Four or five years ago i bought a drag bike chassis from a guy in Hexham just above Newcastle. Neither i nor the seller knew anything about the bike, he had bought it from the widow of the former owner who didnt even know her husband had it until he died and she found it in the garage. I took a few photos and put them up on 200mph.org drag racing forum to see if anyone knew who had raced it and when.
Someone on there said it was possibly Ray Feltell's "Penetration" Triumph and pointed me in the direction of the excellent UK dragrace nostalgia website, i posted on there and within a day i had confirmation of the bikes history direct from Ian, Rays' son. He dug out what history and photos he had and sent them to me and over the years i collected a few programmes and magazine articles about the bike. Ray had crashed heavily at Santa Pod in 1976 and subsequently bought a car to compete with which he used for several years before he died from an asthma attack in 1983.
Ian was only 5 when his dad crashed the bike but remembers being looked after by fellow racers in the van whilst Ray was taken to hospital.
The chassis was built by Pete Davies of Puma engineering and is a real work of art with beautiful brazing. Ray had used a blown Puma Triumph nitro fuelled motor with a Laycock overdrive unit as transmission, but as i dont have the experience or skills necessary to re-create the bike it has hung in my shed ever since looking pretty.
A couple of years ago Rays' brother Keith, who now lives in Australia, called in to see the bike and reminisced about the old days when they started racing in the 60s' taking the back and passenger seats out of their A40 and transporting the bikes in it. Last month Ian contacted me to ask if he could come up to see the frame and take some photos, he came with his young family and spent quite a while with us, as he left his wife said "if you ever fancy selling it let us know", she should have known better! It didnt take much working out to see that the bike meant far more to them than it ever could to me so i did the decent thing and offered it to him.
He called and picked it up yesterday and it is now back in Birmingham where it began life.
Ian has made contact with many of the old racers of the 70s, John Hobbs, Norman Hyde, Mick Butler etc and has also contacted Pete Davies (now retired) who is excited at the prospect of seeing his work again. Maybe Penetration will run again. There is a thread on UKDRN it may be worth dropping in on now and then..