Mile­stones from the his­tory of Europe’s first per­ma­nent dragstrip

Motor Sport News - - Santa Pod At 50 - CAL­EN­DAR 2016 MSA Bri­tish Drag Rac­ing Cham­pi­onship

In the­ory, thrust-pow­ered ve­hi­cles are for ex­hi­bi­tion pur­poses, not se­ri­ous rac­ing. Just don’t tell their driv­ers. Swe­den’s Arnold Sundqvist brought the first jet drag­ster to Santa Pod in 1971, an un­wieldy-look­ing ma­chine that fairly trun­dled down the track, and a far cry from the af­ter­burnerequipped, flame-and-thun­der show­mo­biles that fol­lowed.

Rocket ma­chines are dif­fer­ent, emit­ting a few, desul­tory puffs of steam from their hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide mo­tors while the tem­per­a­tures are sta­bilised, then howl­ing into the dis­tance al­most faster than the eye can see. Barry Bowles’ Blonde Bomb­shell was Santa Pod’s first rocket, but Amer­i­can Sammy Miller ( below) was the real star. While banned from run­ning at home, Miller’s 3.58-se­cond elapsed time over the Santa Pod quar­ter-mile in 1984 has never been matched, nor even ap­proached, any­where else.

French biker Eric Te­boul flies the rocket flag to­day with his 280mph ‘mo­tor­cy­cle’, the world’s quick­est

ac­cel­er­at­ing two-wheeler.

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