published: June 24, 2017 By Phil Harnett

NGK adds its spark to the Goodwood Festival of Speed

Goodwood 5

Motorsport enthusiasts will be heading down to Sussex next week for the UK’s major annual automotive extravaganza and as ever NGK will be there!

Our stand – which is between the start line and the Cricket Pitch – will have a drag racing theme this year with a display of iconic racers including champion drag star Andy Robinson’s NGK-liveried 69 Chevrolet Camaro which has a top speed of 239.05mph and drag bikes raced by legendary rider ‘Stormin’ Dennis Norman.

In addition, NGK-sponsored four-time and current World Speedway champion Greg Hancock will be available for signed selfies with fans on Friday, June 30 from 11am-12 Noon and 2pm-3pm.

NGK has been a long-time sponsor of Greg and has just announced it is to sponsor his 12-year-old son Wilbur who will also be attending the event.

Mark Hallam, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd Marketing Manager, said “We are delighted that we have managed to put together such an impressive collection of drag racing machines and that Greg will be joining us on our stand next Friday where he will be available to sign selfies with visitors.

“Not only is he one of the most successful riders in the history of Speedway, but he is also one of the most popular and we are thrilled to announce that we will also be supporting his son Wilbur in his progress in the sport.

“As a company, we have a long-standing connection with motorsport having helped numerous competitors and teams to victory in World two and four-wheel championships, so we think it important to have a major presence at the Festival of Speed alongside many of the vehicle manufacturers and race teams we supply with our OE components.

“We are sure our display will appeal to motorsport enthusiasts who flock to this great event, many of whose cars and motorcycles are fitted with our components.”

Other attractions on the stand include Lee Cohen’s 1700hp Ford Zephyr drag car, which is fitted with NGK spark plugs. The 16ft long vehicle, which is based on a 1955 model, runs in the super pro class and has run a best time of 6.7 seconds at 203mph.

Steve Woollatt’s 1000bhp drag bike will also be featured. The 10ft long bike’s engine is based on a Kawasaki z900 and can achieve a quarter-mile standing start in 6.19 seconds and has a top speed of 228mph.

The stand will also display two of Dennis Norman’s bikes. Starting out in the early 1960s, some of his records still stand today.

In 1965 Norman’s ‘Conquest’ was born, which was one of the first double engined bikes to appear in Europe and the UK and set the scene for the future. He coupled two 650cc Triumph engines together with a Supercharger and fuel injection set up, and was among the first group of riders to race in Europe at Anderstorp and Drachten.

He ran the bike through a single speed gearbox, and was famous for smoking the rear tyre for 200-300 yards – hence the nickname ‘Stormin’ Norman which has stuck ever since. This is believed to have been the first double engine bike outside of America to run under 10 seconds.

In 1973, he was approached by Norton Motorcycles and encouraged to build a Norton engine Drag bike using two of the ‘new’ 850cc Commando engines, and ‘Conquest 2’ was born.

Dennis retired from the sport in around 1980, but in 1992 he decided to rebuild the original Triumph ‘Conquest’, brushed off his leathers and started doing demonstrations and exhibitions at Sprint meetings around the country. In 2014 he was inducted into the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame.

Northamptonshire racer, Maria Costello, MBE, who rides the NGK-sponsored Kawasaki ER6 Supertwin will also be at Goodwood. The first lady of racing recently teamed up with Kirsty Hauxwell to make their debut in the British Sidecar Championship.