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. 



BELOW......These are some example of Drag Racing vehicles.

Taken In 1986 at North Weald Airport. Kay and Derek spent their honeymoon at the Drag Strip. With their 'P' Modified Class, Ford Anglia. (Fuel, Petrol)

A typical Amercian street car. A Chevy Monza. Just bolt on some rear slick tyres and go racing. (Fuel, Petrol)

Taken in 1984. 'B' Modified Class. Austin A.35 car. (Fuel, Petrol)

1985. A nice shot of John Woods launching his Austin 'A' 40 Car. (Fuel, Petrol)

Taken in 1983. 'A' Modified Class. Sylvia Hauser Burns out in her Dodge Charger. (Fuel, Petrol)

Taken in 1988. Two example's of the Super Gas Class. These car's are limited to 9:90 e.t. ( Fuel, Petrol)

Taken in 1988. Two example's of the Pro Modified Class. Top Photo, Geoff Hauser. Bottom photo, Tim Cook. (Fuel, Petrol)

Taken in 1987. Pro Stock Class. ( Fuel, Petrol)

Taken 1980. A Jaguar powered Junior Compitition Altered. (Fuel, Methanol)

Taken in 1980. Bob Jarrett in a Mini Van called STRIPTEASER. Racing in Middle Compitition Altered (Fuel, Nitromethane)

Taken in1985. A Senior Compitition Altered of Tony Morris. (Fuel, Methanol)

Taken in 1984. Another Middle Compitition Altered of Bob West's Sick Williy ! (Fuel,Methanol)

Taken in 1987. Top Fuel Compitition Altered. (Fuel, Nitromethane)

Taken in 1988. Pro Comp, Funny Car class. (Fuel,Methanol)

Taken in 1987. Top Fuel Funny Car Class. (Fuel, Nitromethane) John Spuffard's SHOWDOWN.

Taken in 1986. Top Fuel Motorbike Class. Rod Pallant. (Fuel, Nitromethane)

Taken in 1987. Junior Dragster Class, Steve Johnson's MOTORMOUSE. (Fuel, Methanol)

Taken in 1987. Middle Dragster Class. I'm not sure which car this is but it's running on Nitromethane fuel.

Taken in 1987. Senior Dragster Class. Barry Giles on his way back to the pits. (Fuel, Methanol)

Taken in 1988. Pro Comp Dragster Class. Steve Read Racing. (Fuel, Methanol)

Taken in 1988. Top Fuel Dragster Class. (Fuel, Nitromethane)

So that's some of the different class's of Vehicles. Below........Some work going on in the pit's.

I'm not sure who's this Funny Car is but it's having a complete strip down.

1985. Biorn Ardin Top Alcohol Funny Car from Sweden Run's mid six second runs over 200 mph.

1985. Top photo... A Top Modified Car ( Sweet Sixteen) being worked on. Botton Photo...The Clfton Bros working on their car (Hot Tomato 2)

1985. Dave Mingay on the left who own's the Pro-Mod Car HELLRAISER. Chris Wick's is his crew man.

1985. Dave Mingay appyling to much power to the sticky track !! I've bet you have never seen a prop-shaft with a knot in the middle of it !

1986. Paul and Dave Warne hard at work on their Pro-Mod car. Top Photo is the Vega pick up. Bottom photo is the new Sierra.

1985. Jade Warrior This was in a motorbike class but not sure which one. The rider had to lie down on his front with his head inside the canopy, he operated the gears etc with his feet.

1984. Top photo. Nobby Hills (left) And Alan Bates examing Houndog's engine..

1984 Bob Jarrett Stripping down Panic's Engine after a 6:60 @ 231mph run.

1986. A crewman stripping down Harlam Thompson's Funny Car engine down after a 5:95 @ 256 mph run.

1978. Stripteaser Mini van being worked on by Tony Merry (left) and Bob Jarrett. The engine is a 3.8 Jaguar running on Nitro Fuel !

1985. Sammy Miller (right) and his crewman just finishing packing the parachute's for "Vanishing Point" Rocket Funny Car's next 3 second pass !

1984. A crewman working on Dave Wilson's "Krypton" Dragster

1988. Geoff Hauser doing some carborator tuning to his Pro-Mod Sierra

1986. A Swedish Car having an engine transplant..

1985. A crewman Working on a Funny car engine.

1984. Notice a holed piston on the top right of the photo, caused by a dropped valve !

1988. Darrell Gwynn (left) and his dad Jerry Gwynn Work on Darrell's Top Fuel Car.

1986. A nice line up of all the compition cars waiting to use the new Drag Strip at Long Marston Raceway.

Unfortuatly even thou this is a NON CONTACT SPORT, Occasonally thing's can happen !......Below......

1985. Sylvia Hauser crashes her new Sierra, She went out of shape off the start line and hit the crash barrier !

1986. The "TORQUE 'OT' NORTH" Lost control of the Ford Pop over the Finish line doing around 140mph and rolled over !

1988. Top Photo. Ford Capri Super Gas car hit the brarrier. Below, The "'A' TEAM" Pro-Mod Camero crashed at Long Marston in the field in the shut down area.

1986. Hockenheim Ring. Tony Boden blow's the con-rods out of the engine.

30th/5/1983. Dave Stone in "STARDUST" was reduced to fiberglass dust when he threw all the con-rod's out of the engine !

1989. Rico Anthens on 2 wheels, going out of shape at just over 150mph, in his Funny Car.

1986. Hockenheim Ring. The J.V.C. Funny Car came off the end of the track !

1974. Clive Skilton's Top Fuel Dragster crashed in the shut down area doing around 230 mph !

20th/9/1975. "2 TON CARMEN" Crashed just coming off the start line and hit the barrier, rolled twice.

1977. Dick Sharp rolled the Austin A 35 "DORSET HORN" Comp Altered doing around 140mph over the finish line !

1977. "FIRE IN'JUN" Rolled over just crossing the finish line at 135mph !

1984. Paul Flint in his Hustler Hilman Imp rolled over just past the finish line.

1978. Dennis Priddle suffered a broken ankle in this horrific clutch explosion at 210mph ! The clutch discs came through the windscreen !

1977. This is the Alloy block out of the Funny Car "STARDUST" (Above) It only did the burn out before the side of the block broke !

1978. Not all accident's happen on the track ! This was Dennis Priddle's Funny Car being warmed up in the "play pen" area, The car was not jacked up and it shot forward into the ditch !

1976. Ron Picardo bombed the blower off the top of the engine doing over 230mph !

1986. Hockenheim Ring. Slam'n Sammy Miller hits the crash barrier at the end of the track after a 2.20et @ 230mph run. On the 1/8th Mile track

Okay that's enough accident's now.......Below are some of my photos that I have taken over the years of racing.

1975. Bob Messant's Jaguar powered steel bodied Mini van called "STRIPTEASER"

20th/9/1975. "HOUNDOG 7" Just come back into the pits after running a 6:61 @ 210mph.

1974. Clive Skilton's new Funny Car a Vauxhall VX490 Body.

1977. A new Funny Car arives at Santa-Pod Raceway, This car later became "GLADIATOR"

1976. World Finals at the Pod. Top photo, Raymond Beadle in "BLUE MAX" Funny Car & Gene Snow in the "SNOWMAN" Funny Car. 6:01 to a loosing 6:02 et's !

1979. Don "The Snake" Prudhomme Bought the Army Funny Car to Santa- Pod.

Easter 1976. "Big Daddy" Don Garlets came to Santa-Pod with his "SWAMP RAT" Top Fuel Dragster. I remember he did not do very. I remember Pete Crane running the first five second run with "STORMBRINGER

1977. Ron Picardo in "HIGWAY PATROL" Top Fuel Dragster. Notice it has blues and two's on the rear wing ! Which worked !

1978. Norm Wilden's small block chevy running in Pro- Comp.

The next lot of photo's are of Exhibition race cars..........Below.....

1978. Santa-Pod -Raceway's new Jet Powered Dragster. The car ran in the 8 second zone and was to heavy.

1986 Hockenhiem Ring the two Jet Dragster's from Santa-Pod Raceway. "VAMPIRE" and "HELLBENDER" In the pit's. Below 1982. "VAMPIRE" On a run at S.P.R. These Jet cars run around 7 sec's at 230 mph

1983. Steve Murty's Jet Truck at York Raceway. Made a lot of noise and flame but did not go that well, but looked nice.

1976. Barry Bowles made the first Rocket Car in England. But did not run very well.

Sammy Miller went to Zanvoort in Holland and recorded a 1:62et@298mph run on the standing 1/8th mile !!!

1985. The Rocket Car ran a impressive 3:65et @ 365mph on a standing 1/4 mile !!!!

1986. Sammey's other car ran even quicker at 3:32 @ 370mph. On a standing 1/4 mile track at Santa-Pod-Raceway....WOW !

During the Winter Sammy took OXYGEN to a frozen lake in Canada. He took the wheels off and replaced them with Ski's and went over 250mph, but crashed the car into a snow drift.

1985. Henk Vink from Holland wait's his turn to go up the Dragstrip on his Rocket Bike. he ran 6:52@280mph !

1985. Do you belive a man can Fly ? A Rocket pack was straped to the back of this Guy and he flew away ! Sammy Miller was involved as well.

1987. Lee Anders Hasslestrom Burns Out at Santa-Pod Raceway in his Fuel Funny Car on his way to another Five Second run.

1986. Jerry Andrews spins the tyres in "grip juice" (Glue) to make the tyres grip better off the start line better

1985. This very smart Funny Car came over from Norway called "APOCALYPSE 2" It ran in Top Alchol Pro- Comp Funny.

This Is a driver eye view from the cockpit of a Funny Car.

1988. Frank Hawley standing by the Budweiser Funny Car.

1988. Harlam Thompsons Funny Car ran 5:98 @ 250mph.

1990. Rico Anthens new Merc Fuel Funny car. It ran 5:89 @ 258 mph.

Roy Phelps (The promoter of S.P.R.) With Titch on the left with his hand on the roll cage of the Top Fuel Dragster with Bill Sherrett next to him,all waiting to Fire it up.

1982. Norm Wheeldon built "PLAN X" Small Block Chevy front engined dragster. He ran in Pro-Comp.

1984 . Al Segrini bought his Fuel Funny car to Santa-Pod Raceway. Frank Hawley drove the car.

1984. Nobby Hill's S.L.D.O. Fuel Funny Car Driven by Alan Bates.

1986." HOUNDOG" Funny Car ran a 5:99et @ 251 mph.

1986. Alan Bates waiting in the hot seat of the "HOUNDOG" Funny Car, about to be fired up, just before his 5:99 et run.

1978. Nobby Hill's "HOUNDDOG" Fuel Altered. It's the chassis off the Funny Car with at 1923 'T' Body on it. Looks great ! and ran Fast !

1988. Graham Barrs burn's out with his new Ford Mustang import car running in Pro-Modified.

1987. A new streamlined Top Alchol Dragster from Sweden ran an impressive 6:81 @ 220 mph.

1985. Clive Mechell's Fuel Alteded. Waiting to be fired up at Long Marston Raceway.

1985. Top Photo. Clive Mechell in Pro-Mod. Bottom Photo, Dave Gibbons in "ROUGH DIAMOND" Comp Alteded.

1987. Top Photo Paranioa race's Henry's Revenge. Below. Vic Hammond in his Altered racing Gerry Andrews in his Dragster running in PRO-COMP.

1988. Top Photo. Brian Cross with the "DEADLY MESSIAH" Comp-Altered which ran in the low 8 second zone at 165 mph. Bottom Photo. A Comp-Altered from France.

1984. Gary Page in "PANIC" Burn's out in the Monza Funny Car

1986. Hockenhiem Ring. The J.V.C. Funny car Burn's Out on the 1/8th Mile track.

1988. Tom Laffey get's his Trophy for winning the final round of Pro-Modified.

Below.............Drag Racing has it's social side as well..............?!

1984. Just some of the wild party's in the Pit's at S.P.R. During the weekend's racing.

1985. The Red Lion at Bozeat, Just down the road from the Pod. This is where we often had our drivers meeting's whilst having a drink.

1985. Mick Cheley Win's the Doorslammers meeting at Santa-Pod.

1984. Chistmas night Party's at Chris Wick's house with some of the crew's and drivers.

Plus New Years Party's at Chris Wick's house.

1976. The last photo......We are in the car park at Santa- Pod, These are the tin toilets that were there for us Humans to use. The Cow's that Guard the car park need the toilet's as well ! PHEW !!!