race reports

Dragstalgia at Santa Pod Raceway, England

Nostalgia Trend is Growing

Words and pictures by Ivan Sansom & Rose Hughes

Thanks to the SPR Timing Crew for access to timing data

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, it appears to improve year on year. Seven years down the line and Dragstalgia is firmly established in the race goers’ calendar with fields growing, performances getting quicker and faster, and the racing portion getting more competitive. With the UK basking (okay, basking sounds like it was pleasant; it has been too hot for too long this summer!) in a summer for the ages, the 2018 edition of the event certainly lived up to its billing.


Nostalgia Cannonball


The Nostalgia Cannonball pitted a mixed group of nitro fueled NFCs, BB/FCs, fuel and alky altereds and a single rear-engined miniature fueler accumulating low ETs over three qualifying rounds to earn a place in the finals.

The class also was notable for the homecoming of “Havoc” of King, Loaring and Davies after a tour of the USA that culminated in taking the fuel altered crown at the CHRR in October.


The weekend really couldn’t have gone better with a string of 6.2s with a best of 6.2157 at a huge 238.91-mph terminal which put Nick Davies in the final against Ramon van der Weurf’s “Wild’r at Heart” ’71 Charger alky flopper that had dipped into the 6.3s in the preliminaries.

Ramon van der Weurf


In the head to head the Dutch racer got the jump at the startline but Davies and the Bantam powered around with a 6.2135/231.70 to der Weurf’s 6.4113/215.93 to take the win as a fitting swan song. “Havoc” is one of the most significant cars to appear in the UK since debut in 2005 with a revitalization in 2016 when a nitro Donovan replaced the previous alky Chevy and will now disappear under covers whilst the I.C.E. Automotive trio of Davies, Rob Loaring and Scott Barnes focus on a soon to appear turbo Pro Mod.

Dave Grabham wrestled the butterfly out of the hands of his son Robbie to contest the Nostalgia Cannonball with the Freddy’s Revenge Topolino, and a pretty successful return to driving duties it provided to be with the seven second alky altered picking up third spot.

Other notables from the Cannonball included a rough appearance for Troy Martin and the Chi-Town Hustler Omni on this side of the pond, with at best stuttering launches as some as yet undiagnosed problem prevented a representative showing before new owner Paul Harris takes over driving duties. 

On the upside a trio of comparative newcomers to the NFC ranks in Eu-rope in the shape of Bob Glassup and the Bubblegum Capri, Rob Elsom and the “Dirty Deeds” Trans Am and Austrian Mike Mugrauer (known as Doc Stinger with his race head on) all put in stout 6-second passes with the latter on his very first outing since switchover to nitro under the watchful eye of Paul Stubbings, Wendy Baker and the rest of the Time Warp team.

Speaking of which, Stubbings and Baker have decided to retire the “Time Warp” Mustang that spearheaded the NFC movement in Europe and we look forward to seeing what their next project is. 


Slingshot shootout

A comparative neophyte class at Dragstalgia, the shootout is now very much part of the furniture in its second season. Joe Bond kept up his winning ways with a 6.5171/224.43 low qualifier and the event win in the eight-car eliminator, a 6.5779/221.12 defeating a 6.8621/193.06 from opponent Bob Hawkins in a reversal of last year’s final.

Hawkins also entertained the masses with one of his trademark flame burnouts on the Saturday evening, with the Time Traveler 2 digger now augmented with a low percentage of nitro.


Outlaw Anglias

Colin Millar 

Scott Crookston 


Nineteen sit up and beg Pops, Anglias and Fordsons put down qualifying efforts, with team mates Colin Millar (7.4343/181.41) and Scott Crookston (7.8257/172.41) leading the assembled pack. The Scottish duo worked their way through eliminations and it was the flamed “Flyin’ Fyfer” that took the Outlaw Anglia trophy with a 7.5100/179.96 to Crookston’s game 7.8496/169.81.

The Supercharged Outlaws offered a spectacular array of slingshots, altered and doorslammers, with Glenn Pallant’s Ford Consul Capri (which we would previously have referred to as a sleeper until he stuck a nice shiny blower on it for this season) running bracket like 8.9s/9.0s through the five sessions to take the class win on consistency grounds. 

The Wild Bunch have been flying the nostalgia flag for the best part of 22 years, and the appetite for comparatively low buck relaxed racing with more than a glance to the past has shown no sign of waning with 34 entries this time around. At the end of two declared dial-in rounds Terry Clifford and the Ratcatcher Resurrection slingshot (the chassis dating back to the mid 70s) emerged victorious with his pair of runs against an 8.95 dial-in being 0.095 over. 

Twenty-eight entries in Nostalgia Super Stock and an all run format for eliminations meant a frantic five rounds under the sun over Saturday evening and throughout Sunday. Emerging victorious from all of this was Tom Watkins and his Charger, who used an almost perfectly judged +0.0021 over his 9.59 dial-in to get around a slight holeshot from Lee Chiles in the trophy run.

You would have thought that we would have asked what the format was for the Willys Wars, especially given it is now in its fifth year of running at Dragstalgia, but we haven’t. However, we do know that Philip Moules and his traditionally flamed 10-second ’41 Coupe took the class trophy in a runoff with Simon Daniels.


Gasser Circus

John Grant 

Kjell Andersson 


After a runner-up finish last year, John Grant moved to the top step in the 11-second Barnett & Grant Ford Falcon ahead of Kjell Andersson’s 9-second “Dogcatcher” Crown Victoria.

NSA: John Hobbs shows little sign of slowing down and brought the recreation of the Olympus Triumph and the blown double Weslake Hobbit that served him well through the 60s into the 80s to mix it up in the NSA demo. Some mixed fortunes, with Olympus going pop on its only outing, but the Hobbit sped to an 8.5798 best that would have been pretty stout in its late 70s—early 80s pomp. 

Nostalgia Pro Stock Bike: The appetite for small-tire old school stockers appears to be as yet unsated with an increased entry of twelve (eleven managing to get a qualifier in) in the second year that the class has graced Dragstalgia and a fair few more in various states of readiness around the country and beyond. Despite the in-creased competition, Andy Lambert managed to record a second event win in a row after dipping into the eights in qualifying and defeating Tyne Blight in the final.  


Other notables

Although not the quickest in the Slingshot Shootout, The Villian of Chris Manning picked up the honor of being best appearing vehicle as one of the spot prizes awarded over the weekend. 

Mark Coulsell and his reversing crew of Lynne Coulsell and Anna Cassisi put their best boots forward (and back) to take the best back-up girl trophy.  

For the second year in a row the best burnout headed to Scandinavia, this time around Sweden’s Stefan Flodell boiled the hides way past half-track in his Super Nova gasser.

There can’t be many with an interest in the nostalgia side of the straightline sport who isn’t aware of the growing collection that Janne Johansson has been putting together in southern Sweden, and the appearance of a comparatively small subset, including the recently completed restoration of 240 Gordie and Jerry Verhuel’s Bubble-Up Firebird being front and centre over the course of the weekend. 

The Saturday night cacklefest (or whatever the NHRA trademark department permits it to be called) kicked off with a push start for Ian Turburville and the True Blood slingshot. Rumbling now on nitro and with Donovan 417 block number 144 that spent plenty of time in service for International Hall of Famer Dennis Priddle between the rails and blower that used to sit on top of Ray Beadle’s Blue Max gives us a suitably nostalgia point to pause on and look forward to next year. 

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