Jon’s love of Drag Racing spans back to 1966, when he first persuaded an older cousin to take him to Santa Pod. He is someone who has been through the wringer a few times along the way, but it has not stopped him. In earlier days he helped out a fair number of racers, by crewing for them. First was Robin Wilby, who needed assistance with his junior dragster. Jon was then involved in a horrific life-threatening motorcycling accident, when he was on the pillion. If that was not enough, he would then break his neck in another serious incident! After helping Steve Woollatt in his early days, he crewed for Rod Pallant. Jon has encouraged many bikers to get into Drag Racing over the years – and he himself rates persuading his friend Brian Johnson to ride at a Blackbushe drag race as the best thing he ever did for the sport. Jon would crew for BJ at home and abroad.
Jon’s own first step into regular Drag Racing competition was in 1985, in the Pro Stock bike class. Aided by Tyne Blight, he won some national events, and was voted BDRA best newcomer. In 1986 Jon won the first international event at Zandvoort, and in 1988 won the World Finals at Santa Pod. A new Kawasaki was built for the following year. This did not prove to be a match for the Suzuki-powered entries, and Jon dropped it at North Weald – but was quickly back out. After two years racing a Suzuki, Jon moved up into the Funny Bike class with Mike Beaumont. This was raced for four years and was champion in 1993. The pinnacle for Jon, as a bike person, was to compete in Top Fuel Bike. Over the next 6 years a top-class machine was constructed, thanks to input from Pete Davies and Frank Brachtvogel. In a sad twist of fate, Jon suffered two heart attacks before ever getting a chance to ride his now completed bike! Cruelly, ECG tests would prevent him obtaining a pro race licence, and the unraced bike was sold to Chris Hannam.
After swallowing this massive setback, and taking a couple of years out, Jon was desperate to get back racing, which would be restricted to sportsman classes. Having made so many friends on both sides of the sport, he made the switch from two to four wheels, and bought a ’69 Camaro to try his hand in the competitive Super Gas class, which would prove to be a happy move. Jon campaigned the car through to 2017, when he was forced to take a break, due to work issues – and the Camaro was sold. Now he is back with his bright yellow ‘No Hair’ entry, having established himself as a multi-time champion in Super Gas. He is quick to credit his stepson Dan Page for all his help – especially with the electrical systems. Still a bike man at heart, Jon’s love of American cars has done him well as he has managed to keep on racing.
Profile & Portrait by Keith Lee