FIM-E Main Event : Results from Santa Pod Raceway

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Words & Pictures: Ivan Sansom & Rose Hughes
Thanks to SPR timing crew for access to timing data

FIM-E Main Event, Santa Pod Raceway

The FIM-E European Drag Racing season had its traditional opener over the Whit Bank Holiday at Santa Pod Raceway, with hot conditions for much of the qualifying days, before cooler and eventually very damp conditions curtailed eliminations before the semi-finals were completed. A general sighter for rain at the track over the past 50 years is the visibility of the trees that are someway beyond the end of the shutdown area. New for this year are the three 400 foot high wind turbines and we have now learnt that when they disappear into the gloom it is time to run from the torrential downpour that will follow. Whilst the rain ended the fun in the four FIM-E drag bike classes, the event seeing a number of new combinations, class hopping and the championship stalwarts joined by a whole host of new faces. Despite the early finish, hopefully the growth in entries will continue as a theme for the rest of the year.

 

FIM-E Top Fuel Bike

With 10 time and reigning champion Ian King racing in the States in 2017, the chase for this season’s title in the premier FIM-E Top Fuel Bike category seemed to be wide open, and, with the early finish to the meeting, we are little the wiser. Low qualifier with an off the trailer 6.114/220.17mph, on the RG Engineering Puma fueler had made some small adjustments over the winter, with a new stronger crank being foremost among these.

Rikard Gustafsson

Rikard Gustafsson

With 11 entries, Gustafsson had a healthy half a second advantage over the field, the best of the rest being Greece’s Fil Papafilipou on his nitrous PXM at 6.687/205.34. It seemed as if raceday would be plain sailing for the Swedish team were worried about some main bearing damage on the new crank, skipping the final qualifying session and having a late night polishing it back into race ready condition.

Rene van den Berg

Rene van den Berg

First to line up in eliminations were and Stuart Crane in the of four nitrobike v funnybike that were a signature of the opening round, this one went to van den Berg (who had windowed a block in qualifying) in a 6.543/194.70 to 6.973/172.36.

Otto Knebl

Otto Knebl

Steve Woollatt on the Dealer PBR Puma fuel bike prevailed over Papafilippou with a 6.450/192.44 and made it three out of three for the nitrobikes with a mid-seven second.

Steve Woollatt

Steve Woollatt

victory over the unique compound turbo entry of Lorcan Parnell. And so to the Swedish head-to-head. Pettersson put his qualifying woes behind him and left the line first and was still neck and neck at half-track, but the funnybike was heading for the centreline causing an early shutoff and Gustafsson passed him to record a 6.435/233.70.

The semi-finalists were in the pairing lanes when the rain came down, but Gustafsson was without his bike as a plummet in oil pressure as he rolled off the throttle suggesting the main bearing had given up the ghost again: “I’ll have a look at it when I get back home, but it might mean I have to buy another crank and they take a long time to be delivered”. Hopefully the outcome won’t mean that Rikard has to skip a number of meetings and that he remains a strong challenger for the championship (and his own personal goal of a five second pass after coming so close last year).

 

FIM-E Super Twin Bike

Super Twin had a number of withdrawals after explosive incidents in qualifying, with Ronny Aasen barely getting off the line before the bottom end failed on Ton & Vincent Pels’ supercharged Zodiac entry, Petr Ceska blowing his only motor on a slowing eight second pass and class rookie (but reigning Pro Stock Bike champion) Gert-jan Laseur torching a head on his final qualifying effort.

Martijn de Haas

Martijn de Haas

Laseur’s Dutch compatriot Martijn de Haas qualified low with a 6.878/199.76 closely followed by Czech star  on a 6.891/206.12, with French debutant Bruno Salesse getting a handle on the ex-Job Heezen and ex-Lo Stauble championship winning ride. In the only round of eliminations, Sixta defeated Salesse with a seven zero, whilst de Haas rode out a shaking launch to set class low ET with a 6.721/206.03.

Roman Sixta

Roman Sixta

 

FIM-E Pro Stock Bike

Fredrik Fredlund

Fredrik Fredlund

The Stockers had a bumper twelve entries trying to make the cut, with Ålund’s Fredrik Fredlund taking it cautiously on his currently unsponsored Suzuki but still ending up on top with a 7.031/189.00, with Swede Kenneth Holmberg bouncing back from a broken connecting rod wiping out his primary engine in the first qualifying session to end up in 3rd with a 7.289/179.16 to sit just behind French rookie’s 7.286/171.73 on his first event in the seat of the ex-Laseur Buell.

Charly Abraham

Charly Abraham

Kenneth Holmberg

Kenneth HolmbergAgain, only one round of eliminations was completed, with Fredlund progressing past Denmark’s Fredrik Schack’s 7.621/169.18 with a 7.062/188.13. Alex Hope defeated Martin Newbury in an all British match up, whilst the other qualified Brits Martin Bishop and Len Paget fell to Holmberg and Abraham respectively.

Alex Hope

Alex Hope

FIM-E Super Street Bike

So long a British benefit, with Garry Bowe (7.061/207.04) and Rick Stubbins (7.097/203.23) flying the flag for the UK in the top spots in qualifying, the Super Street Bike class is now a truly Pan-European one with a dramatic increase in the Scandinavian entries this year.

Rick Stubbins

Rick Stubbins

The sixteen bike eliminator almost managed to complete two rounds with Hungary’s Daniel Donat Lencses defeating Bowe, Stubbins progressing past Steve Venables and a surprising Dave Thomas (having repeatedly lowered his PB mark to just make the field) who holeshot incoming points leader Malta’s Franklyn Borg to book a space in the semi-finals.

Robert Nilsson

Robert Nilsson

Daniel Donat Lencses

Daniel Donat Lencses

Dave Thomas

Dave ThomasUnfortunately repeated holds for drizzle bumped the final pairing behind the Pro Mod quarters which delivered further frustration in the shape of an oildown, leaving Dane Mogens Lund and Swede Robert Nilsson in the water box muttering more than a few Scandinavian oaths when the rain came.

Mogens Lund

Mogens Lund

Remaining FIM-E 2017 Championship dates

18th-20th August NitrOlympX, Hockenheimring, Germany
7th-10th September European Finals, Santa Pod Raceway, England

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