No sooner had I published the first page of the Steve Woollatt Collection than
Steve's old partner Pat Neal contacted me.  Pat was involved in motorcycle
sprinting and drag racing for a long time and he has some very interesting and
historic pictures which are really brought to life by his fascinating recollections.
Nowadays Pat heads a rectification section in Halifax Pratt & Whitney (aerospace
engine makers) when he is not fettling his wife Linda's race car.

Click on any image to get the bigger picture

 

This picture was taken at an NSA sprint meeting held at Duxford in March 1962.  It shows 12 year old Pat Neal's first sprint bike which was a cut down War Department Corgi fitted with a 98cc Scott motor.
You may have noticed a much larger machine in the background, this is the Mark II version of Clive Waye's famous DragWaye machine which was crashed at the 1964 Debden Festival of Speed by MCN scribe Howard German.  DragWaye Mark I was made out of water pipe and had a side valve Norton engine and was intended to prove the concept only.  Mark III went on to set a standing start quarter mile world record of 9.4 seconds with Dave Lequoc riding.

 

 

Duxford again but now it is October 1964 and this is Pat's first match race.  On the right is Ian Terry (son of 500 and 750cc record holder Jack Terry) on George Brown's 13 second 250cc Ariel Arrow.  Pat borrowed Laurie Nunn's 350cc alky burning Velocette.  This race broke all the rules as both riders were only 15!
For the record Pat pulled a wheelie and Ian blew his doors off.

 

And here is some more history - George Brown's son Tony blasts the famous Super Nero off the line at Santa Pod.
I doubt that casually sitting around on the safety fence would be encouraged nowadays whilst one of the most powerful bikes in the world (which Super Nero was then) does its stuff.
The two bearded gentlemen nonchalantly looking on are father and son Alan and Graham Nash.  Alan 'Grandad' Nash was the principal timekeeper at every sprint and drag meet throughout the 1960s, '70s and '80s as well as a mean pro stock rider.  Graham was a stand out in pro stock and funny bike.

 

 

Eamon Hurley heats the slick on his blown fuel 1180cc Kawasaki at Santa Pod in 1978.  Eamon started dragging in the 1960s with a sprint framed Manx Norton called Manx Dragster which ran in the 12 second zone.  He then progressed to a 1000cc double engined Manx (!) before running a blown fuel NSU rotary powered bike that ran in the low eights.

 

Pat can't recall who the rider of this device was but says "he was brave".  It features a 2500cc nitro burning Daimler V8 and was fitted with home made injection, clutch and transmission.  It ran low 10s and proceeded down the strip in a series of swerves . . .

 

 

Pat was racing a Pro Stocker in 1977 which he had blown up.  Dick Talbot (in the blue jumper) lent Pat his John Clift-framed blown 750cc Triumph for the Fireworks meeting.  He had cause to regret this largesse because in Pat's own words "On 70% I ran over the crank in the lights, Dick took it well . . ."

 

Arthur O'Hare's street legal 1325cc Suzuki ran in Pro Street between 1979 and 1981 and got down to 10.1 seconds.  The bike featured one of Pat's replica frames made from Reynolds T45 tubing, an early Kosman swinging arm and lockable rear shocks.  Pat remembers Arthur was extremely fast on the lights and he won the Street Championship twice.

 

 

Arthur warms his tyre against the Pod timing tower possibly at the 1980 Springnationals.

 

And speaking of Pat's frame building skills, here is a picture of his 1980-83 Suzuki GS 1000/1100 Pro Stock frame.  It was a faithful copy of the original frame but was constructed in Reynolds T45 tubing and had more head rake.  It came with a Kosman Clubfoot swinging arm.  Pat reckons he made about 13 of them of which most were bought by Henk Vink.

 

 

Gorden Diggens' Queasy Rider blown alky burning Kawasaki just completed.   Gorden was an aerospace engineer whose previous bikes included a 1500cc double Triumph timed as a four cylinder engine, and a very quick 500cc Triumph supercharged 2 stroke using ports at the cylinder base and all the valves in the cylinder head as exhausts.
Gorden's son Neil has been in touch with further information about this bike.  The chassis was built by Don Godden to a series of pictures of current Funny Bikes from the USA.  The bike was campaigned for a number of years until it became obvious that it could not take the power.

 

Ag McPhail's Jade Warrior device which featured a home made engine, blower and transmission.  Note the 3" diameter exhausts, these stepped up from the 1" stubs to create an aerosol type vacuum at the transition.  Pipes connected the vacuum point to the large undertray seen beneath the motor which sucked the bike to the track when the throttle was cracked.

 

 

Ag gets a little heat into his Formula 1 slick.

 

This is one of Henk Vink's last fuellers.  It featured Sandy Kosman rolling stock, a very rare Fritz Egli front fork, Jos Smit engineering and a motor top half by Britain's best cylinder head porter Phil Manzano.

 

 

Pat's initial thoughts were that this is Graham Nash's 1385cc Pro Stocker with MTC block and header at Long Marston in 1983.  However, Clive Banks has written in to say that he believes this was Paul Mayhew's bike, Paul used it as an advert for his business Custom Fasteners.
Anyway, whoever's bike it was, Pat was very impressed by the workmanship that went into this machine.
Geof Stilwell has cleared up the mystery.  The bike was built by Graham Nash using one of Geof's spare engines and sold to Paul Mayhew.

 

Two pictures of Marion Owen's Boss Hog taken at the 1982 Miami Winternationals.  It was powered by two 115" shovelhead Harleys on 85% fed by a 6/71 GMC Littlefield supercharger.  Pat says "This thing was as big as an 18 wheel artic, made about 650 bhp and was responsible for body armour being specified in Top Fuel Bike.  The unblown twin was faster."
 

 

 

This is Phil Brachtvogel's first blown fuel bike just finished.  It had a 98 inch wheelbase, Magnacharge blower and a lay-down Kawaski motor with the gearbox machined off and a Lenco two speed fitted instead.

 

 

Phil and crew wait in the staging lanes at the Pod in October 1982.  This was the longest frame that Pat ever made for a customer.

 

Rod Pallant and family relax at Long Marston on the qualifying day of one of the Transatlantic Bike Races held there in the early 1980s (this may be 1983).  Pat thinks the chap on the extreme left of shot might be Bootsie Herridge's son.
Ian Coote has kindly pointed out that Pro Comp legend Jim Read (with the sunglasses and jacket) is in the background talking to Rod's wife.

 

 

And here is a little something that Pat knocked up for Rod Pallant.  A billet cylinder head for Rod's Kawasaki fuel single shown in an unfinished condition.  It took 800 hours of work to complete, Elmer Trett had a good long look at it!

 

Speaking of the late Elmer Trett, this is his Mountain Magic bike (#4) at Long Marston.  This bike was at least 95% home built by Elmer and his family including cast crankcases, billet head, billet crank and three stage fuel injection.
This machine ran a best of 6.4 seconds at 218 mph.  The bike is still running in the New York area, the new owner keeps it immaculate as a tribute.

 

 

The great Elmer Trett smoking the slick at Long Marston.

 

Brian Johnson oils up an early top fuel Imperial Wizard at a wet Santa Pod (1983?).  He ran an 8.03 on the Saturday and topped that with a 7.87 second pass in eliminations on Sunday, his first foray into the sevens.

 

 

This is some picture!
It was taken at an NDRC meeting at Snetterton in October 1976.  Andy Miller shared a blown fuel Triumph with Mick Buttars.  In Pat's words
"On a cold and damp morning in qualifying we left together and Andy promptly swapped lanes right in front of me (note the tyre shake).  Andy couldn't shut off, he didn't know where I was, I was angry at waiting two hours to qualify and now had blown it, so I kept it wide open and we both ran 11.4 in the same lane!  The organisers were not impressed . . . "

 

This is another NDRC meet at Snetterton this time in 1977.  Extrovert Pro Stock rider Les Armes is trying out Pat's Pro Stocker (note the excess of safety gear!).
Les was impressed with the weight (342 pounds) but not the power, so . . .

 

 

. . . we stripped the bike at Snetterton.  Jay Upton borrowed the motor and Les dropped his potent turbo engine into the chassis ready for the next meeting at the Pod.

 

This is Les and Pat at the June 1977 meeting at Santa Pod with the 'combo' Pro Stocker.  The rest of the competitors were not pleased . . .

 

 

. . . because in qualifying Les laid a 9.8 second run on them.  However, Pat's slick was getting a bit tired so on Sunday Les bought a new M&H which took him to victory in Pro Stock in a new record time of 9.7 seconds.

 

This is The Dealer (version 1 with the stock gearbox and motor) at the Brighton Speed Trials (standing start kilometre) in 1979.
"Brighton sea front is a continuous curve with gaps in the sea wall which let the wind through, the bike needed all of the road.  I ran 20.14 seconds at 176 mph and thought we had the meeting covered until Henk Vink ran a 17.14 sideways on a public road at 180+!  Henk really rode Big Spender that day.
This is the venue where George Brown on Super Nero missed the finish line (he used to take drops for his eyes in our van) and ended up in the Marina car park.  Not knowing the way back to Madeira Drive he rode his 1180cc blown fuel-burning Vincent back along the main road and got knicked by Brighton police."

 

 

The Dealer, version 1 again, about 1978 with Pat riding.
"This was the weekend from hell.  On the second run 2nd gear shelled all its teeth.  Steve's van was a Bedford CF with a warm Rover V8 in it so we parked the bike and Steve bracket-raced the van!  I had a spare gear cluster at home so on Saturday evening Steve drove the van towards Cambridge while his brother and I split the engine block in the back.  At Huntingdon Road roundabout  Steve stabbed the brakes and all the gears, shafts and bearings avalanched around his feet and under the pedals!  There was much yelling and shouting from the front but somehow the van made it round and, after an all-nighter, Steve won Senior Bike on Sunday."

 

The Dealer, 1980, second version just finished with a new frame back end and a 12" slick.  It had a T C Christenson gearbox, Crower style clutch, and an external primary drive which meant an electric plug in starter.  "The neighbours just loved us when we fired it up . . ."

 

 

"Mr Woollatt checking the fit, a fag in the gob is mandatory when riding blown fuellers."

 

This is a publicity shot taken for Motorcycle News, the bike was not actually finished but Pat recalls that Brian Johnson had done a beautiful paint job.

 

 

Steve and the crew wait for qualifying at the 1980 World Finals at Santa Pod . . .

 

. . . Steve's brother straightens his helmet, no visor problems with the F1 style Bell Helmet . . .

 

 

. . . and launches it.
Pat believes they were running high eights at this meeting and wonders if he had been a bit too conservative with the set up.

 

PHOTOGRAPHIC CREDITS
Pat has been unable to recall precisely who took which pictures, but the better colour shots
were by Keith Lee and Kelvin Fagan and the black and white ones were by Jim Reynolds.

Gentlemen - if you read this page and can identify your work I will gladly give you proper credit.

 

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