The National Street Rod Association Nostalgia Nationals

Santa Pod Raceway.

Fri 10th to Sun 12th May 2019

Considering this was only the second time the event was held at Santa Pod Raceway, the collaboration with the NSRA and the venue seems to working out pretty good. Everyone got plenty of track time and many of the racers archived personal bests on a great racing surface and put on a fantastic show.

Below is an illustrated report from myself and the Gasser Circus ring master Nick Brooke Langham,who has very kindly sent me a report about how the GC got on, to which I have added some images.

If you would like a image/print/canvas etc then please contact me and don’t just steal it. UKDRN has always been run and funded by myself so as a well known supermarket chain says, every little helps.

The meeting marked the one year anniversary of the passing of my great friend Stuart Mitchell who I still miss very much. Myself and Nick Brooke Langham felt Stu was with us that weekend and the Nos Nats will always remind us of him. Maybe that’s why the little sod checked out when he did. If that’s the case then don’t worry mate because we will never forget you no matter what.

In the history of UK drag racing history very little credit is ever given to Ian Demain. Ian’s been racing the same car at different strips in the UK since 1967. At the Nos Nats he was performing great burnouts and storming down the track

Click for bigger view

 John Foden and Ken Hessey’s ‘Frantic’ V12 Topo altered has finally reappeared with a new owner with loads of updates. The car will hopefully see some track action later this year.

Full credit to Leo Knight who has been working so hard with this car for a few years now. Not just the tuning side but also learning to drive it. Leo’s hard work paid off with some great runs and a promise of loads of potential for the future

The Grabham family had dug out and updated the Austin A35  body they have had for a long time. The car ran really well but just maybe needed a more downforce at the top end.

The Williams Brothers had a tasty new (old) chevy on track.

The guy who owns this was telling me this was a 1960’s original race car from the USA but originally had a different motor setup. He had a very novel car transpoter in the form of a converted caravan.

The Gasser Circus report by Nick Brooke Langham. Images by UKDRN

The ‘Unbelievably’ long wait was finally at an end on the 11th May, as the Gasser Circus cars had not been in competition against each other for 236 days! The last time we had battled was when the Showdown Championship was decided at the Hot Rod Drags back in September. It was therefore not surprising at all, to see so many of the class gathered in the pits, with 17 Gassers entered, someone was going to miss out.
This was to be a weekend of fond memories of Stuart Mitchell, who we lost on the eve of the 2018 event, and whom we all still miss. It was also a weekend of new arrivals and oh so welcome returnees, with the end of the weekend for one racer, a time of reflection with a tough farewell.

The new arrival was another Austin Devon, ‘High Anxiety’ this one in the very capable hands of Graham Barton, the returnees headed by Katie Booth and her husband Ted with their ever impressive ‘The Mighty Mouse’ Ford Pop, and it was a return of a different kind for the Ford Falcon ‘Jumpin Jalapeno’, now in the very capable hands of its new owner Ken Brookes.

TheFord Falcon ‘Jumpin Jalapeno’, now in the very capable hands of its new owner Ken Brookes.

The biggest and in my opinion the best surprise of the weekend, became apparent to me on Saturday morning, as I returned to the pits. My daughter Jungle Pat, ushered me towards Steve Dixons ‘High Roller’ Falcon, with the words, come and see who is driving Steve’s Gasser this weekend. I could see that someone was leaning into the car, but as I arrived at the car I still could not work out who it was, as they were busy inside the car and had a woollen beanie on. I cautiously said Hallo, and as the person inside the car reacted and stood up, I was completely stunned, as stood before me was Dale Snoke a great friend of the Gasser Circus and the only Gasser Circus member based in California. Dale had flown over for the weekend and was going to be racing Steve’s Gasser. The last time we had seen Dale he was over here with his Mercury Gasser and racing the dream at Dragstalgia 2015. With hugs all round, it was not only the best kept secret but also the best surprise of the year so far.

On reflection, Dale has had and continues to have a big impact on the Gasser Circus, and a quick look around the pits confirmed this as I was running one of his engines in my Gasser, Ray Turner also had one of Dales engines in his Green Onions 55, (leant to him by Brian Gibson) Brian was racing a car that Dale built and raced ‘Identity Crisis’, and Tim Holmes had purchased the bare rolling project that Dale had built, and gone onto build it into the ‘Wragged Wedge’

Qualifying

Qualifying soon got underway, and everyone began to knock the rust off of their minds and get back into the groove as quickly as they could. My first run in ‘Nogbad The Bad’ did not go to plan, as I suffered a death wobble on the front end as soon as I left the line, the car was intent on shaking itself to pieces. The car in 8 years of racing has never done this before, and it was not something you can drive through or brake out of, you just have to get off the throttle and wait until the earthquake subsides,  when it does you find that you have just run a 28 second run!

My wobbles were however, nothing compared to the fate that befell Simon Glenn. Having spent the winter gathering parts and rebuilding the engine in his ‘Straight Shooter’ Austin pickup, the car only made halftrack before it pulled off the racing line, with tell-tale puffs of smoke emitting from the headers on both sides. This calling an end to his fun and possibly his season. The smoke later traced to a block damaged beyond repair.

Things were not going smoothly for Steve Matthews, but luckily for him he had already posted a qualifying time when the brand new radiator from the states, let go following his burnout. Thankfully, Tony Pearson knew just the person who could repair the radiator in time for eliminations, our gratitude to Shakey.

Steamy Steve Matthews.

Elsewhere, there were a couple of red lights and some reaction times that were definitely on the side of cautious, but this was only round 1 of qualifying. I had the privilege of being sat behind Graham Barton as he edged his ‘High Anxiety’ Devon to the line. As the lights dropped Graham launched and as the car leapt left, I could clearly see at least 6 inches of daylight under his front wheels, he stayed with it and back in the pits could not quite understand that the car had not responded to his steering input when it left the line. It was only when someone pointed out that you cannot steer if your wheels are not on the ground did he realise with some surprise that he had pulled a wheelie!

 

By the end of qualifying there were 15 Gassers left in competition, with Dale Snoke sitting proudly at the top of the pile in Number 1 Qualifier spot. Everything was set for a great days racing on Sunday.

With Ray Turner and Brian Gibson drawn against each other, jokes were abounding that Brian may want back the 383 Chevy engine he had leant Ray, but this is the Gasser Circus, and no such request was even thought about by Brian. On the strip Brian got the job done and moved onto potentially race his brother, with John set to race Graham Barton. This was Graham’s first event with the Gasser Circus, and as he edged his Austin Devon to the line, adrenalin was pumping, but it seems John was pumping more as he broke out with an 11.42 on an 11.60. Graham running an 11.28 @ 115mph.

Ray Irish and his ‘Gas Junkie’ Willys Pickup are always tough competitors so I knew I had my work cut out to beat him, unfortunately for Ray but fortunately for me Ray was uncharacteristically late on the lights and his 0.4 reaction time, and this made all the difference at the top end and ‘Nogbad The Bad’ advanced to Round 2 of eliminations.

No 1 qualifier Dale had a bye in round 1, whilst the defending Gasser Circus Champion, Martyn Hallam in his 33 Willys ‘Whiplash’ saw off the challenge of Katie Booth and her ‘The Mighty Mouse’ Ford Pop.  With Julian Balme unfortunately on other duties, Sean Milsom had a bye to Round 2, but during his solo pass, his recently upholstered roof insert, decided it did not fancy another 120mph pass. The vinyl parting company with the insert at mid track!

 

Steve Matthews in his wheel standing 57 beat Hank Holmes in his ‘Wragged Wedge’ Mopar, and Nick Barnett piloting the ‘B&G Racing’ Falcon took on Tony Pearson in his ‘Guzzler’ 56 Chevy, both Gassers dialling 11.50. It was Tony who came out on top with Nick breaking out with an 11.47.

 

Special mention must go to Ken Brookes, who after selling his iconic ‘Roarin Rat’ 57 Chevy had wasted no time in securing a replacement Gasser with the purchase of ‘Jumpin Jalapeno’ Falcon. The car was running what Martin (Ken’s ever reliable crew chief) calls a boat anchor, in the form of a stock Ford. Ken and Martin worked away on the car and despite the anchor and the old street tyres Ken took the car from a 14:81 to a 13:97. With a set of slicks, the Falcon has every chance of qualifying.

Elsewhere, there were a couple of red lights and some reaction times that were definitely on the side of cautious, but this was only round 1 of qualifying. I had the privilege of being sat behind Graham Barton as he edged his ‘High Anxiety’ Devon to the line. As the lights dropped Graham launched and as the car leapt left, I could clearly see at least 6 inches of daylight under his front wheels, he stayed with it and back in the pits could not quite understand that the car had not responded to his steering input when it left the line. It was only when someone pointed out that you cannot steer if your wheels are not on the ground did he realise with some surprise that he had pulled a wheelie!

 

By the end of qualifying there were 15 Gassers left in competition, with Dale Snoke sitting proudly at the top of the pile in Number 1 Qualifier spot. Everything was set for a great days racing on Sunday.

With Ray Turner and Brian Gibson drawn against each other, jokes were abounding that Brian may want back the 383 Chevy engine he had leant Ray, but this is the Gasser Circus, and no such request was even thought about by Brian. On the strip Brian got the job done and moved onto potentially race his brother, with John set to race Graham Barton. This was Graham’s first event with the Gasser Circus, and as he edged his Austin Devon to the line, adrenalin was pumping, but it seems John was pumping more as he broke out with an 11.42 on an 11.60. Graham running an 11.28 @ 115mph.

Ray Irish and his ‘Gas Junkie’ Willys Pickup are always tough competitors so I knew I had my work cut out to beat him, unfortunately for Ray but fortunately for me Ray was uncharacteristically late on the lights and his 0.4 reaction time, and this made all the difference at the top end and ‘Nogbad The Bad’ advanced to Round 2 of eliminations.

Round 2

‘Nogbad The Bad’ had to take on number 1 Qualifier Dale and he told me he was really looking forward to going up against me and his old engine. It was quite inspiring at the end of the fire up road, as I glanced across to see Dale giving me the thumbs up as we prepared to pull round. We were side by side going down the strip, and as Dale pushed on he just headed me at the finish line. I had dialled 11.30 and ran 11.45, and with Dale dialling 11.43 had run 11.42 thereby breaking out and I advanced to the semi-final.

Sean Milsom dialled 10:00 taking on Tony Pearson who dialled 11:50.  Sean had to chase Tony down and lit the win bulbs with a 10:11 crossing the line at 123mph. Tony running an 11:54 @ 116mph.

Defending Champion Martyn Hallam and Steve Matthews had a stonking race with the win lights going on in Steve’s lane, as Martyn ran a 10.58 on a 10:60 dial, Steve advancing to the semi-finals. Joining him there would also be Brian Gibson in his ‘Identity Crisis’ Dodge after winning a very close fought battle with ‘High Anxiety’ charging down the strip, this time in the hands of Matthew Barton. This was quite some debut for the new team with Graham and Mathew Barton and Jon Hill delighted with their weekends racing.

Semi-final

I was up against Sean Milsom, and it was a strange feeling as we came to the line, I had dialled in 11:47 and Sean a 10:00. I had not been this close to the final in over 6 years, and just focused on doing everything right. That did not last long as my reaction was not good with a 0.35, so the chase for Sean was on at 6700 revs I was close to shifting to 3rd when the engine nosed over and I lost power. Thinking I had blown something I turned the steering wheel to get off the racing line, when suddenly the power from the engine came back with vengeance. This would usually be a good thing, but I still had my foot still firmly planted to the floor, now I was heading towards the wall, luckily I steered away from it gathered the car up and continued the run to the line. But when I got there the win lights were already on in Sean’s lane.

Steve Matthews and Brian Gibson, both did strong burnouts and brought their respective Gassers to the line. Brian loaded up the revs, and his car sat down at the rear as it prepared for launch, as the footbrake lifted his car launched hard and too early, popping a cherry on the tree and handing entry to the final to Steve. Despite this both Gassers ran hard to the line with Steve stopping them with a 10:93 and Brian an 11:05.

Final

Both Gassers pulled round ready to run, Sean was first into the water and first to light up his slicks. Steve was not far behind and as he rolled out of his burnout Sean was waiting for Steve to come alongside. When the nose of his 57 appeared both cars rolled forward under the guidance of Ian Marshall. Sean went into Pre stage quickly followed by Stage, 3 seconds later Steve joined him. Steve left first as he dialled in 10:84 against Sean’s 10:00. Both Gassers pulling wheelies off the line Steve’s arrow straight whereas Sean’s was a big leap to the right which Sean immediately corrected. The race down the track was awesome and when they broke the beams Sean and team ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ had themselves another Round win. Sean had run a 10:09 with Steve just losing out with a 10:89. A great final and an awesome way to kick off 2019.

The win meant that Sean not only heads the Championship, but he also picked up another superb winner’s trophy created by the multi-talented Neil Melliard. Dale Snoke had also created a wicked trophy to be awarded to the Best Reaction Time, and this along with the NSRA glass trophy went to a reluctant Brian Gibson.

Event winner Sean Milsom

The end of the weekend also brought an end to a great adventure that Steve Dixon had started 5 years ago when he purchased a Gold Falcon and called it ‘High Roller’. Steve had some wonderful times racing the car, made all the more enjoyable by his family joining in with him. Unfortunately, Steve has been suffering health issues in the past 2 years and he reluctantly decided that it was time to sell the car. High Rollers new owner travelled to Santa Pod to collect the Gasser, but not until Dale Snoke had used it as his race car for the weekend. We hope the Falcon will not be a stranger and it returns to where it has had such an impact, racing the dream in the Gasser Circus.

Dale Snoke in High Roller

This guy was performing monster burnouts all weekend

The stand out class of the meeting in the way of performance had to be the Outlaw Anglia’s. Fourteen of the twenty-three cars archived speed and elapsed time personal bests and they provided the quickest and fastest field in the class history. At the end of the event the ‘Orange Pop’ entry built by Jon Webster and owned and driven by Simon Barlow took a hard fought event win. Simon also reset both ends of the OA record over the weekend which now now stand at 7.332sec and 190.60 mph respectably

It seems Simon has become the car to beat although this will be the toughest fought season ever in the class.

Paul Hensher is right in the mix this season running in the 7.4 secong zone with more to come.

Great to see one of my favourite cars return to the track. Jeff Meads.

Another one of my favourite cars returned this year as well. Mat Cooper

Callum Swinchatt has got the car launches sorted now and is running some great numbers

Neil Townsend was having launch issues of his own

The recently formed “Modified Ford 100e Challenge” were having a round at the event

Full Results

Outlaw Anglia: Simon Barlow defeated Paul Hensher
Nostalgia Super Stock: Claire Johnson runner up Jake Cawthorne
Gasser Circus: Sean Milsom runner up Steve Matthews
Tri Chevy Shootout: Graham Smith runne rup Brad Strevett
Outlaw Anglia ET Bracket: Phil Drewitt runner up Matt Cooper

Wild Bunch top four
Mark Coulsell
Phil James
Craig Larman
Callum Swinchatt

If you would like a image/print/canvas etc then please contact me and don’t just steal it. UKDRN has always been run and funded by myself so as a well known supermarket chain says, every little helps.  

Selected gallery – Click on image for bigger version

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