Santa Pod Raceway is just outside the small Northamptonshire village of Podington near Wellingborough. Many car enthusiasts make the pilgrimage to Santa Pod over the summer months with prayers of dry weather and no breakdowns along the way. Whether for the low key “Run What Ya Brung” days or the National Drag Racing Championships, competition is always fierce and the caliber of cars on show are always topnotch. With over 50 events running from Jan-Nov with styles to suit everyone from the Jap enthusiast to the Mini Maniac, you’re sure to find a day that takes your fancy.
Santa Pod has been a seminal part of my childhood. Living within a stone’s throw of the home of European drag racing has inspired a love for cars from a very young age. I have early memories of looking at all the Beetles in the local Tesco carpark with propped open bonnets whilst owners topped up their beer supply or sitting outside the gates on the last day, watching all the cars leave with my dad and brother. In more recent years, I’ve spent many a happy hour sitting on the grass bank watching car enthusiasts taking their pride and joy down the strip, desperately striving to knock those crucial seconds off their times.
There’s a wide range of events throughout the year and each event is well planned with extensive camping and day parking, chances to wander around the campsites to see what the non-racing cars are looking like, fairgrounds, shopping stands, food and beer and special entertainment including Monster Trucks, aviation displays and the dreaded jet car that will burst your ear drums if you’re not careful!
Don’t worry if your knowledge of cars is basic, you’ll still have a good day and there’s plenty of photo opportunities particularly if you go a bit further afield and stray around the camp sites. Most people are pleased to see you appreciating their cars and a lot will slow down or wave if they see you taking a rolling shot. The rules of drag racing are easy to pick up. Basically, cars are raced in categories according to their engine size and although usually two cars will go down side by side, they are not actually racing against each other. Each run down the strip the driver will attempt to improve their times with the top number at the end of the strip being the time in seconds and the bottom being top speed.
These photos in this article were taken at Big Bang which is one of my favourite events of the year. Bug Jam, Mini in the Park and VW Action are also very popular, drawing in crowds from all over. A great day out and some of the best photo opportunities for retro feel car photos.