Lesley Wright, Honorary Chair of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame, writes:
We are saddened to learn of the death of our distinguished Member, Dennis Priddle. Dennis was one of the inaugural group inducted into Membership in 2006. He was also inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2016, as one of only four individuals honoured with dual membership (the others being Sydney Allard, Carl Olson and Don Garlits).
An innocuous first competitive appearance at the wheel of Tony Gane’s little Rudge-engined dragster at Santa Pod in 1967 hardly hinted that, less than five years later, Dennis would be established as one of the giants of the fledgling straight-line sport. Nitro Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars were his vehicles of choice, and not only did he build, engineer and tune them but drove them with victorious distinction too. Before his retirement from driving in 1985 he had raced at venues across the UK and Europe, while a solitary trip to NHRA’s Winternationals in 1973 was stymied by that Southern Californian rarity, rain.
It was on Santa Pod’s quarter-mile that he achieved his greatest triumphs. In 1972, the first six-second pass achieved outside North America would earn him a sobriquet, ‘Mr. Six’, that would follow him for life. His celebrated rivalry with Clive Skilton lasted only until 1976 but became a legend of the sport which has endured ever since. Anyone even slightly familiar with Drag Racing in the 1970s and 1980s would have known of Dennis Priddle, and those more recently acquainted with the sport can conjure up his name to this day.
On behalf of my fellow Hall of Fame directors and management, and of our Members, I wish to convey our condolences to Sandra, Dennis’s widow and wife of 50 years, and to their daughter, Nicola, and grandchildren. Rest in peace.