The legendary Bootsie whose image the Hall of Fame features and after whom the trophy is named. Allan built one of the UK’s first dragsters and in a long and glorious career proved that he could turn his hand to everything from managing a race track to driving race cars and building them before his life was tragically cut short in a top end accident. Allan’s trophy was the first to be awarded, at the joint APIRA/SPRC Dinner Dance in February 2006, and was accepted by his then-partner Lesley Wright who read this tribute:
In 1962 when Allan built his first dragster there was no rule book, no drawings to follow – just pictures in American Hot Rod magazine. In the early days the dragsters were run at National Sprint Association meetings at various RAF and USAF airfields around the country. If there were barriers they were straw bales, the runways had no grip juice and there were no spectators.
In 1966 all that changed when Santa Pod Raceway opened its gates to the public. Allan fully engaged in the development of the sport, helping to form an organising club and writing construction rules for the safety of participants and spectators. Along with John Harrison and Brian Sparrow, Dragster Developments made all their own parts and became renowned for shortening rear axles.
When I met Allan in 1976 what struck me was his happy-go-lucky attitude to life. He would say he was “Just lucky” being in the right place at the right time to be offered the drive of the Santa Pod-owned cars: the Gloworm Funny Car, Commuter, Firefly, Asphalt Alleygator, and the Gladiator Funny Car.
Bob and Roy Phelps popularised the sport by bringing over the top drivers and riders from the States. During the course of a meeting Allan would be helping out other teams by doing repairs over in Number 6. He moved up to live close to Santa Pod and was its full-time track manager. On Sunday he’d be driving a Fueller, Funny Car, Jet or Rocket and on Monday supervising the litter pickers and emptying the toilets!
I like to think that Allan’s character – his friendly and helpful nature, his passion to develop the sport – is still stamped right through it today.
I know that Allan would be very humbled by the Hall of Fame award being named after him. I can almost hear him laugh and rattle off a dozen names of people he would think were more deserving of it than him, but on his behalf and on behalf of the magical memory many of us have of him – thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Please check out this YouTube video from Nick Pettitt’s Time Travel series covering some of Allan’s racing highlights, although titled “The Early Years” it does in fact go right through to the Jet Funny Cars.
View by clicking…HERE
With special thanks to Nick Pettitt for his permission to use this video