There have been many influences and events that have raised the awareness of drag racing and hot rodding as sports and pastimes. Automotive shows and films like American Graffiti and Grease, feature articles, displays, TV coverage and festivals – all have played their part, particularly on a national basis. The popular music culture has always been a primary source of what is considered cool or not –by young people especially – but as far as drag racing and hot rodding is concerned only one band can be described as the masters of the music that promotes our sport internationally.
The British Drag Racing Hall of Fame (BDRHoF) in association with the National Street Rod Association (NSRA) is proud to announce that The Beach Boys will be the recipients of a special Global Impact Award being presented at the BDRHoF Gala Awards Dinner being held at the Sheraton Skyline Hotel, London Heathrow on November 19th. And the big news is that one of the original Beach Boys, David Lee Marks, will be there to accept the award on behalf of the band. They have been behind the music that inspired more than a generation of hot rodders and drag racing enthusiasts and via their concerts they have continued to raise awareness of these unique sports throughout the world for over 50 years.
Rat Trap Racing Sponsors 2017 U.S. Tour of famed AA/Fuel Altered “HavocFranklin, TN
Ron Hope, owner/driver of the historic and popular Rat Trap AA/Fuel Altered, has announced that Rat Trap Racing will sponsor the 2017 U.S. Tour of the British AA/Fuel Altered Havoc, owned by Nick Davies.
“We raced Havoc several times in England during our recent 50th Anniversary World Tour,” said Hope. “We got to know driver Davies, his partner Loaring, and their team very well during Dragstalgia and the Euro Finals at Santa Pod, England. What we learned was, they don’t really have anybody to race. We’re taking care of that by bringing them to the U.S. and inviting them to come race out of our shop in Franklin, Tennessee.”
Four other sponsors have also stepped up to help make the tour happen: Geoff Stilwell of Beech Underwriting Agencies, Lucas Oil, Stuart Bassett of USAutomotive and Lawrie Gatehouse of the U.K.’s Nostalgia Fuel Altered Association.
Havoc and Rat Trap will both be displayed at this year’s British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Gala at the Sheraton Skyline, Heathrow, England, on November 19, after which the cars will be shipped to Tennessee where they will be prepared for the 2017 season.
To date, Havoc has been scheduled for three races, and more are anticipated:
• March Meet, Auto Club Famoso Raceway, McFarland, CA
• 15th Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion, Bowling Green, KY
• 26th California Hot Rod Reunion, Auto Club Famoso Raceway, McFarland, CA
“This is a terrific opportunity to race against our heroes,” said Davies. We’ve attended the CHRR several times, but to be able to race at that historic track, as well as Beech Bend, is a drag racer’s’ dream come true. We’re extremely grateful to Ron, his son Brian, and all the sponsors for making this happen.”
More Exciting by the Dozen.
Franklin, TN — The California Hot Rod Reunion will showcase twelve legendary AA/Fuel Altereds at its 25th annual event later this month. The gathering will provide a unique opportunity to see these iconic cars, some with histories going back decades, race head-to-head.
“Not for a long time have so many Fuel Altereds competed at one event,” said Ron Hope, owner/driver of the Rat Trap AA/Fuel Altered, and organizer of this showdown. “Fuel Altereds have been a big part of my racing career since I crewed on the infamous Fuel Altered tour of 1970, and I have been racing Rat Trap since 1995. The California Hot Rod Reunion caps our celebration of 50 years of Rat Trap Racing.”
Hope has managed to pull together a dozen of the most famous Fuel Altereds, including the ever-popular Winged Express driven by Mike Boyd, and Rick Guasco’s Pure Hell, that will be driven by Hope’s son Brian.
The 12 cars currently scheduled to race are:
• Rat Trap – Ron Hope
• Nanook – Dave Hough
• Winged Express – Mike Boyd
• Patriot – Jason Richey
• Pure Heaven – Leon Fitzgerald
• Pure Hell – Rich Guasco
• High Heaven – Hughie Callen
• Sullivan Racing – Mike Sullivan
• The Tramp – Brian Hall
• Iron Mistress – Brent Henry
• George Doty – Rodney Flournoy
• Bad News Fiat – Kurt Cruse
“This is a Chicago-style race; the two fastest cars will go up against each other on Sunday. Rat Trap Racing and Geoff Stilwell, of Beech Underwriting, have put up a $3,500 purse: $2,000 for the winner; $1,000 for 2nd; $800 for 3rd; and $700 for 4th.” said Hope. “This is an event not to be missed by drag racing fans.”
The 25th California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern California will be held at Auto Club Famoso Raceway, McFarland, CA. 93250. Oct. 21-23.
For tickets: nhramuseum.org
The latest issue of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame’s on-line magazine HOFtalk is now.
Santa Pod Raceway: Dragstalgia
Fri. 15 – Sun. 17 July 2016
It was a moment to savour for throngs of fans at Dragstalgia; perhaps the most poignant moment in Santa Pod Raceway’s half-century of history.
The plan for the Dragstalgia historic drag race meeting had been to recreate the first run ever made down the Santa Pod dragstrip: early on the venue’s opening day, Easter Monday 1966, Harold Bull and his little hand-built dragster, Strip Duster, powered by an engine lifted from a Morris Minor, had traversed the length of the track, the first of countless thousands of runs to be made over the next 50 years. Recently, Harold’s son, Simon Bull, had built a perfect replica of the car under Harold’s supervision (the original Strip Duster chassis is believed still to exist somewhere in Germany) and would mark that inaugural moment in Santa Pod’s history by piloting the car up the strip during Dragstalgia.
Alongside would be another modern replica of an early racing machine. Ken ‘Flathead’ Cooper was a drag racing pioneer whose activities pre-dated Santa Pod – his nickname arises from his predilection for Ford’s workhorse flathead V8 of that era. Son Bradley Cooper had lately replicated one of Ken’s cars, again with his father’s help, and races it at historic events. Simon Bull and Bradley Cooper would drive their respective mounts side-by-side up the strip as a fitting 50th Anniversary tribute.
That, at least, was the plan.
Yet as the two dragsters swung out from the pairing lanes and approached the start line, it was not the sons discovered at the controls but the fathers themselves. At 91 years of age, Harold Bull was about to become not only the first driver ever to traverse the Santa Pod quarter-mile, but now the oldest too. Ken Cooper, a mere stripling at just 79, might well be next in line. Decades have passed since either had last piloted a competition car.
Awaiting them on the line was Santa Pod’s onetime Chief Starter, Stuart Bradbury, wielding the flags he had once used in the days before the electronic ‘Christmas tree’ starting system was installed. With a wave of the flags, the pair were under way. Age plainly does not dampen the competitive fires, and what was intended simply to be an exhibition pass turned out to be anything but a meander. Harold Bull got the jump on his younger opponent and appeared to be ahead at the finish line too. Since neither car staged in the modern manner, times and speeds were not recorded. In their heyday, both racers were accustomed to clocking 10-second passes at over 130mph. Their 2016 performances certainly looked respectable by comparison. Applauded by spectators all the way to the finish, the pair received a further ovation from the track marshals as they pulled to a halt at the end of the shutdown area half-a-mile beyond.
For those onlookers old enough to have watched Harold Bull and Ken Cooper in their prime as leading lights in the formative days of British drag racing, this extraordinary match-up was an occasion none would ever have expected to see happen. Those too young to remember found themselves privy to a unique moment of motorsporting history that they will do well to treasure for the rest of their days.
Santa Pod Raceway’s 50th Anniversary season reaches its climax with the FIA/FIM European Finals, 8-11 September 2016.