Local and international stars will be out in force at Santa Pod

Higham Ferrers' Kevin Kent will head the entry list of Funny Cars at Santa Pod this weekend
Higham Ferrers' Kevin Kent will head the entry list of Funny Cars at Santa Pod this weekend

Local drag racing stars and international female racing royalty will be the focus of attention as the European season begins at Santa Pod Raceway’s The Main Event over the bank holiday weekend.

Over 250 entries from 18 countries, including Kuwait and USA, will compete when the first round of FIA and FIM European Drag Racing Championships, for cars and motorcycles, takes place at the county venue.

Finland’s 300mph queen of the Top Fuel Dragsters, Anita Mäkelä, opens her defence of the FIA European championship crown she claimed for the second time last year.

Europe’s fastest-ever woman driver, Mäkelä will find a budding young Swiss princess among the international cast of opponents ranged against her.

The Swiss don’t do royalty as such, but 20-year-old Jndia Erbacher could be the start of a new drag racing dynasty. Her father, Urs Erbacher, has three FIA European Top Fuel Championships under his belt, plus three more from the Top Methanol Funny Car division.

Jndia herself licensed and competed in Top Methanol Dragster at Las Vegas in 2015 and raced there and at Hockenheim and Santa Pod last year. Now she steps up to the sport’s senior rank for the first time at The Main Event.

Britain’s premier league challenger is Liam Jones. He finished fourth in the FIA points in his two previous Top Fuel seasons and dipped for the first time into the 3sec/300mph zone to snatch pole position at Santa Pod’s European Finals last September.

Higham Ferrers’ Kevin Kent heads the entry list of groundshaking fuel Funny Cars. Kent has won the European Funny Car Series for the last two seasons and holds both ends of the European record at 4.279sec/287.71mph.

The Main Event’s other big story comes from the fast and furious Pro Modified eliminator, which this weekend combines the FIA opener with round two of the MSA British Drag Racing Championship. Britain’s reigning MSA champion, Andy Robinson, will lead the home-based challenge to Swedish duo Michael Gullqvist and Jimmy Ålund.

A Pro Mod debut is expected from Rushden’s Jon Webster, arguably Britain’s most versatile drag racer.

Webster’s competitive highlights range all the way from entry-level 9.50 Bike to championship-level four-wheeled success in Top Fuel Dragster, no less, in which class he won the FIA European Finals in 2009.

The Main Event takes place over four days from tomorrow (Friday) until Monday.To book tickets, visit www.santapod.com or call 01234 782828.