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This is Keith Parnell giving Rouge et Noir a little TLC between rounds.  This bike was typical of the early British drag bikes in that it was powered by a blown nitro-burning twin cylinder engine.  What was special about this bike was that Keith Parnell was the first Brit to do an eight second pass.



Burn outs were usually performed by sticking the front wheel against something solid, in this case the safety fence at Santa Pod, and letting rip.  Keith Parnell is shown demonstrating the technique for us.  It was usual for a crew man to pick up the rear end of the bike using a purpose-built trolley and wheel the bike to the line thus preventing the tyre from picking up detritus.


Brian Chapman's bike did not conform to the usual design.  Taking advantage of his own fairly compact dimensions, he designed Mighty Mouse around a single cylinder 500cc Vincent Comet engine.  This combination produced the fastest single cylinder bike in the world.  At the time this picture was taken at Silverstone it was capable of 9.3 second runs at 150mph which was very good going in those days.



This is Norman Hyde aboard Roadrunner approaching the start line at Santa Pod.  I believe that this bike was unique in that it was powered by a 750cc 3 cylinder Triumph Trident engine.


If you want something unique look no further than Angus McPhail's 3 wheeler which he called McPhail's Nail.  When enlarged you will see that the shot is a little blurred - sorry about this but it's the only one I have and I just couldn't leave it out.  A 1200cc 4 cylinder Ford engine coupled to a torque converter was the recipe for 9 second runs.  It is pictured at some speed at Santa Pod Raceway.



John Hobbs is perhaps best known for The Hobbit of which more later.
Before this he ran a single engined bike called Olympus which was replaced by the double 500cc Triumph-engined Olympus II.  There were three versions of Olympus II and John is pictured here on Mark II at Santa Pod.


A bit of sponsorship from Castrol brightened up rider, bike and presumably bank balance.  John Hobbs is seen on board Olympus II Mark III now fitted with two 750cc Morgo Triumph engines near the start line at Santa Pod.



John Clift's bike was called The Co-Respondent so it sounds as if he spent a fair bit of time working on it.  He soon followed Keith Parnell into the 8 second bracket.  The distinctly non-motorcycle type rear wheel shows he needed more rubber to get the power down to the strip.  He is seen here coming into stage at the Pod.


Alex Heal was the first man in the UK to get a street bike under 11 seconds and he did it on this Piper Honda.  Alex is pictured here on the line at Wroughton.



On the subject of street bikes there was a right and a wrong way to get them off the line.  Nearest the camera is Phil Brister on his Norton Commando The Tortoise getting it all wrong.  In the background Terry Revill gets plenty of weight as far forward as possible as he launches his 4 cylinder Kawasaki The Assassin at Snetterton.


The late Henk Vink from Holland warms the rear cover of his Big Spender blown fuel-burning Kawasaki.  Henk was a great competitor and a frequent visitor to the UK and rarely brought less than two bikes with him.  We shall doubtless see more of his machines in later pages.



Ray Feltell has just fired up his twin engined Penetration machine on the rollers at Santa Pod.  My contemporaneous notes say the bike was 'ill fated' but I did not know why.
Ex-MCN Drag Racing Correspondent Jim Reynolds supplied the answer.  Ray ran the bike for less than a season and reverted to a single 750cc Morgo-barrelled blown Triumph engine.
Ray's son Ian has been in touch to say that the chap giving the bike a shove is his grandfather Bert who used to help his father in the 1970s.


Mick Butler's double engined Super Cyclops goes up in smoke as it leaves the line on the slippery Blackbushe surface.  Brian Chapman in the background is having no such problems on Mighty Mouse.



Norman Hyde eventually went the double engined route with 6 cylinders and 1500cc of blown Triumph Trident power.  The bike was very aptly re-named Dr Jeckyll.


Mike Bramley brought this double engined Triumph all the way from South Africa.  The bike was capable of running nines at 6,000 feet altitude and it had run a high eight on a low altitude strip in Rhodesia.  Mike must have felt at home on this glorious sunny day at the 6th Internationals meeting at Santa Pod held in September 1975.



Another of the top runners was Pegasus the double Norton-engined bike of Ian Messenger and Derek Chinn.  Pegasus was a beautiful bike and was always presented in absolutely pristine condition.


At last - a picture of John Hobbs' legendary Hobbit 1700cc double Weslake-engined machine.  This picture, which was taken with a wide angle lens at the Pod, shows the bike as it originally appeared with a full fairing.



Now for a couple of visitors from the good old US of A.  This is Danny Johnson on his massive 3500cc double injected Harley Davidson Goliath on the line at Santa Pod.  The bike ran down into the 8.5 second bracket.


Tom Christenson used two injected Norton engines in his Hogslayer Top Fuel bike.  The Americans seemed not to be into superchargers back then and favoured rolling burnouts.  This bike was capable of 8.3 second runs and therefore usually had the legs of Danny Johnson's machine.



Both transatlantic visitors in stage at Santa Pod.  Notice the difference in riding positions.  Andy Barrack advises that they were one all in legs at the September 1975 Internationals with Johnson breaking and unable to make the third race.  At the G-Max Fuel meeting one week later Christenson took it three nil.

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