All of the pictures on this page were taken by Roger Phillips,
I am very grateful to him for the opportunity of reproducing them here.

Click on any image to get the bigger picture



2013 is the 40th anniversary of the 4th Internationals series organized by the British Drag Racing & Hot Rod Association and sponsored by Petersen Publishing (publishers of Hot Rod, Car Craft and Rod & Custom magazines).  The series took place over three consecutive weekends commencing on the 7th and 8th of July 1973.  The first and third meetings were held at Santa Pod Raceway, the second was staged at HMS Daedalus which, despite its seagoing prefix, was a Royal Navy airfield in Gosport, Hampshire.

The 4th Internationals series were tremendous events in their own right attracting entries from the USA, South Africa, Holland and Sweden, but, more importantly, it set the precedent for future high quality international meetings.  It began the trend for US drivers to bring over state-of-the-art cars which were often purchased by Santa Pod Raceway and either campaigned by British drivers, or driven on return visits by the American stars themselves.

The stars of the show were undoubtedly the two Fuel Funny Cars of Don Schumacher and Paula Murphy.  The performance and showmanship were like nothing ever experienced before on British soil and it was all carried out in such a professional but seemingly matter of fact way. Anyone who witnessed this meeting, as I did, would surely agree that a new era of UK drag racing started then.  It certainly sparked a huge interest in Funny Cars to the detriment of Top Fuel Dragsters.

But the event was not just about Funny Cars, there were two Top Fuel Dragsters driven by top US drivers, and the mighty Harley Davidson motorcycles ridden so impressively by the late Danny Johnson.  Let us start this page by taking a look at the US contingent.

There are excellent reports of these three meetings on the Trakbytes website.  Webmaster Chris Dossett has kindly given me permission to combine these reports in to a single, downloadable pdf file which you can view and, or save by clicking here.



Don 'The Shoe' Schumacher and Stardust.  The fans were blown away by the double burn outs and the sheer performance of the car.  After being beset with supercharger problems Don ran  a best of 7.21 seconds and 202.84 mph in his final run against Paula Murphy.
He later came out and did a flame burn out, drove half way up the track, turned round and did a burn out before returning back to the start line for yet another burn out.  What a showman.




Paula 'Miss STP' Murphy in her Plymouth Duster-bodied flopper performing a characteristically fierce burn out which would be repeated before the run.  She managed to take the Funny Car ET record from Don at the last meeting of the series in an incident-filled race with Bootsie Herridge of which more later.








Danny Johnson launching hard on his Harley Davidson-powered machine.  He ran a best of 9.27 seconds at 162.34 mph which absolutely stunned the UK bike competitors.




Tony 'The Loner' Nancy driving his Revelliner rear engined Top Fuel Dragster.



Norm Wilcox back at the wheel of the Mr Revell slingshot which was by then owned and campaigned by the highly successful John Woolfe Racing team.



It is unfortunately not possible in most instances to differentiate Roger's pictures between the two meetings held at the Pod, but here are a selection of pictures taken at that venue.



Don Schumacher only drove at the first meeting and then handed the car over to Allan 'Bootsie' Herridge.
It is not known who was driving in these pictures but it is likely that Bootsie was at the controls in the left hand shot because Santa Pod's Roy Phelps is backing the car up.



This unfortunate incident happened at the final meeting of the series when Allan Herridge was racing against Paula Murphy.  He ran low on fuel which popped the blower and blew the roof clean off the car.
Amazingly, he still managed to clock 7.35/199.20 but lost to Paula's 7.18/173.61 which set a new Funny Car elapsed time record.



A fine selection of pictures of Paula Murphy's super STP-sponsored Plymouth Duster.
After Paula's return to the USA this car became part of Nobby Hills' Houndog team and was driven very successfully by Owen Hayward who was a rookie driver.  Scary!
Paula won the Gosport event and the final round at Santa Pod and she is seen at bottom right receiving her trophy at the Pod while a smiling Bob Phelps (with the hat) looks on.









There was one other Funny Car present and that was the eagerly-awaited The Sting of Liam Churchill which was debuted at the final round of the series.
Liam built the chassis himself and used a modified Fibreglass Repairs Ford Capri body.  The engine was an ex-Nobby Hills 354 cubic inch Dodge.




A few more pictures of the late Tony Nancy.  His car was setting terminal speed records like there was no tomorrow and he finished up with the record at 223.71 mph.
It was hoped that this car would also pass to the Houndog team but terms could not be agreed.  The Houndog 8 Top Fuel Dragster which was subsequently built by Nobby Hills is said to be a carbon copy of the Revelliner.



Clive Skilton was contesting Top Fuel Dragster in his newly imported ex-Kuhl & Olsen car.
The picture at bottom right shows Skilton matching up against Norm Wilcox driving Mr Revell.  This must have been taken during qualifying as I can find no record of them meeting in the eliminations.



Dennis Priddle was driving his 'old' car, the now legendary Mr Six.
On the right Dennis is posing with the Petersen Publishing tropy.








Roland Pratt from the famous Hillbillies team was driving Clive Skilton's Revolution 3 fueller.
This picture is likely to have been taken during round 1 of the first meeting.  Norm Wilcox broke the differential on this pass leaving Pratt to move forward to round 2 with a 7.66/163.23 pass.




Dave Stone in Tee-Rat, which was powered by a 7240cc Chevrolet, about to race US serviceman Freeman Rogers in his 7000cc Ford-powered Aardvark.



Phil Elson in the near lane driving his blown and injected 6300cc Chrysler-powered Sneaky T against Dick Sharp in his Austin A35-bodied Dorset Horn which was powered by 6980cc of Pontiac.








Another of the foreign visitors was Anders Lantz in this striking '33 Plymouth five window coupe.  The car was technically a Street Altered but as you can see it was running in Competition Altered at this meeting.




Straight 6 Jaguar-powered Competition Altereds used to be a common sight back in the 1970s and here are two examples of the breed.
In the foreground is 2 Ton Car Men sporting a Mini saloon body with a supercharged 2485cc lump, while behind is Bob Messent driving the normally aspirated 3800cc Stripteaser Minivan.



More Jag-powered altereds - nearest the camera is K Berry driving the Austin Ruby-bodied Stagecoach, with Brian Mondey with his Model T-bodied in Optimist in the far lane.
Both cars featured 3800cc capacity engines.



Satan's Toy was driven by Kevin Pilling in the Pro Stock class.  The car had originally been imported from the USA by John Woolfe Racing and driven by Dave Riswick and Dennis Priddle.
On the far side is one of the first UK-style Pro Stockers in the form of the Music Machine Ford Capri which was the brainchild of Mike Aitken, editor of National Drag Racer magazine, and driven by Acceleration Archive contributor Geof Hauser.



The late Tony Dickson burning out in
his Money Hungry Pro Stock.



The Rose brothers' 'Cuda performing
one of its signature smokey burn outs.



Pete Andrews drove the Maxine's Toy Corvette in Top Street, he is racing Richard Smith's Russo's Rat (bought from Frank Russo and imported from the USA) in the left hand picture.



This is Dave Vizard proving that the Pro Stockers didn't have a monopoly on smokey Line-Loc burn outs.  Good man!



In the days before tracks were glued, sledded and generally pampered the way they are today it was perfectly possible to turn up at any old airfield with a reasonably smooth surface and race.
The runway at Daedalus was not all that long so the track was set at only 1,000 feet instead of the usual 1,320.
Little did we know back then that within 40 years all top fuel racing would be carried out over the 1,000 feet distance!



Paula Murphy was back in action astounding the crowds and running match races with . . .



. . . Allan 'Bootsie' Herridge who had taken over the driving of Stardust from Don Schumacher as he had to return to the USA.  It was a busy weekend for Allan as he was also driving the Firefly Top Fuel Dragster.



Tony Nancy in the Revelliner rear engined dragster preparing to take on Dennis Priddle driving the Mr Six slingshot.
They raced each other twice and the honours were even at the end of the day.  The green track caught each of them out but Nancy managed a huge 210.03 mph terminal speed (over 1,000 feet remember) in his desperate attempt to catch Dennis in the second race.



'Movin' Mike' Hutcherson nearest the camera in the Houndog rail against 'Bootsie' Herridge in Firefly.
Again, this pair raced twice with Houndog winning on both occasions as Firefly fully lived up to its reputation as the most evil-handling fueller.



An unlikely pairing this - Norm Wilcox in Mr Revell up against Dave Stone in the injected Tee-Rat altered.
Unsurprisingly Norm Wilcox took both wins and he also clocked the quickest time of the day with a 5.83/168.63.



Ray Hoare in his small block Chevy-powered The Saxon rail seems to have pulled a slight hole shot on Phil Elson in his blown and injected Sneaky T altered.



On the face of it this looks like a very uneven match-up.
Swede Svante Ericsson in his street--legal Willys Jeep against Freeman Rogers in his 7000cc Ford-powered altered.
I don't know who won this race but it wouldn't surprise me if the mighty Hemi-powered Jeep did - it really was incredibly quick.



John Whitmore in the foreground launches his dimunitive blown and injected 1293cc four cylinder Drag'n'Fly slingshot in a race against Tony Anderson in his Trouble dragster powered by a 2500cc blown and injected V8 Daimler mill.
Whitmore's car was capable of nine second runs and 150+ mph terminal speeds, an amazing performance from such a modest powerplant.



B/D12 was driven by John Fullerton and was powered by a 6800cc Pontiac lump.




Bob Messent in the all-steel bodied Stripteaser Minivan.  The car was later developed and featured a one-piece fibreglass flip-up body.



Rick Fielding pops the wheels on his Topolino-bodied 1558cc supercharged Lotus Ford-powered altered in a match-up with Carlyle & Martin's Black Knight Vauxhall Viva-bodied altered.




The Stone's were another team to debut a UK Pro Stock at the 4th Internationals in the form of their small block Chevy-powered Tender Trap Mark I Ford Escort.  My first company car was one of those . . . sort of.
The dragster in the foreground is T Riddle's Inter Phase powered by a 1650cc Ford four banger.




Gary Goggin doing his level best to pollute as much of Hampshire as possible in his 10 second Clunk Click Pro Stocker.



Kevin Pilling in Satan's Toy ditto.
That is Gary Goggin in the foreground.




Warning!  Those of you of a nervous disposition or who are allergic to circuit cars should look away now!
Sad to say Beve Bond in his Formula Atlantic car was paired up with Tony Dickson's Pro Stock and beat him twice when Dickson red-lit in both races.



Danny Johnson raced Duncan Hocking on his 750cc ARE Triumph twice.
He won the first race easily with an 8.35/107.99 pass but red-lit in the second race which Hocking won with an 8.57/124.84 effort.



The captions on this page have been prepared by copious reference
to the excellent meeting reports on the Trakbytes website.



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(First posted on 29 July 2013)

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