FIM-E Dragbike championship, Euro Finals Sunday, Santa Pod Raceway
The 2022 edition of the European Finals came to a close late on Sunday remarkably with all eliminators completed, which, given the long delayed start in the morning thanks to overnight fog and moisture taking an age to clear and some on track incidents, was some testament to the hard work put in by the SPRC track crew. A couple of European speed records were thrown into the mix as well as a barrier busting World best that, well, you had to be there to see it.
FIM-E Top Fuel Bike
After qualifying all eyes were on the opening round match-up between Rene van den Berg and Neil Midgley with the former needing a win to keep his championship hopes alive but the SharkAttack rider’s troubled weekend continued with the drivebelt departing barely turning a wheel in the burnout box. This meant that Rikard Gustafsson wrapped up his third European title thanks to qualifying points and a competition solo in the quarter finals.
With that out of the way, the event win was the main focus. Gustafsson earned his final spot with a 5.8623/252.25mph to up his own European speed record in defeating Eric Richard mid six from his funnybike (Richard carding a nice 6.5981 in the opening stanza suggesting he’s getting rapidly to grips with the new chassis).
On the other half of the ladder, Neil Midgley clocked his third five of the weekend with a 5.9741 in that unopposed opener and then clicked off a shade too early for the comfort of the Cannon Motorsports/King Racing collective in the semifinal but still taking the winlight over Al Smith with a 6.1266/195.47 to a 6.3503/215.11.
Smith had earlier carded a 6.2986/224.64 over a PB from Mark Smith in a lose out effort 6.7548/195.44. The final was run in the gathering gloom with Midgley ahead from the startline with a great 0.0981s RT to around the 1000 foot mark when Rikard cruised past on yet another 250mph clocking with a 5.9350/250.99mph to a 6.2219/172.43 to put a lid on the 2022 championship season.
FIM-E Super Twin Bike
After sitting around for quite a few hours, the final of Super Twin was the only pass for the class during eliminations, but Marcus Christiansen rumbled to a superb 6.2112/230.37 (the latter being the second nitro fueled speed record of the event and a clear sign the braking issues the Danes were working around are very much a thing of the past).
Martijn de Haas shook quite hard after leaving the startline, but what is of note is how wired both riders were at the tree with a 0.0340s to a 0.0306s pair of reaction times from winner and runner up respectively. Marcus had already ready wrapped up his third championship in a row and will be back to extend that next season.
FIM-E Pro Stock Bike
The troubled season for Pro Stock Bike continued to the very end of the year with Martin Newbury pushing back in the opening round of eliminations after championship opponent Aswin le Noble was knocked out of contention by Martin Bishop with a 7.6615 to an ailing mid eight. Beneficiary of the solo was Bertrand Maurice who finally managed to get a run of substance with a 7.3538/171.09. The final would also prove to be a single for Maurice when Bishop stepped off his bike before arriving at the startline and another 7.3 from French rider took the event win.
FIM-E Super Street Bike
The four rounds for the Super Street class was full of twists and turns pretty much from the off. Mathias Bohlin’s champion aspirations were extinguished after a very vertical launch handed the round win to Mark Hope’s 7.1271/202.57. Daniel Donat Lencses (6.7463/221.21), Alan Morrison Jnr (6.9884/207.07), Garry Bowe (7.0342/208.18), Mogens Lund (6.9751/206.13), Steve Venables (6.8431/205.11) and Jake Mechaell (6.9786/207.06) all progressed, the latter at the expense of class stalwart Steve Wood in his final European event. The quarter-finals threw the championship door open a fair bit as Lencses span off the startline while Morrison Jnr scooted to a 6.9339/213.09.
Mogens Lund kept pace with a 6.9415/207.92 in defeating Bowe and Mechaell dropped off a bit with a 7.1324/209.95 to get by Hope.
Venables had a bye into the semifinals but a massive oil fire erupted just after half-track and continued someway down into the shutdown area which left the former champion somewhat crispy but largely undamaged thanks to his Vanson leathers. The semifinals thus saw Mechaell take the green and push back to maintain his championship aspirations, while Lund carded another consistently quick 6.9265/214.10 but lost out to a big PB from Morrison Jnr with a 6.8358/212.82.
The trophy run off was a simple equation, Mechaell wins and he took the championship, Mechaell loses and Lencses stays in the points lead. Again the gloom saw both riders nailing the tree with a 0.0860s RT from Mechaell and a 0.0318s from Morrison Jnr in his first FIM final. Morrison Jnr then stretched his advantage as the Protek tuned Busa punted out another PB with a 6.8255/211.80 to Mechaell’s valiant 6.9142/216.13 leaving Lencses ahead by less than a round of racing in the 2022 championship.
FIM-E Junior Dragbike Cup
With the Cup title decided in Hollie King’s favour before the event started, the challenge was on to see if she could be stopped from sweeping the season.
But after defeating Anouk Burgering in the opening round in a very tight race, it was Meg Talbot’s chance to pick up her first event win of the season with a 8.2227/80.22 on a 8.15 dial-in to King’s 11.3356/55.63 on a 11.22 dial.
Exhibition World Record
After setting a new world best yesterday with a 5.0681, Eric Teboul loaded a “little more” peroxide into the tank to extend the push a bit further. The extra litre of H2O2 propelled Teboul into retirement with a barrier busting 4.9766/290.51 and the crowd went wild. The numbers all the way down are astonishing and we suspect Teboul must have peaked very adjacent to 300mph shortly after 1000 foot which he passed with a 4.2289/290.49. Getting the thing stopped was added by the smoother Santa Pod shutdown area laid down at the start of the season, but both the bodywork and rider lifted a little suggesting Eric has headed off into retirement having explored some incredible limits on what is possible on two wheels over a quarter mile.
One wonders what Teboul’s mentor the late Sammy Miller (holder of the absolute ¼ mile drag strip record at Santa Pod back in 1984) and good friend Jon Morton, who we lost at the start of the weekend, would have made of it all.
Live ET slips available here: https://www.etslips.co.uk/
Qualifying sheets and eliminations ladders will be available here: https://santapodresults.com/2022/
Words and photos Ivan Sansom & Rose Hughes