Santa Pod Raceway, England
Words & Pictures: Ivan Sansom & Rose Hughes
Thanks to TSI Timers (Europe) for access to the timing data
Dragstalgia is now in it’s sixth year and it is still growing at a rapid rate of knots. The 2016 edition is likely to go down as the pinnacle of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Santa Pod track and deservedly so. Although bikes were few and far between in the event entry of over 300, those that were there represented the two (and three) wheeled brigade from years gone by in admirable fashion with the NSA Shootout organized and co-ordinated by Keith Lee (who also managed to photograph and commentate at the same time – next year he might have to attempt the trifecta of doing this whilst riding his own unique Triumph powered scooter).
Although the number put up on the board was nothing special, the appearance of the supercharged double Norton Pegasus not just as a static display but as a living and breathing beast was. Derek Chinn and the rest of the Pegasus team had persuaded the National Motorcycle Museum to release the bike to return it to running order and what a splendid sight it was after a break of 36 years. Of course the NMM has another venerable Norton in the collection, we wonder what it would take to get Hogslayer making some noise?
After retirement from competitive drag racing, Chinn built a replica of the 1968 vintage unsupercharged Pegasus-Vincent with Graham Martin taking over riding duties from Chinn in 1995; twelve second passes were recorded over the course of the Dragstalgia weekend by the Pegasus Reborn entry.
Quickest competitor during the event was John Hobbs with his legendary supercharged double Weslake The Hobbit with an 8.9805 being recorded on the final pass of the weekend. Hobbs was also on double duty with the Olympus recreation that was showing no sign of the catastrophic explosion that had reduced the supercharged 500cc Triumph to scrap, severely damaging the frame in the process, a couple of months previously.
Hobbs’ opponent in the NSA demo ‘final’ was due to be Martin Willmott and his ever entertaining supercharged 500cc Triumph Capella that seems to like the Santa Pod start line, regularly hooking the front wheel high and flying into the low nines, although the demise of the supercharger prevented a David v Goliath match up with The Hobbit.
Other stars of the single engine guild on track over the weekend included Justin Newell’s Hagon framed Triumph, Alistair Henry’s Weslake Belzebub, Dave Clee on the Puma Triumph Shotgun, the 750cc Grenade of Simon Rees and two newcomers to us in the shape of Rory Adcock and Peter Allan’s very sanitary Triumphs of contrasting hues.
A final single, and this time what we would contend is the loudest 500cc motor on the planet, that really caught the eye (and ears) was the single cylinder Jawa of Jan Honee that returned to action at last year’s Dragstalgia after the best part of ten years lying dormant. Nine second passes were delivered over the weekend, with a shot at the eights coming close but a departing blower belt leaving the Dutch rider with a 9.0700 best ticket.
The double engined ranks were certainly not under-represented with Gary Norman steering his father Dennis’ ‘Normans Conquest’ supercharged Triumph, Ray Law on his similarly equipped double, Colin Fallows with the double Norton Super Cyclops, and Jeff Byne pointing his 1500cc supercharged Morgo Hurricane that was oh so close to cracking the seven second barrier back in the late 1970s.
The Methamon outfit has been a significant component of the straightline activities in the UK prior to any organised drag racing, with the supercharged Vincent being reunited with its original sidecar passenger in the shape of Sheelagh Neal (with a long record in her own right as a road race sidecar outfit passenger alongside her father Ossie and latterly as rider) with Chris Illman as pilot.
No doubt prompted by a couple of long waits in the run what ya brung lanes (one of the downsides of the rapid growth of the Dragstalgia events), the old school stockers of Andy Lambert and Tyne Blight have prompted discussions about putting together a small tyre naturally aspirated Pro Stock class to home the significant number of bikes that don’t quite fit the NSA remit of Dragstalgia or the National championship classes.
Dragstalgia 2016 Highlights at Santa Pod Raceway
For additional information about event winners, visit www.santapod.co.uk