All of the pictures on this page were  contributed by Jeremy Cookson,
I am grateful to him for the opportunity of reproducing them here.

Click on any image to get the bigger picture


Hungary has been host to the Formula One scene for many years now, but in 1992 Hungarian motorsport enthusiasts were treated to yet another concept of western culture - drag racing. In collaboration with the promoters of the F1 circuit and the HANAU Auto Club of Germany, the first drag race on Hungarian soil took place on 27th/28th June at the Rabaring quarter mile with a repeat performance a week later.


Situated on a hill over looking the village of Ecs (as these photos from Ann Salomma clearly show), the track was built in 1990 as a vehicle testing track for cars and trucks and was divided up into several sections of automobile punishment.  The Rabaring was owned by the state and had been kept a secret for several years.  Even the locals in the village had no idea what was going on in this area. All they knew was that something was being built.


Almost a hundred teams from Germany, Sweden and Switzerland showed up to race in various ET bracket classes for both cars and bikes.  The event also included a special exhibition from the Pro Comp racers featuring Finland's Juha Leppanen, Urs Erbacher and Rolf Vogel from Switzerland, Germany's Peter Kruse and Swedish veteran krister Johannson.
Even though the track was smooth, it needed a lot more track bite and preparation work which didn't show the true performance of the vehicles taking part.  Quickest from the two events was Juha Leppanen with a 6.93 from his Finn-Am dragster followed by the Valvoline Funny Car of Peter Kruse at 6.94.  In the Pro and Top Sportsman brackets, current Top Methanol standout Germany's Peter Schofer ran this ex Tony Bryntesson Top Fuel car to times of 8.2 and 8.3, while Switzerland's Daniel Singy raced his American imported 'Wild Thing' Ford Thunderbird to a best of 10.5.



During the 1983 Easter Drag Race of Champions at Santa Pod after Sunday's qualifying had been completed, an attempt at the world car jumping record by stuntwoman Jacqueline De Creed took place.


Under the guidance of Dick Shepherd and his Stuntarama team De Creed, driving a specially prepared late model Ford Mustang once raced by Capitol Radio's Mike Allen for Gary Healy of Gary's Shack fame, approached the narrow wooden ramp (placed under the finishing gantry) at 130 mph, and in an instant successfully cleared the measured distance of 200 feet before landing safely to record a new Guinness Book of Records distance of 232 ft 1" beating the old record of 196 ft 6" previously held by a Frenchman.
The record attempt was caught by several Fleet Street photographers (including race photographer Dick Parnham), and hit the national press early Monday morning before most of Santa Pod's campers had even shivered out of their sleeping bags.



Air Steward Peter Goddard came into the drag racing scene quite by chance after visiting Santa Pod in 1979 with a group of his flying buddies.
  Soon afterwards he bought Tony Merry's 'Liquidator' Ford Pop and he ran the car as an altered for several seasons before he went flying again at Long Marston Raceway damaging the chassis.


Like all racers, they wanted to go faster, and when the opportunity presented itself to buy a Funny Car rolling chassis imported from the states by the Slick Tricks Racing concern of Stu Valance and Keith Bartlett, Peter bought the car minus engine.  The car made its UK show debut at the Ally Pally Custom Car show on the NDRC stand.


In the colour picture top left that's the rear quarter of Stuart's first custom creation 'Henry Hirise', a MK1 Consul made famous as the first ever cover car to be featured in 'Street Machine' magazine.
Built in 1975 by Lil' John Buttera for Barry Setzer, the chassis first carried a Chevy Vega body, and was driven with a fair amount of success by Pat Foster.
  The car and body later changed hands to the Mustang II and was driven by 'Crazy Jake' in nitro Funny Car to a best of 6.29s at 239 mph.  When Pete got hold of it he ran a Keith Black 440 Chrysler Wedge engine at several NDRC Blackbushe meets before disappearing.
The body later surfaced in 1992.  The Gleadow Brothers, Bob and Mick attached it to a Priddle-built chassis and ran it in Pro ET.  They even raced it at the 1992 Budweiser Cannonball as the 'Time Machine' which was later swapped for a more up-to-date Ford Mondeo body.  The car was powered by a 474ci Ford and received sponsorship from F.G. Gates and Euro Paints.



A week after the running of the 1993 Santa Pod World Finals, a group of British exhibitionists headed out to the tiny island of Malta for a date at the new Hal Far Raceway. Making a return visit for Malta's season opening race was Martin Hill with the 'Fireforce' Mustang Jet Funny Car, Steve Murty and Santa Pod Race Director, Carlo Gandolfi driving the Corvette Stingray wheelie car.
While the many thousands of fans thrilled to the 100 mph passes made by the Corvette on its back wheels, it was Martin's jet car that impressed the most, and for good reason. Shaking the tiny island apart, Martin ran 233 mph in 6.96s at what surely must have been an official Maltese land speed record.
 The run also cost the track owners the building of a new solid stone wall blown over by the jet blast that left the islanders speechless to say the least.



Before rising to stardom as a European drag racing champion, how many people know that Barry Sheavills' CV contains a season and a half racing in Super Gas with 'The A Team' Chevy Camaro!

The A Team, a name devised primarily due to Barry's involvement along with brother Dave and their Nottingham based Anglo American Autoparts, made its debut at the 1984 World Finals.
Built by Reg Chatwin of RHC Chassis from a set of plans based upon an Alston Type 4 link coil over shock Pro Stock chassis, Barry's potential ride to the 9.90 winners circle was powered by a 454 LS6 BBC, but at the SPR World Finals the '81 Camaro (the ex Pete Crane 'Eazy Ridin' Pro Stocker), only completed one run when it broke a half shaft. Later at the Fireworks meet the car trashed two Powerglides.
The car later returned the following year making events at Long Marston before the boys bolted on a new nitrous kit for the Summer Nationals, and then the problems really begun.  The Camaro came out to race at the World Finals, but lost in the first round to Des Taylor.  What happened after that you would have to ask Barry about, other than the car was later sold to Sweden to make way for Keith Potter's 'The Devil' Altered as the new triple A project.



Amongst all the usual Formula One, Rallying and Karting razzamatazz, the 1991 Autosports International Show held at Birmingham's NEC featured, for the first time, a true representation of what drag racing is all about.



Hosted by National Dragways, the former owners of Santa Pod Raceway, the stand heralded the start of a year long celebration of the race track which had been in operation for some 25 years.  Constantly inundated with eager race enthusiasts throughout the expanded four days, the stand featured a mock startline plinth with two nitro Funny Cars loaned for the occasion by Jim Whelan and Bob Jarrett.  Also displayed, adding to the diversity of the sport, was the Coca-Cola Top Fuel Dragster (a former Darrell Gwynn car), Keith Seume's recently imported nine second VW Beetle, Steve Heald's dealer backed Peugeot 206 Super Gasser, and the JCB Funny Bike belonging to the late Chris Hampson.


The highlight of the stand during the main public days was a display of between rounds engine teardowns and rebuilds performed by Jim Whelan and his crew led by Bill Sherratt.  In just 46 minutes, the Ford Probe's engine was completely stripped and rebuilt.  No one left the stand for the duration of the demonstration described over the stand's PA by drag racing legend, Dave Grady.  And was it all worth it!  You bet because not only was National Dragways' presence warmly welcomed by the show's organisers, but they also picked up the 'Best Stand' award for the company's efforts in promoting the sport in the public's eye as well as the industry.

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Jeremy Cookson together with his parents
Gerry and Joan were inducted into the
British Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2018
click here to read their citation