Canada on the cusp of introducing another Top Fuel dragster to it’s national mix!….

Ontario’s “Ant Hill Mob” Racing Team (who’s reputation does includes some rather colourful post race event/late night activities —LOL!) — is making plans to up the noise level yet again…

Based from Paris Ontario, the father and son team which is comprised of transplanted British-native Smax Smith and his son Aidan Heatley Smith have completed a maneuver which will see them run their very own Top Fuel dragster operation — coming this season.

Canada’s newest Top Fuel dragster is beginning to take shape at the Paton Racing facility in Ontario.

Smax Smith, who has been dabbling within the North American Top Fuel scene on a limited basis for quite a few seasons – mostly in conjunction with Michigan’s Leverich Racing team — will now help to guide forward the fortunes of his own team race car.

Recently (in March) — the team did take delivery of a Top Fuel dragster chassis operation which was imported from Europe — and that configuration is being housed at the Paton Racing shop headquarters located in Paris Ontario.

“Our car is from Sweden, it was formally driven by Patrik Pers,” confirmed Aidan Heatley-Smith.  “The chassis was built by Mats Eriksson — who is basically  the Murf McKinney of Europe. He builds most of the cars over there – and they are top notch.  We did our deal with team manager Mark “Animal” Bodimeade, who is a good friend of ours and was actually on Smax’s top fuel team when he won the European championship.”

Patrick Pers shown in action racing the recently acquired Mark Bodimeade’s car — at Santa Pod England.

While Smax will most likely make some initial shakedown runs in the car — the team’s evolution will also see Aidan licence for Top Fuel and move into the cockpit for drag racing’s ultimate class category.  Most recently, Aidan did wheel the Ant Hill Mob’s Ford Mustang in the TAFC class.

“After last season — our initial plan was to try to contest some NHRA events in 2020 with the Top Alcohol Funny Car,” Aidan explained.  “We saw a fit because over there a lot of the car counts were low.  We actually had acquired a spare motor and had it all lined up to send out for certification.  We were making ready to give it our best shot and to play with the big dogs in TAFC.  But after looking at prices for certification, the exchange rate and costs for shipping and travel etc — we figured all that may not be the best strategy (for our team) after all.  So we put the funny car up for sale and worked on the deal to purchase the dragster.”

In recent times — Aidan Heatley-Smith had been honing his craft within the TAFC class category.

“Our Funny Car has been sold off — it’s going to a racer in Europe (France),” added Smax Smith.  “So our focus will be only Top Fuel and the plan is for Aidan to license as soon as the tracks open.  We are well poised to have the car ready to go as soon as that happens.  The car is currently at Paton Racing which is fortunate for us — because we are only about 5 mins away.  Barry and Mark are helping us get the car together and we have purchased most of our parts from them. They are getting the car up and running and race ready for us.  We are also re-educating — because this is a night and day difference from alcohol!”

Smax and Aidan have also established close ties with US-based Top Fuel racer Scott Palmer — for some parts and advice.  Both he and Gary Leverich have been influential within the teams transition path to Top Fuel. Gary Leverich will also assist with tuning the car and sharing data.

While the world’s COVID crisis is preventing anything very firm from a planning and timing perspective — things still promise to get pretty interesting in the future.

“We where supposed to have the car in late February — but issues with the border and shipping and then the pandemic resulted in unexpected delays,” Aidan continued.  “Originally we did have plans to debut and run the car in testing next month over the Victoria Day weekend.  Eventually, we will run locally at Toronto Motorsports Park and a target remains running at their Canadian Nitro Nationals — over the Canada Day Weekend in July.  After that we will see how the rest of the season looks from there.”

Aidan’s career potential as a driver does come from pretty a good pedigree.  Ultimately he will take the baton from his father Smax — who’s experience while drag racing in Europe was notable.

Smax did race nitro funny cars as far back as 1999 in Europe.  After 3 seasons there — got the opportunity to drive a top fuel dragster (in 2003).  In his first ever event – he in fact acquired his license, qualified #1 — and won the event!  He then went on to contest the full FIA European championship and ultimately became the first racer in European history to win a championship in his rookie season.  He was also credited as the 3rd driver in European history to break the 300 mph barrier (1/4 mile).  He has continued to dabble in Top Fuel ever since — including flying back to England to drive the UK’s McDonald Brothers car for a couple seasons.  In North America he first hooked up with the Leverich Family in 2007 and with them has raced events within both IHRA and NHRA, as well as numerous match races – to date.

Smax Smith

“Overall we are pumped and excited about the next chapter coming,” Smax added.  “I will still be driving the Leverich’s car and if things do pan out we could have the very first Canadian father vs son match race as part of the 4-car line up for the Canadian Nitro Nationals – later this summer.”

Over the last decade or so — Smax Smith has recorded a number of appearances as driver for the Leverich Racing TF dragster based from Michigan.

The Ant Hill Mod Racing Team is very appreciative of all the direct and behind the scenes assistance received from Barry Paton, Mark Morris, Gary Leverich and Scott Palmer, as well as their current list of valued sponsors — Bill Zinger (Blendtek), CP Carillo,  Kris Boesen (Six B Apparel) Hussey (head gaskets/engine tech), Roro Design, Renway Fuels, McNeil Auto Parts, Just Store It,  Fastco fabrications, Ant Hill Construction,  Dragpacks and DJ Safety.

The Ant Hill Mob has campaigned some rather unique machines in their team history too — including this alcohol burning ’35 Chevy contraption (circa 2014).

Posted by Bruce Biegler

Photos by Bruce Biegler, Brennan Shortall, Roger Gorringe and courtesy of Ant Hill Mob Race Team.