The name Gerry Belton will be familiar to anyone who went along to the original DragFests of ’64 and ’65. Gerry’s was one of the voices heard commentating at the meetings and the one on the Dragfest LP subsequently released.
He really was in the thick of the action from the beginning, being the Allard Motor Company PRO. At the outset Sydney Allard handed Gerry the job of organising the 1963 International Drag Racing Challenge that featured Dante Duce in Mooneyes and Mickey Thompson in his Harvey Aluminum Special. This series of events was instrumental in anchoring the sport of drag racing in the UK.
He then went on to organise the British International Drag Racing Festivals in 1964 and 1965, acting as Secretary to the British Drag Racing Association as well as General Manager of the events. This was no small task given the American entries arriving and the complications raised by setting up six meetings to be held at different airfields with different organising bodies over three back-to-back weekends. Given the perfect weather throughout, not credited to Gerry, some 120,000 spectators enjoyed the meetings, still said by some as never to be forgotten. Gerry was also involved in organising World Record meetings in the UK and Europe.
His off track activities were matched by some personal success on track, as he has the distinction of winning Top Eliminator at the first ever British Hot Rod Association ‘Big Go’ meeting. He was at the wheel of a Ford powered Allard Dragon dragster designed by the company to be sold as kits to expand participation in the then fledgling sport. He was also part of the consortium that purchased Bob Keith’s 1964 Dos Palmas dragster which he drove in 1965. He drove his own ’65 Cobra 289 at Santa Pod in the late ’60s. In fact he set the CC/SP Class Quarter Mile Record at 13.582secs and 104.60mph – pretty small beer by today’s standards but very quick back in the day.
It is for his work with Sydney Allard organising these European motor sport ground changing events during 1963, 1964 and 1965 that Gerry is being inducted into the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame.