FIA / FIM Main Event
Santa Pod Raceway, 26th-29th May 2017


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Latest update 20:30

Pro ET racer Wayne Hiscock suffered handling problems with his rebuilt 'Chevyhelle' He said 'The car is getting loose further down the track. We have adjusted the four link but fixing one problem tends to create another. The mechanicals are working fine but the car is breaking traction most runs'. Wayne's best of a 9.661 on a 9.2 dial in placed him 28th after six sessions.

Pro ET and Super Gas racer Bob Molden was delighted to run a series of 9.5s in his Peugeot 205. He said 'Geof Hauser has built a new axle casing and set up the rear end, and supplied a new Hughes torque convertor. We ran a new PB of 9.45 at Shakey and the car has made four Pro ET and three Super Gas passes. At the end of the day after more passes, Bob is qualified 10th in Pro ET and second in Super Gas.

Pro ET racer Karen Stevens had major engine problems with a seized motor at Shakey. Car owner and husband Mike Lacey said 'We have put the spare 502cu in engine from when we ran the car in Super Street but that started to play up with rockers jumping off the pushrod. It's probably a valve or cam problem which can be sorted away from the track'. Mike also mentioned the car is for sale and any reasonable offer will be considered.

Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator racer Andy Bond has spent 20 months on building a Tri-Chevy called 'Ugly Sister', intentionally 'ugly' as his immaculate yellow and white street Tri-Chevy is pretty. The car was dreamt up as a replacement to his Mustang 'Which had reached its potential'. Andy hired, and worked closely with those he considered the best in their fields, Martin Kerr of Tubeworks for the 6.0-tagged chassis, Nick Davies and Rob Loaring of I.C.E. Automotive for the engine and Rossler trans, Nic Williams for the bare metal paint job and Neil and Jacob Melliard of ProSign for the airbrushed 'distressed' look. The engine is not so different from a Pro Mod turbo unit, albeit detuned ('it has all the power we need'). Shakedowns have involved three weekends of track testing and 200 road miles. 'The whole year will be testing and our aim is to get into the sevens before the end of the season'.

Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator racer Anthony Wilkins has brought out a newly self-built Morris Minor Traveller. He said 'I have a thing about Travellers, I made the Butcher's Van on a whim and after a year wanted another Traveller. I found one on Ebay for £180, there was a lot of rot and the bodyshell needed plenty of work and I built a new chassis. The engine, out of the Butcher's Van is a BBC with Mega Blower 420, TH400 trans and Ford 9 inch rear. I'm ironing out bugs and it's a little wobbly at the top end.' New items compared with the old police liveried Traveller include a rear wing and a belly pan to catch oil, two factors in the previous car's demise.

Super Gas racer Jan Zimmermann is at SPR for his second time. He said 'I have raced this Chevelle for seven years in Super Gas at Hockenheim with a 634cu in engine, Dominator carb and Powerglide trans. He is qualified 8th with a 9.96.

Super Comp racer Dave Day, pictured with son Elliott, is qualified seventh with a 8.920. He said 'I struggled at Easter and changed the tyre compound which worked well'. Elliott is recovering from concussion suffered in a trampolining accident.

Comp Eliminator racer Robin Orthodoxou has rebuilt his altered's engine with parts from Steve Schmidt Racing Engines. He said 'We had damage at Dragstalgia and decided to make a few changes'. Geof Hauser supplied bigger pistons and the fuel system now features Dambest carburettors, previously discussed in a feature. 'They are brilliant, give much better fuel control and we now need to work with the jets to equalise the cylinders. The carbs have a special metering block made to supply fuel direct to the jets. We also changed the gear ratios to make the change is smoother. We also put a Racepak sensor on the wheelie bar to measure the load on it during the run'. Robin's best was 7.051/189, and the team look confident there is more to come.

Super Gas racer Tony Morris drove Paul Marston's 'Whoopass' Monza in four sessions. 'We had to adjust the throttle stop between Super Gas and Paul [Marston] running the car in Super Street, it moved around when it came off and I had to lift'. Tony nevertheless ended up in first place with a 9.904. He has driven this car before, in 2005 when he got to the final and then lost out by only 0.0008. In his US base, Tony runs both IHRA and NHRA competitions, and has won an IHRA event at Bradenton and been runner up at the NHRA event in both 2016 and 2017. 'We race through most of the winter in Florida and look to upgrade and service the cars fully in summer. I am making a living building, servicing and refurbishing carburettors and will be working full time with my former boss Mike Laws who is setting up a new company'.

Super Gas racer Tom Barnes had a lot of trouble in several test runs yesterday. 'We tried a different gearbox which didn't work and second and third were a nightmare. So overnight we changed the box to the one we had run a 10.23 with. We ran a best of 10.64 today with wheelspin in 2nd and third, even with only 9lbs of pressure in the front tyres. We have installed wheelspin sensors and can download the information to our laptop after each run'. Pictured from left to right are Tom, Scott Barnes, Tom Rayner and Paul Webster.

Super Pro ET racer Steve Saunders is back after a two year break. The familiar Hi-Speed-Gas Zephyr with Ford running gear was shut down in the first session due to a brake fluid reservoir cap coming off in the burnout. Steve said 'Good call by Ian Marshall'. The team came back in session two and ran 10.53 on a 8.69 dial-in, with plenty of other sessions remaining - in total there are ten sessions.

Super Comp racer Ben Bridges in the Purple Camaro is still getting acclimatised to the car with previous owner Paul Watson crewing. He said 'Oil is coming off the diff where the yoke goes in. It's unusual and I've never had the diff out on this car. But it's good to get seat time here'. A 9.131 placed him ninth after two sessions. Ben needs crew for future events, so do get in touch with him via Facebook if you are interested.

Super Pro ET and Super Comp racer Billy Gane has his Vauxhall Victor back for the first time this year with a refreshed look. He said 'We had it repainted by a local called Sonny, it helps keep the car looking good. The engine has been refreshed and the carb rebuilt and gearbox rebuilt. We hope the car will get into the sevens, but maybe not at this event'. 2017 plans include two overseas trips, to Clastres in France on 17-18 June and the NitrOlympX in August.

Super Pro ET and Super Gas racer Brian Pateman (pictured with wife Julie) has set himself a wide range of performance. 'In Super Pro ET, from tomorrow, we will use nitrous which is a 250hp single stage, which comes in 0.2s after the car leaves. This should give us a 8.2s time. In Super Gas we don't use the throttle stop so have to judge it'. Brian has had sponsor Chris Isaacs upgrade the car's chassis to a 7.50 tag with extra tubing in and under the driver's position. To fine-tune the car's reactions, there is a bolt to slow the transmission engagement. And what of Brian's first run? 'We went under the dial in, red lit and I forgot to set the data logger. Apart from that it was fine', he joked.

Super Pro ET racer Steve Johnson is making a welcome return after a break of three years. He said 'I had sold my old Motor Mouse dragster, with trailer and motor home, so I have had to buy new ones'. The dragster is sponsor Jon Webster's blown slingshot. Steve is working through the steps needed to adapt it to him. 'I moved the gear lever and will need to move the switches to personalise it to me. It's a beautiful car but on the first passes the engine kill lever was being activated by tyre shake before 60ft. I was at home for three months after Pat passed away and just had to go back racing - I have even gone back to work as a consultant to help pay for it'. Steve might be looking for some 'self sufficient' crew to help out.

Super Gas Racer and British Drag Racing Hall of Fame member Al O'Connor, in his 48th year of racing, has not only brought his legendary Al's Gasser Anglia to the track to race, but also lent his name to the class at this event, Al's Gasser Super Gas Shootout 2017, sponsored by Jon Giles. Recently, in virtually every year Al brings his car out to Outlaw Anglia competition, but this Super Gas appearance is his first in the class for eight years.

Top Fuel racer Antti Horto's car is in his usual colours, minus front wing on its way back form scutineering. The young-but-experienced Finnish racer will be enjoying an expanded programme this year after a sole FIA event in 2016, Alastaro.

Pro ET racer Jan Scheppers from Netherlands is making his debut in a car which he previously owned and then bought back from its new owner in the US. He said 'I ran this car in 2005 at Hockenheim and later sold it and ran a seven second truck. The Mustang is called Velocity because it was used in publicity for Blaupunkt audio which had a product of that name. It has a Chevy 388cu in engine with Powerglide, running on racing fuel and has nitrous, but I won't be using that. The engine revs to 10,000 rpm so it's very responsive'.

Super Pro ET racer Marc Henney, a regular visitor, is back with his ethanol burning dragster. A 7.71 on 7.63 placed him in sixth in the first session, but he was unable to improve on that which left him 19th after session three.

Super Pro ET racer Scott Crookston (pictured left) and team were basking in the California-like weather. Car owner Colin Millar said 'We're not running nitrous and even left the bottles in the garage to avoid temptation.' The car bogged on the line in the first qualifier, running a 9.01 on a 8.52 dial-in. 'We will adjust the carb and it should run better when it has warmed up more', he said. By the end of session three Scott had run a 8.96 on 8.50 dial in, which placed him in 26th.

Super Pro ET racer Ashley Bell has returned in his AC Cobra after a break of over three years. The break certainly hasn't left him or the car rusty, as he went into no.1 position after session three, 0.0024 over his 8.85 dial-in.

.Super Pro ET racer Al Golding has made a welcome return after an appearance at the Mopar Euronats in 2015 resulting in a broken rod. In his first run, there was a huge cloud of smoke at the top end as oil was coming out of the headers. He said 'Oil is getting past the piston lander, where the rings go. The plugs on one bank are all oiled up, and there's no water in it so it's not the head gasket. We are out for the weekend as it's not repairable, and I may have to invest in a new set of pistons'.

Super Pro ET racer Nick Good had a great start with a 6.840 on a 6.80 dial in to go first in session no.1. He said 'In servicing the car we found a slight oil leak in the gearbox, which went into the catch can, nothing major'. The car was fixed by session three and went 6.841 on a 6.77 dial-in, amazing consistency.

Super Pro racer Johan Oomen suffered a gearbox lockup on reversing from his burnout in the first session. The Lenco was taken out (spot the gap in the car) and was attended to by Sandro and Christiano Bellio, but the car missed the next two sessions. Johan's Dodge Viper has a new 740cu in engine which he described as 'A Birthday present from my team'.

Pro Mod racer Hussain Al Shammari from Kuwait has brought his immaculate '70 Camaro. He said 'Since last September I have been racing in Bahrain and Qatar over the eighth mile. We had some problems, but they were fixed by the last race and I ran a best of 3.8/198mph. Bringing the car over here has been difficult because a few things broke in shipping it, the front end was damaged and the SFI auto shut off system doesn't work. We have repaired the issues but were not able to test yesterday. Another problem is we run C23 racing fuel in Bahrain and Qatar, but have to run unleaded here. To convert the car means making the fuel mixture richer and adjusting the timing, the nitrous and some clutch work. So it is a new setup which we have come up with and will have to look at the data carefully. It did sound good when we warmed the engine, though'.

Super Comp racer Martin Curbishley and Super Pro ET racer Mick Howling are sharing the driving of the Paul Marston Racing four link dragster this weekend. Martin said 'Our thanks to Fix Auto Penzance, the body repair centre'. I am used to the car as I raced it in 2014 and won the National Finals'. Mick said 'It's a busy weekend for the team as we have two cars and four drivers'.

Pro ET and Super Gas racer Jon Turner had repairs to do on the Green Fish 'Cuda after a pirouette and brush with the wall at the National Finals last year. Jon said 'Our thanks to Unit Engineering for making up the framework for the front end and DNA Custom for lining it all up and doing a fantastic paint job. We picked it up on Wednesday morning! The engine is the same as before, a core plug came out on the run at the National Finals but otherwise it's fine'.

Richie Henry, front man and ignition person for the Fireforce jet cars, was working on the tailpipe of Fireforce 5. He said 'We will be running both cars this weekend. The Funny Car Fireforce 3 is limited to 280mph under permit but there is no limit for the dragster. We remove the tailpipe as part of regular servicing, and we can access the jet engine, and the bleed strap which when adusted provides an additional 1000hp'. The cars make the most power in colde conditions, so whilst we will see great passes this weekend, new PBs are less likely.

Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator racer Anthony 'Butch' Wilkins has a new creation, a Morris Minor Traveller with a huge blower atop his 468cun in engine. A big rear wing is the other feature we don't remember on the original car. He said 'I only did one half pass before this event so we are in testing mode'.

Friday at the Main Event is Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) Student day, and we saw many groups walking around the facility, with talks coming from British Drag Racing Hall of Fame chairman Stu Bradbury, Robin Jackson, Lizz Charman and others.

Here, MSA Pro Mod championship co-ordinator and Santa Pod PR official Robin Jackson talks to IMI Students about nitro Funny Cars.

A new feature at the track is the reaction time challenge using race cars and a Portatree timing system, devised by Paul Brown. This is bound to be popular over the course of the weekend.

Reports and pictures ©