Santa Pod Raceway
Drag Racing

Easter Thunderball 2006

Auto Trader Easter Thunderball 2007 Report

Friday 6th - Monday 9th April

The 2007 Auto Trader Easter Thunderball was once again a great action packed motorsport weekend for the whole family. The sun stayed out for the whole weekend and the strip saw some great racing from every class including some fabulous times in the pro shootout.

On track as well as the Drag Racers were plenty of demonstration vehicles including top stunt bike rider Jon Moore and his crew who entertained the crowds during oil downs. Rocket Ronnie in the High Risk wheelie Stingray, Michael Kooy on his insane jet quad and Eric Teboul on his rocket bike all put in top performances each day. The noisiest and fastest though were the jet funny cars of Fireforce 3 and Firestorm.

Off track the monster trucks Sling Shot and Swamp Thing were the car crushing, high flying stars of the live action arena along with the FMX freestyle motocross riders and stunt driver Terry Grant. In the sky Denny Dobson was on hand with his acrobatic displays.

As well as the motor sport there was plenty more to do with, Helicopter rides and kids entertainment. After the racing had finished the fun fair continued into the night and the patrons of Fuelers bar were entertained by the live bands, Nylon Brothers on Saturday night and Slim 47 on Sunday night. Saturday night featured a spectacular firework display as well as the Balloon Glow which had to be moved from Sunday due to advance warning of wind.

View photos in the Auto Trader Easter Photo Gallery.

Auto Trader Easter Tunderball
2007 - Race Report:

National Drag Racing Championships:

Funny Car made a welcome return to European racing this Easter, back from several years in the doldrums and back in bigger numbers but in the final outcome of the Pro Fuel Shootout the Top Fuellers made the best of things. Fine English weather heralded the start of spring as the sun shone on crisp mornings and delivered warm afternoons during the four-day Easter Thunderball, the opening event in the British calendar. It attracted contestants from all over Europe to headline in the Pro Fuel Shootout, a long running contest pitting Top Fuel against Funny Car the latter with a slight head start. There were two Swedish Funny Car drivers licensing, Patrik Pers and Håkan Fällström, Pers suffered a flash fire on his last run and Fällström had the fuel pump malfunction explosively that ended with the Pennzoil Dodge body being blown fifty feet in the air, both have to complete one more lap at the next event to gain their licences. The fuellers of Holland’s Lex Joon and Switzerland’s Urs Erbacher gained the best overall numbers after three qualifiers, Erbacher with a best single of 4.812/310 with the help of US tuner Glen Mikres and for Joon a best of 4.750/274. The trophy run was between them with Erbacher leaving first only to fireball at half track allowing the MPM Oil backed car of Joon to zoom to a 4.788 at only 274mph to win. Britain’s John Spuffard lowered Europe’s Funny Car numbers with a third place non-backed up clocking of 5.115/305.98.

Lex Joon   Lex and Urs   Pro Shootout
Lex Joon 4.7880/274.59 def. Urs Erbacher 7.1930/100.00

Mechanical attrition plagued the MSA British Drag Racing Pro Modified ranks knocking out three cars before the first round. Holland’s Robert Joosten sat in pole position with a stout 6.281/229 clocking. European speed record holder (229.43mph) Andy Robinson suffered severe tyre shake in the first and second rounds going out to Dutchman Robert Joosten’s Corvette who ran like a train all weekend 6.371/224 to the losing 10.573/80. The final was a lonely one for Joosten and he idled up the track to take the honours with a 12.767/100.

Clayton Round   Clayton Round   MSA Pro Modified Robert Joosten 12.7679/100.84 bye

Top Methanol saw long time Crew Chief Steve Turner licence in the team dragster but his best ever 5.902/213 was outdone by Sweden’s Freddy Fagerström’s 5.944/246 in round one. Top qualifier was FIA Top Methanol Dragster Champion Dave Wilson whose 5.513/255 ruled the roost but with Fagerström gaining second with a fine 5.783/247. Stephanie Milam recorded her best in the Funny Car but at huge expense as the 6.123/235 destroyed the motor knocking her out of competition. Wilson ran a solo 5.531/247 in round one as Milam did not show. The final though came down to nothing as both the top qualifiers faced off with Wilson shutting of with no oil pressure after the burnout and inexplicably Fagerström shut down leaving the final un-run.

The Nostalgia Fuel Association gave an ever improving account of themselves though at the expense of some costly equipment however, John Wright sustained major motor damage in the ‘Chaos’ Topolino, Dave Grabham also suffered mechanical woes. Top qualifier went to Jim Usher with a 6.815/209 with Clayton Round in at two with his 6.905/193 and Frank Bennett in third place with his first six, a 6.910/195, qualifier number five produced the quickest side by side in NFAA history as Bennett strode to a 7.018/194 and Round carded a 6.905/193. Points for all five qualifiers were totalled up to give a final between Bob Glassup newly painted ‘Xtreme’ Topolino and Clayton Round’s Model T and it was all over in 6.955 seconds at 190mph as Round got to the stripe first leaving Glassup to follow with a runner up 7.351/188.

Clayton Round   Clayton Round   NFAA
Clayton Round 6.9550/190.48 def. Bob Glassup 7.3510/188.19

Super Modified had a full class qualify and race and it was led by Rob Smallworth’s big Bel Air with a 7.615/177 with Andrew Chilton’s Rover 214 sitting on the bump spot with a 9.097/153. Round one dealt out Andy Chilton to Rob Smallworth, a wheelie popping Craig Gibbs to Tim Garlick, Paul Mander to Andy Kirk and Andy Hone to Nigel Payne.

Round two opened with Tim Garlick’s Cortina beating Rob Smallworth away from the line and getting the 7.678/175 winner to the close 7.670/178 lose. Andy Kirk’s ‘Rat Fink’ Camaro left just a tad behind Nigel Payne’s Corvette but managed to pass him recording a fine 7.630/178 win to the close 7.884/171 lose. For the final Garlick let it all go away as he red lit on a 7.670/173 giving the win to Andy Kirk’s 7.634/179.

Clayton Round   Clayton Round   Super Modified Andy Kirk
7.6342/179.06 def. Tim Garlick

The Comp Eliminator had a five car field and was led all the way by Jonas Dantanus in the ex Michael Malmgren Pro Stock machine, he headed the cast in qualifying with a 7.236/189 then soloed all the way through to take a bye run final as all other had broken. A 7.254 at 188mph was the winning ticket showing promise in the forthcoming Pro Stock ranks.

Jonas Dantanus   Jonas Dantanus   Comp Eliminator
Jonas Dantanus
(7.81) 7.2430/188.91 bye

Chris Issacs took his Standard Vanguard to pole in the large Super Comp ranks, an 8.901/150 being the numbers but was beaten in round three by Belinda Bull’s Chevy S10 truck; a great holeshot coupled with an 8.903/159 beat the breakout 8.875/149. Dave Day got through that round with a 9.196/148 bye and Peter Creswell’s Mustang managed an 8.993/142 to take out the 9.297/142 from Chris Johnson’s MG ZS. Creswell took the semi final round bye with an 8.978/155 as Bull managed to quash the breakout 8.898/146 from day with an 8.981/141 win. The final win went to Belinda Bull as she overcame the good leave by Peter Creswell, the numbers were 8.936/145 win to the 9.031/151 lose.

Jonas Dantanus   Jonas Dantanus   Super Comp
Belinda Bull 8.9362/145.98 def. Pete Cresswell 9.0311/151.34

Super Gas had its normal large entry that was led by Mark White in his Chevy Vega with an almost perfect 9.901 at 133mph. Going into round four, the semis, Jon Morton took the win with a 9.915/143 as Peter Creswell failed to catch the better startline leave, 9.915/143 to the Camaro to the losing 10.034/135. Frank Mason gained the round bye and took it by just staging. The final was between Frank Mason’s early Corvette and Jon Morton’s vintage Camaro, a better leave by Morton along with a 10.034/127 gained the crown as Mason left real late and runner upped with a slowed up 12.710/86.

Jon Morton   Jon Morton   Super Gas
Jon Morton 10.0347/127.52 def. Frank Mason 12.7101/86.24

Super Street saw twelve runners and was led by Charlie Chivers in his Capri with a 10.904/113 but his efforts went out in the second round to Neil Grant.  Going from the semis Grant took the rounds bye run with a 10.926/132 as Chris Kenny in his Ford Pop ran a losing 11.137/97 as new to the ranks and up from Junior Dragster came Jennifer Gustafsson in the big Dodge Challenger with a 10.935/126 win. It was won on the startline as Neil Grant took the lead with his 454ci powered Ford Zephyr running a trophy clinching 10.918/131 to Gustafsson’s close but losing 10.905/127.

Neil Grant   Neil Grant   Super Street
Neil Grant 10.9180/131.97 def. Jennifer Gustafsson 10.9052/127.09

Twenty-four contestants battled for top spot in Super Pro ET and it was led by Steve Green in the rapid John Woolfe Racing Cortina on an 8.682/156 ticket, but a red light in round two cancelled any further progress. Once again going straight into the semi finals after many tough battles went Spencer Tramm and Ashley Bell, Bell took the win with an 8.724/134 to the close 8.733/139 from Tramm’s VW Corrado. Martyn Jones ran a solo 7.794/168 to meet Bell for the run off. It was all drama in the lights on the money run as Ashley Bell’s Cobra took another high speed pirouette but hit the wall this time after the winning 8.762/145 he emerged ok as Martyn Jones ran the runner up 7.732/171.

Ashley Bell   Ashley Bell   Super Pro ET
Ashley Bell (8.65) 8.7620/145.15 def. Martyn Jones (7.75) 7.7329/171.07

Almost thirty cars worked to get a place in the Pro ET class and in the end it was Keith Herbert’s Plymouth Fury that led the way with an 11.300/116 but his luck ran out in the second round when he red lit against Jerry Smith. With the first, second and third rounds gone it was into the semis and Paul Baynton red lit by the most in a battle of red lights leaving the wheelying Steve Bolton to gain a finals place with the winning 9.593/136 to the 11.088/132. Jerry Smith went the red light route as well negating his 9.868/136 as Rick McCann running a smaller motor after hurting their front wheels lifting larger lump in qualifying ran the winning number of 10.345/117. The final was a double breakout with the least going to winner Steve Bolton a 9.679/135 beat the 10.216/130

Steve Bolton   Steve Bolton  

Pro ET
Steve Bolton (9.70) 9.6798/135.52 def. Rick McCann (10.25) 10.2161/130.39

Sportsman ET had Lee Huxley now in the Mustang sitting on top spot with a 15.261/89 to lead the sixteen car field but he was beaten by eventual winner Anna Metcalfe in the first round.  Metcalfe managed to get through to the semis unscathed then took out Jon Turner’s Plymouth with a 13.808/104 to the losing 12.438/102 try. On the other side of the ladder came Martin Lewis against Ian Jackson and it was the 15.274/85 that triumphed over the quicker but failed to catch up 13.955/98. The final was another David and Goliath affair as Martin Lewis’s little Vauxhall Nova took on the big Mustang of Anna Metcalfe, a better leave by Lewis was overhauled by Metcalfe as she took the trophy with a 13.321/101 to the 15.193/86 try.

Steve Bolton   Anna Metcalfe   Sportman ET
Anna Metcalfe (13.30) 13.3219/101.35 def. Martin Lewis (15.20) 15.1932/86.84

The always entertaining street legal antics of the Real Steel Street Eliminator class were led by Andy Frost in his Vauxhall VX4/90 with a resounding 8.158/185 over a nineteen car class. He went on to take the event but not before slogging his way through the field facing Colin Lazenby’s mighty 210 Sedan in the semis, an 8.253/186 gave Frost the win as Lazenby followed with an 8.451/175 lose. Steve Pateman took the semi final round bye with an 8.560/163. The final was contentious as issues over the legality of tyres had Pateman refuse to run leaving Frost to wrap up an uncontested final with an easy 9.562/128.

Steve Bolton   Andy Frost   Street Eliminator
Andy Frost 9.5620/128.54 bye, Steve Pateman no show

The Junior Dragster set had eighteen youngsters strutting their stuff but a timing sheets glitch made qualifying positions unsure, however, into the semis went Annalieze Gibb who succumbed to the power of Nick Mugridge’s 7.963/75 to her 13.122/47 try. Daniel Giles managed an 8.848/72 solo in the other half of the semis on a bye. In the final Daniel Giles managed an 8.889/72 win with a better start line reaction as Nick Mugridge failed to catch up with his 7.942/81 try.

The Wild Bunch class was led by Peter Yates in his slingshot dragster with a 9.361/145 but he went out in the semi final to eventual winner Chris Hartnell in a 10.202/120 holeshot win to the 9.289/144 lose. Darryl Howells ran the rounds bye with a 10.763/129. In the final it was the 10.074/125 from Chris Hartnell that chased down and won over the 11.254/127 from Howells machine.

Chris Hartnell   Chris Hartnell   Wild Bunch
Chris Hartnell (9.99) 10.0742/125.69 def. Darryl Howells (10.51) 11.2548/127.44

VW Pro had just a small field of entries led by Glynn Morgan with a 12.614/103 and he met Neil Ellis in the final, however, Ellis managed to get to the lights first winning with a 13.076/110 against the 12.510/99 lose.

Neil Ellis   Neil Ellis  

VW Pro
Neil Ellis (12.30) 13.0768/110.27 def. Glynn Morgan (12.60) 12.5100/99.59

VW Sportsman saw nine cars vying for top spot attained by Jacob Bailey with a 16.158/82 from his Golf. Graham Fairhead ran the semi final rounds bye with a 14.753/88 as Paul Herbert knocked out Chris Bray’s 15.541/81 with a 13.614/90. The final had Paul Herbert’s now nicely painted Beetle run the winning numbers with a 13.714/88 as Graham Fairhead’s T3 Fastback runner upped with a 14.729/89.

Paul Herbert   Paul Herbert  

VW Sportsman
Paul Herbert (13.57) 13.7149/88.04 def. Graham Fairhead (14.75) 14.7292/89.92

VW Alternate Engine did not have too many runners at this event but it was all down to a solo final as Mark Skeen pushed his VW Van to a 13.365/100 win.

Mark Skeen   Mark Skeen  

VW Alternate Engine
Mark Skeen (13.54) 13.3658/100.71 bye

Onto the two wheel classes and in the premier Top Fuel Bike grouping there was lots of mechanical woes as first Roel Koedam on Ton Pels Zodiac V Twin suffered major damage then Steve Woollatt who had earlier led the way with a best ever 6.318/216 top qualifier succumbed leaving Steve Carey to face Lorenz Stauble in the semi final. Carey’s crossed up 10.697/91 was no match as Stauble put down the winning 6.736/206. It was a lone final for Switzerland’s Lorenz Stauble as he took an easy 7.469/136 win.

Lorenz Staüble   Lorenz Staüble  

Top Fuel Bike
Lorenz Staüble 7.4692/136.70 bye

Funny Bike faired better with a tough seven bike field that was led by Stephen French with a 7.423/165. The way through from round one had a lot of the heavy hitters suffer problems as Tim Blakemore went out to Dave Bailey, Neil Midgley to Chris Hall and Shaun Branch to Stu Chamberlain. In the semis Stephen French managed a 7.387/174 to oust Dave Bailey’s slowed up 9.782/120 and Chris hall broke allowing Chamberlain to gain an easy 8.942/101 to the final. Stu Chamberlain obviously had problems so all Stephen French had to do to wrap up the win was to stage.

Steve French   Steve French  

Funny Bike
Steve French staged, Stu Chamberlain no show

A smaller than usual field of Pro Stock Bike showed and was led by Dave Beck with a 7.310/182. In round one Beck ran a winning 7.408/176 to defeat the 8.082/153 from Ray Debben whilst the other side of the ladder came Len Paget on his new sleek Suzuki but a problematic 8.355/119 allowed Richard Gipp to take control and win with a 7.764/165. The final came down to Dave Beck on his Suzuki against Richard Gipp on his similar mount but Beck had problems only managing an 8.251/108 only to see Gipp surge away to record the win with a 7.744/168.

Richard Gipp   Richard Gipp  

Pro Stock Bike
Richard Gipp 7.7441/168.56 def. Dave Beck 8.2519/108.72

Eight riders managed the Competition Bike field which was led by Kevin Charman with a 7.582/169. Into the semis and Switzerland’s Sascha Brodbeck who had got by a broken Charman fell to Phil Leamon, 8.349/153 win to the 9.329/136 lose. Dave Peters managed an 8.455/125 win over the 8.689/154 from Alan Young. This left the final open to Phil Leamon as Peters no showed, Leamon ran the win with an 8.381/154.

Phil Leamon   Phil Leamon  

Comp Bike
Phil Leamon 8.3810/154.75 def. Dave Peters broke

Just when you think Super Street Bike has reached a performance peak it gets better with a top qualifier of 7.425/193 from Dave Smith that bettered his earlier 7.445 at a whopping 197.42mph! Again going from the semis Dave Smith slowed up but still beat Jamie Sneddon, 7.900/186 to an 8.086/185 and in the other pairing Steve Venables red lit away a 7.685/189 as Graham Balchin scored the win with a 7.734/190. This left the finals with Dave Smith and Steve Venables facing off both on Suzuki Hayabusa’s, Venables carded a great light and that coupled with the 7.685/189 got him the win as Dave Smith runner upped with a 7.662/192 try.

  Steve Venables  

Super Street Bike
Steve Venables 7.6800/189.01 def. Dave Smith 7.6620/192.32

9.50 Bike was led by Carl Atkinson with his 9.510/147 over a twenty-six bike class but he went out to Steve Ashby in the first round. Up to the semis and Dave Burfitt’s 9.695/143 was beaten by Greg Skett with a 9.526/147. The other pairing saw Julian Harris run a 9.553/140 to take the win from Richard Sawatski’s close 9.593/130. The final put together Julian Harris on a Suzuki Bandit against Greg Skett’s Suzuki Hayabusa and it was decided by a breakout by Skett, the 9.417/144 being to quick leaving the crown to be taken by Julian Harris’ legal 9.563/141.

  Julian Harris  

9.50 Bike
Julian Harris 9.5632 def. Greg Skett 9.4179/144.65

Roger Gorringe – NITRO exposure. © April 2007.

Visit for more photos and coverage of the Auto Trader Easter Thunderball 2007.

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Prior to 2013 the Easter event was known as Easter Thunderball
Easter Thunderball 2012: Report / Photo Entry List / Photo Gallery / Photo Competition
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Easter Thunderball 2006: Report / Gallery
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