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Getting Nostalgic: 12th Annual Dragstalgia Hits Santa Pod Raceway

Photos by David Beitler

This year marked the 12th anniversary of the famous Dragstalgia event held at Santa Pod Raceway. Celebrating the glorious days and lifestyle of the UK drag racing history, Dragstalgia quickly became the biggest nostalgia drag racing event in Europe. Yearly this event teleports thousands of fans back to the “good old days” with the sights and sounds of period-correct nostalgia drag cars, live music bands, its historic car show, the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame display, backup BUGs wearing petticoats, and much more. 

This year saw record entries with over 280 participants racing in 10 different categories. Dragstalgia Cannonball puts Nitro and Methanol Nostalgia Funny Cars, Slingshots, and Altereds together to race in a cannonball format. Additional classes included Outlaw Anglia, Gasser Circus, Supercharged Outlaws, Wild Bunch, Nostalgia Super Stock, Willys Wars, and the Custom Car invitational, as well as the two-wheeled categories such as the Old School Stockers and the NSA Bike Shootout. 

This event also saw a special guest appearance of long-distance traveler John Willard, who made it all the way from Down Under to bring his record-setting 6-second Anglia to take on the British Anglia peddlers. Alongside him was fellow Australian blown altered racer Paul Stephen, who entered in the Cannonball class. Unfortunately, luck wasn’t on their side as both of the teams suffered irreparable engine troubles after their first squirt down the track, leaving them sidelined for the rest of the weekend.

Another big upset also happened during the Friday test session when Christian Zulauf from Switzerland ran his best pass ever, a 6.846 at 202 mph. The joy about his new personal best was cut short when his ‘chutes failed to deploy and he went into the field, barrel rolling the slingshot 3-4 times. Zulauf was able to climb out of the car under his own power and was checked over by the medical staff on duty. Thankfully the rest of the “Run what you brung“ session proceeded without any further drama.

On Saturday, Mother Nature put a halt on the action before it even started. Heavy rain and thunderstorms flooded the track and pits. Just when the track was about ready to go and the cars running the Cannonball had been called to the lanes, it started to rain once more. With great effort and relentless drive, the track crew dried and prepped the track, and eventually a second session could be run.

Sunday looked much better weatherwise. A few sprinkles here and there, but nothing major to keep the action on hold for a longer time period. This way the eliminations could be contested in normal fashion.

The Cannonball class saw the most consistently quick running cars against each other in the finals: Tim Garlick in the “Apache” Nostalgia Funny Car versus Nick Davies, who made his long-awaited comeback in the “Havoc” Fuel Altered. Davies’ Havoc with a harsh turn right in typical Altered fashion crossed the centerline and therewith handed the win to Garlick, who posted a 6.083 at 226 to the scoreboards.

Despite having not driven his car for about four years, Dalton Scarlett had a fantastic weekend running great numbers run by run and ended up in the Outlaw Anglia final against Colin Millar. Millar was drifting towards the centerline, had to lift the throttle, and ran an 8.148 at 176 mph, which helped Scarlett to secure himself an upset win with his quicker 7.759 at 184 mph run.

In the wild and wonderful Gasser Circus category, it was Chris Layram in his “Outa Gas” Anglia against Jason Hollamby and his Ford Falcon named “Jumping Jalapeño.” Hollamby showed some nerves and went red on the tree, handing over the win to Layram in the process.

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Out of the over 70 entries in Nostalgia Super Stock, it was Ash Rawson and Vic Parsons who made it all the way to the finals. Parsons was too quick in his ’65 Plymouth Belvedere and broke out, handing over the win to Rawson and his Plymouth Duster.

The Wild Bunch winner was Dan Wilson running the most consistent numbers averaged over the weekend.

In the Willys Wars, Chris Cockburn won over a redlighting Dan Bates.

In the bike category, Richard Peachey ran an 8.861 at 143 mph to defeat Gary Hester and his slower 8.908 at 148 mph run. And last but not least, Graham Sykes took home the NSA Bike Shootout trophy defeating Ray Law’s 13.318 at 117 mph with a quicker 10.594 at 125 mph.

Other mentionable highlights included:

Tony Betts, driver of the “Venom” Camaro Nostalgia Funny Car, ran a new track record for Nostalgia Funny Car at 5.964 at 237 mph during eliminations against Paul Watts.

Graham Sykes set a world record E.T. for a steam-powered rocket bike with his “Force of Nature” bike covering the quarter mile in only 6.718 seconds.

Brian Whitfield’s newly built “High Spirits” Altered got all the attention. This hot rod really ticks all the boxes and is meticulously crafted. We can’t wait to see how it performs on the track. But this won’t happen as early as next year’s Dragstalgia, presumably.

Dragstalgia Results in Short

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Dragstalgia Cannonball: Tim Garlick 6.083 at 226 mph def. Nick Davies DQ

Outlaw Anglia: Dalton Scarlett 7.759 at 184 mph def. Colin Millar 8.148 at 176 mph

Gasser Circus: Chris Layram (10.24) 11.106 at 88 mph def. Jason Hollamby (10.75) 11.104 at 116 mph DQ red 

Nostalgia Super Stock: Ash Rawson (10.24) 10.234 at 130 mph def. Vic Parsons (9.78) 9.762 at 135 mph

Wild Bunch: Winner Dan Wilson average +0.0150 on dial, runner up James Auld average +0.0389 on dial 

Willys Wars: Chris Cockburn (12.85) 13.118 at 105 mph def. Dan Bates (10.65) 10.653 at 124 mph DQ redlight 

Old School Stockers: Richard Peachey 8.861 at 143 mph def. Gary Hester 8.908 148 mph

NSA Bike Shootout: Graham Sykes 10.594 at 125 mph def. Ray Law 13.318 at 117 mph

The Dragstalgia Showmanship Trophies were awarded after the event as well. Trophy for the burnout of the Weekend went to Simon Boot racing in Supercharged Outlaws. Best Backup Girl/Guy was chosen Paul Harris Racing of the Nostalgia Cannonball. Award for the “Driving Job of the Weekend” went to Adam Clayton (Nostalgia Cannonball). Brian Whitfield’s “High Spirits” Altered earned the Best Appearing Vehicle title. Wheelstand of the Weekend went to Doug McClure racing in Outlaw Anglia.

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Best Appearing Crew: Rebel/Wrathchild (Springfield Direct Wild Bunch)

Moment of the Weekend: Aaron Windridge (Supercharged Outlaws)

Lowest E.T. went to Nostalgia Funny Car pilot Tony Betts and the Spirit of Dragstalgia award was given to John Willard for his efforts to travel all the way from Australia to compete in Outlaw Anglia.

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