VOLUME XX, NUMBER 9 - SEPTEMBER, 2018
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ET DRAG RACING
Words and photos by Ivan Sansom & Rose Hughes
Thanks to the SPR Timing Crew for access to timing data
Andy Hone brightens the overcast sky for the fans.
It was a long end to the FIA/FIM-E European Drag Racing Championships at Santa Pod Raceway over the weekend, with some quick racing punctuating an event dominated by delays due to the weather and a seemingly endless series of oil-downs. However, these will have mattered naught to the event winners and the champions who were crowned over the course of the meeting.
FIA Top Fuel Dragster
Only needing to make a qualifying pass to secure her third FIA Top Fuel Dragster title, Anita Mäkelä stamped her authority on the championship with a low qualifying 3.8706/297.02 to lower her own elapsed time record that the Finn set in Sweden two weeks ago. In second spot and the only other racer to record a three second pass in qualifying was Antti Horto with a 3.9351/298.96.
The rest of the field were pretty strung out behind the Finnish duo with Urs Erbacher and Stig Neergaard in the low fours, Liam Jones in the sevens, and Jndia Erbacher and outgoing champion Duncan Micallef in the nines; hardly times to set the world alight but a huge amount of shake and the shifting sessions thanks to cool and wet conditions pushing the traction into a narrow window.
Mäkelä continued her imperious form through to the final round, set-ting back to back 3.8’s including a 3.872/312.44 run at the quarter-final stage and a 3.899/305.82 to defeat Neergaard in the semi-finals. Her opponent would be second generation racer Jndia Erbacher who recorded her first 3-second pass (3.992) to defeat her father Urs in the opening round and a 4.001 to take out Antti Horto in the semi-finals. The all-female Finland v Switzerland final saw Mäkelä leave the line first and, after Erbacher went up into ferocious tireshake, the Finn powered away to a 3.967/276.
FIA Top Fuel
1. Anita Mäkelä (Fin) 3.8706/297.02 (winner)
2. Antti Horto (Fin) 3.9351/298.96 (semifinal)
3. Urs Erbacher (CH) 4.1816/225.47 (1st round)
4. Stig Neergaard (Den) 4.3920/234.03 (semifinal)
5. Liam Jones (UK) 7.0432/76.58 (1st round)
6. Jndia Erbacher (CH) 9.1290/89.97 (runner-up)
7. Duncan Micallef (Malta) 9.2203/72.53 (1st round)
Low ET: Mäkelä 3.8706s
Best TS: Mäkelä 312.44mph
FIA Pro Modified
The FIA Pro Modified championship was decided prior to the event when outgoing champion Micke Gullqvist withdrew from the meeting handing a first points championship in the category to ten-time Pro Stock title holder Jimmy Ålund and the Old ’51 Chevy team. In keeping with the significant performance strides over this season there were some big numbers put down in qualifying, notably with Ålund ended up in second spot in qualifying with a 5.8278/241.61mph which was bettered by a new track record 5.7942/245.01mph from fellow Swede Roger Johansson’s nitrous injected Mustang (the Mölndals Speed Shop driver being the second FIA Pro Mod into the 5.7s), with the top performing Brit Andy Robinson in third with a 5.9133/242.89mph.
Johansson would vacate eliminations at the quarter final stage, misreading the track conditions and handing the win light to a returning Mats Ericsson and the Green Goblin team with a new Crown Victoria that recorded its best numbers to date a 6.031/236.43 on only its 11th pass. Robinson would progress to the semi-finals where he red lit against Ålund, where his opponent would be yet another Swede, Jan Ericsson, who was resetting his PB marks with a 5.9240/242.40 from the Sundholm Welding Camaro in qualifying. Ålund underlined his championship with the event win, taking a mere 5.873/241.58mph to illuminate the win light over Ericsson’s 6.050/239.84.
FIA Pro Stock Car
The traveling Swedish quartet that have made all of the FIA rounds this year were headed by Bengt Ljungdahl with a 6.6088; the accumulation of little qualifying points having placed the reigning champion in the points mix this season despite comparatively early departures in eliminations and two of those in the final session secured a second Euro title in a row.
Ljungdahl defeated Robin Nóren in the opening round while Michael Malmgren (shown) sent Stefan Ernryd home at the same stage. The final was decided at the hit as Malmgren’s GXP nosed dived after the initial launch and Ljungdahl carded another mid-six to pick up his first event win of the year to accompany the championship trophy.
FIA Top Methanol
Methanol has been heading towards a sibling showdown for much of the year with the Habermann brothers taking hold of the points from the off with the family score standing at three event wins to Timo and two to Dennis and just over a round between them coming into the event.
Dennis reduced the difference with a number of those qualifying session points, but his 5.2703/271.44 was bested on the TMFC handicap by Sandro Bellio’s 5.4525 (equating to a 5.2325). This produced a head-to-head to decide the title and Dennis drove around Timo’s quicker leaving 5.445/265.76 with a 5.307/266.80 to pick up his second and the family’s fifth Euro title.
Bellio’s funny car wasn’t around to contest the final, having been dispatched by Jonny Lagg’s (shown) A/Fuel car, the Swede picking up a consistent streak of form in the latter half of the season, but a 5.429/262.50 wasn’t quick enough to deal with the new champion’s 5.345/266.67.
FIM-E Top Fuel Bike
Greek racer Fil Papafilippou (shown) wrapped up his first FIM-E Top Fuel Bike championship by qualifying low with a 5.8143 at a new PB speed of 240.29mph, trouble in the shutdown area put the newly crowned champion in the field at the end of the track and left the Gulf Oils/King Racing scooter looking very sorry for itself and both out of competition for the rest of the weekend.
Eliminations had British veteran Steve Woollatt outlast the rest of the field with his comparatively small capacity and old school setup PBR fueler ‘The Dealer’ taking him to a seventh European event win and a second straight EuroFinals title.
FIM-E Super Twin Bike
It has been quite a year for the Christiansen family and their uniquely configured naturally aspirated V-Twin. Although son Marcus wasn’t able to contest the final at the season opener in May, the team have been on a hot streak ever since, winning in Germany and then back at Santa Pod for the finals, qualifying low with a 6.5955/192 and then working their way through to final against out-going Super Twin champion Martijn de Haas in the best head-to-head of the class eliminations.
Martijn de Haas
De Haas got the jump off the line, but the Danish rider rumbled past with a 6.565/197.15 to a 6.781/203.41 to add yet another trophy to their rapidly growing cabinet. We are not too sure what Speedy and Marcus are plotting for next season -- the bike is up for sale -- but they are up to something.
FIM-E Pro Stock Bike
Alex Hope came into the event on the back of a win at the Nitrolympx and with a decent but not decisive points haul. Things went slightly awry for the CBD Asylum rider at the hit on the first qualifying session when the rear sprocket shattered just off the line. This put the British team behind the curve and in sixth spot in qualifying.
The other championship contender Maurice Bertrand (shown) was having better days with a 7.3632/175.74 placing him in third meaning a first round match against Hope. Alex chopped the tree down with a 0.001s RT but a mid-track wobble put him behind at the finish line. Maurice faced his French compatriot Charly Abraham and his Parts Europe Buell who was on consistent 7.2 second form, if the Suzuki won Bertrand would be champion, and Abraham took a shot at the tree and missed by a mere -0.005s red.
Bertrand’s final round opponent would be Martin Newbury (shown) who had qualified low at the last round in Germany and backed that up with a PB 7.1484/185.13 to top the sheets on home soil. The final would be Newbury’s, racing to his first FIM-E event win with a 7.191/184.32 over Bertrand’s 7.495.
FIM-E Super Street Bike
The Super Street Bike field was a cough and a spit away from the quickest bump spot (7.6380 v a Euro Finals 7.6547) set back at the Main Event, although the schedule shunted them into potentially five sessions on the Sunday including the fourth and final qualifying session first thing in the morning.
Low qualifier Garry Bowe vaporized a motor in the opening round of eliminations and wasn’t able to return for the quarters, and Rick Stubbins eased his way to a semifinal finish to secure the champion-ship for the second season in a row.
However, the final was a rematch of the Main Event with Mogens Lund (second in the points for second year in succession) this time emerging victorious with a 6.991/206.12 to a 7.059/200.77 from Steve Venables whose holeshot gave Lund a real chase to the stripe which the Dane crossed just over a bike’s length head. Ven had set class low ET with a 6.969/208.17 at the quarter final stage.
FIM-E Junior Dragbike Cup
PHOTO EXTRA SLIDESHOW
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