Santa Pod Raceway, Bedfordshire, UK.
Santa Pod Raceway in Bedfordshire is the longest established permanent drag strip in the UK. Opening its doors in 1966, the strip has a long and chequered history, providing some of the most defining moments in UK drag racing history.
Long before the arrival of drag racing at the venue, Podington Airfield was constructed in 1942 as a vital World War Two heavy bomber facility for the US 8th Airforce.It became fully operational in 1943 with the arrival of the 92nd Bomb Group of the USAAF being stationed at the airfield.The Boeing B17 group undertook 274 missions from Podington airfield during its 2 year tenure and, sadly approx 150 aircraft were lost.
With the departure of the USAAF the site was taken over by the RAF until the Ministry of Works used the site for storage.
In 1961 the land was sold privately with a number of 'sprint' events during the following years and in 1966 drag racing in the UK had its first permanent base.
Ties with the USAAF personnel stationed at Podington continue to this day, with the occasional visitor from the US paying return visits to the site and in May of this year a memorial stone was dedicated to the crews and personnel stationed at Podington by the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust.
The business on hand at the raceway on the 13th/14th July however, was the eagerly anticipated third staging of the Santa Pod Dragstalgia event. The main event at the raceway for all things Nostalgia and after a huge investment over the winter to resurface the entire track and shutdown area, expectations were high. The previous two years have seen the event grow considerably and with a 'scorching' weather forecast on the cards, the build up over the previous weeks had heightened the anticipation and all of the indications suggested 2013 would be the best event yet.
The weekend however, is more than just about the racing, a huge 'show and shine' takes place on the Sunday, a Historic Marquee displaying historic vehicles from years passed, a Saturday evening 'Cacklefest' and Fire burnout demonstrations, a demonstration track for our version of Historic Stock Cars and a Battle of Britain fly past by a Spitfire and Hurricane.
With an entry approaching 200 vehicles, the action on the track was sure to match the temperatures around the track.
With series rounds for all of our 'Nostalgia' classes, Outlaw Anglia's, Gasser Circus, Wild Bunch and Supercharges Outlaws, together with a six car field for the Nostalgia Funny Car class, match racing from the Fuel Altered Association, healthy entry of Super Stock machines, a pre 1980 RWYB and a category for Historic Vehicles.
The Gasser Circus provided the usual 'wheels up' action throughout the weekend qualifying and eliminations, with the win going to, in a very close race, Ray Turner in the 55 Chevy Green Onions.
11 Outlaw Anglia's were in attendance for the event, including first appearances for Dave Sidaway, in the superb Silver Fordson panel van, Paul Wright in the 1948 Anglia 'Alco Pop' and Jean Tidswell driving the wheelstanding 'Problem Child'. Series leader Cliff Griffin extended his points tally with the event win and with second placed Colin Millar being eliminated in round 1, Cliff now has a hefty lead at the top of the table.
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