VOLUME XXI,  NUMBER 9 - SEPTEMBER,  2019

race reports

FIA/FIM-E European championship, Santa Pod Raceway

New Records End European Season

Words and photos by Ivan Sansom and Rose Hughes

Thanks to SPR Timing Crew for access to the timing data

Anita Mäkelä 

 

A tight track and primo quality air gave a huge boost to the Euro Finals with a slew of European records and personal bests set during the course of the weekend to bring down the curtain on another championship season.

 

FIA Top Fuel

Maja Udtian 

 

The quickest of the quick got a little quicker in qualifying when Maja Udtian improved the European elapsed time record that she had set in Sweden a couple of weeks ago with a 3.8068/315.52mph to lead the eight car FIA Top Fuel Dragster field. Another second-generation racer slotted in behind the Norwegian with Jndia Erbacher cracking off a 3.8803/313.52mph, while Anita Mäkelä dropped in at three with a 3.9031/308.24mph and picking up her fourth FIA class championship by making the field. Mäkelä would rejoin ‘the ladies who run three eighties’ club later on in eliminations.

 

The quarter-finals pitched Udtian against her RFM team mate Liam Jones with both drivers hitting problems off the startline, Maja getting sideways before shutting off while the Brit had sufficient momentum to take the win. Erbacher defeated Susanne Callin with a 4.104 and Swede Patrik Pers and local racer Tethys shook and rattled to five-second clockings with Pers gaining a spot in the semi-finals. Mäkelä (3.900/296.83mph) and Stig Neergaard (4.062/254.25mph) delivered up the quickest pairing of the first round.

Liam Jones

 

The final four stage had Jones gaining a free pass into the final as Pers was unable to make the call due to damage sustained in the quarter finals. On the other side of the ladder Erbacher hit a tireshake with the parachutes deploying while Mäkelä improved her personal best ET with a 3.821/313.52mph.

 

The trophy match-up had Mäkelä gaining a slight advantage off the startline and managed to pull away as Jones’ CBD dragster started to break traction while the Finnish fan favourite took the win light whilst also lighting up the right hand side of the engine to record a fiery 3.850s/297.01mph to take her fourth win of the season.

 

FIA/Motorsport UK Pro Modified

Jan Ericsson 

Jean Dulamon 

 

Following on from the shake-up in the points at the preceding meeting in Sweden, the FIA Pro Mods had the top four in the points having the mathematical opportunity to take the European championship coming into the event. With the track tight and the good air, some shook but a number flew in qualifying. Of the flyers Jimmy Ålund recorded the first 5.7 from a blower car in Europe with a 5.780/246.87 followed in very short order by Jan Ericsson with a 5.789/247.82, the qualifying bonus points putting Ericsson ahead of incoming points leader Micke Gullqvist by the start of eliminations.

 

Gullan departed in the first round, David Vegter and Ålund lost out at the semi-final stage leaving the stage for Ericsson to confirm his first championship. The title was further underlined with Ericsson’s second event win of the year over a red lighting and lane swapping Jean Dulamon. Dulamon being one of ten competitors to record their PB during the course of the event, Dulamon, Dmitry Samorukov and John Tebenham picking their first five second tickets into the bargain.

 

FIA Pro Stock

With the title sewn up in Sweden the Euro Finals looked to be something of a victory parade for Jimmy Alund (shown) although a lot of the stockers were plagued by tireshake given the bite in the track. Alund topped the qualifying sheet (6.551/211.78) but was followed by Robin Noren (PBing at 6.581/209.15 which would be improved to a 6.565/209.18 in eliminations).

Remarkably, Noren doubled up with consecutive holeshot victories over the multi-time champion to take his second FIA Pro Stock win with a 6.586/209.04 holding off Alund’s 6.550/210.82 by just over a fender. 

 

FIA Top Methanol

The methanol field saw the return of Monty Bugeja and the Mr Whippy team after only attending the season opening, although in common with a number of teams they missed pre-event testing and early qualifying sessions due to the late arrival of parts.

However, once they had bolted things together, the Maltese team worked their way through to the final and a classic burndown with newly crowned champion Sandro Bellio (shown), both cars barking at each other before eventually heading into stage. Bugeja then out ran the Belgium Funny Car with a 5.303/268.28 to a 5.630/261.15 and overcoming the 0.22 second handicap. 

German class rookie Silvio Strauch certainly found some grip in qualifying on his first visit to Santa Pod with his Top Methanol Dragster. The landing made a mess of the front end on the ex-Peter Schofer rail, but the Engine ghost team were able to fix things in time for eliminations. 

 

FIM-E Top Fuel Bike

Wow. That pretty much sums up the weekend that Fast Fil Papafilippou and the Gulf Oils team had. Having explored the limits of traction on their first qualifier, the unusual series of three sessions on the Saturday seemed to suit the Puma-powered scooter as a 5.633 at only 233.94 came out as the second quickest fuel bike pass in history and the only rider outside of one L. McBride Esq. to hold a 5.6-second timing ticket. Next session and a 5.662/246.74 came up on the boards to reset the European record and neither pass were perfect.

 

Having adjusted to counteract some early wheel spin, the third pass of the day would have been very adjacent to McBride’s 5.611 world best had one of the mags decided to not play ball and pushed the head gasket out on a 5.869/195.45 (by adjacent, Fil may well have been ahead with a 0.976s 60 foot and a 3.708s eighth mile clocking in comparison with McBride’s 1.007s and 3.749 at the same splits).

 

Second on the ladder was Rikard Gustafsson with a 5.966/223.64 that came at the expense of a crank which was replaced via some international collaboration to get a replacement from Holland in time for eliminations, whilst in third sat Al Smith in his FIM debut on Phil Baimbridge’s latest “thinking very much outside the box” inline triple Rocket 3 ride with a very impressive 6.275 on an early shutoff.

Al Smith

 

Eliminations had Fil focusing on taking his second championship with both he and Gustafsson progressing to the semi-finals where their fortunes diverged, the Greek rider carding a significantly detuned 5.701/244.22 (ridiculously this being the fourth quickest pass in history) to defeat Steve Woollatt and Gustafsson being a no show after the ignition timing went awry on the warm-up.

 

The final was due to be a match-up between Smith and Papafilippou but the Rocket remained in the pits after discovering unacceptably high leak down. The wick was turned back up on the Gulf Oils machine to see if it could propel Fil into the five-fifties, but alas it was too much for the track to hold, but, maybe, maybe, it is just around the corner.

 

FIM-E Super Twin Bike

Marcus Christiansen 

Having clinched his second championship in a row, Marcus Christiansen and the Danish Speedy Racing team went hunting big numbers with their unique Super Twin combo and duly ripped off the first 6.2 from an injected V-Twin in Europe with a 6.299/218.98 to head qualifying. A pair of 6.3s bracketed a 6.233/218.04 in the semi-finals to back up the qualifying number as a new class record, and a 6.338/218.97 secured the event win over Neil Midgley on the Cannon Engineering Lucas Oils supercharged entry, Midgley making his second FIM event final in a row.

 

FIM-E Pro Stock Bike

Ålander Fredrik Fredlund led the all-Suzuki Pro Stock Bike field with a 7.045/189.65, trashing another transmission on another qualifying attempt, and secured his seventh title when Sweet Cheeks team mate Janne Koskinen was defeated by out-going champion Bertrand Maurice in the first round of eliminations.

Fredlund carded a series of 7.0s in eliminations (a best of 7.028) and a 7.047/186.61 in the final, but was holeshot by Martin Newbury (shown) who took the event win with a 7.053/189.81 and reset his PB ET mark for the second event in a row.

 

FIM-E Super Street Bike

Steve Venables

 

The top four in Super Street Bike were firmly in the six-second zone with Steve Venables some way ahead of the rest with a new European record at 6.806/216.99 from the D.M.E. Hayabusa. Hungary’s Daniel Donat Lencses was on PB form with a 6.941/204.21, followed by Garry Bowe at 6.973/207.07 and Graham Balchin, fresh from digging holes in the track after a few stratospheric launches from the ZX12, with his first six-second ticket (6.977/205.15).

 

Eliminations saw Venables secure his second FIM title and run a series of 6.928/215.86, 6.825/214.92 and a 6.832/210.83 to book his spot in the event final where he would face Mogens Lund who had been on an impressive series of 6.9s on race day. Venables was looking for the first 6.7 in Europe but came up slightly short with a very impressive 6.804/216.85 to set the class ET record, back up his qualifying speed and take the event trophy after riding around Lund’s holeshot.

 

FIM-E Junior Dragbike Cup

Unlike the other categories, the destination of the Junior Dragbike Cup went right down to the wire with Nitrolympx winner Marie Rosen departing in the first round of eliminations and incoming points leader Meg Talbot losing out to Blade Dummer at the semi-final stage. This opened the door for Dummer (shown) to take the Cup series title which he duly did with victory over Liam Holgate in the event final.   

Euro Finals SLIDESHOW

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