With the sun shining and festival season well underway, last weekend a couple of the Tiger Team headed down to the Santa Pod raceway in Bedfordshire for the annual Bug Jam festival. Described as the “the original and best VW fest”, the event attracts around 4,000 visitors annually to celebrate what has become an iconic car brand.
Santa Pod’s famous drag strip was open for business, playing host to the “Run What You Brung” races where anyone can turn up and race down the fastest asphalt drag strip in the world for a £20 entry fee. And that is exactly what happened - anyone did turn up! Hours of entertainment could be had watching anything from a 1950’s camper van hitting a maximum speed of 48 mph, to a souped-up Audi TT hitting, well, rather more than that!
True to the drag racing tradition of Santa Pod there were guest appearances from Dragsters and what are described as “Funny Cars”. We have since learned that both are drag racing vehicles with the key difference that a dragster has the engine at the back behind the driver, and a Funny Car has the engine at the front. To someone who knows nothing about this type of thing, both appeared to be crazy custom-made vehicles with brightly coloured fibreglass body kits that can reach some seriously fast speeds from a standing start!
Possibly the most jaw dropping moment of the weekend was the appearance of the FireForce 3. This is a jet engine powered Funny Car (we are struggling with the combination of the words "jet engine" and "Funny Car" in the same sentence!) and is a force to be reckoned with.
This mechanical monster has a thrust in the engine equivalent to more than 10,000bhp which helped it to eat up the quarter mile track in 7 seconds, hitting a top speed of 268 mph! The noise of the engine from the track side must be like sitting next to a turbine at the edge of a runway. For those of you who are fans of the BBC's Top Gear, it was a 288mph jet car crash that Richard Hammond survived back in 2006. Having witnessed this type of vehicle first hand, it's easy to realise quite how lucky he was!
Being more music festival types prior to Bug Jam, the event has opened our eyes to a whole new world. Car envy? Yes. There is no doubt that the love and care taken over many of the VW Beetles and camper vans at an event like this must ignite a little passion in most souls. The enthusiasm is contagious. Will we be going again next year? Definitely.
Check out some of the other cool cars on display at Bug Jam below:
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