FOUNDING CHAIRMAN - STUART BRADBURY 1945-2020

Philip Evans

Back in the day it was often said that the future of British Drag Racing depended on the little guys. Even today that statement bares testimony in all forms of the motorsport from the entry level classes upwards. Back in the 1970’s one such classes that was being pushed along by its’ participants was Production: a class for ‘stock and sports’ production cars with minor modifications while keeping their original factory appearance.

One racer who was dedicated to the future running of the Production class was a young enthusiastic Coventry based sales engineer Phil Evans, who began spectating during the early days of Santa Pod Raceway. Between the years of 1967 and 1972 Phil had acquired his late father’s ‘brand new’ 1967 Singer Vogue; a popular choice with rally drivers of that era but how would it fair in an alternative motorsport as a drag car? Having spent 5 years on the road as his daily driver to Brunel University and, of course, Santa Pod, Phil began tinkering with the ole girl before entering his first competitive Santa Pod race meeting in 1972 where upon he was runner up in the Junior Street eliminator at the GUD Filters ‘Big Go’ to Bob Knott’s 19 second Ford Corsair ‘Little Green Henry’.

In the following years Phil won his first ever Production class championship organised by the Midland Drag Racing Association at Long Marston in 1977, as well as the NDRC Midlands championship the following year. Now, looking every inch a quintessential English drag car with its self-applied traditional racing flames across the car’s original Sherwood Green factory paint, the fully race prepared Vogue was winning and setting class records wherever it ran at Santa Pod and Long Marston.

In between his racing endeavours Phil sat on the executive committee of the British Drag Racing & Hot Rod Association as well as attending shows organised by the Singer Owners Club. In 1982 Philip was awarded third place in the prestigious RAC British Drag Racing Championship that covered all three permanent tracks. Three years later Phil was back in the championship limelight as 1985 Haynes Publishing/BDRA Production champion. He had become Chairman of the British Drag Racing Association in June 1984, which at the time was organising all the national events at Santa Pod.

So much was going on in Phil’s life after founding his business, Oil Control Ltd., and he reluctantly retired Super Vogue in 1986 and stepped down from his role as BDRA chairman. But a year later and with the new company all in situ Phil became the president of the BDRA before playing a crucial role in the setup of a new club; Santa Pod Racers Club after the exit from Santa Pod of the BDRA.

During the 1990s Phil was the lead instigator in setting up the RAC MSA ‘Dragster Sub-Committee with fellow BDRHoF member John Ledster. This in turn led to him being co-opted on to the MSA Speed Events committee as well being made Chairman of the Dragster Sub Committee. In 2010 he was the UK delegate to the FIA Drag Racing Commission and a permanent Steward for the FIA European Drag Racing Championship. Further leadership was presented to Phil in 2019 as chairman of the MSA [Motor Sports Association] Speed Events Committee.

Like Phil, Super Vogue is enjoying a well-deserved retirement and comes out occasionally for nostalgia events, still looking good as it did back in the day, with all of its period decals, paint and traction compound from those early days still intact, although Phil hasn’t ruled out the possibility of another Super Vogue being replicated in the not-too-distant future.

Phil was one of the founding members to be inducted into the BHRHoF in 2006.

Photo: Fast Car Magazine

Photo: Andy “Tog” Rogers
Photo: Dave Derry