Shakespeare County Raceway
20th Anniversary Nostalgia Nationals
by Steve Weston
Over the weekend of the 22nd/23rd June 2013, Shakespeare County Raceway was the setting for the 20th staging of the National Street Rod association Nostalgia Nationals.
Always an event that is eagerly anticipated, being the first of the big gatherings of all things nostalgia, this years event was no exception.
Pre event anticipation was heightened by the news that a number of European participants would be making the journey to the UK, first time visitors Jorgen Schomann with the monstrous blown 41 Wills Pro Mod Master of Desaster and Rudi Fussel with the incredibly short wheel based Opel GT would be joining the ranks of the Supercharged Outlaws, alongside the ever popular Dutch team of Rene van der Weurf and the 71 Charger Funny Car, Wildr at Heart.
As had already been announced, the high point of the event for many would be the appearance of the restored Sidney Allard 'Allard' dragster on display over the weekend and the fire up, on nitro, for the Saturday evening 'cackle' fest.
With a very unfavourable weather forecast for the weekend, it was unfortunate that this had an effect on the attendance of both cars and spectators, but, too those that stayed away, yes there was a short sharp shower on Sunday afternoon, but the rest of the weekend was fine, albeit windy.
The track was in constant use, apart from the aforementioned shower and an unfortunate oil down which delayed proceedings on the Saturday.
The event included series rounds for all of the nostalgia classes and with the inclusion of the European entrants a 13 car entry of Supercharged Outlaws was in attendance.
Qualifying during the Saturday produced the always close and exciting match ups, although, unfortunately for the two German competitors, the wild riding Master of Desaster high sided onto two wheels crossed the track and caught the oil of fellow countryman Rudi Fussel. In an attempt to save the car it ended up going through the lights on its side. Fortunately driver Jorgen emerged unharmed but the Willys was looking a little second hand. Remarkably, by Saturday evening the body was back in one piece, but not able to run again. Likewise the Opel GT which incurred crank damage and was not seen again. An unfortunate degut for the German teams, they did however, hope to be back in time for the Santa Pod Dragstalgia event in July.
With the heavy downpour on the Sunday and the subsequent 'drying up' time, the track curfew prevented most of the finals reaching a conclusion, however, the points standing at the end of Round Three sees Lee Gallimore in the Red Mist altered top the points with 110 followed by Paul Watts in the No Easy Pick Up Chevy on 86 points. A high spot for the Stars and Stripes liveried Corvette of Ian Hanson was the quickest time of 7.15 secs at 189.01mph, surely that 6 second run must be on the way!
Round 4 of the Outlaw Anglia's produced the biggest field of cars to date, 13 cars in attendance with several first time appearances for 2013. Again eliminations on the Sunday were cut short ending at the semi final stages, the familiar final between Colin Millar and Cliff Griffin being a victim of the track curfew. Points standings at the end of Round 4 sees Cliff Griffin top the points with 2100, followed by the 'Flying Fyfer' on 1800 and Steve Wells in the Anglia Pick Up on 890 points.
With the leading two drivers regularly running in the 7 second bracket, competition could soon be on the way from Paul Hensher, who must surely hit the 7 second mark in the very near future.
Strolling around the pit area on Saturday morning, the class that perhaps best sums up the spirit of nostalgia, the Gasser Circus had 12 cars ready to contest Round 2 of the gasser series.
In an eventful qualifying and eliminations session a number of personal bests were recorded, Lou Noble in the massive Chevy Handyman dropping into the 11 sec zone, along with Brian Gibson in the 'Identity Crisis' Dodge. Meanwhile Martin Hallam in the '33 Willys recorded a 10.83 time.
Being one of the few classes to reach a conclusion before the track curfew, a close final was contested between Ray Turner in the Green Onions Chevy and Sean Milsom in the Morris Panel Van 'Ain't Misbehavin!'. The win going to Sean after a 'breakout' by Brian.
A 14 car field contested Round 5 of the Real Steel Championship, although by the end of the weekend this had changed to 15, the Allard dragster being made an honorary member of The Wild Bunch.
Saturday qualifying ended with the traditional, for this event Ring of Fire 'cackle fest'.
The Wild Bunch were the featured class this year, 11 cars lining the track with the Allard leading off proceedings, a great noise was made by all.
With the rain and track curfew, Sunday produces a win for Adam Price in the 'Go Hard or Go Home' altered along with the prize for best burnout of the weekend. Second place being shared by Keith Crampton and Mike Couch.
Series standings after five rounds shows Keith Crampton in the leading position, with Adam Price closing rapidly.
For more details of the Wild Bunch series, as always I can recommend the Claire Meadows web site http://www.the-wild-bunch.co.uk/EventView.aspx?year=2013&event=005 for very full and comprehensive coverage, well worth a look!
All in all, a very enjoyable 20th staging of the Nostalgia Nationals, new cars on track, new personal bests the appearance of Allard and memorable appearances from our European entries. It now sets the scene for the major Santa Pod event, Dragstalgia in just 3 weeks time.
Nostalgia Drag World - Report and photos by Steve Weston www.spw-pics.co.uk