Retro Show at Santa pod Raceway.. What a day! Made Even better by the fact I wasn’t even sure I was going to make it with all the recent troubles I had with my car!
I probably wouldn’t of gone had I not got on the Volvo 300 Mania Stand, this was a blessing in disguise in many ways. It gave me that extra bit of motivation to get things done on my car which was exactly what I needed since I’ve lost a lot of interest recently.
That said it wasn’t all smooth sailing on the way down! Had to pull over shortly after I set off due to one of the injectors pissing out fuel! The cabin was just suddenly engulfed in the smell of petrol! I’ve recently had a lot of problems with seating the injectors properly and getting them to seal. But fortunately all it needed was a tighten up of one of the nuts. Problem solved!
Yes. I came prepared. Welcome to life of someone with a unreliable car! Expecting every eventuality, I had my socket set, a bag full of spare nuts and bolts, a fresh 5L bottle of Oil, and 4L worth of water in milk cans.. Pretty much had everything covered. My gorgeous travelling companion was blissfully unaware of all this… good job! Because her phone was how we got home! And I think she would of bailed if she knew! YOU DO NOW!
Fortunately the weather was good and the roads were empty, but this minor/serious problem didn’t stop us from having a great drive down! Unsure of my sat nav’s accuracy, it was very reassuring to see the odd classic and modified car on the route down aswell.
The route from Swindon to santapod, couldn’t possibly have any more roundabouts! But we ended up on the tail of a lovely original 80’s 911 wide arch turbo. So I decided to follow him for a while through all the tricky bits.. since he seemed to be going the same way! Turned out to be a great idea! And it was a great sight aswell.
When we finally got there, it was all action from the outset, the run what ya brung down the strip was well under way and the practicing for the Retro Drift Challenge was on the go aswell. It was brilliant to be able to park on the stand in the middle of it all.
There was a great turnout of Volvo 300’s aswell, these cars have been getting rarer by the day, so to see so many in one place was quite a surprise. Despite the lack of cars and parts about, the enthusiasm is still as strong as ever. This will hopefully be what keeps the scene alive.
It was a long 2 hour drive down, so first thing I needed to do was stretch my legs! So coffee and drag strip was the best idea. There was 2 big turbo civics that sounded immense, and they were running between 8-10 sec quarter miles all day, these were the benchmark really for road cars on the day.
There was also a fantastic little YB Cosworth powered black mini shocking everyone and making a scene, It absolutely flew off the line! It looked like it wanted to move quicker than the car was physically able to. It didn’t really standout as heavily modified either, until you looked under the bonnet.
The other big surprise of the day, personally for me was this little fiat panda 126, it looks so standard! it just went.. and kept on going and going and going. My initial thought was it had something like an impreza engine in it, it wasn’t till we got up close, you could see what lies beneath. It’s a Toyota turbo power plant of some description, most likely a 3S-GTE I would of thought due to the midship layout, out of an MR2 or formerly the Celica GT-Four.
A lot of cars had crate motor V8’s as well, probably due to this being the most cost effective way to get decent and reliable power straight away. These were another source of fastest times of the day, but these were more purpose built vehicles with only a few of them being road legal, There was a couple of old skool dragsters out on track from the earlier days of the sport aswell. They sounded magnificent. Much louder than today’s modern V8 drag cars. They were a lot more visceral and raw. Modern V8’s sound smooth and not quite as lairy in comparison.
The Show and Shine area was the place to go though. This was the ideal arena to experience the variety of cars on show and see some really unusual creations. It’s a great insight into how unique everyone’s’ tastes are. It’s probably one of the few places where the most powerful, expensive or competitive car isn’t necessarily the winner.
As usual one of the biggest crowd draws was the fireforce jet car though. It’s been over 4 years since I saw it last, it’s still as impressive a spectacle as ever! The sound, sight, smoke and everything is exhilarating. You can almost feel the tension and expectation in the air as it readys for the off. There was basically a cloud of smoke on the start line from where the driver was messing with the afterburner, it was spectacular. It’s first run was about 5 or 6 seconds at 277mph! As quick as it started it was gone. Later on in the day we were at the top end of the track so you could see it when it was actually doing nearly 300mph… it’s fast, like ridiculously fast! Its hard to imagine what 270+mph looks like till you really see it.
The Retro drift challenge provided some excellent sights and sounds aswell with some stiff competition at all times. The route was pretty technical and challenging, but it could’ve done with a high speed entry point, however the tight nature of the track kept the competition between powerful cars and the not so powerful cars pretty even. It was great to see different cars to your usual range of S-bodies keeping it sideways. There was a couple of old escorts in there, My personal favourite was the SR20det Powered Volvo 360 saloon from Driftmoto, there was also my friends ford pop 100e, powered by a 2.0l pinto engine, this definitely looked like a good laugh. There was also a pretty awesome starlet which I think was Vtec powered.. correct me if I’m wrong but it sounded awesome on full throttle!
All in all it was a top day, great cars, great event, great people, great weather, what more could you ask for on a day out!
For all the pictures from the day, head on over to the gallery here: Santa Pod Retro Show 2013 Pictures