Santa Pod Raceway
Drag Racing

The Summer Nationals 2008

Sat 14th to Sun 15th June

The 2008 Summer Nationals was a sunny weekend of national Drag Racing featuring the MSA British Championship for Pro Mod and over 25 other car and bike classes plus the Fireforce Jet Car.

Photos from Summer Nationals 2008

Mark Watkins Steve Carey   Paul Hensher
Ian Tubb Steve Nash   Nigel Payne
Steve Johnson Clayton Round   Chris Hartnell
Mark White Nick Davies   Steve Bolton
Roger Moore Graham Ellis   Fireforce
Super Street Bike Graham Ellis   Fireforce

Photos by DJ

Summer Nationals 2008 Race Report

It finally happened and not before time. A glimpse of the long awaited summer occurred over the Summer Nationals presented by the Santa Pod Racers Club and was the first event in the British calendar thus far that has not suffered rain-outs or even snow delays. The event weekend kicked off with a Peak Performance Day on the Friday attracting a lot of teams and interest as they completed testing including a few eye openers.

MSA Pro Modified
The headliner of the weekend was obviously the MSA British Pro Mod Championship round which included the debut of Roger and David Moore’s stunning new nitrous injected Dodge Viper, backed by Shakespeare Engineering. It almost went into nightmare mode as the on the very first burnout Roger got crossed up getting totally broadside and nosing into the centre ‘A’ boards, luckily missing the startline crew and causing only a paint scrape on the car. Roger must have had flash-back thoughts of when he took out the Christmas Tree in the Triumph Herald a few years ago.

At the end of the qualifiers it was Andy Robinson who sat on pole with an impressive 6.164/227 from the Studebaker over four tenths ahead of anyone else. Bert Englefield ran a nice straight 6.635/211 for second and Ian Bishop secured third place with a 6.963/197, a personal best for him. In fourth spot came Graham Ellis and the still unpainted Superbird with a 7.083/197. Kev Slyfield despite pulling wheelies and getting on and off the throttle to control the up in smoke Willys managed a 7.900 and his first two hundred at 203mph. Wayne Nicholson brought up the rear with an 8.080/168 in the last session. Roger Moore though did feature in the first and second stanza with a creditable 7.931/169 until a broken sprag in the Lenco and still having to complete his observed runs halted the Viper.

Round one had Graham Ellis run a solo win as Ian Bishop took a long time to show then with no burnout, just staged the nitrous car as it had problems Ellis produced a great 6.526/218 from the still new Superbird. The second pairing saw Bert Englefield leap ahead as Kev Slyfield jumped, smoked the tyres and was on and off as the big Willys bounded this way and that in the lane, managing an 8.629/165 lose as Englefield took the light with a 7.062/205. Andy Robinson we heard had replaced heads and five pistons after the last pass and he wheelied twice out of the start getting a little crossed up but still managing the win with a 7.218/206 as Wayne Nicholson’s Corvette lost with a 7.779/176.

A lucky break happened in the second round as Andy Robinson had the bye run but the luck deserted him as the blower burst panel popped on the spare blower during the burnout putting him out before he started. It was left to Graham Ellis and Bert Englefield to provide some track time, Ellis shook and eased up after his holeshot leave to a 16.186/47 as Bert pounded out a personal best win of 6.552/212.

It was a lonely solo for the final as Bert Englefield took the ’38 Ford Coupe to a tyre shaking and smoking 12.376/109, it may have been ugly but it was the win.

Nostalgia Fuel Altered Association
The entertaining mix of blown alcohol and nitro altereds had their usual unique way of qualifying for the run off of the final two. The orange Flowtech Custom Made Exhausts Topolino of Dennis Wratten ran like a train for most of the weekend turning in a European best twice for an alky burner, a Saturday 6.575/207 then came the final. The Toplino was to face the beautiful ‘Havoc’ Austin Bantam driven by Nick Davies, it almost went into a farce as firstly Wratten’s ride couldn’t fire up then Davies threw the blower belt before the start. So as not to disappoint, repairs were made and the pair faced off as the last pairing of the day, they raced every inch of the way with Nick Davies coming second with a 6.927/196 to the quickest outside the USA 6.460/208 win from Dennis Wratten.

Super Modified
From number two qualifier all the way to the final, Nigel Payne in his early Corvette took out Tim Mugridge in the first round with a 7.651/178 to the 7.882/177 from the new car in the class. Number one qualifier Andy Hone ran a bye round one then red lit away his chances against Tim Garlick in what would have been a great race, 7.658/176 against the 7.676/174 win, Garlick had got to round two by way of a win against a breaking Craig Gibbs.  Payne had the round two bye and ran a clockwork-like 7.605/178 to get to the final.

Nigel Payne pulled out all the stops in the final pushing his 1962 Corvette to a fine 7.591/178 in an effort to catch and pass the better leave by Tim Galick’s Ford Cortina whose 7.793/161 was just beaten at the stripe.

Super Comp
Frank Mason led the nine strong class with an 8.910/148 from his Corvette but was taken out in round two by Dave Catton in the Paul Marston Racing dragster as Mason broke out with an 8.884/142 giving Catton’s lesser breakout of 8.890/157 the win. Catton had earlier beaten Brian Pateman in round one and by the semis had put Malcolm Francis on the trailer with an 8.931/156 to the breakout 8.867/151 from Francis. A meeting between Catton and Paul Letchford was on the cards as Dave Day firstly fell to Letchford, then Peter Cresswell’s Mustang broke out with an 8.888/142 to Letchford’s legal 8.957/156, from there a bye run took Letchford to the final.

There was not much difference in the leaves but it was a jubilant Dave Catton in the dragster that took the award when his 8.935/143 got the win light as Paul Letchford’s 9.015/157 in his Camaro had to settle for runner up.

Super Gas
Mick Howling clinched the pole with a 9.902/134 in the Paul Marston Racing Dodge Dart to head the thirteen strong class but his luck went away in round two when he lost with a breakout to event winner Conrad Stanley. Stanley came from eleventh qualifier and took his red Firebird past Steve Dunn in the opening round. Malcolm Francis had problems in round three that left a free pass for Stanley who provided a 9.933/152 win ticket to then face Tim Adam in the final. The car of choice for Tim Adam this year is his good looking Ford Falcon in which he went past Pete Creswell then Frank Mason and beat Dave Day in the semi, a 9.941/137 scored the win against the 10.115/141.

A fluid leak after the burnout put Tim Adam out of the race as he was shut off before the startline leaving Conrad Stanley to run an unopposed 9.905/153 for the event win.

Super Street
It was the 10.920/132 from Neil Grant’s Ford Zephyr that captured the number one qualifier and he managed to take the car all the way past Harrison Brown in the Camaro, Mark Watkins in the blown Datsun 280ZX and a bye to reach the final. On the other side of the ladder was the familiar green E Type Jaguar of Leigh Morris who beat the likes of Simon Cooper’s Pop, Nick Griffin’s Chevelle then Chris Kenny’s Pop to arrive at the final.

It was won on the startline as Leigh Morris launched the E Type with a 0.009 light and kept with it all the way to record a winning 10.990/119 as Neil Grant tried hard to catch the fleeing Jag just failing with the runner up 10.936/122.

Super Pro E.T
Dutch altered driver Mathijs Kraetzer seemingly tired of pulling the front wheels high in the air pulled another four foot wheelstand on Saturday which then turned scary as the wheelie bar broke sending him higher and over onto the two right hand wheels before crashing down damaging the front end and ending his weekend. Number one qualifier ended up with David James and his Chevelle with an 8.902/149. It would be two dragsters that would face off in the final, Dave ‘Crunch’ Crunkhorn and Nick Good. Crunkhorn made it past Jim Smith in one, then Ashley Bell, Matt Glassup in three and a bye in four. Good happened to get his way against John Everitt then Nigel Turner, Bob Doyle and Ian Tubb.

Dave Crunkhorn occasionally tries his hand at the driving side instead of Crew Chief so did well to get Martyn Jones’ dragster to the final but Nick Good was on a roll running low sevens in rounds one and two then stepping up to record sixes in three and four. A 7.797/159 gave Dave Crunkhorn the runner up honours after a few startline problems with no dial-in figures shown on the car, whilst Nick Good took the Beovax Computer Services dragster to the 7.158/145 win.

Pro E.T
Another whopping field of cars had Phil Toppin lead the way in qualifying with a 9.501/144 from his altered. However, it all came down to a run off between two of the same make of doorslammer. Reigning Champion Paul Baynton managed wins over David James Chevelle then Alan Williamson’s Chevy Pick Up in a lesser under index pass and in round three despite an under index 10.981/122 won over the red light 11.080/113 from Antony Wilkins Ford Pick Up. Round four and out went Lee Huxley to Baynton’s better leave. Meeting Baynton in the final would be Charlie Chivers who beat a red lighting Liz Malcolm’s dragster in one, Nigel Green’s VW Beetle in two then a defeat of Keith Herbert’s big Sports Fury in three before a tussle with Carla Pittau in her new this year Camaro who bulbed a red letting Charlie pick up the 10.706/116 win to the wasted 10.449/126.
Once again it was two Ford Capri’s in the final and with Paul Baynton getting the leave Charlie Chivers gave chase, at the stripe Paul went under index (.0272) with a 10.952/120 spoiling his chances as Charlie scored the class win with a legal 10.730/126.

Sportsman E.T
Eighteen cars jostled for top spot that was led by three Mustangs with top honours going to Steven Unsworth with a 14.414/95, however, only one, the number three qualifier, Nigel Holland featured in the end of day count. Holland had forsaken his wheelchair to drive his ever improving ‘Aveago Racing’ pony and got past Nick Gay’s Mini Metro in one, an under index Martin Lewis’ Nova in two another under index this time by Daniel Devlin’s Ford 100E in three and a bye run to the final. Past Champion Geoff Cowley meanwhile was getting wins over top qualifier Steven Unsworth who went under index in a Chevy Ford battle, then a bye to round three. A better leave in three by Cowley held on as Ian Jackson’s Camaro just failed to pass. Another Chevy Ford skirmish ensued in the semis when Cowley won on the startline to a somnolent leave by Don Brittain’s Mustang.

Camaro against Mustang for the final with Geoff Cowley’s GM product maintaining the calm as Nigel Holland was a touch too urgent and carded a red light and under index 15.249/86 runner up as Geoff Cowley with another under index took the trophy with his 15.449/89.

Junior Dragster
Heading the strong field of Junior’s was Zak Johnson with a 0.0035 R.T coupled with a 9.243/70, however, after a round one bye Johnson fell to Matthew Seamarks in round two. It was a male female final with Jayne Kay making her way past Annalieze Gibbs in the initial round fracas of under indexes then Anna Stanley was chased down in round two. Matthew Seamarks was the next to fall foul of Kay before a bye run in the semis took her to the money run. In the interim, Daniel Giles was putting people on the trailer with victories over Rosie Hunt in one, Rhiannon Bellenie in two before a bye in round in three. Ireland’s Gaby McDonald defeated herself with a red light and an under index pass to boot in the semi final giving Giles free entry to the final.

Jayne Kay chased down Daniel Giles all the way recording a winning 8.020/81 as Giles went a tad under index with a -.0111 with an 8.908/71 to finish runner up.

Street Eliminator
With a couple of the heavy hitters out with repairs to make it was left to eight of the street legal cars to show the way with a surprising outcome. Steve Nash took the ‘Wild Cat’ Cougar to an 8.290/177 top qualifier just ahead of Steve Pateman’s Vauxhall Calibra, and it was these two that lasted the course to feature in the final. Nash firstly demolished the likes of Ron Haslett’s Cortina Estate, then Jon Webster’s MG SV. Pateman however, was up and running sevens seconds to see off the likes of Ian Hook’s Ford Coupe in one then Jeff Meads Pop in two.

Steve Nash did not seem on quite the same form as in the recent past and despite a better leave was chased down by Steve Pateman in the final with an 8.103/178 winning against the 8.229/181.

Outlaw Anglia
There were six qualifiers led by Paul Wright with a 7.942/142. Wright managed to find his way to the final with a win over Simon Barlow in round one then a bye in the semi and joining him was to be Paul Hensher who took out a red lighting Rob Stone in one then a troubled Richard Colby in two.

Paul Wright went completely off his normal pace with a wheelie and all over his lane try and it proved his undoing as despite leaving first his troubled 8.907/67 was beaten by Paul Hensher’s 8.428/158 in a battle between the two Anglia’s.

Wild Bunch
Darren Law put up the top qualifier numbers out of the ten runners in the nostalgia class, his 9.489/142 from his ‘Wicked Lady’ dragster being well ahead of the pack. In the end Law made it his weekend as he had a bye in round one, beat Mark Richardson’s ‘Pony Express’ in two, a solo in the semi as Darryl Howells broke. David Rowlands in his ‘Destiny’s Angel’ altered was making his way past a broken Peter Yates then Terry Clifford’s slingshot and a bye to the final.

The little rear engine dragster of Darren Law got a good light and chased down the Model T altered of David Rowland and with a 9.389/134 beat the 9.769/141.

VW Pro
James Hodson showed the way to go in the small class with a 10.628/133 from his VW Golf to lead qualifying then after a round one bye he met Steve Parfitt who had earlier dispatched a problem plagued Paul Jordan. In the final James Hodson managed to run down the ‘Quarter Pounder’ Beetle of Steve Parfitt and took the win with a 10.678/128 over the 11.775/106.

VW Sportsman
There were eleven contestants in this class that was led by Martin Ayton in his Scirocco on a 14.814/92 top qualifier but his luck only held until round two when he went out to Shane Rae, then Rae was defeated by Spencer Tramm who went to the final in his VW Polo. Number two qualifier; Craig Allen in his Baja Bug made his presence felt by making his way past Helen Williams then Polly Naylor before a bye took him into the trophy round.

A good light helped Spencer Tramm on his way and with a 16.004/79 he wrapped up the win against Craig Allen’s 15.219/84 try.

VW Alternate Engine
It was Ian Huggan in his 2 litre Beetle that headed the cast of this class on a 12.221/113. The final came down to a conflict between Scott Evison who had beaten Mark Skeen’s VW Van then Ian Huggan in two as Matt Attwood fought his way past Andy Raw’s VW flopper then a bye to the final.

It was the VW Fastback of Matt Attwood against the black Beetle of Scott Evison and as Evison tried to reel the lead in he red lit allowing the 13.765/97 from Attwood the win to the 11.906/110 runner up.

Top Fuel Bike
It was Ian King that ended up in pole position with a 6.313/221.06 that turned out to be a new ACU national record for the class. Steve Woollatt recorded a 6.394/214 for number two but suffered substantial damage and no showed for the remainder of the weekend. Steve Carey managed a 6.740/203 for third place with Holland’s Rene van den Berg performing an 8.503/148 to stay ahead of Ian Turburville’s off par 9.296/149 as last man in.

King had the first round bye as Steve Carey took out van den Berg’s 12.329/93 with a 7.726/185 and Turburville soloed to a 7.949/185 as Woollatt was unable to contest. In the second round Turbo had the round bye to enter the final as Ian King was just beaten off the line by Steve Carey who then had to lift as he got close to the centre line allowing an off pace King to march on to win with a 7.118/196 to the 7.719/182 lose.

It was all stacked against Ian Turburville in the run off for the money as he faced Ian King’s mighty Puma but Turbo was away first then lifted at half track only to find his Harley still in front as King had broken and slowed. A second power surge had Ian Turburville over the stripe first to record a great win with an off pace 8.646/145 against the slowed up 12.269/63 from King.

Funny Bike
A full field gave an eight bike elimination that was headed by Neil Midgley’s great 6.718/198 pass as top qualifier, miles ahead of the pack. Midgley then stunned everyone with a new ACU national E.T. record pass of 6.703 at 202mph on his own in round one as Steve French had broken and did not appear. Midgley went into round two and slowed to a 7.199/148 as Chris Hall slowed with problems, this put Midgley into the final. Tim Blakemore the number two qualifier on 7.580/164 beat Kev Charman in round one with a 7.047/170 to a 7.579/172 then put down a problem plagued Gary Jones in two.

The final had one Kawasaki against a Suzuki GSX as Tim Blakemore and Neil Midgley respectively faced off, Midgley was out of the hole first and never looked back as his 6.806/174 was no match for the 7.584/151 from Blakemore.

Pro Stock Bike
A small field of five bikes had Len Paget lead with a fine 7.427/177 ahead of arch rival Dave Beck on a 7.542/172 leaving Richard Gipp and class rookie Jerry Collier on three and four with 7.654/169 and a 7.836/164 respectively. Collier ran a 7.844/161 only to watch Len Paget ahead of him score a 7.471/170 win. The better leave by Richard Gipp coupled with his good 7.562/173 was left for dead as Dave Beck rode past to notch up the victory with a 7.465/ at just 137 to end round one.

Len Paget pulled a good light in the final but his 7.565/166 was just no match for the 7.444/168 from Dave Beck who took the trophy.

Competition Bike
Ivan Birch took his beautiful new bike to number one in qualifying with a 7.780/143 clocking and then capped the day by winning the event. Birch defeated Alan Young in round one then took out Champion Phil Leamon 7.622/174 to an 8.612/150 to gain entry to the final. Germany’s Alexander Rose came from number three qualifier to get past a broken Dave Buttery then Sandra Chaplain to meet Birch.

Ivan Birch’s Suzuki GSXR took the lead off the line and zoomed to the win with a 7.482/178 as Alex Rose tried in vain to catch up, his 8.881/158 becoming runner up, no disgrace after coming all that way.

Super Street Bike
A huge entry in the popular class had Steve Venables take the lead in qualifying with a 7.432/192 over an international field and that’s where he stayed throughout the event coming out on top at the days end. His first victim was Pete Bellenie then Brad O’Connor in two and Jamie Sneddon in the semis, a 7.698/189 beat the 7.927/184 putting Venables into the final. Opponent for the finals would be Dave Smith who stayed ahead of a breaking Mark Watkins in round one then Richard Stubbins in two before the 7.747/185 beat Graham Balchin’s holeshot 8.203.

Two Suzuki Hayabusa’s growled at each other in the final and it was the machine of Steve Venables that got the best light and complimented it with a 7.454/192 win as Dave Smith chased hard but his 7.846/173 failed to catch up.

9.50 Bike
Twenty riders took part with the class being led by Wayne Saunders on a Suzuki Hayabusa who lasted until the second round, going out to event winner Richard Sawatzki. Martin Walker was to be Sawatzki’s pairing for the final, he managed to gain wins over Paul Coombs in round one, Peter Austin in two, Shaun Spiers in three before a bye to the final. Sawatzki meantime took out Dave Hall in one, a bye in round three then beat Steve Ashby in the semis.

Again the popular Hayabusa provided power to the two finalists and in a great drag race both left within a whisker of each other and at the finish line it was Richard Sawatzki’s neat gold coloured machine that scored the 9.551/136 win as Martin Walker runner upped with a 9.556/141.

Supertwin Top Fuel Bike
There was a lot of mechanical attrition within the small field and it showed as top qualifier Martin Blackwell on an 8.472/137 only had to stage in round one as Martin Wildash no showed. Shawn Rodman also was conspicuous by his absence allowing Champion Wendy Clutterbuck a 10.596/119 win.

The final though did produce a pair to race and facing each other was Wendy Clutterbuck and Martin Blackwell, Wendy left first but was overhauled by Martin’s winning 8.553/140 to the 9.126/132.

Supertwin Top Gas Bike
Five runners were led by Andy Smith on a Suzuki with a 9.454/138 and he didn’t look back all weekend getting into round two via a first round bye to defeat Les Harris and into the final to come up against number two qualifier, Chris Mott. In round one Mott saw off Don Irvine then had a round two bye.

Andy Smith’s 1000cc Suzuki was pitched against the V-Rod of Chris Mott with Smith leaving a tad in front of Mott but it was enough for Smith to stay ahead notching up the 9.574/136 win to the 9.831/134 runner up.

Supertwin ET Bike
Stephen Partridge took his Buell to the pole position in qualifying with an 11.311/120 to lead the fourteen strong class but went out to John Hackney in round one who in turn fell to event winner Joe Elliott in round three. Elliott had earlier seen off Bob Cornforth in one and Aaron Sparks in two. Simon Clamp riding a Honda managed wins over Mike Nelthorpe then a broken Lee Bradbury and Barrie Gregory.

It was a Buell versus Honda confrontation in the final and the Buell of Joseph Elliott was out of the trap first and held on the record a 10.796/119 win as Simon Clamp runner upped with an 11.456/118.

Race Report by Roger Gorringe. © June 2008. and

Photo Entry List   Photo Entry List
For photos of all the cars and bikes that competed at The Summer Nationals, view the Summer Nationals Photo Entry List.

Summer Nationals Menu:

Summer Nationals 2016: Preview
Summer Nationals 2015: Report / Photo Entry List
Summer Nationals 2014: Report / Photo Entry List
Summer Nationals 2013: Gallery / Photo Entry List
Summer Nationals 2012: Gallery & Report / Photo Entry List
Summer Nationals 2011: Gallery & Report / Photo Entry List
Summer Nationals 2010: Gallery & Report / Photo Entry List
Summer Nationals 2009: Gallery & Report / Photo Entry List
Summer Nationals 2008: Gallery & Report / Photo Entry List
Summer Nationals 2007: Report / Photo Entry List
Summer Nationals 2006: Report
Summer Nationals 2005: Report

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