Some FIM-E Dragbike titles decided, some championships up for grabs, and records in the sights of some
This weekend sees the culmination of the FIM-E Dragbike series at Santa Pod Raceway and while the championship has been decided in three of the categories, the fourth is very much in the mix and there are a number of teams looking to reset records and PBs across the piece.
FIM-E Top Fuel Bike
Rikard Gustafsson secured his fourth TFB title at last month’s NitrOlympX, but heads into the EuroFinals looking to recover from the drive train damage that blighted that weekend for the RG Engineering team. The Swede seems to be back on track after a successful outing to the Mosten raceday and will be looking to improve on his 5.74/260 PB numbers from the opening event of the year at Santa Pod. Behind Gustafsson, there will be a close battle to see if either Rene van den Berg or Eric Richard (runner-up and winner in Germany) can gather enough points to get past Neil Midgley who is still sitting in second spot despite his season ending off in Sweden last month. There is also the small matter of personal bests for both to aim at, which is also the focus of attention for the Warpspeed duo of Stuart Crane and Mark Smith. After recording a 6.2 at the Main Event, Crane is looking to go lower himself, “it might take losing a motor”, and getting Smith into the 6.2 second zone. Mike Olie will be hoping to improve on his NitrOlympX outing where the Kawasaki Funny Bike decided that one run would be sufficient when it trashed the gearbox and oil pump. There’s also the small matter of Al Smith and the unique PBR Triple that has already run into the fives and builder/owner/tuner Phil Baimbridge will be hoping the Rocket has expelled the annoying little problems to dig deeper into the setup.
FIM-E Super Twin
Unfortunately the Euro Finals is back to three entries in the Super Twin category. Marcus Christiansen has done the title thing again for the fourth year in a row. If conditions permit the Danish father and son team will be looking to run quick, real quick with a target of the 6.0s in mind. Martijn de Haas will be looking to build on an improved second half to the season “slowly we are getting the performance back in the bike and, importantly, had fun racing in Hockenheim” and the Dutch rider’s 6.5 personal best could be under threat. Also chasing PBs will be Chris van Nimmen, the Belgian looking to round out the year with a 6 second ticket.
FIM-E Super Street
If the FIM-E championship is decided in three of the other categories, the 2023 title chase in Super Street Bike is far from a done deal. Looking at the current points, those in with a shout include leader Alan Morrison Jnr and last year’s champion Daniel Donat Lencses, Mathias Bohlin also is very much in the mix but the Swede is a curious omission from the latest entry list.
There are another ten entries that could provide major stumbling blocks for the title chasers, including Jake Mechaell on something of a hot streak at the moment, multi-time champion Steve Venables, Mogens Lund, Mark Hope, Ross Morrison, Kristian Jasz and Peter Ostlund all on Hayabusas, while the Austro-German trio of Erich Gruber, Clemens Walleit and Ricardo Grauer represent the Kawasaki contingent.
FIM-E Pro Stock
Five entries in Pro Stock Bike, but the 2023 title has already been settled with Bertrand Maurice doing the deal thanks to an event win and final round finishes at each of the four preceding events (two being rained out). The battle for the number two plate in 2024 will be between three riders, Joerg Lymant coming off the back of an event win at his home race in Germany last month, Martin Newbury who is still getting to grips with the ex-Karlsson GSXR and a somewhat distant Aswin le Noble who could do with getting into the sevens by the season end. Martin Bishop is always a contender for event honours, while Jerome Rougement makes his Santa Pod debut at the Euro Finals.
FIM-E Junior Drag Bike Cup
The Euro Finals is the wrap up of the three event FIM-E Junior season with the remarkable situation that almost all of the eight riders are in contention to pick up the 2023 Cup. Current points leader is Richard Willcox, but given the unpredictability of the dial-in class (the number one qualifier having gone out first round at both of the previous events) the form book is something of a lottery. No matter, the Juniors will feature in some of the best racing of the event as the next generation hones their skills.
Qualifying Friday 8th – Saturday 9th September, Eliminations Sunday 10th September
Livestream will appear here https://www.youtube.com/@SantaPodTV/streams
Text and photos: Ivan Sansom & Rose Hughes