Hot and long FIM-E Euro Finals opening day has Gustafsson, Christiansen, Lencses, Maurice and Willcox as provisional leaders
An unseasonal heatwave (and it was certainly hot) stressed out a lot of things at Santa Pod for Friday’s qualifying sessions, but at the end of the two rounds the current championship/cup leaders sat on top of the pile in all bar one of the five classes.
Newly crowned champion Rikard Gustafsson led both sessions of FIM-E Top Fuel Bike improving to a best of 5.927/225.89 in the second but this came with death smoke at the finishline and we will see what tomorrow brings for the RG Engineering team. A fair bit of the rest of the field was in hit and miss territory, Stuart Crane in second spot with a 6.303 at only 206 when the clutch cover came loose is in the hit category, as would be Eric Richard (6.597) and Mark Smith (6.689) although shy of their personal bests, Al Smith ran a troubled 7.1 with Mike Olie also in the sevens while Rene van den Berg blew up in large style to bring up the rear of the seven bike field.
Marcus Christiansen sent his father Speedy into a little dance on the startline when the champ crossed the finish line and lit up the boards with a 6.2004/215 to suggest the Danish team are on target to get back into the 6.1s (or better) and reset the injected record in FIM-E Super Twin. Chris van Nimmen also was also happy after dipping into the sixes (6.985) after threatening to do so for the past 12 months. Martijn de Haas failed to record a time having shattered a rod shortly after launching in the first session.
Another newly crowned champion Bertrand Maurice leads the FIM-E Pro Stock Bike field with a 7.280/183 which underlines his title for this year. Joerg Lymant (7.33), Martin Newbury (7.46) and Martin Bishop (7.78) complete the current qualified four with Aswin Le Noble needed to dramatically improve his PB to get in.
The two contenders for the FIM-E Super Street title had their moments in the sun (and there was a lot of sun to go around) with Alan Morrison Jnr picking up the little qualifying bonus points in the opening session with a 6.7751/215.93 that held on to top spot until Daniel Donat Lencses punted out a 6.7252/223.29 to grab the provisional pole spot in the second session. Jake Mechaell (6.8294), Steve Venables (6.9300 – although a big pop at the finishline looked like a lot of trouble) and Mogens Lund (6.9880) currently form the rest of the top five of what we think will be an eight bike field come Sunday.
Richard Willcox is the current points leader in the FIM-E Junior Cup and sits on top of the eight bike dial-in field with a +.0145 on a 9.52 dial over the eighth. The top four are all in the 0.0X range but we suspect there will be movement in the two sessions tomorrow in this most unpredictable of classes.
Text and photos: Ivan Sansom & Rose Hughes