Yvonne Tramm and husband Steve first went to Santa Pod Raceway in late 1974. They were completely ‘blown away’ by the spectacle and from the beginning of 1975 until today they have only missed five events. Children arrived, Spencer and Kirstie, and from a very early age the family sat on the spectator bank at the end of the quarter mile enjoying the racing. They joined the then organising club the British Drag Racing and Hot Rod Association (BDR&HRA), and after it had been renamed the British Drag Racing Association (BDRA) in 1983 Yvonne become the General Secretary – a club with around 1000 members at that time.
Most of the work was carried out at home, with all the family helping to send out tickets to racers, circulating the club magazine Drag Racing News and taking in membership subscriptions. Most of the press liaison was carried out by the club in those days too. There were Area Representatives to manage; they would organise evening social meetings for like-minded racers and spectators in pubs featuring drag racing films and presentations by the top racers of the day. These meetings were an important part of communicating with club members in the days prior to Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and club web sites. She also ran the club shop at Santa Pod Raceway, selling merchandise at the track and by mail order.
In the late eighties, she started managing the signing on of racers. This included much ‘on-the-day’ chasing of competitors. International meetings provided a special challenge and stories of Yvonne rushing down the fire-up road to sign on Swedish competitor the late Lee Anders Hasselstrom just prior to his next Funny Car pass, and confronting Norwegian Rune Fjeld – who has claimed to her on many occasions that he does not speak English – are now part of European drag racing folklore.
At the end of 1990, Yvonne decided to take a break from the BDRA that was merging with the recently folded National Drag Racing Club, becoming the British National Drag Racing Association (BNDRA) organising meetings at venues other than Santa Pod Raceway. But this retirement lasted only a few months because early in 1991 she was asked to join the Santa Pod Racers Club (SPRC) that had become the host organising club at Santa Pod Raceway. She worked at the track on merchandising and organising the dinner dance, until about seven years ago when she switched to the signing on office.
The late Paula Marshall was the General Secretary at that time but when Paula became ill, Yvonne took on the role of organising the dinner dance once again along with recording the meeting minutes for the SPRC Executive Committee, inter club meetings, riders and drivers meetings and the tech committee – plus managing the UK National Drag Racing Championship and the SPRC Club Championship; all quite a handful alongside a full time career.
As well as being a key member of the team that organises racing at Santa Pod, Yvonne has become friends with many UK racers who she thinks of as her second family. In fact she has done her share of crewing for teams steered by the racing activities of Spencer and Kirstie Tramm. This involved her in supporting Spencer’s racing at NHRA meetings at Las Vegas and Pomona as well as in the UK, building and running a Pro Mod car and Kirstie’s photography at European race events for www.eurodragster.com.
But it is for her tireless work during 32 years on the organisation side of drag racing that Yvonne Tramm has been inducted into the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame. Without people like Yvonne the sport could not exist.
Profile by Simon Groves