FIA / FIM European Finals
Santa Pod Raceway, 8th-11th September 2016


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Latest update 15:50

Competition Eliminator racer Jens Eklund brought his Audi over for VW Action and the Euro Finals. The car, powered by a turbo Audi engine, has run as quick as 7.118 in his native Sweden, and here ran 7.253/186 in C/TA trim to go a massive -0.916 compared to the class index.

Pro ET racer Gino Bernadine went to the number one spot in the first session a +0.126 9.452. He said 'We last ran the car at the Summernationals and have made no changes apart from checking out the nuts and bolts, changing the oil and having a few sleeps'. Gino was a finalist at the Main Event and Summernationals and at the National Finals last year. Currently in third place in the SPRC championship, he said 'We want to improve on that'.

Pro ET racer Ethan Lisle is coming off a win at the recent Open Sports Nationals. He said 'This Mercury Comet is the spare car, I just drive and my dad Paul does the mechanics. We have two race cars and two street and strip cars. I ran my Roadrunner at Dragstalgia and at the Mopars until it broke, but we are repairing the engine and will be back at the National Finals'. How's the Mercury? 'It's a Ford product, it's reliable', he concluded.

Pro ET and Super Street racer Sara Unsworth is making her Super Street debut having run Pro ET so far this season with husband Steve. She said 'John Sleath put an amazing tune up in the car and we have bigger tyres and Steve rebuilt the engine. So we improved to a 10.6 at Big Bang'. The car is manual with no throttle stop. I love double classing as it helps keep me competitive and competition also helps my marriage!'

Pro ET racer David Withington is making his class debut after taking a couple of years to finish his Opel Manta. He said 'I started with a Nissan Nivara five years ago. When I got the Manta it was in a sorry state. I gave it a full suspension rebuild, adjusted the roll cage, did the wiring and put in a new fuel system and safety devices. The engine is a 454ci BBC with carburettor and TH400 trans. I tested it at Bug Jam and at yesterday's Pro Test day'. David is hoping to get into the tens here and would like to get the car down to a mid ten, but there have been problems. 'It smashed a distributor yesterday and I've had to rebuild it twice'.

Pro ET racer Paul Herbert is in his second season running a Corrado, having used it to win the VW Sportsman championship last year. Now running VW Pro he is leading the championship but has had to revert to a stock engine as his 11.5s nitrous-boosted one blew up at the Summernationals. He said 'I am now using a VR6 twelve valve engine with fuel injection and a bit of nitrous. Ths engine has run a best of 12.04 but we will be bolting on a supercharger for next year to get into the tens'.

Pro ET racer Eddy van den Bos has a lot of Eurol sponsor exposure in his awning. He said 'We have done about six or seven meetings this year in Holland, England and Germany and are thinking about Sweden for next year as well. We have run the car from 2008 and have run a best of 9.12 although we slowed it to 9.6'. A 9.638 on a 9.62 dial in made him fourth after three sessions.

Pro ET racer Rhiannon Bellenie was pleased to get a number on the board after problems earlier in the season. 'This is our first competitive race since qualifying at the Main Event where the sprocket cover shredded twice putting us out for the rest of the Main Event and the Summernationals. At the Junior Drag Racing Fun Day we brought it for demo runs and thought the output shaft had bent as it wouldn't change gear and there was wheelspin. But now it works and to run a 9.600 on 9.5 dial felt good'. The car, with its Hayabusa power train, usually requires little maintenance.

Pro ET racer Alex Mahl from Austria has returned after mechanical problems at this event in the last two years (a broken rod and crank respectively) kept him out of competition. Today things went much better and Alex's AMC Gremlin ran a 10.466 on 10.45 dial to go third after three sessions. Alex remarked 'I have only raced it as a test at the Public Race Day at Hockenheim so it's great for me'. Alex is being crewed by Perfect Light award sponsors Cath and Tig Napier.

Competition Eliminator racer René Ehrismann from Switzerland took no.2 spot with a fantastic -0.506 7.3538 against a 7.86 index. He said 'I never thought it would go that fast in such a short time. This is my first year in Comp Eliminator and in fourteen passes the car has gone more than half a second under the index. I had to reduce the engine size from 615ci to 532ci to go into B/NA and have added more nitrous'. The car, originally built by Jon Webster and raced by Tim Cook, runs a Powerglide trans. René said 'This is my last race in 2016 and for next year I am adding a third stage of nitrous and replacing the torque converter'. He is joined by crew Debby Schweizer and Hans-Peter Wijof.

Super Pro ET racer Tom Atkinson was one of several to report that there is a faily lively crosswind across the track. 'It's unpredictable' he said, the car launched well but moved around the track quite a bit so our first run was only a 8.92 on a 8.78 dial-in'. He then altered his dial-in to 8.88 and a 9.00 ET resulted in a lowly 25th position in an incredibly tight field.

Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator racer Mark Todd, pictured with crew Ian Tubb and Bryan Whitfield, went straight to no.1 with an outstanding 7.36/197. He said 'The headwind cost me about 3 mph and at Hockenheim, my only outing of the year so far, I only got one run in. I hadn't entered this race but as I came home race ready it would have been crazy not to have come'. Mark covered over 400 road miles over winter. His only worry is that with the headwind, other cars are more slippery than the GTO 'so I will have to pile the power on'. Prevented from competing in the championship this year by a house move and work commitments, Mark said he intends to race the whole season next year.

Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator racer Gary Gooding ran a good 7.68/180, not quite up to his PB of 7.52/185 but not far off. 'We have had the cylinder head off three times in the last three days which prevented us testing. The problem started in the final at the Open Sports Nationals when I lost power and boost in second gear. We discovered no.5 cylinder failed the leakdown test. The cause turned out that my new head gasket, with built-in O-rings wasn't the correct dimensions so we brought a steel one to replace it and that ran well'.

Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator racer Ben Barnwell is exchanging chairmanship of the class association for driving a race car. The opportunity came to drive the Team Extreme red Escort. He said 'The opportunity came up to drive the car which was too good to miss. I did three test runs yesterday and started today with a 8.50 which felt really good. I will race in future so regretfully will be stepping down as chairman of the Street Eliminator Association at the end of the season'. Ben mentioned the Association is still accepting applications from potential candidates for chairman.

Topspeed Automotive Street Eliminator racer Martin Smith in the Bentley ran his best ET in the car to date, a 7.444/198, but not without problems. 'The charge cooler split which resulted in water on the track in the shut down area and the marshals telling me urgently to shut off after seeing the water. Many thanks to Jon Webster for identifying the problem and to Jake Mechaell for carrying out the welding work at Jon's shop. The car is on a mild tune and I pedalled after shake on that pass so there is more to come'.

Super Gas and Super Comp racer Jon Giles ran a perfect ET in SC although he chooses not to have the stickers on his car for the award sponsored by Gold RV. He said 'We changed wheels for bead lock ones with an inch and a half bigger tyres. Tony Morris, whose over from Florida, is helping with data - and we are just playing around. To run a 8.900 with that headwind is just luck and we have had to take time out of it as well. I usually run Super Gas, but entered for Super Comp here just to get more seat time and the car isn't specially set up to run in SC. It was really a best guess!'

Super Gas racer Werner Zudrell from Austria has returned with his Barracuda and after three sessions ran a best of 9.954/145 to go fifth.

Super Pro ET racer Ian Brown has a new race car. He said 'I've been racing for 30 years and raced my old Camaro, which I still own, competitively since 2001. At around that time, I bought Gordon Appleton's Final Demand Pro Mod car which was made out of steel and can now only be tagged to 7.5s. The car's original builder Andy Robinson has done all the work on it including the engine, which is a 706ci BBC from Gordon but without nitrous and running on pump gas. The Powerglide gearbox was built by Tim Adam. It's been worth the wait and feels great even though we are running it soft'. His best pass today is a 8.502/156 on 8.50 dial which placed him no.5. Gordon Appleton will be attending the signing this event, at which three of his old race cars are competing, the other two being Jon Morton's (ex Main Ingredient) and Mick Payne's (Wheelgame).

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