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Forecasters Foiled at Supernats

Part of Sunday's extensive line-up of deuces


So many good things happened at last weekend’s NSRA Supernationals at Old Warden, near Biggleswade, that it’s difficult to know where to start.  Firstly, the weather forecasters got it wrong and we had glorious sunshine for most of the weekend.  Secondly, the cruise to USAutomotive’s premises proved a major highlight, with a great turnout of over 150 cars.  Thirdly, there were some extremely sharp new cars in attendance, with Dave Sturgess rightfully picking up Best of Show with his Pagan Gold ’32 Coupe, and finally, from a personal point of view, the 37-year-old ridge tent I’d recently acquired from a good friend thankfully proved leak-free during Saturday night’s torrential downpour.

I still can’t believe it, even now,” said Dave Sturgess in conversation on Tuesday of this week.  “It still hasn’t really sunk in.”  Dave was referring to winning the aforementioned Participants’ Choice Trophy, and also to picking up a second award for Best Deuce Drive.

Dave and Joan Sturgess with their Participants' Choice '32 coupe 


Of course, Dave wasn’t the only winner, the top 10 including the familiar hot rods (and former DRCReview feature cars) of Dee Young, Louis Turner and Steve Fletcher.  Other winning debutees included Les Howlett’s fresh-out, HGHR-built Model A roadster and the stunning, 1000-plus horsepower, blown Chevy-motored ’65 Chevy C10 pick-up of Chris Venn.  Pat Miles’ bright blue, ’40 Ford pick-up got the nod (a popular choice, judging by the reception he got at the prizegiving), as did Stephen Speer’s ’38 Willys sedan and Michael Taylor’s bad blown Willys coupe.  Dave Killick’s sliced Model A sedan and the ’38 Ford Coupe of German visitor, Dieter Authofer, completed the top-10 line-up.

Chris Venn's stunning Chevy pick-up was another top 10 winner

Less Howlett's gorgeous Model A roadster fresh out of the HGHR workshop


After the awards were handed out, we asked NSRA Chairman, David Biggadyke, how the NSRA arrives at its list of winners.  “They are decided by the participants, who each fill in their choices on a voting slip and post them in our collection box,” he explained.  “We then run them through the NSRA super-computer – actually, it’s me, sitting at the back of the marquee – tot them all up and arrive at a democratic decision.  This year, we had more voting slips than ever – over 500 – so they were perhaps the most comprehensive results we’ve ever had.”

Dave Haskell's '34 coupe features a lovely roof chop and other nice details like the staggered hood side louvres and quad exhaust. 


As for the event itself, Dave commented that it seemed to run particularly smoothly this year.  One of the undoubted highlights on Saturday was the short cruise up to USAutomotive’s premises in Bedford.  Not only had the staff turned their warehouse into a very attractive rod shop, but also they had organised parking for 150 vehicles and provided all guests with a free hog roast – a thoroughly nice gesture.

USAutomotive organised a free hog roast for everyone and converted their warehouse to resemble a hot rod shop - all to celebrate their 10th anniversary.  Fortunately they'd come prepared with a second hog as you can see there's not much left after a hundred-plus hungry rodders had taken a slice or two  

It was an impressive sight from any angle

T-shirts, custom wheels and their popular Mr Gasket range comprised many items on sale


Back at Old Warden, the weather held out until around 10 pm when, appropriately enough, while listening to The Doors classic, Riders on the Storm, (and enjoying some great hospitality courtesy of the Brack Packers) the heavens really did seem to open and deluge the grounds and camping area until about 7.00 the following morning.  The biggest surprise was unzipping the tent to find the ground wet, but nothing more – not like you’d get at Billing, for instance. 

We counted a line-up of 37 deuces but there were more elsewhere on the showground 


Cars were lining up on the showground at 9.00am, and by 11.00am, over half of it was occupied with pre-’72 vehicles.  To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Deuce, all of the ’32 Fords in attendance were invited to park up at the front of the showground in two rows.  We counted 37 cars in total, but then noticed at least five more parked up elsewhere while walking the showground.  It was a great turnout, with the recently imported, US-built, black Deuce of Scotland’s Colin Miller the most recent addition to the line-up.

This was Colin Miller's lovely example - built in the US and recently imported.  Colin picked up a Deuce Drive award for his efforts 


Chris Venn’s ‘blown’, big-block Chevy-motored ’65 Chevy pick-up could be heard whining around the campsite, its monster motor sounding just awesome.  It had the look of a caricature custom with its wicked roof chop, blower sticking through the bonnet and massive, billet-style wheels. 

The Victory Wheelers were out in force again 


The special show guests this year were Americans, Richard Conklin, Keith Adams and Ed Stinton – three members of the Deadman’s Curve Gasser Club.  Conklin was also responsible for establishing Radir wheels, and all three could be found at the R&R Hot Rod Imports stand – the appointed UK distributor for Radir products. 

Top 10 winners included Steve Fletcher, Louis Turner and Mick Taylor - with his blown Willys coupe


Sunday’s turnout was described by David Biggadyke as possibly being slightly down on last year – “the usual scaremongering over weather didn’t help,” he commented – but for those who bit the bullet and decided this was an event not to be missed, regardless of the weather, there’s no doubt they will have gone home very happy indeed. 

Story: Andy Kirk & Graham Jones
Photos: Andy Kirk

German visitor Dieter Authofer picked up a top 10 award with his '38 Ford coupe

Coffee Grinder put in an appearance with its very enthusiastic owners

John Gumble picked up a Deadman's Curve award with his Ford Anglia gasser

The ex-Nick Diss Model A now owned by Dave Killick was another winner  

Rods just kept rolling in at USAutomotive

Stephen Speer's top 10 winning '38 Willys sedan

We liked the clean, fuss free treatment of this pick-up 

part of the impressive line-up of Ts at USAutomotive. Photo Ian Messenger

The top 10 and other winners minus Dave Sturgess's fab coupe

Mid-Surrey Street Rodders received a special award for attending virtually every run this year - shown is MSSR member Lindsay McCoubrey in her 37 Ford attending yet another event

Mark Gee took one of three Deuce Drive awards

Popular Dutch visitor Perry and his team not only hosted a barbeque throughout most of Saturday night for fellow Brack Packers, but also brought over this slammed tikki truck complete with bamboo grille and exhaust tips

This shot illustrates the diversity of cars that USAutomotive supply part for - from race cars to rods to road cars. The lovely old Ford Fairlane Victoria in the background belongs to USAutomotive's Bob Theobald, while the sharp yellow Falcon has recently been put on the road by USAutomotive's Pete Stafford.  
 Photo Ian Messenger.

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