02/01/2017: Hall of Fame looks to the future.
The British Drag Racing Hall of Fame has seen a seismic shift in its international profile since it decided to hold its Annual Awards Induction Ceremony as a standalone event. Celebrating the pioneers of British drag racing it is now recognised as one of the most prestigious motor sport social events in the world, attracting guests from across the globe.
In 2016 these included Tom Hoover, Joe Schubeck, GiGi Carleton, Steve Gibbs, Ed Iskenderian, Harry Hibler, Bob McClurg, Eileen Daniels, Ed 'The Ace' McCulloch, Ron Hope, Paula Murphy, Don Schumacher, Fred Miller, Traci Hrudka, Tony Thacker, Bob Muravez, Carl Olson and David Marks of The Beach Boys. Also attending from the world of music were Dave Lee Travis and Mike Read. British drag racers attending included John Hobbs, Ian Messenger, Steve Murty, Gary Page, Peter Crane, Barry Sheavills, Roy Phelps and Jason Phelps, Andy Carter, Liz Rowland (aka Liz Burn), Dennis Priddle, John Hazelton, John Wright, Nick Davies, Gerry Cookson, John Whitmore, Bill Sherratt, Bob Hawkins, Geoff Hauser, Charlie Draper, Tim Garlick and Robin Read. Senior management from the three main UK drag strips were there along with the organising clubs and others from the media, sponsors and motorsport authorities. The spin-offs for British drag racing are many and varied, but as far as an annual social event is concerned it certainly has put the sport on an equal plane with other forms of motorsport.
BDRHoF Chief Executive Officer Brian Taylor says "We have shown what can be achieved. But none of this would have been possible without the commitment of BDRHoF Management Board Members. Few in number, these enthusiasts give their time and expertise on a voluntary basis throughout the year. It would also have been impossible without the support of our fabulous sponsors and supporters Beech Underwriting; USAutomotive; Santa Pod Racers Club; Mintex; Pennine Drag Racing Club; Eurodragster.com; Avon Park International Racing Association; Shakespeare County Raceway; Santa Pod Raceway; York Raceway; Lucas Oil Products UK; the International Organization of Professional Drivers; National Street Rod Association; Aptitude; Atlantic Fluid Tech Ltd; Prop Portfolio; Dial-a-Flight; and Rat Trap Racing.
"One sponsor in particular has been vital for that success and that is our Sponsorship Partner Geoff Stilwell of Beech Underwriting. In truth Geoff has been more of a benefactor than a sponsor and his support has resulted in a strong financial position for the BDRHoF and a wide range of international contacts. However we can't expect him to bear the lion's share of the cost burden for ever and we are actively seeking additional Sponsorship Partners to help fund the costs of organising such a prestigious event in the future.
"Sponsorship is available to suit a range of company budgets. Joining our list of regular supporters helps - as does advertising in the Gala Awards Dinner Souvenir Programme. Becoming a Primary Sponsor brings more benefits to the sponsoring company and the BDRHoF, but becoming a Sponsorship Partner enables the widest possible programme of benefits to be developed.
"Because the Awards Event has grown so quickly we also need more volunteers to help manage the work linked to it during the year. This starts as soon as the current event finishes. At the moment the work falls on a handful of people, many of them not getting any younger. We urgently need fresh blood; new people experienced in writing press releases, handling accounts, organising events, creating Powerpoint and writing scripts. Without new volunteers we cannot develop succession plans and the BDRHoF will eventually close down.
"In a way this is a wake-up call to all those who believe that what has been achieved is worthwhile. If you cannot volunteer your time and skills then financial donations will enable us to buy in the requirements. The need is now."
If you would like to join the team managing the BDRHoF, or talk about sponsorship opportunities, then contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01395 579733. Brian or Industry Liaison Director Guy Loveridge will make an appointment to visit you.