In what was a very poignant moment for the Norman family at this year’s Dragstalgia, 6.35 pm late Saturday afternoon will forever be remembered for BDRHoF member Dennis Norman’s final ride down the Santa Pod quarter mile courtesy of his son Gary and grandson Matthew; two generations of the Norman dynasty in this fitting final tribute to one of our British drag racing and sprint super stars.
As the two double-engine bikes approached the start line; Gary on board the 1700cc Norton ‘Conquest 2’ and Matthew with the original 1300cc Triumph ‘Conquest’ in the other lane, it became quite an emotional moment even for announcer and BDRHoF selector Keith Lee, as he described to the viewing audience what was about to happen – and what a character of both disciplines Dennis was back in the day over the crackle of two double-engine bikes leaving the start line.
“My biggest concern was getting both bikes from one end to the other over”, commented Gary afterwards. ”It was a massive honour to have been able to do that. The pressure was really on for both of us; father and son, son and grandson, side-by-side with dad on both bikes. Bloody fantastic,”
“When we got to the other end we were both choked and teary eyed. Matt had a miniature bottle of Scotch in his leathers!! sshh. So we drank his health, and said our final goodbyes in proper fashion – in the return road”, Gary said afterwards.
Later that evening, Dennis’ ashes were laid to rest in a private family moment at the end of the famous British drag strip. “Scattering his ashes later when the family turned up, along with his many friends and fellow riders, was a very difficult thing. Both mum and I wobbled a bit. Everyone was applauding after his ashes had been finally scattered. It really hit us both hard. So much for being tough guys!
“We can’t thank Keith [Lee] and Santa Pod enough for arranging this moment. It’s what he always wanted when we asked him; ‘get rid of me at the pod’ he would say. That’s all he wanted, and he got it in a cracking send-off. It could not have gone any better.”
Race in peace Dennis.
Dennis was inducted into the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2014, which you can read HERE