Category Archives: Racing Games

Deep Roots of Drag Racing in the UK

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Drag racing in the UK has a rich history, believe it or not.  While the fact that drag racing is a hot sport in the UK may be one of the best kept secrets ever, we fans are well aware of the fact.  Here is a little background on the subject that I have dug up that I think you will find as interesting as I do.

Santa Pod Raceway opened in 1966, earning the title of Britain’s very first official drag stip.  It was an exciting time for fans of drag racing.  There are many stories about the Drag Fests and the drag racing pioneers that I find simply intriguing.

Nick Pettitt is an expert on UK drag racing history.  He has put together about 70 DVDs and also a fantastic book that gives a great perspective and a gold mine of history about the subject.  It’s definitely worth checking into his works if you want to learn from the best.

Ted Lloyd James was one of the first to race in Britain, dating back to 1953 and even further.  He was a sprinter turned dragster.  He had a super-fast dragster car and knew how to race it.  He remains one of my favourite racers of all times.

Sydney Allard was another old timer.  He won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1952 and made a name for himself although he had been racing for some time by then.  He was well diversified, racing hill climbing, endurance and anything else that gave him a rush.  He was among the best of the best in no uncertain terms.

The British Hot Rod Association took roots in 1960, founded by Wally Parks.  That is when England began to learn about drag racing and excitement was in the air.  The National Sprint Association appeared on the scene two years later and England was moving on towards a love for drag.  Brian Sparrow was responsible, in part, for putting the UK on the map for drag racing.

Tony Densham and Harry Worrall were pioneers of the first true British engine dragster.  They used a British engine and a light frame and came up with a winner that would do down in history.  Dragster Developments formed due to the invention.

I love the fact that in the days of old, there were not all the conveniences that there are today.  Making a car race ready was not done through a computerized program.  It took a lot of brains, determination and hands-on sweat and tears.

England welcomed the sport of drag racing.  It was more competitive than the traditional sprint races, forcing cars to race side by side, toe-to-toe.  Technology was making it possible for the cars to fly faster than ever and the fans were in awe.

Indeed, The UK has some very interesting history when it comes to drag racing.  From the days of illegal racing down closed off highways and bi-ways to the professional organized sport it is today, drag racing in the UK has deep roots that are worth digging up.

A Fan’s Handbook: How to Enjoy Drag Racing

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It seems like it would be a no-brainer to know how to enjoy drag racing.  But such is not the case.  Enjoying the race fully is an art.  Take it from me, an avid drag racing fan, there are some tips and tricks to getting the most out of a race.

First off, know a little history about the track you are going to.  Make it a day, a week-end or a full fledge vacation.  Usually there are historical points of interest on the scene that you will find quite interesting.  There are generally other fun things to do in the area as well so do your homework and make it a memory.

Learning about the racers is important too.  Who is racing while their wife is in labor with their first child?  Who is suffering from an injury but still determined to be in the race?  It is fun to know personal details about the racers and also to have your favourites to root for.  It just makes the race all the more better.

Knowing the rules and regulations is helpful too.  It is more involved than you may think.  There are certain behind-the-scenes happenings that make it more than just a simple race and knowing the ins-and-outs will make your race watching a more enriched event.

Dress appropriately.  I have been to racer where I felt like I would burn up and some where I was sure I would freeze to death.  Races that last all day usually call for layers of clothing so you can bundle up or strip down determined by the time of day.  If there is a chance of rain, bring an umbrella for sure.

You may want to carry a set of ear plugs with you.  If you are bringing children or a lady to the event, I would certainly suggest doing so.  The races get loud and sometimes last for quite some time so better safe than sorry, in my estimation.

Bring along some extra funds for food and drinks or bring your own picnic if it is allowed.  There’s nothing worse than starving while you attempt to enjoy a race and the adrenaline flow can make you quite thirsty as well.  Find out the rules on bringing in your own cooler and food before attempting to do some and never bring glass containers in.

Sunglasses or a hat are helpful to have on hand.  I have had seating that did not allow me to even see the race due to the sun being in my eyes.  I squinted and cupped my hands over my eyes but to no avail.  Sometimes you can purchase such gear there at the raceway but it is not a given.

Being knowledgeable and being prepared will make or break your drag race experience.  It is advised to read up and search online for any and everything that has to do with the race, the raceway and the racers of the event that you will be attending.  And by all means, don’t forget your camera.  Know your stuff and enjoy the game!

Drag Racing: How to Get Started

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Are you thinking of getting into drag racing?  If you are, here are a few things to help get you from the garage to the tracks in just a few steps.

One thing you must be sure of if you are considering drag racing is that it is a dangerous sport.  I am sure you are well aware of that but take it to heart and know the risks.  It is estimated that about 22 people a year die at a racetrack, be it a driver or a fan.  That is only of those that are recorded.  Many others suffer fatalities in illegal, undocumented races.  Know that the dangers are out there and are very real!

With that settled, it’s time to figure out what you will need to get started.  Of course, you need something to race.  Knowing the nuts and bolts about a fast car (or any vehicle) is key.  If you don’t know, do some research or employ the knowledge of someone who does know.

You will need to know how to work on your racing vehicle or have access to someone who is mechanical.  There is a lot of upkeep that comes along with racing.  Plus, you will want to constantly be making it better and faster.

Know the rules.  There’s more to drag racing than just getting out on the track and speeding down to the finish line.  You are going to need to study up on the rules and regulations so you don’t get disqualified and so you have an upper edge.

You will also want to become familiar with the tricks of the trade.  Talk to those who have raced for a good period of time and find out the easy way the things they had to learn the hard way.  You may also want to search online for advice and for sure, subscribe to all the racing magazines you can.

Spending time in the pit is a great way to learn more.  You can volunteer to help out and you’ll really get a feel for what goes on behind the scenes.  It’s exciting to be a part of the team and it’s very helpful to your racing endeavors as well.

Taking classes is a good option for aspiring drivers.  Many of the speedways offer driving courses at very affordable rates and most have different levels of instructions so you can start at the bottom and advance.  There’s nothing like hands-on training by a professional in a safe setting.

You will need to acquire the gear you need.  Different types of racing require different equipment so find out what type you will need for your particular interest.  All will have safety gear but which kind will vary so find out for sure what you need and accumulate it as you can.

Amateur races are a good way to start out.  You will have much less pressure in these races and can learn tremendously from your own trial and error.  Once you get good at it, you can begin to move up in the ranks and eventually, hopefully get a sponsor which will help you afford the things needed to go from good to great.

UK Drag Races: Spot On Spots to Catch a Great Race

The UK is known for horse racetracks but seldom acknowledged for its racing tracks.  But, truth be known, there are some spot on ones here in the UK.

The Shakespeare County Raceway is a fun, family oriented place to watch drag racing.  Definitely one of my favourites, it’s located in Shakespeare County, at Long Marston Airfield in Warwickshire near Stratford-Upon-Avon.  It’s pretty accommodating, I must admit and affordable as well. There are nostalgic races, modern car races and even lawnmower races sometimes.  You can catch a great race or, on some days, take a run down the raceway yourself.

Another great raceway is Santa Pod which is the European Drag Racing home and where FIA/FIM European Drag Racing Championships are hosted and televised.  There is a nice variety of races to choose from like retro and classic cars, funny cars and monster trucks.  I love the Bug Jam and Big Bang which is the Volkswagen Beetle and Camper fest.  Santa Pod Raceway is located on the Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire border and is very family friendly.

Crail Raceway in Scotland is at Crail Airfield.  An event called “Thrash and Dash” takes place every night from February to November and is quite the rave.  It’s especially fun to make an adventure vacation out of the trip because there are a myriad of things to do and places to see and scrumptious spots to eat a good meal at.

In the colonies, the Morris Park Motor Sport Complex Dubbo Speedway in New South Wales is, in my opinion, geared a bit more for adults.  It has stocked bars on each side and boasts fabulous views of the very well-kept professional track.  Some great races can be watched there and the atmosphere is outstanding.  I especially like the Sprint car races and the Formula 500s.  If you want to keep a good eye on the action, Dubbo is the place to go.

Eastern Creek Raceway, also known as Sydney Motorsport Park, in New South Wales is not only a good location to watch car races, but it’s an excellent location to see motorcycle races too.  This track offers a lot of diversity and also has the Garage Café is a clubhouse which serves up a nice bite to eat in between races.  There are a lot of things to do around the Raceway so it’s worth making a day or a week-end out of the trip.

Sometimes the best racetracks are those that are tucked away and unheard of by most.  The excitement can run wild at these.  You must be careful, however.  Some of the out of the way ones are not legal and you can get yourself in a heap of trouble if the rack is busted.  Be sure the spot you go to is legit so you know the drivers and yourself are protected in case anything go wrong.

The UK may not be exactly popular for drag racing, at least not as it is for horseracing.  But for those who have a keen eye for a good race, it certainly has some notable racetracks that host some of the best races I have ever seen.  Just look around and do some homework and you will, no doubt, find a great spot.

Drag Racing: It’s A Gas!

While some sit glue to the tele for the World Cup, drag racing is more my line up.  For those of you who are new to the sport or know nothing about it at all, let me give you some fast track info to bring you up to speed.

First of all, let me clarify, that drag racing is, indeed, a sport.  Not only is it a sport, it is the loudest and fastest sport of all.  And might add that it is an addicting sport as well.

In a drag race, two vehicles compete to see who can get to the finish line first.  The vehicles can be cars, trucks, motorcycles and so on.  There are different styles too like funny car races and monster truck races.  I tend to like them all but stock car drag races are probably my favourite.

Drag races date back to the invention of automobiles.  It is something that is just built in to most men and some females as well.  We like to race.  Whose car is the biggest, baddest, fastest one around?  Rev your engines and find out!

For myself, my drag racing days began when I was just a lad.  My older brother used to race his car against his friends.  Unbeknownst to our parents, he would meet up with them on obscure country roads on the week-ends and race for money.  He won often and gave me a portion of the profit in return for not telling on him.  I loved the races and the profits too.

The races I watch now are more professional and are generally on the tele except for when I am fortunate enough to attend in person.  I still get an adrenaline rush as I hear them rev up then peel off down the track and am usually up out of my seat cheering my car on by the time it gets to the finish line.

For those of you who think drag racing is a shallow sport that consists of nothing but two cars racing down a little strip of pavement, think again.  There’s actually quite a lot that goes into a race.

Before the line-up, each of the drivers are given an opportunity to burn rubber which means spinning their tires to heat them up and get them ready to take off fast.  Once each driver has done so, they line up.  Then, they await the lighting of the Christmas tree which is a column of a six light progression that ultimately ends with the green light to “go”.  There are error and fouls which can occur and the lighting is actually pretty complicated and involved which is something most people do not realize.

Then, during the actual racing, there are three measurements.  The first is the reaction time which is the time it takes a vehicle to leave the starting line once the green light appears.  Then, there is elapsed time which is the time it takes from the starting line to the finish line and speed is what is determined through a device called a speed trap that sits in the final 66 feet of the stretch.  The standard race strip is a quarter mile.

There are different strategies to races.  In some, the looser is removed from the race and the winner is as well.  The winner will going the winners circle race and the looser, well, he is simply out of the game.  There are also races where qualifying and elimination rounds are determined that set the stage for the main or final race.

The more you learn about racing and the racers, the more you are most likely going to love drag racing.  If you have never experienced it, why not give it a round.  You might just find that it’s a gas!