Stories of UK drag racing pioneers
Dante Duce and Mickey Thompson at
1963 Brighton Speed Trials
- John Wood photo

Series 4

Ken Cooper and Rich Butcher's story and history. (published 15th March 2024)

Maurice Takoor's story and history. (published 11th March 2024)

Barry Sparrow's story and history. (published 4th March 2024)
On behalf of Sheila Sparrow, her family and myself it is very gratifying to see such a comprehensive exposition of Brian's life and contribution to the establishment of Drag Racing in the UK resulting in his induction into the Hall of Fame. Most of today's racers are blissfully unaware of the obstacles presented to the pioneers of the sport some sixty odd years ago overcome by the likes of Brian, Gerry Belton and the Guv'nor. We owe a considerable debt.

Finally, Sheila shared a delightful story indicating Brian's rather direct approach to organising:having arranged for the American Commandos Teams to cross the Atlantic and race at Santa Pod in 1966 Brian calmly told Sheila that they would be entertaining all of them plus about half a dozen others one evening. As a newlywed Sheila had never so much as cooked for a dinner party at that point.

Four short stories (published 26th February 2024)

Denis Jenkinson's story and history, part 1 (published 19th February 2024)

Alf Hagon's story and history, part 1 (published 9th February 2024)

Alf Hagon's story and history, part 2 (published 16th February 2024)

Alf Hagon's story and history, part 3 (published 23rd February 2024)

Alf Hagon's story and history, part 4 (published 1st March 2024)

Alf Hagon's story and history, part 5 (published 8th March 2024)

Movin' Mike Hutcherson's story and history, part 1 (published 5th February 2024)

Movin' Mike Hutcherson's story and history, part 2 (published 12th February 2024)
Quote from Mike: May I start by thanking you John Hunt for your interest in my story and the way you brought it all together Also many thanks to everyone connected with putting it all together . First class job I am very happy with the finished result . Many thanks again. Yours Mike Hutcherson.

Alan Allard's story and history (published 30th January 2024)

Wally Park's involvement in British Drag Racing - Part 1 (published 5th January 2024)

Wally Park's involvement in British Drag Racing - Part 2 (published 12th January 2024)

Wally Park's involvement in British Drag Racing - Part 3 (published 19th January 2024)

Wally Park's involvement in British Drag Racing - Part 4 (published 26th January 2024)

Wally Park's involvement in British Drag Racing - Part 5 (published 2nd February 2024)
Quote from son Richard Parks: Excellent job. I noticed a few edits, but you stayed true to the text. I really like your site and style and you always have my permission to publish. Even if there are some new interpretations, bear in mind that people always see the same event slightly differently and I have no qualms with that. What a great group you have. Try to attract more members and grow because you do an excellent job of saving history. Send me more stories, so that I can put them into the newsletter and promote your efforts.

Gerry Belton's involvement in organising the 1964 Drag Festivals - Part 1 (published 1st January 2024)
Quote from Gerry's son: My father, would be so proud and pleased that the stories and paraphernalia have at last surfaced again to help celebrate 60 years since the events took place. He died in 2019 and as anyone who has to have dealt with a parent’s material legacy can confirm, a child finds it difficult to throw anything away. Then the call came from John Hunt who told me of the historian’s plans to display (digitally and perhaps physically) artefacts and stories from the 1964 and 65 Dragfests. I was very relieved as I know Dad would have been mortified to have his whole collection discarded just because I thought there was no interest. How wrong was I!

I know he would be thrilled that those with an interest in the events and drag racing as a whole, can now see how much effort was put into getting the straight liners over the pond that year. It was also fabulous to see John’s face light up when discovering some of the personal letters about the events thought lost. I found out a few things too…

Gerry Belton's involvement in organising the 1964 Drag Festivals - Part 2 (published 8th January 2024)

Gerry Belton's involvement in organising the 1964 Drag Festivals - Part 3 (published 15th January 2024)

Gerry Belton's story (published 23rd January 2024)

Anniversary stories

BHRA First Big Go 1964 (published 17th May 2024)

Mooneyes 1963 - Part 1 (published 4th September 2023)

Mooneyes 1963 - Part 2 (published 11th September 2023)

The Early Years - Part 1 (published 4th August 2023)

The Early Years - Part 2 (published 5th August 2023)

The Peterson Publishing Internationals at Santa Pod Raceway - Part 1 (published 4th July 2023)

The Peterson Publishing Internationals at Santa Pod Raceway - Part 2 (published 5th July 2023)

Series 3

Phil Elson (published 31st March 2023)

Jeff Byne, part 1 (published 13th March 2023)
Quote from Jeff Byne: If it wasn't for people like John, Simon and the rest of the team taking much time and effort to produce the "Pioneer Stories" series, these details will be lost in the mists of time. Thanks for deciding to tell my story from my early sprinting days in 1970 through to recent Dragstalgia events, and for coming to my house to conduct the interviews and reproducing my old photos as part of the history of British dragracing. Wishing you well.

Jeff Byne, part 2 (published 20th March 2023)

Surrey Street Rodders, part 1 (published 13th March 2023)
Quote from club founder Harold Martin: I think the write-up in Eurodragster was neat, and one old member said it brought back memories.

Surrey Street Rodders, part 2 (published 20th March 2023)

Surrey Street Rodders, part 3 (published 27th March 2023)

Age Machine through the Ages, part 1 (published 27th February 2023)

Age Machine through the Ages, part 2 (published 6th March 2023)
Quote from Liz Rowland: Mick, your article was very well presented and so easy to keep in the flow of the story, as it was all in date order, well done on a brilliant article.

The Stones, part 1 (published 24th February 2023)

The Stones, part 2 (published 3rd March 2023)

The Stones, part 3 (published 10th March 2023)

Bruce Brown, part 1 (published 13th February 2023)
Quote from Bruce Brown: I enjoyed the articles very much, wish I was young again!

Bruce Brown, part 2 (published 20th February 2023)

John "Jynx" Harrison, part 1 (published 10th February 2023)
Quote from John's son Paul: I would like to say firstly a massive thank you to you all, that’s John, Simon and Nick, for all their hard work putting the John "Jynx" Harrison story together. And what a great story it was , you’ve given my late Dad John "Jynx" Harrison a lot of recognition for all his hard work he put in to Drag racing back in the early days. The likes, off-the-scale comments and shares on the Eurodragsterholics Facebook page totally blew my family away.

John "Jynx" Harrison, part 2 (published 17th February 2023)

Al O'Connor, part 1 (published 20th January 2023)
Quote from Al and Lisa: Thanks to everyone involved that helped in the compilation of my drag racing history. Who would have thought that 53 years later I would still be racing - and still in the same car! It was a pleasure to work with John Hunt and Nick Pettit, who managed to create such a detailed life story with an array of relevant photos, which I hope other people will enjoy as much as I did (well, nearly as much!).

Al O'Connor, part 2 (published 27th January 2023)

Al O'Connor, part 3 (published 3rd February 2023)

Chris Pattison, part 1 (published 6th January 2023)
Quote from Chris Pattison: I'm very glad that John, Nick, Simon et al are taking the time and trouble to record these memories before they are lost in the mists of time. A privilege to be included with the Pioneers who put so much effort into kicking things off. I've never claimed great things for myself having been fortunate to win a competitive car and, with my father, won a lot in a short period.

Chris Pattison, part 2 (published 13th January 2023)
Quote from Chris Pattison: Nearly half a century gap, then I did put a lot of effort into building the Grim Reaper and running it in the wonderful family that is the Supercharged Outlaws. I've always been keen to acknowledge those that have helped along the way and am happy that the car will continue successfully in the hands of Team Tiki Racing. That said,I was there at the dawn of Drag Racing in this country and it has nicely bookended my life (not that I'm intending to meet the Reaper quite yet!).

Ken Cooper, part 1 (published 2nd January 2023)
Quote from Ken Cooper: Loved what you guys have produced from my rambling. Can't really fault it. I'm surprised and humbled by the large number of kind comments from so many people. I never thought when you guys said people would be interested, that there'd be such a large response. I don't have a smart phone or a computer with internet, but Bradley did show me dozens of lovely comments on his laptop and phone. Thank you everybody:

Ken Cooper, part 2 (published 9th January 2023)

Ken Cooper, part 3 (published 16th January 2023)

Ken Cooper, part 4 (published 23rd January 2023)

Ken Cooper, part 5 (published 30th January 2023)

Bradley Cooper (published 6th February 2023)
Quote from Bradley Cooper: have just finished reading mine and dads story's on Eurodragster. Thank you to everybody who put in a lot of time and effort to get them done and so well presented. I am very pround to have my story up there with some of the legends and icons of drag racing in the UK. I Hope some people out there were inspired by reading them and enjoyed them as much as me and dad had telling them. Flatheads for ever!
Series 2

Geoff Jago, part 1 (published 4th March 2022)

Geoff Jago, part 2 (published 11th March 2022)

Geoff Jago, part 3 (published 18th March 2022)

Geoff Jago, part 4 - Stuart Jago's story (published 21st March 2022)

John Wright, part 1 (published 7th March 2022)
Quote from John Wright: The finished articles were very well put together, I enjoyed reading them. I really enjoyed reliving all those memories, Nick really knows his stuff, there were photos there even I hadn't seen before.

John and Richard Wright, part 2 (published 14th March 2022)

Gerald Cookson, part 1 - slingshots (published 25th March 2022)

Gerald Cookson, part 2 - Berkeley (published 1st April 2022)

Gerald Cookson, part 3 - MG Midget and Berkeley (published 4th April 2022)

Gerald Cookson, part 4 - Jerry Cookson's story (published 8th April 2022)
Quote from Jerry Cookson: After all these years, it’s been a fantastic experience to relive our memories within the sport that we have respected and been a part of our lives for over 50 years or more. Naturally, it’s had its ups and downs, but the crowning glory in its reality is that Dad can look back on all his achievements and recognitions which ultimately led to the family name being inducted into the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame. For me, and from a very early age, I feel satisfied that the experiences and the knowledge I have accumulated over the years is a valued memory of the sport and the many friendships made. The only downside is that we’ve lost so many of those friends in recent years which is why I’m happy to give something back to the sport with my continued involvement with the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame and British Drag Racing Historians. I can safely say that we’ve both enjoyed reliving our memories and being part of’s Pioneer Stories series.

Tony Russell (published 28th March 2022)
Quote from Tony Russell: Absolutely delighted to have our story published on Eurodragster. We were almost certainly one of the youngest teams to have competed at the Pod way back almost 55 years ago , Tony Brown and I were only 22 years old and our sponsor Jack Stillwell was older, probably in his forties at the time. It is so important that those early pioneering days are recorded for posterity for future generations of drag racers to enjoy. Sincere thanks to John, Nick and Simon for all their invaluable assistance in putting the story together. Proud to have been part of it.

Ford Anglias of Yesteryear

Brian Gibson and Bob Venison, Part 1 - Wild Thing (published 7th January 2022)
Quote from Bob: All I can say is brilliant! So much detail, some of which I had forgotten. We had no idea that there would still be interest in the car 55 years down the line. Thanks very much for producing this article, great memories.

Brian Gibson and Bob Venison, Part 2 - Wild Thing (published 14th January 2022)

Pat and Chris Church, Part 1 - Gold Rush (published 21st January 2022)
Quote from Pat Church: The interview with John Hunt and drag racing and hot rod history guru Nick Petit certainly brought back the memories of those early days. It was a joy to read ours and fellow pioneers write ups and somewhat nostalgic. I hope we played a small part in the growth of the sport of drag racing and hot rods.

Pat and Chris Church, Part 2 - Hot Rods (published 28th January 2022)

Tony Whitehouse, Part 1 (published 4th February 2022)
Quote from Tony: I'm thoroughly enjoying reading about the exploits of the racers my mates and I looked up to back in those early days. It must be clear to anyone who's read all these great Pioneer stories, that race car wise, my contribution was not in the same league. However, we were there having a go and I would like to think that what I lacked in track time, I made up for in putting the word out about drag racing to everyone I possibly could. Still reeling a little from actually being asked to relate my experiences, which I greatly enjoyed writing about, I'm looking forward to reading many more stories from the more worthy Pioneers.
Please keep up the good work guys.

Tony Whitehouse, Part 2 (published 11th February 2022)

Marshall Dickson Racing (published December 2014)

John Fullerton (published 21st February 2022)
Quote from John: I have been reading your pioneer stories. They are all good and bring back many happy memories. Hopefully I can get to a few meetings this year and maybe get Derek to go - I think he will be surprised to see current race cars and their performance. Many thanks for the time you spent with us and the assistance of your colleagues.

Derek Benbow (published 25th February 2022)
Quote from Derek: I have read the story on Eurodragster, very good, you got it just right. I like the last part, going, going, gone.

60s Ford Anglias (published 28th February 2022)

Liquidator (published 11th April 2022)
Quote from Norman Barrett: Can only say, well done!

Gleadow family

Part 1 - Motor Psycho - Brian, Mick and Bob (published 3rd January 2022)

Part 2 - Slingshot dragsters - Brian, Mick and Bob (published 10th January 2022)

Part 3 - Altered, econo Funny Car, Top Methanol Dragster (published 17th January 2022)

Part 4 - Mick's circuit racing and karting 1998-2006 (published 24th January 2022)
Feedback from Mick Gleadow: Our racing history is well covered in our Pioneer article and it's been fantastic and a great honour to have had the chance to tell our racing biography.

Part 5 - Mick's return to racing a slingshot (published 31st January 2022)
Feedback from Mick Gleadow: Outside of racing, I've been researching my family tree and what I have learned about accessing public records has been really useful in working with John Hunt and Nick Pettitt to trace racers from the 1960s and 1970s - there have even been some racer reunions, which is wonderful I've also met up with racers from those early days and look forward to future Pioneer articles coming to fruition.

Part 6 - TAD 1997 to Super Pro 2007 (published 7th February 2022)

Part 7 - NFAA 2007 onwards (published 14th February 2022)
Quotes from Adam Gleadow: It's been an honour to be involved in the process and help out the family story for people to enjoy.

Series 1 - Surrey pioneers

Derek Metcalf, Wombat / Strip Star (published 8th, 15th and 22nd February 2021)
Quote from Derek: "As as result of John Hunt contacting us, our recollections of the early days of UK drag racing were put down on paper, John visited us and was a great help; his memory for detailed corrections was a great assistance and it was very rewarding to see our experiences on screen with photographs. It made us realise that we did actually participate in those early days; if he had not been so helpful and accommodating we would not have had those memories rekindled".

Bill Haynes, Quarter Horse Racing (published 1st and 8th March 2021)
Quote from Bill: "It has been fabulous having my story told . It has been done so well and I donated all my items but know that all would have been returned if required. It has been done with great responsibility and honesty. I am proud to have been connected with it. Bill."

Mick Wheeler, Scorpion (published 15th March 2021)

Tony Anderson, Trouble / More Trouble / Even More Trouble (published 22nd and 29th March 2021)

Keith Stacey, Whiskey Peddler (published 5th April 2021)
Quote from Keith: "Thanks John, I was a bit sceptical about it at first,especially trying to remember what I was doing 45 to 50 years ago.As it happens I am more than pleased with the end result and both Lyn and myself are looking forward to meeting the other guys again. I had no problem lending the slides out to you and the nice thing is they are now on my computer".

John Smith, mechanic and crew (published 12th April 2021) Quote from John: "Just a quick note to thank you for all your time and effort in getting the 'Drag Racing Pioneers' stories put together and published on Eurodragster website. I had no idea that anyone would be interested after all this time until you phoned me. I am glad that all the magazines that I had hoarded since the 60's have now found a good home and thanks for returning all the photo's and slides so promptly. Nick Pettitt has done a brilliant job in reproducing these for the article together with all the notations. Putting details of the short time that I was involved down on paper certainly brought back a lot of fond and some forgotten memories not only of the Drag Racing at 'The Pod' but also great times spent with Bill, Keith and Richard and also Derek and Pam and Tony.

Richard & Martin Jarman, Strip Star / Hepolite Hustler (published 19th April 2021)

Russ Carpenter, Trouble, More Trouble, Even More Trouble, Glacier Grenade (published November 2014)


Former drag racer and event organiser John Hunt has contacted pioneers of UK drag racing, acquired their stories and transcribed them for to publish with original photos. The inspiration for people to become involved was the visits of U.S. racers Dante Duce and Mickey Thompson in 1963 (see above photos) and the Drag Fests in 1964 and 1965. The accounts are exclusive to and told in the original words of the racers, have been accompanied by photos and images from their collections. thanks racers for providing their stories, and John Hunt and Nick Pettitt for help with editing and proof reading the feature and making archive images available.

John Hunt writes: "I'm interested in all classes of cars and motorcycles. I would welcome hearing from anyone who would be prepared to assist the writing of others stories from the other classes? If anyone has memorabilia available to pass on to the group of drag racing historians please get in touch with me or

Label for beer bottles supplied by Peter Walters Race Design, sponsored by Paul Foote
Links to pioneers, authors and historians' meeting at Blackbushe on 28th July 2021:

Surrey Pioneers' reunion at Blackbushe

Gallery of Blackbushe reunion

Video of Blackbushe reunion

If you would like to contact directly then send an E-Mail to [email protected].


The above links go to UK drag racing history sites without which it would have not been possible to publish the pioneers' stories. We're also grateful for the help of Clive Rooms who has been a tremendous help for dates, results, times and speeds.

British Drag Racing Historians:

British Drag Racing Historians is open to anyone who writes about the history of British Drag Racing and has been published through the internet or print media. John Hunt founded the group by contacting those in the group and others in early 2020 asking if it was a good idea to operate under one banner as a group of like minded individuals who are dedicated to the History of British Drag Racing.

The group aims to discuss and share information on a mutual basis and meets occasionally and informally. Our first meeting was held on 28th July 2021 at Blackbushe Airport, the site of the Drag Festivals held in 1964 and 1965 and where many races were held in the 1970s and 1980s. The second meeting was at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu on 29th November 2022. The Group aims to promote the history of our sport through websites, Facebook, books and magazines. The group operates as an association and is not formally registered as an organisation.

The following members of BDRH supplied information or photos to add to the stories of pioneers:

Simon Groves:

I first encountered drag racing in magazines such as Hot Rod and Hot Car around 1969 and, after nagging my father to take me, visited Santa Pod in August 1970 to see Clive Skilton run the first seven-second pass seen there. I visited occasionally for the next 30 years, keeping an eye on the media. Two of my favourite information sources in those pre-Facebook days were Nick's Time Travel videos and Chris's Trakbytes website. At a Super Series race at Shakespeare County in 1999 I saw an advert for a trip to the World Finals at Pomona. My wife Ros gave me her consent and after meeting up with the SCR team at Pomona, they invited me to score the track points and serve on the timing crew, things that came easily to me and appealed to my career as an accountant.

As well as working with Jerry at SCR, I got to know members Tog and Sharkman during the next few years as the points were hosted on the site and one evening in November 2004 over the inevitable pizza they asked if I would like to join the team to report on Championship events. So in 2005, I started interviewing racers for pit notes, expanding the feature to include photos once I had learned how digital photography worked.

Over the next 15 years, I learned about how to update after a baptism of fire in 2006 when Tog was taken unwell at the Main Event and I became race reporter for that race at literally a moment's notice. I continued reporting on and expanded this role when I retired from my day job in 2013, also helping the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame, putting on its gala events.

In 2019 Tog decided he wanted to retire from after 22 years of running it and after a moment's thought, decided to take it over - from March 2020. Not good timing. I used my collection of historical material and contacts that could help me write historical articles, of which John and Bob Roberts have been particularly helpful. It's really because of John's initiative, organisational skills and persistence that we're all here. I just got lucky and turned my interest from a passion to an all-embracing hobby that has involved me meeting and keeping in touch with some wonderful people.

Nick Pettitt:

I've been a spectator, racer and historian of British Drag Racing since my first Drag Race at Blackbushe in 1974. By 1975 I'd bought a cine camera and along with my trusty Kodak Instamatic and cassette recorder, filmed, snapped and recorded as much of the action as I could. In the mid '90s I started to produce my Time Travel Videos using my own footage along with a great deal more kindly lent to me by other fans and racers. 2006 saw the beginnings of my website which now hosts over 23,000 photos and memorabilia scans and in 2010 I wrote a book on British Drag Racing in the '60s.

Jerry Cookson:

My first introduction to drag racing was here at Blackbushe in 1965 for one of two Drag Festivals with my dad and uncle. In fact after a lot of convincing by my uncle, dad built his first dragster for the 1966 season; the year Santa Pod opened. Taking a keen interest in what dad was doing I started to get involved more with our local Midland club writing reports and putting together the club’s magazine and newsletters. With drag racing starting to develop at our local strip at Stratford Upon Avon’s Long Marston Airfield I soon began to get involved with the National Drag Racing Club. This soon developed into writing reports for Motoring News , NDRC News , Custom Car and UK Drag Racing magazine . With dad still involved in the racing side I began to further get involved with the new track and club at Long Marston.

In 1990 after the track was redeveloped further into Avon Park Raceway I got sucker punched into commentating. This not only led to talking about events at Avon Park, but also to announcing events at Santa Pod and York raceway’s as well as a few major drag and custom shows. Promoting started to take a hold and when a previous promoter pulled out from events at Long Marston's Shakespeare County Raceway in 2006 this developed into a full time job promoting and organising events on behalf of the land owner for 12 years. In between I have done voice overs for video productions, and appeared on TV and radio shows. I also did two years as the man on the button as a starter at Shakey. Sadly when all activities came to an end at Shakespeare County with the sale of the land in 2017 so did my involvement. In 2018 my family was inducted into the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame. This was indeed a great honor for dad and myself.

Nowadays, having been involved in some of the early No Prep events, I’m largely confined to commentating at National Sprint Association events at Westonzoyland, Somerset, editing the NSA’s The Sprinter magazine, as well as administering two prime Facebook pages; Memories of a 'Warwickshire Drag Strip' and 'UK Drag & Sprint Strips That Time Forgot'. I’m also a selector and director of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame as well as editing HoFTalk, the online magazine for the BDRHoF. From my vast collection of drag racing artifacts I have supplied material for two of British drag racing's nostalgia websites; UKDRN, Acceleration Archive and recently Chris Dossett’s excellent and well documented Trakbytes site. And despite all this I'm still enjoying life on the other side!

Clive Rooms:

I saw my first drag race and sprint meetings at Santa Pod in August and September 1966. My role in the two sports since then has been mainly as a spectator. However, I did work on the Pod firecrew for 3 years in the early 1970's. I was also heavily involved with the National Sprint Association for around 10 years up until fairly recently. I was a committee member, clerk of the course and starter on the startline. My interests today are spectating at the Pod most weekends and trying to enlarge my huge collection of drag racing and sprinting memorabilia which I have been collecting for 55 years. I also help administer the Face Book page UK Drag & Sprint Strips That Time Forgot with Jerry Cookson.

Chris Dossett:

I have been aware of Drag Racing for as long as I can remember. My two older brothers were big motorsport fans and went to the NDRC meeting at Martlesham in 1970 to see what the sport was all about. I was four at the time and considered too young to go with them. After that first visit they didn't bother much with circuit racing, they were hooked on the quarter mile. It was another four years before my relentless pestering resulted in them taking me to my first meeting at Santa Pod. My sketchy memory prevents me from remembering exactly which meeting it was, but I do vividly recall my first encounter with the sight, sound and smell of the Stardust Funny Car, a few extraordinary moments of time that ensured that I too was hooked.

My brothers were kind enough to continue taking me to Santa Pod, and Snetterton, (which was close to where we lived in Suffolk) for meetings, up until around 1981, when things like education and starting to work for a living got in the way. My eldest brother Bill had also got married and started a family, and trips to the Drags slowly drifted away.

Fast forward to the mid nineties, I was living in Birmingham and, with both Santa Pod and Long Marston in easy travelling distance, I was drawn back to the strip for occasional visits. It occurred to me at some point I had missed out on a lot of action in the intervening years, I began to dig around finding out what had been going on having been away.

This inevitably then led me to start researching what had been going on before I had attended my first meeting, and the idea of creating a timeline of 'milestone' moments, for my own reference, began to develop. Then, at Santa Pod in 1998, whilst talking about my efforts with my brother Bill, he suggested that I put my research on a web page and invite others to submit material for inclusion in what I now refer to as 'the archives'. The Trakbytes website was launched which appeared on the web for the first time in October 1998.

At the time there were not many sites devoted to UK Drag Racing History, and many people took the initiative and began emailing with material to add to the site. Among the earliest contributors were Tog from Eurodragster and Bob Jarrett, crew chief of the Showtime Funny Car. After much correspondence, I met him at Santa Pod a month after the website was launched. This led to an enjoyable five year stint working as part of the Showtime crew. During this period I got to meet many of the people who regularly sent me material for the site, many of whom I am still in touch with. The site grew rapidly until my own work and family commitments took over and I had to let it stand dormant for more years than I really wanted to. During this time I still attended occasional meetings and, in 2012, I spent a year working on the Super Modified Corvette of my mate Nigel Payne, who I had met when he came to work on the Showtime crew for a couple of seasons. This culminated in us winning the championship title for that year.

Whilst it had always been in my mind to resume work on the website, it took the relentless persuasion of John Hunt, and the encouragement of Jerry Cookson, Clive Rooms, Nick Pettitt and Simon Groves, to get me motivated again. I'm very grateful for their support and I'm once again enjoying delving into the rich and fascinating history of our sport in the UK, and I try to update the website as often as time will allow. I never imagined 23 years ago that this project would still be expanding from such humble beginnings, and I am most grateful to all the fans, racers and historians who have supplied material and contributed to its growth. They deserve the credit. I just write stuff down and put it on the internet.

Andy Rogers (Tog):

I got into drag racing at the age of twelve, in 1976, as a result of Top Trump cards. Having seen the numbers on the cards I wanted to see cars do 200 mph in real life and I made my first visit to a drag race at Santa Pod Raceway in Easter 1977 (the event at which Dennis Priddle went 230 mph in Garlits’ car). Over the next few years I made visits to Blackbushe and Santa Pod when I could get someone to take me. There was a bit of a gap between the late 1980s and the mid-1990s but then after I learned to drive I started to attend Santa Pod a lot more regularly.

In 1997 I co-founded with Tony Brennan; the site was originally intended to be a links exchange but as you all know quickly turned into a daily news and results service and took over my life. We covered (and continues to cover) every UK National Championship race plus most FIA/FIM European Championship rounds, specialist and lifestyle events, Test Days and Run What You Brungs.

I never tired of having my life run by drag racing, I never got tired of the hard work and late nights, but in 2020 I stepped down from running the site. I elected to avoid aggro by citing health and day job as the reasons for my departure - not exactly untrue, but I had managed those for years. As it happened the Covid-19 pandemic, which kicked in just after I stepped down from the web site, made and continues to make my day job particularly busy and so it would have been difficult to juggle the web site and the job.

Simon has continued with and personally I think that the site has improved in some respects since my departure.

I still love drag racing as much as I ever did, in fact probably more now that I am not being yelled at on a regular basis. I follow the sport closely via and I attend some events to photograph for the web site when its decent photographers are not available.

Keith Lee:

I was heavily involved in many facets of the sport, as a competitor, writer, photographer, and commentator during the seventies and early eighties. This follows my first exposure to drag racing at Blackbushe in 1964. More recently I have been a major contributor to a number of books on the sport, covering both bikes and cars - in addition to writing my own books. For several years I have had a regular nostalgia based drag racing column in Custom Car, and am also involved on the bike side as the historic bike organiser at Dragstalgia. I am also a selector for the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame.

Andy Willsheer:

First saw Drag Racing at Santa Pod 1972 which came about knowing the name Brian Chapman. One of my first cars I saw run was the unusual looking Bond Bug called 'Metronome'. I very quickly realised that to be nearest to the racing I needed a camera and track pass. Within one year I discovered it was quite different in the USA. So 1973 went to California with my brother for 3 months, ending up staying for 1 year and 3 months and had a brilliant time. I quickly progressed to an International Photojournalist and still am today.

Dave Dick:

Snetterton was the first Drag Race I went to, Iris Page used to run the local station kiosk and she got me a ticket and a ride there as my dad didn't drive.

I cycled to Blackbushe as a teenager only about 40 miles from home. As soon as I could drive I was at the Pod all the time. In later years after helping John with the container for the VIP's at Shakey I was given a start line photo pass by Jerry and Terry Gibb. I took photos for the Gasser Wars magazine in the US and the Mopar Muscle Association here in the UK and wrote a few articles. In 2007 I helped my friend Paul Knight organise a drag racing show at Elo's place in Ickenham.

I've also visited quite a few events in the US and have a room full of various motorsport memorabilia mostly Drag Racing focused.

Mick Gleadow:

I have been around drag racing since 1963 which came about through our dad, Charlie, who bought a Trojan hot dog van to provide what would now be called event catering. It was pretty small scale and we would go as a family to sell hot dogs, burgers, teas and coffees and soft drinks, like Corona and names I have now forgotten! We went to karting meetings at Nuthampstead, near Buntingford, Herts, Elsworth, near Cambridge for motorcycle scrambling and finally Graveley near Huntingdon for drag racing practice meetings run by the Thames Estuary Car Club.

In those days motor sport was dominated by circuit racing and men wearing blazers, cravats and flat caps, lovely people but a bit different to the average guy. Drag racing had then (and still has) a different culture which encouraged participation with whatever you could get to go down the quarter mile approached with a 'can do' approach that challenges conventional ways of doing things. To see at Graveley people putting together their own dragsters with the occasional American built car, like Dos Palmas providing inspiration, was fantastic. My dad also provided the catering at the 1964 Drag Fest at Blackbushe when we saw Garlits, Ivo and others, which was literally life changing, so we set out to build our own car in 1966.

Our racing history is well covered in our Pioneer article and it's been fantastic and a great honour to have had the chance to tell our racing biography. I am a fan of the Nostalgia scene in drag racing but I also think it's important to have FIA championships and to be on the top table, as the saying goes "If you're not at the table you're probably on the menu." Outside of racing, I've been researching my family tree and what I have learned about accessing public records has been really useful in working with John Hunt and Nick Pettit to trace racers from the 1960s and 1970s - there have even been some racer reunions, which is wonderful I've also met up with racers from those early days and look forward to future Pioneer articles coming to fruition. Finally, I also race my injected Chevy dragster in Wild Bunch which for me captures how racing was when we started out, long may that continue!

John Hunt:

Organiser and coordinator, my story so far can be viewed at
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