Andy Robinson is the MSA British Drag Racing Champion six times over. That distinction alone might warrant his induction into the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame, but it is only part of the story of the UK’s long-serving ‘Mr. Pro Mod’.
The MSA Championship class since 2007, Pro Modified had emerged in Britain in the late 1980s. By then, Andy Robinson had already been involved in drag racing for over a decade. In 1974, during an engineering apprenticeship, a college lecturer had suggested he try marshalling circuit races as a pastime. Marshalling at nearby Blackbushe, he found himself attracted to the Run What Ya Brung activities of local hot rod and custom car clubs, something not available in the circuit racing world. A home-built, high-riding Ford Zephyr was his first serious racing machine and won him his first title, the NDRC Allcomers Street Championship at Long Marston in 1981.
A Chevy Monza followed, and then a Ford Sierra Sapphire, Andy’s first venture into the burgeoning Pro Mod scene to take on leading contenders of the day such as Tim Cook, Dave Mingay, Dave Warne and Dave Pollen. In 1991, a new house with space for a custom-built workshop launched Andy’s career as a professional racing car constructor. On the track, an innovative Rover 800 coupe dominated the Pro Mod scene, winning national championships in 1997 and ’98, and was replaced by Andy’s best-known car, the purple, flamed Studebaker Commander, first in unblown nitrous form, then adopting the supercharged methanol power the team employs to this day. The Studebaker won three MSA Championships. Its replacement, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro debuted in 2013, has notched three more and is chasing its fourth in 2018.
Racing cars are a full-time, Robinson family occupation. The company, Andy Robinson Race Cars (ARRC), finds Andy and son Luke busy in the workshop while Kate, Andy’s wife, manages the business. At the track, daughter Stefani is part of the large team preparing the Camaro for action. Moreover, the company’s products are a constant feature of any European Pro Mod field. For example, The Main Event’s entry list this year included four other ARRC vehicles competing against the Camaro. The Robinson pit is renowned as a source of practical help and advice for racers throughout the paddock, whether company customers or not, a significant factor in the minds of the Hall of Fame’s selectors as they deliberated their choices. Andy and Luke also serve as inspectors on the SFI Foundation’s annual European racing equipment recertification tour, and Andy sits on the MSA Drag Racing sub-committee too. Drag racing forms only part of ARRC’s product portfolio. The company’s reputation is second to none in Historic and Classic circuit racing, where it specialises in building roll cages and provides all manner of other fabrication work.
It is for his abundant contributions to the practice and spirit of British drag racing over so many years that Andy Robinson is inducted into membership of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
Profile by Robin Jackson