Shakespeare County Raceway
Affectionately known as ‘Shakey’ among show goers and 1/4 milers this otherwise sleepy town of Stratford upon Avon roars to the sound of thousands of horsepower on many a weekend throughout the year, with a packed 2016 calendar with a promise that “IT WILL STILL BE BUSINESS AS USUAL IN 2016.”
This fantastic venue has long since held a place in my heart from the first I attended the Bulldog Bash way back in 2003. A full decade later I made it back for the Cal Look Drag Day, and try my dammed hardest to get there at least 2-3 times a year!
Unfortunately the sad fact is that we may well be set to lose this gem of a raceway, one of only 3 – yes just THREE permanent drag strips in the UK, due to the ever increasing sprawl of housing development.
Having first run sprint events in 1959 Shakey has a considerable history of 1/4 mile racing, having played its part as an RAF station in 1941 before that, it cannot be argued that the site is steeped in history. Long Marston Airfield, neighbouring the drag strip still flies many gliders and light aircraft out of it to this day, albeit civilian leisure flights.
I cannot begin to express in words the tragedy that would be in loosing this venue. If we were discussing the tearing down of a football stadium (with no means of replacement) there would be uproar, mass protests and eventually the planning committee would be probably be forced into a rethink. No one knows for sure the future of SCR, and the dedicated, hard working staff are keen to keep their chins up and maintain ‘business as usual’ for the 2016 calendar.
However, it surely cannot go unnoticed how much press coverage and attention the site has gained since 2014, when Cala Homes originally submitted plans for a massive 3,500 house complex on the beloved Raceway site, before being initially rejected. As reported by the Stratford-Upon-Avon Herald in the October of 2014, the plans were re-submitted to include much smaller 400-house complex. However, the final, crushing blow for the site was reported by the paper on November 27th 2015, – “Plans for a 400 home development at Long Marston Airfield has been given the go-ahead by Stratford District Council, who voted to approve the application last night.”
No ones just when the bulldozers will roll into town, and staff are being rightly tight-lipped on their Facebook page, to avoid speculation and hearsay but the fact remains that you simply have to make the most of this facility while we still have it!
I urge you get down to Shakespeare County Race even just once this year. The venue has a wide range of events throughout the year, information on which can be found on their website, here ; http://www.shakespearecountyraceway.com/
We’ve brought you coverage from some truly magical events there, including the annual Gary’s Picnic and Cal Look Drag Day. Events for this year that we’re particularly keen on attending are
Yanks American Car Festival (May 28th/30th)
NSRA Nostalgia Nationals (9th/10th July),
NSRA Hot Rod Drags (24th/25th September)
We are also going to attend, come hell or high water, the Halloween Bonfire Burn-Up (22nd/23rd October) as a change to going to the ‘other’ strip for their fire related activities, as this may well act as a goodbye to Shakey!