race reports

FIA Dico Scandinavian Internationals at Tierp Arena, Sweden


Words and photos by Ivan Sansom & Rose Hughes

FIA Pro Stock driver Stefan Ernryd 


And so, to Sweden for the penultimate event on the European FIA tour at the still comparatively new Tierp Arena on the eastern side of the country. Although the weather was changeable during the course of the weekend -- the unseasonable cold being a prominent feature -- the only all-concrete racing surface came around for eliminations and delivered some dramatic outcomes and the inevitable championship twists as we head rapidly towards the denouement.


FIA Top Fuel Dragster

Liam Jones 


Ten fuel cars took aim at the eight-car field, with the bump of 4.2903 by Stefan Gunnarsson leaving Timo Lehtimäki and Björn Mårtensson outside of the qualified field. At the sharp end, and for the third time this season, Liam Jones and the Arxell/Rune Fjeld Motorsports rail led the way with a 3.9465/302.29 with RFM teammate Duncan Micallef not too far behind with a faster 3.9592/308.97. Third spot was occupied by class rookie Jndia Erbacher’s 4.0623/281.49 with fourth picked up by Micke Kågered’s early shut-off 4.0772, and Stig Neergaard (4.1414), Antti Horto (4.1575) and Anita Mäkelä (4.1902) occupying the remaining spots to Gunnarsson’s bump.


A brief note and tip of the cap to a licensing Maja Udtian in the Is-landers fueler, with the Norwegian carding a competitive final pass of 4.1101 to complete the procedure outside of competition.

Micke Kågered 


Eliminations started in unfortunate circumstances as Neergaard struggled and ultimately failed to engage reverse, colliding with back-up guy Jonny Pedersen who sustained a broken knee in the process. With the Dane clearing the track, Kågered’s pass in the right hand lane didn’t go smoothly as all the pipes went wet at the hit, triggering the safety devices and shutting the car down.

Anita Makela 


The remaining pairings were more straightforward as Horto’s 4.0805/282 defeated Erbacher’s 4.2133/278.68, Jones progressed with a 4.0323/302 over a shaking and shutoff 5 from Gunnarsson, whilst Mäkelä finally managed to pick up her first round win of the season with a 4.1033/293 and keep the championship alive for others as Micallef shook, pedaled, shook some more and shut off.


The final four also contained drama in each pairing, with Jones completing the burnout when, for some as yet undetermined reason, the automatic shutoff devices were triggered, deploying the parachutes and handing Kågered another solo into the final.


“We must be up to 101 ways of losing now,” commented the frustrated British driver.


In the all Finnish affair on the lower side of the ladder, Mäkelä got the jump off the startline, but Horto started pulling past at the 330-foot mark on his way to a clean 3.9944/299 which was fortunate as Mäkelä’s Golden Crown-Levin Iglut dragster moved inexorably over the centerline as the whole left bank of cylinders appeared to give up the ghost with a plume of death smoke accompanied by a loss of down-thrust from the headers.

Antti Horto 


The trophy runoff pitted Kågered’s Bacho Express against Horto, with the Finn looking to bounce back from a first-round exit at the preceding event and keep the championship active. Horto did the job in fine style with a 3.9982/294 despite chucking the blower belt whilst Swedish hopes were dashed by a couple of bouts of shake as the orange and white missile passed the tree.


Horto and the Eagle Racing squad were, unsurprisingly upbeat: “After disappointment in Hockenheim we arrived with big expectations in Tierp as we’d reset our personal best here back in June so we were looking for some more. Qualifications started with a solid 4.15 but engine was done in that pass, rods broken and the block was destroyed. So, we took a risk and thought that a 4.15 will take us to Sunday and it did. So, Sunday was our day. The first-round win against Jndia was big relief for whole team and TF#77 was rocking again. On second round against Anita there was some scary moments when she crossed lines, but a great 3.99 on that round pushed us to final. Final against Micke was our show. 0.850s 60ft. and 3.173s on half-track was pushing to a new record but blower belt broke just be-fore the line. Still another 3.99. We improved times and ended that day to first win of this season. This will keep championship alive and we are fighting for it in Finals.”

Christiansen was a worthy event winner as a string of 6.5s backed up a runner-up finish on the European FIM-E stage in Germany the week before, marking the Speedy's Basement Performance Racing team as one to watch closely. 

With Fredrik Fredlund using the opportunity to get some testing in before contesting the final round of the FIM-E championship at Santa Pod it was no surprise to see the reigning European champion at the top of the pile after qualifying with a 7.0067, but eliminations day was all about Robert Karlsson (far lane) who ripped off three sixes in a row, with a semifinal 6.9697 (sub-European record) being the quickest of the trio and a 6.9740/191.52 handling Fredlund’s 7.0172 in the left hand lane. Karlsson’s 192.40mph terminal on his only qualifying shot was also above Fredlund’s FIM-E speed record and Karlsson is a late entry to the Euro Finals with the specific aim of taking both FIM-E ET and TS marks.

Despite the attention of some heavy hitters on the European stage, including reigning FIM-E Super Street Bike champion Garry Bowe and 2017 points contender Mogens Lund, it was Mathias Bohlin who picked up what we think is his first EDRS Pro MC event with a series of mid sevens on his turboed Hayabusa. Despite a clutch failure at the semi-final stage, Lund added what may just be the first of his series ti-tles with the Nordic championship in the bag before then. 


Sandro Bellio 


Bellio gained his second win of the season on a pedaling mid six that drove past Habermann’s low seven after the latter had a pop from the burst panel at around the 500-foot mark. Despite this setback, it is Timo and his younger brother Dennis that lead the points, with the former the favorite to pick up the 2017 title.


On two wheels

Sverre Dahl 


The regional EDRS Pro Bike series delivered some significant quality throughout, with Top Fuel Bike veteran Sverre Dahl getting back into the fives after breaking through the barrier at the previous EDRS meeting earlier in the month, to lead qualifying with a 5.9887 on a very early shutoff.

Jan Sturle Hegre


Unfortunately for Dahl, he was shut off after the burnout at the semi-final stage leaving fellow Norwegian Jan Sturla Hegre to take the event win over Thomas Pettersson’s funny bike, Hegre having improved his personal best marks with a 6.1409/238.65 in qualifying.

Tommy Grimes Jr.


Stateside interest at the Dico Scandinavian Internationals came in the form of Tommy Grimes Jr. onboard Per Bengtsson’s fearsome blown parallel Super Twin. Bouncing back after a framerail bending explosion in Finland via an event win in Norway, the North Carolinian wrapped up the EDRS Pro Super Twin title in fine style, qualifying low with a 6.3113, before running a very impressive 6.291/216 at the semi-final stage to set the class ET record. Grimes appeared to be on a charge to another low six second clocking in the final but the aptly named ‘Beast’ shed the chain just as Grimes was getting alongside Denmark’s Marcus Christiansen.

FIA Pro Modified

Ake Persson 


Pro Mod is always a tough deal in Sweden, and the August FIA round also doubles up as the finale for the Swedish championship. Qualifying was topped by Åke Persson with a 5.8826 from his blown 2nd gen Camaro, followed by Jimmy Ålund (5.8981), Micke Gullqvist (5.9242) and David Vegter (the Dutch PedalToTheMetal team breaking up the Swedes at the top of the charts with a 5.9762). The eight car Swedish Eliminator boiled down to Persson v Ålund with the latter taking the spoils with a 5.8537/242.44 to Persson’s 5.9451/243.49.

Fredrik Fagerstrom 


With the domestic chores out of the way, FIA eliminations appeared to be laden with upsets, but Persson would progress to the final after defeating fan favourite Freddy Fagerström with a 6.0963 to the truck’s 6.2831 (Fagerström only just making the call after chucking a rod in the quarters with the replacement engine still being strapped together in the staging lanes), and his opponent would be Gullqvist who bested Ålund in the race of the weekend with a 5.8622/247.81 to a 5.8842/241.74 to deliver the quickest and fastest Pro Mod pairing in Europe (for the second event in a row).

Michael Gullqvist 


After overcoming a hurt lifter in qualifying, the replacement engine in the Gullqvist Camaro was clearly not missing a beat and rocketed to a 5.8339/248.73 to reset the FIA ET record and take the event win over Persson’s 5.9644/241.63. Gullqvist now has a 119 point lead over Ålund, so we are into ‘mathematical possibilities’ for him to be de-nied a seventh FIA title.


FIA Pro Stock

Jimmy Alund 


Twelve entries in FIA Pro Stock pushed the eight-car bump deep into the 6.6s, but it was the familiar face of Ålund (doubling up in Pro Stock and Pro Mod at the Scandinavian rounds) leading the field with a 6.5266/213.31.


The carbureted field produced a big swing in the championship in the opening round of eliminations when Stefan Ernryd (fresh off his first FIA Pro Stock event win in Germany the week before) took out points leader Bengt Ljungdahl in the opening round when the latter hit violent shake off the line.


Ernryd would improve his points standing by progressing to the final against, inevitably, Ålund with Jimmy producing low ET of raceday with a 6.5303/212.90 to cross the line ahead of Ernryd’s quickest run of the weekend with a 6.5870 from the Dico by Belgetti Dodge (the green theme being evident across the facility due to Dico also step-ping up to sponsor the event). A couple of meetings ago it seemed that Ljungdahl was inexorably moving towards his first FIA champion-ship, but an event win and runner-up finish from Ernryd has opened things up a bit.


FIA Top Methanol

Timo Habermann


The previous weekend had Timo Habermann and Sandro Bellio as the class of the Top Methanol field at the NitrOlympX, with the German Mitsuboshi Star Racer emerging victorious. This weekend, Timo led the qualifying field with a 5.3309/266.51 and would make it to final where he would face Bellio after the Belgium ripped off a 5.4490/258.30, the third TMFC into the forties in Europe after the Lindberg brothers.




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