Drag Racing made an instant impact on Mark Flavell. A chance visit to Santa Pod with a group of college friends in the late 1970s sparked a lifetime’s involvement in the sport which would see him working and racing at tracks across Britain and Europe and, for several years in the 1980s, as an emigrant, with his wife Ann, to Canada. He is particularly associated with York Raceway and its successor, the new Melbourne Raceway.
There is no doubt that Drag Racing’s success in the North of England has depended on the hard work of dedicated club members who supplied the infrastructure essential for racing to take place.
Mark has been one of the Melbourne site’s outstanding workers from the 1980s through to the 21st Century. Racing with his brother Allen, Mark came to then-York Raceway in the late ‘70s campaigning a Modified Ford Pop, Pop-Draggin’, which they had built together. During the 1980s and early ‘90s it was usual to find Mark and several others at York Raceway during the week before a race meeting, sweeping clean the track and shutdown area of all the accumulated debris produced by a working farm’s heavy machinery
Mark freely gave his expertise and labour to the project of upgrading the existing safety barriers – thanks to a contact for sourcing Armco fencing being replaced along a stretch of A-road nearby – as well as helping improve crowd safety. During this time Mark fabricated and donated a new Christmas Tree and metal covers to shield the staging lights on the start line. He gathered a racers’ group to organise fund-raising activities to provide fire extinguishers and other safety equipment for the track.
Mark also helped organise and participate in G-Force, the sponsored Super Gas racers’ class which competed at venues across the UK. He was instrumental too in acquiring sponsorship for racing at York as well as for the G-Force Super Gas tours.
Returning from Canada in 1987, Mark collaborated with Hall of Fame Member Dave Grady to advance Grady’s project for promoting Drag Racing nationally with the Super Gas Drag Racers Association, formed to conduct championship races as well as to present demonstrations and displays. Next, Mark focused on compiling new rules which led to the adoption of the 8.90sec Super Comp class. He has raced Dragster and Funny Car entries with distinction in both Super Comp and Super Pro ET.
While chiefly associated with York/Melbourne, Mark has engaged with venues as diverse as Dishforth (North Yorkshire), Enniskillen (Northern Ireland) and the Isle of Man. Retirement from his day job allows him to concentrate his attention fully on Melbourne Raceway where he contributes his time and expertise to its ongoing development. His newest additions to the project have included the start line gantry and disabled viewing area.
Mark is quick to credit others for their support, yet it is for his own generosity and dedication to the sport that he has been selected for induction into the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
Profile By Graham Beckwith & Robin Jackson
Photo: Gareth Evans