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FIM-E Euro Finals from Santa Pod Raceway

FIM-E Euro Finals, Santa Pod Raceway, England

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

The European Drag Racing season came to its conclusion at Santa Pod Raceway with the Euro Finals, although the event was severely disrupted and ultimately curtailed by the repeated intervention of the wet stuff. For all of the FIM-E professional categories qualifying was a challenging affair with, at best, two sessions permitted, which caused some shocks in the formulation of the fields for eliminations. Rain also plagued the activities on finals day with the sterling work of the track preparation crew managing to get the four FIM-E clas-ses past the semi-final stage before more rain and only small breaks on the weather radar frustrated their efforts, although in Top Fuel Bike and Pro Stock Bike.


FIM-E Top Fuel Bike

The disruption to qualifying produced a somewhat confused picture in FIM-E Top Fuel Bike, with points leader Rikard Gustafsson out-side the four bike ladder (itself a construct of a single session to make the field) after shedding the drivechain following tireshake on his solo effort.

Eliminations started with Steve Woollatt (low qualifier with a 6.3449/210.93 from the sole nitro bike) pretty much locked in as favourite on his home track, but, in keeping with the tone of the event, a -0.1242s red handed Dale Leeks his first round win in his first visit to eliminations with the Warpspeed nitrous bike.

In the other semifinal, Warpspeed principal Stuart Crane strapped a significant hole shot on Fil Papafillippou (qualifier with a 6.7047/209.04) and then hauled to the 1000 foot mark where things started to get a little hot onboard Crane’s ride when the inlet cam decided to depart through the cam cover cause a substantial conflagration that induced some gymnastics to keep his legs away from the fire as much as possible through the shutdown area.

Despite all this, Crane still managed to post a new PB 6.8180/176.46 and taking the event win. Crane was structurally okay, with comparatively minor burns to his knee, but this now left something of a conundrum for the team as a win in the final would take the title out of Gustafsson’s grasp, but the Warpspeed team decided against the necessary rebuild. “We were more than happy with our weekend, Dale in his first final and a new best mark for a British nitrous bike, we didn’t want any accusations of team orders and Rikard deserves the championship given his performance over the season” commented a beaming Crane after the bizarre conclusion where Leeks took the win light in an uncontested final on a sod-den track with the rain falling. Given Leeks’ flair for the dramatic, he had to take two goes at taking the green under power, but it was quite a weekend for the Warpspeed nitrous duo.

Final Top 5 in the points:
Rikard Gustafsson (Sweden) 147 points
Stuart Crane (UK) 130 points
Rene van den Berg (Netherlands) 89 points
Dale Leeks (UK) 81 points
Filippos Papafilippou (Greece) 74 points

FIM-E Super Twin Bike

The Super Twin field was also reduced to a four bike ladder, with former funnybike standout Neil Midgley belting out a 6.7611 at only 164.25mph to demonstrate the potential of the blown DOHC twin.

Eliminations just had one round completed, with Roman Sixta defeating points leader Martijn de Haas with a 6.9260/197.18 to a 7.1053/200.77. This would have opened up the championship chase as Roman could overhaul de Haas if he won the event. Sixta’s opponent was due to be Bruno Salesse in a Czech v France match up, as Super Twin rookie Salesse benefitted from Midgley breaking traction past the tree, but the premature curtail-ment of the event gave de Haas a third title in a row: “the Finals were a disappointment because of the weather, just the one pass in qualifying wasn’t enough to test the modifications on the frame we did after Hockenheim.

When on Sunday we had to race Sixta, we experienced clutch issues, which we still haven’t figured out. In-stead of a solid six second pass the bike just didn’t go, leaving an open door for Roman. As you know the rain helped us to become champion again, not the way how you would like to win. However, the results and consistency the team delivered at the Main Event and Hockenheim was just enough to keep us in the nr1 spot, a big thank you from me to the team, they work hard to maintain that consistency!!

We made a lot of changes to the bike this season and we are confident we can improve our personal bests, but we need more passes. If everything goes to plan, I will be getting my bachelors in engineering this winter, so will have more time to go racing next season!!”

Final Top 5 in the points:
Martijn de Haas (Netherlands) 150 points
Roman Sixta (Czech Republic) 131 points
Bruno Salesse (France) 85 points
Marcus Christiansen (Denmark) 66 points
Gert Jan Laseur (Netherlands) 43 points


FIM-E Pro Stock Bike

Fredrik Fredlund came into the event with a substantial lead in the stockers and emerged from the event with low qualifier (7.0970), the event win (thanks to taking the green under power in an uncontested solo prior to Leeks’ similar effort in TFB) and his seventh championship.

He didn’t take low ET as that went to Rob-ert Karlsson in the Swede’s first round victory over Len Paget with a 7.0279/188.22. Karlsson and Fredlund were due to meet in the final after semifinal victories over Alex Hope and Martin Bishop respectively, but the former was a no-show so enabled Fredlund to pick up the trophy and celebrated with a body slide along the wet track.

Final Top 5 in the points:
Fredrik Fredlund (Ålund) 255 points
Alex Hope (UK) 180 points
Martin Bishop (UK) 118 points
Len Paget (UK) 106 points
Charly Abraham (France) 99 points


FIM-E Super Street Bike

The Super Street Bike class delivered the solo record threatening performance over the weekend with Malta’s Franklyn Borg striking one out of the park with a 6.9165/204.22 (a substantial chunk be-low the 6.946 class record) that sent bike owner Simon Giordmania on a unique startline celebration as Borg took top spot in qualifying.

With a sixteen bike field, Rick Stubbins took the season Cup title when Borg fell at the quarter final stage and would set up an all British final when Stubbins defeated Mogens Lund (the Dane pass-ing Borg into second in the points) and Steve Mead bested Aus-tria’s Erich Gruber in the semis.

Stubbins may have not been the quickest over the season, but the solid consistent low seven second performance delivered the Protek Suzuki to a final round berth at each event that got that far.

Final Top 5 in the points:
Rick Stubbins (UK) 424 points
Mogens Lund (Denmark) 349 points
Franklyn Borg (Malta) 348 points
Daniel Donat Lencses (Hungary) 295 points
Graham Balchin (UK) 183 points

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