The 2006 Fast and Modified Show
from The Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Scotland
Report and pictures by Richard Stirling © 2006
After an uneventful (if long) journey, I had only a mile or two to go before arriving at the Fast and Modified Show when I ran into traffic. Thick traffic. It was a nose to tail job, as well. The Highland Centre and the Ingliston Racetrack are located immediately adjacent to the busy Edinburgh Airport and an extra 10,000 cars vying to get to roughly the same place meant, it was a real bottle-neck. After creeping and crawling along for the best part of an hour, I was pleased to hear from Street Eliminator Champion Colin Lazenby, who hatched a fiendish plan to get me out of the jam and into the show in a jiffy. Turning around in a massive queue of traffic isn't an easy thing to do, but I followed Colin's instructions and happened upon a gentleman standing by a deserted gate. In moments, the portals where opened and I swished along a deserted route and was soon parked up right by the action. Thanks to Colin and Ann-Marie, I believe that little brain-wave saved me at least another 45 minute wait in traffic. What a superb day it turned out to be and as I got out of the car and got my bearings, I shuffled over to Colin's nearby pitch where he was working on his beautiful 1956 Chevrolet Sedan, assisted by John and I must say it was a pleasure to step under the canopy to avoid the full glare of the sun. Ann Marie instantly produced a tasty cup of coffee which was gratefully received and after a jolly good natter, a little later on, I spread out to have a close look at the show.
The show appeared to be split into three parts: The indoor static section in the Royal Highland Centre; The outdoor static section around the MacRobert theatre (lots of loud music, all day long) where many of the tuning clubs were represented and finally - The on-track action. As I headed down towards the Royal Highland Centre, there was no-one more surprised than me to see the Santa Pod Raceway truck parked over to the left. It was good to see that such a prestigious show warranted the attention of Santa Pod and one of their show cars. Within seconds, I bumped into Jon Cross who was as surprised to see me, as I was him and the Santa Pod truck. It had taken him a laborious 9 hours to drive to The Royal Highland Centre. I also heard that Santa Pod's Jo Reed had made the trip up as well, with her hubby, but I was unlucky to miss them on my visits to the Santa Pod stand throughout the day. I looked around the indoor section and took pictures of cars that caught my eye. I found myself lingering around the various attractions inside, just grateful to be out of the sunlight for a short while. Later on, I checked my watch and the time approached that was mooted for the on track scheduled activities, so I hurried back back to the track. Almost immediately, I bumped into Luke Robinson, son of racer and Car Builder Andy and Crew Chief for Colin Lazenby and this Pro-Mod powered 56 Chevy Sedan; we had a quick natter and cheerily went our separate ways.
Back at the track things were beginning to warm up. Steve Murty's Monster trucks were out to play and we had ourselves a little drag race between these humongous machines. Then, Steve said they we're going to have a bit of a tug-of-war. Earlier, I saw this car drive onto the track and thought nothing more of it. When I realised what they were going to do, I took up a prime spot because I had never seen anything like this before. They huffed, puffed and growled, but it wouldn't go... Then Steve decided they were going to 'snatch' it with a little bit of slack in the chains, and then these very muscular trucks ripped the Renault in half as if it was made of butter. I was most impressed.
There was then a show put on by about half a dozen professional 'drifters'. I have seen these before in the drifting pen at Santa Pod and at that time, it failed to grasp my attention. However, it seems the sport is now exploding World Wide, so I thought I'd stick around to have a look. I'm glad I did! It was great fun and in the second session, they were drifting around a scantily clad maiden (Oh, Matron!) who, it has to be said, never moved a muscle when the cars came close. I won't say I have become a drifting addict overnight, but I very much enjoyed both sessions of drifting, especially with the one guy (the passenger) who was leaning out the window videoing the rear tyres and another guy who carried on drifting after both his rear tyres had bursted and were now flapping vigorously all around his bodywork!
The motor bikes were out several times running races on and off the track. I took a few pictures but, I'm embarrassed to confess, that I quickly lost interest in these things and the noise of the 4 stroke single motors got on my nerves. I think that myself and these crosser-type bikes aren't destined to get along! But as they say, it takes up all sorts to make up the world, which is good; that's why were all different!
A quick walk back around the track and I was stood by Colin's Chevy and was cooling off quite nicely, thanks to a chilled water bottle that had thrust into my hand. Cheers! It seemed that the bike racers needed to get several more rounds of racing in which meant that Colin's burnout demonstration was going to be later on, rather than sooner. That wouldn't be a problem. As I had a good look around the car, Colin was saying that the next morning he would be off to MOT the car and that it would be easier to drive it there rather than to trailer it. To drive it on the road, it means that Colin has to run a thermal warmer inside the external oil tank (the engine is dry sump) for over 40 minutes before being able to drive the car. Apparently, once you've done that in the morning, you won't have to do it again if you were using the car throughout the day. I trust the MOT trip won't be full of drama!
The motorbike stunt team was entertaining and the crowd seemed to love it. However, when Terry Grant got going with his little racer and his delicious TVR, I must say that I was really impressed. In his little racer, he spun around the TVR and I swear that the bodywork got within millimetres of the TVR. He went on with his fast and furious demos to keep the attention of the crowd and had them wishing for more. So what did he do? He gave them more! He got people out of the crowd, stood them in the track and then drifted around them in both his cars. Unbelievable. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Colin started up the 56 Chevy and burbled impressively out on track. I watched as I took some shots and saw some perplexed faces in the crowd as they wondered what was going to come next. Because Colin's 706 Cubic Inches of throbbing Pro-Mod power is muffled with silencers, people never do get the idea of what is going to happen until the triple snort of nitrous purge caused a ripple of sharp intake of breath. Colin had their attention now and as he punched the gas pedal and boiled those big back tyres, he kept them sizzling all down the main straight and nearly to the corner. Another couple of burnouts were then followed by a stout launch which certainly gave the crowd a clear idea what one of these monsters can really do. If they get themselves along to Santa Pod or Shakespeare County Raceway, they'll see the real 185mph performances that these beasties regularly deliver.
The Monster trucks then returned for their 'Final' and we started off with another drag race. As you can imagine, these trucks weigh an awful lot and are powered by motors that have around 800 horsepower. Therefore, we're not expecting to see smoking tyres, but they moved along quite nicely which gives an even better impression of their awesome size. Next we moved into another Tug of War situation and this one was as interesting as the first. It just amazed me that the chains didn't break, but the car didn't want to part, either. Again, Steve and Pete relaxed their grip on the chains and backed right up to the car.. Then they both stepped on it and boom! The car split in two and the trucks dragged off with their pieces just like lions, each with a fresh kill. When it came to the Car Crush, I was surprised how difficult it was, and how carefully they had to set up the stunt. In the past, I have seen American coverage of the USHRA Monster trucks where guys like Dennis Anderson and his Grave Digger truck seem to drive at these crush cars at about ninety miles an hour and fly off 20 or 30 feet into the air with complete abandon! After I saw the guys carefully set up each run, the answer came to me: money. Lots of money. With the USHRA and the TV, all the main players get paid extremely well and get everything they need and more besides. Which means Steve, Pete and the other UK Monster truckers need to set up each stunt to be exciting, safe and most importantly, to avoid unnecessary damage. Pete and Steve did us all proud and executed perfect crushes in an exciting finale. Have a look in the photo gallery and you'll see some good ones in there.
I really enjoyed myself at the show and at around 6 O'clock, after bidding good bye to Colin and Ann-Marie, I joined the thick traffic and started my lengthy journey back home to Derby. I have to confess I was a little exhausted when I got back, but it was all absolutely worth it and I had a great time.
I would like to thank the organisers, Fast and Modified, Scotland and I would also like to give a huge thank you to Colin and Ann-Marie Lazenby for all their efforts, help and hospitality which was all very much appreciated and gratefully received.
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