Wolfie Smith makes flying start to new drag racing season

PUBLISHED: 14:11 19 March 2019

Mark 'Wolfie' Smith on the Dakota raceway start line at the launch of a new season of drag racing. Picture CHELS UNDERHILL DARK FAIRY PHOTOGRAPHY

Mark 'Wolfie' Smith on the Dakota raceway start line at the launch of a new season of drag racing. Picture CHELS UNDERHILL DARK FAIRY PHOTOGRAPHY

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Newton Poppleford-based drag racing ace Mark ‘Wolfie’ Smith made a flying start to the 2019 season when he won his first meeting of the new campaign, writes Steve Birley.

Mark 'Wolfie' Smith on the Dakota raceway start line at the launch of a new season of drag racing. Picture CHELS UNDERHILL DARK FAIRY PHOTOGRAPHYMark 'Wolfie' Smith on the Dakota raceway start line at the launch of a new season of drag racing. Picture CHELS UNDERHILL DARK FAIRY PHOTOGRAPHY

‘Wolfie’ stepped up a class this year – he has moved up from the recent years of competing in the modified street bike class to the more powerful category of competition bike class – but the habit of winning has stuck with him, despite the more intense competition, as he did battle with his close friend Mark ‘Skinny’ Patman, who he edged into second place at a windswept Dakota Raceway at Smeatharpe.

Speaking after his first full day of racing in the 2019 season, ‘Wolfie’ said: “The new set-up that Big Paul [Paul Lewis, of BIG PAULS AUTOS of Cotford Road, Sidbury] did took a bit of getting used to, but I am delighted to say I was still able to win with what was a 9.56 second time and a top speed of 151mph – that’s not my best to date time, but then the wind was so strong that, at times, simply hanging on was the order of the day!”

Second was Mark ‘Skinny’ Patman in 9.95 seconds. ‘Wolfie’ says: “Obviously, beating my great friend Skinny is a huge boost for me and sets me up for the year ahead.

“The wind was blowing nicely from behind for the first 300 metres down the drag strip, but the last 100 metres it was gusting straight across the track from the right. Now, as any rider will tell you, that’s certainly not ideal! Especially, at that point in a run, the bike is at full throttle and full nitrous and is actually still accelerating with the front wheel trying to lift under the power!”

Mark 'Wolfie' Smith on the Dakota raceway start line at the launch of a new season of drag racing. Picture CHELS UNDERHILL DARK FAIRY PHOTOGRAPHYMark 'Wolfie' Smith on the Dakota raceway start line at the launch of a new season of drag racing. Picture CHELS UNDERHILL DARK FAIRY PHOTOGRAPHY

He continued: “So, after the last two runs with Skinny, the wiser option was to quit while ahead! The weather, in general, was good, save for that hellish wind!

“There was a great turnout with at least 10 high-powered specialist drag bikes competing in the competition bike class with me, including Pete Ford from Black Dragon Motorcycles in Yeovil, who unfortunately blew his bike up in a cloud of smoke! That just goes to show how much stress the engines are under, if only for nine short seconds or so!”

‘Wolfie’ rounded things off saying: “All in all, it was a great start to the new campaign – roll on the next meeting.”

Mark 'Wolfie' Smith on the Dakota raceway start line at the launch of a new season of drag racing. Picture CHELS UNDERHILL DARK FAIRY PHOTOGRAPHYMark 'Wolfie' Smith on the Dakota raceway start line at the launch of a new season of drag racing. Picture CHELS UNDERHILL DARK FAIRY PHOTOGRAPHY

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