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


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Latest update 18:50


Funny Car racer Patrik Pers is back in one of these cars for the first time since 2008. After a tyre smoking first run this morning Patrik had tyre shake at the start on the second pass and shut off to a 6.66. Patrik's team includes Mark 'Animal' Bodimeade.

Funny Car racer Kevin Kent won the European FC Championship final held over from the Easter meeting with an outstanding 4.27/285. Kevin was working on the bottom end of the engine when I arrived in the pit and tuning consultant John 'Bodie' Smith explained 'Kevin is a super bloke who is self made from the ground up and has worked on both Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars. If he makes a mistake he admits it like he should, but the driving job he did was great. The car went up the track fine. The team are switching the engine for the next time and whilst the team don't have many parts, they are all good.'

Pro Stock Bike racer Martin Bishop had some issues with a misfire on the first run. Team member Timon Marshall said 'We found the no.4 cylinder had a blocked valve and on the other passes we were trying to get the power down and the bike was bouncing. We are trying some radically different clutch settings. with different springs and arms, thanks to Brian from Fredrick Fredlund's team.' A 7.57 place Martin eighth in the field.

Pro Stock Bike racer and sponsor Martin Newbury ran a best of 7.35/180 in the final session to go fifth. He said 'On the first pass the engine pulled down, the third pass was on a cold track. The upgrades we did on the engine threw us a bit of a curved ball, and during the wait yesterday the conditions changed. Now the track has some heat in it we could put a better run in'.

Pro Stock Bike racer Mark Smith has a new clutch setup for this year. 'Our 60ft times have improved from 1.2 to 1.16. We also have a new Racepak and MSD distributor we can map, so there is plenty of data at our disposal. On the first run the crank hit the clutch basket and working on this has kept us on our toes. We are still looking at gremlins and will load it up for the final session.' Mark's 7.64/171 fell short and he is first alternate.

Pro Stock Bike racer Alex Hope and Super Street Bike racer Mark Hope have left the setups on their bikes as before. Alex ran close to his PB with a 7.22/181 to go second. Mark is making his debut in SSB, making the big move from 8.50 bike, and a 7.88/182 was 17th and first alternate. The team will be contesting PSB at Hockenheim and the Finals and SSB (with Alex riding) at both Tierp and Alastaro events.

Pro Stock Bike racer Patrick Kras is in his first event in the class having tested last October and run in Supertwin at Easter. He said 'I bought the bike last August. It was built by George Bryce of Star Racing and Brian Gleason had it for seven years after putting three runs on it. I have a best of 8.12 in testing and hope to improve running in France, Hockenheim and at several events at SPR.'

Top Fuel Bike racer Otto Knebl's engine had a valve hit a piston at the hit in his first run. 'We worked late at night on it and the second time we went to make a pass there was oil in the crankshaft bearing and we shut off. I am hoping we will be ready to run in eliminations.'

Pro Stock Bike racer Bertrand Maurice made an impressive FIM debut by running 7.35 and qualifying sixth. He said 'I have been racing PSB for three years and haven't raced in any other classes in the sport. I won the 2014-15 championships in France and it is great to be here in European competition.' Bertrand's bike is a 1995 build originally raced by Dave Schultz with a Ward Engineering 1655cc four valve engine.

Top Fuel Bike racer Lorcan Parnell had a problem on its first run. Co-owner Barry Eastman said 'The cylinder head was getting torched on two cylinders and it was bad enough not to run. We are not sure what caused the problem but it shouldn't happen. We are looking at the injectors and there may be a blockage. To run 7.24/177 on this setup is not right, and also we had a leakdown test result of only 30% on one cylinder. We are missing Mick Hand, he is probably having a better time on holiday with his wife than he would have done here.' The good news is we should be seeing the bike running at Hockenheim later this year.

Top Fuel Bike racer Eric Richard, aware of the 6.99 cutoff for non-nitro bikes, ran a 7.18 PB in the first session. But the fuel pressure got too low and the engine broke. In this morning's run Eric got off to a storming start with a 1.16 60ft time but the input shaft broke. The final attempt was 1.13 to 60ft but Eric was forced to shut off again. Eric's son Yannick was making progress in the test day with a new PB of 8.70 on his bracket bike.

Super Twin racer Hans Olav Olstad is back after a gap of three years, which is great for the FIM series, but suffered spark plug woes. Crewman Robert Lunden said 'The ceramic from the spark plug came off and became wedged between the valve and the seat. We repaired the head last night but the problem occured again this morning so we are thinking they are the wrong type of plugs for the engine.' The team have seven events in the diary for this year, including FIM and EDRS series and Mosten.

Super Twin racer Ronnie Aasen had a broken pinion gear and cams on his first run. Bike owner Vincent Pels said 'It spun the tyre on the second run so we softened the clutch, but Ronny was forced to lift at half track. We wanted to be in the front half of the field.' Ronny ended qualified fifth and will be up against Chris Hannam in round one.

Super Twin racer Samu Kempainnen, also a notable returnee after a gap of exactly two years, finshed top qualifier with a new PB of 6.501. His highly entertaining rides, drifting on the rear wheel prompted him to say 'Driving with the front wheel up is much easier to ride'. He continued 'We have a new ratio in the transmission and I get all my parts from Ron Houniet who gets them delivered very quickly. His V60 engine is easy for maintenance and Ron is always available for advice.'

Super Twin racer Chris Hannam has a new unsupercharged bike made by Johnny Vickers of Hawaya Racing. It has a 196cu in injected engine with B&J two speed transmission. He said 'I am adapting from the blown bike which I still have to this one and we are using a GoPro to analyse and improve my riding of it. The 7.8s is the longest I have gone down the track and I hope to shut down a little further on each pass. It's all brand new and the sister bike to this one has run 6.19/230, so it has great potential.'

Super Twin racer Martijn de Haas was second with 6.83/205 but wasn't satisfied. 'We had small mishaps and problems and have spent most of the time finding solutions to them. The intake cracked and the rear axle cracked and the wiring broke, not what you would expect at the start of the season, but we will be ready for eliminations.'

Super Twin racer Petr Ceska moved to the class in 2015 following a couple of years in Funny Bike. He bought Roman Sixta's old bike and is developing it steadily with a best of 8.63 before this event and qualifying it sixth with 9.05/142.

Super Street Bike racer Mogens Lund qualified seventh with a 7.28/191. He said 'The bike is a new build which I made myself and I have only made seven passes on it. We are still sorting the bugs out. It has the same body as before but an all-new frame and swing arm which is lighted than before. I have a DK Turbo and plenum from Rick Stubbins, and my cooling system is unusual as, instead of a charge cooler, I have CO2 - I didn't want to load up with ice every run.' The boost controller is AMS2000 and clutch Rocksolid.

Super Street Bike racer Jemma Venables is fine after coming off the bike during a near-vertical wheelie this morning. She said 'I am a bit bruised and sore. I launched normally, punched the gear, the front wheel came up, I punched another gear and it came up further, I hung on and it went over 360 degrees. My leathers are fine, there is just a little scuff, and the bike is repairable, we will get it checked out and rebuilt and it will be good.'

Top Methanol Dragster racer Chris Polidano found the limits of traction in three of his runs, the first third and fourth all up in smoke but the second a superb 5.38/250 to go no.1 and up against Rod Harrison in tomorrow's eliminations.

Top Fuel Dragster racer Liam Jones said 'On our first pass we had a soft launch and hardly any clutch in it. The blower belt went and so the run was only 4.6. The second run was a really hard hit and I ran my best 60ft time yet of 0.855. It lost a cylinder so the ET and mph were down to 4.32/264. We will have the same hard tue-up today and hope to run at three at over 300mph.'

Top Fuel Dragster racer Steve Ashdown is really happy after running three consecutive 4.3s. He said 'We just had a few issues with the blower belt going and Rune and the crew have set the car up wonderfully. I still feel it's unexpected for me getting to grips with driving a Top Fuel Dragster and just want to take baby steps to get there. I will be racing the Main Event and Euro Finals as I'm getting married in three weeks and need to get a new car for my son Tyler. But Top Fuel Dragsters are addictive.' Steve thanks Webster Race Engineering for putting a new front end on the car prior to this event, the 'brilliant' Santa Pod crew and fire crew for their encouragement and Peter Walters for the Undertaker wrap, inspired by a joke over the car's shape...

Top Fuel Dragster racer and sponsor Urs Erbacher is running all rounds at a renewed bid for the Championship. After a 4.77/164 best so far he said 'Perhaps we had too long a break. We have a new fuel system and clutch and are struggling to figure them out. We're not getting damage but haven't made a pass past 300 foot so far. We need to get down the track'. As well as his regular team and long time crew chief Robin Grice, Urs has John Stewart, Leah Pritchett's current crew chief, advising.

Top Fuel Dragster racer Stig Neergaard went no.1 in the second session with a 4.02/267. He said 'We have the same combination as last year and five engines. On our first run we went up in smoke then it kicked the rods out after I backed off. We put a replacement in and it worked well but didn't get all the way down the track.' Stig has a large pit area and is offering hospitality packages to potential sponsors.

Top Fuel Dragster racer Micke Kågered has a new fuel system that the team are getting to grips with. Crewman Rob Inglis said 'The new system caused problems in the first session and we had an oil pressure issue in the second, but we are getting pretty close to where we need to be to get good times. The tune-up is the same as the Euro Finals so we are looking to run 4.0s'.

Top Fuel Dragster racer Anita Mäkelä is delighted to be back here after narrowly missing out to Micke Kågered in the 2015 championship. 'The Santa Pod track is always good, it doesn't matter what the weather is. We haven't run to 1000ft so far and the blower belt went on our second pass. The car is good and we have a good team. We are looking for a pass in the threes.'

Top Fuel Dragster racer Stefan Gunnarson is concentrating on the one car this year and his A/Fuel car is parked for the moment. 'It was too much with two cars. So we have more parts, three engines, new DSR cylinder heads and blowers. We had a problem with low oil pressure yesterday and now have a problem with the reverser, and so we won't make the first run today. On our pass yesterday there was a slider valve issue which caused burnt cylinder heads 2.5 seconds into the run.

Top Fuel Dragster racer Bjorn Mårtensson is expanding the number of events to four with both Tierp rounds and Alastaro as well as the Main Event. 'We have more spares but it is a steep learning curve. The car made an excellent launch with a 0.92 sixty foot time and I shut it off. We will miss this morning as we are chasing an oil pressure issue and the cold track. We expect to do another half track pass before tomorrow's eliminations.'

Top Fuel Bike racer Ian King is on both a new European ET and speed record. Yesterday's 239.85mph terminal and today's 5.817 time both improve on the current marks of 5.860 (Peter Svensson) and 236.21 (Ian King), but both need backing up within one percent. After today's pass crew chief Mick Beaumont said 'We underestimated the track yesterday and the air is good today. I'm happy and there's more to come.'

Pro Modified racer Mats Eriksson is focused on gaining the championship he so narrowly missed out on last year. 'We have more horsepower, the car is handling good and we will keep working on what we have. I am trying to concentrate as a driver as nerves got the better of me at the Finals. We have new Mike Janis injectors which we are testing and yesterday, there were some minor problems with the fuel and ignition. The time was good but the run was bad.' Today Mats improved to 6.07/233 to go no.3 after three sessions.

Pro Modified racer David Vegter went 6.19/234 yesterday but suffered big tyre shake this morning. He said 'The track was great yesterday up until the finish line.'

Pro Modified racer and sponsor Andy Robinson found a damaged clutch floater plate (pictured right next to a fresh example). 'The car was stopped on the startline for a fluid leak and we discovered when we got back to the pits that the floater plate, which was new, had disintegrated. It was as well that we did not make the run as not locking up would have led to other damage.' Once replaced the car ran 6.38/224 and 6.09/230 this morning to go fourth.

Pro Modified racer Bruno Bader runs very consistently and his 6.01, 5.94 and out-of-shape 6.34 show he continues to be a major player in the FIA Championship.

Pro Modified racer Johan Lindberg was looking forward to taking over the driving of the Old 51 Chevy Business Coupe from Niclas Andersson. 'It's totally different for me as the car and the team are both new to me. The team are the same as when Niclas was driving it and so I hope we can start well.' Johan did make a good start with 0.99 sixty foot and 4.00 to the eighth but then directional stability suffered and Johan dropped the chutes to straighten the car up. Crew chief Magnus Petersson said 'It's good to be back here - the first time since 2007. The car is little changed from last year with only a few small changes in the braking system'.

Pro Modified racer Roger Moore made a move towards his quest to run 6.3s or better with a 6.57/211. Crew chief Dave Moore said 'We are still working on the electronic fuel injection and hope to get quicker later today.'

Pro Modified racer Thomas Stiefel had a great race at the European Finals where he improved his best to 6.135/232. His pass in Q3 was a 6.29/230, the Andy Robinson-built car continuing to show great promise.

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