More VIP guests will be celebrating the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame (BDRHoF) pioneers being inducted at the Gala Awards Dinner held at the Savill Court Hotel, Windsor Great Park, November 21st 2015. Racers and fans are being joined by senior people in motorsport management, the business world and the media at European drag racing’s most prestigious social occasion.
Traci Hrudka is Chair of the Quarter Mile Foundation and heads their Project 1320 programme, which is recording the history of North American drag racing and the performance parts aftermarket on film. Using interviews of those who were there, plus footage taken back in the day, it will be introduced as a network televised documentary.She is the daughter and niece of Tom and Joe Hrudka, founders of Mr Gasket and at one time, along with several other hats she managed all the Group’s customer service and racing contracts. For her work she was presented with the coveted Performance Warehouse Person of the year award at the 1993 SEMA induction banquet. Traci is a workaholic in her task and the BDRHoF feels honoured that she is flying in from Cleveland, Ohio to be one of its VIP guests. As the Allard Chrysler Action Group’s American Patron, she has been building awareness with many American suppliers who have been vital partners during the dragster’s restoration. It is hoped to carry out some filming during her trip that will form part of the Quarter Mile Foundation project and include interviews with some European racers and performance parts importers. Details are still being finalised but watch out for announcements about a possible additional special event at the Savill Court Hotel sponsored by US Automotive and Julie Braskett.
Eileen Daniels is a Consultant to the NHRA producing car shows and assisting at the Holley Hot Rod Reunion. Eileen and her late husband Bob Daniels were both keen drag racers and back in 1957 Bob was asked by Wally Parks to become a voluntary Regional Advisor, tasked with forming car clubs and getting the kids off the street and on to drag strips. In 1959 he was made full time NHRA Divisional Director for the six Midwestern States and adjacent Canadian Provinces.He served in this role for two decades, assisting with the design and construction of more than 20 racing facilities. Eileen assisted Bob in the office and at the drag strips. As well as his regional duties Bob was in charge of the NHRA Points Races and they travelled the United States to all of the National Events where Eileen was in charge of the racer credentials and Bob was staging director. Bob was instrumental in influencing the NHRA to consider Indianapolis Raceway Park as the permanent home of the U.S. Nationals and after its acquisition in 1979 he was appointed its General Manager with Eileen becoming Executive Assistant. He was so successful that he was named 1988 Auto Racing Promoter of the Year by a vote of his fellow promoters taken through Racing Promotion Monthly magazine. After his retirement in 1992 he and Eileen assisted in the development of the Wally Parks Museum in Pomona and the Hot Rod Reunions. Bob passed on in 2007 but Eileen continues his work today.
Many European racing legends are joining the previously announced American drag racing stars Don Garlits, Funny Car Champion Bruce Larson, Freight Train’s Bob Muravez, Larry ‘Spiderman’ McBride, Rat Trap’s Ron Hope and Blue Max Tuner ‘Waterbed’ Fred Miller.
All three 2015 BDRHoF Inductees will be there – Ken Cooper, Yvonne Tramm and John Clift who is travelling from his home in France to receive his award. Also already booked are many European stars and BDRHoF Members. They include drag bike racers John Hobbs, Ian King, Frank Brachtvogel, Ian Messenger, Derek Chinn and Ton Pels from Holland.
Former FIA European Top Fuel Dragster Champions Barry Sheavills and Andy Carter plan to be there, along with Gary Page, Kevin Pilling, Colin Mullan, Geof Hauser, John Whitmore, John Wright, Russ Carpenter, Nick Davies and Robin Read. Roy and Jason Phelps will be with us again and many more will join this list as ticket requests are confirmed.
The Vikings are Coming – Sundance Kid Reunion
There will also be a Sundance Kid Reunion with three key people in Norwegian drag racing getting together at the Savill Court – the first meeting between them for well over 25 years. Those three pioneers are Fred Larsen, Jan Odd Jakobsen and Ludvig Bjǿrnstad.
Fred Larsen was the driver and co-owner of Norway’s first Dragster – Sundance Kid. During several trips to the UK in the mid-1970s he paved the way for other Norwegians to get involved. With a body taken from the Commuter dragster mould it was one of the most beautiful slingshots around. Fred now operates Nordic Export Inc and is travelling from his home in Florida with his wife Astrid to reunite with his team.
Jan Odd Jakobsen was Fred Larsen’s partner in the Sundance Kid. He is a founder of ACSN (American Cars of Southern Norway) in 1973 and as a member of that board in 1975 they formed the American Car Club of Norway (Amcar) merging with American Car Club Trondheim. Today this is the main car organization for owners of American Cars in Norway with more than 100 associated clubs and 18,000 members.He was a member of the Drag Race Committee behind the first drag race in Norway held at Fyresdal in 1978.
Ludvig Bjǿrnstad and Fred Larsen were the first two Norwegians to drag race in Sweden. Ludvig was a member of Fred Larsen’s Sundance Kid team at Snetterton in 1975 and purchased Shutdown after the race (He called it Headache in Norway). He later ran a Top Fuel Dragster in Norway, Sweden and the UK and became known as the Big Daddy of Norwegian drag racing. His partner Hilde Skogsethhas been active in many different aspects of drag racing. Her first visit to Santa Pod was in 1974 just to see the track. At a later meet they arranged for some runs with Inge Bugge’s Camaro returning in 1976 as crew for Inge Bugge’s Pro Comp dragster. She was also at Mantorp Park when Ludvig first ran Headache. Her good friend British Drag Racing Hall of Fame member Rune Fjeld was helping out as a mechanic on the Headache team. Hilde was a judge at Mantorp Park and Gardermoen during the 1980’s. And she was at Santa Pod when Ludvig put down the first 5 second run by a Norwegian driving his Top Fuel Dragster in 1987
Business Guest List Grows
The business sector is well represented. Doug Hill is Museum Manager and Chief Engineer for the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu and he is joining us again; as is Chief Financial Officer of the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing Donna Garlits. Les Downey, Managing Director and Director of European Operations for Lucas Oil Products UK will be greeting guests with a welcome drink and US Automotive CEO Stewart Bassett and his team will also be amongst the guests enjoying the occasion – both great supporters of the BDRHoF. David Taylor of Flint Insurance will be with us again this year.
Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO, Mopar Brand Service, Parts and Customer Care FCA, CEO Components FCA – Global plans to be there joined by Tricia Hecker, Head of Marketing Mopar Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. They will be flying in from Detroit to receive the BDRHoF Lucas Oil Global Achievement Award for the role played by the HEMI V8 in drag racing since it was first introduced on production cars 65 years ago. This award has created quite a stir in the USA with many people saying ‘why didn’t we think of that?’
Motor Sports Association CEO Rob Jones is attending this year as is Phil Evans, member of the FIA Drag Racing Commission and Chair of the MSA Drag Racing Committee. Graeme Atkinson, Founder of product placement business the Big Film Group is also joining us. From the media we have Guild of Motoring Writers Chairman Guy Loveridge and American TV Network broadcaster Jack Korpela along with Damien Smith, Editor of Motorsport Magazine, David Lillywhite, Editorial Director of Octane Magazine, regular Custom Car Magazine scribe Keith Lee and Andy ‘Tog’ Rogers with the Eurodragster team. Julian Parsons and the Nitro FM gang will be very much involved in the Audio Visual aspects of the evening. Two familiar Drag Racing photographers hanging around will be Andy Willsheer and Roger Gorringe.
From the UK tracks we will welcome CEO Keith Bartlett and his Santa Pod team including Commercial Manager Caroline Holden and Event Coordinator James Forster. From Shakespeare County we have Marketing, Promotions and Club Liaison Officer, Jerry Cookson and from York Raceway and the International Organisation of Professional Drivers we have Steve Murty and his team including Richard and Marjorie Lyons of the Pennine Drag Racing Club. Santa Pod Raceway Chief Starter Ian Marshall of the Santa Pod Racers Club will also be joining the throng.
Pink Floyd drummer and classic car collector/racer Nick Mason along with the judges at Octane Magazine and the Guild of Motoring Writers are hard at work deciding which of the 95 entries will receive the Sydney Allard Media Awards sponsored this year by MQQNEYES. The winners will receive their awards at the Gala Awards Dinner. Watch out for announcements about the winners on www.eurodragster.com.
The Gala Awards Dinner Details
Ticket prices for the 2015 BDRHoF Gala Awards Dinner remain as last year at £60 per person. Corporate tables of 10 are available at £580. For advance booking of tickets contact BritishDRHOF@aol.com or telephone Stu Bradbury on 01933 279102.
The Savill Court Hotel information
Room Bookings 01784 472000 Opening Times 8.30am-5.30pm Press Option #1. After 5.30pm Press Option #3 Reception. Don’t forget to mention the Hall of Fame dinner 21st November. Discounted room prices also remain as last year, £99 for double £79 for single including breakfast. However it looks like we have used all the 80 reserved so prices may be higher now. Complimentary use of swimming pool, Sauna, Steam room, Jacuzzi, and free car parking are also part of the package. There are plenty of other good quality hotels nearby.