Linford Christie can run 100 metres in around 10 seconds. In roughly the same time, Sheri Hughes travels a quarter of a mile at speeds of up to 135 mph - with a little help from her motorcycle.

"Drag racing is incredible, especially at the beginning of the race. It's a real thrill seeing how fast you can go," says Hughes. "The most nerve racking thing about racing is the "Christmas tree" [starting lights]. You really have to think about what you're doing and psyche yourself up."

When both bikes are in the pre-race stage they edge slowly towards the line. At this stage, the battle is a mental one. "If you go too early or edge too far forward, you break the beam and get "red lighted" which means disqualification. You only have a few seconds to play with.

"If you have too many revs you take off with a vertical wheelie so you have to do everything right," Hughes reveals. "Reaction times are very important in drag racing - you can win or lose a race because of your reactions."

Hughes rides in two classifications: Super Twins and Santa Pod. In the former classification you ride flat out, while "bracket racing" levels the playing fields between riders of various bikes. In bracket racing, riders try to finish as close to a pre-set (usually 10.90 or 9.90 seconds) time as possible.

Riders who go under the time "break out" and face disqualification. The rider closest to 10.90 gets the best time and they'll subsequently compete in an elimination race against the rider with the lowest score.

This cocktail of noise, engine oil, burning rubber and speed attract spectators from across the UK to witness spectacular sights such as a "burn out", performed by Hughes on her TL1,000 Suzuki to warm up her tyres (pictured above). Her introduction to bike racing was a little less formal.

"I went to a Bulldog Bash, at Avon Park, Stratford, where bikers race up the strip for a laugh," she confesses. "I thought I'd have a go, and I got the fastest time. It's a really good crowd and you see drag racing at ground level. It doesn't have to cost that much and, more importantly, it's fun. You can take it as seriously as you want.

"Drag racing is a very friendly sport," she continues. "People with bikes can join clubs like the super twins or race in "Run what you Brung" events where you can race whatever vehicle you have and get a feel of driving on a strip."

The scarcity of female riders in drag racing make Hughes quite a novelty to a few competitors - it usually wears off when they cross the finish line behind her.

"I try and thrash anyone I race and it's after a race that you see what they're really like," she reveals. "They [the men] can be pretty bitchy and call you a bimbo, but most of them have respect for you when they see that you can ride. There are quite a few ladies at The Bulldog Bash, but apart from that I only know about eight who race. It isn't much when you consider how many riders there are nationally."

Hughes plans to graduate to pro-stock racing (a higher classification of bike) which will reduce her race times to around seven seconds. "That will be a bit scary, but I'd like to do it."

In a couple of weeks time (10.40pm Monday 4th May), she appears on our screens, presenting a regular biking slot on the motoring magazine show Pulling Power. A life of media stardom may beckon, but if you find yourself next to a motorbike at your local set of lights you never know who may be beneath the helmet.

"I'm always looking for a race," she laughs. "When I'm out riding by myself and I don't see anybody going in my direction I get a bit peeved. I'll see someone going in the opposite direction and I'll turn around and go after them. If I see a bike at the lights and the revs go up, I just want to see if I can get off the lights first."

Something tells me she doesn't get beaten too often.

Telephone the ACU for more information on Drag Racing and race venues/schedules 01788 540 519

Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Morrissey pictured in 2013
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Field of broken dreams: Andy Bell visits Passchendaele
news5 News's Andy Bell visited the killing fields of the Great War, and his ancestor - known only from his compelling war diary - came to life
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

    £35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

    Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

    Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

    Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

    £50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

    Day In a Page

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In my grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
    Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

    Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

    Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
    Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

    Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

    Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
    Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

    Spanx launches range of jeans

    The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
    10 best over-ear headphones

    Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

    Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel