race reports

Dragstalgia at England’s Santa Pod Raceway

Getting Bigger and Better


Words and photos by Ivan Sansom & Rose Hughes

Thanks to SPR timing crew for access to timing data

Bob Hawkins and his “Time Traveller II” slingshot dragster. 


The annual gathering of geezers at Santa Pod appeared to be bigger than in previous years judging from the queues to get through the gates and the full car parks and camping fields, which, in the absence of previous US draw cards, suggests that the event is on a sustainable footing and attracting increasing interest across Europe with a notable influx from Scandinavia this year.


Nostalgia Cannonball

Ramon van der Weurf 


The mix of funny cars, rails and altereds in the Cannonball this year pulled in eight entries and the accumulated time over three rounds put perennial Dutch contender Ramon van der Weurf and his alky Charger in the first place runoff against Tony Betts and his Venom Camaro.

Tony Betts


With the Wild’r at Heart flopper dipping into the 6.4s, Betts took a shot at the tree and missed with a -0.116s red, wasting his best run of the 6.5146/214.87 whilst van der Weurf got his first six thirty ticket with a 6.3594/216.13 to take the trophy and doubling up on his success in 2016.

Tim Garlick 


The 3rd/4th place runoff featured Tim Garlick, the Apache NFC having set low ET in two of the three qualifying rounds with a 5.9736/236.50 and a 6.0472/234.08 (a stutter on start-up in the first session put-ting Garlick out of contention for the top spot decider) and Robin Read in the startling 2.5 litre Daimler hemi (that’s 152 cubic inches or thereabouts) who came off a major engine rebuild after a problematic test pass at the start of the event before carding a best of 6.7659/196.38 that was a PB for about 24 hours.


Robin Read 


Garlick took the third spot with a slowing 6.7469/155.79 but Read (after a snooze at the line) belted out a 6.6920/199.89 to reset the world best mark by a British motored dragster and oh so close to ticking off a 200mph ticket. And what could be a more quintessentially British drag race than the match up shown with Reid’s blower Daimler alongside Bob Glassup’s Bubblegum Capri nitro flopper?


Slingshot shootout


It was quite a weekend for Bob Hawkins and the Time Traveller II slingshot (lead photo), not only performing one of his traditional flame burnouts to help close the show on the Saturday night, but also running through the eight-car shootout field, resetting his PB in the semis with a 6.6126/196.40 and defeating Joe Bond in the final with a 6.6604/194.72.

Joe Bond 


Bond had qualified low with a 6.7321/207.22, earning his spot along-side Hawkins with a 6.7627/209.13 at the semi-final stage but red lit away his chance at a repeat of his 2016 shootout victory in the Bond, Hannis & Osborne beauty.


Other brackets

Merv Barnett 

John Grant 


A record field of 26 entries hit the 1320 to contest the Gasser Circus eliminator with the final contested by Merv Barnett and his very subtle Pop with a blown small block Chevy tucked away and John Grant in the patinated Falcon. Barnett came out on top with a 10.5385 on a 10.49 dial-in and a pretty sharp 0.02s RT to force Grant under his 11.67 dial-in with a 11.6614 that must have had the pair checking on each other all the way to the finishing line.

Adam Novak 

Lee Chiles 


Nostalgia Super Stock is another class growing in quantity and quality, Adam Nowak eventually lifting the trophy in the Nowak & Son Plymouth Roadrunner with a string of high-ten- and low-eleven-second passes, the final being decided at the startline when Lee Chiles pulled a cherry by a very slender -0.0018 (in the preceding two rounds he’d posted 0.00s RTs on the positive side of the ledger) in his Plymouth Valiant.

Jedd Guy 

Mick Taylor


Another class, another bumper field (detect something of a pattern?), with the ever popular Outlaw Anglia field boiling down to a final be-tween Jedd Guy and Mick Taylor, the former being on something of a roll during the course of the weekend, dropping deep into the seven-second bracket with a 7.6564/174.34 personal best and taking the event win with an 8.0 over Taylor’s Banshee Fordson.

As an aside, Phil ‘Ginner’ Middleton’s slick boiling effort would surely have been a contender for burnout of the weekend honours if it wasn’t for the Scandinavians (see below).



Valdo Westphal


As mentioned in previous reports, the Wild Bunch have been the backbone of much of the nostalgia scene in the UK from before nostalgia became a thing. Thirty six teams with five nations were represented (including Valdo Westphal, who personally had traveled the 10 thousand or so miles from New Caledonia, fortunately his altered and team is based a bit closer in France).

Bob Morgan

Des Taylor 


Run as an aggregate closest to dial-in over the course of three sessions, first place went to Bob Morgan in the B-Sting Topolino with a 0.0053s average, second to veteran Des Taylor in his newly acquired Thundergod T-bucket (0.0166s).

In third was Liz Malcolm in Jus’ 4 Fun four banger RED (0.0321s) av-erage.

Jim Tanner in the Shindigger digger (0.0480s) rounded out the top four.


Two wheels


For the first time at Dragstalgia the two wheeled (and three) contingent were split into two formal categories, with six bikes (and more to come) comprising the newly formed Nostalgia Pro Stock class featuring pre-80 powered small tire stockers and the National Sprint Association which has been a fixture since the start of Dragstalgia.

In the early sessions many of the stockers (including a number of racers from the past) had interesting launches as they dropped the clutch with Andy Lambert’s Kawasaki z900 taking the event trophy with consistent dips into the 8.9s. 

Jan Honee 

Terry Homan 


The NSA demo gets bigger and better every year, with Jan Honee pushing his incredible 30ci single cylinder Jawa back into the eights after a hiatus of just over 20 years with an 8.6340/140.75 and Terry Homan throwing his leg, well whole body, over the rear tire of the blown VW powered Drag-Waye. The Clive Waye-built slingshot bike raised some eyebrows among the visiting US Drag Racing Team back at the 1964 Drag Fests, and Homan demonstrated some serious insanity bravery in getting back on the thing and pushing it very close to a 100mph terminal speed after it spat him off at comparatively low speed in his first outing last year.


Scandinavian invasion


The aforementioned Nordic influx had a sizeable impact on the shape and flavour of Dragstalgia 2017, with “did you see Arne [Kallevik]’s burnout yesterday?” being a frequent conversational gambit as we toured the pits in the rain on Saturday morning (needless to say we didn’t, but the 1,000-foot barnstormer from the Norwegian that did for a head gasket and sidelined him from the Slingshot Shootout for the rest of the event was certainly one of the event highlights).

Magnus Larsson 

Leif Andersson 


The Slingshot Shootout had two of the Swedish entries progress to the semi-finals in the shape of Magnus Larsson’s Fools Gold competition coupe and Leif Andersson’s injected big block slingshot that we’ve normally encountered in Scandinavian Super Comp. Larsson dug out a pair of 7.2s before falling to eventually winner Hawkins in the final four whilst Andersson must be epically sandbagging to hit the S/C 8.90 index as a pair of 7.3s in eliminations testifies. Unfortunately, Caj Carlsson and Rolf Nilsson were unable to get down track in their slingshots during the weekend.

Stefan Flodell

The Scandinavian influence was also evident in the Gasser Circus with a quartet of Swedes providing further colour to the gasser wars.

Bengt Eriksson 

Kjell Andersson 


Stunning entertainment being provided by Stefan Flodell’s Nova, Leif Ostberg in the high stepping Sharp Teeth Barracuda and Bengt Eriksson (the latter losing his shot at eliminations when the prop-shaft departed from the 57 Rattler), with Kjell Andersson being the only Swedish victor in the UK v Rest of Europe match races held on the Saturday evening in the Dogcatcher Crown Vicky.

Bjorn Eriksson 

Frasse Lubke


Bjorn Eriksson made an appearance with the NSA bike demos on his 10-second knucklehead Harley, whilst Henri “Frasse” Lubke earned the driving job of the weekend award when the steering wheel ended up in his lap resulting in a comparatively gentle kiss of the retaining wall just past the finish line, this coming on a new PB of 7.5411 from the Blown Budget T running with the Supercharged Outlaws. 



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Frasse Lubke


Bjorn Eriksson made an appearance with the NSA bike demos on his 10-second knucklehead Harley, whilst Henri “Frasse” Lubke earned the driving job of the weekend award when the steering wheel ended up in his lap resulting in a comparatively gentle kiss of the retaining wall just past the finish line, this coming on a new PB of 7.5411 from the Blown Budget T running with the Supercharged Outlaws. 

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