February '20

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22 THE SHOP FEBRUARY 2020 I n 2016, Ron Hope of Rat Trap Racing and Randy Bradford took their AA/Fuel Altereds to Europe to race at England's Santa Pod Raceway and in Hockenheim, Germany. The trip was part of Rat Trap's 50th Anniversary World Tour. While in England, the pair raced local engine builders Nick Davies and Rob Loaring of ICE Automotive and their AA/ FA Havoc. The guys all became fast friends and it transpired that Davies and Loaring owned the only active AA/FA in England so, effectively, they had nobody to race. Upon hearing of their predicament, Hope made them an offer they couldn't refuse: "Why don't you ship the car to the U.S. and race with us for the year?" Davies and Loaring threw up all sorts of reasons why they couldn't, but in the end, they agreed it would be a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. They would ship the car to Houston and run it out of Rat Trap Racing's facility in Franklin, Tennessee. Hope would also lend them a truck and trailer. All Davies, Loaring and driver Scott Barnes would have to do was fly in and run the car. Fittingly, the car made it stateside and the Havoc team went on to win the Fuel Altered Challenge at the California Hot Rod Reunion. A BRITISH INVASION Of course, the Havoc team was not the first British team to race in the U.S. We can go all the way back to 1927 when Sir Henry Sea- grave thrashed his Sunbeam land speed racer along the sand at Daytona Beach in Florida. Since then, there have been numerous others seeking competition across the pond. Take, for example, American muscle car enthusiasts the Williams brothers— Dan and Nic operate OCS Paint and Wil- liams Bros. Racing (WBR) just off the M1, conveniently situated between Santa Pod and Silverstone, England. Nic runs OCS, which restores and paints classics—there were four XKEs and two Corvettes in the shop when we visited— hot rods and muscle cars. Dan, meanwhile, runs the engine building and mechanical part of the business. The Williams brothers began drag racing in the UK at nearby Santa Pod Raceway. To find more competition they journeyed to Sweden, which looks close on the map, but to get there you take a ferry to Hook of Holland and then drive 1,000 miles north to the strip at Tierp. Racing in Scandinavia turned out to be more expensive than they liked. That fact, coupled with yet another rained-out event in the UK, prompted them to turn their atten- tion west to the New Land. Ultimately, they shipped over Nic's 1969 Camaro to compete in the NHRA AA/Stock Eliminator classes. 22 THE SHOP FEBRUARY 2020 RACING USA IN THE Borders are not always an issue when it comes to speed competitions. By Tony Thacker Nick Davies and Rob Loaring of ICE Automotive brought their AA/FA Havoc stateside to race for a year, calling it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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