FIA / FIM European Championships Round 1
Santa Pod Raceway, 23rd-26th May 2014


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Latest update 18:30

Fuel Funny Car racer Gordon Smith was pleased to run a 4.84/251 in the first session. He said 'We didn't put a lot of power into it but I did have to pedal because it shook. We could have run 4.3-4.4 without the shake. We will step it up in the next qualifier. It's the first time in a year and a half that we have had no real damage. Last season we were going through a motor at each event'.

Fuel Funny Car racer Jason Phelps, pictured with SPR pit marshal Caroline, said after a 4.80/239 'We had some damage to the cylinder sleeves but it was performance damage. We also burnt one valve. But we were running heavy so we will reduce weight for the next pass and switch to our better Alan Johnson heads. The slider valve and fuel pump are working fine. Thanks to Team Rock Radio, John Woolfe Racing and Marshall for their support'.

Top Fuel Dragster racer Tethys was delighted to run a 4.17 on his final licensing pass. He said 'It was great to half track and then lurched left towards the wall when I lifted. I would have corrrected earlier if I was more experienced but it never came into contact with the wall. The engine only had one burnt valve'. Tethys thanks VWDRC and Persåker for their support.

Top Fuel Dragster racer Thomas Nataas is in the Andersen Racing's new Hadman chassised car. He said 'It feels good; the old car had become out of date and this new chassis has more flex and is a little bit lighter. We also have new blowers, heads, fuel system and the car is really cutting edge. The first pass was awesome, it broke a drive shaft which slowed it but it felt really good'. Once repaired the car ran a fantastic 3.91/309 which, if backed up, will be both ends of the European record in the class.

Super Street Bike racer Shawn Buttigieg is helped this weekend by US Pro Street racer and owner of ECS Dyno Walter Sprout. Shawn ran a 7.300 to go no.1 and that run was clicked off at 1000ft. Walter said 'We're being smooth and are doing nothing crazy, the run could have been around 7.18 if Shawn had kept on it. The track is the best and that shows in the 60ft times. At Easter the air was better and there was a tail wind which is why times were quicker then'. Walter is using Motec software to tune the bike which is similar to his own but less restricted in terms of ground clearance and wheelbase.

Top Methanol Funny Car racer Steph Milam was delighted to have run her first five second pass, something that crew chief Dave Milam said the team had been working at for ten years. She said 'We knew yesterday we were headed in the right direction and just made little changes to tweak it. I found the left lane a bit of a driving job and the right lane was better for us. Our next run of 6.004 backed it up and I even pedaled it in the middle'.

Pro Mod racer David Vegter had a moment in this morning's session when the chute failed to deploy. Crewman Dick Koster said 'The car went round and scuffed the wall and bent the wheelie bars. We have fixed it. The challenge with Pro Mod cars is that, with shock absorbers, the car gets unstable if the driver lifts so it is a very difficult driving class'. David added 'I spun it round 180 degrees. We checked the chute and can't work out why it didn't deploy. The run felt ok and the engine is fine'.

Top Methanol Dragster racer Dennis Habermann came close to the 5.2s bracket and it was a burst panel going at the top end that prevented it happening. Brother Timo, hoping to back up an earlier 5.242 for a new European record, had problems with the clutch dragging the car through after a throttle linkage issue made the idle revs too high.

Pro Stock racer Michael Malmgren has a new Jerry Haas-built Pontiac GTX, a departure from his previous Jerry Bickel cars due to lack of availability of a suitable car. Engines remain Bob Ingles DRCE 2 engines which Michael's team have run for many years. The car is in shakedown mode but still ran 6.94 at an early shut off 175. He said 'We are happy and getting the car dialled in'.

Pro Stock racer Jimmy Ålund is back from the US where he deputised for Greg Anderson who was undergoing surgery. He said 'It was a great experience, the best thing was working with the KB Racing guys and we had a really good time. We also met the Summit people who are now sponsoring me. I would go back to racing in the US if they want me back. Now I will focus on the European championship and more fun'. The reader may notice Jimmy keeping his speed secrets very well hidden. His time of 6.55/212 showed he is able to run quick on both sides of the Pond.

Top Fuel Dragster racer Mikael Kågered has a new chassis which is in the traditional Bahco colours. He said 'The car is good to drive and made a great launch. We suffered low oil pressure so we have had to change the engine'. Both runs had 0.85 60ft times, however were early shut-off.

Pro Stock racer Thomas Lindström ran a best of 6.70/207 after two sessions said 'There is a problem preventing us from getting into the 6.6s that we can't work out. We tested at Malmö and ran 4.24 to the eighth which was a track record. Thomas has a third session to try to improve.

Pro Modified racer Mats Wiktor is supported by sponsor Trevor Langfield of Wizards of NOS. Mats said 'We have a new Reher-Morrison engine however the car spun the tyres off the start line. The Revo nitrous system which gives progressive delivery rather than stages is working well after spending time with Trevor developing it. We are only using about 30% of its potential and need 20 runs to fully develop it. The engine is only putting out 1000hp but we can put it up to 2000hp. We are using a pure automatic TH400, which many ADRL teams have done, so will need to adjust the chassis and launch rpm to calm the launch'.

Pro Modified racer Roger Johansson said after his run yesterday 'The run was good to 330ft with a 0.96 60ft time, however it then overpowered the track. We are using the same combination as last year with small improvements and using four stages of nitrous. My aim is to run a five second pass as my best is 6.02 and we will run the Swedish championship as well as the FIA series'. Roger is advising Jean Dulamon on his nitrous setup as well. This morning's run was an early shut-off 6.71/173.

Pro Modified racer Roger Moore ran a 7.12 in the annulled session yesterday. He said 'We learn from each time down the track. The start line was ok but we are still outside the window of the clutch setting. Rather than make small changes we have decided to get big steps. We are also still calibrating the fuel map and ECU with our new engine. So we want to get maximum benefit and a good qualifying position. But the nitrous combination is more consistent at the moment'.

Pro Modified racer Jean Dulamon, pictured with crewmen Thierry (centre) and Benoit (right) was grateful for Roger Johansson's help on the nitrous setup. He said 'We have made adjustments to the nitrous delivery and have a new Scott Shafiroff 780cu in engine and all new front end. We have four stages of nitrous available and used two yesterday and plan to use three today'. This morning he ran 6.87/202.

Pro Mod racer Rick Garrett's sons Daniel, Nick and Ryan are his crew. Nick said 'We have our spare engine here which is 711cu in and we are working on the tune up to make it a usable spare. We discuss nitrous settings with Roger and will run two stages today, which is as much as we have run with either engine. The spare engine has less torque low down which means slower wheel speed but has given us quicker 60ft time. The other engine os 760cu in with 5 inch bore'.

Pro Modified racers Andy Wright (pictured left) and Bert Englefield share the driving on their '38 Ford. Andy said 'On yesterday's pass it smoked the tyres but with a warmer track today it should be better. We have a new fuel system and from Darren Meyer in the US including a 14-71 blower and CGC Composites hat from Carlo Gandolfi. So it was good to run through to 200mph on the pass which gives us good data for the meeting. This morning's pass was a 7.45/215 with shake and pedalling early on in the pass.

Pro Mod racer Tero Laukkanen is helped by crew chief Christian Nyström and US racer Brad Personett. He said 'We went to Malmö last weekend and did four launches, so we were prepared. We were happy to run a 6.31 yesterday and want to repeat that today. We have changed from a Lenco clutch setup to an ATI Pro Tork converter which allows us to use all the power of the engine and the Precision turbos'. Brad Personett said 'We have been working together for the week. The weather here reminds me of the rain, which I was happy to get away from, at my home in Indiana. Tero's team uses state of the art equipment and I'm helping with the tuning and making the car go down the track. With these conditions it's best to start conservative and build up'.

Top Methanol Funny Car racer Danny Bellio had a bit of a wild ride in session one yesterday. 'I saw more of Johan than I wanted to and didn't want to do more repair work on the body so I lifted when I saw the cones coming up. It was sliding around the track but the grip will be better today. I have had new parachute mounts made they don't move around and the chute can deploy properly. I don't want to do more lawnmowing and I am not driving a tractor - I have seen the field too many times'. In session two Danny's time was voided as the clocks were started by the rear wheels which means yesterday's 6.38 is his qualifying time.

Top Methanol Funny Car racer Johan Lindberg has made a lot of changes to his chassis to make it more like brother Jonnie's. Jonnie is crewing here while his car is stored in the US awaiting his appearances in the NHRA Chicago Nationals and US Nationals. Johan said 'My 5.85 yesterday was the first run I have made since last September. The car felt better than last year and the chassis is stiffer, although the powertrain is the same'.

Pro Mod racer and sponsor Andy Robinson's crew chief is Mark Balzaretti, aka Bowser. He said 'On our 8.01 run yesterday the tyre didn't turn as much as we wanted with the timing cam setting out and that resulted in tyre shake in the run. So we are back to basics for this run. There is a 6.0 in the car but trouble off the start line spoils the run. So we have changed the gear and the timing and hope to get some good data. The change in the weather has made us change the settings as well and we are still looking for the sweet spot with the clutch'. Today's run was a better 6.66/231 but was still troubled by tyre shake.

Topspeed Automotive Steet Eliminator racer Matt Smith is racing a Mustang that brother Martin bought from Phil Peck. Matt said 'My Escort smoked on its last run at Shakey and when we pulled the engine out we found the oil ring for no.5 cylinder had attached itself to the piston and scored the bore. There was also piston slap going on so we went for a rebuild during which our engine builder suggested we get a new cam, which we are still waiting for. Martin bought the Mustang to run on the street, it has a Geof Hauser chassis, Jeff Bull 598cu in BBC with Nitrous and three speed TH400 gearbox. Without nitrous it previously ran 10.02 and with, a 9.04. The best so far is 10.455/131.

Topspeed Automotive Steet Eliminator racer Steve Neimantas is racing the new Bentley Continental built by sponsor Webster Race Engineering. Steve said 'Thanks to WRE for building the car which drives straight and as smooth as a Bentley. The engine is a Steve Morris twin turbo 615cu in with 615cu in and Bullseye 88mm turbos. The engine was dynoed to 3082hp in the US. Sevens should be achievable when we turn the power up. I like to have cars that are somewhat different and British' he said.

Topspeed Automotive Steet Eliminator racer Steve Pateman has refreshed and brought back his Vauxhall Calibra which he first campaigned around the turn of the millennium. He said 'It's good to be back after three years. We made a couple of changes, but we were only able to make a pass this morning as we had a broken gearbox on Friday and weren't able to run yesterday. We aim to run the car two or three times this year depending on work commitments. The class has changed in recent years and there are plenty of cars to chase now'.

Pro ET racer Jens Konnecke (left) and Super Gas racer Jan Zimmermann from Germany are here for the first time racing their '67 Malibu. Jan said 'We have been racing this car for five years. It has a 620 cu in engine and Powerglide which is air shifted, but we have kept the original inter. We race at Hockenheim, Drachten, Denmark and Czech Rebublic. Our best is 9.22 and we want to go quicker and race in Super Pro ET'.

Top Fuel racer Chris Andrews was back at the track after having been discharged from Bedford Hospital. He said 'I will know how long I need to take out after I see the physio and have some ultrasound of the shoulder ligaments. I can drive now but there would be problems when I pull the chutes with the G forces, also getting out of the cockpit in time would be difficult. A number of replacement drivers were suggested but Rune said that Jari is the most experienced and he was able to fly over early yesterday'.

Pit vehicle of the event goes to this rat-rod style radio operated tank which is on show for the Robit Wars display.

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