Tony Densham

Tony Densham was involved in Drag Racing from the very early days racing in the 1963 Drag Fests in his 1500 ford dragster The Worden. In 1964 at RAF Kemble he ran a best of 11.32secs in the same car, he also continued to race the car at events on temporary tracks across Britain. With the opening of Santa Pod in 1966 British drag racers had a permanent track to race on and Tony won the Top Eliminator class in his blown 1500 cc dragster with a 12.32/122 at the opening event.

At the August event Tony drove a new car, the Golden Hind, a seven-litre Ford powered dragster which was originally the Harvey Aluminum Special which was driven by American Mickey Thompson in 1963. The car would later evolve into the famous Commuter. In 1967 Tony slowly got to grips with the car’s power and at the Records Weekend at Elvington set a new two-way average record of 8.915secs. He also took the standing 500 metre record with a two-way average of 11.20secs.

At the Santa Pod Easter meeting in 1968 Tony set a new low ET mark with a 9.052, and then ran the first eight second pass at the August event at Santa Pod with an 8.891/173 and later at the same event ran a fantastic 8.459 to become the quickest racer in Europe. Also in the same year at Santa Pod he raced Rex Sluggett in the first side-by-side nine-second race in Britain. In May 1969 Tony lowered the record to 8.228 at Santa Pod.

Tony ran a disputed 205 mph pass in Commuter at Santa Pod in September 1970, the first 200mph run by a British car.

The dragster was set up with bigger tyres and gear ratio for an attempt on the wheel driven flying kilometre record at Elvington the following weekend. This attempt was successful as he set the record at an average speed of 207.60 mph breaking the record previously set by Sir Malcolm Campbell at 174.88 mph which had stood for 43 years. October 2013 sees this record remaining unbroken for a further 43 years.

In 1971 Tony became the second drag racer to be awarded the RAC Malcolm Campbell trophy and in the same year drove the new Firefly front-engined Top Fuel car which was not only stunning to look at but was alleged to be the most powerful car outside the USA. Tony’s driving career came to an end in 1972 when he announced his retirement from driving Firefly which was handed over to Allan Herridge.