Mister Six - the story of drag racing legend Dennis Priddle

February 2017 Update

Just in case anyone should get the wrong impression that I am not keeping busy on my book project; I have just had another long session with Dennis Priddle, to add to my ever growing armoury of background information on his drag racing career, as the most important part of the preparation for the book I am writing about him.

We did not get off to the best of starts initially, as just before the announcement of the project commencement, Dennis was laid low by a particularly nasty bug, which totally floored him; but he has made great efforts to feed me with a lot of excellent material,despite not feeling up to the task.  Having now spent many hours together, one thing is sure, that however much I thought I already knew about Dennis was just a tiny amount indeed, as he comes out with a detailed account of his life and times.

I have also started talking to some old team members - to capture their important contributions to the story of a highly successful drag racing career. First session was actually with Brian Savidge - or Star as he is often better known.  A long time member of the team, and someone who I still stop and have a chat to at the drags, we had a great afternoon going over old times. He was lamenting not having taken hardly any pictures back in the race days, but he did come up with a couple of excellent mementos for me to see.  Tony Gane was next on the list, as it was Tony who was pretty much the man responsible for getting Dennis into the sport.  It was on and in Tony’s machines that he experienced a first foray into drag racing.

Mentioning photographs, or apparent lack of earlier, I obviously have an extensive collection of my own to draw from, but have also been promised use of other images from some old friends, who are always very supportive - in particular the ever helpful Brian Sparrow.

The icing on the cake for me came last week. When visiting Dennis, I was handed some amazing old colour slides - all previously unpublished - which will make this story truly come to life in a visual way.  They need work to restore them, due to the ravages of time, but that is nothing new for me to play with - and it will be well worth the effort!  More on these in a future update, but suffice it to say that I am more than pleased with this unexpected bonus.  There are still some more pictures to track down, but now I will be in the happy position being able to choose the most fitting images to fully complement the story of this country's top drag racer.

A lot of ground has to be covered to do the subject justice, which has been greatly aided by Annie's invaluable research work on the time line of events.  She too is struggling with health issues at the moment, but has made excellent progress on this lengthy exercise.

There are quite a number of other people that I want to talk to as the book progresses, in order to tell the full story of Mister Six.  The problem is going to be in knowing when I have finally exhausted the man himself’s seemingly endless capacity for coming out with yet more stories to add!


Star pictured in 1980, getting ready to fire up the new rear-engined car

Keith Lee
17 February 2017

 

Blog Launch January 2017

Thanks to Alan for again offering to host a blog on his excellent site, which will highlight some of the items turned up along the path as I take up the challenge of writing this long overdue book on a true legend of the sport, Dennis Priddle.

2016 was a memorable year for Dennis, more than 30 years after he hung up his firesuit. One of the first inductees of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2006, a delighted Dennis flew to Florida where he was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in March 2016. Following an enjoyable trip to the European Finals at Santa Pod, he capped the year off by being re-presented with the IDRHoF award at our own Hall of Fame gala last November. The standing ovation he received was a measure of just how highly regarded he is.  It struck me that I really must persuade Dennis to let me write the story of how he left his mark on the sport, having known him for so long.

He made a massive contribution to drag racing, with a number of memorable cars during his illustrious career.  He will always be known as Mister Six, as his sleek slingshot dragster was named after becoming the first six second racer in Europe back in 1972.

More to follow as the story unfolds.  Aided by my better half, Annie, it will be an interesting ride given the characters involved, in reliving and pulling together this story of a true drag racing hero.

Keith Lee
21 January, 2017

 

 

   

 

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