Houndog Supporters Club
Race Reports and Newsletters
The supporters club was started by John Lees in the mid 1970's. He subsequently handed over the running of the club to his wife Brenda in the mid 80's when work commitments meant he was unable to attend as many race meetings as he wanted to.
The club had well over 100 members at its peak. It had a very active social scene with good times being had not only at the race meetings but also at annual dinner dances (both the BDR &HRA and just the team) and various other ad-hoc meetings. There would be regular newsletters highlighting the latest developments within the team and also after each race, a report was produced and sent to each member.
Various people were involved in the club over the years, writing race reports and other miscellaneous tasks; these included but were not limited to yours truly, Mike Collins, Peter Hollingsworth, Yvonne Tramm and Jez Batch. Most of these people and others are either still involved in drag racing today or have been in touch via this website.
The newsletter and race reports were initially typed, (click here for an example) but subsequently became much more professional as time moved on with Jez Batch using his printing skills to significantly improve the presentation. (Click on the link for an example of the cover, and a latter race report) .
Overtime we (as in Jez !) will get as many of
the race reports scanned as he can find.
I will make them web friendly and will sort them into chronological order, but here to start things off are some newsletters and race reports from 1980 and 1984. Full of nostalgia, in-jokes (and in places some interesting prices for things......)
I hope you enjoy the trip back in time and
see another side of what made the Houndog team so different and special.
Put your anorak on, pour a drink and read on.........
Newsletter February 1980
Time for me to get my finger out and get the show on the road, so here goes.
This letter is rather late, I must admit, but I have held it back until now because as I write the big B.D.R. & H.R.A. dinner and dance is only 24 hours away and I hope the Houndog crew may pick up yet another trophy of some kind, and news of this can be added to this letter. When I say another trophy, I suppose I should explain myself. As a few of you may know, Houndog appeared at the Custom Car show up there in the wild and woolly Midlands. The show was called World of Wheels and was held at the National Exhibition Centre. Nobby and the crew walked away with two trophies, one for best funny car and the other for best competition car interior.
So, with two prizes so far and last years' win at the Fireworks meeting already under their belts- things are looking good for this year. Talking of looking good, this show was the first time I had seen the car and I can tell you folks who have not seen it yet, it's mind blowing, how Owen stuffs himself into something that low I just don't know I have not got a complete write up on the car as yet, simply because I wouldn't know where to begin, but I have a certain member in mind who can put these things together and I intend to bribe him into more work for me. When I say more work. I mean more work because throughout the winter Mr. Peter Hollingsworth has completed the dreaded, deadly, the drive you up the wail, the turn you to drink .......... Houndog History. Yes friends, the genius has finished it, so some time later in the year you will be able to read all about the murky past. This project, as most of you know, was started a couple of years back, but I got bogged down around the 1974 mark. Mike Collins then had a go but tried jumping under a steam roller, so Chris Blows took over and promptly -went insane (which he still is to this day). Not a bad fellow really our Mr Blows, and seeing as none of you complained about his race reports last year, he has agreed to carry on for this year, well I say that, but he doesn't know about it yet, but a few drinks should sort him out. A few of you did ask us to once again include nitro loads, mag settings, clutch details etc. in the race reports, so this year I shall again have to hand over a few cans of beer per meeting to Alan Bates, our ace mechanic, so I get the facts right. As you can see, Mr. Hollingsworth, Mr. Blows and Mr. Bates all cost money, it only wants Nobby, Owen and Brett to get in on the act and I shall be skint.
Well I think you are all getting sleepy by now, I can hear the yawns and snores from here, so now's the time to slam in the bad news. The club membership fee has got to go up, yes; I thought that would wake you up, now pay attention. I have held the cost down for two or three years, if not longer, in fact a lot of my own money goes into the club to keep it running and I am quiet prepared to carry on doing so, but there is a limit. Paper, envelopes, copying and of course, the increase in postage all add up to one big bill, which gets bigger every year. Ordinary membership will now cost £2.50 and family membership £2.75, which works out to about 5p per week for the single member, so I honestly don't think that I am going to send you broke. In the present economic situation costs will still rise as you all know, so please try to understand my position. The final choice is yours of course, but I can assure you all, the crew and myself really do value your support and are pleased to have such a loyal group behind us, and I sincerely mean that.
After saying all that, what about a chance to get your money back. Here's how to go about it. During the year we intend to hold at least two club competitions. The first one will be a simple questions and answers sheet concerning Houndog drag racing. This was thought up by (guess who) Mr. Blows, and the prize so far stands at £5 put up by Chris Blows, £5 by Alan Bates, £5 from me and £5 from club funds. £20 in all and Alan said he will also try and find a suitable memento from one of the ex Houndog cars. The entry returned with the most correct answers takes the loot and in the event of more than one winner the team will judge the answer to the last question on the sheet to pick the winner.
The second competition will be a photo competition for all of you camera buffs. This was a club members suggestion made to me last year, unfortunately, I have mislaid his name, but thanks anyway. We want pictures taken during the coming year of the Houndog car only and at the end of the racing season the crew will judge the winner, so let's have them pictures rolling in. The prize will be in cash, exactly how much will depend on the response.
The first competition will be sent out about May as we have advertised the club in Drag Racing News and Hot Rod and Custom and already new members are joining, so by May we should be sorted out. As for the photos, all I can say is get cracking at Easter.
Right, what's next. Rides in the push car will still be given this year, one person at a time of course, can't have Alan and Brett walking down to the start line can we. Two rules apply here, first you must have the ticket to ride token and second, you must stay in your seat at all times, as in the rare event of an accident to the funny car, the crew are prepared and trained to act in such an emergency and the last thing they want is someone getting in the way, so please stay in the car.
While talking about the crew, they've asked me once again to plead with any members they don't already know to go up to them and introduce themselves, they guarantee they have not got rabies, will not charge a penny and will not get you to empty the sump. All they want is to recognise you and time permitting. have a chat and a joke or two.
Last word from the great white Bwana (Nobby) is regarding last years tee shirts. Nobby still has a few left and is selling them at the ridiculous price of £1.00 each at the Pod or by post from me at £1.00 plus 25p postage - don't forget to state size if ordering by post.
Well, I had better sign off for now as I think I have mentioned everything and I must be fit for the long session tomorrow night. Thirty two Houndogs going to the dance and Owen is buying the first round - tough luck Owen.
See ya at the Pod
Those of us who were present at the dinner .and dance on Saturday evening had the pleasure of watching Britain's number one professional drag racer, Mr. Dennis Priddle, present the B.D.R. & H.R.A. Funny Car trophy which Owen beat him to win in August. Well done Owen.
Newsletter March 1980
Just a very short letter this time as news has just reached me of a crew change for 1980 and I would like you to know the details before the Easter meeting. It appears that Roz Prior has decided not to drive the ex Houndog 9 funny car and Dave Prior has offered the hot seat to Alan Bates who has accepted it.
As regular members know, Alan has been Nobby's chief mechanic for some time now and has driven both Houndog 8 and 9, so it will seem strange not to see him working on the Dog. I should like to thank Alan for all his help given to me at the Pod and I hope to see him still between meetings. Also, for future race reports I shall ask him what Houndog 10 looks like from behind as he loses out to it by about ten car lengths. I know Alan will get his hands on a copy of this letter and he will kill me for that last remark, but anyone who knows me will know that I am winding him up. Anyway, good luck Alan from Brenda and I (lost yer sweet supply now ain't yer).
Moving up to take Alan's place will be our old friend Brett Sherriff who will now have to work instead of laying under the car pretending to empty the sump pan all day; only joking Brett old mate, no need to ignore me in the Rose and Crown.
Don't forget all you new members, come up and meet Brett, along with Nobby and Owen of course, because although the mechanics do a tremendous job, they never make the headlines.
I saw the new car again the other day at SLD Olding and noticed that even more superb paintwork had been added, you are all going to just love it and be proud to support it, I'm sure of that. The new trailer was also in the works being painted and fitted with a compressor, again the paintwork was first class and should open a few eyes, plus of course, the compressor will enable the crew to use air tools.
Also spotted at SLD Olding was Peter Hollingworth who was putting the finishing touches to the new tee shirt design which he has kindly done at my request. As stated in my last letter, Nobby is selling last years shirts at £1 each, so please may we have your support in clearing this stock and help Nobby to get some of his money back as it is much needed I can assure you.
As I write this letter the car will be on its way to Zurich to be in a motor show after which it will be returning to Thame in Oxfordshire to be put on show on Saturday 22nd March at the Rycotewood College Rag Day. The car will actually be on display in Thame high street.
Well, as I said only a short letter so I had better sign off for now, but look forward to seeing you at Easter.
SEE YA AT THE POD
Race Report Easter 1980
Yes, it's that time of year again, time to put away the sun-tan lotion and tee shirts and bring out the raincoats and wellies, yes you've guessed, it's the start of the drag racing season. Although the previous week had been a bit on the damp side, most of the weekend was dry, so those of you who wore raincoats and wellies looked a bit silly. I thought Owen, who incidentally spent a lot of the winter taking the whatsit out of me and might, just might suffer for it through these race reports, took things a bit far by wearing a skin diving suit and flippers, but still. Anyway, enough of this meteorological waffle (l bet you don't know what that means) and on with the race report.
Six funny cars were entered for this meeting. The SLDO Houndog driven by err, urn, wotsisname; Warlock (the ex Houndog) shoed by Alan Bates; Peter Crane in the Hustler (the old Gladiator); Dave Stone in Stardust 2 (the old Blue Max); John Andersson from Sweden in Monza bodied flopper which I don't think is an old anything, and finally, Paul Manders in Time and Motion.
Saturday saw Houndog venture out and run a checkout half pass recording a 7.5 sec. et.
Sunday was qualifying day and the first flopper out was Warlock, but after a strong burnout the motor died as the blower self destructed, unfortunately putting the car out for the weekend.
The next car was John Andersson's recording a strong 6.66 @ 177 mph on a far from perfect strip. Time and Motion then ran a half pass with no time being given because the car never staged. Stardust was the next to attempt but broke the steering while reversing after the burnout.
But at 3.28 pm (approx. ) we hoped that someone would show the crowd how it was supposed to be done as Houndog fired up. Owen drove the dog, sounding really mean and strong on its diet of 92% nitro, into the spectator lane. The burnout really showed the crowd that the car was a great performer (so is Owen after a few drinks as it happens) as well as looking great, as the car went half way up the strip covering the Pod in dense white smoke. Owen carefully reversed back into the tyre marks, Brett put down the traction compound, a quick spin of the tyres and carefully the car was driven into stage. As the green light came on the car leapt off the line. A full power pass resulted in a 6.60 © 207 mph ticket. Only once when Owen changed gear and the tyres lost a bit of grip where there was hardly any rubber did the car venture off the straight and narrow. The .mag was set at a low 65° and the blower was overdriven 32%.
Pete Crane attempted to qualify next but a loose oil pipe had other ideas. So, on Saturday night Owen was number one qualifier, and as a matter of interest, the time of 6.60 would have been good enough for number one spot in pro fuel, and with the likes of Messrs. Priddle and Herridge running in pro fuel at this meeting, I think it shows just how good that run was.
Monday morning dawned cloudy and windy, Stardust put in its qualifying run recording 6.77, and Time and Motion put in another half pass. Paul Manders was still taking his 'driving test' so he wouldn't take part in the eliminations, so it was a four car eliminator. The first pair to race were Andersson v Crane, Andersson taking the win with a 7.98 @ 163.3 after Crane lost reverse.
After a mind blowing display by the Red Arrows, the final pair got ready, Houndog v Stardust. Houndog's engine was set up the same as Sunday and sounded really great as Owen drove into the pit lane. Once again a super smokey and straight burnout was put down, but then PANIC. I was in the push car for this run and we were called forward onto the strip and there was a silent motionless Houndog half way up the strip. As we approached the car we saw Owen had climbed out and the team were preparing to push the car off the strip. With the car off the strip Stardust ran a snakey 12.59 @ 100 mph to take the win. It turned out the reverser had broken and when this happens you also loose the use of forward gear. As the car was towed back to the pits, everything was cursed, including me I'll have you know. On inspection it was found that the reverser could be repaired, so the team took the “damn thing” to the workshop for surgery.
Come funny car final time there were four floppers at the start. In the end Andersson took the win with a 6.65 @ 191.9 to Dave Stone's 8.10 @ 173.3.
After the final Pete Crane and Owen fired up their cars and prepared to race for third and fourth place. With Crane burning out in the spectator lane Owen drove into the pit lane. Drops of rain could be felt as Crane burnt out, Owen then laid down a straight strong burnout but not producing much smoke. With Pete unable to find reverse again he drove off down the strip as the rain began to get heavier. As Owen backed up it was obvious that he couldn't race and thankfully cut the motor. I understand a pair of windscreen wipers are now high on Nobby's shopping list.'
So, the meeting was called off as the rain continued to fall and we reflected on a meeting where lady luck was never shining on Houndog on Easter Monday afternoon, but never mind, there's always the next meeting for Houndog to show em whose boss.
KEEP ON DRAGGIN
I don't appear to have received by cans of beer you promised me in an earlier letter yet. Brett has also asked me to say that he hasn't received any either. We would both be grateful if you could rectify this fact.
Race Report September 1980
INTERNATIONAL WORLD SERIES FINALS - 12/14th SEPT., 1980
Once again the September meeting proved to be the biggest and best in drag racing outside the U.S.A. With nineteen funny cars fighting for sixteen places in the eliminator we were assured of some good qualifying action,, and this started on Friday.
Nobby decided to make Friday a day of rest, so there were no runs from the dog, what I really mean is, it didn't race. Herridge ran twice, recording 7.47, then 6.21 @ 228 mph. Tom Hoover driving the Blue Max recorded a 7.33 on a check out pass, Stig Hansson 7.08 and Hasse Fromm 7.79. On Saturday it really started:
Hasselstrom was first out recording a 6.47 @ 210 mph. Next out were Houndog v Blue Max. Owen drove into the pit lane and laid down a short burnout, then smoked 'em on a side by side burnout with Tom Hoover. After both cars had back up, the body of Blue Max was raised so that they could refuel. Apparently this was due to a small tank, but was very worrying to see. After both cars went through the traction compound Hoover edged into stage, eventually being joined by Owen. On the green both were away. Houndog going dead straight, the handling problems seemingly over, towards the finish, in front of Tom Hoover as well. As the win light came on for Owen, the crowd went wild. The first time we had seen a European beat an American in a heads up race. Owen ran a 6.62 @ 221 mph to Hoover's 6.76 @ 193.7. The nitro was 88%, mag 68° and the blower drive 42%. Nobby had wanted a quicker et but at the end of the day the qualifying position earned was just what the team wanted, plus of course, the added satisfaction of beating a Yank.
No more racing for Houndog on Saturday, but the other cars were qualifying at a fast and furious rate. The highlights were: Don “the Snake” Prudhomme 6.22 @ 227, Dennis Priddle in his Monza 6.41 @ 217.6, to become the quickest ever European built funny car, taking Houndog 9's record of 6.49. Rune Fjeld ran a 6.74 @ 239 to take Houndog's European speed record, Gene Snow 6.31 and Allan Herridge 6.49. Tom Hoover came out again, but too late to qualify again, but ran a practice 6.33. The final qualifying positions made the first round look like this:
1 Allan Herridge G.B
2 Don Prudhomme USA
3 Gene Snow USA
4 Dennis Priddle G.B
5 Anders Hasslestromm Sweden
6 John Andersson Sweden
7 Owen Hayward (who?) Stevenage
8 Harlan Thompson USA
9 Rune Fjeld Norway
10 Tom Hoover USA
11 Dave Stone G.B
12 Stig Hansson Sweden
13 Hasse Fromm Sweden
14 Leif Daback Sweden
15 Ron Picardo G.B
16 Paul Manders G.B
Paul Manders was first alternate as Norway's Tom Andersson broke, Peter Crane was second alternate and Trevor Young (driving Warlock) failed to qualify.
So, at 11.30 a.m. or thereabouts on Sunday the first round began:
Gene Snow started the proceedings with a win over a broken Dave Stone, 7.24.
Then came the bark of the Dog, ready to race Ronnie Picardo. Owen drove into the pit lane and put down a long smoky burnout, finishing halfway up the strip. He backed up, and down went the traction compound. Into stage, green and away. A terrific launch was followed by a swerve towards the centre line, and a small “step” into the spectator lane, the handling problems were back (again), but Owen drove back into his lane and crossed the finish line first, 6.85 @ 205.3 to Ronnies 7.14 @ 182.
Nitro was 88%, mag 68° (again). So Houndog was out in the first round for crossing the centre line. The handling problem turned out to be in the steering system, but it was too late, there are no second chances, or very rarely in drag racing.
The first round continued with John Andersson beating Leif Daback 6.38 @ 215.9 to 7.88 @ 110.9. Priddle then faced Hansson, Priddle finished first but went out of his lane so was disqualified and Hansson drew a red light so neither would make the next round. Rune Fjeld's holeshot 6.56 @ 218.8 beat Herridge's 6.28 @ 217.3
Tom Hoover's 3/4 pass 6.60 beat a broken Don Prudhomme. Hasse Fromm drew a red light but was beaten by Anders Hasslestronun 6.61 @ 223.7 to 6.94 @ 201.6 anyway. Finally Harlan Thompson ran a 6.67 @ 205.7 over a broken Paul Manders. What a first round.?
What odds were there for Owen, Herridge, Priddle AND the Snake to be beaten in the first round?
Right, does everyone understand the rubbish I've written so far? good, because things get a bit complicated now. It was hard enough trying to understand when watching, let alone writing about it. We were going to have a funny car Division 1 and Division 2.
The seven first round winners (seven because of the Priddle v Hansson race) being in the first division, and the eight losers of the first-round racing in division two. Leif Daback was replaced by Crane and Manders by Priddle.
F/C Div. 1 was eventually whittled down to two for the Hot Rod and Custom Funny Car Final: Gene Snow v Harlan Thompson. Gene Snow broke, so Thompson took the title with a 6.32.
F/C Div. 2 saw Bootsie coast through after Hansson broke, Fromm ran a 7.53 after Prudhomme broke (again), then came Owen against Peter Crane. The steering problem had finally been sorted so we all hoped for a good run.
Owen drove into the spectator lane, his favourite lane, and laid down a short smokey burnout. Peter Crane meanwhile lost fire so after the traction compound, Owen edged into stage, for a bye run. On the green. Owen shot off with a perfect launch, the front wheels about three or four inches above the strip. The car went as straight as a dye. Smoke came from the headers as the car went through the trap's ........ The time was a best ever-for Houndog 10, 6.41 @ 216, just what the team were looking for. Nitro was down to 86%, mag 68°.
In the pits, a check out revealed metal in the sump, a bad sign. More investigations revealed: a broken brake calliper, locked up clutch, busted cam follows and damaged rods and pistons. Needless to say, Houndog wouldn't run again that day.
With the 6.41 ticket the car had equalled the time that Dennis Priddle had set the previous day for quickest European built funny car. The team were more than pleased with that. All the damage is repairable so the team will be back in October.
The other quarter final in F/C Div. 2 saw Dave Stone beat a broken Priddle, 6.73 @ 212.7 mph.
Semi final time in F/C Div. 2-saw Herridge run a 6.36 @ 215.9 over a broken Rune Fjeld who replaced Hasse Fromrn, and Ronnie Picardo who replaced Owen, ran a 7.27 @ 180.5 mph over a broken Stardust. No final took place
KEEP ON DRAGGIN’
Race Report & Newsletter October 1980
BDR &: HEA NATIONAL FINALS - OCTOBER 11/12th
Our regular scribe, Mr. Blows, could not make this meeting as during the previous week he accidently opened his wallet and the ensuing blast of cold air gave him a rather nasty cold as well as a severe shock, so yours truly is writing this masterpiece.
Well, this meeting as expected was an 'after the Lord Mayors Show comes the dust cart' affair with Santa Pod playing spot the spectator and the spectator playing spot the racing and if you think I'm joking tell me, how often have you seen the Santa Pod fire trucks in a match race?
Now then (how's it go Chris, oh yes), cars in attendance time. In pro fuel dragster we had Dennis Priddle in Mr. Six, Allan Herridge in Alleygator, Ron Picardo in the Joker and Tina Page in the Fast Lady slingshot. Funny cars present were SLDO Houndog driven by 'white line fever' O Hayward, Stardust sung by Dave Stone and Warlock partly controlled by Trevor 'I'll get to the finish line if it kills me' Young.
Saturday nothing happened and Sunday was going to be a foxhunt with dragsters racing funny cars with the added attraction of no qualifying runs taking place. For this meet Nobby had taken the big blower pulley off and replaced it with the intermediate pulley giving around 34% boost,- the mag was set at 68° advance and nitro on the first run was 89%.
First round action started with Priddle and Herridge running side by side, although both were officially bye runs so it was not a race as such. Priddle roared through at 6.26/218.3 while Herridge could only manage 7.26/194.5. Second pair were Tina Page and Ron Picardo, Ron taking the win 7.16/194.5 to 8.06/159.7 for Tina. The next run was by Warlock on a demonstration run, Trevor Young produced a tremendous smokey burnout but got twisted up on the run, recording 14.82/48.14. Following this came the first race between Hemi Hunter and Le Patron, these two making it a best of three races as they were the only Pro Comp cars present. Hemi Hunter took the win with a fantastic 6.80/198, to Read's losing 7.21/199.2, Hemi Hunter improved on this later in the day, running 6.79/200.4, well done the Stones. Finally, Houndog fired up after Stardust was found to have problems and Owen drove into the pit lane and jumped on the loud pedal to product a classic burnout. After backing up, Malcolm poured the grip juice down while Ray looked for oil leaks etc (and smoked Malcolm's fags as usual), then it was a quick spin of-the slicks and into stage. On the green Owen was away, curving gently towards the centre line just for a quick peep to make sure it was still there, then clicking off early to record 6.99/168, a good run and no damage so Houndog went through to the next round.
Second round pairings were Houndog v Alleygator and Mr. Six v the Joker. Houndog fired up, Alleygator fired up and the moment had arrived, funny car v dragster, just who would go through to the final. Two good burnouts and-time for the traction compound, a quick spin from Bootsie and something else from Owen as both BACK wheels came up off the ground. Both cars staged, Owen in the spectator lane, the green comes on, Bootsie wiggles the aerofoil on Alleygator, but Houndog is g-o-n-e roaring down the quarter-mile with Bootsie struggling to catch up, but with no hope at all. On comes the win light for Owen and the ticket was a good one, 6.46/205.3, Bootsie losing out at 7.24/189.
Back in the pits the crew were really pleased, in fact Ray Pearce actually gave Malcolm a fag, they were Malcolms anyway but he was too excited to notice. Nobby was grinning from ear to ear and said to me "did you see that (bleep) car in that (bleep) traction compound. I thought the (bleep) thing was going to (bleep) take off. I've never seen a (Bleep) funny car do that." Owen was well pleased of course, and so was club member Peter Hollingworth who helped pack the chute, as he said to me at the time 'I would have died if that chute had come out on the run' You would have died if it hadn't come out at the end of the run Peter that's for sure. Oh yes, nearly forgot, nitro for that run was up by 2% to 91%.
The other second round pairing saw Ronnie blow his motor up on the burnout and although Priddle went through at 6.25/219.7 his motor let rip at the top end, so exit two fuel dragsters. Houndog was prepared for the final and towed down to the start line area but as the car stood there the commentator said that Houndog had been declared the winner of the meeting. As it turned out, Houndog match raced Tina Page in the Fast Lady, Owen shutting down at the half way mark recording 7.89/113 and Tina sort of coughing and bogging off the line and not getting a ticket.
Except for the jet car, that was the end of the meeting, but don't forget that next meeting the Houndog team will be making lots of noise with the new fuel altered, so don't miss it.
SEE YA AT THE POD
Time again for a short club letter just to bring you up to date regarding your club and, of course, team news. First of all, I must mention the Houndog tee shirts as a lot of you must be out of touch with this situation. For Nobby and myself these have been a bit of a problem. First Nobby ordered the shirts hoping we would have them in time for me to let you all know about them first, but he was let down on the delivery date. The shirts arrived just two days before the big International meeting and it was decided to put them on sale straight away as this was thought to be a good time for selling a few and have enough left for members. Against all expectations the entire stock was quickly bought up, both by club and non club members at the meeting. This created a problem as there were none left for me to advertise and Nobby could not afford to order any more as the money was desperately needed for new car replacements and to finance the new fuel altered. After saying all that, it has been found that during the repacking of the trailer, one box of assorted tee shirts has been found where it should never have been, so I can now offer you tee shirts at £3.00 each at the next meeting or £3.25 direct from me by post. As you will understand, these are very limited so I would advise you to phone me before ordering to save yourself and me a lot of writing. Any orders taken by phone I will send post free (£3) so as to compensate for your phone call. Don't delay, phone today. Next year we hope to get in an order very early so that there will be no disappointments and no problems.
Next subject is car stickers. Going back on what I said earlier in the year, I have decided to go for broke and at the October meet I ordered 300 stickers. These will be the self adhesive plastic type depicting the car and the Dog. our Club motif and lettered “Houndog Drag Racing”. Colours will be red, black and tan on a white back-ground and hopefully you will be pleased with them. I have only been given a provisional price on them at the moment, but whatever they cost I shall get them. Again the delivery date is up in the air (buy British!) but it is nearly certain they will be ready for the November meet and if this is the case I will get Chris Blows to add it to his race report, plus of course, the price per sticker. My sincere thanks go to Peter Hollingworth for drawing out the designs and I'm glad you were happy with our choice Peter.
Still on the subject of going broke, I find it's time to announce the winner of our questions and answers competition and it's a family affair I see as the winners are Yvonne and Stephen Tramm of Caldecote, Cambridge. The cheque will be on its way with this letter you lucky pair, and you will be luckier still if it's £20 cos I still have to get the five pounds off Mr. Blows and you know what a fight that's going to be.
Now that this competition is over I think I am entitled to let off some steam before my boiler blows up. Of all the competition forms we sent out I only received NINE replies, I thank all of you who did take the time to reply but what happened to the rest of you. OK, so its just a piece of paper, but what about the time spent by
Chris Blows sorting through magazines and old race reports and setting the questions also Monica had to spend time on typing the master copy, then came the photo copying and postage etc. The beauty or otherwise of the whole thing is that Custom Car, Drag Racing News and Drag and Custom News all did a profile on the Houndog at the exact time we sent out the competition and any one of these magazines would have. given you nearly all the answers. Still it’s over now and please excuse my little outburst, but time and again I have to say its your club not mine. I have left the photo competition open up until now but again only FIVE people have bothered with this so I'm sorry to say that I have to cancel this one. Again thanks to all five of you and I shall be returning your photos along with a short letter.
I'm beginning to get a bit out of order now, so lets get off the subject and on something a bit more cheerful, like wining, dining and dancing. The BDR & HRA Annual Trophy Night dinner/dance is never complete without the Houndog mob, as they like to call us, but call us what they like - who always gets the top tables through sheer weight of numbers, and never mind Mick Warnes mumblings about fencing us off with barbed wire, cos we got wire cutters, see Mr. Warne. Nobby and myself do the booking you just let us know if you're coming as soon as possible please. You don't have to be a member of the BDR & HRA so come along, have an evening with the crew and your fellow members. It's an evening not to be missed, and just as an added incentive I will tell you a secret, Chris Blows always buys a drink (usually for himself) but this year we are going to turn him upside down and shake his money out of him. The date is 7th February, 1981, the venue is Saxon Inn Motor Hotel, Northampton, the price £9 each- Hotel is usually at a reduced rate and its always advisable to stop over as the dance goes on until 2 am and we go on until we drop.
Sometime in the New Year we also have a Houndog get together at the Ladbroke Mecury Inn situated on the A41 near Watford. For this we usually book tables for a Saturday night dinner/dance/cabaret, so think it over and contact me for more details
Well, that's given you something to think about and you should have plenty of time to save up some of your hard earned cash.
Now on to the new Houndog fuel altered which will be making its debut at the November meeting. After many hours of work by Nobby, Owen, Malcolm and Ray, its all finished except for the final fitting of interior panels and the finished paint work. This machine should look really wild and make you all sit up when it leaves the line. The weather in November will of course cut down the machines performance, but whatever happens Owen is in for a wild ride as these cars have a reputation of being mean and nasty, so good luck to you Mr. Hayward. If you have never seen a fuel altered you haven't lived, wheels up, side slipping, flame beltchers and, well, you name it they can do it, er, urn, yes, well thinking about it, back over the years and not being rude I think Owen has done it all anyway. The funny car will still be out next year, so don't worry about that disappearing cos there's plenty in it yet, yes sir.
Well, I must go now as my pen is smoking and I'm worried in case its thrown a refill, but think about the big dance will you and please try and make it.
Race Report November 1980
So to the last meeting of the year, sub zero temperatures and all (at least it felt like it). Saturday was cloudy, damp, cold and downright miserable, but it didn't stop a very large crowd stand open mouthed in awe looking at the new Demag/SLDO Houndog fuel altered once it was taken out of the trailer in the morning (Demag is a German Company manufacturing large excavators which SLD Olding have taken on as a new franchise. It's not short for Demag-nificent Houndog!)
The new car looks mean and nasty and ready to beat anything in sight, anyone who missed its debut, just keep your eyes peeled on Custom Car over the next few months, know what at I mean? The chassis and engine etc are the Houndog 10 items, the fuel altered body built to fit the chassis, so although the handling was .an unknown quantity, the chassis and motor were well proven. The AD1 number on the car had a few people confused. The story being that as far as the powers that be are concerned, there are no such things as fuel altereds so Nobby had to register it as a pro fuel dragster, AD1 being the old Houndog 8 number.
Other- cars present in pro fuel, taking an extreme back seat after people saw the altered, were Asphalt Alleygator, Mr. Six, Fast Lady and Highway Patrol (seemingly. Renamed after the last meeting when it was called the Joker, or did John Lees make a slight clerical error?)
At 1pm the Dog was towed to the startline for filming and an interview with Owen by Sony - so keep your eyes on the TV. The car was warmed up at the start and at 2.30 was fired up ready for a run. The engine sounded very strong and bloody loud as Owen drove into the spectator lane. Owen laid down a small burnout and then a stronger smokier one. Once the traction compound was put down Owen carefully staged the car.
On the green Owen “put the hammer down” got all crossed up and shut off and coasted through in 11.01 secs @ 69 mph, didn't half scare the film crews near the start! The reason the car got out of shape was, well I'm sorry Owen but I've got to tell them. It was none of this tractionless strip, new car lark, it was because it was so noisy Owen had to take both hands off the steering wheel to put his fingers in his ears! (All well wishers send the cotton wool to John, he'll, pass it on).
As most of you will know, Nobby is a bit of a showman and normally has something up his sleeve, for the November meeting, and this year was no exception. Just after 6 pm Owen drove slowly into the pit lane and stopped just before the start line. Nobby poured the magic jungle juice for special flame burnouts in front of the car and as he put a match to the liquid Owen burnt out straight through the flames. Owen reversed up with flames, leaping from the headers. He then drove up the strip, revving the engine to produce loads of flames. Half way up the strip he veered right, across the centre line (yes John, nothing unusual, I know) towards the fence, did a “U” turn and drove back to the start, sending flames skywards, ending up in the spectator Iane. On Nobby’s signal Owen stabbed the throttle, which caused the car to 'jump' it sent Nobby's Stetson flying, things people, usually only do once.
Owen eventually cut the motor right up by the barn. A fantastic show that had the cold fans clapping and cheering for more and none of us could remember a car producing as many flames out of headers, but when we heard the nitro was 95% we all understood
Sunday started off miserable and cold again but after a shower, it stayed dry and the sun even tried to shine on occasions. First round of pro-fuel saw Ron Picardo (running on methanol in preparation for next year) shut down Alan Herridge (on nitro) 8.32/166 to 8.57/167
Next came fuel altered v dragster, Owen v Dennis Priddle. Once again Owen drove into the pit lane the motor sounding very off but still loud. Nobby wanted another flame burnout but this time the car nearly stayed in the flames as the engine wasn't giving its all. Once out of the flames, the car was way out of shape. After another attempt at a burnout and the traction compound Owen drove into stage. On the green light Owen was left for dead as Priddle roared off, Houndog coughing and spluttering up the strip, with some of the 84% nitro coming out of the headers.
In the pits no one was really sure what the problem was. A spark plug lead was out but wouldn't have caused that much of a problem. Nobby had the car towed into the playpen after a checkout . The car was fired up and sounded much stronger, Owen span the rear wheels, everything was fine. The problem against Priddle was that the engine too cold.
Just to be sure everything was right, Nobby wanted another run, so a little while later after the car was towed to the start, Owen drove into the pit lane and laid down a short smokey burnout, the engine sounded much stronger. Owen backed up and did a trial launch – and two comments describe this, Nobby’s: ”fantastic (a man of few words is Mr Hills), adding, “it must have been one of the best launches by a Houndog”, and the one from a nameless Houndog mechanic (but it’s the one that buys the cigarettes) “I didn’t know if he was going to drive it or (bleep) fly it”. Owen backed up, down went the traction compound and into stage. On the green the car rolled slowly then Owen floored it for the altereds first full pass and a lovely twitchy run it was. Remember it was a “rolling” start on a tractionless strip, but Owen put down the weekends first six second run with a 6.92 @186.9, nitro again being 84%. To say Nobby and the team were happy must be the understatement of the year
Priddle beat Picardo 6.40 @ 211.4 to 7.92 @ 58 to win Pro fuel.
So, at the end of the year the Houndog team are the campaigners of the: joint quickest European built funny car, fastest English car, holders of the Swedish speed record, and we think the quickest fuel altered outside the States (they still run altereds in Australia in the seven second bracket we think). Add the fact that the Houndog 10 funny is unbeaten in a heads up race in a years racing, plus the outright winners of the Bank Holiday Big Go and Winter Nationals this year, several times top qualifier and you will see that all in all it's been a good season.
Finally will everyone send 30p with a stamped self addressed envelope (at least 9 x 4 to John and by return you will receive the new Houndog Drag Racing Sticker.
God what a salesman, short sharp and to the point.
John will be sending a club letter before Christmas full of the. usual who’s swearing the most, who’s crossed the white line the most, who’s smoking who’s fags and who’s buying who a drink. So from me, have a happy Christmas, mine's a double Southern Comfort, and remember:
KEEP ON DRAGGIN
CHRIS BLOWS ;
p s Special offer on the stickers: 2 for 60p, 3 for 90p or even 4 for £1.20 I don't know how John can afford to offer this special discount.
Race Report July 1984
After such a wet and dismal weekend for the last meeting at Whitsun, the weather at this Cannonball meet was totally opposite. Extremely hot and brilliant sunshine for the whole weekend.
A quick breakdown for those of you who are not familiar with the rules of the Cannonball meeting: All funny cars entered for this competition make three runs (3/4 mile), the elapsed times are added together, then bonus and penalty times are added or subtracted so that when all this is worked out the two cars with the quickest times compete over the last quarter mile to make a total of one mile. Bonus times are added for winning a race, top speed, and substituting a broken car. Penalty times are deducted for crossing the center line, pulling a red light and for demolishing the mirrors at the end of the strip, (you can loose .5 of a second for this crime).
Right now down to the details of the weekend: Entrants for the 1984 Cannon-ball came from Harlan Thompson from the USA with the Budweiser Funny Car, Rune Fjeld from Sweden in the Motown Shaker, our own SLDO Houndog in the capable hands of Mr. Owen Hayward, John Spuffered with an un-named red Vega, Gary Page with Panic, Tony Boden in Hit Man, and along with John Spuffered in his first meeting Stuart Prior with the Solarport Kwik Kat funny car, Stuart at nineteen being the youngest funny car driver of the weekend, (two years younger than Owen if you are interested).
On Saturday afternoon Houndog was towed into the playpen and was fired up, sounding very strong and loud. A quick check over and the car was readied for its first run of the weekend.
During the afternoon most of the funny car entries put in a qualifying run. The first being our own lovely Corvette bodied funny with Owen in the pilot seat. A solo run in the spectator lane, Owen handled the car through a lovely smoky burnout. The fuel mixture reading for this run was 87%, but with the very hot weather this tended to vary a little. The mag was set at 68 and the blower was overdriven by 38% all weekend. After the burnout Owen reversed the car back into the rubber marks guided by Nobby from the front, back towards the start line ready for Ray to pour the traction compound under the rear slicks. Mean-time Chris was in the background keeping an eye out for anything a miss under the car. With the grip juice down Owen jerked the car forward quickly to spread the magic mixture evenly over the slicks before bringing the car to the staging beams. On the green light Owen drove the car off the line and shut off at the three quarter mark. The car kept nice and straight all the way through and left black tyre marks all the way until Owen shut off. The parachutes were out as Owen crossed the finish line recording a 7.34 @ 152mph.
Just a few details of the other entrants. Stuart Prior was next with the Solarport funny car recordinq 9.57 @ 123mph. Tony Boden then faced Harlan Thompson. This was a very hairy race by both cars, each swerving to avoid each other and both cars finishing unscathed with Tony Boden running 11.85 and Harlan 11.09.
Dave Page in Panic ran a solo 12.00 followed by John Spuffered on a half pass. Rune Fjeld ran a 7.81 @ 180mph to round off the funny car action for Saturday.
After the funny cars had run the marvellous Sammy Miller, Rocket car driver extrordinaire gave a demonstration run in the Vanishing Point, 4.38 @ 271mph.
After Houndog's run the crew stripped the engine of the funny car down and changed one piston. After rebuilding it they fired it up again and it sounded superb. With the car then packed away for the evening we all got down to the serious business of the weekend, food and drink. Not necessarily in that order, but we all sat around Nobby's barbeque and had a very pleasant evening, despite various people who shall remain nameless sneezing and with runny eyes from the pollen and dust flying about. Nearly every other person seemed to be suffering with hay fever the whole weekend. And so to bed!
Sunday dawned on us lovely and sunny as I said before. The only draw-back was the previous evenings jollyties still having some mild effect, but it's marvellous what some good hard work can achieve and we all buckled down to a challenging schedule ahead. First round of the Cannonball run was timed for 12.30 and all the cars and drivers were brought down the fire up road and the Pod commentator had a few words with each driver over the P.A. system. Each driver then picked a number out of a bag to settle the running order. (The previous day being a practice as you don't qualify for the Cannonball Run, shame because we were quickest). Still Owen pulled out number 1, Boden 2, Page 3, Prior 4, Thompson 6, Spuffard 7, Fjeld 8. And don't say I missed out 5 cos there were only 7 cars and Harlan Thompson got the solo run.
First pair of course were Houndog and Hit Man. Houndog in the spectator lane barking away with 90% nitro in its tank. Owen treated us to another of those long smokey burnouts. He reversed back, then Ray poured the grip juice under the slicks then after the traction hop both cars staged. Owen was first away on the green light but had to shut off again at the three quarter mark at what appeared to be tyre shake set in, allowing Boden to take the win, it must have been close though.
Owen recorded 7.60 @ 192mph to Boden's 7.35 @ 198mph. When the crew got to the shut off area the car was sitting at an unusual angle, a rear tyre had blown out. It wasn't tyre shake that caused Owen to shut off, but a tyre exploding at about 200mph!
The car was towed off the strip, then Owen and Chris went back in the truck to the pits to get a spare wheel and tyre. When this was fitted to the car the car was towed back. The engine was stripped down and rebuilt, a problem with number 8 piston and a broken engine stabiliser were found.
While this was going on the other funny cars were putting in their runs. Panic pulled a holeshot against Stuart Prior in Solarport getting to the top end with a 6.98 @ 195 against a 9.69 @ 149. Then came Harlan Thompson who soloed to 6.35. In the next pair disaster for drivers struck as John Spufferds engine caught fire on the start line and Rune Fjelds blower exploded 200yds out.
I feel I must mention Sammy Miller again although this is a Houndog race report as his times got better all the week-end, this time he ran 4.28 @ 276mph.
The second round of the Cannonball was due for 2.30pm, and not all of the cars made it to this round, Houndog being one of them. The team lost so much time with the puncture they were about 15 minutes late, in fact as the last pair of this round ran the last few nuts and bolts were being put on Houndog.
For the record Panic ran 7.13 @ 196mph against Budweiser's 6.41 @ 198. Then Boden ran a 7.01 @ 205 against Prior's 7.47 @ 173.
Six cars made the running for the third round. The first pair were Tony Boden and Harlan Thompson. I didn't get Tony Boden's time I'm afraid but he lost to Harlan Thompson's 6.33 @ 223mph. On the next pair Stuart Prior came out of the hole first against Dave Page and ran 7.72 @ 167., but the chutes failed to open and the emergency services sped quickly after the car. He was O.K. and got the car stopped alright. Meanwhile Panic was having all sorts of problems and only got 16.39 @62mph.
Then came the Corvette bodied SLDO Houndog against John Spuffard's Vega. Spuffard did a burnout and the engine caught fire again, thus leaving Owen a solo run. Again a smokey burnout and with 89% nitro in the tank the car sounded great. As Owen reversed back and waited for the traction compound, Nobby adjusted the tickover which was a bit fast. A good straight run, clicking the car off early recording 7.43 @ 187.
Guess who ran next, yes Sammy Miller, quicker than ever 3.58 @ 285. 12G off the line, 0-60 in .2 of a second, 0-100 in .38 of a second. Back to the Cannonball.
All the details had been fed into the abacus and as only 4 cars had run 3/4 mile those were the only times read out: Harlan Thompson 18.59, Tony Boden 21.49, Stuart Prior 24.68 and Dave Page 30.40.
Therefore the final was between Harlan Thompson and Tony Boden. Harlan Thompson taking the win with a 6.49 to 6.96.
No Sammy Miller did not come out again!
By the time you get this report, and I hope you like the new format, Houndog will have been to Zandvort in Holland for some 1/8 mile drag racing. Houndog will not be at the next Pod meeting on July 28th and 29th as the car has been invited to run in Sweden on that particular weekend.
As I shall not be going with them there will be no race report as such but I'm sure some kind person who's going will take some notes for me (Hello Monica, hello Anne) then I can work it into the next letter/race report.
See you all at the Pod for the August Bank Holiday Supernationals on August 25th to 27th.
Race Report August 1984
Once again the weather held good for this three day bank holiday event, and although this is normally a Pro Comp and Jet car meeting, a few nitro burners came along. The nitro burners present included: Dennis Priddle with his 5 second dragster. The Pages Panic, Tony Boden's Hit Man, Dave Prior's Solarport Funny Car, Bill Sherratt with the ex-Alleygator, now repainted and renamed Nightline Express, Andy Craddock with the Frontline Video dragster now fitted with an ex-Larry Minor 500 cubic inch Keith Black engine, and of course not forgetting the one and only Owen Hayward with the SLDO Houndog, again fitted with the K.B., ally heads and 8:71 blower.
Not a lot of action from these cars on Saturday, in fact Houndog didn't run at all. Although Dennis Priddle set a new speed record in losing to Front-line with a 6.15 @ 233mph.
Sunday, and this was a re-run of the rained off Whitsun meet — called Heart like a Wheel. To qualify all competitors originally entered for the Whitsun meet had to go up the strip in under 7.90 seconds.
So early on Sunday morning our Mr. Hayward climbed into the funny car and put in a qualifying run. In the spectator lane with 88% nitro and 69 on the mag and a brand new set of tyres Owen put down a nice long smokey burnout.
Nobby directed Owen back to the start line and Ray poured the traction compound under the new slicks with Chris squatting precariously in the background keeping an eye on the proceedings.
Owen drove into stage and on the green light soloed the car nice and straight to the top end recording 7.52 @ 190mph.
Tony Boden qualified with 6.87 @ 204mph, followed by Bill Sherratt with 6.85 @ 164mph, the others having qualified on Saturday.
Later, the first pairing saw Panic lose with a 6.81 @ 198 to Bill Sherratts 6.46 @ 208.
Andy Craddock then lost to Steve Read's Pro Comp car 7.10 @ 194, The Frontline car coming off the line all over the place and having to shut off, never to be seen again over the week-end because of a cracked frame.
Next came Houndog V Hit Man. With our mag set at 69 and the nitro up to 90%, Owen demonstrated his flair for long smokey burnouts in the spectator lane; a really nice one thanks Owen. After Nobby had directed him back and the grip juice had been poured, Owen bounced the car in a series of hops to the staging beam, spreading the traction compound evenly under the slicks.
On the green both cars were gone and fought it out to the traps, Owen taking the win 7.03 @ 203 to Tony's 7.06 @ 177. The crowd went mad over this close race.
Dennis Priddle then soloed with a 6.29 @ 185.
Meantime back in the Houndog pits, the usual tear down revealed a burnt cylinder head and a damaged piston, so this kept the team busy for awhile.
Sometime later the second round saw Houndog against Steve Read. Again the spectator for Houndog and a good smokey burnout. Nitro and mag were upped to 91 and 70 for this run.
On the green both cars clawed their way up the strip fighting tooth and nail for victory. A very close race with Steve Read just pipping us at the traps with 7.13 @ 193 to our 7.17 @ 202.
Next pairing saw Bill Sherratt solo to victory with a 7.02 as Dennis Priddle had starter motor problems.
Bill Sherratt won the final with a 6.48 @ 204 to Steve Reads 8.51 @ 101 mph.
While this was going on Houndog was being torn apart and a broken clutch and bent valve were found, the team finishing work at about 9.00pm.
Monday was billed as a match race between Houndog and Hit Man, but a Pro Drag eliminator was run instead. This 'appeared' to be made up of Funny Cars, dragsters and non-qualified Pro Comp cars. 'Appeared' being the operative word as it was a case of 'don't ask me I only work here' if you know what I mean. Anyway there were 8 cars of one description or another.
First round of this eliminator saw Panic beat Norways Anders Lian with a 6.65.
Next came Houndog V Dennis Priddle (who ran two 5.8's in Sweden).
On the green Houndog's front wheels climbed skywards, then the rear tyres started to shake, causing Owen to shut off and record 8.36 @ 116.4, Mr. P recording 6.03 @ 217. The settings on Houndog were 68 on the mag and 91% nitro.
Next came Hit Man against D Bond Pro Comp 25, Hit Man winning 7.28 to 7.54.
Last but not least came Bill Sherratt against a Finnish Pro Comp funny car, PC149. Bill Sherratt exploding the engine during the burnout, putting a rod through the side of the block and covering the strip in oil, the Finnish car taking a solo win.
To cut a long story short as they say, I'm going to cut out some of the cars here because a lot were from abroad, and with Houndog by now showing some signs of problems I
I shall just give you the names of the finalists.
In Pro Drag, Dennis Priddle had problems with his helmet visor (and engine by the amount of smoke) and lost to the Finnish funny car who ran 7.54. In Pro Comp Steve Read won with a 6.94 to Johny Lagg's 6.95.
In between times our boys had been preparing for another run, determined that the car should perform as it should.
In the pits a busted transmission clutch was found and the splines on the drive shaft were twisted, however repairable.
With everything back together the car was towed to the start line. Nitro was up to 94% the mag 68.
On the green the car launched perfectly, but just as the team thought everything was going to be OK and the car was going to run well, tyre shake set in at mid track, causing Owen to shut off and record 10.57 @ 75mph.
Since the last race report the car has been abroad. The weekend in Zandvoort Holland was marred by non stop rain, so no racing.
The long weekend in Sweden saw the car run 6.8 and 6.9 before losing in the final to Anders Hasselstrom when tyre shake set in.
Those of you who were not at the Pod this August would not have heard the announcement so take a deep breath cos you may get upset at what ! have to tell you.
Our dear friend Owen Hayward is giving up the driving seat at the end of this season. Owen has been driving a Houndog race car for many many years now and has been part of' the team for a long time before that. I'm sure you will miss him as much as I will and join me in saying a big thank you and every success in the future. 'Owen you will leave a big gap in our lives and Santa Pod just won't be the same without you'.
Just who will take over the driving chore has yet to be decided, but be assured I will keep you informed as soon as I hear who it is. Then we must all give as much support and encouragement to whoever it is as we have given to Owen.
Well folks that just about wraps it up for this one, I hope to see lots of you in September. Don't forget to come and say hello to the team, but I ask you all one small favour, please don't mention tyre shake, know what I mean?
Race Report September 1984
With eleven funny cars listed in the programme and a fantastic crowd turn- out the World Finals looked set for a good weekend, unfortunately the weather had other ideas, but more about that later.
Contenders for this event were as follows. Ragnar Nokdii with his Plymouth Arrow from Sweden, Steiner Enger with the Super Brut from Norway, Martin Glantz and Rune Fjeld also from Norway. Tom Hoover with the revamped Showtime and Marian Thompson in the Budweiser Funny Car being the American contingent. Canadian driver Frank Hawley was piloting Tony Bodens Hit Man for the weekend. The British contingent was made up of our own Owen Hayward with SLDO HOUNDOG, Dave Page with Panic, and although in the programme Stuart Prior never turned up at the track with his car.
Saturday morning started cloudy but gave way to sunshine by midday, then cooled off and clouded over again by mid afternoon. Most cars had their initial warm up and check over and were called to the collection area ready for their qualifying runs. First pairing was the Panic car recording 6.72 @ 188mph against Thompsons Budweiser who had problems and only managed 13.75 no speed. After various runs by Pro Comp cars it was HOUNDOG's turn to show us the way through the quarter mile.
Driving in his last World Finals competition Owen drove into the spectator lane and performed a lovely smokey burnout. Then the gremlins struck and the engine was shut down towards the top end of the strip. The tow truck raced to the rescue and towed the funny car off the strip and back to the top of the fire up road. The problem was caused by a sticky throttle causing a very high idle and made it impossible for Owen to select reverse after the burnout. Nitro was 94% by the way.
Another two bye runs followed us. Super Brut who had problems and didn't get any times followed by Tom Hoover in Showtime with an early shut off 7.89 @ 170.
Shortly after we saw World Funny Car champion Frank Hawley in the Hit Man record 6.79 @ 180. Apparently along with his normal luggage Frank Hawley bought along a massive 14:71 blower that was sitting on top of Tony Bodens engine for this meet.
The HOUNDOG team were not allowed to run again in the first session of funny car qualifying so had to wait for the second session scheduled for 5.30pm.
Before this the rain came but around 8.00pm we heard the sound of two funny cars fire up. Remember that it was now dark and the atmosphere was very cool and damp, in fact it was getting colder by the minute. HOUNDOG was in the pit lane against Rune Fjeld in Motown Shaker. After another smokey burnout Owen managed to select reverse and the car was brought back to the start line. As Rune Fjeld was preparing to go into stage frantic signals were going on between Nobby and Owen. The body of HOUNDOG was lifted up and then engine cut off. Rune Fjeld soloed through at 9.85 @ 132mph. The problem this time was caused by HOUNDOG's windscreen misting up and Owen couldn't even see Nobby let alone the end of the strip. Nobby couldn't see Owen and Ray couldn't hear Nobby because of the engine noise and by the time the body was lifted and Ray lent in to clear the screen Rune Fjeld had staged and as the body was put down and Owen edged forward Stu Bradbury the chief start line marshal had no choice but to tell Owen to cut the engine because Rune Fjeld had started his run.
A minute or two later with the windows clear the car was started on the strip and Owen cruised through at 13.05.
Soon after Hit Man went through on a very cold damp strip recording 7.97 @ 155, followed by Finnish driver Martin Glantz 12.73 and Norwegian Ragnar Nordi who lost fire.
With the racing over for the day we all went back to various places and settled down to some good hot food and a few drinkies to help us unwind for the night and so to bed .........
Sunday saw the weather wet and cold. Some cars and bikes managed to put in a few runs between showers and after each shower all car owners were asked to drive up and down the strip to dry it out.
2.30pm saw the first round of Funny Car. The first pair were Harlan Thompson winning with a 7.59 @ 219 to Hit Man with a 7.61 no terminal speed but this run was terminal for the block as some rods went through the side.
Then came the lovely HOUNDOG 84 Corvette against Tom Hoovers immaculate Showtime 80/81 Corvette. Two good burnouts and then reversing back. Ray poured the traction compound under those huge slicks as Chris watched out for any signs of damage or smoke under the car. As the green light came on Tom Hoovers car with front wheels climbing skywards raced up the strip. The HOUNDOG came off the line badly but managed to lock up and fight doggedly through the quarter mile shutting off early. Now listen to this folks. Tom Hoover won with a 6.36 @ 195mph, Owen Hayward ran 6.71 @ 175mph. Yes folks the Corvette has managed to squeeze a six second run out at the Pod. Lets hope that is the first of many many more to come.
By now the clouds were rolling over blacker than ever and we all anticipated a storm. But not before one more pair could run. This was Super Brut whose blower belt broke on the line and Rune Fjeld with 7.36@141mph.
Then it happened, the heavens opened and tipped all it could find on the race track. Oh boy, talk about rain, thunder, lightning the lot. You name it we had it. We had such a downpour and for so long the BDRA finally called off the meeting.
Don't forget that Owen Hayward will be at the November meeting for the last time in competition, so please be there so we can give him a real big cheer.
See you at the Pod