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


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Latest update 20:30

Top Fuel racer Duncan Micallef had an eventful winter, winning the Sport Malta Awards Sportsman of the Year, and then running his car at Hal Far to new track records of 4.03/303mph. He said 'The award was the first time in its 57 year history it had been awarded to anyone in motorsport, and was important to get drag racing more profile as the MDRA are working to have a better track. The runs were intended as a test and we had some problems such as no computer and Rune tuned the car without the computer. I am looking forward to competing in all races and doing some testing in Norway mid-season. There are some new things on the car which have been tested on Liam's car and work well, and we are confident'. Duncan is supported by Bajada Maltese New Energy which supplies solar panels.

Pro Mod racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Andy Robinson qualified no.1 with a 6.10/238.62. Luke Robinson said 'We weren't expecting the run to be as fast as that, but the air is good. We actually backed it down after it smoked the tyres this morning, and was a mirror of the second pass apart from not lifting at 1000ft. It's a promising start'.

Pro Mod racer Bobby Wallace qualified third with a 6.56/214. He said 'The car ran without problems. We have made changes to make the car more comfortable for me and refreshed the engine in the winter. We won't do a full season as Annie will be out in the ex-Roger Johansson Mustang recently run by Dave Townsend and we will be entering that for the Main Event - it's too much to run both cars and Annie has been brilliant on the crew'.

Top Methanol Dragster racer Rod Harrison said 'It has been a weekend of issues. First a triple sprag in the gearbox failed and we had no forward speed. We then had transbrake issues and were struggling to hold the revs down on idle and it cut out. So we changed the tune on the car. It has been lots of niggling problems which we hope to get resolved before the Main Event. It's probably my last year in the pro classes so we want to go out on a competitive note.

Fuel Funny Car racers Birgitte Bremnes and Jason Phelps were comparing notes about driving the cars. 'It's a tougher job driving Funny Cars', Birgitte admitted. 'I have driven dragsters for my entire racing life and have got to get rid of the habits of the last sixteen years that won't work with a Funny Car. The procedure for burnout, backing up and staging are all much harder with the full body. The engine being in front of you is a completely different ball game. I will get used to it with seat time. Thanks to my mentor Jason'. Jason said 'Birgitte is a fantastic racer who has huge experience and is getting along well with the car. The last run was as straight as an arrow'. Birgitte will be in the seat for the season and compete in all rounds of the European FC series.

Pro Mod racers Andy Wright and Bert Englefield have a new flamed colour scheme on the front of the Hot Rod. Bert said 'We had a problem yesterday when the oil pump shaft broke and had no oil pressure on starting it up. Thankfully it happened in the pits. Bob Jarrett gave us a new pump which worked, but we lost a whole day and two runs. The final pass was on and off the throttle but we're qualified'. As in previous years, Andy and Bert will drive at alternate events.

Pro Mod racer Kev Slyfield has a new 14-71 supercharger from Mike Janis, who is becoming the preferred supplier. Kev said 'It is giving 7 psi more boost which is a lot. The mph was better than before and there is so much more power we have had to take some out for the track conditions here - we will have to put it all back at the Main Event hopefully. It was running rich under power and there is more compression and we want to run it safe. A 6.49 is about what we wanted to run'. Kev is qualified second and will have a bye run as Mick Payne suffered breakage (see below).

Pro Mod racer Rick Garrett is back after taking a complete year out. He said 'We have a new 872cu in David Reher engine with 5.3" bores to replace the 720cu in Fulton which we previously used. There is also a new three speed transmission, to replace the old two speed, and new gear ratios. We also have new bull horn exhausts. There is shake but once we get the setup right it will definitely run quicker than before'. The family have started in race car construction and are in progress with a Pro Street car for a customer. Racing plans for this year include all MSA rounds and possibly the NitrOlympx.

Pro Mod racer Jean Dulamon has a Bruno Lenco automatic transmission for the first time and had problems with the air pressure to the transbrake solenoid and the oil reservoir being smaller than ideal. He said 'The car is reacting differently, the engine is the same as before but there is too much slippage in the transmission'. Happy Birthday to crewman Benoit who with Thierry have been Jean's regular crew since he started in the class. They will be joined at the Main Event by Charlie, who has worked on the car back at base in the South of France.

Pro Mod racer Mick Payne has had to withdraw with torque converter damage. 'We lost the reverser yesterday on the first run due to the high rpm and it broke due to the high rpm because of a loose throttle stop on the injector hat. Then on the second pass the converter went - it had leaked at the previous event and we thought it would be ok, but as we had ran it for about twelve years it is about time to upgrade - we'll see what options are available and will be back at the Main Event.

Super Street Bike racer Steve Venables is developing a new ECU with Owens Development which his long time supporters DME will look at marketing. 'It worked well at the top end with a 199.88 speed but the launch is lazy off the line. We will sort it out with fine tuning and I am looking at the data on each run.'

Super Street Bike racer Peter Granica has a new bike which he built himself and new turbo on the engine. His best this event is 7.65/179. He said 'I'm pleased with that for a new bike and my 1.29 60ft time was my best ever'. Peter asked for best wishes to be sent to brother Thomas who is having to take a year off racing due to home commitments. Meanwhile Peter will run all SPR ACU dates, supported by crewman Rick Reinold (pictured left).

ET Bike racer Dave Grundy came to the class last year after running in Straightliners and winning the 11.1s class last year, coming third overall in their series. He said 'I did the first three ET Bike races last year and will run the whole season at both tracks this year'. Dave's bike is a stock Triumph Tiger Explorer and he is keen that the class remains as a low cost means for new riders to come into the sport.

Funny Bike racer Thomas Joswig is back racing his bike after time off with illness and supporting his regular crew Marcus who debuted his own Harley Top Gas bike. He said 'I have had technical issues, the bike stalled on the line and I had to do a lot of gearbox work. Thanks to Benni Voss for helping me on the line. The bike is for sale, I want to get something new and as long as I am having fun, I will still be at the race track even if it is not riding'. Meanwhile he is planning on racing at Race, Rock n' Ride, Summer Nationals and National Finals.

Top Fuel Bike racer Rene van den Berg is working on the settings for the bike. He said 'There was too much power yesterday and on the last pass there was detonation which damaged two pistons. We only discovered that this morning and had to replace them quickly before the first pass of the day. The pass started ok but the bike made a hard move to the left, but I managed to keep it away from the wall. The crosswind is higher today but the track is better'. Rene thanks Dick Koster of Post & Dros who is helping Rene working on the bike's power grid.

Top Fuel Bike racer Neil Midgley was pleased to get on the bike after licensing last September. He said 'I have got the National license so will at least be running the ACU events. We haven't made many changes from last year apart from tweaking the fuel system. We are still finding a setup that I can get used to. We launched in high gear but today used the gearbox and ran a 1.09 60ft time which is up there with the best bikes. I was on the throttle for three seconds, could have gone further but you have to respect the bike. Bike owner Chris 'Cannon' Hannam added 'After selling the injected Harley to Gert-Jan we agreed to develop this machine. It runs great short numbers even with soft fuel and ignition settings. And in four runs we have only needed to change oil and spark plugs. But we agreed Neil will shut off at the eighth for this event.'

Nostalgia Funny Car racer Tony Betts is was pleased to have made it to the event with a fully prepped new car and trailer. 'We have three new members of the crew all of whom are new to drag racing and they are being taught as they work on the car. The passes yesterday were checkouts and the smoke out of the engine was down to an oil seal at the front of the camshaft coming off. I'm grateful to car builder Richard Hartman for being here to oversee operations and to my crew for all the work they have done. If I come back after a run and the crew are happy, then we have done everything we need to'. Tony will be running twice today and twice tomorrow.

Super Pro ET racer Jens Koenneke (pictured second from left) was pleased to go no.1 qualifier at the end of the third session. 'We came here three years ago with my Chevelle and later bought the Oldsmobile from Rene Meierhofer as a roller. It was built in California and raced there and in Canada. The original engine blew up after five runs and I replaced it a week before Hockenheim 2015 with a 582cu in naturally aspirated unit from Thomas Engerlader who works with Ohio Crank to supply engines in Germany. The car has run consistent 8.2s and it is great to be no.1!'

Super Pro ET racer Martyn Jones has had to lift going down the track after a lot of tyre shake. 'We keep the Racepak data from each of our runs and this one demonstrates the tyre shake and lateral Gs we were getting at the start which was extraordinary. If there is a big gap between driveline rpm and engine rpm it shows the slippage on the track. And the air is so good, it produces more horsepower, which worsens the problem'. Martyn's best this event is 6.404/185 on a 6.00 dial in which places him sixteenth.

Competition Eliminator racer Andy 'Fred' Hone is running for the first time since 2013, where he was SPRC class champion. Fred was investigating the source of a misfire. 'The car started up fine but under power was running on four cylinders', he commented. He was joined by Tim Read and his daughter Chloe from the UK Tech Crew and Paul Liquorish who came by for a tech inspection.

Pro ET racer Paul Brown is busy away from the track setting up Speedz, a Christmas tree simulator. 'I have put the car up for sale as I am so busy, and I am converting the short car to an outfoor simulator. I am helping Andy Harrison in his Super Gas Sierra, Andy crewed for me for a couple of seasons and he is doing well. I broke out by seven thousandths but at least it went straight'.

Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator reacer Nigel Hale has a big Procharger on the Chevy C30 pickup's 580cu in engine. He is qualified fifth with a 10.97/130 in the massive vehicle.

Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator reacer Nick Hale has a 1975 Mercedes CE280. It was originally built as a race car in 1990, and when Nick bought it six years ago it was first raced in Sportsman ET. Then the decision was made to go into Street Eliminator and Mark Norton of the UK Tech Committee advised on the work needed to upgrade the chassis and running gear. The engine was changed to a normally aspirated 434cu in SBC with a 175hp nitrous shot, bringing the power up to 847hp on the dyno. The car is quite heavy still at around two tons and the PB is 9.7, although the best time this event is 10.6.

Pro ET racer Geoff Cowley ran his first eight second pass at 8.907/148.65. He said 'This is the first event I am using the transbrake and it has quickened the launch. I had a difficult test day as there was a brake fluid leak at the rear which was getting on the slicks. Thanks to Dave Cherrett, Redneck Racing and Neil Hunter who helped me to jack the car up, repair the leak and bleed the fluid lines'. Would Geoff consider a change of class to Super Pro or Super Comp? 'I won't look at other classes this season'.

Pro ET racer Peter Wise has been at RWYBs for around twenty years with his dad, running street cars, latterly a Camaro. Then the opportunnity came up to buy the ex-Tokyo Toy, ex-Ian Jackson Camaro. 'I bought it turnkey', he said, 'and after running a best of 8.6 in RWYB did my licensing passes yesterday, including using the transbrake. I will run it in Pro ET for a year, then refresh the engine so it can handle more nitrous, then run in Super Pro next year.'

Pro ET racer Colin Felstead qualified no.1 with a 9.595 on a 9.59 dial-in. 'I have raced the car for two and a half years in Pro ET', he said. 'I had a new Ford 460cu in engine with aluminium heads at last year's Main Event after damaging a piston and a bearing. The car is in fact all Ford as I have a C6 gearbox and nine inch Ford rear'. The car runs on C12 race fuel without nitrous.

Junior Dragster racer Jordan Payne, who was 2016 National Champion, had to change his starting routine with the advent of the new LED bulbs on the Christmas tree. 'I used to leave as the final yellow started fading but the LED lights don't fade, so I have to judge when to leave and it is working fine'. Jordan is qualified fifth. The car has been refurbished over the winter with the chassis being sandblasted and powder coated black and the body painted by Przym Paintworks to match the '62 Corvette which is still owned by Jordan's dad Nigel. Jordan thanks all his sponsors displayed on the side of the car.

Junior Dragster racer Archie Wray, pictured with Old School Ford Anglia racer brother Jake. Archie's mum Emma works with SPR official Carol Ismail at Eurodragster.com sponsors Phoenix Personnel and CEJ Training. Meanwhile dad Kevin has formed, with Jake, Kejja Motorsports spcialising in classic and retro cars, which can be seen at kejjamotorsport.co.uk.

Nostalgia Funny Car racer Tim Garlick ran a 6.48/159 in his first full pass of the event, after repairing chassis damage to the engine mounts earlier in the event. Tim's operation is overseen by British Drag Racing Hall of Fame member Rob Loaring who after enjoying running the Havoc Fuel Altered at the March Meet at Famoso, is planning to run the altered at the Holley Hot Rod Reunion at Bowling Green, before an August event at Martin, Michigan and the California Hot Rod Reunion.

Sportsman ET racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Peter Walters is in the family's Mustang at this event. For the rest of the season, sister Holley will be racing the Mustang and Peter will be in Derek Flynn's six second Super Pro ET dragster at the Main Event, as reported in our news on 20th February.

Reports and pictures ©Eurodragster.com