The History of Drag Racing in England

This is a brief history of how the thrilling sport of drag racing came to be in the United Kingdom. Some people believe that drag racing originated in America, but the British had been engaging in straight line “sprint” racing since before the Second World War.

The first recorded straight-line sprint racing in Britain was on a public road in 1899 near the town of Colchester. This was not a legal practice in those days, but despite that minor issue, the racing events still went on.

Popularity grew, but drag racing still remained largely an underground pastime. That did not stop races from taking place on disused military runways. The first organised drag racing event in America dates back to 1949 (shortly after the Second World War) at the Goleta Air Base in California.

There seemed to be enough people with the motivation to go ahead with a straight-line sprint or drag racing. Events continued to be held around 1905 by the Brighton & Hove Motorcycle and Light Car Club.

It was only after the Second World War that a group of British people met in the Red Lion Pub in London. This group of people established the National Sprint Association (NSA).

The first drag race in Britain after the war took place on the Podington Airfield, home to the US Airforce’s 92nd Bombardment Group during the war. This airfield was later redesigned and renamed the Santa Pod Raceway. This was to be Britain’s first permanent drag racing venue and also the first in Europe.

Drag racing in Britain had its own flavour and car styles that were less familiar or non-existent in the USA at the time. Drag racing in Britain today has its own character. Even though American and British people have different ideas about drag racing, it is good to share in the best of each other’s culture, especially in a sport that uses the same fuel.

Britain’s Drag racing is well organised today, with countless events and tournaments held all across the country annually. People who are interested in finding out more about the sport can find all they need to know by visiting the British Motor Sports Association website.

Drag Racing

From Visually.

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