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Drag racing is probably one of the easiest forms of motorsport to get involved with and you can start from the age of just 8 years with Junior Dragster and Junior Drag Bike, and age 17 for the adult Drag Race classes.

The following guide is an overview which will hopefully answer many of the common questions that arise with new and returning Drag Racers.

The details will be broken down into two main areas, Cars and Bikes. Although there are a lot of common areas, there are also a considerable amount of differences that need to be addressed.

For many the first taste of Drag Racing may well have been a visit to a drag strip as a spectator or perhaps getting involved with their road going vehicle at a Run What You Brung (RWYB) event.

A RWYB is a great starting point for future racers whether you have a car or a motorbike. The relaxed atmosphere allows you the opportunity to learn the basic skills and race craft required to begin your Drag Racing career.

However if you want to take the next step and get involved with the racing at a full on race event you will need some additional information in order to prepare yourself. Your vehicle will need to be legal to race. You will need personal safety equipment and you will need to know how to enter a race event with the relevant paperwork and licence. Whilst all of this may seem daunting, it’s not and hopefully any questions you have will be answered in the following text. But if not, you can always contact the club at the phone number or email listed in the contact details below or by clicking here

Whether you intend racing a car or a bike, there are certain things you will need regardless of whether you’re on two wheels or four.
You will now need to be a member of the SPRC club (or A.P.I.R.A) in order to race at a permitted event.

You can find a membership form for the SPRC on the SPRC website under forms. With your membership you will receive a copy of the Drag Racing Rule book for the UK. A thorough read of your class and the general regulations would be a good idea once you have received the rule book. Don’t worry if you’re not sure what class you want to race in the details listed below will help steer you in the right direction.

As mentioned earlier a RWYB is a great starting point for honing you race craft, and it also allows you to assess your cars performance. There are many classes within UK Drag Racing to get involved with and many are elapsed time (the time it takes to complete a quarter mile)  based classes.

If your car is completely show room stock, or mildly modified, you are probably looking at Sportsman ET as a starting point. The class index (slowest time to fastest time allowed in the class) will be from 30seconds to 12.00 seconds. Whilst this may not sound quick, once you get to the 11 second range you are driving a pretty serious performance car.

However you may also have built something that is not necessarily street legal (i.e. a full on race car) that is capable of going a lot quicker. There is a list of the class indexes currently used in the UK and Europe below.

Sportsman ET 30.00 - 12.00 seconds Sportsman Tree No Tech
Pro ET 11.99 - 9.00 seconds Sportsman Tree Tech 9.99 or qucicker
Super Pro ET 8.99 - 6.30 seconds Sportsman Tree Tech
Super Street Car

10.90 seconds fixed index

Pro Tree Tech
Super Gas 9.90 seconds fixed index Pro Tree Tech
Super Comp 8.90 seconds fixed index Pro Tree Tech

The first three classes allow the racer to choose their own index within the time constraints, for example 11.99 to 9.00 in Pro ET. However the last three Super classes have fixed indexes i.e. 9.90 seconds for Super Gas. These are fixed indexes that cannot be changed.
There are class limitations involved with some of the classes above in terms of vehicle type but we don’t need to go into too much detail here.

Regardless of what type of car you have you are going to need an MSA race licence, this can be found by following this link. On this form, you will be a beginner applying for a Drag Race non race national B licence (currently £43). This is the starting point and does not automatically allow you to race. Once you have your licence you will need to complete a set of what are called observed runs. These are 3 runs (at this level) to prove the competence of the driver. Observed runs can be completed at most RWYB events at Santa Pod Raceway, or at some permitted race events (not FIA events) but the RWYB option is by far the least intense and involves a lot less other criteria than must be met at a full on race event. RWYB dates can be found by clicking here

The observed runs consist of 3 runs on the quarter mile as follows. The first run will be a burnout (if required) and a 60ft run (full throttle to the 60ft mark on the track) then a drive up the track at a reasonable pace to clear the track. The second pass will be a burnout and 1/8th mile pass (full throttle to half track), then again at a reasonable pace to clear the track. Once the first two passes have been completed and accepted by the Race Directors, you will then be asked to complete a full ¼ mile pass with an ET commensurate with the time for the class you are looking to enter (between 9.00 & 11.99 second for Pro ET for instance). Once you have completed these runs to the satisfaction of the Race Director, your licence will be signed to the level of ET that you have completed the runs for. If there are problems and you cannot, or do not complete your runs as requested, you will need to continue to carry out the observed runs until such times as the Race Director is happy with your results.

So now you have your licence, you have completed your observed runs, and you’re a member of the SPRC.

Before you can race at a permitted race event, and your car is capable of running than 9.99 second over the quarter mile your car will need to be tech inspected, a technical inspection by one of the UK tech inspectors, which verifies that the vehicle is built to the correct specifications for the elapsed times and speeds the car will run.

The tech inspection can take place at the race track at a permitted event. However it is worth mentioning that if the car fails Tech inspection for any reason you will not be able to race at this event. We strongly advise that the tech inspection is carried out at a place and time before your first race event. The contact details of the tech inspectors can be found on the contacts page below. There is a cost for the tech inspection which will be discussed when you talk to the tech inspector.

Now that all of the paperwork is completed and the car is ready to be raced, you will also need to consider your personal safety equipment. You will need a crash helmet, fire suit, gloves, and boots and, in some cases, a neck brace, Hans Type device or even arm restraints. The details below will outline the potential requirements. If you’re in any doubt about what is required please contact the SPRC and we will be able to talk you through your specific requirements and even be able to point you in the right direction in terms of where to buy your kit.

Crash helmets, a Snell specification helmet is required Snell 2005 are still legal for the time being however if you are buying new you should look at 2010 as the oldest you buy to give you maximum use. Please note that if you are looking to run in a Professional class (Top Fuel dragster and Funny Car) there are additional requirements depending on the type of car you will be running, so please ask.

Drivers are required to have as a minimum requirement protective clothing labelled as meeting the following standards (as per the specific Class Requirements):

SFI 3.2A/20 SFI 3.2A/15 SFI 3.2A/5 or 8856 FIA FI 3.2A/1 or 8856 FIA
TMFC TMD COMP ET (10.00 or slower)
    ET (7.50-9.99)  

Exceptions as outlined below.

Supercharged front-engine open-bodied car or any car with a torque converter in the driver compartment (i.e.: one without a floor over the transmission) must have a 3.2A/15 suit or as per Class Requirements.

All "suits" include a head sock, gloves and boots (3.2A/20 suit) or shoes (3.2A/15 suit). Suit can be one piece, or separate jacket and pants in the case of SFI approval. Jacket and pants must each be labelled as meeting SFI Spec. All gloves must have a full layer of Nomex inside the glove. Leather palm gloves without a full layer of Nomex separating leather from driver's hand prohibited. Drivers in all open bodied front engine cars with open face helmet must wear a breather style face mask and protective goggles. Drivers in all open-bodied cars must wear SFI spec 3.3 fire-resistant gloves. Drivers of any open bodied car wearing an “open face” helmet must wear “racing type” protective goggles and a dual eye port, flame retardant balaclava. If a “closed face helmet” is worn a balaclava is still may be required. See class Requirements.

There are a few final requirements that need to be addressed. If you have any open top vehicle (including a dragster) you will need a set of SFI arm restraints. If your vehicle can run faster than 10.99 seconds on the quarter mile, you will need a neck brace. And finally, if you are lucky enough to have a car capable of exceeding 200mph at the finish line, you are required to have a Hans type device.

Junior Dragsters are run on a similar basis to their larger cousins above. However there are some differences that need to be noted. Junior Dragster drivers can start from just age 8. There are 3 classes based on ET and driver’s age. You race over the 1/8th mile (half track length)

Class ET Age
Junior Stock 12.90 seconds From age 8
Junior Modified 8.90 seconds From age 10
Junior Modified Advance 7.90 seconds From age 13

The junior drivers, as noted above, still have to have the full safety kit and require a non-race National B licence for Junior Dragster. Also for Junior Dragster (but not junior Drag Bike), the parents or guardian must also have an MSA parental licence in order for the child to race. The cost of the licence for the year is currently £18.

Junior Dragster drivers also have to complete a series of observed runs which are very similar to the adult racers. They must perform a 60ft pass, 330ft pass, and a 1/8th mile pass to the satisfaction of the Race Director. Junior observed runs can also be carried out at RWYB events.

Junior Dragsters are available for hire from both the SPRC, and Santa Pod Raceway, at most levels of performance, giving a potential racer the opportunity to try out Junior Drag Racing before purchasing a car for themselves. Observed runs can also be completed in these cars.

As with cars, a RWYB is a very good place to begin your racing career on a motorbike. It too gives you the opportunity to practice you race craft and become comfortable with racing your bike on the ¼ mile. As with the cars, there are many classes for bike riders to get involved with that suit most budgets. The class details are laid out and are explained in a little more detail below.

Super Twin ET Bike Dial your own ET Sportsman Tree
Super Twin Top Gas Heads up as fast as you can go Pro Tree
9.50 Bike Hard index of 9.50 seconds Pro Tree
8.50 Bike Hard index of 8.50 seconds Pro Tree
Comp Bike Heads up as fast as you can go Pro Tree
Super Street Bike Heads up as fast as you can go Pro Tree
Funny Bike Heads up as fast as you can go Pro Tree
Pro Stock Bike Heads up as fast as you can go Pro Tree

If you’re looking to get started with your current road bike, you have a few options depending on the type of machine you own. 9.50 Bike is a great place to hone your race craft. 9.50 seconds can be achieved on quite a few bikes with minimal modifications. It’s not quite a show room class as there are not too many bikes that will run 9.50 seconds from the show room floor. However if you have a twin cylinder machine you could get involved with Super Twin ET which has no lower limit on ET and thus no modifications to the bike would be required.

The construction requirements for all out race bikes and the minimal requirements for the likes of Super Twin ET and 9.50 bike are all listed in the current Drag Racing rule book. It also covers the required safety equipment as listed below.

Leathers: must be complete leathers of at least 1.2mm thickness on all areas of the suit (two piece suits are acceptable providing they zip together at the waist). Non leather suits may be used providing they meet the ACU Road Racing standing regulations.

Boots: must be leather (i.e. outer hide), or an approved substitute material, of a minimum height of 200mm.
Gloves: Must be leather or an approved substitute material.

Crash Helmet: Must bear a current ACU gold sticker and be of sound condition and fit properly.

For Drag Bike there are two levels of race licence for domestic Championships. There is a Clubman licence which allows you to race 9.50 Bike, 8.50 Bike, Super Twin Top Gas and Super Twin ET. The next grade up is the National licence. However you must have held a Clubman licence first for a period of time and proven yourself capable at a minimum of two race events under permit prior to upgrading. The upper level is the National licence, which allows you to race in the remaining classes listed above. The licence application form can be found via following this link Once you have your licence, you are then required to complete your observed runs on the machine you intend to race.

The observed runs consist of 3 runs on the quarter mile as follows. The first run will be a burnout (if required) and a 60ft run (full throttle to the 60ft mark), on the track then a ride up the track at a reasonable pace to clear the track. The second pass will be a burnout and 1/8th mile pass (full throttle to half track) and then again a reasonable pace to clear the track. Once the first two passes have been completed and accepted by the Race Directors, you will then be asked to complete a full ¼ mile pass with an ET commensurate with the time for the class you are looking to enter.

Junior Drag bikes allow our young riders to begin their careers at JUST age 8. There are limitations to the classes of Junior Drag Bike as with Junior Dragsters and they also compete over the 1/8th of a mile (1/2 track) Junior Drag Bike classes are as follows:-

Class Engine ET Age
Junior Bike 50cc 2 stroke or 125cc 4 stroke 12.90 Seconds Min age 8 - Max age 11
Junior Modified Bike 125cc 2 stroke or 250cc 4 stroke 8.90 Seconds Min age 11 - Max age 17
Junior Pro Bike 250cc 2 stroke or 500cc 4 stroke 7.90 Seconds Min age 14 - Max age 17

Junior Bike riders also have to complete a series of observed runs which are very similar to the adult racers, they must perform a 60ft pass, 330ft pass and a 1/8th mile pass to the satisfaction of the Race Director. Junior observed runs can also be carried out at RWYB events providing you have the child’s ACU race licence with you.

Now that you have sorted all of the bits and pieces above and you’re ready to race you will need to enter the race event. You can do this by going to the SPRC website and clicking on the forms section, and download the entry form for the event that you wish to enter. They are usually available from sometime in late February. Select the event and class you wish to enter, then print the form, complete the appropriate sections with all of the relevant details. You then send the form off to the SPRC office, using the contact details here

Please note there are strict closing dates for all of the events of 3 weeks prior to the event date and 4 weeks prior to the FIA/FIM E events.

Once you have entered the event you will (roughly a week before the race date) be sent your entry tickets (providing you have sent a stamped addressed envelope) and other event details. Make sure you bring them all with you as you will not get to race without them. If you did not send a stamped addressed envelope, your tickets will be left at the main gate of the track for you to collect.

Once you have entered the race track proceed toward the pit area where you will be taken to your specific pit bay for the weekend by a pit Marshal. Please make sure your race vehicle and support vehicle fits within the pit area you have requested on your entry form.

Once you are in your pit area make yourself comfortable and prepare your vehicle for Technical inspection (if not already done) and Scrutineering. All vehicles must be scrutineered prior to running on the race track. Before you can be scrutineered, you must first sign on with your race licence (and or parental licence if required). To sign on you will need your race licence and your club membership card. When signed on you will be given a scrutineering slip stamped to prove that you have completed signing on. Keep hold of this slip as you will need this when you take your vehicle to be scrutineered.

Scrutineering is normally completed at set times during the morning. The details of the times will be with your tickets and also posted on Eurodragster about a week prior to the event. There will also be other relevant information posted at the same time, such as gate opening times and your proposed running orders for the weekend.

So it’s almost time to go racing. You have your licence (signed if you have completed your observed runs)

Or you intend completing them at the race event (not available at the Main Event or European Finals)

Mum, Dad or a guardian have their Parental licence if you are racing a Junior Dragster (Junior Drag Bike don’t require the parental licence at present). You and your race vehicle, have all of the relevant safety equipment as required by the Drag Racing Rule book. If you are racing a car, you have either been Tech’d or booked for a Tech inspector to check over your vehicle at the track prior to running the car at a race event. The Tech inspectors will only want to see the car if it runs quicker than 9.99 seconds on the 1/4mile, however they may well give the car a cursory check over at the event anyway (they don’t bite)

On the event weekend you can arrive the day before the event. Entry to the track is restricted to specific times, these will be made public via www.eurodragster.com on the news page normally about a week prior to the start date.

If you have still to complete you’re observed runs, it’s a good idea to mention this when you go to sign on. The officials will be able to inform you of your next move. On race day you will be advised to see the Race Director who will give you further details of the requirements for your licencing. PLEASE NOTE that your vehicle still has to complete technical inspection (if required) and be scrutineered prior to carrying out the observed runs.

The pit Marshals will, on qualifying and race days visit your pit area and let you know in plenty of time when you are due to enter the pairing lanes (also known as fire up road) for your first, and subsequent, runs for the day. You should be pitted with the class you are entered to race and, if you have any questions, you can ask any of the pit Marshals or any of the other racers and their crew members. All of the racers are more than happy to help and are a pretty friendly bunch of people.

The final thing to add is that if you have any doubts, please ask whether you’re at the track or at home. Just get in touch as we are here to help. We want your experience to be a great one, so please don’t be afraid to ask.

The following contacts and links will hopefully get you to the information you may need during your racing career, if there is something additional that you think would help, please get in touch.

Race licence for the MSA (cars) Click here
Race licence for the MSA (cars) Click here
FIA tech regulations page for Professional car Racers. This is primarily for racers in the following classes: Top Fuel Dragster, Top Methanol Funny Car, Top Methanol Dragster, Pro Stock Car and Pro Modified. Click here
The 2015 Santa Pod Calendar Click here

HOW TO REQUEST AN FIA COMPETITION NUMBER This is for professional car classes only.
Email to SBF competition number administrator Lena.Olme@SBF.se or call tel: +46 (0)8-626 33 00 and ask for Ms Lena Olme. Your name, class and nationality is needed for the competition number registration. Normally you may have wishes for a specific competition number, provided it is not already taken.

FIM Europe race numbers for Professional bike classes as follows: Top Fuel Bike, Super Twin Top Fuel Bike, Pro Stock Bike & Super Street Bike running in European Cup events only. (Not ACU Super Street Bike) palle6913@gmail.com
Peder Eneroth (Svemo) (FIM E race numbers as above) Peder.Eneroth@svemo.se

To contact the tech crew, click here


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