Dennis Priddle is one of the names which immediately springs to mind when you think of British drag racing’s past. Not only did he race Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars, he also built race cars and parts for other racers.
His involvement with Drag racing started with a visit to the 1964 Drag Fests and by 1966 he was driving a 500cc Rudge-powered car. 1968 saw him driving the front-engined Keith Black-powered Tudor Rose. The next two years were spent driving the Top Competition Reliant GTE called The Whistlerbefore the début of the new Quarter Master Top Fuel car and the start of the famous Dennis Priddle v Clive Skilton battles.
1972 saw history made at the Santa Pod Big Go when Dennis powered his car to the first six-second pass outside the USA, 6.995 was the time which gave Dennis his now familiar Mr Six title.
History was again made in 1973 when Dennis and Clive became the first UK drivers to race on a USA drag strip, at the Winternationals in Pomona. Dennis unfortunately failed to qualify but returned to the UK with a state of the art front-engine Top Fuel car. In October 1973 Dennis débuted an Avenger-bodied Funny Car.
Dennis continued to race both Funny Cars and Top Fuel Dragsters including the ex-Garlits King Rat Top Fuel car in which he set a new speed record of 230 at the 1977 Easter Springnationals. The same year saw the début of a new Monza Funny Car which Dennis raced with great success all over Europe, setting records along the way.
A new rear-engined Top Fuel car was raced in 1980 and again Dennis continued to be successful across Europe running his first five-second pass at Santa Pod Raceway in 1982. Television fame came Dennis’ way in 1983 as the Tomorrow’s World programme experimented with a wind tunnel-tested streamliner car without a rear wing. The car did not handle at all well and Dennis reverted to the tried and tested rear wing design.
Dennis Priddle, or Mr Six as he will always be known, is a very worthy member to the Hall of Fame. He will mainly be remembered for the first six-second pass seen outside the USA