Jon and Don
My first introduction to drag racing was at Santa Pod Raceway around 1969/70. I still remember those amazing days and how much I craved to go again despite the travel sickness I always suffered on the journey.
Through my school days, my passion for the sport never diminished and this would often result in my school projects being about drag racing even though nobody else had a clue what I was going on about.
The lack of media coverage for drag racing has always been a problem in general and as I child we had to make do on ‘Hot Rod’ magazine from the USA and UK publications like Custom Car and Drag Racing News.
My passion for drag racing has meant I have spent my whole life promoting drag racing in one way or another and this website has given me a platform to continue to do that on a big scale.
Before the Internet
In the early 90’s I used to visit Bulletin Boards. BBSes weren’t quite part of the internet as we know it now. They were run largely as private services on private servers, requiring a specific number to dial-in and download the daily updates. You would dial up over your phone and a painfully slow modem and connect to these boards one at a time. I set up my own UK Drag Racing bulletin board called ‘Rush Hour’ but it never went live.
In 1996 I signed up for my first real internet service which had become commercially available at that point.
I remember a few odd drag racing pages but nothing that featured any UK drag racing related material. With the web space I had and some pictures that my brother had taken I created UK Drag Racing Nostalgia.
This was the first online promotion of UK drag racing in the world.
In 1997 the website got its UKDRN domain name and I meet the Guru of British drag racing knowledge Nick Pettitt. Nick started Time Travel Videos and now runs his own excellent drag racing website. He also became a moderator on the UKDRN forum that I started in 2006. Those days my website building skills were pretty poor as you can see from the pages on the left but at least I was trying.
In 1998 Nick Worsell contacted me and offered some fantastic images for the website. Nick played a big part in the early days of the website.
Over the next few years, the website continued to grow with the images people kindly sent to me and with features I added.
A tasty new homepage and logo
In 2001 a new and much more exciting homepage was built for my by Nick and his friend Chris. This was the best looking version to date and featured the lovely ukdrn logo for the first time.
Some movies had been added by then as well as other features like ‘it all went wrong’ which was a terrible feature featuring images of crashes and ‘name that car’ which doesn’t need any explanation.
The screen grab (left) makes it look a bit stretched but it wasn’t like that at the time
2006 – The UKDRN Forum
In 2006 and against much peoples advice I made the brave decision to start a discussion forum. I say brave because of forums, in general, had a bad reputation and were notoriously tough to moderate.
With some tight (and sometimes) over policing, great moderators and a fantastic bunch of members the forum quickly become a huge success with its amount of information and excellent images. It quickly became a place to meet and swap stories, memories and images and had many of us crawling around our lofts and garages looking for things to share. It became inspirational for replica builds and new (nostalgia) type builds.
I believe that the forum really raised the awareness of how popular this nostalgia stuff was. Nostalgia UK drag books were written and new organisations were formed like the British Drag Racing Hall Of Fame which was started and run by forum members. It also hopefully played its part in encouraging the best nostalgia meeting this side of the pond.
The website in those days was receiving over a million hits every month and 60,000+ individual visits
Today (2018) The forum is a shadow of what it used to be but still gets it’s visitors and still has its place in the sport. It’s more like a nostalgia archive these days. The lack of contributions is mainly due to social media and it’s easiness to share information, which people often struggled with on the forum. I often spent many hours just trying to help a new member get registered, never mind helping them to post images 🙂 As much as I would like it to get busy again I wouldn’t enjoy the work and time required to run it because in it’s hectic heyday it took up all every bit of time I could throw at it for many years.
2010 -2014 homepage – Event and scene promotion
From 2007 the website and forum had become a great platform for me to promote drag racing in general and the growing nostalgia scene and it’s events. I spent a huge amount of my time promoting events for the now-closed Shakespeare County Raceway’s and also later the new amazing nostalgia event at Santa Pod called ‘Dragstalgia’
(left) is the 2012 version of the homepage that I created.
2014 – Present
In 2014 I changed the homepage to a WordPress blog style platform which it still is today. This seemed the best and easiest way forward and offered much better SEO options and other benefits that I had not had before.
Because the website and forum had always shown modern drag racing in 2018 I added the name UK Drag Racing News to the website title as well as the original UK Drag Racing Nostalgia. This was to accommodate my support of the current scene and to also host my modern day photography.
Also 2018 my hosting company at the time lost all my website files. This included some of the older files and many of the new features I had been working. I’ve since changed hosting companies and have re-built the whole homepage. It’s still a work in progress but will continue to grow again.
With the launch of the new website comes a new logos from renowned graphic designer Peter Walters. Pete’s a top designer and a good friend. You should check out his work on the PWRD website here.
I always have new things planned for the website and will continue to develop it in my spare time.
UKDRN has always been a non-profit run website. Its main purpose has always been to promote the sport that I love that’s Drag Racing.
One of my other passions is photography which when mixed with the most explosive motorsport on earth is the most enjoyable pastime ever.
I’ve been lucky enough to take photographs for the magazines, websites and race venues below.
Up until 7 years ago, I had funded the website on my own. Since then, I have sold calendars at the end of the year to help fund the website fees for the forthcoming year. Unfortunately, the loss of the whole website in May 2018 meant I had to pay for everything again including all the costs involved with moving and re-homing.
If you would kindly like to make a donation you can send one via PayPal to this address here