Flame & Thunder 2006
from Santa Pod Raceway, Saturday 4th November
Report and pictures by Richard Stirling © 2006
I always look forward to 'The Fireworks bash' at Santa Pod with all the wonderful events going on to keep the crowd entertained. Even when it's chilly, the show goes on and, with the exception of really awful weather in 2002, the day has always been most entertaining. This year, Flame & Thunder 2006 was everything it had led us to expect - a superb day full of thrills and possibly the most captivating Firework displays North of London.
Highlights of the meeting included the appearance of the Fuel Funny Cars of John Spuffard and Gordon Smith. The cool temperatures were more than the sophisticated funny car clutches could handle, though, which was more than could be said for Tommy Moller who was mixing it up with the Funny cars. He ran straight as a die and cruised to an amazing 5.06 second pass at over 290mph. When the team got the car back and had a look at it, though, a blackened crankshaft and a wayward rear main bearing meant that it was load-up time. The jet cars were out in force as well with a rare appearance at Santa Pod from Roger Goring and the Firestorm car. This proved popular with the crowd as was Fireforce 1 driven by Tony Baker. Tony gave everyone a fright later when he lit up the Santa Pod night sky in spectacular fashion. Clearly some sort of fault developed in the run and Fireforce 1 was burnt to the ground as a result. Tony was perfectly okay and when proffered an oxygen mask by the paramedics - he insisted on a cigarette instead
Fireforce 3 is the quickest and fastest of the jet cars and I always try to get as close to it as possible to take spectacular shots. However, since the last engine upgrade during the summer on Fireforce 3, whenever Martin 'stabs' the afterburner, I have found the noise and the shock wave now to be almost impossible to bear. I thought it was the shotgun earplugs I was using, so this time I had the earplugs AND I wore the standard cup ear defenders on top! Did it work? Absolutely not! I even felt a little ill after my last and close encounter.... Perhaps it's an age thing!
Dave Cherrett deserves a mention as well for the most ridiculous wheelies away from the lights - and that's WITH wheelie bars! Sam Freeman came a close second in the wheelie stakes - if one were to ignore Gary & Ronnie Picardo with the various wheelie vehicles! In the pits, it was good to see the legendary Nobby Hills who was here with his webmaster Chris Blows.
A new second generation racer was also making his first appearance. Street Eliminator racer Colin Lazenby and Wife Ann-Marie surprised their 9 year old lad Bradley with an outing in a Junior Dragster. He seemed in cloud 9 - the day-long smile was the giveaway in that department. Later on, speaking with proud Dad Colin, he was commenting on the fact his reaction times were so good. I think it's in the genes, Colin! He and Ann-Marie have definitely got a racing 'monster' on their hands, now!
After careful consideration, the 'Wheelie of the day' award goes to Ritchie Webb in his convertible VW Beetle turbo. These are crazy wheelies - including some damage at the second attempt - and I am positive the wheelies do nothing but hinder the overall performance! But they're great to look at - keep 'em up (literally!) Ritchie!
Many thanks to Santa Pod Raceway for all their courtesies and to the SPRC for organising another excellent event. Again, many thanks to all at eurodragster.com: and an especially big thank you to Peter Donaldson standing in for Tog & Simon this weekend and finally, thank you for taking the time to visit www.topnitro.co.uk
Copyright © www.topnitro.co.uk