FIA European Drag Racing Championship back to Tierp Arena for more

The FIA European Drag Racing Championship kicks off the second part of the season with the Summit Racing Equipment Internationals at Tierp Arena, Sweden. After the thrilling opening round at Santa Pod Raceway, round two at Tierp Arena was cut short on race day by rain. For round three, and hopefully now with action until the end of Sunday’s eliminations, the championship returns to Tierp. Ida Zetterström (Top Fuel), Linn Fløysvik (Top Methanol), Jan Ericsson (Pro Modified) and Jimmy Ålund (Pro Stock) are the leaders in their respective categories, but with several pursuers close behind, the competition will be tough again.

The Summit Racing Equipment Internationals are also the third round of the FIM Europe European Drag Bike Championship and with healthy fields in all classes, competition will be tough in this title race as well. The Summit Racing Equipment Internationals will have an action packed programme as the race is also a round for the Summit Racing EDRS Series and the shoot-out for the Summit Racing Super Series in Pro ET and Super Pro ET. With almost 300 entrants, it’s a race meeting not to be missed. The Friday and Saturday at Tierp in June was good, the four days in August will be even better.  

With three races in the span of four weeks, the drivers and teams of the FIA European Drag Racing Championship will have no time to relax in the second half of the season. The title race resumes with the Summit Racing Equipment Internationals on August 11th – 13th , at Tierp Arena, the state-of-the-art drag racing facility north of Stockholm. After a one weekend break, it’s time for round number four, the NitrOlympX at the Rico Anthes Quartermile of the HockenheimRing on August 25th – 27th , followed two weeks later by the grand finale, The European Finals at Santa Pod Raceway on September 7th – 10th .

Top Fuel, who can beat Ida Zetterström?

In Top Fuel Ida Zetterström from Åland, Finland, but driving with a Swedish license, is leading the championship.

The Rune Fjeld Motorsport/Alandia Motorsport driver is still undefeated this season. In what is her second season in the quickest and fastest category of the championship, Zetterström impressed with a win at Santa Pod Raceway, to reset both sides of the European record with 3.773 seconds at 321.01 mph as well. A first round win at Tierp in June gave her a 38-point lead over number two, Susanne Callin.

The RF Motorsport/Slick Tricks Racing driver was the runner-up at Santa Pod, but had an early exit in the first round at Tierp in June. Callin and her team will definitely try to do better this time and to get back to her winning streak from 2022 when she won the last two races of the season.  

Stig Neergaard is the number three in the championship. The Danish Top Fuel veteran is 33 points behind Callin. Neergaard, owner, driver and tuner of his car, had a bad weekend at Santa Pod, but started to catch up with the leaders at Tierp with a holeshot win in the first round over Callin.

As he announced before the start of the season, Antti Horto would only compete in the two championship races at Tierp Arena. Thus the Summit Racing Equipment Internationals will be the second and last race of the season for the reigning champion from Finland. In June the Eagle Top Fuel Racing/RF Motorsport driver proved his speed with a second position in qualifying and a winning 3.89 seconds in the first round of eliminations. Horto will have to say goodbye to his title, but will definitely want to do that with a win at Tierp.

Last but not least Timo Lehtimäki is back in the championship for his second race of the season. The Finn can always surprise, can be really quick and upset the title contenders.    

Top Methanol, funny cars against dragsters

Just as it is in Top Fuel, girl power is leading the championship in Top Methanol, and the leader is also undefeated so far this season. Linn Fløysvik, from Norway, claimed her first FIA European Championship victory at Santa Pod and also won her first round at Tierp. The Karlsen Motorsport team seem to have everything under control and will try to extend Fløysvik’s 29-point lead over Silvio Strauch at Tierp.

The German Engine Ghost driver has had a far from trouble free season so far, but was still able to claim a runner-up position at Santa Pod and a first round win at Tierp. Strauch might go for a race win when the team can solve their tyreshake problems.

There are even more problems for reigning champion Sandro Bellio. The 2-time champion from Belgium suffered engine damage in England and had all sorts of other problems at Tierp. As a result, Bellio hasn’t won an elimination round so far, is 60 points behind Fløysvik and will need a good result at Tierp to come back in the race for a third consecutive title. Jonny Lagg is the number four in the championship. The bad news is that the Swedish former champion suffered severe engine and chassis damage last week at Mantorp Park and will be sadly missed for probably the rest of the season.

Johnny Oksa impressed at his comeback at Tierp. The 2016 FIA European Top Methanol Funny Car champion took a few years off, but was immediately back up to speed with a number one qualifying position, a round win and running good ETs. Tony Bryntesson didn’t have the return to the championship in June he had dreamed of, and the Swede will be looking for a much better result this time.

Photo: team

The Summit Racing Equipment Internationals will see the championship debut of Tina Høst Nedregård in the Förch A-Fuel Dragster, formerly driven but now tuned by Daniel Jedborn. The Norwegian lady made some licensing runs in the last couple of weeks and she hopes to finalize this procedure at Gardermoen Raceway this weekend.

With six cars, three dragsters and three funny cars, the Top Methanol category has a larger field than we have seen in several years and that is great news for the numerous fans.

Pro Modified, close and tough

With no fewer than 22 entrants, Pro Modified is once again the category with the largest field of the four FIA classes and as it was in England and at the Tierp Internationals, the fight for the trophy and points will be close and tough.

Even in Pro Modified the leader in the championship is undefeated this season. Reigning champion Jan Ericsson claimed the win in England and advanced to the semifinals at Tierp before the rain brought an early end to the Swedish race. Bruno Bader, the Pro Modified veteran from Switzerland, is the surprise number two, 46 points behind Ericsson. Bader hit the wall at Santa Pod, but after many hours in the workshop, he was back at Tierp and scored many points in advancing to the semifinals.

With 5.7-second runs, David Vegter has been, together with Ericsson, the fastest Pro Mod competitor this year. But the Dutchman has not been very lucky in eliminations so far, and although he is the number three in the title race, 33 points behind Bader, this is not the result he was looking for this season. Vegter will be out for revenge and will do everything he can to claim the win in his second home country. It would be the perfect wedding present after he married his Swedish girlfriend and team member Elin a few weeks ago.

With Marck Harteveld and Michel Tooren, the numbers four and five in the championship are also drivers from The Netherlands. The Voodoo Hemi Racing and Pro Dutch Racing drivers are separated by one point! Andres Arnover is sixth and that is not the place he should be looking at, given the ETs the driver from Estonia has recorded.

From the other drivers in the top ten, Bobby Wallace, Mats Eriksson, Andreas Arthursson and Jimmy Ålund, only Wallace will not be at Tierp. The other three, all from Sweden, showed their speed earlier this season and can be counted among the favourites. But the same is true for multiple FIA European Pro Modified champion Michael Gullqvist. Other very quick drivers from Sweden are Roger Johansson, Fredrik Fagerström and Åke Persson.

There is a long list of drivers who are not directly involved in the title race or favourites for a race win, but because in drag racing anything is possible, they can all surprise. From Sweden come Olof Andersson, Micke Johansson, Peter Kunc, Marcus Perman, Andreas Sjödin (who debuted a brand new Corvette in June at Tierp), Jesper Stenberg and Patrik Wikström, the Pro Mod veteran who will have his first FIA race of this season. Stian Rusånes, who surprised several times last season, is the only competitor from Norway, while there is also a welcome return to the championship for Jere Rantaniemi, the quick Finnish driver who surprised several times last season.           

Pro Stock, no winner so far

Because the Pro Stock category didn’t take part in the English round of the championship, and the action at Tierp in June was limited to qualifying and one elimination round, the field is tight together. Multiple champion Jimmy Ålund (Chevrolet Camaro) was the number one qualifier at Tierp in June, he won his elimination round and thus is the leader with a 6-point advantage over Stefan Ernryd (Dodge Dart).

Michael Malmgren (Pontiac) and Simon Ekengren (Dodge Dart), who surprised with a fourth qualifying position and great ETs, also advanced to the semifinals and are in third and fourth position in the championship, only one and three points behind Ernryd respectively.

Robin Norén (Pontiac), Christian Sagelv (Ford Mustang), Tommy Leindahl (Chevrolet Cobalt) and Lasse Britsmar (Pontiac GTO) were the first round losers at Tierp in June and will definitely want to score more points now. With 9 cars for an 8-car elimination ladder, one competitor will be sidelined for the Sunday. In June that unlucky one was Magnus Petersson. The Pro Stock veteran must be capable of being in the ladder this time.

Qualifying for the FIA classes during the Summit Racing Equipment Internationals will start on Friday August 11th and will continue on Saturday August 12th . Eliminations will start on Sunday morning August 13th .      

FIM Europe

For the FIM Europe European Drag Bike Championship the Summit Racing Equipment Internationals are also the third round of their title race, and just as it was for the cars, after a great Main Event, the rain curtailed the action on race day at Tierp in June to one elimination round. With all classes filled with almost all of the quickest and fastest riders from all over Europe and record fields, the second attempt at Tierp will definitely be exciting.  Neil Midgley (Top Fuel Motorcycle), Marcus Christiansen (Super Twin Motorcycle), Bertrand Maurice (Pro Stock Motorcycle) and Alan Morrison Jnr. (Super Street Bike) were the winners at Santa Pod and are still leading the championship in their respective categories. Junior Drag Bike will not be racing for points in the European championship at Tierp.

Top Fuel Motorcycle

Neil Midgley was the winner at Santa Pod, but will once again have to fight with Rikard Gustafsson for the win, the lead in the title race and maybe even European records. The two quickest and fastest Top Fuel Motorcycle riders in Europe are separated by 19 points only and we can be sure that this duel will go down to the wire.

Rene van den Berg is the number three in the championship, with the two quick Norwegians Sverre Dahl and Jan Sturla Hegre in fourth and fifth position. Thomas Pettersson, from Sweden, and Mikko Rajaniemi, from Finland, will try to do better than they did in June at Tierp. Kari Rautanen, also from Finland, is a new name for this season in the championship. With 8 riders for an 8-bike ladder, there is no stress in qualifying, but for sure that the action will be thrilling from the very first moment the riders hit the Tierp Arena track.

Super Twin Motorcycle

In Super Twin Motorcycle the stress about qualifying must have started at the moment the riders saw the entry list. There are no fewer than 18 entrants from seven countries for an 8-bike ladder. Santa Pod winner and reigning champion Marcus Christiansen is of course one of the favourites. The championship leader has an 48-point advantage over number two, Vesa Lipponen.

Per Bengtsson is third, with Samu Kemppainen fourth and Martijn de Haas fifth. These five riders are all capable of winning the race, but that list is even much longer and includes riders like Ismo Mäenpää, Greger Johansson, Harri Piensalmi and Roman Sixta.

And what about Anders Hörnström, Marko Lantto, Frank Aaslund, Erling Opheim, Julia Wagner, Chris van Nimmen and Svein Olav Rolfstad and his son John Rolfstad? They also want to claim a spot in the elimination ladder. Special attention will go out to Elmeri Salakari, son of Jaska Salakari, who impressed with great licensing runs in Finland.

One thing is for sure, not all the favourites will be in the elimination ladder on Sunday and many dreams will fall apart on the Saturday evening at Tierp.   

Pro Stock Motorcycle

The Summit Racing Equipment Internationals are also a revival for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, as there are no fewer than seven entrants, a number not seen for a long time. Bertrand Maurice, from France, was the winner at Santa Pod and is leading the championship, with Dutchman Aswin Le Noble in second position. Jörg Lymant, a multiple winner in the Super Twin Top Gas class, had his first outing in the FIM E Pro Stock Motorcycle class at Tierp in June, advanced to the semifinals, and is back for more. 

Reigning champion Martin Newbury had to skip the June event at Tierp after the rider from the UK suffered mechanical problems at Santa Pod. He will try to get back in the title race with a win at Tierp. Timo Savolainen is a familiar name in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category, but was not ready in time for the June event at Tierp. The great news for the future of the class is that there are two new young riders making their FIM Europe Pro Stock Motorcycle debut at Tierp. Tim Christensen, from Sweden, and Norwegian Theodor Vik, son of former Pro Stock rider Kenneth Vik, will have to face the experienced European riders, but don’t be surprised to see the two youngsters upset some of the established names.

Super Street Bike

There was a great fight in Super Street Bike at Santa Pod, with stunning ETs and a new European speed record. Alan Morrison Jnr. won that race and his first round at Tierp in June, and thus the rider from the UK is the leader after two races in his first season in the FIM E championship.

Reigning champion Daniel Donat Lencses is the number two, with Mathias Bohlin third, Mogens Lund fourth and Ross Morrison fifth. But with 15 riders, the competition in Super Street Bike will be tough as well, and surprises will be possible in every round of eliminations.

Riders who competed in at least one of the earlier round this season are Peter Östlund, the Brothers Drag Racing duo and team mates of Lencses, Krisztian Jasz and Margot Schmidt, Roberth Häggblom, Wille Skinnars, Dag Wagenius and Clemens Walleit. New entrants for this season are Ricardo Grauer, Erich Gruber and Peter Rundström. 

Summit Racing EDRS Series

The Summit Racing Equipment Internationals are traditionally the most important round of the Summit Racing EDRS Series. With almost all the classes represented, the 2023 edition is no exception to this. There are large fields in almost all classes, with for example 36 entrants in Stock/Super Stock, 26 in Pro Street, 17 in Competition Eliminator and 18 (from 7 countries, including Spain, Ireland and The Netherlands) in Junior Dragster.

Summit Racing Super Series

In Super Pro ET and Pro ET the Summit Racing Equipment Internationals are the shoot-out for the Summit Racing Super Series. Winners and runners-up of Summit Racing EDRS Series races were classified to take part in this shoot-out. The total prize money for each class is USD 10,000 and the winner of the shoot-out earns USD 4,000!

Qualifying for the Summit Racing Equipment Internationals in the Summit Racing EDRS Series classes will start on Thursday 10th August, and will continue on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th August. On Saturday there will also be the first rounds of eliminations in the Summit Racing EDRS Series. The FIA and FIM classes will have their qualifying sessions on the Friday and the Saturday, while the eliminations will start on the morning of Sunday 13th August. 

Text and photos Remco Scheelings

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