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Words by Ivan Sansom
Photos by Ivan Sanson and Rose Hughes

omeone in European drag racing circles must have really annoyed the weather gods this season. The wet stuff in many forms (but mainly as torrential rain) had curtailed the Scandinavian Swing through Sweden and Norway, with barely a round of eliminations completed, and also washed out the UEM European Dragbike round at Hockenheim, Germany, at the back end of August.

Although Sportsman qualifying on the Thursday of the Euro Finals was completed under gloriously sunny skies, the storm clouds gathered towards the end of the second pro session on Friday evening, with a thunder and lightening show surrounding the track for at least an hour before the rain started to fall. Saturday was virtually a complete washout, with Santa Pod rapidly turning into Santa Pond with the main efforts in the pits being to prevent race vehicles and transporters floating away.

Eliminations on Sunday looked as if they would go down the drain as the heavy overhead clouds taunted the track crew with showers kicking in at least three times after the track was minutes away from a go condition (and these guys had been manning the track driers from 5 am). Finally, the weather relented at around 2:30 pm and, astonishingly, the FIA/UEM eliminations were all completed minutes after the 9 pm track curfew thanks to the immense efforts of the SPR crew. A personal vote of thanks to each member of the track crew is worthy of mention here.

Top Fuel Dragster

Coming into the race second in the points, Sweden's Tommy Moller was a very realistic challenger for the 2005 series crown. When his main rivals fell by the wayside, Moller had destiny seemingly in his own hands, and, after producing a 0.826 60 foot clocking in the semi finals (the quickest yet seen in Europe) seemed to have the grunt to take all on offer if the clutch settings could be adjusted to avoid the severe shake that kicked in shortly afterwards. The final round match up with fellow countryman Micke Kagered had the makings of a barnstormer, but the dark and damp conditions prevented a real shot at running Low ET of the meeting, and Moller missed out on the FIA title by a mere four points despite taking the win light.

The Bacho Tools Express, driven by Micke Kagered, produced its best showing of the season at the Finals. A 4.934/279 mph was good enough for pole position after the abbreviated qualifying, and, after being gifted a couple of singles during eliminations, Kagered made his way to the final round against Moller. The Alan Jackson tuned car looked to be ailing with raw fuel filling the air after the burnout, so it wasn't too much of a surprise when Kagered clicked off and rolled to a ten-second pass to Moller's multi time-pedalled seven.

Having led the points chase from the very first event of the season and clocked the quickest ET in Europe in 2005 with a 4.78 at Mantorp, Lex Joon and the MPM Oils car came into the final event with the potential for record setting as well as the series title. A 4.991 in qualifying (good enough for 4th position) was then surpassed when crew chief Eddie Corr dialed in a 4.933/304 in a first round victory over Gary Page and gave Joon the Low ET bonus. Joon seemed to have handed Moller the initiative after being shut-off before staging in the semis with a small oil leak, but he'd already done enough to be the first Dutch FIA champ.

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