History

 Introduction

My first introduction to drag racing was at Santa Pod Raceway with my brother Jim around 1969/70. I was 6 at the time and I still remember those amazing days out and how much I couldn’t wait to go again, always waiting impatiently at the bedroom window for my brother to come and pick me up despite the travel sickness I always suffered on the journey.

Through my school days my passion for the sport never diminished and would often result in my school projects being about nothing but drag racing although no one else had a clue  what I was always going on about back then.
The lack of media coverage and has always been a problem with the sport and as a child all I got to see was odd issues of “Hot Rod” and my other only regular fix was the monthly Custom Car magazine and a subscription to the BDR&HRA so that I could receive the publication Drag Racing News.
I think that lack of information was a major factor in the birth of this site years later.

 UK Drag Racing Online

In the early 90’s and before the internet as we know it today I used to go on what were called Bulletin boards (BBS). You would dial up over your phone line with a modem and connect to one BBS at a time. They were similar to the modern day forum and I was always on the hunt for drag racing material.
These single pages were painfully slow to load with my 2400 modem so when faster modems were available I upgraded to a 14.4k Modem (V.32bis) and then to a lightning quick 56k Modem (V90) but at a hideous cost.
Back then I set up a UK drag racing bulletin board called Rush Hour but it never went live.

1996-2006

In 1996 I signed up for to my first real internet service provider which was the new commercially available internet as we now know it. Search engines I remember back then were Lycos, Webcrawler and my old favorite Altavista.
I do I remember finding a few drag racing pages but none that featured any old UK drag racing material.
With the free web space I was given I made a really basic page and showed some old pictures that my brother and myself had taken called it the “UK Drag Racing Nostalgia Website
This was online birth and first promotion of the UK Nostalgia Drag Racing Scene.

Around this time some other UK websites were around like Tony B’s, Gareth’s and Tog’s Drag Racing Page.
In 1997 a meeting took place at Santa Pod attended by Tog, Tony B and Sharkman and the idea of Eurodragster.com was born.
Eurodragster contained European links, news, driver and track information but way more importantly it was a website that brought the European drag racing community together in one place for the first time ever, I believe that Eurodragster.com played a huge part in the growth of European drag racing and changed the European drag racing scene forever.

In 1997 ukdrn.co.uk moved to a proper home and got its own domain name.
In June 98 I added a page to promote Nick Pettitt’s Time Travel Videos, Nick is one of the UK’s leading drag racing historians and now has his own excellent website called time travel dvd’s.
Also In 1998 Nick Worsell contacted me and offered me some of his excellent pictures to show and these kept ukdrn.co.uk growing steadily, at this time other people started sending me material to share.
Below is a screen grab of the 1998/1999 versions of the ukdrn homepage, click for a bigger look.

1998 thumb

1999thumb

Around 1998 another UK nostlagia site went online called “Trackbytes” this excellent site run by Chris Dosett was different to ukdrn because it offered written information and dates about meeting’s, drivers and historic vehicles, this website is still online today (2015)

Over the next 2 years and as this site grew I also tried to develop my basic web building skills but looking at the 2000 version of the homepage it hadn’t come very far, click for bigger look if you dare.

2000 thumb

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In 2001 a new and exciting version of the website homepage was built for me by Nick and Chris, this was the best version to date and featured the ukdrn logo for the very first time.
The screen grab below makes it look a bit strange as it was taken on my current high resolution monitor.

Click for bigger

2001thumb

 

Around 2001 Alan Currans brought himself a scanner and started scanning his massive collection of pictures and launched the excellent Acceleration Archive, another UK nostalgia website that contains thousands of pictures, articles and features.

2006-2012

In 2006 and against many peoples advice I made the brave decision to open up a public drag racing discussion forum, I say brave because forums in general have a bad reputation and can sometimes do more harm than good with many being shut down in no time.
With some tight policing, great moderators and a fantastic bunch of members including many well known names from the past the forum has become a massive source of information and pictures (28,000+) as well as a great place to meet old friends and reminisce from days gone by. The forum has been a credit and a helpful addition to the growth of the sport and will continue to do so for years to come.

2014 –

The front page of the website was changed to  a blog type theme.
It’s powered by WordPress. WordPress is used by more than 23.3% of the top 10 million websites as of January 2015.
It features excellent SEO (search engine optimization) so any features I post on the home page get seen worldwide on sites like google within hours.

www.ukdrn.co.uk was still receiving over 1 million hits every month and over 50,000 individual visits per month.

2015 

The website is still going strong although social media sites like Facebook have affected traffic on ukdrn.
Whilst still receiving good viewing numbers the amount of people posting of the forum etc has dropped considerably.

Funding

Since it’s birth this website has been paid for by myself and nobody else.
Being from the old school era of internet users, when all websites were free and banner-less I always wanted ukdrn to be the same.
I’ve resisted many offers of sponsorship and have sometimes struggled to keep the website running financially but have always managed to do it some how.
For the last 7 years I have sold drag racing calendars at Christmas but these have never covered the total cost of running ukdrn.

Photography

In my opinion nothing is better or more exciting to photograph than drag racing and so my two great passions fit perfectly together.
I’ve been lucky enough to photograph many great meeting in the UK but would still love to cover a major FIA event one day.
My photography galleries can be seen under “Modern Day Racing” Click Here to View

Thoughts and the future.

2016 will be this websites 20th anniversary.

The forum always needs new members so the website can keep growing so don’t be shy and take a look, I’m always ready and willing to help you if you’re stuck or need advice

Also if you have a old collection of negatives, slides or prints sitting around then please get in touch so we can preserve and share them forever.

Have a safe and fast 2017
Jon Spoard

To contact me please send an email Contact Here

 

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