DI Photo Essay: Dragstalgia, Europe’s premier nostalgic drag racing event – Drag Illustrated


Dragstalgia is a tribute to the bygone realm of drag racing and hot rodding. The three-day event in July brings together a colorful conglomeration of machines with various engine and chassis combinations, turning the grounds of Santa Pod Raceway into an engineers playground, a gearhead’s Garden of Eden. At no other European event will you see a front-engined dragster with an Allison V12 engine take on a blown Ford V6 Sidewinder or a 4-cylinder engined slingshot take on an Altered powered by an inline-6 ​​engine.

The headlining class, named Dragstalgia Cannonball, combines nitro and methanol Nostalgia Funny Cars, Slingshots, and Altereds to race in a cannonball format. Additional classes included the Gasser Circus, Supercharged Outlaws, Wild Bunch, Nostalgia Super Stock, Willys Wars, and the Custom Car Invitational, not to mention the two-wheeled machines represented by the Old School Stockers and the NSA Bike Shootout.

And if racing wasn’t already satisfying your entertainment cravings, there was plenty of off-road action too. The festivities included plenty of live bands, a beer festival, a show and shine Paddock featuring the best classics and hot rods from across the UK, and much more.

For the Dragstalgia Cannonball there is no traditional qualifying as such – instead three races are run with the ETs added together. The final sees the two fastest race for victory, the third and fourth fastest for second, and so on. In the end, it was repeat offender Tim Garlick in his colorful “Apache” Pontiac Nostalgia Funny Car who made it to the final against Bob Hawkins in his “Time Traveler II” slingshot. Garlick ran a 6.31 at 223 mph to beat Hawkins’ slower 6.71 at 170 mph to claim another Dragstalgia trophy.

A welcome guest was Texan John Hale, who came to race Rob Elsom’s “Dirty Deeds” Camaro Nostalgia Funny Car. After the first control pass, they ran into clutch issues in the second run, but corrected them and made a decent pair of 6-second passes on his third and fourth attempts.

Ray Irish in the “Gas Junkie” Willys Pickup Gasser won the popular Gasser Circus field final which was attended by over 20 cars. His 10.17 at 128 mph beat Simon Perst’s 11.07 at 120 mph and won him the trophy.

One of the big highlights of the Outlaw Anglia class came as fan favorite Colin Millar finally raced his first 6 second race in Outlaw Anglia. He joined the elite group of Jedd Guy from the UK and John Willard from Australia in the 6-second Anglia Club international. Jedd Guy took on Ronnie Mercer in the final round on Sunday with Guy leading with his 7.06 at 190 mph to Mercer’s slower 8.70 at 149 mph.

Dan Wilson won the Wild Bunch class with his slingshot named “Antique Toy”. It ran as steadily as +0.038 on the dial all weekend.

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Hardly any event will bring together as many Willys as Dragstalgia. Of the 24 entries, it was John Dalrymple who received the Willys Wars award for performing the fastest pass in his class, an 8.80 at 154 mph.

Of the 60 cars entered in the Nostalgia Super Stock category, it was Spencer Tramm and Stuart Doignie who made it to the final. Tramm ran 12.12 at 71 mph, taking the win against Doignie’s 17.92 at 59 mph.

Claire Rule’s 8.67 at 148 mph beat Rod Spry’s 9.42 at 135 mph in the Old School Stockers Bike Final. She was joined in the winner’s circle by Ray Law, who was presented with the NSA Bike Shootout trophy by light-jumping John Hobbs.

Besides the winner’s trophies, Dragstalgia also awards special staging trophies in many categories. The Best Wheelie award went to Graham Sykes. The Driving Job of the Weekend award went to Robbie Grabham in his Fiat Topolino. The Weekend Burnout trophy went to Jason Darling who ran the Gasser Circus. The Backup Guy or Girl trophy went to Lee Johnstone of the “Ain’t No Saint” team. The “Dirty Deeds” Funny Car team with John Hale won the award for best crew. Ben Rushforth’s Anglia won the trophy for best car appearing. The Moment of the Weekend award went to cyclist John Hobbs, who ended his career at this event. And the Spirit of Dragstalgia award went to Colin Millar in his flamboyant Outlaw Anglia, not only for performing his first-ever 6-second race, but also for his continued support of the class.

With the 2022 edition in the books, everyone is already looking forward to another highlight-filled Dragstalgia in 2023.


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