The Santa Pod Raceway, Dragstalgia 11

(In Association with the NSRA)
Text and photos by Carol Rule

Hot! was the word, for both the racing itself! accompanied by clear blue skies and very unusually ‘hot’ summer weather taking us through the weekend. The racing was pretty much constant from Friday to Sunday and the ‘heat was on!’ from everyone getting out on track.    

To explain briefly the Classes running throughout the weekend and how some of them work is best taken directly from sections of information from the Official Santa Pod Programme, produced to Welcome and guide visitors and fans to Dragstalgia.To Quote :

  • Cannonball – Bringing great Nostalgia, to the track for Dragstalgia. Funny Cars and Fuel Altereds, supercharged Front Engine Dragsters with the occasional rear-engined car.  The Cannonball format is a fond tip of the hat to a famed event from yesteryear and contrary to regular drag racing, there’s no qualifying or eliminations. Instead, there are 3 qualifiers before the finals. Each competitor has each of their qualifying times totaled together. The racer with the lowest total time qualifies 1st, second lowest 2nd and so on. Then on the fourth and final run , the number 1 qualifier will face off against number 2 for the event win. Number 3 will take on number 4 to settle 3rd and 4th 5th vs 6th and so on.  Speed and consistency are key, every run counts in qualifying, no shows will be allocated with the times from the slowest run in that session.
  • Wild Bunch – A nostalgia Drag Racing club with around 50 members who have been running since 1995 created by nostalgia enthusiasts Roy Wilding and John Guthrie. With cars that span an eclectic and diverse range of varying body styles , engines induction and fuels. Those running over the weekend dated back to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s .      
  • Nostalgia Super stock – American V8 muscle cars from the 60’s and 70’s . with no limit to engine size or cubic inch but no power adders such as turbos or superchargers.  
  • Old School Stokers – Are a group who started in 2016 to recreate the heyday of Pro stock motorcycle racing. The roots go back to 1973 when the first Pro Stock bike race was run. 
  • Supercharge Outlaws – One of the oldest classes in the Uk with amongst the quickest and most entertaining teams . All cars must run faster than 9.90 to be part of the group but can come from any sphere if they run a Roots or Screw type supercharger. Typically street cars, alterds and front engine dragsters all competing to win a closely contested championship. From 6 second passes coming from the fastest to 9 second runs from the street cars and everything in between. Unlike other classes whilst the teams dial in to gain points they do not get eliminated so your favorite car or team will still be racing at the final heat of the weekend.  
  • NSA Bike shootout – A rare chance to see some historic bikes which were in action during the early years of drag racing in the UK . Most powered by British made engines such as Triumph, Norton also including double engined and car engined bikes.  
  • Outlaw Anglia – Celebrating their 30th Anniversary with a 20 plus car field with a fantastic mix of Ford Aglias, Ford Pops, Fordson Vans running in a heads up class with the first one past the finnish line taking the win and going through to the next round with no exceptions and no excuses.
  • Gasser Circus – Tri Chevys , Ford Falcons , Austin Devon & Dorset , Ford Pop Morris Van, Fordson Model A and Willys pickup and Coups to name a few. All paying tribute to the mid-60’s when the Gasser Wars were raging on the dragstrips across America. The Gasser Circus Showdown is contested over 6 rounds of racing Dragstalgia being round 4 followed by round 5 at the Mopar Nationals then the final round taking place at the Hot Rod Drags in September 

The 8th Annual Willys Wars  –  Encompassing any Willys Coupe, Sedan or Pickup from 1933 to 1942 everything from Streetcar to Pro Mods . The class is run as a heads- up class and the tagline is – ‘no brackets, no dial-ins, no eliminations, bragging rights only’ The pairings are usually racers ‘calling each other out ‘ throughout the year which makes for some very close racing.

Photos taken from the Historic Display

Up and Close at the Track

‘Nuthin II Fancy’

There is a real presence with this car that is not an understatement! The minute the tower announces that Joe Bond and his Team are about to come on track, it instantly makes you just want to sit tight and watch. The sound is thundering from the 484 ci Keith Black Hemmi with AJPE heads and a K9 kobelo blower, when the car launches with Joe in the driving seat it makes you realise what this era of front engined racing is really all about, breathtaking has to be the word. 

The  first run of the weekend was 6.531secs @ 200.83 mph.  A misfire on the second run which was 6.974secs @ 184.30 mph, due to No 2 cylinder washing fuel which caused a plug wire to burn through and shorted the earth on the valve breather. The team needed a strong 3rd run, which was 6.703secs @ 212.86mph ; one pushrod failed on the statline so Joe was running on 7 cylinders.   

The team missed out on the final of the Cannonball 2022 by 3/100th of a second !  Those who were watching and waiting for the times, held their breath as the print out was announced !……. The team decided to withdraw from the 4th run so as not to cause further damage. Really looking forward to seeing the car out on track again later in the year. 

The team are family members Andy, Rach, James, Terry & Ruth Clifford. Snake Eyes nostalgia dragster is powered by a Ford 390ci engine topped with Hilborn methanol fuel injection. Based around “the Old Master” famous slingshot dragsters of Ed Pink, constructed by Don Long in the early 1960’s . The dream of Snake Eyes was born in 2017; the criteria was straight forward: low slung minimal panelling and clean lines. With the assistance of FieldCraft fabrication; Terry and James Clifford carried out the assembly and engine work. The car debuted at Santa Pod’s Dragstalgia event in 2019 driven by Andy Clifford.

Unfortunately due to not feeling well over the weekend Andy was unable to drive which meant Terry Clifford took over the driving seat, for his first time in Snake Eyes. Terry has driven a carburetor fuel sling shot ‘Rat Catcher’ for over seventeen years and found Snake Eyes to be very different in performance being a fuel injection engine. He reported back that it had no end of torque and felt comparatively very different!  It will be interesting to follow and see the times acquired by Andy when he’s back in the driving seat. Terry ran 4 runs over the weekend the first being a 9.9785 the best run was a 9.1844 . The team were really pleased with the car’s performance and are looking forward to getting out on track with Snake Eyes real soon.


More from the Track

Text and photos by Carol Rule

Call Dennis today at 515-282-9996