Tributes to Stuart Bradbury
It is with profound sadness that the Directors of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame must announce the death of our Founder and Honorary Chairman, Stuart D. Bradbury, after a long illness. A lifelong resident of Wellingborough, Stuart was able to spend his final days at home in the care of his wife, Bev, and daughter, Genna, and celebrated his recent 75th birthday with them.
Stuart had been associated with Santa Pod Raceway from its earliest days, having helped the crew labouring to prepare the track before the venue’s opening in 1966. He served as Deputy Starter in 1967 then took over as Chief Starter the following year, a role he held through the 1980s. He was also involved in racing projects at Long Marston Raceway, near Stratford-upon-Avon, and Rockingham Motor Speedway near Corby, and assisted Top Fuel Dragster star Andy Carter.
Stuart spent most of his working life in the specialist motor trade, first with John Woolfe Racing, then with USAutomotive.
In 2005 Stuart convened the meeting of fellow enthusiasts that would result in the founding of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame. He remained Honorary Chairman, and the fulcrum of its activities, for the rest of his life. In 2017, he was dumbfounded to find himself elected by general acclaim to membership in his own right, having always maintained an iron rule that no associate of the Hall of Fame’s management or selection panel should be eligible. Members and supporters, however, decided secretly that it was appropriate to make a signal exception to that rule to recognise the extent of his contribution to the cause, a decision Stuart accepted with rueful good grace.
We have received the following tributes to Stuart. To send your own tribute, please E-Mail email@example.com.
The most recently-received tributes are at the top of the page.
We were so sad to hear of Stu’s passing. He was such a wonderful and lovely man who has done so much for the sport of Drag Racing in the UK and beyond for well over 50 years, and most especially in recent years with the founding of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame, of which he was such a worthy inductee himself. (Even if he was somewhat reluctant and humbled, it was so very well deserved!). Stu was always such a gentleman and so well respected and admired and loved by so many. His passion for the sport and constant support to so many racers and teams and people associated with the sport for many decades, as well as his promotion of the sport and celebration of those who made its history are such a tribute to this amazing man and will be his lasting legacy. He will be very much missed by so many! It was a real honour to know him and a privilege to be friends with him. We will always remember him fondly and treasure his friendship and support over the years, especially for our C&C Nostalgia Racing team and Backdraft, and for the whole of the Wild Bunch who were so very honoured to join him as inductees in the BDRHoF last year. We send our warmest thoughts and Love to his lovely wife Bev and daughter Genna and family, and so many friends from around the world. Rest in Peace Stu. Hope you’re flagging off some amazing races in the heavens. With Love, Chris & Claire and family xx
My honour at induction into the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame this year was tinged with great sadness at the passing on the very same day of a true icon of our sport, Stu Bradbury. Stu was the rock behind our sport, from his contributions in helping to build Santa Pod in the beginning, through his time as Chief Starter and latterly as the founding Chairman of the BDRHoF. His work for our sport was tireless and despite his health problems over the last years his enthusiasm did not wane. When he originally approached me in 2017 with an invitation to become an inductee I was hugely embarrassed to ask to defer as I was racing in the USA that year, and due to the fact that the USA Dragbike finals always takes place on the same weekend as the BDRHoF awards evening, Stu and the selectors kindly and patiently agreed to further defer for subsequent years whilst I continued to participate. However, with the current pandemic crisis it was decided that racing in the US was not possible this year, and so Stu with his normal grace agreed to make the necessary arrangements despite his ill health. I am so glad that he was able to see that I was, at last, to join those honoured by the world famous association he co-founded, but devastated that I will no longer be able to celebrate it with him at the ceremony. Whenever I think of racing I always think of Stu on the startline, he simply was Santa Pod to me.
Stu’s service to drag racing since its birth in the UK is well-documented and the early part of his career is in itself enough of a legacy. But, as it turned out, Stu was not done with serving the sport when he stepped down as Chief Starter.
So sad to hear of the passing of dear old Brad.Wendy and I have had the pleasure to have known him since the early 70’s when I was crew chief for Dennis Priddle and then the 32 years I ran Specialist Autoparts.
I first saw Stu Bradbury in the sixties when I was a teenager, spectating at Santa Pod. He was the cool dude working the start line, and I watched him with admiration from the bank.
Words are often easy said, but no words can express the loss to us all in the drag racing family.
Thank you Stu!
Hi to Stu's family and friends,
Stuart's death is a very sad loss to the world of European drag racing, and comes at an embattled time for the sport. Special thoughts must be felt for Bev and Genna in their grief.
It is hard to believe that I will no longer hear that distinctive voice. Stu refused to give in to his major health problems in recent years, and did what he has always done, which was to devote his time to the sport he loved.
On behalf of the Garlits Family, I would like to send our love and support to Bev and Genna. We had the pleasure of meeting Stu in 2014, when Dad (Don Garlits) was asked to travel to England to be honored with the induction into the BDRHoF and receive the Global Achievement Award in memory of my mom Pat. Stu and Bev were such wonderful people to our entire family then and became dear friends to us all. Dad and I honored Stu and all he had done for the sport of Drag Racing, as well as his years as a starter at Santa Pod in England, with a framed photo piece of art. Brian Taylor wrote the Biography and Robin Jackson helped with the photos.
-- Donna, Rodney and Sarah, Don and Lisa, GayLyn and Family
His enthusiasm on the start line will never be forgotten.
Sorry to see the news about Stuart. I'm not a racer, but a race fan. He was a legend, helping set up Santa Pod and being the starter. I can remember him from the 80's, and standing in the left lane when Sammy Miller ran his rocket cars.
was very sad to hear the news of Stu’s passing. He appeared to be invincible! - and 75 is still far too young as I’m sure he still had a lot of living to do!
Not only have we lost a dear friend in the passing of Stuart Bradbury, British Drag Racing has lost one of its finest ambassadors, the world will also be missing a genuinely nice guy. Forever in our thoughts.
So sad to hear this news of Stu, gone to a better place & now pain free, Rest in peace my friend, Thinking of you Bev & Genna.
Very sad news about the passing of Stu Bradbury.
Everyone knew Stu, he didn’t get to know everyone, as that would be impossible, he was someone we all trusted, on the day that Liv was waiting to run after a rain break he told her the track was good, she trusted him in what he told her the rest in in the history books !!!
It has taken a while for this to sink in.
So very, very sorry to hear of Stu's passing. I knew Stu from 1967 and saw quite a bit of him over the years. A lovely man who always had a good word. Miss you, my friend...
Anyone that went to Santa Pod at any time would have known of Stu. He wasn't just part of Santa Pod, he was Santa Pod.
So sad to hear last night that our friend Stu Bradbury has lost his fight, after kicking the ass of his illness for several years. He will be joining some of the best of our drag racing family, and no doubt they will all be sitting around somewhere drinking bourbon and telling tales. His stories about things that have happened both on and off the track have had me in tears of laughter at times. Stu was one of the best and I'm proud to have been able to call him a friend for over 45 years. Condolences go to his wife Bev and daughter Genna.
Stuart was Mr Dragracing UK. I first met Stuart in the early 1970’s when we started drag racing at Santa Pod. He was accommodating and kind to us as novices and I’m sure it was the same for all new competitors. He was very helpful both at John Wolfe Racing and at USA. I have very fond memories of Stuart and send warn condolences to all of his family. I will always remember Stuart with a kind heart and smile.
Some very sad news this morning, the Drag racing community has lost one of its most loyal and proactive supporters. Stu Bradbury has been around the sport since the early days and knew everyone, charismatic and enthusiastic, people listened to Stu! He liked people and they liked him. A visit from Stu at the racetrack (or wherever) was always a pleasure, he was knowledgeable and always supportive, it didn't matter who you were or what you raced, he knew how much effort it takes to get a car or bike to the track.
I’m lost for words waking up this morning; that I have lost a dear friend and an icon of British Drag Racing. Dad knew him more than I did in our early years racing his dragster at Santa Pod but it wasn’t until Stuart asked me to join the board of selectors for the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame. Both Ali and myself send our condolences to Bev and family. We’re going to miss him dearly. RIP my friend. I’m sure that along with his American pal Buster they will be raising a glass to us all.
Admired him for years from the bank. Met him and worked with him on the Allard Chrysler project. Great guy, enthusiast to his very core.
Really sorry to hear the news of the loss of Stu Bradbury. Another icon gone. For me he was a major personality in British drag racing.
Such a sad loss for British Drag Racing, a truly nice guy and always a pleasure to speak to.
We are so saddened to learn of Stu’s passing. Chris and I send our heart felt condolences to Bev and Genna.
So sad to hear this, a greater ambassador to the sport will be hard to find, always cheerful despite his illness, we had some good laughs, especially when he burnt his prized nylon trousers on the Allard headers, a true gent, he will be greatly missed.
My thoughts are with Stu's family and friends at this sad time. Stu was always welcoming and always made time to talk to you regardless if you were a racer or just a fan like me. God's speed Stu you will be sadly missed.
When Geoff got in touch last night to tell me of Stu's passing, I was at a loss on what to say.
In 2017 I wanted to attend the BDRHOF in Surrey as a long standing fan. I have never raced or even been down the track, but after 40 years of attending I didn’t want to miss the chance to be in the presence of so many drag racing greats.
We are so sad to hear about Stewart and we send our condolences to his family. He was a legend and a good friend. Will be so missed.
Really sad news of Stuart passing yesterday, one of those people you just looked up to.
Sincere condolences to Stuart’s family and friends, I have memories of a great conversation with him at the PDRC dinner, RIP
My thoughts go out to your family at this sad time.
Such sad news, I have known Stu since the 1960’s and although I have been on the receiving end of the slap on the wrist for various cases of liberty taking over the years we always greeted each other warmly. He was a lovely guy and in his role in the BDRHOF he worked tirelessly to honour the pioneers of the sport.
It is with great sadness that we have learned of Stuart's passing. We only met him this past year at the Hall of Fame Gala, but we were immediately accepted as if we were long term friends.
Stuart Bradbury, an icon of British drag racing, will be forever missed. We were close from our first meeting at The Pod in 1968 until I relocated to California in 1976. I will now be digging into all the fantastic old start line photos of those glory years and drift into those days. Stuart has definitely gone to where the good guys go.....thanks for the memories Stu....... Clive
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