HomeNews / Race ResultsEuro Finals: 2022 FIM-E Dragbike Championship at Santa Pod Raceway

Euro Finals: 2022 FIM-E Dragbike Championship at Santa Pod Raceway

FIM-E Dragbike Championship
The Euro Finals
September 8-11, 2022
Santa Pod Raceway

FIM-E Dragbike Championship Eliminations

Words and photos Ivan Sansom & Rose Hughes

The 2022 edition of the European Finals came to a close late on Sunday remarkably with all eliminators completed, which, given the long delayed start in the morning thanks to overnight fog and moisture taking an age to clear and some on track incidents, was some testament to the hard work put in by the SPRC track crew. A couple of European speed records were thrown into the mix as well as a barrier-busting World best that, well, you had to be there to see it.

FIM-E Top Fuel Bike

Rikard Gustafsson
Rikard Gustafsson

After qualifying all eyes were on the opening round match-up between Rene van den Berg and Neil Midgley with the former needing a win to keep his championship hopes alive but the SharkAttack rider’s troubled weekend continued with the drivebelt departing barely turning a wheel in the burnout box.

Neil Midgley
Neil Midgley

This meant that Rikard Gustafsson wrapped up his third European title thanks to qualifying points and a competition solo in the quarter finals. With that out of the way, the event win was the main focus. Gustafsson earned his final spot with a 5.8623/252.25mph to up his own European speed record in defeating Eric Richard mid six from his funnybike (Richard carding a nice 6.5981 in the opening stanza suggesting he’s getting rapidly to grips with the new chassis).

Eric Richard
Eric Richard

On the other half of the ladder, Neil Midgley clocked his third five of the weekend with a 5.9741 in that unopposed opener and then clicked off a shade too early for the comfort of the Cannon Motorsports/King Racing collective in the semifinal but still taking the winlight over Al Smith with a 6.1266/195.47 to a 6.3503/215.11.

Al Smith
Al Smith

Smith had earlier carded a 6.2986/224.64 over a PB from Mark Smith in a lose out effort 6.7548/195.44. The final was run in the gathering gloom with Midgley ahead from the startline with a great 0.0981s RT to around the 1000 foot mark when Rikard cruised past on yet another 250mph clocking with a 5.9350/250.99mph to a 6.2219/172.43 to put a lid on the 2022 championship season.

FIM-E Super Twin Bike

Marcus Christiansen
Marcus Christiansen

After sitting around for quite a few hours, the final of Super Twin was the only pass for the class during eliminations, but Marcus Christiansen rumbled to a superb 6.2112/230.37 (the latter being the second nitro fueled speed record of the event and a clear sign the braking issues the Danes were working around are very much a thing of the past).

Martijn De Haas
Martijn De Haas

Martijn de Haas shook quite hard after leaving the startline, but what is of note is how wired both riders were at the tree with a 0.0340s to a 0.0306s pair of reaction times from winner and runner up respectively. Marcus had already ready wrapped up his third championship in a row and will be back to extend that next season.

FIM-E Pro Stock Bike

 The troubled season for Pro Stock Bike continued to the very end of the year with Martin Newbury pushing back in the opening round of eliminations after championship opponent Aswin le Noble was knocked out of contention by Martin Bishop with a 7.6615 to an ailing mid eight. Beneficiary of the solo was Bertrand Maurice who finally managed to get a run of substance with a 7.3538/171.09. The final would also prove to be a single for Maurice when Bishop stepped off his bike before arriving at the startline and another 7.3 from French rider took the event win.

Bertand Maurice
Bertand Maurice

FIM-E Super Street Bike

Steve Venables
Steve Venables

The four rounds for the Super Street class was full of twists and turns pretty much from the off. Mathais Bohlin’s champion aspirations were extinguished after a very vertical launch handed the round win to Mark Hope’s 7.1271/202.57. Daniel Donat Lencses (6.7463/221.21), Alan Morrison Jnr (6.9884/207.07), Garry Bowe (7.0342/208.18), Mogens Lund (6.9751/206.13), Steve Venables (6.8431/205.11) and Jake Mechaell (6.9786/207.06) all progressed, the latter at the expense of class stalwart Steve Wood in his final European event.

Steve Wood
Steve Wood
Daniel Lencses
Daniel Lencses

The quarter-finals threw the championship door open a fair bit as Lencses span off the startline while Morrison Jnr scooted to a 6.9339/213.09.

Mogens Lund
Mogens Lund

Mogens Lund kept pace with a 6.9415/207.92 in defeating Bowe and Mechaell dropped off a bit with a 7.1324/209.95 to get by Hope. Venables had a bye into the semifinals but a massive oil fire erupted just after half-track and continued someway down into the shutdown area which left the former champion somewhat crispy but largely undamaged thanks to his Vanson leathers.

Jake Mecheall
Jake Mecheall

The semifinals thus saw Mechaell take the green and push back to maintain his championship aspirations, while Lund carded another consistently quick 6.9265/214.10 but lost out to a big PB from Morrison Jnr with a 6.8358/212.82.

Alan Morrison Junior
Alan Morrison Junior

The trophy run off was a simple equation, Mechaell wins and he took the championship, Mechaell loses and Lencses stays in the points lead. Again the gloom saw both riders nailing the tree with a 0.0860s RT from Mechaell and a 0.0318s from Morrison Jnr in his first FIM final. Morrison Jnr then stretched his advantage as the Protek tuned Busa punted out another PB with a 6.8255/211.80 to Mechaell’s valiant 6.9142/216.13 leaving Lencses ahead by less than a round of racing in the 2022 championship.

FIM-E Junior Dragbike Cup

Hollie King
Hollie King

With the Cup title decided in Hollie King’s favour before the event started, the challenge was on to see if she could be stopped from sweeping the season, but after defeating Anouk Burgering in the opening round in a very tight race, it was Meg Talbot’s chance to pick up her first event win of the season with a 8.2227/80.22 on a 8.15 dial-in to King’s 11.3356/55.63 on a 11.22 dial.

Megan Talbot
Megan Talbot

Exhibition World Record

After setting a new world best yesterday with a 5.0681, Eric Teboul loaded a “little more” peroxide into the tank to extend the push a bit further. The extra litre of H2O2 propelled Teboul into retirement with a barrier busting 4.9766/290.51 and the crowd went wild.

The numbers all the way down are astonishing and we suspect Teboul must have peaked very adjacent to 300mph shortly after 1000 foot which he passed with a 4.2289/290.49.

Eric Teboul Rocket Bike Record

Getting the thing stopped was added by the smoother Santa Pod shutdown area laid down at the start of the season, but both the bodywork and rider lifted a little suggesting Eric has headed off into retirement having explored some incredible limits on what is possible on two wheels over a quarter mile.

Eric Teboul
Eric Teboul

One wonders what Teboul’s mentor the late Sammy Miller (holder of the absolute ¼ mile drag strip record at Santa Pod back in 1984) and good friend Jon Morton, who we lost at the start of the weekend, would have made of it all.


Saturday Qualifying

Words and photos Ivan Sansom & Rose Hughes

We could almost cut and paste our daily preface from yesterday here as it was very much a repeat with rain delays and cleanups heading towards a late finish for the FIM-E classes until a substantial downpour curtailed activities with only Pro Stock Bike getting their third session in and the rest high tailing it back to the pits after only two qualifiers over Friday and Saturday. Nonetheless today saw a number of PBs and also a World Record which we’ll come to at the end of this update.

Rikkard Gustafsson
Rikkard Gustafsson

FIM-E Top Fuel Bike

The solitary Top Fuel Bike session was very nice with five out of the seven entries hitting fives and sixes, rounded off with side by side fives from Rikard Gustafsson with a 5.8383/247.70 to nearly match his low qualifier from yesterday and Neil Midgley on a 5.9943/197.22; this pairing being one of less than a handful of side-by-side fives in European TFB. Al Smith improved to a 6.1490/213.07 to maintain third for the PBR Rocket while Eric Richard moved into the top half of the ladder with a 6.6817/199.75. First round of eliminations could see the title decided as Gustafsson has a bye and his championship rival Rene van den Berg is seventh on the ladder and will have to face Midgley.

Neil Midgley
Neil Midgley
Al Smith
Al Smith
Eric Richard
Eric Richard

 FIM-E Super Twin Bike

Once again only Marcus Christiansen and Martijn de Haas made it to the finish line under power but both improved on their second shot of the weekend with a 6.2587/222.55 (the speed is back!) from Christiansen and a 6.5050/209.94 new PB from de Haas to make us sound like Nostradamus in our predictions from yesterday!

Marcus Christiansen
Marcus Christiansen

FIM-E Pro Stock Bike

Getting their third session in for the Pro Stock class improved things with Martin Newbury taking over top spot with a 7.2124/180.69 after sorting out the transmission issues that slowed them yesterday. Martin Bishop is in at two, Aswin le Noble three and Bertrand Maurice finally got off the start line to complete the four bike field for tomorrow.

Martin Newbury
Martin Newbury

FIM-E Super Street Bike

As per yesterday, Super Street Bike was again Super. Steve Venables blasted out a new PB of 6.7030/224.41 on a bodywork shedding pass alongside a 6.7574/220.37 from polesitter Daniel Donat Lencses in an all DME Racing match up.

Steve Venables
Steve Venables
Daniel Lencses
Daniel Lencses

Mogens Lund nudged a bit deeper into the sixes with a new PB 6.9467/212.03 but remains at fifth spot and Mathais Bohlin improved from yesterday to complete the top six in the field all with six second tickets at 6.9921/206.10. Thirteen bikes completed qualifying passes giving us an all run ladder tomorrow.

Mathias Bohlin
Mathias Bohlin

FIM-E Junior Dragbike Cup

The Juniors largely broke out in today’s session leaving Hollie King on top spot with Marie Rosen being the sole improver from yesterday to take second on the ladder.

Marie Rosen
Marie Rosen

Exhibition World Record

Well it is Eric Teboul’s last event with the rocket bike that has astounded audiences in Europe and North America over the past decade and a half, and he billed today’s pass as a test as he was trying out new settings. Some test pass. How about a 5.0681/263.52 (half track 3.3824.237.37) beating his previous pair of 5.12s from Bradenton in 2013 and Hockenheim last month. One more pass tomorrow and a magic barrier is almost in reach.

Eric Teboul
Eric Teboul


Friday Qualifying

Words and photos Ivan Sansom & Rose Hughes

A long and frustrating day eventually saw a very nice single qualifying session for the FIM-E classes after waiting out showers, track clean-ups and a problematic patch in the shutdown area.

Rikard_Gustafsson
Rikard Gustafsson

FIM-E Top Fuel Bike

As we predicted in our event preview, Top Fuel Bike was something very good to watch and we hopefully get three rounds in tomorrow (Saturday). But before we get there, Rikard Gustafsson rocketed to the top of the qualifying sheet with a close to PB 5.8281/244.21.

Neil_Midgley
Neil Midgley

In second spot was Neil Midgley on the Cannon Engineering Puma with a nice and straight 5.9760 at only 204 indicated more to come tomorrow. Currently in third is Al Smith with the PBR rocket recording very stout short numbers before an early shutoff with a 6.2200/208.96.

Al_Smith
Al Smith

FIM-E Super Twin Bike

Only Marcus Christiansen and Martijn de Haas put in qualifiers today with a very very easy (well they do make it look easy) 6.3050/209.89 from the Dane and an early shut off 7.7470 from de Haas. Both will improve tomorrow we have little doubt.

Martijn_de_Haas
Martijn De Haas

FIM-E Pro Stock Bike

The stockers have had a season of struggles and their session only saw two entries breaking the finishline beams, with Martin Bishop’s 7.9 heading Martin Newbury’s double digit pass (hopefully the aborted pass from the latter didn’t signify motor problems after a long detour to pick up a motor from Sweden immediately after Hockenheim a couple of weeks ago).

Marcus_Christiansen
Marcus Christiansen
Martin_Newbury
Martin Newbury
Martin_Bishop
Martin Bishop

FIM-E Super Street Bike

Super Street Bike was, well, Super. Already we are in the realms of the quickest eight bike bump spot with a 7.22 after one shot and the top five are solidly in the sixes. When the DME bike of Daniel Donat Lencses gets it right it really does get it right and a 6.6828/221.20 leads the bunch from Steve Venables in second with a 6.8275/217.20, Jake Mechaell 6.8591/215.13, a PB from a resurgent Garry Bowe at 6.8414/211.09 and Mogens Lund rounding out the six second quintet with a 6.9985/207.02. More to add tomorrow we think.

Daniel_Donat_Lencses
Daniel Donat Lencses
Steve_Venables
Steve Venables
Garry_Bowe
Garry Bowe
Jake_Mechaell
Jake Mechaell
Mogens_Lund
Mogens Lund

FIM-E Junior Dragbike Cup

Juniors and Hollie King continues her domination of the 2022 cup series with a +0.0483s on a 11.2683 dial in.

Hollie_King
Hollie King

R.I.P. Jon Morton

At the end of the day, we think Jon Morton would have approved, a long time bike racer and just elected to the British Hall of Fame who tragically passed away in the pits yesterday evening after completing what would prove to be his final pass in his Super Gas Camaro. The thoughts of the whole drag racing community


Friday LIVE FEED


Euro Finals Preview

Words and photos Ivan Sansom & Rose Hughes

And so we reach the end of the 2022 FIM-E series which has been a somewhat confusing affair both on and off track, but at least the traditional season closer is back where the season started back in May at Santa Pod Raceway.

Rikard Gustafsson
Rikard Gustafsson

Top Fuel Bike

Top Fuel Bike should be something good to watch this weekend with Rene van den Berg and Rikard Gustafsson separated by substantially less than a single elimination round at the sharp end of the championship chase.

Rene Van Den Berg
Rene Van Den Berg

The latter brings some form into the Finals thanks to victory at the last FIM-E round at Hockenheim a couple of weeks ago and retaking the King of Mosten at the Danish show race last weekend and setting a new track record into the bargain. The rest of the field will see Mark Smith and Stuart Crane looking to advance their PBs onboard their Warpspeed Suzuki Funnybikes, with Eric Richard also in shakedown mode with his new chassised turbo Suzuki entry. Rounding out the field are the nitro bikes of Al Smith and Neil Midgley, with Smith looking to get some untroubled runs onboard the PBR Rocket triple and Midgley getting back comfortable in the saddle of the quickest fuel bike on this side of the Pond.

Super Twin Bike

Marcus Christiansen
Marcus Christiansen

Just the three entries in Super Twin means that Marcus Christiansen is pretty much champion elect for the third season in succession which represents something of a bounce back after the catastrophic engine failure that marked the Dane’s season opener. Martijn de Haas will move into second spot and the Dutch team will be looking to avoid disappearing like a comet as they managed to comprehensively torch a head at the round in Sweden in mid August.

Martijn De Haas
Martijn De Haas

Pro Stock Bike

A four bike field in Pro Stock makes current points leader Martin Newbury favourite to pick up his first FIM-E championship after what has been a somewhat crazy season for the UK Suzuki rider. If Newbury falls early then there is a mathematical possibility that Aswin Le Noble could round him in the points (although we’re not 100% sure we’d trust our maths at the moment!).

Martin Newbury
Martin Newbury

Super Street Bike

The fifteen entries in SSB are littered with very strong runners that could really shake the championship order up and knock current leaders Daniel Donat Lencses and Mathias Bohlin off the top two spots respectively although both used the test session yesterday to get decent tune-ups (Lencses in the 6.7s and Bohlin in the 6.9s) for the weekend ahead.

Daniel Donat Lencses
Daniel Donat Lencses

However, on home turf it is never a good idea to count out the likes of Jake Mechaell and Steve Venables et al from the event win at the European Finals. Although the championship may seem out of reach for Ven, Jake is certainly in with a shout as is Mogens Lund if the top two stumble.

Mathias Bohlin
Mathias Bohlin

Junior Dragbike Cup

The 2022 Cup is pretty much settled in Hollie King’s favour after winning at the Main Event and then repeating at the Hockenheimring a couple of weeks ago. The remaining Junior trio of Meg Talbot, Marie Madleen Rosen and Anouk Burgering will be trying to prevent a season’s clean sweep.

Hollie King
Hollie King

Exhibition 

The Event will also mark the farewell appearance of Eric Teboul onboard his hydrogen peroxide fuelled rocket, so this will be the last chance to see the quickest and fastest two wheeled drag bike.

Eric Teboul
Eric Teboul

Thursday LIVE FEED

 

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