The first British Drag Race festival began at the Blackbushe Airport, a few miles from London

Saturday 19th September 1964

The first British Drag Race festival began at the Blackbushe Airport, a few miles from London. The weekend at Blackbushe Aerodrome was a disaster due to torrential rain, but at the following weekend at R.A.F. Woodvale, near Southport, the American Dragster drivers put on a real show of no-nonsense drag racing which impressed everyone who witnessed it.

Unfortunately, the Blackbushe weekend was a financial catastrophe, and though Woodvale reduced the losses considerably, it was not enough to save Drag Festivals Ltd., who were forced to go into liquidation. Due to this the September Festival was not repeated in 1966, but luckily interest in drag racing was not dead and the British Hot Rod Association took over where the B.D.R.A. had stopped. A group of B.H.R.A. members formed National Dragways Ltd. and purchased the runway at Poddington Airfield, near Newport Pagnell, and set up the Santa Pod Dragstrip at the beginning of 1966. Starting in a modest way, this permanent dragstrip progressed during the 1966 season and, naturally enough, competitive interest increased at the same time. As has happened so often with new forms of motor sport no one will organise events until there are sufficient competitors, and equally no one will build special cars until there is somewhere to race them. This sort of stalemate knows no definite answer, but is usually overcome by someone taking a gamble and, as far as drag racing is concerned, it was National Dragways and the B.H.R.A. who took the gamble.

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