An overlay of the original airfield that existed at the close of WW2.
The early years of drag racing in the UK
reflected strongly its origins in the USA.
The strongest evidence of this must be the
re-naming of the airfield as "Santa Pod".

Regular drag racing events commenced
at the venue in 1966. As the strip was
developed and much of the land returned
to agriculture the evidence of the original
airfield began to disappear.
Taken in 1961 the aerial photos on the
right show that much of the airfield
remained intact at that time.
The early development of the airfield
began in 1941 when it became home for
some RAF bomber squadrons. However
this was a temporary situation and it was
1943 before it became fully operational
when the 92nd Bomb Group of the USAAF
were stationed at Podington (Station 109).
Using B-17 bombers early missions were
against the V1 rocket bases. The group
flew 274 missions from Podington during
the 2 years of its operations at the airfield.
Sadly, during those missions, about
150 aircraft were to be lost.
Anyone interested in finding
out more about the history
of the airfield will find
information on these links....
When entering the approach road that leads to
Santa Pod the visitor soon becomes aware of
the elegant memorial and American flag that
are on the right of the lane.
These are the first clues as to the earlier history
of the raceway when it was originally a wartime
airfield used by the USAAF and associated with
the nearby village of Podington.
A browse around the internet produces some
interesting information about those early days
when "The Pod" played a very different role.
SANTA POD circa 2000
The memorial to those who were lost
The original control tower still overlooks
the remnants of the old airfield. It has now
been converted to a residential dwelling.
Many old buildings & other relics of the
Pod's earlier history can still be seen.
Some are still being used but many are
now overgrown and crumbling away with
the march of time.
Much of the original perimeter road still
survives and can still be driven round.
This image of the Pod's finishing gantry
and shutdown area is a view from the old
road on the far side of the airfield.
The crew of B-17 bomber "Baby"
A photograph taken in front of the
Operations Building at Podington.
(A record of the missions they flew is here)
photo: courtesy of Ed Rathje
A portent for more recent driving skills.
A vivid reminder of how it once was.
Several good quality videos of wartime Podington can now be found on YouTube.
Here is a selection that remind us of those terrible & courageous times.
Less dangerous traffic now.
Less dangerous traffic now.
More skill & courage.
Over a familiar landscape.
Before it became a permanent drag racing venue Podington airfield was already no
stranger to motorsport events with a number of sprints being organised and run by
Northampton MCC, Bedford Eagles MCC & Roosters MCC. These were during the late
1950s & early 1960s. Some programmes from those earlier events are shown below.
A gliding club was also based at the airfield during the 1950s & early 60s.
A fascinating video of the club's exploits can be found here
( Many thanks to Clive Rooms for supplying the followng information & images )
They never would have guessed the future use of their work.
Drama with some interesting aerial footage.
A much later video gives some idea of how the venue
appeared when it began hosting motorsport.
Predecessors of Santa Pod's track crew.
A very real reminder of the Pod's
wartime history can be found at
Duxford.

It is a large wall painting found in
one of the huts at Podington that
was being used as a pig sty.

Surprisingly the artwork was still
in good enough condition to be
worth rescuing and conserving.

It was painted by Staff Sergeant
George Waldschmidt and moved to
Duxford Museum in 1989 where it
was restored to its former glory.

A news video of the event is here

Images courtesy of Paul Waltham
THE BIG PICTURE
(Many thanks to Guy Waltham for
providing this information)