First Timers: Taking on the Santa Pod quarter-mile
The beauty of Drag Racing is you can race anything on any budget. Allan Schofield was the fourth ‘rookie’ featured in the December edition of Revolution who took on a new motorsport challenge last year. Here’s his story on strapping himself into a Pro ET dragster to take on the Santa Pod’s quarter-mile!
In the early ’70s, my father took me to Santa Pod, and I remember seeing Dennis Priddle and Roz Prior doing a side-by-side run. As an impressionable kid, it stayed with me forever.
In my earlier years, I followed in my father’s footsteps racing motorcycles, taking part in the Isle of Man TT many times. I became the European F2 sidecar racing Champion in 2005, and after a 10-year layoff, I completed the 2017 and 2019 TT and, in 2020, I became BEMSEE F2 champion.
However, due to arthritis in my shoulders, I found it increasingly difficult to race the sidecar around bends. Having experienced the adrenalin rush of racing, there was no way I could retire, even at 60! I have tried retiring before and have had more comebacks than Frank Sinatra!
About eight years ago, we started going to Santa Pod for our holidays, watching the Main Event and the Euro Finals. We would walk around the pits talking to the drivers and crews and couldn’t believe how friendly everyone was. So, when I was looking for a new challenge, I decided I wanted to have a go; with the added bonus, there are no corners!
I started looking at Eurodragster and other classified ads and went to view three cars – a Chevy Nova, a Dragster, and an Altered, the end of 2020. Of the three, the dragster was the one to put a big grin on my face. The feeling of being enclosed was reminiscent of the sidecar fairing.
I bought the dragster in November but didn’t see it again until Easter Monday this year due to the COVID-19 lockdown. I was also embarrassed about not even knowing how to start it! Under the guidance of the previous owner, I did many ‘Run What Ya Brung’ events and entered my first competition in May.
I started competing in Pro ET, which I quickly found out is one of the most competitive classes. After a couple of competitions, I decided to double class and entered Super Comp to get as much track time as possible.
The season was very challenging but also very rewarding. I finished 15th out of 49 in Pro ET and 4th out of 13 in Super Comp, managing to achieve the number one qualifier in Super Comp at the National Finals in September. The most difficult element was cutting the tree to get a perfect reaction time, along with working out the Dial-In time for Pro ET and the throttle delay to hit 8.90s in Super Comp.
Achieving my Personal Best’s and continually improving on them throughout the year was extremely satisfying. My current PB’s are Reaction Time 0.007s; Elapsed Time 8.78s; and Speed 151mph. There is so much more I want to do and improve – better reaction time, better elapsed time and definitely faster (200mph would be nice).
The beauty of Drag Racing is you can race anything on any budget. So, if you fancy it, do your research, and spend time talking to everyone – including me! Never be an ‘if only.’
If you are not already participating in motorsport or want to take up a new challenge, click here for further information.
Image credit: Blackett Photography