(Photos by Osmond Maguire) – For more than four decades, Shakespeare County Raceway has provided a facility and a racing surface for drag racers looking to have some fun and test their mettle. Those days are no more as the facility has been closed and will be replaced with a sizable housing development that the government deemed necessary to put there. Brutal news for those that have hung out at, raced down, consumed beers in, kissed a girl on the grounds of, or otherwise enjoyed time between the fences at the humble English strip.
Most of our “homes” in drag racing are humble. The palaces are few and far between. Instead the spirit of the sport globally lives in the small strips, the place where the edges may be a bit frayed, the polish may have dulled a bit, but the places where real drag racers ply their trade. Real racers need a Christmas tree and a time slip. The rest is gravy. Shakespeare had done that and more for many, many years and now “progress” has forced its group of dedicated racers to seek homes elsewhere. Thankfully the country has a few locations for racers to participate at but we know how hard it is for men and women dedicated to a particular facility to pick up stakes and head elsewhere.
Our hearts go out to the racers who are losing their personal field of dreams.
Here’s the official announcement from Shakespeare’s Jerry Cookson –
It is with regret that I now have to inform the UK drag racing community that after 44 years as an operational drag strip there will be no more racing activities taking place at Long Marston Airfield’s Shakespeare County Raceway. The owners of Long Marston Airfield along with the raceway’s track marshals/officials/staff would like to thank everyone who over the years has supported the track since its very first national drag meet in 1973. Furthermore we would like to wish all the racers and fans every success for the future”.
If anyone (racers, crews and supporters) still have caravans or trailers stored on site can we respectively ask that these be removed from the airfield’s caravan storage compound by the end of the May. Removal of caravan’s can be made during any week day between the hours of 9.00 am and 6.00 pm or Saturday’s between 9.00 am to 1.00pm. The airfield is closed on Sunday’s.
It’s been a pleasure knowing everyone in my twelve or so years looking after the raceway’s interests, calling the races over the pa and organising some great events. See you somewhere at a strip of tarmac real soon.