FIA / FIM Main Event
Santa Pod Raceway, 27th-30th May 2016

Saturday Night Special

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Latest update 19:40

Super Street Bike racer Steve Venables is back to running an air-shifted manual gearbox after the automatic which gave him a six second timeslip last year got damaged. 'I was pleased to run a 7.01 which is the best we have done on the manual box, it's a good start to the meeting.' The setup on Steve's and Jemma's bike is now very similar, the main difference being a cooling system on Steve's machine. 'It helps with spares having the same components', he said. In the second session a superb 6.935/206 was the first half of a European record.

Super Street Bike racer Graham Balchin took a sabbatical in 2015 and took the time to make changes to the chassis, a new swing arm and outrigger for optimum weight transfer. Crewman Neil Withers said 'We are dialling in at the moment with more weight up front. The engine is the same as before.'

Jackie Bryce, wife of NHRA Pro Stock legend George Bryce gave commentary on the bike classes and advice to Gerd Jean Laseur and others. Jackie who was born in Leicester and moved to the US when she was five, runs Star Racing and its Pro Stock Bike school in Gainesville. George has won six NHRA national championships and 80 event wins as a rider, owner, or crew chief.

Super Street racer Jemma Venables ran her bike for the first time in 2016 last weekend. 'We went 7.4s and I got comfortable with the bike again. Having a best of 7.301 we are now aiming to get a 7.2s time'. However Jemma's bike wouldn't start in Q1. Then in Q2 the bike was shut down for an oil leak to add to her woes.

Super Street Bike racer and 2015 FIM Champion Garry Bowe ran a 7.19 in session one. 'We are where we thought we would be and are aiming to turn it up on the next run.'

Super Street Bike racer Pete Field, pictured with Frank and tuner Walter Sprout, ran a 7.22 in Q1 after similar times in testing. 'We can go quicker because the tyre was spinning and it wouldn't go into fifth gear. We hope to reduce the wheelspin and improve on our PB of 7.18'.

Pro Stock bike racer Gerd-Jean Laseur was no.1 after the first session with a 7.21 and then received some advice from Jackie Bryce on setup and shift points. In the second session he improved to 7.17/182.

Super Street Bike racer Daniel Donat Lencses, pictured with partner Rita, ran a new PB of 7.22 in the second session. He said 'I need more track time and I am increasing the boost and am learning a lot from my 'English Dad' Dave Smith.' Daniel faced a 2000km journey from Hungary to compete here.

Super Street Bike racer Thomas Granica, pictured left with brother and crewman Peter, ran a 7.52/187 to go tenth. He said 'We altered the chassis to suit the good tracks and this has cured the wheelies we were getting. The run was as planned and we could see from the GoPro mounted on the swing arm there was no wheelie or wheelspin.'

Super Twin bike racer Roman Sixta has new pistons, rods and bottom end in addition to a Racepak and superb new paint job. There is also a new spare engine. He said 'I made a good start with a 1.15 60 ft time but then the bike went to one side and was hard to get straight again.' Thanks to Jan Lukes for interpretation services.

Junior Dragster racer Roman Sixta Jr. is pitted alongside the Super Twin. He went fourth after seven sessions with a RT of 0.0037. The car is a Junior Modified.

Super Street Bike racer Rudi Zorzi is at his first FIM race and has made big leaps in performance after only fourteen runs running a 7.411/195 to go ninth in the biggest race of his career so far. He said 'I used to race a road bike and then had an opportunity to ride Luca Carbonera's Super Street Bike.'

Rudi Zorzi's bike was baselined by Simon Giordmaina to 7.7s with adjustments to chassis, clutch and steering geometry. It has a Motec ECU with AMS1000 boost control, GTX35 turbo and Gen2 clutch. Pictured are Rudi and Simon with team members Luca, Denis and Maurizio.

Top Fuel Bike racer Steve Woollatt had wheelspin on his first run and he had to lift on what looked like a storming pass. He said 'We had the same settings at Easter so I don't know why the tyre spun, and we got close to the timing blocks.' On his second pass he ran a straight 6.442/202 to go second.

Pro Stock Bike racer Chris 'Bois' Reed, pictured with bike owner Richard Gipp. Comparing the PSB with his usual, more powerful, Super Street Bike, he said 'The initial hit on the PSB is like a cricket bat in the face - ferocious. The first thirty foot is astonishing, it's just wrong. You spend the rest of the run putting your eyeballs back in place. But after a few runs I'm starting to enjoy it rather than just surviving. Richard's team know exactly what they're doing turning the bike around between sessions. I just make it loud and put the light out, and I'm struggling to do that.'

Top Fuel Bike racer Stuart Crane has a new frame for this year and was pleased with his initial pass. 'It was better than I thought. The bike was built to sixty foot and it went to plan with a 7.3. I could easily throw more power at it as the track is good.' The bike is an 84 inch Pro Mod chassis with a fourteen inch rim and ten inch tyre. The aim is a 0.9s sixty foot time. Stuart's engine is a 1640cc two valve Suzuki with a single stage of nitrous and five speed gearbox.

Top Fuel Bike racer Dale Leeks is racing the Warpspeed Racing bike that Stuart Crane ran in 2015. He said 'I moved my running gear over to the frame which is a little narrower than Stuart's new bike although it runs the same tyre. It has the same engine setup as Stuart's new machine.'

Top Fuel Bike racer Rickard Gustavsson is running his new nitro bike in competition for its first time. He tested the bike at Malmö to an eighth mile 4.02/189mph and after two early shutoff runs ran a best of 6.735/181. He said 'Our aim is to get ahead of Ian King although I know it will take three years to achieve that.' The bike has a Puma engine with three valve heads and MTC clutch with a Bentec transmission.

The MSA, sports governing body in the UK, is running a feature in its magazine on women in motorsport. Following some interviews yesterday a photo call for women involved in the sport was held at 8:30am today and an impressive number turned out.

The MSA is also promoting Race n' Respect, a new code of conduct for junior racing. The large poster near the start line pays due regard to Race n' Respect and to mark its introduction, a photo call of parents and racers was held this morning.

Super Comp racer Paul Hudson had a finish line incident when something on the car locked up and he spun 180 degrees and impacted the right barrier. After careful extraction Paul went to hospital for X rays and was back at the track later. He said 'Thanks to all the medical staff who gave me excellent treatment. I was some time being extracted from the car as I winced and the doctor didn't want to aggravate a previous back problem. I don't know the cause of the accident - the engine looks fine but the car is finished. I'm looking for a replacement to get back racing.'

Top Methanol Dragster racer Rod Harrison ran a half pass in the first qualifying session to go second of three competitors.

Comp Eliminator racer Andy Frost improved his time in yesterday afternoon's sixth session to 6.379/234.78, a new PB. He said 'We know there is more there but we are taking each run as it comes and will creep up on it.'

Super Stock bike racer Shawn Buttigieg was in the pairing lanes well ahead of time. He said 'We put new pistons in with higher compression. We tested at Hal Far which went well and Walter Sprout is helping us again. So I am very optimistic'.

Top Methanol Dragster racer Dave Wilson ran a 5.48/258 to go first in the initial session. Dave is aided by wife Linda, son David and Ricki Packam.

Top Methanol Dragster racer Chris Polidano came to test on Thursday but the team experienced difficulties in switching over to nitro when a piece of hose got caught up in the fuel system. In Q1 the car went up in smoke off the line.

Pro Mod racer Hussain Alshammari is here as a guest of Norbert Kuno and plans to run in Norbert's second car. Hussain has raced in the US with PDRA and in the Middle East with the Arabian Drag Racing League. He plans to run the whole FIA tour, bringing his own Camaro over later in the year. The Dodge Avenger however refused to start this morning, delaying Hussain's on-track debut.

Pro Mod racer Mick Payne ran a 7.65/196 in the first session to improve on his time from the Festival of Power. Mick is becoming known for his high revving and long burnouts.

Pro Mod racer Chris Isaacs had a repair job when the tyre shake caused the bracket for the wheelie bars on the rear axle to break during testing. After welding it back yesterday the car went 7.23/198 in the first session. as the car started getting into mechanical problems. Co-owner Spencer Tramm said 'A line to the injector came off and the spark plug got damaged which caused a holed piston and oil sprayed all over the body. We have some spare pistons, so as long as nothing else is damaged we can repair.'

Pro Mod racer Michel Tooren in the Pro Dutch car ran a superb 6.41/224 to gain his license. He said 'The team felt my burnouts weren't strong enough so I did a long one and they liked it a lot. I have got used to the car and want to get seat time.' In Q1 Michel spun the tyres.

Pro Mod racer Marck Harteveld had licensed at Easter and went straight into qualifying with a strong looking 6.52/213.

Pro Mod racer and 2015 MSA Champion Kev Slyfield has a superb new paint job from Nick Curtis. Kev ran a easy-looking 6.677/223 in the first session.

Pro Mod racer Wayne Nicholson has Camp Stanley helping him this weekend. Camp said 'Wayne has pretty good equipment and my job is to get him more confident in the car. There are new electronics and the car will come good.' An 8.40 checkout pass looked good.

Pro Mod racer and sponsor Andy Robinson has a new engine`and repaired spare. In testing the car suffered from a misfire. Crewman Luke said 'The car still ran a 6.47 which considering the misfire was pretty good. We replaced all the ignition components and rewired the car'. However the car was shut off in Q1 for a fluid leak.

Pro Mod racer Marcus Hilt was confident that a new power grid is improving the engine's ignition. His first run had a lift after a 1.08 60ft time.

Pro Mod racer Roland Bolleter has had the engine's heads welded and reassembled on his nitrous 'Vette.

Pro Stock racer Stefan Ernryd, previously known as a sponsor, has bought a new Allen Johnson built Dodge Dart and taken up racing. Stefan's crew has huge experience, with former driver Ulf Wagnhester as crew chief and Jari Eerola as clutch technician. Stefan recently tested to 6.52 at Tierp.

Pro Mod racer Jean Dulamon overcame the challenge of the fuel strike in France to make his way here. The car has a great new paint job to go with the engine department improvements over the winter. His time was an off the throttle 7.22/184.

Pro Stock racer Magnus Petterson who came second in 2014 and third in 2015 is now one of the more experienced drivers in the field. He said 'We have got some engine improvements which should lower the ETs as we can now have the same equipment used in 2015 by the top NHRA teams.'

Pro Mod racer Roger Johansson had to be airlifted to hospital for observation following a high speed incident, the car turning right just before the finish line and impacting the right wall. The construction of the car, concrete barriers and excellent medical support including trauma specialists on-site helped avoid a worse situation.

Pro Mod racer Roger Moore is well prepared for the season with a freah engine with new pistons, and new slicks. His initial pass was an easy 7.44, but Roger has his sights on the British nitrous best of 6.300 set by Rick Garrett, who is not here for this event.

Pro Mod racer David Vegter has a resplendent new wrap for renewing sponsors WVB and Sonic Equipment and new co-sponsors Playboy Energy Drink and PTTM Musclecar Performance.

Pro Stock racer and nine time champion Jimmy Ålund is aiming for a tenth championship and has fresh equipment to help in that aim. But what of the future? Jimmy said 'I am proposing the EFI cars be allowed to run alongside carburettor cars as a change in the rules like there was in NHRA would not be good for the class in Europe. The changeover is costly and there is a big learning curve between the two setups. It will also be some time before US teams release equipment developed for the new rules, but you can't stop progression.' The matter will be discussed at Tierp in three weeks' time.

Pro Stock racer Bengt Ljungdahl has a car built by Jerry Haas and run by Shane Gray for about forty passes. Bengt said 'We went testing at Bradenton and made twenty attempts over a couple of days. We then went to Tierp and ran a best of 6.517. So we have got to know the car.' Bengt previously ran in two events in 2014 but has now invested into doing the full FIA series this year. Bengt ran alongside Stefan Ernryd and both lifted by half track.

Pro Stock racer Michael Malmgren has the same car this year but with modifications on the chassis and engine by long-time US supplier Bob Ingles. His initial pass was a good 6.72/206.

Pro Mod racer and five times FIA Champion Micke Gullqvist lifted off after 330ft and then he spotted Roger Johansson about to cross the track in front of him. The chutes were deployed by the safety system and this split second action avoided a two car incident. It was another proof of the efficacy of the safety equipment on the cars.

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