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Santa Pod Raceway celebrates its 50th birthday this year.

Drag racing arrived in Britain in the early 1960s and American all-star teams toured in 1964 and 1965, racing on airfield sites around the country, including the nearby Northamptonshire US Air Force base at Chelveston. Inspired by their success, a group of businessman enthusiasts decided that the sport needed a permanent British home and settled on a redundant wartime bomber base in a northern corner of Bedfordshire. Airfield sites and their perimeter roads provided locations for several post-war racing tracks, notably Silverstone. The difference was that this new track would occupy the main runway.

On Easter Monday, 1966, Europe’s first permanent dragstrip opened its gates for business. Santa Pod nowadays is a wide-ranging entertainment venue with a dragstrip at its heart, offering a diverse weekly programme of events running from February to November, including Mini in the Park, which will be held on 14 August this year.

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