British race fans were finally treated to a good dose of nitro on this long anticipated weekend, the first for a year for some of the Big Show machinery. It was held on the same weekend that the cancelled European Finals was supposed to be held and renamed as Not The Euro Finals. The event, courtesy of much hard work from the Santa Pod team working with local authorities to allow a large gathering of fans and race teams, all kept at social distances and with continuous sanitising of seating and walkway areas. The event started in cold, windy conditions and ended up running eliminations in warm, late summer temperatures. A world record was achieved by an electric bike over the weekend adding to the prestige of the whole event.
TOP FUEL saw two cars enter for demonstration passes, Finland’s Antti Horto and Sweden’s Susanne Callin, wife of Santa Pod’s CEO Keith Bartlett. Both teams suffered fiery engine damaging runs that gave the crews a late night doing repairs. They both put on some good header flame launches much to the enjoyment of the fans and the best lap was left till last with Antti Horto beating an eased off Susanne Callin, recording a great 3.875/298 to the slowed up 4.047/240.
FUNNY CAR there was a mixture of Funny Car’s and Nostalgia Funny Car’s mixing it up with entertaining David and Goliath runs. The event turned out to be a mechanically pernicious time for a lot of the fuel cars. Jason Phelps in the popular Gladiator Funny Car suffered the biggest explosion witnessed on British soil; the motor detonated nearing the thousand foot mark, shredding the bodywork and putting the car on the trailer for the rest of the event. Nostalgia Funny Car driver Tony Betts who has raced at several US nostalgia events shook hard that put him into both walls as the impact knocked him out. Both drivers exited safely though a little sore the next day. The event was run on a Cannonball system, all times added up and the quickest two face off. It turned out to be Andy Raw with his stunning looking Nitro Bug Nostalgia F/C VW Beetle with the best totalled time of 11.061; he faced the Funny Car of Steve Ashdown, the only survivor in the now depleted field. It was all Ashdown’s in his Dodge Stratus Undertaker flopper as Raw lost fire after the burnout. A solo 5.981 at just 114mph took the win.
PRO MODIFIED Only four Pro Mods turned up, all British as the entries from France and the Netherlands could not make it to England due to Covid19 travel restrictions. Kev Slyfield ruled the roost qualifying with a 5.920/238 ahead of Wayne Nicolson’s 6.329/224, Jon Webster’s 7.255/221 and Bobby Wallace with his new, this year, purchase of Khalid Al Balooshi’s Camaro on a still learning 7.405/141. Slyfield dealt out Wallace in round one, 5.941/237 to a red light 7.203. Jon Webster notched up a win with a 6.724/223 as Nicholson broke.
The final saw Kev Slyfield’s Thunderbird get the better leave and with a 5.984/238 got the win as Webster’s 6.924/212 came in second.
COMP ELIMINATOR win went to Kev Perkins Olds Cutlass Soul Man after a pole position before eliminations, an 8.093/167; he faced the colourful ’37 Ford of George Chiarella who was fifth in the ladder. Perkins wrapped it up with an 8.050/170 to the slowed up 11.290/76.
SUPER COMP it was a win for Steven Hudson in his ’23 Model T altered, a good leave coupled with an 8.901/143 beat the breakout 8.852/163 from Paul Hudson.
SUPER GAS win went to number four qualifier, Andy Harrison in his 460ci Ford Sierra Brute Force as his slightly better leave coupled with a 9.930/136 beat the breakout 9.847/133 from Mark White’s leaping 355ci Vega.
SUPER PRO ET was a solo final for seventh qualifier, Phil Toppin in his 468ci powered open top Corvette Stingray as opponent Joe Kellett failed to make the run-off. A 9.047/145 was all it took for the trophy.
PRO ET it was the Chevy powered dragster of Mason Griffiths that took the trophy with a 9.355/138 as top qualifier Thomas Watkins took his Purple Express Dodge Pick-Up into second place with an 11.389/110.
SPORTSMAN ET win went to Peter Walters with a 14.385/93 from the Mustang as Carl Magedera’s Tesla Sp85D came second with a 12.324/99.
STREET ELIMINATOR saw a superb top qualifier of 6.977/207 from Mark Todd’s 568ci Aston Martin Vantage who unfortunately failed the evening street cruise. The final witnessed a visual David versus Goliath coupling as the diminutive Sunbeam Stiletto came up against the Ford Transit Van, Joe Stevens in the Stiletto caught and passed the van driven by Ashley Cooper, the 540ci powered Stiletto beat the 400ci powered van, an 8.270/140 lit the win lights as the van recorded a 10.021/139 runner-up.
WILD BUNCH saw Mark Coulsell’s slingshot Ball Breaker take the win with an 8.427/154 as the vintage Funny Car Rampage of Phil James runner-upped with a 9.481/136.
JUNIOR DRAGSTER saw Santa Pod’s CEO Keith Bartlett’s youngest daughter top of the qualifying pile with a stunning 0.0004 r.t. she got to the quarter finals before going out to event winner whose 8.774/72 time slip from Harry Redshaw put him in the winner’s circle as Luke Fulton’s 8.026/80 came in second.
TOP FUEL BIKE had a small mixture of Top Fuel and Super Twin Bikes contesting the class. Top qualifier went to Denmark’s Marcus Christiansen with a 6.320/193. It ended with England’s Neil Midgley on the Cannon Engineering machine taking the trophy with a great 6.484 at just 183mph as the 2019 FIM-Europe Super Twin Bike Champion, Marcus Christiansen could only manage a well below par troubled 16.676/45.
FUNNY BIKE had Mark Smith rule qualifying with a 7.130/184 but the final saw Louis Davies take the victory on his Wicked Wench Suzuiki GSX, as opponent Mark Smith on the Warpspeed Racing Suzuki TL1000R slowed with problems, 7.268/167 to the losing 9.183/145.
SUPER STREET BIKE Steve Venables continues to dominate the class, getting a 7.015/207 top qualifier then running fairly regular sixes at over two hundred through eliminations. He, aboard his Hayabusa ran a good 6.974/211 to dismiss Stephen Mead on a similar mount who runner-upped with a 7.101/203.
COMP BIKE Sean Mills took a 7.761/164 solo for his trophy with his Hayabusa as opponent, top qualfier Paul Hambidge failed to show.
8.50 BIKE Ross Morrison on his Suzuki got the winning numbers with an 8.529/145 as number one qualifier; Steve Howe’s Suzuki came in number two with a 8.510/148.
9.50 BIKE Craig Wright’s 9.523/136 beat the 9.554/125 from number one qualifier, Alan Morrison Jr.
ET BIKE Harrison Brown, top qualifier wrapped up his win with a good light, a 10.151/101 beat the slower r.t. from Jonny Young’s Harley-Davidson that came second with a 13.198/66.
JUNIOR DRAG BIKE was taken by Liam Holgate with an 8.538/73 beating Blade Dummer’s 8.608/76.
ELECTRIC BIKE – World Record originally held by renowned US biker Larry McBride with a 6.94 seconds on his The Rocket machine way back in August 2012. This has now been smashed by Denmark’s Hans-Henrik Thomsen in early September 2020 at England’s Santa Pod Raceway. After several tyre screeching trial runs in the low sevens from the bike that resembles a silent Top Fuel Bike, Thomsen ran a 6.8784/191.4 then broke his own record on Sunday the 13th with a backed-up 6.8697/195.47.