The Page Brothers Clive, David and Gary began their drag racing career as crew members on Wild Bill Weichelt’s DosPalmos / Asmodeus dragster in the late 1960s. Having decided shortly afterwards to buy their own car they were narrowly beaten in a bid to purchase Freddie Whittles first Shutdown altered. Instead they ended up with the ex-Mark Stratton Hustler BSA pickup (for £250) which they re-christened Panic after the famous Stateside Fuel Altered. It ran a best of 11.78/120. Although Clive, Dave and Gary formed the nucleus of the team it was very much a family affair with mother Iris and sisters Janice and Carol all playing an active part, Iris also helping in the administration of the National Drag Racing Club.
In early 1972 they decided to build a completely new car. The new Panicaltered featured a Roland Pratt chassis with a JWR 427 ci Rat motor and Fibreglass Applications Topolino body. Dave won several Senior Altered titles and took the car to its first nine-second clocking in October 1973. After switching to a Model T Body Dave won the first event in the new Pro Comp class in 1975 and after a switch to injectors that year the car ran a new Senior Comp record of 9.17.
Clive drove in a few meetings in 1975 and younger brother Gary started racing in 1976 having instant success by winning the Senior Comp title on both days’ eliminations at the legendary 10th Anniversary Spring Nationals. In 1978 a blower was fitted and the wins became regular. The first seven-second run came in August 1978 and by Spring 1979 the altered was running 7.1s. Panic was now officially the quickest ever British Pro Comp car and the quickest British Altered; it was also only three tenths of a second off the long standing American record. All three Page brothers drove the altered at various times.
In 1980-1 the brothers stepped up by purchasing Dennis Priddle’s Monza Funny Car complete minus the motor, intending to buy a new motor from the USA. But the period between buying the Funny Car (as the T still hadn’t been sold), plus the astronomical cost of all the transatlantic phone calls and shipping trying to get a new motor together, slowed the project down considerably. The team decided that to get the car back on the track at all, a motor was going to have to be sought in the UK. The team returned to Dennis Priddle, and another deal was done for Dennis to put together a motor together.
The team had hoped to début the car during 1981, but the woes with the motor and cashflow meant the Monza finally made it back out in its good looking Panic colours at the Easter 1982 meeting at Santa Pod. Dave Page commenced the driving duties and Gary won his first trophy as a Funny Car driver in August and ran as quick as 6.61 during the remainder of the brothers’ début season in Funny Car. The Panic Funny Car was run for the next six years and in 1985 Bob Jarrett sold his Stripteaser Altered to buy a share in Panic and joined Dave and Clive in the hot seat.
September 12th 1986 was a dark day for the Page family: Dave Page was tragically killed in a road traffic accident at the age of 34.
In 1987 Gary ran the best time of 6.34/214, the best time the car had run in the Page’s hands. It was also to be the final meeting for the car in its current guise as Panic as it was sold soon afterwards. In 1988 Gary drove for Bob Jarrett in the Showtime Trans Am and ran down into the fives in his first year in the car.
In the last two decades Gary has been one of the most experienced Funny Car and Top Fuel drivers in Europe, driving cars owned by Mark Newby, Stuart Vallance, Knut Söderquist, Rune Fjeld, Mark and Jackie Hawkins and Kenneth Lorentzon, as well as Lawrie Gatehouse’s Chaos Fuel Altered. In his role as driver he has endured his fair share of wins, records, fires and plain bad luck. He has also crewed on the Top Fuel teams of Knut Söderquist and Micke Kågered and is one of the most trusted pairs of hands for anything to do with nitro burning race cars. Gary also has a wicked sense of humour and a laid-back attitude at the track which is an example to all.
The next generation of the Page family arrived on the scene in 2007 when Gary’s nephew and Dave’s son Dan Page achieved fourth place out of fifty points scorers in the extremely competitive Pro ET Championship in his first full season, and Dan’s sister Heide also has taken to the quarter mile.