Sunday 27th May. The first round of the FIA European drag racing series, qualifying from Santa Pod Raceway UK. My first chance to see the new all concrete drag strip, very impressive, and some of the times being put down across all the classes over Saturday and Sunday was unbelievable! In Top Fuel Bike, on only his second run on Ian Kings old Puma, Filippos Papafilippou of Greece made the worlds 4th quickest run, 5.782 @ 236mph. Sweden’s Rikard Gustafsson not to be out done ran the world’s 3rd fastest at 250.55mph!
The Top Fuel cars gave the new track a thorough testing with six runs under 4 seconds Top of the pile Antti Horto from Finland with a 3.904 303.58mph. Not far behind was the UK’s Liam Jones 3.905 312.20mph, those European records are in sight. Unluckiest team was the usually reliable Mikael Kagered, in Q3 a fuel line split on the launch resulting in a spectacular fire, in Q4 the engine let go at the hit.
The five top Pro Mods were running in the 5’s The Habermann brothers led Top Methanol, Dennis at 5.32 and Timo 5.36. Pro Stock only had a field of four. On two wheels Steve Venables was back on form and qualified No1 in Super Street Bike with a 6.968 @ 214.82mph. Top Fuel Supertwin was led by Marcus Christiansen 6.429 215.95mph.
There was a full field of other race classes giving a great days entertainment in warm, humid, mostly sunny weather. Eliminations were on Monday unfortunately I was working.
July 1st. A scorching hot day for the Summer National eliminations. Superb action right through the field from Pro Mod to Junior Dragster, lots of records and new personal bests set as the new drag strip proves it’s worth. Top billing went to the awesome MSA Pro Mods. All the teams ran excellent times. The winner was hugely popular, after badly damaging the car at the May ‘Doorslammers’ meet, Michel Tooren and the Pro Dutch Racing team rebuilt the Barracuda and claimed their first event win with a string of 6.1, 230+ mph runs, beating Bobby Wallace in a close run final.
Pro Mod. Michel Tooren. Pro Dutch Racing.
Comp Eliminator. Andy Hone. Ford Scorpio.
Super Pro ET. Scott Hauser. Bang Tidy.
Pro ET. Simon Innes. Plum Crazy Racing.
Super Comp. Stu Doigne. 00 Heaven.
Super Gas. Simon Gough. The Package.
Super Street. Dave Cherrett. Dark Revenger.
Outlaw Anglia. Colin Millar. The Flyin Fyfer.
Wild Bunch. Phil James. Rampage.
Nostalgia Super Stock. Amy Watkins. Pontiac Firebird.
Top Fuel Bike. Steve Woollatt. The Dealer.
Funny Bike. Dale Leeks. Warpspeed Racing.
Comp Bike. Jerone van der Belt. Kawasaki ZX14.
Super Street Bike. Graham Balchin. Maverick Racing.
There were several more classes that I have not listed giving seven hours of racing. Here are the records broken.
MSA Pro Mod ET. Andy Robinson. 5.867sec.
ACU Funny Bike ET & speed. Lorcan Parnell. 6.676 & 206.93mph.
ACU Super Street Bike ET & speed. Steve Venables. 6.925 & 211.10mph.
Outlaw Anglia ET. Colin Millar. 7.372sec.
Comp Bike speed. Sean Mills. 196.39mph.
EURO FINALS, Sept 9th.
A lot of breakages really disrupted the eliminations of the Fia/Fim Euro Finals at Santa Pod Raceway and everything fell two hours behind schedule. Unfortunately these things happen in drag racing. Safety must come first and the track has to be perfect. You have to feel for the teams, a huge amount of expense for little reward.
There was some fantastic racing though. 2018 Top Fuel champion Anita Makela made some stunning runs. In qualifying she set a new European ET record of 3.870 and in the first round of eliminations went 3.872 @ 312.44mph! She followed this up with a 3.899 in the semis and 3.896 to win the final.
Top Fuel Anita Makela
Fuel Funny Car Kevin Kent
Top Methanol Dennis Habermann
Pro Mod Jimmy Alund
Pro Stock Bengt Ljungdahl
Comp Eliminator Robin Orthodoxou
Top Fuel Bike Steve Woollatt
Top Fuel Super Twin Marcus Christiansen
Pro Stock Bike Martin Newbury
Super Street Bike Morgens Lund