Santa Pod Raceway (Poddington)

Santa Pod Raceway (Poddington)

Postby Roughcutter on Wed 16 Aug 2017, 8:40 pm

Has anyone here had any experience of this place? I've heard about the dragster events that are held there, and am quite tempted to visit. What's it like for photography? I also noticed that (former RAF Bedford) Thurleigh is in the vicinity, is there still any activity there?
Cheers MarkL :smile:
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Roughcutter

Re: Santa Pod Raceway (Poddington)

Postby starbuck on Wed 16 Aug 2017, 9:32 pm

Hi Mark,

I used to go quite regularly, and it is a totally different to any other kind of motorsport. It is a multi-sensory experience and difficult to describe.

If it is your first time I would save it for one of the big meetings, the Euro Finals are normally early in Sep and are the season finale, I don't know if that is still the case.

The weekends run through to the final rounds on the Sunday and cars compete in the various classes in a ladder type competition so I always used to go on a Saturday as you were guaranteed to see more cars competing. The variety of cars people choose to stick huge great engines into is always interesting.

One of the best things for me is that everyone has full access to the pits for free and you can get up as close and personal as you want. Many of the teams are very friendly as well.

Can't help with the photo side of things.

Finally, always check the forecast before you go, if it rains they don't run!

you've made me quite nostalgic now, I might have to look at going myself.
starbuck

Re: Santa Pod Raceway (Poddington)

Postby Brevet Cable on Thu 17 Aug 2017, 8:20 am

If it doesn't involve travelling a long distance, assuming they still allow spectators then you may be better off going to one of the 'Run What Ya Brung' events if you've not done similar events before.
As you can probably guess from the name, the 'RWYB's are similar to racing circuit track days, where individuals/clubs can turn up in their 'normal' road car, pay the fee & run the strip.
That doesn't mean it's full of chavs in Corsas & Clios with badly-fitted spoiler kits & loud exhausts :lol: , you could get anything from normal 'hot hatches' ( or whatever they call them these days ) to proper 'super-cars'.

Dubt if it's changed, but naturally the majority of photographers used to try to get as close to the start-line as possible as that's where most of the action is.


RAF Bedford ( Thurleigh ).....think that's now Bedford Aerodrome ( EGBF ) if so, it's usually only in use for events at the Autodrome.

Still, there's always the maggot farm next door to the 'Pod ( assuming it's still there ) :lol:
Brevet.. Meh !!
Not an enthusiast or a spotter
trollpikken fforwm swyddogol
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Re: Santa Pod Raceway (Poddington)

Postby not_the_dj on Thu 17 Aug 2017, 10:42 am

I'll be there this Sunday for the "Monster Truck UK Nationals". Big noisy fun with races and then a freestyle competition with plenty of caravans being driven into.

That takes place on a separate tarmac area adjacent to the main drag strip. They also some demos on the strip during the day (rocket cars etc) so there's plenty to see.
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Re: Santa Pod Raceway (Poddington)

Postby King Cobra on Thu 17 Aug 2017, 11:30 am

Haven't been for many a year but was always great fun. The main spectator banking is on the north west side of the strip so it's not until well into the afternoon that the sun gets round.
There are some grandstands on the opposite side that are better for morning shots. Take ear defenders, the big stuff is LOUD. There is nothing quite like a top fuel car on full throttle.
King Cobra

Re: Santa Pod Raceway (Poddington)

Postby Airwolfhound on Thu 17 Aug 2017, 11:53 am

I took these pics from the grandstand at Santa Pod over a couple of visits there. All shot with the 50-500mm Sigma and was able to fit in the cars quite easily within the frame :-

ImageFord Capri - Festival of Power Santa Pod 2016 by Tim Felce, on Flickr

ImageFirestorm Jet Funny Car - Santa Pod 2010 by Tim Felce, on Flickr

ImageFIA / MSA Pro Mod - Chevrolet Coupe - Santa Pod 2010 by Tim Felce, on Flickr

ImagePro ET - Santa Pod 2010 by Tim Felce, on Flickr

ImageTop Fuel Dragster - Santa Pod 2010 by Tim Felce, on Flickr

ImageJet Dragster - Festival of Power Santa Pod 2016 by Tim Felce, on Flickr

ImageApache - Festival of Power Santa Pod 2016 by Tim Felce, on Flickr

Hope these give you an idea as to what to expect.

It's a great place to go to, various stalls selling tshirts etc, good grub, and a friendly atmosphere. I highly recommend it :-)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/24874528@N04/

Agile, mobile and hostile ;-)
Airwolfhound

Re: Santa Pod Raceway (Poddington)

Postby grant_w on Thu 17 Aug 2017, 12:23 pm

If you are going to a big meeting with Top Fuel and jet cars etc, then the number one tip is to take earplugs. They are so much louder than anything else I've experienced.
The last time I went I was positioned about 3/4s of the way down the strip, so they were doing 200-250mph by the time they got to me, it took a while to get used to the speed for photos. If you stand anywhere on the banking, as long as you haven't got really tall people in front of you then you should be able to take photos all/most of the way down the strip.
Our position also allowed us to turnaround and see the stunt arena behind us where they had monster trucks, drifting, motorbike stunts and jet cars.

I'm hoping to go to the Euro Finals in a couple of weeks, weather depending. Zero point going in bad weather as the track has to be perfectly dry then prepared before anything can drive on it.
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Re: Santa Pod Raceway (Poddington)

Postby King Cobra on Thu 17 Aug 2017, 12:27 pm

grant_w wrote:If you are going to a big meeting with Top Fuel and jet cars etc, then the number one tip is to take earplugs. They are so much louder than anything else I've experienced.
The last time I went I was positioned about 3/4s of the way down the strip, so they were doing 200-250mph by the time they got to me, it took a while to get used to the speed for photos. If you stand anywhere on the banking, as long as you haven't got really tall people in front of you then you should be able to take photos all/most of the way down the strip.
Our position also allowed us to turnaround and see the stunt arena behind us where they had monster trucks, drifting, motorbike stunts and jet cars.

I'm hoping to go to the Euro Finals in a couple of weeks, weather depending. Zero point going in bad weather as the track has to be perfectly dry then prepared before anything can drive on it.


Many a day in the past we stood on the banking while street cars drove up and down in an attempt to dry a damp track so as you say, make sure it's a dry day.
King Cobra

Re: Santa Pod Raceway (Poddington)

Postby Roughcutter on Thu 17 Aug 2017, 8:21 pm

Wow, thanks for the feed back and excellent pics guys, it sounds really a exhilarating place, I'm definitely going to attend now (it's certainly a good alternative to Brunty CWJ). Managed to download their very active calendar; calendahttp://www.santapod.co.uk/calendar.phpr. Quite fancy The Flame & Thunder Day (Sat 28th Oct).
Cheers again, MarkL :smile:
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Re: Santa Pod Raceway (Poddington)

Postby grant_w on Fri 18 Aug 2017, 10:27 am

I've been to the Euro Finals and Festival of Power, on Saturday on both occasions. Both were excellent meetings. Constant track action, plus the stunt arena, all day. One of the meetings was still going way past darkness, we only left when we got too cold at about 8:00.

One of my efforts of the Pro Mods:
ImagePro Modified dragsters by Grant Woolway, on Flickr
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Re: Santa Pod Raceway (Poddington)

Postby Roughcutter on Wed 23 Aug 2017, 7:27 pm

Great shot, but I thought the track needed to be bone dry for race days? :smile:
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Roughcutter

Re: Santa Pod Raceway (Poddington)

Postby Brevet Cable on Wed 23 Aug 2017, 8:16 pm

It's not water.
Don't know what it's called these days, but it used to be known as 'grip juice'.....basically a liquid which you poured on & under the tyres to provide better grip ( hence the name )
The nice wet-looking track is actually a combination of the rubber compound laid down by the cars and the residual 'grip juice'.
Brevet.. Meh !!
Not an enthusiast or a spotter
trollpikken fforwm swyddogol
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Brevet Cable

Re: Santa Pod Raceway (Poddington)

Postby Airwolfhound on Thu 24 Aug 2017, 11:48 am

Brevet Cable wrote:It's not water.
Don't know what it's called these days, but it used to be known as 'grip juice'.....basically a liquid which you poured on & under the tyres to provide better grip ( hence the name )
The nice wet-looking track is actually a combination of the rubber compound laid down by the cars and the residual 'grip juice'.


and stinks like hell :lol: Tends to coat your nostrils when you have sat by the track for a few hours, can still smell it several days later :grin:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/24874528@N04/

Agile, mobile and hostile ;-)
Airwolfhound

Re: Santa Pod Raceway (Poddington)

Postby grant_w on Thu 24 Aug 2017, 12:03 pm

It was drizzling when we turned up to that day, but was scheduled to stop before racing started so we still drove the 2 hours to get there. Even after stopping drizzling for about an hour, they still hadn't started racing. They go up and down with the big jet drier then put the 'glue' down onto the surface. Once it started, about an hour late, we were going all day so we had a great day
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Re: Santa Pod Raceway (Poddington)

Postby Brevet Cable on Thu 24 Aug 2017, 12:16 pm

Airwolfhound wrote:and stinks like hell :lol: Tends to coat your nostrils when you have sat by the track for a few hours, can still smell it several days later :grin:

Don't know what was/is in the commercially available stuff ( no COSHH or other such requirements for an 'ingredients' list back then ) but the various home-brew concoctions usually included bleach and isopropyl alcohol
Brevet.. Meh !!
Not an enthusiast or a spotter
trollpikken fforwm swyddogol
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