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Tributes to The Barn
Santa Pod Raceway's legendary Barn entertained its last visitors at the 2007 FIA Main Event after SPR were ordered to remove it by Bedfordshire County Council Health and Safety. Eurodragster.com readers have sent their tributes to the Barn.
The most recently-received tributes are at the top of the page.
To send your own tribute to the Barn, E-Mail
I used to take public transport to Santa Pod in the 1970s.
Upon arriving at Wellingbourgh station one night, I realised I had forgotten the poles for my tent. D'oh!
Too knackered and too late upon my arrival at the Pod to sort it out, I spent the night in the the Barn
in my sleeping bag. She was my tent for the night, so thank you Barn for keeping me dry that night.
The whole meet was a rain-out, I can remember Stripteaser making a run before the heavens opened.
Ah, they were the days, but I still love it...goodbye Barn, such a shame!
I first went drag racing in 2003 and was wandering round the pits for most of the afternoon until
Cordette Pateman suggested standing in the Barn. I will never regret the decision to listen to her
as it kick started my absolute love for the sport. The noise, smells, forces and chest-flattening
shock that comes with the barn cannot be beaten. Where are we to take the Drag Racing newbies to
be broken in by Martin Hill?
Like the vast majority of people who love drag racing, I too will be sad to see the demise of the Barn, so synonymous with SPR over the years.
The Barn holds special memories for me, in 1970 along with my racing partners at the time Derek Chinn and Mike Butler, we took a week's holiday
from our normal occupations to help (!) Bob and Roy Phelps with any work that needed doing around the Pod - and there was plenty!
After screwing up most the jobs we were allocated, Bob hit on the foolproof (almost!) idea we should undertake some painting, consequently we
spent four days in soaring summer temperatures getting very intimate with the legendary Barn. Maybe Ray White (below) is correct when he says
this could be the start of a new era, I for one certainly hope so - otherwise all that effort would have been wasted.
What can I say. Its the end of an era for UK drag racing and in fact for Europe as well. I have been going to the Pod for over seventeen
years and it has taken over my whole life. I sleep, eat and watch drag racing and book my holidays around the Pod. It is like one big family
and the barn is part of my family. From stood watching the racing to sitting in the Barn after a hot day and looking down the track dreaming about the next day and what
we where going to see and thinking back to that day's racing, I will miss The Barn.
What can you say about our Barn. It's very sad to see the demise of the barn but, it had to come eventually.
I am surprised it has lasted so long with our sometimes crazy Health and Safety laws that have allowed it to remain standing for as long as it
has. I remember Bob Phelps building the barn well over thirty years ago. Along with the Tower, which Bob also built, the Barn has served
us all very well. It's stood up to everything that we could throw at it, Jet cars, Fuel cars, flame burnouts, Rocket cars and remained solid
throughout, a testament to its builder and designer. It provided spectators with a view and an experience of drag racing you could not get
at any other drag strip in the world. The Barn will remain in the thoughts and photographs of many people and magazines forever, so will
never be forgotten, it's part of the history of Santa Pod Raceway. Keith Bartlett and crew are committed to making Santa Pod Raceway
one of the best Drag Racing facilities in the world, time has to move on, things must change and be updated.
The birth of The Barn:
-- Brian Taylor
My first outing to the Pod was in 1977. As we walked round to the pits we
walked through the Barn and that was my first view of drag racing and it blew
me away standing looking up the famous 1320, dreaming like we all do that one
day. Now the one day is here and since stepping up to Pro Mod with oil
leaks and parts flying off the car I seem to spend more time looking from
that same angle but on the other side of the armco. You see the same diehard Barn
nutters all smelling of jet fuel giving you the thumbs up and the
odd round of applause.
I first went to Santa Pod as a spectator in Easter 1973 and later as a racer, but one thing I loved watching from the Barn were the flame burnouts.
This was definatly the place to watch the likes of Bootsie and Dennis Priddle do flame burnouts in the old slingshots, and afterwards to run outside and
see all the globs of flaming rubber up on the roof.
The Barn was the first place I ever stood to see the "Big Dragsters" as my dad used
to call them back in the early 1970s. That's when cars like Firefly would
burn out only a few feet from the fence in front of the barn . Talking of
Firefly, that was a car to see going down the track! That's a sight that
will stay with me forever.
I was sitting in my car on Sunday afternoon at The Pod, waiting for the inevitable announcement of a rain-off, and was listening to Nitro FM Nigel chatting to some people in The Barn. I had been standing there myself only a few minutes earlier, but the urgent need to resuscitate the bloodflow to my extremities had finally beaten my resolve to stay until the death. The conversation made me think back over some of my own memories, now stretching back over twenty eight years. The nostalgia, for me, was especially appropriate because I had flown in from Spain for the event and was thinking simultaneously that:
Another, much earlier, memory dates back to the early eighties. Don Prudhomme had come over with the legendary Army Plymouth Arrow Funny Car and I think every other Funny Car in Europe had assembled to have a crack at him. As I looked from The Barn down the old fire-up road I could see around twenty cars, stretching from the start line right the way back to the Pits.
Possibly at the same event, or if not certainly only a year or two before or after, there was a burnout competition with, I think, two hundred pounds up for the winner. Of course, the fans had to choose the winner by cheering appropriately loudly. Sylvia Hauser filled (and I mean completely filled) The Barn with burnout smoke from her Dodge. When the smoke had cleared, literally and figuratively, all our clothes and hair were covered in thousands of tiny balls of molten rubber. Priceless.
It is a great shame that it has to go, but memories stay with us all forever. Keith and the team are trying very hard to bring the facility up to standard, and regrettably The Barn looks a little out of place in our new FIA world.
-- Neil Marks
The Barn has been central to my experiences of Top Fuel. Our very first visit to Santa Pod as a family was about five years ago when we came
to SPR almost on a whim, just to see what the sport was about.
The Barn- the best place to get an adrenalin rush standing still, feel the noise, smell the rubber and taste the fumes. I love it!
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