England’s Shakespeare County Dragway To Close – Country Left With Two Dedicated Drag Plants

England’s Shakespeare County Dragway To Close – Country Left With Two Dedicated Drag Plants

Some bad news has come across the wire for drag racing fans and participants in England. Shakespeare County Raceway which has been been hosting drag racing since the 1970s and as a permanent drag racing facility since 1980 will become a housing tract soon. Our understanding from corresponding with racers and fans from the area is that track ownership and management got sick of fighting the ever more vicious political battles necessary to keep the track running in a healthy manner and took a sizable buyout for the value of the land which rumors persist was worth tens of millions of British pounds and even more American dollars.

Santa Pod is the premier facility for drag racing in the country with Shakespeare and York serving as the other two dedicated and specialized drag racing facilities. There are other places to race that are less permanent in nature so to lose one of the “big three” tracks in the country is a big blow to the sport. York and Shakespeare (affectionally known as: Shakey) were not up to hosting big FIA meets but they did host a number of other sportsman programs.

It is difficult and perhaps disingenuous to impugn the owners for making this move. They have been fighting the fight to keep the place open for years and this was likely a question of not if but when they would get out of the business. A tough break for drag racing in England. We hope the displaced racers pick up again at another track.

Click here for the story about the closing of Shakespeare County Raceway


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26 thoughts on “England’s Shakespeare County Dragway To Close – Country Left With Two Dedicated Drag Plants

  1. John

    Sad news to see Shakey possibly closing after 2016’s season, to take up the slack we need another big venue, what we do have in the midlands is Rockingham Speedway, a fully purpose built Amercian oval. It’d be great if Rockingham Speedway stepped in, the venue is fantastic and wouldn’t take much to put a decent strip down.

  2. Slick

    the problem with rockingham is that its only a stones throw from the pod, york really should step up to the mark and improve so that more classes use it and another roundy-roundy track should do like Hockenheim have and put a strip in.
    the only other option is find another runway to convert to a track

    1. dave allen

      I live ten min from rockingham, i can see the top of turn four grandstand from my window.
      I’ve been saying for a while they should build a dragstrip, but I don’t think the money is in the place to do so, I’m surprised its still open.

      Noise would be an issue, there was big uproar when they were planing it and after. I’d be there all the time if they did put a strip in, and they woudl benefit from the sportsman championship and the RWYB’s.

  3. Alec

    The hot rod dress and pro street guys will be most likely to go to Santa Pod

    But the sad truth is that most of the guys with modified hot hatches will find other street locations

    Shame really this is not the states there are only a few drag strip tracks in the whole country

  4. Gary Morgan

    There may be some good news on the horizon as the new facility known as ‘The Circuit of Wales’ are considering an 1/8th mile strip on the start/finish line of the complex…lets hope so! Yes,its sad to see ‘Shaky’ closing at the end of 2016, but a £40m bid on the site was obviously too much to ignore!!!

  5. Kit

    Best drag strip we have, real family feel to it, caters for the South West so people like us don’t have to travel as far as Santa Pod, perfect drag for the blue collar drag racer…..and they decide to build bloody rabbit hutches on it!!!!!

  6. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

    Sad news indeed!

    Many moons ago there was a fledgling drag strip at Felton, Northumberland that was set up by the late Dave Hoy. It was the cheapest drag strip in the history of the sport to run as it only cost a bottle of whisky per meeting that went to the farmer who owned the land. Things went OK until his prize bull wandered onto the track during a meeting having broken through the fence. This was the only time that a manure burnout took place as well…..

  7. Paul Bargate.

    Typical of this country the powers that be would sell there grannies for a fast buck, which is sad, I always believed there was more to life than getting rich by fucking the few.

  8. steve clutterbuck

    So so sad but not a lot can be done surely now the search must be on for a new track & someone or some organization with the money to build one . I know a tall order. There is a track down taunton way full quarter two lanes good shut off. Not far off M5. Or A30 / A303. Wouldnt take to much to bring it up to a good standard.

    1. Luke Harmes

      Steve is that the Dakota Raceway at Smeatharpe? looks like they have all the gear but never seems to be anything on, website is pants too

  9. Dan Stokes

    Best of luck to our British compatriots. If you guys are anything like us Americans, the price for closing the track will be increased street racing. Of course, we have the same issues here as land values go up – the land becomes worth more than racing revenues and sooner or later the track gets sold for development.


    1. dave allen

      I dont think we’ve really had street racing here, not on the scale of the US, no thtat i know of anyway. The roads arent long enough, full of pot holes and most likely have speed cameras on them.

  10. Link

    I’ve been going there for years! Back in the day I used to pit crew for the ant hill mob .. The blown alky big block minor AKA southern belle !!! And with smax with mainline menace .. This sucks big time

  11. Andy MacKechnie

    Been on the cards for a while and is a damn shame.
    Been saying for a few years now that they should put a MASSIVE roof over The Pod and have a Solar panel farm there.
    Right to the end of the run off and over both sides of the track.
    Under cover racing 12 months a year would be the only one in the world I think
    And they would have got a feed in tarrif to boot as well

  12. Tony

    Had to happen sooner or later with all the legal & not so legal imigrants needing homes & then theres the sponging benefits lot breeding like rabbits this place is ripe for housing,although when you fly over this god foresaken country theres still a lot of open space out there,i’me lucky i saw the birth of drag racing back in the sixties & have raced on most of the strips & had some great times ,but money is king now & i think the fun days are over,a shame cos younger people just wont have the venues to enjoy, & forget street racing when did you last see a dragstip with a bend in the middle.

    1. Ash

      Less of the “Sponging Benefits lot “please some where a long the line you must have drawn a benefit of some type , bet you didn’t turn it down … This is a site for Hot Rod enthusiasts not a political platform to express your opinions …

    2. Ivan Counsell

      Not sure I agree with all of your comments ? I own land, and I certainly don’t want houses being built on it, it’s for my pleasure, it cost a lot of hard earned money, so when you flying over my house just look down at the ‘ageing loon’ riding his motorcycle for kicks, and building his Hot Rod in the drive outside his garage….Not all land in this country is for flaming houses..there’s enough of that rural destruction already….

  13. Russell Slatcher

    I’m absolutely gutted to hear this, I go to every hotrod meet that they hold there and have had some fantastic times there. The real down side for me is that it’s my nearest drag strip as I live in mid Wales and when you have to drive a modified car or American car with big v8 under hood the fuel costs are a real pain,and to go to Santa pod from where we live is double the mileage so looks like my cars won’t be going to as many shows from now on.
    But anyway there’s no point moaning now so will just have the memories of all the fun I had at shakey.

  14. Scotty Gosson

    Such sad news. It always breaks my heart to hear of a strip closing, anywhere in the world. Hard to imagine a whole country with only two operating drag strips! We’ve had our share of closings here in the U.S., but we’ve also had some great people step up with strong leadership to organize the racers and re-open a few of them. It does happen – usually on a grassroots level – but it can be done. I’m grieving and cheering for all the English racers. Let me know if I can do anything to help.

  15. Martin G Parles

    Moons ago, Handley Page (Victor bomber and Vulcan site) became vacant and there was talk of a motor sport venue using it. Anyway, they held a drag racing meet there and it was a great success, to the extent that the S.Albans councillors were quoted as saying that they were impressed with the whole proceedings and was amazed that it was not as noisy as they were told it was going to be. Ok, there were no T/F in attendance but three jet powered projectiles made enough noise to make your ears itch. I dont know what happened and why it didnt happen but this venue is up for grabs again, well sort off. The council currently is under pressure to sell it to some lorry terminus which they are fighting. Might be worth a call to St.Albans council and find out what the status is.

  16. Walter Koscielniak

    This is really sad news. I used to marshall during the mid to late 80s and even then there was always somebody trying to shut us down or reduce our racing time. I’ll be sorry to see it go as it’s in a good location nowdays that the M40 runs further than Oxford, god I hated the A34!

    Good luck to all the racers for the coming season and future events

  17. Roger Gurr

    Well it is a shame that Shakey is to go. But unless the money is there to support the various venues then they will struggle to survive. It is a harsh reality that I don’t like, but have to accept, that there isn’t the support out there in the form of sponsorship and entry fee paying race fans to make it viable.
    I have been a drag racing fan for years, I hope another strip opens to cater for the south west.
    Perhaps we should consider why haven’t other race tracks developed a drag strip?, probably because it doesn’t make economic sense. Get out there and go to Pod and York raceways, support the venues with your hard earned, if enough of us do that the quality of racing and the venues themselves will improve, and sponsors will be more keen to support popular venues.

  18. Oliver

    Such a big shame, my favourite strip aswell.

    There is an un used air strip near Warrington just off the M57, and there were talks about a blackpool strip but think thats been canned now. Sad sad times.

  19. Deaks

    It isn’t just drag racing, it’s all forms of motorsport, in 20 yrs time there’ll be hardly any motorsport or other weekend pastimes left because all the venues will be built on. Too smaller country with too many people.

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