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.