with Jerry Cookson, photography by TOG at Eurodragster.com
Have you ever wondered to yourself, what happens to old race cars? Well some get a reprieve and a new lease of life, some end up being broken apart or get forgotten about in some dark corner of a shed or a barn, while others find their way into museums and private collections to be loved and cherished.
So, on a recent trip to East Kirkby, Lincolnshire, for a motorcycle sprint meeting, imagine my surprise when I walked through the doors of Boston’s Bubblecar Museum to find Jonny Smith’s Flux Capacitor! The world’s quickest Street Legal EV car; but was it the most feared in Street Eliminator?
Originally built in the Sixties by Enfield Automotive under the ownership of Greek millionaire, Giannis Goulandris, Jonny’s car started life in the early Seventies as a pool car for the South East Electricity Company in Brighton. According to Jonny’s web site, it was featured on the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World show and was the booby prize for Britain’s Worst Driver with Quentin Wilson before it was sold and got flood damaged. It also had a Rover 216 radiator grille bolted to the front, for some strange reason.
However, when our Fifth Gear star got hold of the little wonder, the transformation began with a purpose built Webster roll cage, new sills, new body panels, suspension… in fact, everything was indeed renewed. Motive power came from twin series-mounted 9-inch DC Current Racing motors, rated for 2000 amps at 170v with a max rpm of 5500rpm.
There was no gearbox to worry about; just direct drive. Of course with electric power you need the batteries to go with it, so in went four packs of military grade Lithium-ion batteries that you would normally find on starter packs for the Bell SuperCobra helicopter. Jonny even managed to shoehorn Mickey Thompson ET Street Radials underneath the rear, with Wolfrace slot mags all-round. Then all the magic started to happen.
During Street Eliminator rounds, the car started to turn the numbers with impressive results. Then, in front of a huge crowd at Santa Pod’s Dragstalgia in 2016, Jonny simply electrified the track: 10.5, 10.2, 10.1. Then the big one came – 9.869s at 121.73mph. A huge leap into the unknown, to become the world’s quickest accelerating electric vehicle.
And now it’s sat silent in a little-known museum in Boston, Lincolnshire. But, as you walk round the exhibit, you can still hear Jonny’s enthusiasm oozing out for his little creation, and the whoosh as it leaves the starting line.
So if you’re ever near Clover Farm and you see signs for The Bubblecar Museum, then take time out to pay homage to Jonny’s motor and other micro car memorabilia, and relive the cold days of these little cars. You’ll come across names like Isetta, Messerschmitt, Trojan, Bond and Berkeley, a make and brand I know something about as the only micro car to be customised into a drag racer! That of course was my dad’s car, Super Joker. So is there life after the track? You betcha. You just have to tease it out now and again.
The Word of Pod
As the 2018 season draws to a close and we hunker down for the winter, here at The Pod we are busy planning and gearing up for next year’s calendar. And what a year we have in store!
As ever, Santa Pod Raceway’s 2019 calendar promises to astound and excite with action-packed, adrenaline fueled, full throttle spectacles both on and off the track; introducing several new line-ups throughout the season, as well as all your familiar favourites, with more than 60 events featured.
Two new fixtures join the championship drag racing schedule: the Springspeed Nationals in May, and August’s Green Light Nationals. On the festival and enthusiast front, the 2019 calendar features a brand-new event in June for fans of all German car brands, Das Auto Show. Other freshly-minted enthusiast events include May’s The Vauxhall Show and July’s The Ford Show, while there’ll be a second opportunity to enjoy the spirit of April’s The Fast Show with the launch of The Fast Show Reloaded in late June.
For the latest news, events, and to book Early-Bird tickets (from November 1st on), visit www.santapod.com or call 01234 782828.
Essential 2019 events not to be missed!
- Festival of Power, April 19th-21st
- The Vauxhall Show, April 28th NEW
- Springspeed Nationals, May 4th-5th NEW
- Doorslammers, May 17th-19th
- The Main Event FIA/FIM European drag racing championships, May 24th-27th
- Das Auto Show, June 2nd NEW
- The Fast Show Reloaded, June 30th NEW
- The Ford Show, July 7th NEW
- Dragstalgia, July 12th-14th
- Green Light Nationals, August 17th-18th NEW
- The Euro Finals FIA/FIM European Drag Racing Championships, September 5th-8th
- Flame & Thunder, October 26th
Hall Of Fame
The British Drag Racing Hall Of Fame crew are holding their annual gala dinner and awards ceremony on November 17th at the Oatlands Park Hotel, Weybridge, Surrey; an event sponsored by Lucas Oil Products. This year’s inductees include Top Fuel racer and tuner, Peter Lantz; bike racing pioneers, Team Pegasus; Jet dragster pilot and founder of TSI Timing Systems, Steve Horn; race car builder and multiple Pro Mod champion, Andy Robinson, and the Cookson family, which includes Shakespeare County Raceway manager and promoter, commentator, journalist, and all round top bloke, Jerry Cookson.
A major (and extremely enjoyable) part of the day’s proceedings is the afternoon’s Bench Racing session, where famous faces past and present chat, tell anecdotes from back in the day and take questions from the floor. Along with genial host, Graham Beckwith, the panel will include Barry Sheavills, Roy Phelps, Stuart Bradbury, Andy Craddock, Geof Hauser, Pelle Lindelow, Gary Page, Steve Read and Brian ‘Star’ Savidge, plus the unofficial star among stars, Dennis Priddle, who will be launching and autographing his new race-ography, Mister Six, with author, Keith Lee. If you fancy being there, you’d better be quick – go to www.britishdragracinghof.co.uk.
Outlaw Street Round OS-5 Redline Rumble, Santa Pod
Words: Mark Wallington, photography: Jake Wallington
Redline Rumble was a new event this year for Santa Pod, and Outlaw Street were kindly asked to attend as an invited class with set time slots. We were expecting a predominantly motorbike event with a few car race classes added in; however, it turned out to be the opposite, with the car classes way outnumbering the bikes in attendance and track time aplenty with the weather on our side for the weekend.
The Joe & Co sponsored Fastest Reaction Time engraved tankard & £25 prize money was won by OS-27, Joe Baxter, in his BBC-powered Ford Capri with a 0.0891 RT. Well done to Joe, who wins his third Joe & Co engraved tankard and £25 prize money of the season – pretty good going considering this is Joe’s first year of competing in Outlaw Street.
If you’d like to know more about Outlaw Street, you can follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/outlawstreetuk.
Top 6 RTs from OS-5 were:
- OS-27 Joe Baxter, Ford Capri, 0.0891 RT
- OS-60 Mick Elborough, P100, 0.1579
- OS-34 Gary Carr, Chevrolet Camaro, 0.2227
- OS-69 Gary Semper, Pontiac Firebird, 0.2620
- OS-57 Nathan Stevens, VW Golf, 0.2740
- OS-19 Dave Mahoney, Chevrolet Camaro, 0.3011
Thus far this season the fastest contenders at each round for the coveted title of Fastest ET have been:
OS-34 Gary C with a 8.9295 @ 152.62mph. Will this be beaten before the end of the season?
4/6 Cylinder Class:
OS-45 Kev with a 10.6190 @ 128.34mph