September 5-8, Santa Pod Raceway, Great Britain

On paper it sounds almost trivial – a competitive bout that lasts fractionally less than four seconds. That, though, is all that separates the leading FIA top fuel dragsters from terminal speeds in excess of 300mph. The 2019 European Championship season ends as it began, at Santa Pod – often overlooked, but operational since 1966 and one of the UK’s most charismatic motor sport venues.

It is also a welcome survivor. With Shakespeare County Raceway (near Stratford-upon-Avon) having closed, to make way for a housing development, and York Raceway presently inactive, Santa Pod is for now the UK’s only permanent drag strip.

Few things in life can match drag racing’s capacity for sensory overload. It’s a short, sharp fusion of light, smoke and sound. Particularly the latter…

While the top fuel drivers generate the headline numbers, the support categories showcase boundless creativity, some of it a product of old-fashioned home engineering – expect to see everything from lowered, bewinged Ford Populars to Mk1 Cortina estates (via, perhaps, a Morris Marina van).

And if you think some of the cars stray beyond the boundaries of common sense, wait until the bikes appear (Frenchman Éric Teboul will be doing 200mph demo runs on a rocket-powered two-wheeler). There are countless sideshows, too, including Granny Turismo – as far as we know the world’s only shopping trolley dance display team.

The meeting begins on Thursday, when the FIA classes don’t run, but gets fully into its stride on Friday – when there is a twilight qualifying session for top fuel and funny cars. Adult Sunday tickets start at £35, kids under 16 are admitted free and there is no supplement for paddock access. Details can be found at

Stout ear defenders recommended…

Local Knowledge

HOW TO GET THERE Postcode is NN29 7XA, but Santa Pod advises ignoring your sat-nav and exiting the northbound A6 at Wymington. From the M1, head east along the A45 from J15, towards Wellingborough, and follow signs.
ALSO GOING ON Monster trucks, stunt driving, funfair, Battle of Britain Memorial Flypast, drag passenger rides in a two-seater, live music, full camping facilities.
DON’T MISS Fancy some time in Northants? The WEC is at Silverstone on Sept 1 (see right), while the International GT Open takes place at the same venue on Sept 7-8.


More September Events

WEC: ROUND 1 Aug 30-Sept 1, Silverstone. With the super-season long since done and dusted, the World Endurance Championship settles into its new autumn-to-summer seasonal pattern. The European Le Mans Series forms part of the supporting cast.

FORMULA 1: Round 13 Aug 30-Sept 1, Spa, Belgium. It’s a touch under three hours from Calais – assuming the Brussels ring road is clear – and one of the most accessible mainland European tracks for UK dwellers is also one of the best. Book now.

MotoGP, Misano Sept 13-15

British GT, Donington Sept 14-15

GOODWOOD REVIVAL Sept 13-15, Goodwood. The 22nd edition of what has become a popular staple on the British social calendar. The format rarely changes, but there’s still nothing else quite like it. Except perhaps the Goodwood Members’ Meeting…

BTCC, Knockhill Sept 14-15

MotoGP, Aragon Sept 20-22

VSCC 6 Hrs, Snetterton Sept 21

HISTORIC SPORTS CAR CLUB Sept 21, Brands Hatch. A one-day clubbie on the shorter version of Brands. Pretty much the whole venue is viewable from the Paddock Hill grandstand – a perfect platform from which to watch Historic Formula Ford.

Indycar, Laguna Seca Sept 21-22

BRITISH SUPERBIKES Sept 20-22, Assen, Holland. A traditional motorcycle racing temple – and the only overseas venue of the campaign for the BSB warriors. Customary free pit walks available. Dickies British Supersport Championship also features.

NASCAR, Charlotte Sept 29

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