Posts Tagged ‘Santa Pod’

It seems apt that our first event of the new year involves drifting, after all, the first 2 blog posts ever to appear on Garage Awesome back in the middle of last year, were both drift related, and has always been a firm favourite with the Team.

The venue and event we decided to head to was Santa Pod and the first “Drift What Ya Brung” day of the year. Santa Pod and the DWYB team have been a major player in the grass-roots level of UK drifting, providing both weekday and weekend sessions throughout the year for all drifters from the first time novice right through to the stars of the British Drift Championship and JDM Allstars events.

Santa Pod

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As if the first report didn’t cover enough action for a car show, we are only half way through our report as USC has way more still left to write about as we head back to the track for the ever popular European Sports Compact drag series.

For those unaware of the ESC, take note, as over the next few years it’s going through some changes as the popularity increases further, aiming towards 2012 where the series will be gaining full MSA approval and status.

A quick introduction to the rules I suppose would be an obvious place to start, with the main focus being on the car and engine being European. That’s a European body and engine, so no Japanese motors, or American v8’s. Popular cars currently in the series are the mk2/4 VW Golfs, Vauxhall Novas and Corsas and the mighty but fragile Renault 5 Turbo. With engine restrictions in place it sees the tuners gain maximum power and speed out of standard off the shelf engines, the VAG 20VT is popular as is the Vauxhall C20LET, most opting for turbo power, although some of the more interesting cars are running big carbs or throttle bodies!

ESC Winner - Andy Waite

Drivetrains can be altered, but again within a set of rules; FWD to 4WD is fine, but no FWD to RWD conversions, cars needn’t be MOT’d or taxed, although a walk round the paddock sees that some are still road-legal, the organisers do encourage “streetable” features to remain however, including headlights, wipers and heaters etc. Front wheel drive cars get the option of full drag slicks, whereas the rear and 4 wheel drive machines run on treaded tyres.

USC saw the action running all weekend, with the competitors joining the queuing RWYB drivers for test runs, and then dedicated breaks for qualifying and the heats.

With all the cars running really well and no recorded breakages, it was the 1.8 20VT 4WD Mk1 golf of Andy Waite that came out on top in the final, running a low 10 second pass, despite running a 9 earlier on in the day. The runner up was another VW, this time the MK2 Golf of James Hodson, who again was down in the low 10s. The Rocket Car Repairs backed Scirocco of Paul Jordan was also down in the 9s but lost out in the later stages. The little Vauxhalls held their own with the JS Racing mk2 Astra and Tigra of Jay Johnston and Sam Bolton respectively, both down into the 11’s.

With the field expected to grow, ready for the 2011 season, if you’re new to drag racing or have a car capable of low 13’s/mid 12’s, it might well be worth checking up on the rules and regs and you could be involved next year!

Volkswagen Golf

Away from the track, Sunday at USC is dominated by one thing; the Auto Glym Show and Shine Competition, with the area full up by 9 o’clock, the smell of polish and wax was lingering as some of the UK’s number one show cars, who combined would have a trophy cabinet Manchester United or Chelsea (and definitely Nottingham Forest) would be envious of, lined up.

Some of the cars that enter these events are just stunning, however a few cars that really weren’t up to the task did take up space I feel, but maybe that’s something the organisers will look at in future years?
Looking round we spot cars we have seen over the course of this season on numerous occasions, and some that we haven’t, giving it a really nice balance.

So who won what? I hear you cry. Well, with 10 Show and Shine categories up for grabs, plenty of cars drove away with some silverware. The first category to be announced, although not included in the main 10, was Show and Go, with judges awarding points for how clean and how modified it your car was… but also how quick it went down the track, something I love to see. Deserving winner was Rich Booth, and his lime green Honda Civic.

USC Show and Go

Back to the static prizes; Best Retro went to the flawless MK1 Golf of Geoff Skinner, and for what difference it makes, also takes Garage Awesome’s hypothetical Car of the Show. Last weekend’s Best of Show winner at Cadwell Park, Rob Sarson, took the same award again at USC in his Toyota Supra. The familiar 206CC of Tony Scullion picked up the Best Interior trophy, new on the scene Paul Whitlam and his Vauxhall Astra Coupe went away with Best Exterior and Andy Tucker’s Nissan Skyline won best Race Car.

Regular trophy winner Liam “Elmo” Elmore took home the Best Wheels prize for his spanking wire rims, and another winner from last weekend, Clare Scott picked up her second USC Most Radical trophy with the Reiger Escort Cabriolet. Ian “Iceman” Pinder’s Astra van is becoming popular at all shows, and was no surprise that he picked up best ice and Mark Lampard’s Max Power cover featured, Honda S2000 took the judges choice award. Finally, Best Engine Bay was deservedly won by a white Vauxhall Corsa, whose owner Nick Bowers had paid lots of attention to the bay with the addition of gold and body coloured touches and camo Samco hoses.

Drift Rides Santa Pod

The final section for us to report on is the Drift Taxi’s. If you have read this blog, you will be aware we love drifting, and with very limited space available, the guys from Drift Rides set up a small, but technical course to demonstrate their skills and for only a tenner, you could go out and do some laps as a passenger in the various Skylines, Silvias, 200SX’s, Soarers and Mazda RX7’s, something you don’t get an opportunity to do very often.
As mentioned, the space available to them was very limited, so if you wanted to see how these guys do it on the whole tarmac area then maybe a Drift What You Brung day is the thing for you, where you can bring your own RWD car and give it a go, or just spectate for the price of a Big Mac meal!

So, that’s USC wrapped up for 2010, some are already on the countdown to 2011 and we, I’m sure, will be there to cover it for you again. Just a few issues for Santa Pod to sort out and it will re-confirm its place as the number one UK show for you to get involved in

Pic Credits – Ollie Novell

Garage Awesome spent the weekend in a field, in a tent, surrounded by a whole host of different show cars, thousands of hyped up petrolheads, a million wasps, guys dressed as girls, and girls dressed in next to nothing! Throw in some temperamental weather and some of the quickest standing quarter miles and it won’t take long to work out that we spent the weekend at Santa Pod for Ultimate Street Car!

Anyone who hasn’t been to Ultimate Street Car or “USC” really is missing out. It’s such an experience in every sense, with so much packed into one weekend; it has earned itself a reputation as the biggest modified car festival in the UK.

For the first weekend in August, Santa Pod Raceway opens its gates to thousands of modified car fans, cars loaded with beer, tents and in some cases fancy dress, for 3 days of full-on action with an immense amount of things to see or get involved in, or to chill out, camp with your mates and check out the fastest cars on the track, or the stunning cars in the Show and Shine arena.

Vauxhall Nova Saloon

USC is primarily a chance for you to test your car’s performance over a standing quarter mile section of tarmac. Santa Pod has some of the most experienced staff, and professional and accurate timing gear you’re likely to find here in the UK. Run What Ya Brung or “RWYB” is a familiar term to most, and if not, the concept is simple; turn up, Pay £20 race your car over a 1/4 mile, get a printout of your time and stats, then brag or get mocked by all your mates as to how fast or slow your car is! Not got a 700bhp Skyline or a stripped out hot-hatch? No worries, you can go down in your Nan’s Rover 25 providing you have your driving licence and the car isn’t dangerous, but remember, if you’re expecting to get to the end in a car capable of over 110mph within that space, you’re gonna need your helmet too!

With RWYB action happening all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday, USC provides loads of time for you to be able to get out there and test your car, and the USC goers made every use of that, with the track busy at all times, they even ran for an extra hour Saturday night, providing everyone with 11 hours of track action!

We watched a whole variety of cars make their way down the track, some very, very impressive cars, and some… not so! A lot of the really quick cars seemed to be in the form of Peugeot 205 and 306’s from tuners; Pug Performance and Pug 1 Off, with at least a couple of 205’s down into the 12’s. Vauxhall Novas and Corsas were also going strong, with well established transplants from the bigger Cavaliers and Calibras being commonplace, the C20XE and C20LET powered hot hatches were again knocking out 12 and 13 second quarter mile times, often embarrassing some bigger, more powerful machinery.

Other vehicles that ran included; big V8 American vans, an insane motorbike powered, 3 wheel, Bond Bug, some classic Mk1 and 2 Escorts, Nissan Skylines and GTR’s, a fairly disappointing Audi R8 and the Pod goer’s favourites the Mitsubishi Evos, Subaru Imprezas and Sierra Cosworths.

skyline

Away from the main 1/4 mile were 2 other areas of action! The main action arena played host to Podzilla, Santa Pod’s in-house monster truck, stunt shows and the freestyle motocross guys who would occasionally appear over the top of the banking, pulling off mental tricks and drawing a big crowd! That arena at night turned into a stage for the Flame Out competition, which we did cover, but in all honesty it was total pants, with 3 cars turning up, all with spark plugs rammed in the exhausts, bar one, who had his mate and a fag lighter! Fortunately, all was not lost, as BritishMods came to the rescue, as we walked past on our way ‘home’ they had lined up 3 big-power Skylines, with some of the guys on lookout, a proper, monster flame out competition began with awesome results. Well done, top work guys at www.britishmods.com

After the cars had cooled and the keys hung up for the night, the main part of USC’s popularity became apparent, that is the massive nightlife it has to offer. Two stages running live shows, stupid games and guest artists and DJ’s including for 2010; Roll Deep, DJ Luck and MC Neat and modified car show regular Richie Don kept the crowds happy even when the weather turned bad on the Saturday night. It almost goes without saying that no USC nightlife would be complete without the ladies, and the Fuel Girls and Max Power babe squad didn’t fail to disappoint.

Jet Car

Returning to the track and to end part one of our USC Highlight reports, is a legend of Santa Pod, one that, no matter how many times you see it, it’s still impressive… FireForce!

For those who don’t know, and I’m pretty sure there can’t be many of you, FireForce is a Jet Funny Car, a lightweight frame with a Fibreglass bodyshell draped over the top, all powered by a Skycrane Helicopter Jet Engine producing thrust with the equivalent of 10,000 BHP!!!

The noise this thing creates is insane, as soon as it starts up, everyone flocks to find the best vantage point they can to see it go, and go it does, running the 1/4 mile in less than 6 seconds at over 300MPH! Driver Martin Hill must have some serious skill, and balls to pilot of such a savage machine.

So, that covers USC Part 1, we just couldn’t fit it all into 1 report so expect the second part very soon, including the best from the Show and Shine, Drifters and the European Sports Compact series, only from Garage Awesome.

Pic Credits – Ollie Novell