drag Racing Commission for passing us the provisional FIA European Drag Racing Championships calendar for 2017:
26th-29th May: FIA / FIM Main Event, Santa Pod Raceway, UK
15th-18th June: Tierp Internationals, Tierp Arena, Sweden
29th June-2nd July: FHRA Nitro Nationals, Alastaro, Finland
18th-20th August: NitrOlympX, Hockenheim, Germany
24th-27th August: Scandinavian Internationals, Tierp Arena, Sweden
7th-10th September: FIA / FIM European Finals, Santa Pod Raceway, UK
The calendar will be ratified by the World Motorsport Council at the end of this month.
2667 calories for charity.
4th November: Former Pro Modified racer and Head of Eurodragster.com Customer Relations Ray White is undertaking a four-hour Spinathon for charity and has been in touch to let us know how we can support him:
I have agreed to do five back-to-back spin fit classes over a four-hour period for the British Heart Foundation and the Anthony Nolan Trust, For those of you in Eurodragster.com Land who don't know what spin fit is, it's a high-cardio work-out class on a purpose-made static bike. I normally burn on average around five hundred calories per forty five-minute spin class so to really make myself have it I am going to try to keep up my average for four hours.
If nothing else it's worth the sponsorship just for the pain I'm going to go through. Even if it's just a pound and a thousand people do it that's still a huge amount of money for such a worthwhile cause. Everyone knows someone who has had heart problems so do it for them. If you're interested in sponsoring me please visit www.justgiving.com/ray-white2 or E-Mail me at email@example.com.
You know what to do folks.
Definitely worth the effort.
4th November: 2016 ACU UK Funny Bike Champion Phil Crossley has concluded that building a new bike was a really good idea:
After more than eighteen months' hard work our homemade Funny Bike made its début at the 2015 Open Sport Nationals. It seemed to run straight and handle very nicely, and at the very next event, the UK National Finals, it netted us our first ever National event win. It was a great start for the bike and it was only to get better when at the Extreme Perfoemance Bike weekend it completely obliterated our previous round's PBs by two tenths running 7.34/177, and on the last run of the year too! No changes were made over the winter as we felt we had just started to get a grip on the set-up.
So, into 2016 and the first couple of events which as most people will remember were spoiled by the weather. But qualifying at both went well, some strong sixty foot times and in qualifying at Shakespeare County Raceway we ran a new personal best of 7.32/180 making us #1 qualifier, then the following day during eliminations another PB of 7.28/181 taking the first round win before the weather caused the event to be called.
The SPRC Summernationals was the first event of the year to run to conclusion, and there was a strong entry in Funny Bike, so we were amazed to find ourselves #1 qualifier with a 7.29 in the second round. On race day I turned into Mr Consistent and we continued to run 7.2s with a PB 7.27/181 in the first round and two more on the way to taking the event win against Eric Rihkard who was also running really consistently with a string of 7.4's. Sadly, the Open Sport Nationals didn't share the same healthy entry in Funny Bike, with just five bikes making qualifying runs. We qualified first and had a bye run in the first round so just ran it for lane choice and we were quite surprised when we ran a 7.23 - another PB. In the next round we were meant to race Dave Buttery, but he broke in the previous round (in the process running his best time of the year with a 7.38) which left us with another bye run into the final, where we were up against Allan Davies. Allan very nearly took me with him when he went before the green, but that handed us the event win in an otherwise good race.
On to September and for the very first time I entered a European round, the FIA / FIM European Finals. I felt that we had a slim chance of running the required six and fitted bigger nitrous jets to try to gain the required two tenths. Unfortunately the weather meant we didn't get enough runs to make any real progress, but what an amazing event to enter - it was so busy that I lost my voice chatting to people in the pits! I must thank my emergency stand-in crew for that weekend too, they did a great job to get me safely down the track and I don't think they went home with any permanent loss of hearing. We did qualify sixth out of a twelve-bike field so we definitely did OK.
Onto the UK National Finals where qualifying went really well. The opening run was a new PB and our first dip into the 7.1s at 7.1837/181 then in the second qualifier a further improvement at 7.1394/181, both runs with very strong 1.05 sixty foot times and our first 4.4s at half track so getting really close to the 7.0s and those runs into a strong headwind too. We qualified second behind ACU newcomer Kars Van Den Belt, who ran three thousandths quicker on his really impressive turbo Honda Blackbird. In the first elimination round we raced our good friend Bob Brooks who ran his best time of the weekend whilst I headed for the centerline and had to roll the throttle slightly. I only just managed to stay ahead before the finish line.
In the second round I raced the #3 qualifier Dale Leeks who was on good form running, I think, a PB of 7.26. Just before that race we were informed that due to strong winds and gusts the decision had been made to run the bikes over the eighth mile for the duration of the event. It didn't really make much difference to us but it meant we weren't going to get the chance to improve on our 7.13. What happened on the line was a first for me - I'm usually pretty quick off the line but somewhere in my head something went wrong and I sat there staring at the tree thinking why haven't the stage lights come on when they were on already and now there's a green showing, Dale Leeks has gone and I'm still sat there... I really thought that that was the end as I'd never catch him over the eighth mile, but unfortunately for Dale he couldn't shift gear and I managed to get going and catch him just before the line. Lucky! I had the final to myself as unfortunately Kars had injured his engine in the previous round. We ran a an almost identical time to the previous round, a 4.541/144 to take not only the event win but also the ACU Championship as we now couldn't be caught in the points.
The last event of the season, the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend, wasn't quite as successful as in the third qualifying session we had our first breakage of the whole season: there was a huge bang when I shifted into 3rd and I feared the worst. But to my amazement there were no holes in the cases nor any conrods sticking out, and I could still see pistons down the plug hole! It turned out to be nothing more than the magnet in the ignition rotor coming come out. I glued in another one and it lasted long enough to get us the first round win, which once again was against Bob Brooks. The magnet came out again just as I crossed the finish line, and it had now damaged not only my ignition pickups but the set which I had borrowed too, so we decided to call it quits at that point.
An amazing season then taking the ACU UK Championship and the APIRA and SPRC Championships, several PB times and speeds and no major damage.
We have uploaded a couple of HD on-board videos to our YouTube channel including our PB 7.13 so please come along for a ride with us at www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFOiITvBGTQ and www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fQCGbIYJyw.
The Bopchop team are: my partner Samantha Kenny, her brother Stuart Kenny and myself, with special guest appearances from Tom Kenny, Benji Crossley, Peej, Justas and Jason: without them all I'd not even be able to get the bike out of the van. And we owe a lot to Vikki and Paul Argent for being the hosts of Bopchop HQ, Roger Upperton for engine work and parts, endless advice and help with broken engine stuff, to Warpspeed Racing for sending me 1.05-second sixty foot Clutch parts and set-up info, and to the whole of drag racing - the teams, track crews, medics - and the Eurodragster.com team for making it so accessible to those who can't be there with us (Thanks, you're welcome - Ed).
UK Top Sportsman TV.
2nd November: Paul Marston has been in touch with the broadcast date for this year's excellent UK Top Sportsman presented by Gearhead Garage, which took place at the Mopar EuroNationals at Santa Pod Raceway:
We have received word from Zeon TV that the first broadcast will be on Motors TV at 17:00 on Monday 21st November. There will be repeats throughout that week, please keep an eye on the Programme Guide closer to the day as schedules get moved around. This is by far the best TV show we have produced; the racing in both the Fast Bracket and the Heads Up competition was real close. The quality of the cars improves each year and the Mopar EuroNationals is a must-see event for any muscle car enthusiast.
We must thank everyone who made 2016 such a great year: Title Sponsor Mick Pusey from Gearhead Garage, John Tebenham for the extra cash bonuses for the #1 qualifier and winner of the Heads Up competition, Kenny Coleman at Engine Data Analysis, Gary Hall and the Damn Yankees American Car Club, Jeff Bull at Jeff Racing Engines, Dave Gibbons at Rough Diamond Racing, Gary Springford at Drag Race Engineering, all the superb UK Top Sportsman crew and pit marshals for their hard work and dedication, Zeon TV for their understanding of what makes good TV, and all the teams who competed in this and the past events - this is all for you guys and girls.
Last but not least, thanks to Eurodragster.com for their event coverage and staunch support (Thanks, you're welcome - Ed), the Mopar EuroNationals organisers for hosting us, Santa Pod Raceway management and staff, and Santa Pod and SPRC track staff for all their help. Anyone who didn't get named, you know who you are and how much we appreciate you all.
2nd November: Congratulations to 2016 NHRA Lucas Oil Top Alcohol FC Champion Jonnie Lindberg who earned a Fuel Funny Car licence in Tim Wilkerson's Fuel FC at the post-race Test Day on Monday. It was as you'd expect a duck-to-water job with bests of 3.91 seconds and 321 mph. You can read an excellent article by Bobby Bennett on Competition Plus and of course more from Jonnie on the Lindberg Brothers' web site at www.lindbergbros.com.
Beating the drips.
2nd November: Robin Read says that his blown-nitro Daimler-powered dragster's appearance at Saturday's Flame and Thunder Show at Santa Pod Raceway showed plenty of promise both for his current car and for his new dragster which is under construction:
We had many issues at the track including being shut down on the start line three times for oil leaks (all justified). The first leak was through the blower drive snout which only manifested itself when the blower made pressure on the burnout. Fortunately we had taken the other blower with us and could use the drive snout out from that car. We then ran a stout opener of 6.84/192 which was with conservative and safe settings so much promise for the next pass.
There was no damage or other issue with the motor so we upped the nitro load and went for another run but we were shut off after the burnout for oil drips on the track. Pushed back, mopped up and cleaned up, tried again, same thing. Those start line boys don't miss a thing, thank you!
So back to the pit where we ascertained that the leak was from the front of the sump where the pan seals around the timing cover. We removed the sump and could see where it hadn't sealed properly. A clean up and re-seal and went for another run. By this time it was 7:45 pm and the damp had started to descend, but we ran 7.04/187. We knew that the last run might be not as good as the first but we hadn't wanted to finish the year on two start line shut-offs. My crew said that the spectators enjoyed it (So did the announcers - Ed) and said that the run and the car in the dark were stunning, header flames as well! Again there was no damage and all of our changes had worked.
We came away with our second best Elapsed Time ever and a best-ever sixty foot, and all this on a soft combination! We can't wait to get to a good track again and get aggressive with the tune-up.
My thanks go to all involved: the whole Santa Pod team for the event, special mention and thanks to the start line boys for keeping me safe, and to my own team Mark Evans, Bertie Hopkinson, Bill Mears and Ella Chapman. Thank you Eurodragster.com for your support and dedication to providing a news and information web site for our sport (Thanks, you're welcome - Ed).
Web site updates.
2nd November: The Mad Welshman has updated his Flickr site with galleries from the Saturday of the Mid Autumn Madness Public Track Day at Shakespeare County Raceway including Supercharged Outlaws and Super Gamblers. You can check out Mad's pictures at www.flickr.com/photos/the_madwelshman.