Festival of Power
Santa Pod Raceway, 14th-16th April 2017


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Super Pro ET racer Ron Bartlett has been absent for the last three seasons rebuilding his 105E Anglia, which looks great with many original touches. 'It has a 584cu in engine with twin Dominator carbs and tunnel ram, a new Neil Chance converter ahead of the Powerglide, the chassis is tagged to 7.50, and there is a new red paint job. We are here to test but hope to do as much of the Super Pro ET championship as our budget will allow.'

Super Pro ET racer Barry Giles has only its third paint scheme in its 28 years of running in the class in the UK. Phil Hartley said 'Richard Walters has done the paint. The scheme is different as the chequered ribbons are now in red and will be on the front wing as well when it is finished. The gold is now a highlight. Of course there have been a lot of upgrades to the chassis and engine since we first imported it in 1988. The class has come on as well as originally there were only three of us doing round robins with Steve Johnson and Martyn Jones.'

Pro ET racer Gino Bernadine suffered a lot of smoke when a camshaft oil seal came out on his second pass. He said 'Fortunately there was no engine damage and the undertray caught a lot of oil.' So Gino will be back in session three tomorrow after going 9.87 on a 9.40 dial in to go seventeenth.

Super Pro ET racer Simon Gough is back after taking a year out as 2015 class champion. 'We have made no changes to the car apart from freshening the engine with new pistons and cam, and gearbox. We have new crew with Brett and Gary who do the maintenance for me, and Debbie who is in charge of the Racepak. And we have new sponsors with Post & Dros, Racepak, Jeff Bull Racing Engines, LAS Motor Homes, K&H Filters, OCS Paint and Cadman Plant. It was hard to take a year off as champion, but we had executed a five year plan which culminated with our title. We now have a two year plan.'

Super Gas racer Tom Barnes has moved up a class with his FWD Mini. He said 'We have put new exhaust valves on with a new ECU and fitted a new boost controller which is the same as the SSB racers use, and the car lost 100lbs in weight. Our thanks go to Owen Developments who installed a new Garrett Turbo after the previous one broke at the FWD meeting a couple of weeks ago. I am working on the launch to get the car to ET under ten seconds'. His best at this event was 10.52 which places him seventh after two sessions.

Wild Bunch racer Tom Hawkins ran his and Time Traveller 1's PBs of 7.821 in his first run, a wild pass. 'The car was straight until sixty feet then it got loose and the rear was not gripping. I kept my foot in and it straightened out through the finish line and then I got a puff of oil on the visor. It was my best run since I ran 7.89 last year and the wheelbase is only 125".

VW Pro racer Jose Realista has made a return after running 9.63/137.78 at Ultimate Street Car in 2015, becoming Europe's quickest front wheel drive diesel in the process. The car was built by AM Motorsport in Portugal, Jose's native country. Today, his 9.963/137.80 on a 9.85 dial made him second after two sessions.

Pro Mod racer Jean Dulamon spun the car during his burnout in session one, but recovered to make an on-and-off throttle pass. In the second session the car ran better, albeit close to the centre line and scoring 6.76/214 to go third.

Comp Bike racer Margot Schmidt's machine has a new swing arm to help transfer the power of the turbo Hayabusa engine with its Gen2 clutch to the track. 'It's my first run on the bike this year', the Netherlands-based racer said after a 11.2s half pass. 'We will race at four or five meetings at SPR this year'.

Funny Bike racer Jiri Lukes is working on his bike with help from Otto Knebl, its previous owner (pictured right). 'We are taking it easy with no nitrous at the moment, and are working out the adjustment on our lock-up clutch with new plates'. After a 9.80 best, Jiri is qualified sixth of seven.

ET Bike racer racer and 2016 SPRC champion Wayne Bradley's bike is displaying clearly the decals for the Eurodragster.com Prfect ET Award supporting Bloodwise, the blood cancer charity. Wayne is qualified fourth with a 9.40 on 9.10 dial.

Comp Bike racer Scott Collier had a shift problem in testing last weekend following a 7.9s pass. 'It happened on our first pass today and I got out of it. Then when we were changing selectors I noticed the crankcase had split. So we have taken the crankcase out and are getting another one from home'. Scott and dad Jerry were joined by the bike's owner, Steve French, who is also Scott's godfather. Meanwhile Scott's sister Skye is getting used to her new Junior Modified Dragster which was previously owned by Santa Pod as a hire car.

8.50 Bike racer Jake Mechaell, pictured with son Hayden, tested last weekend and ran 8.40 on a 8.48 tuneup in great conditions. 'The testing highlighted a couple of electrical issues which we were able to solve and the bike then ran better', he said. He was qualified no.1 after a 8.63 in the first session.

Pro Stock Bike racer Alex Hope and Comp Bike racer Mark Hope both have new-to-them bikes. Alex has the chassis of Dave Beck with Alex's engine installed. Dad Chris said 'Alex struggled with weight transfer on the other bike and we needed more weight up front, which this one has'. Menwhile, Mark has Danny Cockerill's SSB which is a NLR machine. The team's plan is to run both FIM and EDRS Pro championships which will entail a fair degree of travelling - and a lot of track time.

Super Comp racer Leah Kellett licensed last year and is now at her first competitive meeting, sharing the car with brother Joe. 'It's fun to drive although I have had only six passes on it so far. Th team tested yesterday but could only fit a couple of passes in.' Leah ran a half-pass 9.66 in the first session to go fourth.

Super Gas racer Tim Adam is back after a long absence punctuated by one appearance at the Mopars last season. He said 'I sold the rolling chassis to Simon Fulton and still own the engine and gearbox. Simon and I are planning on a doing a number of events this year and may bring my roadster out as well.'

Nostalgia Funny Car racer-in-waiting Rob Elsom had the body of his Firebird on display while the team, including John Wright, worked to prepare the car to debut later in the year.

Jet Dragster racer Gerd Habermann has brought three vehicles over from Germany, the Jet School Bus and Dragon Hunter II jet funny car in addition to the PartySchnapps.com two seater dragster.

Wild Bunch racer Callum Swinchatt is in his great-looking Topolino with 400ci engine and Przym Paintworks finish, the car making a squirelly test pass at the test session yesterday.

Wild Bunch racer Bob Hawkins has done a lot of mechanical work to his Time Traveller slingshot over the winter, changing to a 496cu in big block Chevy engine formerly run by Sandro Bellio, and was warming the engine in the pits earlier. Problems with removing the remote starter from the engine meant Bob was unable to make a pass in the first session.

Super Comp racer Ben Bridges has acquired the ex-Paula Marshall, ex-Paul Watson, ex-Paul Woodhead Camaro, now with support from RestoModz and Drag Race Engineering. He is running licensing passes today.

Super Gas racer Andy Harrison is in another car familiar to long time followers of the sport, the Sierra formerly of Mike Bentley. Andy is supported by Prem's Jewellery Ltd of Bedford.

Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator racer Mark Todd had an engine refresh during the winter, after over 100 passes. He said 'despite the hard usage, the bearings were in great condition and didn't need replacing. We have a tighter torque converter but less tyre as Mickey Thompson stopped making the tyres we were using. We have changed to a M/T Et Street SS 295/55 R which seems to work fine although the contact patch is two strips each 60mm wide on each tyre'.

Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator racer Stuart Williams is in his spare car, a Mitsubishi Evo 5 (changed from the Evo 4 he was running last year). He explained 'Some machine work on my Toyota engine didn't go to plan and will have to be redone. I am hopeful we can be out at Shakey in two weeks time. The spare has a fully built engine with the same Cybex ECU as the Supra'.

Super Street racer Dan Williams and Pro ET racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Dan Williams are driving dad Keith's Chevelle which has a different engine. Dan said 'We rebuilt a spare 454cu in engine and I decided to run Super Street this year'. An early shut-off 11.04 made Dan no.1 in the first session of Super Street, whereas in Pro ET a 9.87 on a 9.77 dial in placed him fourth. 'Nic's Camaro engine has gone to the US for a freshen up, and we will be taking my Nova over to Sweden and, for the first time, Finland'. Pictured with Dan are team members James Oliver and Lorne Denny.

Sportsman ET racer Stephen West who has been racing at RWYBs for some years, tried his hand at competitive driving in this year's Dial In Day - and won. 'The car is very consistent and very quiet', he said of his electric powered Nissan Leaf. Perry Stevenson encouraged me to come to the strip, and my Mum drove a variety of cars at 75 years old. The Dial In Day is a great training day for new drag racers and the Nissan Leaf has run between 17.60 and 17.67 on every pass, the only variable being the wind speed. We are entered here as a prize for the Dial In Day but am planning for next year. Nissan won't allow the Leaf to be tuned, but I may try to place the electric running gear in my Skoda Rapid instead. It also makes me happy that other racers are cheesed off as Santa Pod is paying for my fuel!'

Super Pro ET racer John Gerritsen has had a break from racing for three years in which time he has built a new car based on the famed ex-Charles Carpenter chassis which in the hands of Henri Joosten had a massive nitrous fire in 2009. John said 'I had to strip the chassis right down and make new brackets. There is a new fibre glass body. The engine is a 540cu in blown alky BBC with 8/71 blower 40% overdriven, with 1664hp on the dyno, and Powerglide trans'. The engine was built by Danny Cars in Belgium and members of the Bellio family are here to oversee John's first meeting in the new car. 'We will ultimately want to run high sixes', he said.

Super Pro ET and Junior Dragster racer Billy Everitt is the first racer to double enter between Junior Dragster and any other class. He said 'Driving the Alien altered is a lot different to the Junior Dragster - I had a few familiarisation passes in it at the end of last season and am gradually getting used to it'. After one session, Billy was fifth in Junior Dragster and fourteenth in Super Pro ET, with more to come.

Nostalgia Funny Car racer Tony Betts is running his Venom Camaro for the first time, having bought the car from its builder and long time Funny Car racer Richard Hartman, who is here overseeing things. Richard said 'I first came to Santa Pod last September when I was helping Stig, and Tony, who drove my previous car at Bakersfield in 2015, asked me over when he bought this one which has only seven runs on the chassis. We are using different parts to other Nostalgia Funny Car teams, closer to what they ran in the 1990s and with a billet block and heads. I ran a similar setup to 5.60 without damage. These days, several teams run those times but are damaging too many parts'.

Pro Mod racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Andy Robinson has a temporary black paint scheme with an intriguing inscription on the hood. Daughter Stefani explained 'We were going to have a new wrap in orange but the body got damaged and we ran out of time to finish and apply the wrap. It's been hectic with so much customer work before the start of the season and only got here around 10:30pm last night'. Andy ran a off-the-throttle 7.22 to go second in the first of four planned qualifying sessions.

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