Santa Pod Raceway near Rushden to get new track

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Santa Pod’s record-breaking race track is to be replaced with a smooth concrete racing surface.

Track bosses say the work will be a “landmark in the continuing development and improvement” of the raceway, near Rushden.

CEO Keith Bartlett said: “The current surface, along with all the previous racing surfaces at SPR, was asphalt (tarmac) and we have been long-term holders of many records set on asphalt but we have had numerous problems with the tarmac surface since it was laid in 2013.

“We have been very aware that these problems would need addressing at some point.

“I have made the decision to replace the tarmac with a full ¼-mile, wall-to-wall, super-smooth concrete racing surface.

“This is a very significant investment heading towards £1m for Santa Pod and I believe it shows our commitment to the sport of Drag Racing and to the actual racers.

“I am confident that we will start the 2018 season with an extremely fast track; possibly to become one of the best tracks in the world.

“We are starting from scratch and the work will entail ripping out the entirety of the existing track including the 1943 Second World War runway that lies beneath the track and the foundations beneath that.

“Concrete specialists Knights Construction will then install an extensive drainage system to ensure the track’s integrity over the long term, then the process of rebuilding the foundations can start and I’m pleased to say that all of the old runway will be recycled and included in the foundation.”

Once Knights has removed the original track and the area is down to sub-formation workers will begin to install more than 13,000 tons of construction materials including 10,000 square metres of concrete to achieve the new track design.

Concrete for the project will be supplied from Tarmac’s Northampton plant.

Knights Construction Group managing director Matt Jones said: “The consistency and quality control of material is of tremendous importance on a project like this.

“It’s just one part of a long line of processes that Knights will be closely managing to ensure the success of this very exciting project.”

Though Santa Pod hosts a variety of different types of event, it is the track itself that is the beating heart of the venue and the new surface will be welcomed by everyone involved in the sport.

Mr Bartlett added: “I don’t mind admitting that when Santa Pod records started falling to Sweden’s Tierp Arena it was distinctly unsettling.

“I’m looking forward to hopefully getting those headline-making records back – along with giving the drivers and race teams a much more consistent and predictable surface. I really can’t wait for the new season to start.”

The construction work will continue in stages throughout the winter period ready for the start of the 2018 season.

Santa Pod’s Festival of Power held over the Easter weekend will be the inaugural Championship event on the brand new track and promises to deliver the first of many top line performances from a range of race classes including the ever popular Jet Car Shoot out.

Keep up to date with all the progress via Santa Pod’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SantaPodRaceway.