Gustafsson, Christiansen, Maurice, Morrison Jnr and Morrison double up with Euro Finals and FIM-E Championship wins
The 2023 FIM-E Dragbike championship goes into the ledger following a season of ups and downs with a dramatic finale at Santa Pod Raceway when a record-breaking heatwave came to an end with a spectacular storm sweeping through the facility. Once focus had shifted from holding down awnings and keeping out of the deluge, the SPRC track crew did a tremendous job to get the track back into raceable condition and the FIM-E classes completed before the curfew kicked in. Notably the Euro Finals winners not only ended their year on a high, but will carry the Number One plates next year having doubled up with the title trophies.
Rikard Gustafsson and the RG Engineering team used the time over the weekend to go through the issues that had beset the FIM-E Top Fuel championship winning bike in the latter part of the season. A first round bye bought time to thoroughly investigate the fuel system and rebuild the pump, after which the bike came back to life with a pair of 5.9s, the best coming in the final with a 5.921/237.43 to take the event win and underline the Swede’s fourth championship. Some great numbers were also produced elsewhere on the ladder, with Eric Richard managing a semifinal finish (going out to Gustafsson at that stage) after a side-by-side 6.5 quarter final eliminator with Mark Smith. Richard dropping into second spot in the 2023 points in doing so. Al Smith managed a 6.182 in an opening freebie when Rene van den Berg was shutoff before making the startline, but oil pressure issues ended his event. There was also the small matter of Gustafsson’s final round opponent and Stuart Crane finished the year off with a run through eliminations, resetting his PB with a 6.206/213.87 (and a 4.004 half track) to defeat Mike Olie before almost repeating with a 6.288 in the trophy match up in far from ideal conditions for the Warpspeed funny.
Marcus Christiansen was hunting numbers in FIM-E Super Twin and lowered his PB with a 6.105/222.28 to lower the European best with a naturally aspirated twin in the semi-final bye. With cooler conditions for the final under the lights the Danish dynamic duo of Marcus and his father Claus tweaked things a bit to take aim at the 6.0s, unfortunately they weren’t to come as the motor went away at about the 1000 foot mark, but a 6.415 was enough to take the win from Chris van Nimmen’s 6.985 (the Belgian ending the year on a high having defeated championship runner-up Martijn de Haas in the first round of eliminations). With the winter to fix it, Speedy’s Racing will be pretty much odds on for a 6.0 (or possibly better) next year.
The FIM-E Pro Stock Bike event trophy headed back over the Channel to France alongside the championship with Bertrand Maurice continuing his improvements with the Light Speed Suzuki at the year’s conclusion, a 7.235/182 in the opening round victory over Aswin le Noble being his best of the weekend. On the lower half of the ladder Joerg Lymant produced a pair of mid sevens to defeat Jerome Rougemont in the quarters and a semi-final finish for the Buell and second spot in the championship. Martin Newbury booked his spot in the final alongside Maurice after a pair of 7.1s (a 7.159 in the opening round being the class best of the weekend) but he left too early to hand the Euro Finals title to Maurice.
FIM-E Super Street Bike was the only championship to go into eliminations up for grabs, but when Daniel Donat Lencses jumped through stage in his quarter final with Mark Hope, Alan Morrison Jnr was handed the number one plate for next year. That makes it sound easy, but Morrison Jnr ripped off an impressive series of 6.790/218.03 (to defeat brother Ross’s 6.931/211.09) and 6.764/218.02 to take account of Hope at the semi-finals. His opponent Jake Mechaell set low ET of the quarters and semis with a 6.741/216.98 (knocking off Peter Ostlund) and a 6.695/218.97 (over a redlighting Mogens Lund). Mechaell spun wildly off the start line in the all important match up while Morrison Jnr took his third event win of the year with a super consistent 6.775/220.27.
With two trophies to take back home, the Morrison family added another two when Leah Morrison (Alan Jnr’s daughter) took a winner-takes-all final round against Holley King in the FIM-E Junior Cup leaving first and getting closer to her 11.80 dial-in to end what has been a topsy-turvy season in the Juniors.
Text and photos: Ivan Sansom & Rose Hughes