FIA/FIM Main Event
Santa Pod Raceway, 25th-28th May 2018


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Pro Mod racer Kim Christiansen ran a new PB ET and speed in the final qualifying session, 5.940/235. The blown car was originally constructed by sponsor Andy Robinson and Kim raced in Top Doorslammer before joining Pro Mod in 2017.

Comp Eliminator racer Conrad Stanley is running his former Pro Stock Pontiac Grand Am as a B/Altered with son Rob and Trevor Graves as crew. The car ran on a 7.43 index and he ran a best of 8.79/111 in his first event with the car since the Main Event 2012. Conrad ran the Pro Stock season in 2011.

Comp Eliminator racer Paul Brooks was last racing in a championship event as long ago as Easter 2005 and the car has undergone a complete rebuild and is now titled Mean as Hell in memory of late Pro Mod racer Dave Warne. The car has a nitrous 461ci engine. He qualified sixth with a 7.78/177 on a 7.85 index, impressive for the car's first competitive outing in its current form.

Top Methanol Funny Car racer Sandro Bellio was having problems dialling the car in. He said 'We have made engine changes to make more power and have a new clutch from our sponsor Molinari, and with the new track we have a lot of variables to work with'. The best pass was 5.85/244 in the final session after an earlier 5.95, so Sandro, who will be running the whole FIA series is starting to find the right setup.

Top Methanol Funny Car racer Mikael Larsson is at SPR for the first time, having run at Tierp previously. He has updated his car however had problems, missing session one, and only running a full pass of 6.43/209 in session two. In sessions three and four he had to shut off before reaching the start line, nevertheless he is qualified in no.5 position and will be racing tomorrow.

Top Fuel Dragster racer Antti Horto was no.1 qualifier and ran three consecutive 3.9-4.0s in qualifying. He said 'The car is reliable and we have not had to change the engine so far this weekend. The chassis [which the team bought from Don Schumacher Racing and was originally for Leah Pritchett] was built by Murf McKinney and it was great to run a PB with a new car. The track feels really good and there have been PBs in so many classes, it was a good decision to lay it in concrete. Antti, who will race the whole season in FIA competition, thanks his sponsors.

Top Fuel Dragster racer Anita Mäkelä went 4.32/195 in the first session and then a great 3.957/295 in the second session. Today however the car was unable to make a full pass and suffered engine damage in the final session.

Top Fuel Bike racer Phil Crossley made a new chassis for his Funny Bike. He said 'I ran the new chassis for the first time on the test day and ran an easy 8.5. In qualifying I got quicker in each of the first three sessions and ran a best of 7.58. But the throttle was not wide open on the 7.58 and the nitrous was off before 60ft. My plan is to do the Summer Nationals, the new Red Line Rumble in August, the Euro Finals and National Finals.

Super Pro ET racer Aaron Fensome managed to license and run two 7.1s in his new blown alcohol dragster bought from Derek Flynn. He said 'I did three runs on test day, the first having major tyre shake which broke the wheelie bars. On the second, the car was out of shape before the eighth mile and I lifted, only to find later that was a normal issue on these cars; but the eighth mile numbers were good enough for me to go into qualifying. On Friday morning a shifter plug fell out and I lost a lash cap, but made the second qualifier when I ran a 7.1. Yesterday I ran another 7.11/190 which was great. I finally have a blown bracket car! Every run has been a learning experience, they have all been different and better'. Aaron is joined by team-mates Matt (pictured left) and Trevor and also thanks Richard Walters and Derek Flynn for their help and advice.

Pro Mod racer Freddy Fagerström suffered a broken 65mm snout on his for Mark Williams 9.5 inch rear end after damage in the third session. The team put out an appeal for a spare so fingers crossed that a spare can be delivered.

Top Fuel Dragster racer Micke Kågered ended up as no.9 and first alternate in tomorrow's eliminations. In qualifying, he had to lift off in session one when he suffered tyre smoke and the car got out of shape, then in session two he had a wheelie and the rear tyres unloaded on landing, in session three he suffered a big fuel leak and fire when the connection from the fuel system to the catch can came off, and in session four, after repairing burnt electrics, his tyres went up in smoke.

Top Fuel Dragster racer Björn Martensson had a series of problems such as revs too high after the burnout on both runs yesterday, and the car refusing to launch in session three, the car idling down the track. In the fourth session he showed great determination, pedalling before half track and only lifting to avoid a big boomer. His 5.619/130 was good for eighth and he will meet Antti Horto in round one.

Super Street Bike racer Garry Bowe is running a new setup with a turbo and 70hp nitrous shot which comes in half way down the track. He said 'We're fine tuning it with input from Brad O'Connor. We now have two AMS2000 ECUs, one for the clutch and turbo and another for the nitrous. The new track feels very smooth to go down'. He ran a 7.08/205 in session two.

Supertwin racer Hans Olav Olstad is back here after a gap of a couple of years. He had problems on both passes, leaving him in bump spot at the end of Saturday. He said 'I expected to have my new heads ready but still have to fit the valve guides and grind the seats. So I repaired my old heads and we hope to get the new ones ready for Tierp. On the passes the cam belt started hopping over the teeth so we have had to soften the setup. We also lost the rpm track on the data logger. It's usual start of season problems'. He improved to 6.725/211 in session three.

Supertwin racer Neil Midgley was no.2 after two sessions with a 6.566/183. He said 'Testing didn't go well as there was detonation in the engine. Then on the first run yesterday I didn't line the bike up straight and had to shut off. The second run went well until 1000ft where there was the same detonation and the belt came off. We have changed the fuel settings to try to solve the problem'.

Supertwin racer Marcus Christiansen from Denmark and aged 22 is new to SPR. He said 'I've been in the sport since I was 12, riding Junior Drag Bikes then a Pro Twin bike in the old Harley Drags championship, which had a 2.1 litre capacity with no wheelie bar and the bike held the world record for that class of 8.41. Then in 2016 I changed to Supertwins and ran races in Scandinavia and Hockenheim. We are still developing the bike and making small changes to the tune-up'. The latest changes were effective as the bike ran a 6.61/189 in the first session and 6.542/209 to go no.1 on as straight a Supertwin pass as you're going to see. The bike is based on a frame constructed by Marcus and his father, with a PRP naturally aspirated engine and Bentec clutch and gearbox. He improved to a 6.42/215 in the third session.

Supertwin racer racer Allan Davies tested on Thursday to 8.3 and and then ran a 8.28/169 and 7.81/173 in qualifying yesterday. Frank Brachtvogel said 'The bike has been driving through the clutch all the way down and we are putting more weight on it. The clutch pack is 20 years old, but better develop the bike with that than get a new pack which we don't need yet'. The team is putting 5 grams more on the clutch each run, and otherwise just needs routine maintenance.

Pro Stock bike racer Kenneth Holmberg went 8.34 in the first session and 7.85/179 in the second. He said 'Our rebuilt engine works great but the bike was drifting to the right on both runs. So we have adjusted the chassis and clutch setup. Tyre shake contributed to the problem so will soften the tuneup. The engine is strong and I ran 179mph after getting back on the gas. I built the engine using Vance & Hines components and a firm in Finland helps me with the porting and fine tuning. There is a spare engine but the heads are in the US'. Kenneth plans to race the FIM series and four races at Tierp which is an hour from his base in Sweden. On his third pass the exhaust parted company from the bike at half track.

Pro Stock Bike racer Alex Hope is ironing out problems on his heavily revised bike, which includes a modified Dave Beck chassis and Vance & Hines engine rebuilt by the team. 'We are looking at the handling of the bike, going left on both passes in qualifying. Team manager Chris Hope said 'There are just niggly things we have to sort out. We are taking both Super Street bikes to Tierp in June and Alastaro, and the Pro Stock Bike and Mark's Super Street bike to Hockenheim and Tierp in August'. Alex's bike displays the colours of CBD Asylum, in which he is business partners with Liam Jones.

Top Fuel Bike racer Filippos Papafilippou ran the fourth quickest pass in TFB history with a 5.782/286. He said 'My first pass yesterday was planned to be a 60ft launch but the team who had prepared the bike as usual said 'See how it feels and keep on it for a little longer if you like'. It was straight and I clicked it at 1000ft after 5.4s and the run was 6.09/214. The second run was almost a full pass and clicked just a few feet before the quarter mile, the data log looks like the ET was not affected. The conditions were great and the King Racing team made me feel confident and there was no drama. I didn't expect a 5.78 and thought it was a couple of tenths slower. Marius had anticipated wheelspin from the adustments made, but it held and the data logger was a perfect curve. That I did the run in the right hand lane was a real tribute to the track crew as they had a big clean up and track scraping job on before I ran'.

Pro Stock Bike racer Martin Bishop had a quick pass on the Thursday test day. He said 'The stats were on for a PB, but the bike put a rod out after five seconds. I shut off but still ran a 7.4. We ran in the second session with our spare engine but the bike went sideways and hit the reflectors, which damaged the gearbox. So we worked very late and repaired the gearbox'. Team member Dan works for Force India F1 team which has provided machining services to the team who build their own engines. The other team member is Timon Marshall.

Supertwin racer Ronny Aasen with Team Zodiac had a wretched 2017 with a big engine failure at the Main Event and the engine blowing up in the pits at Hockenheim. He said 'We figured out it was the valve train which has been a problem for the last two years. So we have new parts on the bike and have started slow and easy with a 60ft launch and after we got the data from that, we turned it up'. Session two was 7.43/154 and a 7.13/197 in session three. The team are joined by new mechanic Thomas Skeie.

Supertwin racer christian Jäger who is returning to SPR after a break of three years, is riding a ex-Acka Riemer bike (originally built by Johnny Vickers) now fitted with a new Bentec clutch and with new cylinder heads to arrive later in the season. He suffered directional problems on each pass, but on the second one the exhaust manifold blew 60ft into the run. 'It came close to my leg so I had to take avoiding action and steered my way out of trouble'. The manifold was welded together by compatriot Dennis Heinemann from Habermann Racing.

Super Street Bike racers Jemma and Steve Venables both improved in performance in this morning's session. Jemma said 'We had an issue on test day with the turbo having too much boost and on our second attempt the tyre spun. Yesterday, on the launch we had 18lb more than we needed. That produced a big wheelie but I was able to control it. On the second run there was a small wheelie but the bike got stuck in third gear'. This morning she went 7.63/185 to go 15th. The bike has a new Motec M130 ECU.

Dad Steve had a successful trip to the US at the end of 2017, running sixes and got back to them this morning with a 6.968/214. He said 'The improvements we fitted in winter didn't work like we wanted so we have gone back to what we know but still had electrical problems. In the second session my times were on a par with a PB then the ECU shut off at 5.6s but I still ran a 7.1. The new track is working well'.

Super Street Bike racer Mogens Lund short shifted to a best of 7.02/208 in the second session. He said 'I did a full pass and will try to hit it harder on the next pass to see if it comes up with the right numbers'. His run this morning was a 7.17/203.

Pro Stock racer Robin Norén went 6.75/206 to go no.3 this morning, his PB being 6.73. He runs a 2005 Pontiac GTO built by Jerry Bickel Race Cars. Aged 27, he has been racing for seven years and moved up to Pro Stock in 2016 coming seventh in the championship last year.

Pro Stock racer Michael Malmgren who has competed each year of the FIA Championship since 1996, ran a 6.669, 6.700 and 6.680/207 to go second after three sessions.

Pro Mod racer Michael Gullqvist reported ignition issues which slowed him in session three, however he is still no.1 qualifier with his earlier 5.86/244.

Pro Mod racer Freddy Fagerström went 6.05/235 in the first session, and 6.21/215 with a bit of shake in the second session. He said 'US Pro Mod racer Todd Tutterow has helped me on the setup of the fuel system and I'm grateful to Jürgen Leanders for his work on my Leanders clutch'. Freddie also tested successfully on Thursday, running a best of 6.10. Whilst Fredddy's truck has looked the same from the outside for many years, the chassis underneath has been renewed and updated.

Pro Mod racer Jon Webster suffered mechanical woes with engine damage last weekend and had most of the spares to repair. The turbo needed replacing however, and there was a delay of a day when the new item was found to be lacking SFI certification. Nevertheless it arrived and was fitted in time. We saw the car warming in the pit and then on his pass of 8.37/165 smoke from the left bank presaged a huge plume at the finish line and more engine repairs needed.

Pro Mod racer Kev Slyfield ran two great passes of 6.119 and 6.120, both close to his PB of 6.111 from this event a year ago. His speed of 232.5 was a new PB. He said 'We had problems last weekend, it was a great race but the electrics shut my car off on the launch, and we lost third gear on our final run. So during the week we rebuilt the gearbox. On my first run it went a bit to the left and adjusted the four link for the second giving us near identical performance. We want to run a 6.0 at this event and think we can improve by applying more power at 330ft to get the speed up by 10mph at the eighth'.

Pro Mod racer Wayne Nicholson had two great passes of 6.343/223 (new PB) and 6.442/223. Wife Belinda said 'We have had changes to the hat and blower which we sent to Troy Critchley for work to get more boost. The 6.34 was the first full run and we have data to get more power down. The track is awesome'. Wayne added 'The team have worked incredibly hard, there's no substitute for it'.

Pro Mod racer Marcus Hilt ran last weekend with his crew including Thomas and Bridget Stiefel and became runner up in Pro Doorslammer. He said 'It was a perfect weekend and I'd rather be lucky than good. We stayed at the track during the week and had fun. The track is great this weekend, and we've made a lot of changes to the setup'.

Junior Dragster racer Jordan Payne had to sit a school exam on Friday and so missed the first session of qualifying. 'I ran a 0.04 in the second session and then went 0.008 red in the fourth session. The car is running consistent 7.91s'. Jordan is in his last year of Junior racing and is preparing the family's '62 Corvette, which won the Super Mod championship three times, to test during the summer and race in Super Pro ET next year and Comp Eliminator in 2020'. In the meantime the Junior Dragster is up for sale, turnkey for £8,500 including spares and advice. The car has won eleven championships in all in the hands of Jordan and previous owner Joe Kellett.

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