All of the pictures on this page were made available to me by Dennis Priddle,
I am most grateful to him for the opportunity of reproducing them here
.

Click on any image to get the bigger picture

 

Meet the man himself - Dennis Priddle.  Regular visitors to this site will know that I make no secret of the fact that in my book he was the greatest European drag racer of his era.  He combined tremendous driving ability with equally impressive engineering and construction skills.  It is therefore with great pride that I bring you these pictures from his own personal collection.

 

 

 

 

Dennis was employed by Westland Helicopters in Yeovil.  This is a rare picture of Dennis working at his desk.
(Err, not a rare picture of him working you understand, a rare picture of him at his desk, not that being at his desk was all that rare either of course)

 

 

In a sense this is where it all began.
Dennis was friendly with Tony Gane (who also worked at Westland) and Tony liked to do a bit of motorcycle sprinting using this 500cc Rudge-engined bike.  This engine was subsequently transplanted into . . .

 

. . . the Wicked Lady dragster which, despite its dimunitive size, won the overall handicap title in the 1966 National Championship.  This was the first championship for Tony and for Santa Pod in its inaugural year.
Tony Gane is third from left in the picture on the left.

 

Anybody who knows anything about Dennis Priddle's career would realise that some pictures of the Tudor Rose top alcohol dragster (for those of you who remember, it ran like a nitro car) should follow here.  This was a joint project which Rex Sluggett financed and Dennis constructed.
I am pleased to say that Dave Riswick of John Woolfe Racing has met up with Rex who has lived in the USA for many years and has written a feature article on Rex, Dennis and Tudor Rose and this can be found under the 'Feature Articles' section of the site.  It is a very good read.

 

 

In 1969 Dennis began his long association with John Woolfe Racing by driving their state of the art Reliant GTE-bodied competiton altered Whistler.  This picture shows Dave Riswick and Dennis working on the 427 Rat engine at Anderstorp in August 1969 at the Second Annual Swedish Dragfest.

 

 

 

 

Here is Dennis at the wheel of Dave's E-Type Jaguar (which they had used to tow Whistler to Sweden) upon their return to the UK.  This picture was taken at the JWR garage at Eaton Socon on the A1.

 

 

This shot of Whistler appeared in the centrefold of Drag Racing & Hot Rod magazine which explains the discolouration in the middle of the picture.
All the race cars with which Dennis was associated or built himself were truly state of the art and, because of his training, were engineered to aircraft quality standards.

 

As chronicled in The Long Lost John Woolfe Racing Archives elsewhere on this site, the JWR team stepped up to Top Fuel Dragster for 1970 in the form of the Quartermaster rail.
Here Tony Gane (left) and Dennis are seen manoeuvring the car in the pits with Harold Bull's tiny but rapid Stripduster dragster in the background.

 

 

 

 

Preparing for a run at Santa Pod - team member Dave Riswick, two GIs from RAF Upper Heyford, Dennis in the car, an unknown BDR & HRA marshal, and team members Ray Pritchard and Tony Gane (aka Aloysius Crimpton after his initials 'AC').

 

 

The elegant lines of the Quartermaster top fuel dragster are seen in profile at Henstridge Airfield in March 1970.  This was the first time the car had been fired up and some rolling trials were conducted before the Old Bill turned up!  Henstridge is situated a few miles south of Wincanton in Somerset.

 

The bank of pictures on the left and the three on the right were all taken from a JWR publicity leaflet and show the 1971 Hot Wheels sponsored Top Fuel Dragster.
The bottom right picture shows Dennis with a healthy lead over his old adversary Clive Skilton in his Second Revolution dragster.
The quality of these pictures is not great and does not do justice to Alan Holland-Avery's consummate photographic skills.



 

They're at it again, Dennis Priddle and Clive Skilton preparing to stage at Santa Pod Raceway.

 

 

I think that car needed a bit less clutch or some lead on the front.

 

 

Dennis Priddle and Pete Stanford filling the tank at Harewood House in West Yorkshire.  The car was fitted with a 392 Keith Black hemi at this time.

 

 

Having started the car on a low load of nitro for the local press, Dennis left a couple of black lines on the entrance drive much to the horror of the grounds keeper.  This all came about when he was asked by the Earl if he would be able to make the tyres smoke a little, this gave Dennis an instant lead foot complex and about 40 feet later he disappeared into his own smoke and was forced to make a sharp left hand turn ending up at the back entrance of the stately home where this photo was taken.
From left to right : Dennis Priddle, Pete Stanford and Tony Gane.

 

 

 

On the 10th of October 1971 Dennis ran a none too shabby 7.23 seconds at exactly 200 mph.

 

 

 

 

This unique reunion shot was taken outside JWR's nerve centre in Bedford in August 2003.
From left to right : Alan Currans (your humble scribe), Dennis Priddle, Dave Riswick and Dave's son James.

 

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