DRAG RACING IN ENGLAND.
Drag Racing was born in the mid 1950's in California, America. The idea of this type of racing was to get the kids off the streets of the U.S.A. Who were ilegaly
racing each other on the roads.
Drag Racing came over to England for the fist time in 1960. A purpose built drag strip was required and a sleepy village called Poddinton in Bedfordshire was chosen. Where a small Airfield played a big part in WW2. This was one of the American Airforce Bases in England. They used to fly their Flying Fortrace Bombers from here. There still is a crater which is full of water now at the end of the dragsrip (Just on the left) where two Bombers hit each other, killing those on board , as a reminder ! The name Santa Pod came from the Californian Town, Santa Ane and Pod come's from Poddington Airfield. Now called "Santa Pod Raceway", the home of Drag racing in England.
How drag racing works........
A drag strip is 1/4 mile long with a 1/2 mile shutdown area. Each drag strip has two seperate timed lanes with a start & finish line. A lighting system called a Christmas Tree starts the cars off with working infered beams to give an elapsed time (E.T.) and Terminal speed (M.P.H.)
There are many different classes you can go into from a Street Car to a Top Fuel Car or a Street Motorbike to a Top Fuel Motorbike.
Drag racing is a NON contact Motorsport (somtimes !) and is the cheapest form of Motor racing that anybody can enter providing they have a driving licance for the road. But like all things the faster you want to go, the more money it will cost ! Due to the stringent safety rules it is the safest form of Motor racing. There are accidents on the track but the driver is well protected.
So after building your race car (or bike) You have to book your race vehicle into a race meeting, Bring with you your Compitition Licance to show the R.A.C. Scruteneer, he will also have a good look around your race car and will only let you on the drag strip if he thinks it's safe to do so.
The driver will have to be a member of a Drag Racing club. There is always a practice session, this is normaly a good time for a new race car to have it's 3 observed runs, just to make sure that the driver and car will handle themselves ! If everything is still okay the car can que up in the staging lanes for it's first qualiyfing run. The burn out is performed by spinning the rear tyres in a puddle of water to get them hot and sticky, so
to provided maximum traction when leaving the start line. As the car aproaches the start line the pre-stage light will come on, this tells the driver that the front wheels of his car is only 4" away from the start line. The car creep's forward till the stage light is lit on the Chritmas Tree. This movement has now broken the infered beam that go across the start line.
You are now "In Stage"
The start line marshell flick's the switch, the amber lights run down and the geen light comes on. If the car moves before the green comes on, you will automaticly get a red light and the car is disqualified from that run. But assuming you move on the green light, the infered beam is made up and the clocks start running, they only stop again when the front wheels of the car break the infered beam across the finish line 1/4 Mile away, thus giving you an elapsed time (E.T.). The speed is measured by infered beams before and after the finish line (M.P.H.) This is known as the "speed trap."
A "Holshot" off the start line is where one car leaves before the other without red lighting. This is the drivers worst enamy, ("The Chistmas Tree")
You need a driver with a good quick reaction off the start line to win Drag Races. Another way of disqualifying yourself from a race is if your car crosses the center line into your aponants lane.
To make the racing closer for the lower classes, a handicap system is put into the Christmas Tree. Normally the slower car will have a head start on the faster car in the other lane, so they end up at the finish line together, but with only one winner. The faster Pro classes run a "Heads up" Tree, in other words both cars leave together on the green light and race flat out to the finish line, the first one that crosses the finish line first wins the round.
The looser goes home whilst the winner get's his or her's car ready for the next round of racing, and run's again untill there is only two cars in your class left. This is called the Final Round. If you beat the other car, you are the Champion of your class.