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Editor's Diary archive
30th September: Despite all of the powerful Pro Stock engines which have found their way to Europe, there has only been one engine builder whose power that has been on top since 2002, say 2009 FIA European Pro Stock Champion Jimmy Ålund and Championship #4 Michael Malmgren:
Jimmy and Michael are very pleased and happy to have Bob Ingles as our engine supplier. Bob has also a very close and longtime relationship with CFE heads, which is also a key factor to top end power. Bob has built Michael's engines since 1994 and Jimmy became his customer when he started running Pro Stock in 2003. Luckily for both Jimmy and Michael, Bob does not take on any more overseas customers.
Both Jimmy and Michael are already looking forward to another season with Bob on their side.
30th September: Ex-pat UK Top Alcohol Dragster racer Michael Manners of Eurodragster.com sponsor Cosmo Residences says that he had a very disappointing weekend at the weekend's O'Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas.
"After qualifying first with a 5.21 pass I found my brakes were not working properly as I crossed the water box for the first round of eliminations", says Mike. "I did my burnout and stopped the car, then backed up. There was no danger to others as with clutch in the car doesn't move. Pre-stage was not a problem but when I went to the high side and let the clutch out I had to pump the brake to hold the car. My crew thought I was bumping in deeper, but I was trying not to roll the lights. I didn't roll the lights, and as distracted as I was a 0.221 light was a good job, but not good enough to win what should have been an easy round.
"We had gone to four brake calipers for increased stopping power about three weeks and four passes ago; the old calipers were fine, it was the new ones which failed. We hope to have better success in about a month at the Division event in Noble, Oklahoma."
30th September: With a number of the UK Championships now finalised, the final points standings are starting to filter through. First up is the final table in the 2009 MSA British Drag Racing Championship for Pro Modified, which you can can check out at www.msadragracing.co.uk. The final standings in the 2009 Nostalgia Fuel Altered Association series are now showing at www.nfaa.info.
Many thanks to Matt Wood for sending us a picture of Eurodragster.com sponsor Jon Webster presenting B&H Automotive/LA Racing Parts Street Eliminator racer Colin Lazenby with his seven-second gold ring.
Swedish photo-journalist Stefan Boman has been in touch to let us know that the latest issue of Bilsport magazine contains a four-page feature on the FIA European Finals.
Sara Magnusson got in touch to ask us to wish a big Happy 50th Birthday to her dad, Andréasson Motorsports Top Methanol FC team member Anders Magnusson. No sooner said than done Sara, have a great day Anders.
The UK's Freddy's Revenge blown-alcohol altered team have been in touch with an urgent plea for potential sponsors to get in contact. "After suffering the another batch of substantial damage in 2009, personal funds can no longer supply such an expensive hobby", says Jo Carter. "How would you like to sponsor a blown alcohol altered when they run their first ever six? As much advertisement as physically possible, a close-knit professional team working to make your company look good whilst wearing already-owned smart uniforms. Bargain! Every little helps. Please contact myself at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dave at email@example.com."
Fords and more at SCR.
30th September: Within this weekend's Public Track Day, Shakespeare County Raceway is hosting a Ford Weekend with Sunday being the main day for class time trials (FWD, RWD and 4WD), sponsored for the first time by Coventry-based engineering and tuning company Power Torque Racing. Also in on the act for sheer entertainment value as well are several Ford-inspired Sportsman racers including Liz Malcolm in her Jus'4'Fun dragster and Tom Atkinson driving dad John's Super Pro ET Mark 1 Cortina, and there is still room for others to come and entertain.
Away from the Ford scene, the National Sprint Association have their final series round along with the Juniors contesting the final round of the Insane Motorcycles Junior Drag Bike Championship. Also looking to decide their title will be the racers of the National Street Car Challenge who have split their weekend between Santa Pod on Saturday and Shakespeare County Raceway on Sunday. The Raceway's popular Sunday Special Track Challenges for four-, five-, six- and eight-cylinder cars and Trophy Bike Dash will also be taking place on Sunday. Further information can be found on the Events page of the Shakespeare County Raceway web site at www.shakespearecountyraceway.com/events.asp.
UK National Finals thanks.
30th September: Matt Eley of the UK's Team Risky Trip Super Comp team would like to thank all of the safety and medical crews who helped after his crash at Santa Pod on Sunday. "I would also like to say a special thanks to the ambulance crew for waiting at the hospital to bring me back to the track", says Matt. "On behalf of the whole team we would like to thank all the Santa Pod staff for everything they did for us, and we were overwhelmed with the help and kindness we received from all our great friends and racers and all the concerned spectators. Last but not least I would like to thank my crew for their much-needed support. And to answer the question, we have checked the car over and although she looks a little sorry for herself we are hopeful that with a little help and a lot of hard work we can rebuilt and be back out in the not-so-distant future."
UK Pro ET racer Rick Denny asked us to thank the following: Paul Marston for lending me a race suit allowing me to get through scrutineering; Neil L'Alouette for giving me a lift home to collect my spare gearbox after losing all forward gears after the first qualifier; Jon Turner and crewman Pete for lending me tools and trans fluid; Neil Hunter for trying so hard to find me some vacuum hose; and Al Platt for his help and beer after a long day changing gearboxes. I went the farthest in eliminations all season on my spare gearbox with no third gear. Despite all my red lights this year, I've really enjoyed my first season in Pro ET. Just my luck that I was back to my normal reactions when the car was playing up. Hopefully I will be back out next season.
UK National Finals Race Director Robin Shone starts off his weekend appreciation by saying a massive thank you to Carole Ismail for arranging a birthday ride in Santa Pod's Two Seat Dragster on Sunday afternoon. "Carole had been alluding to my "present" throughout Saturday", says Robin, "however I'd never had have guessed what she had planned for me! I would also like to thank Darren Prentice and David Lloyd Jones of Santa Pod Raceway for helping Carole in organising the ride.
"The experience itself is just awesome. You genuinely get an idea of what our drivers go through every time they propel themselves down the quarter mile. Having previously competed in Pro ET and running in the 9.8 second region, I thought that a couple of seconds quicker would not feel too much different. How wrong I was! At the hit, the car launched with far greater ferocity than my previous ride and then continued to pull hard throughout the run, never feeling that it would run out of capacity to accelerate. We passed beneath the famous gantry and with the deployment of the 'chutes, a first for me, I felt the sudden change of G-force as I was thrown forward against the harnesses. The result: 0 to 170 mph in seven seconds - not bad considering my slightly rotund stature - and a huge smile which lasted for the remainder of the day.
"All fans of our sport should experience this Thrill Ride, so it's worth mentioning that rides in the Two Seater Dragster are available to book at all major events at Santa Pod Raceway.
"On a separate note, I'd like to offer my personal thanks to all of the Santa Pod Racers Club marshals and officials for all of their efforts and assistance this season. Their hard work has resulted in a series of excellent events and a record breaking year. Thanks guys and girls!"
Web site updates.
30th September: Eurodragster.com US correspondent Ed O'Connell has updated his Smugmug gallery with pictures of the Street Eliminator Cruise on FIA European Finals weekend. You can check out Ed's shots at www.surfphotonh.com/Cars/Street-Eliminator.
Next up is a bunch of UK National Finals photo updates and as ever we present these in the order in which they were received. First is Nigel Holland whose UK National Finals pictures you can find at www.nigelholland.co.uk. Nigel asked us to add his congratulations to Ralph Young on winning the 2009 UK National Sportsman ET Championship after a nail-biting finish.
Our good buddy Alan Currans has posted 105 UK National Finals pictures, including a slideshow of Sandro Bellio's Nostalgia-themed Funny Car, on his excellent Acceleration Archive at www.theaccelerationarchive.co.uk. You can reach the UK National Finals pictures via the What's New? link.
Dick Bodily has posted sixty five UK National Finals pictures on his Fotopic gallery at dicksphotos.fotopic.net. "I have tried using different vantage points and angles to add a bit of variety", says Dick, and we would say he succeeded nicely.
Finally for the UK National Finals photo updates, Ian Blackett has posted his weekend shots at www.blackettphotography.com.
Onto the UK National Finals team updates and the official web site of the UK's Sportsman ET racers at www.sportsman-et.co.uk has been updated with a brief report from the UK National Finals.
The official web site of the UK's Chaos Fuel Altered team has been updated with a UK National Finals report and pictures, which you can view via the Latest News link at www.chaos-fuel-altered.com.
Frost goes nuts.
30th September: Are you looking to lighten your driveline? Looking to add a little more shine to your race car? Look no further! Speed Doctor Racing Components has developed the absolute lightest lug nuts for drag racing on the market for 5/8" rear studs. Made from aerospace quality billet 7075-T651 aluminum which is considered to be stronger than some mild steels, these will yield a forty per cent weight savings over standard steel nuts. Lighter rotating mass equals faster speeds and quicker elapsed times! These are the only NHRA approved lug nuts and have passed all stress tests with flying colors. These use a 15/16" twelve point socket for installation and torque to 90 ft-lbs. These are made to exacting tolerances on precision CNC machining centres and are induvidually hand inspected before the customer receives them.
Andy Frost has now become an exclusive European dealer for Speed Doctor racing components wheel nuts.The nuts are also available anodised in a variety of different colours at a little extra cost. Please contact Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org for price and availability.
Editor's note: We still have a small backlog of news which we will bring you on the next news update. Tune back then for news of Top Fuel Dragster racer Smax Smith's weekend in Budd's Creek, the Old Skool Fords in Malta, Supertwin Gas racer Andy Watson's weekend and more, and please keep the news coming to email@example.com.
29th September: Andrew Gibb has been in touch to tell us that Roger Bishop's funeral takes place at 12:20 pm this Friday (2nd October) at Kingston upon Thames Crematorium followed by a gathering at Woodies Public House, Thetford Road, New Malden, Surrey, with a display of Minis from Roger's friends, including Stripteaser. Floral tributes can be sent via F W Payne, High Street, New Malden, Surrey or donations to Princess Alice Hospice in Esher, Surrey. "If anyone knows the whereabouts of Jim Brett and also Robert Messent could they please contact me on 07956 334987", says Andrew.
Santa Pod Raceway are seeking race cars and bikes to make demonstration passes at the Flame and Thunder Show on Saturday 31st October. "I need about thirty to thirty five vehicles and the list is already growing", says Darren Prentice. "I would like to showcase as many as possible of the different types of vehicles which we run here at Santa Pod over a season". If you would like to volunteer then please contact Darren at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Paula Marshall for forwarding us Version 7 of the official entry list for the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend, which takes place at Santa Pod Raceway on 10th-11th October. You can check out the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend entry list by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend.
We would like to say a big Thank You to Jon, Donna and Franki Giles of the UK's Roar Willys Super Gas team for their contribution to Eurodragster.com funds. A very generous gesture and most unexpected, thanks very much guys.
Editor's note: A very swift update today as your News Editor's day job is getting in the way. Tune back tomorrow as we have plenty more for you and please keep the news coming to email@example.com.
UK Championships Dinner Dance.
28th September: Bookings are now being taken for the fifth joint Avon Park International Racers Association/Santa Pod Racers Club Dinner Dance and Trophy Evening, which takes place in the Buckingham Suite of the Park Inn Hotel in Northampton at 6:30 pm on Saturday 6th February 2010. Pre-dinner drinks will be available in the Buckingham Suite foyer from 6:00 pm.
SPRC Club Secretary Paula Marshall has asked us to stress the following:
Bookings close on Friday 29th January 2010 or when the Function Room is full, whichever is the sooner.
The Clubs have negotiated a preferential rate for hotel rooms in the Park Inn Hotel. These are priced at £30 per person for double or twin rooms, or £55 per person for single rooms, both including breakfast on Sunday morning. To book your room, please call the Park Inn Hotel on 01604 739988 (Reservations is button 1) and quote booking code SAN060210. If you do not pay a deposit at time of booking then your room could be released after 2:00 pm on the day.
You can download the booking form (Word format) from the Entry Forms page of the Santa Pod Racers Club web site at www.eurodragster.com/sprc.
If you have any queries then please contact Paula Marshall at SPRC on 01933 313625 or E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
2009 UK National Champions.
27th September: Congratulations to the following 2009 UK National Champions, subject to official ratification:
MSA British Drag Racing Championship: Andy Robinson
Super Modified: Nigel Payne
Super Pro ET: John Everitt
Pro ET: Mick Howling
Sportsman ET: Ralph Young
Super Comp: Brian Pateman
Super Gas: Jon Morton
Super Street: John Grant
Junior Dragster: Anna Stanley
B&H Automotive/LA Racing Parts Street Eliminator: Colin Lazenby
ACU Top Fuel Bike: Steve Woollatt
The remaining bike classes will be decided at the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend at Santa Pod Raceway on 10th-11th October. We will bring you the Champions in other classes such as VWDRC and Outlaw Flat Four once we receive confirmation from their co-ordinators.
UK National Finals results.
27th September: Congratulations to the winners at this weekend's UK National Finals held at Santa Pod Raceway:
MSA Pro Modified: Andy Robinson 6.2295/219.09 def. Graham Ellis 7.0194/189.00
Top Methanol: Dave Wilson 5.5342/251.95 bye, Derek Flynn no show
Super Modified: Andy Hone 7.4230/180.65 def. Tim Mugridge 9.2348/105.54
Super Pro ET: John Atkinson (8.74) 8.8427/142.97 def. Rick Cooke (8.20) 8.2742/145.26
Pro ET: Keith Herbert (10.90) 10.9971/118.35 def. Gino Bernadine (9.15) 9.1485/138.10
Sportsman ET: Brian Huxley (15.94) 16.0852/85.03 def. Geoff Cowley (14.70) 14.8614/92.17 red
Super Gas: Jon Morton 9.9125/142.03 def. Stuart Morrice 9.8987/129.91
Super Comp: Collin Morrice 8.9065/140.77 def. Pete Creswell 8.9064/162.63
Super Street: Bob Lees 10.9429/126.28 def. Mark Watkins 10.8993/117.34
Junior Dragster: Charlotte Watts (9.95) 10.029/63.88 def. Josh Saunders (7.90) 7.9085/81.81 red
B&H Automotive/LA Racing Parts Street Eliminator: Alex McIntosh 9.1635/150.61 def. Dave Murdoch 10.0008/132.06
Wild Bunch: Ed Yates (8.95) staged (bye), Chris Hartnell no show
Nostalgia Fuel Altered Association: Bob Glassup 6.8748/180.69 def. Joe Bond 7.0806/184.32
Outlaw Flat Four: James Wotton 10.4025/136.50 def. Adele Woodbridge 11.5061/115.07
VW Pro: Ian Huggan (12.60) 12.4224/104.91 b/o def. James Hodson (10.95) 10.7338/130.14 b/o
VW Sportsman: Luke Stevenson (14.68) 14.8182/93.13 def. Russ Weir (19.15) 19.0248/66.54 b/o
HKS Street: Johnny McKeon 9.7372/143.39 def. James Willday 10.4116/132.54
Top Fuel Bike: Steve Carey 7.0499/184.37 def. Ian Turburville 7.6494/188.94
Pro Stock Bike: Dave Beck 7.2190/182.08 def. Len Paget 7.3934/177.14
Funny Bike: Kev Charman 7.2848/177.79 bye, Dave Holland no show
Super Street Bike: Steve Venables 7.3821/193.79 def. Rich Stubbins 9.2479/114.04
Comp Bike: Ivan Birch 7.3392/177.79 def. Stu Crane staged
9.50 Bike: Jake Mechaell 9.6066/131.02 def. Mark Slade 9.6595/134.83
Supertwin Gas: Andy Watson 9.7745/132.84 def. Les Harris 9.7929/134.50
Supertwin ET: Dave Smart (10.00) 10.0553/131.39 def. Nigel Batsford (13.39) 13.2601/96.92 b/o
Subject to ratification the following records were set:
UK Top Methanol Dragster ET: 5.425 seconds, Dave Wilson
UK Top Methanol Dragster speed: 263.56 mph, Dave Wilson
UK Pro Stock Bike ET: 7.154 seconds, Dave Beck
Congratulations to Junior Dragster racer Matthew Seamarks and Sportsman ET racer Brian Huxley who won the Eurodragster.com/Speedflow Perfect Light Award and Eurodragster.com/Gold RV Perfect ET Award respectively.
You can check out our American Car Imports-sponsored UK National Finals coverage by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the UK National Finals.
No pain, no gain...
26th September: It's said that there is no gain without pain, and this old adage proves true most times for UK Pro ET team Heaven & Hell Racing, says Carla Pittau:
The FIA European Finals was no exception, although in the balance the four-day race was fantastic. Rick started his exploits with a sizeable wheelie and a .003 qualifying run which put him (albeit briefly in Pro ET) at #1, and each subsequent run saw a better and higher wheelie from the '84 Heaven & Hell As Well Camaro.
The downside of lifting out of the beams so dramatically was the drastic shortening of the car's rollout - which unfortunately also considerably shortened the reaction time, so Rick had a string of red light blues which stretched to the first round and significantly decreased the width of our grins.
A lot of the great action experienced by all, including Pro Mod and the other record-breaking Pro classes, was due to an outstanding track preparation and we would like to thank the indefatigable Santa Pod crew for the hard work which guaranteed consistently excellent traction. Brilliant job guys, well done.
However you wouldn't be able to tell from the '84 Camaro's sixty foot figures, showing 1.43 - 1.46 seconds, although this is easily explained by the fact that the sixty foot beams were broken by the rear wheels, with Rick flying high for a hundred feet or more. To the usual detractors of such deeds - you know, the old "If you're going up you're not going forward" broken-record brigade - we'll patiently explain, once more, that our cars are heavy,and that the weight transfer provided by a sizeable wheelie is essential for a better ET. However this needs to be well balanced and landing needs to be as gentle as possible not to unload the tyres, and it was therefore quite surprising that after the Big One, craftily immortalised by Tethys in a very good video he uploaded on YouTube, the ET was still 9.99 - a mere 0.02 seconds from the car's very best time of 9.97, achieved the same weekend.
The surprise came from the fact that this was definitely too much of a good thing, and the landing wasn't as smooth and gentle as it should have been, plus the wheelie bar wheel made a sizeable dent in the back bumper, showing that contact at that point was being made with the tarmac. A good wheelie helps, a great wheelie sometime doesn't, so the 9.99 was really pleasing to see on the scoreboard. Tethys was kind enough to send me a copy of the video, and this was possibly the deciding factor in converting a Formula 1 fan at the Left Hookers Charity event in Dover last Sunday - the guy who started the conversation with "I can't see the point of drag racing…".
Another little problem Rick experienced was the destruction of the ring gear in the rear end on Thursday, which prompted a trip home (Don't you mean "The traditional trip home" - Ed) to reinstall the gears which came out at the beginning of the season. These were 5.38 and not the ideal ratio, but breakers can't be choosers, so Dave, Rick and myself went home on Thursday night to rebuild the axle. This was achieved without incident and the old pinion and ring gear went back in, backlash was set, and the twelve bolt was sealed up ready to go back in the car. Our long-suffering crewman Dave Buckland shared the pain and lack of sleep with us and thanks to his invaluable help we got to bed at around three in the morning, getting up at six to get back to the Pod. The two runs on the Saturday spectacularly proved that the old gears would still do.
Rick didn't stay at #1, his .003 only good for #4 at the end of the qualifying battles whilst yours truly, in the old faithful Heaven & Hell '70 Camaro, was pulling wheelies of her own,albeit not quite as dramatic, and ended up at #26 three hundredths off after a couple of near miss breakouts thousandths off the dial-in. The red car also ran its best over the weekend, a 9.70 improving by one hundredth on the previous record, and she behaved herself by running consistent 9.7s. Fair lights allowed me to go through the first and second rounds, with respectable .04 reactions, first against Mark Richardson in the Pony Express altered and then against Marius Blackburn in the Escape from Reality Model T, who later revealed backing off to limit damage to his engine which was suffering from low oil pressure. The third round was not to be blessed by a green though, when deeper staging (according to eagle-eyed crew members) resulted in a big red cherry on the Tree. To add insult to injury I then learned that my opponent, the celebrated Mark Bailey who is normally first rate on the tree, had also redlit, albeit not so dramatically as I did and he also red lit in the previous round!
Mark went on to win the event, his second one this year which is no mean feat in Pro ET, and although a little luck went his way he's a mean Tree chopper and a good racer - we'd better watch out! In the meantime well done Mark, and well done to Matt Attwood to get to the final round.
We're off to the National Finals, where we hope our red light blues will not reoccur. n the meantime we would like to thank our crew for their invaluable help: Chief Calmer Downer Christine, Camera Colin, Start line Jemma, but very special thanks are due to Dave Buckland who has proved to be a priceless (and wage-less, come to think of it) addition to Heaven & Hell Racing, and who will soon receive more tangible recognition for his efforts and dedication to the team.
Thanks also to all of our fans and supporters, to the class sponsors, to Charlie Chivers for doing all the hard work with the sponsorship scheme, and to Eurodragster.com for telling the world - well, most of the world, just check out the number of hits at the European Finals weekend! - about drag racing in UK and Europe.
Let's go racing!
26th September: Swedish Pro Mod racer Adam Flamholc is headed to the USA to race again at the NHRA National event in Richmond on 9th-11th October and the IHRA Finals in Rockingham on 22nd-25th October. "After our last visit to the US we feel that we didn't really perform as well as we should", says Adam, "but now I think we've got to know the car a bit more, so the goal is to qualify at both events, and then take it from there. Once again a huge thanks to Amalie Motor Oil (Europe), Texas Racing Engines, Progressive Performance, Performance Plus, Custom Graphics, YIT, Motorenova, and MMR."
Swiss Top Fuel Dragster racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Urs Erbacher, Swedish Fuel FC racer Leif Helander, and ex-pat UK Top Alcohol Dragster racer Michael Manners of Eurodragster.com sponsor Cosmo Residences are racing at this weekend's O'Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas. As if that is not enough, ex-pat UK Top Fuel Dragster racer Smax Smith is racing the Leverich family dragster at the IHRA National event in Budd's Creek. You can stay in touch with our guys' progress on the excellent Drag Race Central web site at www.dragracecentral.com.
We have a couple of birthdays on the Santa Pod start line this weekend, and in the same family to boot. First up is a big Happy Birthday from Paula and Holley Marshall to SPRC Chief Starter Ian Marshall whose birthday it is today. Have a great day on the line Ian. Tomorrow it's the turn of head of the pairing lanes marshal Paul Marshall although we understand that Paul can't be at Santa Pod tomorrow as he is working. Have a great day tomorrow Paul.
Mark of Taz Racing has a message for the "git" who keyed his Taz Racing Fiat on the Friday night of the NSRA Hot Rod Drags. "I would use stronger words but kids might be reading", says Mark. "I have been going to the Hot Rod Drags for eleven years and nothing like this has happened before. If the person responsible is reading this I would like to know why? Please come and say Hello to me as I have something for you. Many thanks, git."
King Racing's Hungarian history.
26th September: This season a UEM European Dragbike Championship event took place in Hungary for the first time and 2009 FIM/UEM Champion Ian King and his team made their own history at the event:
The venue was a former Soviet Cold War airfield nearby the village of Kunmadaras to the east of the country and close to the Romanian border. To say it was different to the usual venues the teams are familiar with is a complete understatement. In effect we arrived in another world to that we are used to.
Kunmadaras was one of the largest Soviet fighter bases outside the Soviet Union. It housed two complete regiments: a reconnaissance regiment with Su 17M-4, Su 17UM-3 and Su 24MR, and a fighter-bomber regiment with MiG 27 and MiG 23, some equipped with nuclear bombs. After the Wall came down in 1989, the Soviets left the base in April 1991.
Very little is known about what went on at this air base of 776 acres housing sixty nine aircraft hangars and housing for a few thousand personnel, isolated from the surrounding villages. What is known, however, is that in 1968 the Kunmadaras Fighter-Bomber Regiment was instrumental in the crushing of the uprising in Czechoslovakia and in 1989 the West German Air Consul in Hungary revealed that Kunmadaras housed thirteen of the 'secret' Su 24s.
One of the residual benefits of the Soviet legacy is the huge 2500 x 72 metre main concrete runway with asphalt overruns, the location for this historic event. Having previously run events featuring less powerful machines than those of the UEM contingent track preparation of the rough concrete surface was going to be very important. A team of track experts from Championship Promoter and Santa Pod operator Keith Bartlett were dispatched to the track over a week before and set about sledging and spraying the virgin surface. The topography meant it was very difficult to lay sufficient rubber to seal the surface, but the crew managed to get the track in good enough shape for the first qualifying day.
The first day dawned with very hot and sunny weather and the King Racing team set out on their first run with the same settings as those used at their recent successful Hockenheim race. At the hit of the throttle the 1000 HP Puma stepped sideways, and King rolled off the throttle before grabbing another handful with the same result. The bike rolled to the end at a sedate 7.69/175.56 mph, slow but good enough for number one, a position not relinquished for the event. After such an onerous run King was pleasantly surprised to be met by a very attractive promotions girl in the shutdown area proffering cooling beverages!
The team got their heads together and came up with a new set of clutch and fuel settings to cope with the track and the now almost unbearable forty-degree heat for Q2. Despite tremendous wheel spin and a wild ride for King that saw him click off early at 6.3 seconds into the run the crowd were sent into raptures to see a 6.79/208.35 come up on the board, the very first six second pass by a motorcycle in Hungary!
Saturday saw the same hot conditions and the team elected to sit out the first qualifier of the day, hoping for more favourable conditions for Q3 and an optimized setup. However, King was shut down on the line after the ever vigilant Chief Starter Ian Marshall spotted some oil on the track left by the previous rider. The lack of time for the team to refuel and reset the systems before the end of the day's activities meant that the team was unable to try their new settings, and would have to wait until the first round of eliminations.
Sunday's finals day saw a complete contrast in weather, somewhat chilly, windy and wet. The settings the teams had settled on for 35 degree and 25% humidity were completely inappropriate for the 19 degree and 70% humidity now, and in any case the wet surface seemed to indicate that the event may end early. However, late in the afternoon the rain ceased, and the hard-working track crew got the surface sufficiently dry to commence racing.
The team made their best stab at new fuel and clutch settings and King had the benefit of a bye run. Again, tremendous wheelspin saw King wrestle the 400 Kg machine from one side of the track to the other, but he flashed over the line to record a fantastic 6.41 seconds at 215.37 mph. The crowd and the organisers' elation was matched by that of the team, how was it possible for a run so quick to take place on this new track?
The team's tuning experience showed in the semi finals as King overcame Greek rider Tilsisoglou Savvas with another great pass of 6.49/214.63 and into the final to meet Finland's Kai Selkämaa on the ex Norbert Kutzera Puma Yamaha. King had the amiable Finn covered all the way and crossed the line with another winning pass to take the event title and extend his lead in the championship, a 6.53/220.95 proving too much for Selkamäa's tyre-spinning 7.06/187.78.
The team made many new friends and fans after both sharing and making history in Hungary, and look forward to the event in 2010. They would like to thank the Hungarian fans who made the event so special, organisers Judy and Joseph Hagnady, the hard-working crew and management of Trakbak Racing and Speed Riders MC, the local Government and sponsors who gave financial support, and last but not least the track announcing duo of Par 'PiPPi' Willen and Joseph who lent their own unique style and expertise to whip the crowd into an unbelievable state of excitement!
The team rely on only the best parts and services from leading companies in their chosen markets:
Image Design Custom The UK's leading custom paint shop
Kibblewhite Precision Machining, Inc The highest quality valves and components for motorsport
Gates The world's most trusted name in drive belts, hoses and hydraulics
JE Pistons The world's premier manufacturer of high performance forged pistons
Mickey Thompson Tyres The best drag race tyres in the world bar none
Goedhals Precision specialist gear cutting and engineering
Performance Machine The leader in aftermarket custom wheels, brakes and components
Goodridge UK The original and the best in fluid transfer systems
PsycleWorkz The UK's most innovative custom and race fabricators
Pro Alloy UK's leader in fabrication of alloy racing tanks, intercoolers and radiators
Torco Oils The only oil recommended by engine manufacturers Puma Engineering
Craft Safety Helmets The ultimate in safety and unique in design
Del West Engineering Inc Pioneers in valve train design
Straightline Racing The UK's leading Performance Parts and Tuning Store
Vanson Leathers Thirty years producing the best quality track tested motorcycle apparel
Kent Cams Specialists in motor sport camshaft manufacture, short runs and one-offs
House of Kolor Manufacturers of the world's most stunning specialist paints
Sprint Dampers the UK's leading manufacturer of steering dampers
Kershaw & Co The UK's leading manufacturer of turned parts
Cannon Engineering Gear cutting and precision engineering services
Zodiac Europe's largest supplier of performance and aftermarket HD parts
Pixeleye Innovative graphic and web site design
MRE Leaders in trackside support for drag race components and air shifting systems
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Erbacher back for more.
26th September: After a summer of racing against Europe's best, Switzerland's Urs Erbacher has returned to America a little earlier than in years past to rejoin the NHRA tour.
In an effort to shake down his rebuilt Midland Oil/SCS Procurement Services/Johnny Bang's Bang & Bump Shop Top Fuel Dragster before racing in Las Vegas and Pomona later this year, Eurodragster.com News sponsor Erbacher and his team have entered this weekend's 24th annual O'Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex.
The Dallas-area track is close to Crew Chief Wayne Dupuy's home in Jacksboro, Texas, and he thought it the perfect place to test a the litany of new parts put on the car since it was rebuilt over the summer. Sections of the chassis have also been replaced since an unfortunate engine explosion in April at the Houston race.
"It's close, it's fast, it's all concrete", said Dupuy, who tuned the Texas Motorplex ET record of 4.44 seconds in 2005. "It's getting cool this time of year and I have all the confidence in the world with this track. Racing at Dallas is close to home for me and what a better way to get the bugs out of all this fresh stuff. So with everything fresh and new once again it's time to put all our hard work to the test."
Erbacher said it's an opportunity to get re-acquainted with his NHRA friends and competitors.
"We've had good luck racing in America in the past" said Erbacher, who reached the semi finals of last year's season finale at Pomona. "I fit in this car so much better now, and I know Wayne and the team will have us ready to race further than we ever have before."
Erbacher said that while running a split schedule of the FIA in Europe and the NHRA is a fun challenge, he'd love an opportunity to race a complete season in the Full Throttle Series.
"The FIA season is very short and it's hard to get into a rhythm with just a few events in the NHRA", Erbacher said. "Hopefully we'll find the backing to run a full season in 2010 and give a big sponsor plenty of exciting times to experience with our team."
25th September: It has been a very special year for the Lucas Oil / Carter Motorsport-Andersen Racing Top Fuel Dragster team, says 2009 FIA European Top Fuel Dragster Champion Andy Carter:
We were just four seconds away from making every final in 2009 but due to a mechanical failure we just didn't quite make it. Within an hour the team had found the cause and we can do our best to make sure it won't happen again, but it just shows how tough this sport is when you have all the knowledge of Karsten, Per, Jim Brissette and the team and still we are learning stuff.
I would like to say thanks to everyone at Lucas Oil UK and everyone at Lucas Oil USA. Without their fantastic support none of our achievements would be possible; not only do they give me a great budget, but I also get a great product for the dragster and support vehicles which I'm sure helps our reliablity on and off track. To win first you must finish!
I would like also like to say thanks to David Lloyd Jones, everyone at Santa Pod Raceway and everyone at Santa Pod Racers Club. It's been a great year, not just for the racing but also for the many promotional events we have attended at Santa Pod this year. I hope to carry on working closely with Santa Pod in 2010 and to carry on promoting Lucas Oil and Drag Racing.
To Karsten Andersen, Per Andersen, all the Andersen Racing / Carter Motorsport Team, all the fans in England, Finland, Sweden and Germany I really hope I'm lucky enough to be able to see you next season. Thanks also to Eurodragster.com for the tireless coverage of drag racing (Thanks, you're welcome - Ed) and of course all the other sites which support and help me.
Thanks to all of our associate sponsors: Landmeco, Impact Race Products, NGK Spark Plugs, Binamic, Pioneer Print, K&N Filters, Yuasa Batteries, BMRS, Sigma Signs, Rainbow Conference Sets, 3T Creative, Norfolkline Ferriers, RCS Cables, Teng Tools, CAAR, Autotel, Jerrys, AACI, Ultimate Airbrush, ZIP Karts, GPR and Hol-tAj. To anyone I've missed, I do appreciate your help and support.
It just leaves me to say good luck to the Andersen Racing Team and Thomas Nataas in Vegas and Pomona. I wish I was in the hot seat and with you lot! Have a great time.
Woodbridges net NGK deal.
25th September: UK Outlaw Flat Four racers Steve and Adele Woodbridge are pleased to announce that NGK Spark Plugs have come on board as sponsors of their very tidy eleven-second Beetle.
"We have only ever used NGK plugs in all our motors and we are extremely pleased to be able to represent NGK on a more professional level", says Steve and Adele. "The deal was done just before European Finals and extends through the whole 2010 season.
"It's been a manic few weeks for us, packing in as many meetings as we could before the dreaded off-season! Starting with the European Finals, the track was simply amazing and a real testament to the hard-working crew at Santa Pod. We entered Comp Eliminator which is a great class. With Adele at the wheel we ran PB's all round with a Personal Best sixty foot time, a new PB ET of 11.40 and a new PB speed of 117 mph. Although we took the event win it was bittersweet due to the breakages of Martin, John and Russ.
The following weekend at Hot Rod Drags we took the car for a bit of seat time and for Steve to finally drive the car! After a nervous first pass recording a 13.3 we cooled the car and headed back into the staging lanes, after some encouraging words from the Outlaws and our good friend Spencer Tramm, Steve decided to try a small burnout and launch it properly this time! This pass recorded a 12.2/107, beating Steve's very old PB by some five seconds! So now it's next season until Steve can get in the car again, as Adele is driving at this weekend's National Finals.
"To say we have had a fantastic half season this year would be an understatement, and we just cannot wait for the 2010 season to get here ! Thanks again to our sponsors NGK, Paul Woodhead at Direct Plastics and to all our friends and fellow Outlaw Flat Four members for their help and advice on the car."
Another Good weekend.
25th September: UK Super Pro ET racer Nick Good has been in touch to say a big Thank You NGMotorsport team after reaching the Super Pro final at the FIA European Finals.
"Having freshened the motor up over the Summer break we really needed to get some track time at the previous weekend's RWYB and Peak Performance Day", says Nick. "We all seem to live busy lives these days and for my crew to give up so much of their time means a lot. After the final Sunday evening we were all well and truly knackered, having got to the Pod the previous Saturday with just Monday and Tuesday away from the track. The Beovax dragster was fast and consistent all weekend thanks to the efforts of the team.
"For European Finals weekend we welcomed Gary Malin and son Dave to the team. Having three racers in Gary, Simon Rowland and Bob Walker with you on line is really reassuring, the only thing I have to think about is the driving. Every other member of the team - William, Mike, Dave, Andy, Steve and Hester - contributed to the slick servicing of the car between rounds on Sunday. I think we had only twenty minutes between the semis and the final.
"Thanks to the Santa Pod staff, not only for putting on a great weekends racing, but also the excellent VIP corporate hospitality. I'd spoken to John Livesey, MD of Beovax, a few weeks before the event. Last year he'd invited twenty five guests and it rained all day and not a single car or bike made it down the track; I tentatively asked him if many were interested in coming back this year. "Oh yes" he replied, full of enthusiasm, "I've got sixty guests booked this year". What a relief when we saw the weather forecast for the weekend! A special thanks to all the staff in the hospitality marquee, to Steve Warner who gave John the seven-second ride of his life, and to Colin in the tower for making this a very special day for John's Beovax employees, clients and friends. John has received nothing but positive feedback from his guests. They all want to come back for more, justifying his decision to move his hospitality budget away from F1 to FIA drag racing! Which proves that when all the right ingredients are there, Santa Pod is the place to be.
"Well done to Bob Doyle on his second win of the year, that's the fourth time we've been up against Bob in competition in a year, we are currently two wins apiece so maybe we can have a decider at the National Finals."
25th September: The latest spy picture to arrive at the offices of Eurodragster.com via a reasonably circuitous route came with the words "Your worst nightmare returns!". If you know any more, or if you would like to send your own spy picture, then drop us a line at email@example.com.
Thanks to Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Paula Marshall for forwarding us Version 6 of the official entry list for the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend, which takes place at Santa Pod Raceway on 10th-11th October. You can check out the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend entry list by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend.
Swiss Top Fuel Dragster racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Urs Erbacher, Swedish Fuel FC racer Leif Helander, and ex-pat UK Top Alcohol Dragster racer Michael Manners of Eurodragster.com sponsor Cosmo Residences are racing at this weekend's O'Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas. As if that is not enough, ex-pat UK Top Fuel Dragster racer Smax Smith is racing the Leverich family dragster at the IHRA National event in Budd's Creek. Qualifying starts today; you will be able to stay in touch with our guys' progress on the excellent Drag Race Central web site at www.dragracecentral.com.
Congratulations to Paul Whitehouse of Crawley who won Monday's PBM Racing contest and will shortly be receiving his goody bag from UK 9.50 Bike racer Phil Pratt.
Chris and Angella Orthodoxou have asked us to say a big Happy Birthday for yesterday (Thursday) to Chris' brother Robin Orthodoxou. "You know him, he's the nutter in the black altered who's been entertaining RWYB and Test and Tune participants this year", says Chris. "He went 7.301 at 190 a couple of weeks ago. Not bad for a chassis built in his bedroom from bog-roll tubes and Uhu and a Ch*vy engine. But I'll be in the sixes before him!". Hope you had a good birthday Robin.
Andrew Grant asked us to say a big Thank You to Tony from Haverfordwest who responded to Tuesday's plea for a volunteer to carry a raffle prize to Santa Pod for Saturday evening's fund raiser in Higham Ferrers, about which you can read on Monday's news update.
The UK's Bennett Racing blown-alcohol altered team wish to announce that they have cut ties with RPI Engineering. Queries etc to Bennett Racing please, not to us.
NSRA Hot Rod Drags special awards.
25th September: Following the conclusion of the 21st Anniversary NSRA Hot Rod Drags at the weekend, Jerry Cookson of Shakespeare County Raceway has kindly forwarded the winners of the NSRA Dirty Dozen top Show'n'Go picks as well as the Quick 7 Award winners:
Ken Britton - Pozzessed Morris Z Van
Ken Brookes - Roarin Rat '57 Chevy
Beavis Allen - Chevy Impala
Terry Riddle - '33 Plymouth
Bill Aldreed - Riley 4/72
David Hughes - Pro Street '57 Chevy
Nick Williams - '32 Ford Five Window
Colin Miller - Ford Outlaw Anglia
Sid Slattery - Jag powered slingshot dragster
Billy Cattell - Austin Devon
Paul Dawson - Mr Torquer Fordson
Colin McCasgill - Chevy Camaro
Quickest Supercharged Outlaw (sponsored by Andy Robinson Race Cars)
Ian Hanson (540ci Corvette Doorslammer) - 7.500
Quickest Outlaw Anglia (sponsored by Andy Robinson Race Cars)
Richard Colby (350ci Ford Popular) - 8.470
Quickest Wild Bunch (sponsored by Andy Robinson Race Cars)
Chris Hartnell (377ci Slingshot Dragster) - 9.004
Jamie King (1964 Corvette) - 9.706
Mike Couch (1932 Roadster) - 12.638
Quickest Flathead 4 Banger (sponsored by Saturn Industries)
Neil Fretwell (1929 Sport Coupe) - 18.735
Quickest Tot Rod
Luke and Jay Coulter (1934 Ford) - 14.406
Congratulations guys, see you all next year for the 22nd edition.
Web site updates.
25th September: Eurodragster.com Reserve Photographer Peter Donaldson has updated his Fotopic gallery with pictures from the weekend's NSRA Hot Rod Drags at Shakespeare County Raceway. You can check out Peter's shots at peterdonaldson5305.fotopic.net.
Eurodragster.com US Correspondent Ed O'Connell has posted his first set of FIA European Finals pictures on his Smugmug gallery at www.surfphotonh.com. Ed will also be posting a set of pictures from the Street Eliminator Cruise so stay tuned to the same address for those.
Regular readers will know that Eurodragster.com Photo Editor Roger Gorringe supplies a number of publications and his latest update, from the FIA European Finals at Santa Pod Raceway, is now showing on the US' Competition Plus web site at www.competitionplus.com.
UK National Finals racer update.
24th September: Many thanks to Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Paula Marshall for letting us know that Santa Pod Raceway's gates will open at 12:00 midday tomorrow (Friday) for this weekend's UK National Finals. Signing-on will be open tomorrow from 1:30 pm until 8:00 pm. Scrutineering tomorrow opens at 3:00 pm for cars and 6:00 pm for bikes.
Thanks also to Paula and to this weekend's Race Director Robin Shone for passing on this weekend's provisional running orders, which you can check out by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and then selecting the UK National Finals. Please note that as ever these running orders are provisional and subject to change due to track or weather conditions or for any other reason deemed necessary by race officials.
2009 APIRA Champions.
24th September: Subject to final ratification, congratulations to the 2009 Avon Park International Racers Association Champions:
Super Modified: Nigel Payne
Super Comp: Jon Morton
Super Gas: Tokyo Toy (Jon Evans and Steve Dunn)
Super Street: John Grant
Super Pro ET: Barry Giles
Pro ET: Carla Pittau
Sportsman ET: Ralph Young
Junior Dragster: Anna Stanley
B&H Automotive/LA Racing Parts Street Eliminator: Colin Lazenby
Outlaw Anglia: Richard Colby
Wild Bunch: Peter Yates
VW Sportsman: Holly Baldwin
Outlaw Flat Four: Dave Dinning
Top Fuel Bike: Steve Woollatt
Funny Bike: Chris Hall
Pro Stock Bike: Dave Beck
Comp Bike: Ivan Birch
Super Street Bike: Graham Balchin
9.50 Bike: Richard Sawatzki
Supertwin Fuel: Martin Blackwell
Supertwin Gas: Chris Mott
Supertwin ET: David Shorthose
Supertwin Fuel was decided on the ACU tie breaker rules, and Martin Blackwell wins by virtue of being the rider who qualified highest at the final round of the Championship.
You can check out the 2009 APIRA Championship standings on our Speedflow-sponsored Points Standings page by clicking here or by clicking on the Points Standings link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
2009 UK Championship outcomes.
24th September: The 2009 Championships for UK car classes and ACU Top Fuel Bike are decided at this weekend's UK National Finals at Santa Pod Raceway. Regular readers will know that Yvonne Tramm and our own Simon co-ordinate the UK National Drag Racing Championships and Simon has put together a summary of the possible outcomes in those classes finishing this weekend, although some Champions are already decided.
The MSA British Drag Racing Championship, the flagship UK title, is for the third year being run in Pro Modified. There are bonus points for attending all five rounds, which makes it more attractive for the five cars entered. Eurodragster.com sponsor Andy Robinson has a lead of over 100 points over Graham Ellis making it reasonably certain for Andy to win another Championship.
The Santa Pod Racers Club Top Methanol Championship will be contested this weekend by Eurodragster.com sponsor Derek Flynn, Dave Wilson and Steph Milam. Derek has a 58 point lead coming into this race and will need to qualify and stage in the first round to win, unless one of the other racers qualifies first, wins and sets a record and Derek fails to show in round one.
In Super Modified, congratulations to Nigel Payne who tied the Championship up for the second year in a row at the Open Sport Nationals. Well done also to Belinda Bull who has secured second place in only her first year in this competitive class.
Super Comp has a two-way battle between Brian Pateman and Jon Morton with Brian leading by 200 points. Most likely these will be the top two at the end of the event as Paul Marston is a further 170 points back. A win at the European Finals helped Jon Morton's Super Gas Championship bid and a 560 point lead over Team Tokyo Toy is all but unassailable. Runner-up spot is not certain though, as a good race for Conrad Stanley could see him move up as he is 240 points behind Evans and Dunn.
The top spot in Super Street is John Grant's and congratulations to him. Runner-up position is a tight three way contest between Leigh Morris, Martyn Sanger and Neil Grant with a spread of 110 points covering them.
Congratulations also to John Everitt who has clinched Super Pro ET with a 1000 point lead over his main rivals John Atkinson, Barry Giles, Rick Cooke and John Morris. Bob Doyle is currently in second but will not be eligible for the 200 point bonus for all rounds attended following engine problems earlier in the year. The points race for runner up in Super Pro ET should be one of the highlights of this weekend's event.
Mick Howling in Paul Marston Racing's Grumpy's Dodge has had a good season in Pro ET, with consistent round wins. However, with no event wins, Mick could be caught by Charlie Chivers, Neil Hunter, Dave Cherrett or Carla Pittau with five rounds of racing and up to 1000 points available. A remarkable performance too by Mark Bailey who won two events of three attended and lies fourth before bonuses. In Sportsman ET, Ralph Young has Nick Gay and Spencer Tramm breathing down his neck with less than 200 points between them. Junior Dragster has Anna Stanley, last year's runner-up, on top of the standings with Joe Kellett the only realistic competition for the title; Joe qualifying better and finishing a couple of rounds ahead of Anna could see him grab the title. Josh Saunders lies in third a couple of rounds behind.
B&H Automotive/LA Racing Parts Street Eliminator has Colin Lazenby also on top of the points; his nearest competition is Jeff Meads and you can expect Jeff to push the yellow Anglia to its limits to try to catch the rapid Chevy 210. In Outlaw Anglia, congratulations to Richard Colby who effectively clinched the Championship way back at the NSRA Nostalgia Nationals.
The VWDRC Sportsman Championship is highly competitive and the front runners are Lucy Matthews, Russ Weir, Luke Stevenson and Chris Bray. Four rounds of racing could see any of these in front. In VW Pro James Hodson is 460 points ahead of Richard Merriman which we think with a four car field is enough for him to be crowned 2009 Champion.
The Nostalgia Fuel Altered Association has Frank Bennett ahead of Joe Bond by only 15 points. In the NFAA's unique points structure, Joe could take the lead by scoring the same points on the track and having Best Appearing Crew...
The only bike class concluding its Championship this weekend is ACU Top Fuel Bike and there are five nitro burners attending. Steve Woollatt could win his thirteenth championship this week with Rene van den Berg his only real competition. But Rene lies 310 points behind and would need to do an awful lot to overtake Steve in the standings.
Stay tuned for a round-up of bike class standings in a couple of weeks' time, before the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend.
Eurodragster.com will be covering this weekend's UK National Finals live from Santa Pod Raceway in association with American Car Imports, and the Webster Race Engineering/Lex Joon Racing USA Tour 2009 webcam will of course be on-line all weekend. More details tomorrow.
2009 Wild Bunch Series outcomes.
24th September: Just as careful readers are asking themselves "What about the Wild Bunch?" after reading the above piece, Wild Bunch Race Co-ordinator Claire Meaddows sends a preview of the Series' outcomes at the UK National Finals:
The Wild Bunch are really looking forward to the event and there will be six cars competing, not the originally entered seven, as unfortunately Keith Crampton has had to withdraw the fabulous Soultown Shaker slingshot due to other commitments. A great shame, as he had just run a Personal Best of 11.64 at the Hot Rod Drags.
The event will be the Club's sixth and Final round of the Wild Bunch Series, for the honour of wearing WB 1 to WB 4 in 2010, which will be the fifteenth year of the Series. The event will also be the tenth and Final Series round of the year for contingency sponsors Real Steel (Performance Parts).
At last month's Open Sports Nationals at Shakespeare County Raceway the RamRaider team, with Ed Yates driving, reclaimed the lead in the Real Steel Series by finishing runner-up to Roy Wilding driving Roger Sinclair's S&K Racing dragster - they won the event in their first ever Wild Bunch appearance! The S&K team is one of the oldest in the Wild Bunch (not in age, we hasten to add, but in length of membership!) and Roy, of course, was the founder of the club along with John Guthrie. With Chris Hartnell's Backdraft suffering coil failure just after the burnout in the first round of that event, he lost ground to second place in the Series, and it now means Ed would need to make it to stage in the second round to guarantee the win for his team. Otherwise Chris could take the win if he were to win the event. Still in contention for second or third place, and close behind, is Dave Rowlands in the Destiny's Angel altered whilst Scottie Durrant and Gina Rumble are now guaranteed the last of the Top 4 placings with their Tiki Munki altered, which is now up for sale as the team are building a new MSA-legal car, hopefully for next season.
The Wild Bunch Series will go right down to the wire, with Crazy Chris currently leading. The Series works on a Best 5 of 6 basis, so Chris and Dave will need to drop some points whilst Ed and the team will be adding to their total. Currently in second place, and hoping to hold on to that spot, are Scottie and Gina, who are not entered, but who have contested five events. Only two points separate Chris and Ed on aggregate, so it could all come down to the Final! Dave is currently in fourth place but could finish as high as second if he were to win the event. Ant Harris in Frantic has a possibility of moving up into the Top 4, if he could take the event win, depending on Dave's results.
The event will also see the final of the five-event Wild Bunch MSA Challenge, and the RamRaider team have a massive lead in that series, with Dave Rowlands still in with a mathematical chance and winner takes all.
We're all hoping that Dick Sharp and team will make the event after throwing a rod in the Dorset Horn at the NSRA Nostalgia Nationals. The team had all but rebuilt the engine, only to be delayed by the delivery of one con rod, which they hope will arrive in the country in time! Good luck to them!
Can Crazy Chris wheelie his way to his first ever Wild Bunch Series win with Backdraft, or can Ed make it a third title for the RamRaider team? Will Dave Rowlands make his fourth Final of the year in Destiny's Angel and overhaul RamRaider for the MSA Challenge Cup? Will Darren Law be right on form with the Wicked Lady dragster and lower his PB even further than his recent 9.1? Will Ant Harris take his first ever MSA event win, and launch himself back into the Top 4 for a second time? And will Dick and team make it just in time and run some good numbers? Looking forward to Sunday, Sunday, Sunday to find out!
Erbacher back in the USA.
24th September: Swiss Top Fuel Dragster racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Urs Erbacher and team are heading for Dallas to match up against the USA's best at this weekend's O'Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals, says Urs' Crew Chief Wayne Dupuy:
"Once again Urs will be driving the new Midland Oil SCS Procurement Services Johnny Bangs Bang & Bump Shop 2009 Brad Hadman Top Fuel Dragster", says Wayne. "Team Erbacher wanted to get all the runs they could before heading to Vegas and Pomona at the end of October. The car took a while to finish after the Houston mishap because we were racing IHRA with Scott Weis and Europe with Team Erbacher.
"The Hadman car came out nicer than when originally débuted in January of 2009. Urs is very excited to step on the throttle of that 8000 hp beast once again. It has a lot of new parts: heads, blower, valve train among other parts. So with everything fresh once again it's time to put all the hard work to the test. Racing at Dallas is close to home for me, what better way to get the bugs out of all this fresh stuff. It's close, it's fast, it's all concrete, it's getting cool this time of year and I have all the confidence in the world in this track, being the track record holding Crew Chief with a 4.44 at the Motorplex in 2005.
"Team Erbacher has a lot of guest comings to the race for the entertainment of Top Fuel racing. The team is seeking sponsors for the NHRA and FIA for 2010 now that we have two complete Top Fuel Dragsters around the world. Also for anyone wanting to live their dream we still offer a Top Fuel Rent a Ride. We will be licencing a new driver in Dallas on Monday after the race. If you are interested then please contact Urs or myself."
Don't forget that in Dallas this weekend we are also rooting for Sweden's Leif Helander, who is racing in Fuel Funny Car in the Simpson family's Fuel FC usually driven by Todd Simpson, and UK ex-pat Michael Manners of Eurodragster.com sponsor Cosmo Residences who is racing in Top Alcohol Dragster. The event starts today (Thursday) although Urs, Leif and Mike are not on stage until tomorrow. You will be able to stay in touch with their progress on the excellent Drag Race Central web site at www.dragracecentral.com.
Into (a) the sixes, (b) the wall.
24th September: With a 6.91/198 and a 6.94 the UK's Team Nosferatu Super Pro ET team have a six-second Sportsman car but it came with quite a high price tag and a lot of work from the team, writes driver Vince Gibbs:
Team Nosferatu arrived bright an early on Thursday morning armed with a new set of tyres and the same tune-up as the last meeting at Shakespeare County Raceway, where we had run a new Personal Best of 7.002. We made the call for the first qualifying run and went through our normal routine except the burnout, on the new tyres, didn't give us our normal amount of smoke and the engine seemed to rev too freely. I though we would blow the tyres away when the lights went down but instead the car hooked like it never had before, both front wheels at least a foot in the air. We kept on it and made it through the top end with no problems (apart from the run being not too straight). At the collection end the team wound me up a bit before telling me we had broken out of our 7.00 dial in and run a 6.91. Plenty of cheering and hugs all round. Following our last run on Thursday we discovered that the nose of the crankshaft had cleanly snapped off. Only one thing for it then, fix it. Friday morning I drove to Real Steel and picked up a new 4 1/5 inch stroke Big Block Chevy crank whilst the team stripped the motor to a bare block in the chassis. The engine was fully rebuilt by midnight on Friday, the team worked non-stop and did a cracking job.
On the first qualifier on Saturday I shut down the motor after the burnout as I was not happy with the oil pressure; some tweaking in the pits sorted the problem out. It was now time for our last qualifier at the end of the day in diminishing light. We paired up with Nick Good to attempt side-by-side six-second passes (possibly a first for Super Pro ET) with one extra unknown element. The broken crank had damaged our blower pulley and we didn't have a same-size replacement, so what do you do in those circumstances? Put a bigger one one! Oh yes, even more blower boost. We dialled in a 6.88 and lined up next to Nick in the left hand lane and mashed the throttle when the lights went down. The wheelie was massive and I was heading for the wall, the only option was to lift slightly to regain control. Once straight, but close to the wall, I mashed the throttle a second time and Nosferatu picked up the front wheels again and headed for the wall one more time. Too late, Nosferatu slammed into the wall giving me a hard jolt and slamming my helmet into the roll cage. Hooray for roll cage padding, safety rules definitely rule.
I coasted down the strip not realising that the motor was still running and that fumes from the damaged headers were filling the car. I shut the motor off and took the first exit. The safety team were straight at my door but it wouldn't open. They took a good look at me and saw that I was fine so I crawled out of the passenger door. The safety crew then explained that as I was OK they had decided not to rip the door off. That is level-headed thinking showing that they have priority concern for thr racer's condition but also consider our pride and joys and don't inflict unnecessary damage, great job.
So, in a nutshell: busted crank, busted blower belt which damaged our bonnet, busted bodywork, loads of time and money to fix but we are now officially a six-second runner. Not only that we ran the quickest Sportsman time for the whole of the European finals. Which, we believe, makes us the quickest Sportsman doorslammer in the UK and maybe even Europe. Not too shabby!
We have decided to call it a day for this year whilst we celebrate and lick our wounds but we are already planning something special for next season. Keep your eye on our web site at www.nosferatu-racing.co.uk for progress reports.
Finally, big thanks to our sponsors and our good buddies from Alien Sex Fiend, you are a great help to our team and we really appreciate it. Please visit our sponsors' web sites: The Gothic Shop, Dark Cult, Hoosier Tyre, Torco Racing Oils, Hauser Racing, Wipac and Fiery Furnace.
Now for larger gingerbread men...
24th September: This weekend's UK National Finals will be UK Junior Dragster racer Matthew Seamarks' last competitive event in the class. Matthew has been in touch to let us know his favourite memories from his years in Junior Dragster:
The memory I always think of as the best is the 91 mph pass for which we were disqualified at the 2008 Main Event. People say it wasn't real and that "It could have been a crisp packet" but we see it as a UK first since we argued the fact and no problem was found! My first win ever as a racer at last year's National Finals and then of course the FIA Main Event this year exactly one year after the 91 mph run.
After the National Finals, we will start getting real serious about sorting out what we are doing next season. But before this season is out, I want to qualify number one and win this weekend.
I would like to end by saying some Thank Yous. To all the teams we have raced against in the past, thank you for the excellent close racing, OK I have not always seen eye to eye with some of them but it has still been good. A huge Thank You must also go to mum and dad as, of course, if it wasn't for them I would not be sat here now typing this! And of course our sponsors Panel Craft UK, The Curry Garden, Demon Tweeks and JR Race Car all have been a help in some way during the last six years and we really appreciate all the support. Also, I would like to thank the Mugridges: when we first moved over to methanol they showed us the way and gave us some real good advice, and the races with Nick were always the best races to be part of! Jon Webster has also given me advice and when coming from a racer like Jon you know the advice you are getting is only going to be good. Basically, thanks to everyone.
24th September: Santa Pod Raceway track announcer Darryl Bradford has been in touch to thank everyone for such a memorable year in 2009.
"I'm not going to do a huge thank you list for this season, you know who you are, but to say its been one of the most enjoyable years ever for me would be an understatement!", says Darryl. "Having the pleasure of working with Colin Theobald, who has truly inspirational enthusiasm, the Eurodragster.com team who feed us with information so as not to look even more daft than usual, and the whole Santa Pod crew who are second to none has just been wonderful. Not to mention all the colour commentators, who are just a Who's Who who of drag racing.
"I will be at Santa Pod this weekend as a 'tourist', but do please do say Hi as it's always good to find out as much information as possible about the people and teams who make up our wonderful sport. And last but not least, don't forget that if there is anyone who is racing who has a mortgage or anything else dear to them which needs covering whilst racing, at no extra cost, the either say Hi at the track, contact me on my Facebook page, or E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck everyone and have fun!"
It's just Two Much!
23rd September: One of the undoubted highlights of the weekend's NSRA Hot Rod Drags at Shakespeare County Raceway was the début of Norm Wheeldon's Two Much twin-engined slingshot dragster. Although the dragster was, as Norm described it, "A week away from a run", Norm was determined to take it to the NSRA event and he and Herb Andrews worked long hours to get the stunning car ready to go to Shakespeare County Raceway where it was fired up twice in the pits.
"I have always wanted a twin-engined car since I saw one in a Santa Pod pictorial", said Norm. "The car has been about three years' work. I packed up my job, renovated my house and sold it, then got a place in Wales and had to build a workshop there. Then I built the dragster from the ground up. The chassis is SFI tagged and I could take it to run at Bakersfield. We formed the bodywork ourselves and the idea was to make it look like Mr Revell; if it didn't then I would just run rails ahead of the motor. Believe me, it is built to run - it is not just a show car."
The dragster is powered by two alcohol-burning 359 ci Donovan aluminium Chevy Small Blocks, built in 1981 and serial numbers 147 and 229. "Donovan liked the idea of two of their first batch of motors being in the car", said Norm. "I went to visit Donovan and when I was in the car park a woman leaned out of a window and said "Are you the guy with the English Freight Train?"!
"One block is from my Plan X car and the other is from Sue and Dave Coles' Helzapoppin'. Either of the motors could run a mid-six on its own and my Plan X tune-up is in the car. There is a lot of history on the car, not just the blocks but other pieces such as the front idler pulley from Plan X and parts from three or four other cars."
Norm said that he and Herb worked horrendous hours to be ready for the NSRA Hot Rod Drags, but that the work was worth it. "I wanted to be here for this event", he said. "This was the ideal meeting for the début and I am very pleased with the reaction. It's here, and it runs, and it is a week away from a good run. We will go to a Run What You Brung for a burnout and then next season it will run. This has been a dream of mine for a long time and I have been wondering what it will be like - now I'll find out! Nostalgia really is taking off. Other projects are underway in darkest mid-Wales but I can tell you that I won't be building any more rear-engined cars!"
"I have been helping Norm for about eighteen months", said Herb Andrews. "I met him at Xtreme Wheels a few years ago and he told me that he was building a twin. The first time I saw the car it was just the chassis on the jig with no roll cage. I have helped with machining and other jobs and we have got a lot of bits and pieces from the Swap Meet on Eurodragster.com. It has been eighteen months of five hundred-mile round trips but the reaction has made it all worthwhile."
Norm said that that reaction "Ranged from "I didn't know that dragsters had two engines in the past" to "I saw the Freight Train run at Lions in 1970". But the best one was on Sunday morning from a guy who was walking by and stopped in a daze and said "I used to buy Hot Rod as a kid and I had a double page picture of the Freight Train on my bedroom wall. This is my first drag meeting in twenty five years and I've just seen this! I'm going to have to lie down somewhere"!".
The dragster is due to be painted candy apple red over the off-season. You can check out more pictures of Two Much at eurodragster.fotopic.net/2009nsrahotroddrags and on the NSRA Hot Rod Drags gallery on the Acceleration Archive.
Gibbs parks for a year.
23rd September: UK Super Modifed racer Craig Gibbs says that this weekend's UK National Finals will be the Obsession team's last event for a while.
"We're not saying that we won't ever be back, but at the moment it is getting harder and harder to justify the financial outlay for what is essentially a hobby, and we have to look at it realistically", says Craig. "I also have another addition to the family due in about eight weeks from now - well not me, but the missus! - and I would actually like to spend some time at weekends doing normal family things next year, whilst at the same time reconsolidating financially and concentrating on the business.
"For next year at least, everything will be parked up and put into storage, I could never bring myself to sell Obsession as she holds too many sentimental memories. I think the old man would haunt me if I did sell her and, to be honest, all the time she's sitting there, it gives me the motivation to want to come back out. I've seen too many people sell everything, and then struggle to get their operation together again afterwards, and you never really get back the true cost of everything when you sell it anyway. Instead we will take stock, probably go through the car in the downtime (obviously after putting the family first for a change), and then come back fighting some time in the future.
"I would like to thank a few people for all their hard work and determination in helping us to make Obsession run quick over the past few years. In no particular order they are: Louise and Tina for putting up with me and supporting me whilst I do the sport I love; Sharon and Jon Hogarth; Darren and Marie, who have been with us many years now but unfortunatley can't make it this weekend - thanks for everything guys, your support and hard work I could never re-pay; Chris who did a lot more than he will ever realise; Adrian and Dave - thanks, I will miss the laughs and the banter, we may not have rotated the earth this year, but it sure has been a lot of fun trying - and we're not over yet! - wouldn't have done it without you guys this year; Bob and Cath Glassup - thanks for all your support and help; Andy and Kate Robinson; Andy Wright; Kev Perkins; Blakey; Rob Chilton; Rob and Nick at ICE Automotive; everyone in SuMo...the list could go on and on. But I would like to thank Jeff Bull, I hope you're bringing an extra big bottle of Bacardi at the weekend Jeff! And most importantly - Tel, thanks for trusting me with your baby, and believing. I apologise if I have forgotten anyone. It isn't intentional, I appreciate everything you have all done.
"So, having said all of that, it just remains to say: we may be back!"
2009 Pro Mod Challenge wraps up.
23rd September: German Pro Mod racer and Eurodragster.com News sponsor Marco Maurischat writes to congratulate the finalists in the 2009 Exhaust Coating Pro Mod Challenge:
As in the 2008 Challenge, we saw Andy Robinson and Bruno Bader going into the final round on Saturday evening, and at the end the winner was the same! This time Andy handled the win light to Bruno with a red light. Andy and Bruno are both great racers who showed perfect performance all year, in qualifying as well as on race day, so it was great to saw them again into the final round. I understand that Bruno Bader handed €500 of his €2000 winner's cheque to David Vegter and his team to get the car back on track. Thanks a lot for that, Bruno! Hopefully we will see David next year not only into the pits but also on the race track.
I am sorry that I wasn't able to take part in the prize ceremony on Sunday morning to hand out the pay checks. After we warmed up our car we had some technical problems and I was very busy getting the car ready for the first round. For this reason our crew member Thomas Schmidt filled in for me.
Once more I have to say a very big thank you to Santa Pod Raceway for letting us run the Challenge finals, for the great promotion all over the race weekend and for including us in the event programme, as well as to all the people involved in keep the Challenge running. We haven't yet decided whether we will be able to run the Challenge next season. We will let you know later this year.
MadR's into the sevens.
23rd September: The UK's MadR's Drag Racing Team of Alec Coe, Tom Coe, and Kevin Mortimer had an eventful weekend at the NSRA Hot Rod Drags with their 350 ci blown and injected alcohol slingshot Shy Talker:
Following some damage at the UK Truck Show at Santa Pod, the motor was shipped off to Grimsby for Mark Windridge to carry out the repairs. This entailed the small block being machined out to accept a custom cam with big block journals.
We arrived at Shakespeare County Raceway on Friday afternoon and set up in the pits awaiting arrival of the repaired block. The block arrived later than expected, but by 1:00am on Saturday the motor was installed, having been removed twice due to a problem locating the torque converter. After very little sleep we were up at 7:30 to finish the installation, and by 9:30 we were ready for the first fire-up. This did not go as expected, with backfires through the blower and loss of fire to one cylinder. Examination found that the electrode on number three plug was fully closed, and further examination revealed that two of the pistons were in the wrong bores. The motor was stripped down by Tom, Mark and I, while Alec kept us supplied with food and drink. The pistons were moved to their correct positions and the motor re-assembled. The whole operation took about ten hours, but was completed in time for the Shy Talker to make it to the Cacklefest on the Saturday night. The cacklefest was excellent, but despite the headers producing bright white flames, the ad-hoc tune up was deemed to be pretty poor.
Sunday morning, and Mark torqued the heads down, and by 10 o'clock we were ready for the fire-up. Tom and I had to hold down the awning while Mark twiddled with the barrel valve. It felt that the motor was making lots more power than it had ever done, so we were now ready for the track. After a year without a drive Alec was itching to go, and by 12:30 we were in the pairing lanes nervously awaiting the outcome of what has been a long and expensive winter rebuild. It was at this point that Doug, our sponsor from Kent Car Craft, and Custom Car Craft, arrived just in time for the first run of the weekend.
The previous best for the car had been an 8.1 at 169 mph, and for the last four years we have been chasing that elusive seven, hence the rebuild at the hands of the famed Norm Wheeldon. After a noisy, strong, burnout, we saw Alec back to the line. Our opponent lost fire and was pushed back, Alec was on a solo run. We had done our bit, it was now up to him. The car left the line and hesitated before taking off again. The run was arrow straight, and we could see it was going to be a fast one. The sun was shining on the timing lights so we didn't know what the time was until we heard Baz announce "7.816 at 176". I think I jumped about fifteen feet into the air, and Tom and I had a manly hug, I might even have done some cartwheels, but I can't remember. We drove to the top end to pick up Alec. He thought he had run a seven but wasn't sure as the launch was so hard that his foot came off the pedal, hence the hesitation off the line. It was hugs and manly handshakes all round, and back to the pits to open the champagne which had been waiting for so long to be popped.
The next run was later in the afternoon, and now it was Tom's turn. Could he back up the time? We hadn't touched the car between the runs apart from filling the tank. The burnout was even harder, leaving a white stripe from the wheelie bar. The launch was also hard with another long white stripe. Once again the run was arrow straight and the time came up as a 7.61, two tenths faster than the first run. Alec and our sponsor Doug had smiles a mile wide and we were all jumping for joy. When we picked Tom up it was once again hugs all round, Tom had improved his PB by half a second.
The weekend which started on quite a few lows ended on some massive highs, and we haven't stopped smiling since. We believe that we now have the fastest methanol slingshot dragster in Europe, and ours is only the eighth British-built methanol slingshot in the history of drag racing to run a seven, this is testament to Johnny Hall and Bill Felstead who built the car for us.
Obviously we have a lot of people to thank, so here is a list with apologies to anyone I miss:
23rd September: UK blown-alcohol altered racer Joe Bond writes that the Nuthin' Fancy team have had a frantic build-up to this weekend's UK National Finals:
We had a pretty good Open Sports National, running a 7.0 and 7.1, about which we were pleased because it helped us to find out where some ignition gremlins were. The weekend got cut short because of a near miss in the shutdown area between Bob Glassup and myself. Luckily before Bob came across in front I was able to ditch the car in the field by the shutdown area, but sadly in doing so we created a bit of damage to the chassis. Fortunately it was all reparable.
Getting the car back to the workshop it didn't look too bad, and after a few phone calls things were being sorted. We have to thank Wayne Allman at Intergalactic Customs for sorting me out some chromoly tubing really quickly, appreciate that! Also got to say a huge thank you to Jim Smith at Cotsweld for taking time out of his busy schedule to weld up the repair sections and allowing us to get on and get the car ready for the National Finals.
But just when we thought we were out of the woods and assembling the front end again we spun the front wheels to find a pretty convincing buckle. After a few E-Mails to some racers Stateside we were put on to Kevin and Kathy Fisher at Performance By Fisher, who are distributors of Weld and American Racing wheels. I hope i'm not stepping on any toes by recommending them but their prices are seriously competitive for new drag racing wheels, check them out at www.performancebyfisher.com.
The car is now good to go for the National Finals. I have to say a huge thank you to all the safety crew at Shakespeare County Raceway who came to the aid of Bob and I in very quick time. Also a big thank you to Martyn Jones, Crunch and Dom for lending me the MSD parts - I really hope you guys can come back out soon with the dragster, such a awesome peice of kit! The biggest thank you has to go to my crew Martyn, Lawrence and my parents for working above and beyond the call of duty (again!) to repair the car and then get it ready so we can compete this coming weekend. Second in the points going into the last meeting and nine cars entered, should make for some great racing!
23rd September: The post-Open Sport Nationals standings in the 2009 ACU UK Drag Bike Championships are now available on the King Racing web site at www.kingracing.com.
Ex-pat UK Top Alcohol Dragster racer Michael Manners of Eurodragster.com sponsor Cosmo Residences had his best qualifying session ever at the weekend's NHRA Divisional event at Belle Rose. "We got some good info and ran a 5.36 and back to back 5.28s", says Mike. "We stupidly got a little aggressive for the first round of eliminations and blew the tyres off. It humbles one and is maybe valuable lesson for the National in Dallas this week."
Thanks to Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Paula Marshall for forwarding us Version 4 of the official entry list for the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend, which takes place at Santa Pod Raceway on 10th-11th October. You can check out the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend entry list by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend.
Germany's Rolla Racing Pro Mod team, especially driver Ingo Rolla and wife Sabine who is responsible for safety and start line, would like to express their deepest thanks to the race officials, track and safety crews and medical team at Santa Pod Raceway for their outstanding care after Ingo's crash at the FIA European Finals. "We would also like to thank the race fans who made donations and for their encouraging words to us to rebuild", says Ingo. "We will be back! In addition we would like to thank Eurodragster.com who helped us with exceptionally good photo material and also for the message they posted for us requesting film and photo material which was of great help to us in finding out the cause of the disaster (Thanks, you're welcone - Ed). But this much we can say now, the accident was definitely not driver error!"
UK Super Pro ET racer Steve Taylor asked us to say a big Thank You to everyone who has helped to get him down the track this year. "I have not entered the National Finals as it's my son's first birthday so the European Finals was the end of my 2009 season", says Steve. "I would like thank Karl Harrison and the Blown Budget crew, Rod Harrison and the Stardust crew, Mark Flavell and crew and Nick Good for the continuous parts I have borrowed! Of course I would like to thank my own crew who have been on a real learning curve this year. We will back in 2010 and aim to run all the National Championship rounds to see if we can upset the locals!"
Further to yesterday's news item about this Saturday's fund raiser near Santa Pod, Andrew Grant is seeking the help of anyone who lives near Cardiff who can take a raffle prize as he cannot attend the National Finals. "I can be contacted on 07913 005347", says Andrew. "If you do not get a reply please leave a message and I will get back to you asap. I can also be contacted on email@example.com.
Also on the subject of fundraising, Geoff Stilwell writes to thank everyone who sponsored him and his son Matt to walk 12K around Richmond Park in aid of the Colorectal Research Charity. "It took us just over two hours to walk the course and we raised over £1300", says Geoff. Well done Geoff and Matt and thanks to all those readers who contributed.
We would like to say a big Happy Birthday to our good buddy and Honorary Eurodragster.com staff member Andy Marrs of TSI Timers Europe. Have a great day Andy.
UK National Finals Perfect Awards.
23rd September: This weekend's UK National Finals is the the penultimate event in the 2009 Eurodragster.com Perfect Awards scheme. £100 is on offer for perfect performance.
The Eurodragster.com/Speedflow Perfect Light Award has been reset to £50 after it was won by B&H Automotive/LA Racing Parts Street Eliminator racer Ian Hook at the FIA European Finals. The money will be awarded to the first racer this weekend to record a Reaction Time of 0.000 seconds. The Perfect Light Award is available all to racers in all classes during qualifying and eliminations, but will only be awarded for the first perfect light of the event. If not won this weekend then the Award will be increased to £75 for the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend; if it is won then it will be reset to £50 for the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend. The Perfect Light Award is presented in association with performance hose and fitting manufacturer Speedflow whose web site you can find at www.speedflow.co.uk.
Although the Perfect Light Award goes to three places, we will not pay out for red lights with zeroes in the first three decimals since a foul is a foul however far in the first non-zero digit may be. So a reaction time of 0.0001 will win you the money (if you're first to do it), but a reaction time of -0.0001 will not.
Decals are not formally required for the Perfect Light Award but of course we appreciate it: you can get Eurodragster.com decals at the track from any member of the Eurodragster.com staff.
The Eurodragster.com/Gold RV Perfect ET Award has been reset to £50 after it was won by Super Comp racer Paul Marston at the FIA European Finals. The money will be awarded to the first racer this weekend to run to the thousandth on their dial-in or index during qualifying or eliminations. The Perfect ET Award is available this weekend in Super Pro ET, Pro ET, Sportsman ET, Super Comp, Super Gas, Super Street, Junior Dragster (eliminations only), 9.50 Bike, VW Pro, VW Sportsman, the Wild Bunch, and Supertwin ET, but will only be awarded for the first Perfect Run of the event. If not won this weekend then the Award will be increased to £75 for the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend; if it is won then it will be reset to £50 for the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend. The Perfect ET Award is presented in association with RV sales and service specialists Gold RV whose web site you can find at www.goldrv.co.uk.
To be eligible to collect the Perfect ET Award, racers are required to carry Eurodragster.com/Gold RV Perfect ET decals, one on each side of the vehicle. If you pull this weekend's first Perfect ET but are not carrying decals then there will be no discussion; we will not pay out and the next person to pull a Perfect ET will get the money assuming that they are carrying decals. The decals will be available from the Signing On office as soon as it opens; please note that, as is usual with contingency schemes, racers are responsible for requesting or picking up decals when signing on. A list of required decals per class is always on display in the Signing On office.
PMR's European Finals.
23rd September: Despite the trials and tribulations earlier reported on Eurodragster.com with a six-day engine rebuild on the PiranaZ-backed Championship-winning Super Comp dragster, Paul Marston Racing enjoyed a fair share of success at the FIA European Finals with first round wins for all four entries, a first for the team.
Mick Howling driving the mighty Grumpy's Dodge entered the European Finals with around a 200 point lead in the Pro ET National Championship. Qualifying saw Mick along with all the other Championship contenders struggle to nail a number to the board. Despite setting a new PB of 9.43/140, Mick ended up sitting in thirty first spot in a thirty two car field, three hundredths off his dial-in. Not good but at least Mick was in the show. Come eliminations Mick Howling and Grumpy steadily carved through the field, then the transmission locked up at about 1000 feet in the semi-finals. No oil was dropped on the track although it did really give Mick a moment, momentarily locking up the rear end, but he controlled it so well that no-one even noticed, just needing a tow-off by the ever-vigilant Santa Pod safety crew, who all deserve a round of applause for doing such a great job over the whole of the event.
2008 Super Comp Champion, the returning Dave 'Thundercat' Catton, was back once again in familiar territory, the PiranaZ backed PMR dragster but now in Super Pro ET. Dave had an excellent outing with a superb qualifying effort and went two rounds before falling to our old mate John Everitt in the ex-PMR Alien altered. John has recently been enjoying a little success in Super Pro himself! Dave said he really enjoyed Super Pro ET and that he received a very warm welcome from his fellow competitors.
Paul Marston was also in Super Pro ET with the début of Big Nose, the newest version of the PT Bruiser which now sports a Pro Stock scoop. Paul said "With the Pro ET Championship plus breaking the crank in the dragster just two weeks prior to the European Finals I have been a little busy. So the paint on the Bruiser had to wait, plus I had to make sure I could still see the Tree from the left lane, that scoop is a whole lot bigger than the previous one! I can see the tree no problem so the scoop can be painted. Bringing the Bruiser out was great fun, I have really missed that car. Once we had everyone qualified on Thursday we tagged the Bruiser onto the back of the last session of qualifying. I did not want to mess up what was an excellent day's racing by dropping anything on the track and I must personally thank Race Director Darren Prentice for allowing me to do so. The pass went as planned, nothing dropped, but it did break a rocker. Welcome back to Pro Stock motors it was telling me! Anyway the weekend progressed well, but back in the pits after a first round bye in the PT Bruiser we found some issues that still were not resolved, so on a joint crew and driver decision we decided to park it until we had a better understanding of exactly what was going on.
This also left myself and the PMR crew open to continue and focus on Mick Howling in Pro ET, Dave Catton in Super Pro ET and myself in Super Comp. I qualified on pole in Super Comp with a perfect 8.900, many thanks to Eurodragster.com and Gold RV for the money. That was my first perfect run in Super Comp. I went on to the final where I raced Norbert Schneider. It was a great race, Norbert nearly matched me on the Tree, but the PiranaZ Dragster really moved about on the run so I did what I wanted to do on the finish line and took the stripe. It was so close that I actually thought I may have even given the stripe back when I saw Norbert's win light come on. But no we both broke out by my 8.88 played his 8.89, a well deserved win for Norbert.
On Monday Mick, Sefton Whitlock, Lisa Farmer and Paul pulled the transmission from Grumpy at the track and delivered it to Professor Al O'Connor. On Tuesday we got a call from to tell us that the transmission was fairly comprehensively trashed, so it needed a lot of parts! On Wednesday Paul was once again on a Duck Hunt, but this time for a very rare creature - a complete stock Powerglide. Many thanks to Johnny 'Mental' Hall for pointing Paul in the right direction. Come Friday and Paul Marston was on another road trip to Burnham Autos to collect the Powerglide, then on Saturday up to Al to deliver all the parts. No-one ever said winning a Championship was easy and with Mick extending his lead in the National Championship and only one round to go there is still everything to play for. Whatever the outcome, you can be assured that everyone at Paul Marston Racing will be giving it our very best shot.
Just one race left now, the UK National Finals. PMR's drivers would like to thank some of the people who made the European Finals possible for us. Firstly the Paul Marston Racing crew, The Crew Chief of course and Funsize, Sefton Whitlock, Lisa Farmer, Mick 'The Pieman' Pusey, Lighthouse Lee, Billy London Road Tyres Quant, borrowed crewmen from Mark Fairhurst's Super Comp Dragster Ian Hart and Keith Bick, and of course our Floridian branch of PMR Tony Morris. Thanks to Jeff Bull for doing such a great job of balancing the rotating assembly on the dragster in twenty four hours and to Gary Springford at DRE for allowing us to base the dragster at his workshop and working so hard to get the job done and out on time.
Paul Marston Racing would like to express their gratitude to everyone Santa Pod Raceway's management, track crew, start line and safety crews for such a great event, Eurodragster.com for such excellent coverage (Thanks - Ed) and all our fans, visiting guests and sponsors. Thanks to all of our friends who were listening to the coverage on the internet whilst at work, Nitro FM for great radio and for the Sportsman spots, you guys are the best. Last but by no means least our sponsors PiranaZ Clothing - with attitude, London Road Tyres, Geddex, JW Performance, Black Box London and all our guests and fans who visited us over the weekend.
For your very last chance to see UK drag racing at its very best this year you need to be at Santa Pod Raceway for the ultimate round of the UK National Championships, the UK National Finals, this coming weekend.
Web site updates.
23rd September: Our good buddy Alan Currans has updated his Acceleration Archive with pictures from the weekend's NSRA Hot Rod Drags at Shakespeare County Raceway. You can check out Alan's shots via the What's New link at www.theaccelerationarchive.co.uk.
Svenssons sweep the board.
22nd September: Peter and Sören Svensson of Sweden's Team Kendall Top Fuel Bike team have been in touch with a review of their stupendous weekend at the FIA European Finals at Santa Pod Raceway:
Four of us flew in to Stansted around lunchtime on Thursday in order to be at the track early afternoon to unpack all of our equipment and the bike from our team mates the Lindahl Brothers' coach in beautiful sunny weather. The rest of the team drove from Sweden on Wednesday afternoon and arrived at the track when everything was unloaded but just in time for a nice barbeque in the pits. We could feel the expectation in the air. Would we be able to come up to the same performance as at Gardermoen in Norway, where we ran the first five-second pass in August?
On Friday everyone woke up early to be able to start up the bike after the long trip from Sweden to see if everything looked OK. We checked the air density and found out that the air in the morning was extremely good at -485 feet below sea level and decided to detune the bike for the first run which was planned for around 10.30. Whilst waiting for our first run in beautiful sunny weather we heard from other teams that the track conditions were excellent and hoped for a good run. Peter made a strong burnout as always and all of us were waiting for the green light. The bike looked real strong during the run, resulting in an excellent 5.978/232.45. And the crowd went wild! Both the ET and speed were faster then the existing European record and we were all very pleased with our second ever five-second run. For the second qualifying round we decided to reduce the power and clutch because the Racepak showed us that the first run was a bit loose. We were called to the line up and everyone were asking us if we could back up the run before, and at the green light we all knew that this run was close in performance to the first one, resulting in a 6.024/222.53 backing up our 5.978 as a new European record!
On Saturday morning we all woke up to another nice and sunny day and the air was almost as good as on Friday. For the third qualifying round we decided to try to step up a bit in power to see if the track could take it. The green light came on and the bike sounded real strong and despite some fishtailing the run resulted in a 6.025/226.72. After we got back to the pits we analysed the run on the Racepak and we could see that the tyre was very loose in several places during the run but despite this we kept the same tune-up for the final qualifying run, hoping for a higher track temperature which could stick the tire to the track. The fourth qualifying run was late Saturday afternoon and by looking at the performance of the other cars and bikes we had high hopes for this run. The green light was on and the bike sounded maybe a bit too strong and we could all see Peter having problems with the bike fishtailing forcing him to short-shift to second gear and by this straightened the bike to a fantastic new personal and European best of 5.917/236.54 backing up our new European speed record of 232.45 mph! The crowd and everyone in the team went totally wild, jumping up and down in the starting area, knowing that we now had all four European records in Top Fuel Bike, which all were set by our team during 2009. What an achievement! As everyone can understand we were very pleased and celebrated our new records until late Saturday night!
Sunday morning was windy and grey. We decided to put in a milder set-up than on our previous run to be a bit safe, knowing we had a good chance to go to the next run. On this run Peter met Gary Jones who was first alternate, since Steve Carey had some problems with his bike. After the burnout Gary unfortunately had to shut off his engine. Peter was on a solo run and spun the tyre after sixty feet, clicking the bike off about 2.5 seconds in to the run, resulting in a poor 7.038/146.23, but we were in the semi finals. Back in the pits we decided to take out some ignition and clutch to be able to get a good run against Steve Woollatt, who we all know is quick on the lights and performs well. Both Steve and Peter made great burnouts. Steve was real quick on the Tree but Peter drove by him around sixty feet, the second and third clutch stage did the work and Peter got the winning light with a 6.071/215.13 with an early shut-off. Looking from behind we could all see that Steve had to shut off during the run because of some kind of problem and we later found out that he had problems with some bad tyre shake which ruined his chain and gearbox sprocket.
It was now time to meet Sverre Dahl in the final on his very fast bike and knowing that his good reaction times and high speeds are sometimes hard to overcome. Even though we had set the new European records during the previous days, we decided to keep our set-up from the previous run. After just around an hour we were called to line up and both teams were waiting to get down the strip. Both Sverre and Peter made great burnouts and the guys staged, the green light was on and we could all see that Sverre was away first and that Peter passed him around the sixty foot light. Despite some traction problems Peter won the European Finals with a 6.089/224.39 over Sverre's 6.312/230.48, what a great race!
Later on at the prizegiving ceremony we were told that Peter gained 68 points in the Championship at this event which won him the number two spot in the European Championship, despite only participating in three out of five events! We would like to take the opportunity to celebrate Ian King, Per Bengtsson and Ulf Ögge who won the other 2009 European Championships. Well done Iads!
Encouraged by our good results during the 2009 season we are now very interested to participate in drag racing events all over the world. If there are any promoters reading this in Australia, Asia or in other countries who would like us to come a race, please drop a us a line or contact Eurodragster.com or Kingracing.com and they will let us know (you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org - Ed).
A big Thank You to everyone who made this possible:
Enough with the drama!
22nd September: After the FIM/UEM Supertwin Championship round in Hungary, Dutch Supertwin racer Job Heezen thought that he had been through enough drama, suspense and surprises for at least a year. Job says that he thought wrong, as the FIA European Finals was another race to remember and again it was a thriller:
Coming to the track on Thursday all the signs were green. The weather was good, the track looked A-OK, the bike was in good shape with new valvetrain, clutch and tyre. We decided to give the weekend a head start with some close to the limit tuning. Unfortunately this didn't work out the way we wanted. In the first round of qualifying the bike had a hard time to find some traction and spun the tire soon after the launch, making the engine go rich and drop a cylinder.
Back in the pits we put in a new set-up, a little softer but not too much as we had good faith in the track and wanted to take advantage of the extremely good weather conditions. It seemed to work fine. The bike left the line very aggressively, giving us a sixty foot time of 1.084, the best sixty foot ever for this bike and extremely good for a bike in the Supertwin class. Unfortunately that was it, the 1.084 turned out to be a bit too much for the conditions and the bike went from a huge tyre shake into serious wheelspin, so this run was over . Qualifying session was even worse, the clutch didn't work at all and certainly not the way we tuned it. In the pits we found the problem: on the pressure plate we found some small parts that were missing. Without going too much into detail I will try to explain what happened. Our clutch is a centrifugal style of clutch. When the clutch basket revs up, arms with selected weight are thrown to the outside which puts pressure on the plates to make them hook up. The places where these arms put pressure on the pressure plate tend to wear out quickly therefore small pieces of hard metal, the size of a penny, are mounted. Are you still with me (Er...I'll get back to you on that - Ed)? Well, some of these small metals had come loose and made the clutch drag on one side, causing the problems. OK, so we traced and solved the problem but in the meantime we blew three qualifying rounds and were still outside the ladder. One more round to go so nothing should go wrong anymore and it didn't, we ran a safe 6.8 and came into the ladder as fourth qualifier.
This is where the real problems started. Our fourth place matched us in the first round with Roel Koedam. This is one of the worst things that can happen to you as this was the start of a period of psychological warfare. The day before it was pretty relaxed in the pit as Roel suffered from a toothache but this day he was back in shape and it showed. He tried to sabotage our team by throwing tomatoes and putting bananas in the exhaust.. We were lucky to have his lovely wife Monique around, at least she has some control over this rascal. Another problem was the fact that this was going to be a run between the new bike of team Zodiac against their old bike, now owned by me but still sponsored by Zodiac. With me still in the race for third place in the UEM Championship and in need of the points to secure this third place, some people suggested that we were going to make a deal. Well, let me make this clear: even if the championship had been at stake we would not have thought of making a deal. If you know us well enough you know that we go for a win every run, no matter what the consequences are. And remember: we are racers, not bookkeepers or politicians.
The run between the two orange machines was one to remember and it was one of the best side-by-sides I have ever had. Roel was quicker at the lights with a 0.1342 to a 0.1564 but my sixty foot was better with a 1.1354 to a 1.1483. We ran side-by-side this way until the very end and the difference was never more than a foot. During the run we were looking at each other several times to see where we were and I remember that even in the last part of the run at speeds of approximately 200 mph we checked out of the corners of our visors. The difference was only 0.094 at the stripe, with me as the lucky guy to go to the next round. We knew that this was a good one. We both broke a record: it was my first ever 6.6-second pass and the first 6.7-second pass for the new Zodiac bike.
The semi-final matched us with Samu Kemppainen from Finland and again there were two happy guys in the run-out area, Samu because his bike ran one of its best times ever and me because it got me into the final. And, like three weeks before in Hungary, we were up against our friend Per Bengtsson. Again, it was a very exciting final. With a better reaction and a slower sixty foot than Per we were almost equal in the first part. This stayed the same all the way down to 1000 feet where my time of 5.5882 was only 0.03 less than Per's 5.5547. Somewhere after the 1000 foot Per's camshaft drive belt decided to give up and I saw his bike slowing down. We took the win for the first time in Supertwin in one of the most prestigeous races of the year ! This time not both riders were happy campers at the top end. It took quite some time for Per to calm down. I had to remind him that on that day he had become European Champion and that made him smile again.
The win saved our third place in the Championship which had been an ongoing struggle with Hans Olav Olstad. Allthough his team had worked hard to get the bike in shape after the big clutch explosion, their Sunday didn't work out well and it must have been disappointing for them - I know how that feels - but at least they tried everything possible to stay in the race.
Alltogether we had a beautiful season with some downs and a lot of ups. We ran three finals in five UEM races, won one the the best races ever, set more than a few PBs and reached the third place in the Championship. With the improvements we made over the winter we had a bike that showed very few mechanical problems and brought us mostly to the end of every race. All this has been possible with the help of my team, my wife Winnie, daughter Eveline and of course Maxim, well done all of you! Also big thanks for the help during this season to Ton, Vincent, Roel, Mike, Marianne, Monique, Cor, Rickard, Gerard and everybody that I forgot to mention. Thanks again for our sponsors Zodiac International Performance Parts for Harley Davidson, Spectro Oils of America, Supertrapp Exhaust Systems, Accel Motorcycle Parts and last but not least Garage Heezen. I hope we have been good advertising for you this year.
See you at the race track next year!
Why spaghetti was off the menu.
22nd September: After a season with promising times and good progress with his bike, the year ended for Norwegian Supertwin racer Hans Olav Olstad at the FIA European Finals:
The first qualifying run gave us 6.75, behind Lorenz' strong 6.57. Also Koedam did a nice Personal Best with 6.857 in third place. On the second qualifying run I worked with the bike and didn't give it full throttle before 200 metres, and got only 6.98. Bengtsson ran 6.73, and pushed us down to third spot. During the service we discovered some bad cracks in the clutch base structure. After a discussion we decided to weld the cracks. In the third session we had to stop the engine after the burnout, because of a leaking emergency shut off valve. Lorenz did another strong pass 6.55, and Per 6.70. Final qualifying, last chance to improve. My team coleagues from Hawgs Racing, Svein Olav and Trond, ran 7.14 and 7.13, their weekend's best and into the ladder in sixth and seventh. Heezen ran 6.851 and into fourth place.
Our last qualifying run was 6.9 and totally destroyed the clutch at 300 metres. All the towers were gone. Some parts shot a hole in the oil tank. Luckily no parts hit me, the clutch cover did its work. At this point we thought the race was finishd, but in the evening our tent Champion Per Bengtsson showed up with a old clutch, and gave us the chance to install it on our bike. For the weekend we had a Supertwin team from Germany helping us, Acka Reimer with three mechanics, they showed their skills and worked the night through. Mona Myrseth from Islanders Top Methanol Dragster team gave us her spaghetti boiler to make new clutch cover. We also had to change the rear wheel after damage from the clutch explosion.
Next morning Lightning was ready for the first elimination. The first challenge was Trond, we ran our best sixty foot of the weekend of 1.13 but went up in smoke with a spinning tyre after 1.4 seconds and out of the contest. Congratulations to Trond. Per took out Svein Olav who blew parts across the track in a engine explosion. Lorenz had to shut off because of misfiring, so Per was already UEM Champion at this point. Congratulations to Per Bengtsson, who also won the Tent Championship. Heezen 6.68 take out Koedam 6.79 in a side by side. Semi-final: Per 6.56 and Personal Best, took out Trond 7.58. Heezen 6.74 took out Samu 7.28. Final: Heezen 6.69 took out Per 6.93 who broke the cam belt. Congratulations Job.
Before the season start I expected to see these four teams on top. I was right.
There are so many people I would like to thank for their support and help. First of all my team Anne Marit, Axel, Bjørn, John Anders, Sven Erik, Jerry, Steinar and Kenneth. Especially thanks to team Acka Reimer for all their help, Mona for her spaghetti boiler, Bengtsson for parts, support and good behaviour in a Norwegian support shirt. I really think Per is on the way out of his closet, he wants to be a Norwegian. Thanks to all the sponsors who helped me out in good and bad times during the season: GB-Tech, Jessheim Bilskade, Kim Johansen Transport, Fannrem Motorverksted, Sande Gård, Profilhuset and VP Racing Fuel.
Looking back, this has been a very interesting season. We started as second qualifier at Santa Pod, broke the primary belt in the semi-final, and had problems with dropping cylinders. Third qualifier in Finland, still struggling with dropping cylinders and jammed throttle shaft. Then we ran a Personal Best eighth mile at Mantorp 4.31 and were first.qualifier, solved one problem but had another and taken out in the first elimination round. Winner of Dragchallenge Gardermoen, four straight six-second runs in Hockenheim, first qualifier and the first Supertwin team to run a six-second pass in Hungary. We took third qualifying place at the Finals.
Before next season we are going to make a new clutch, read and study all the data from this year, and work hard to avoid small mistakes.
22nd September: Andrew Gibb writes with the sad news that he has heard from Peter Lorford, one of the original builders and co-owners of Stripteaser, that Roger Bishop passed away last week. "Details of Roger's funeral have yet to be finalised but it appears that Roger never married and has no surviving relatives other a younger brother who is in a long-term care home", says Andrew. "If Jim Brett or someone who knows Jim is reading this, then could he please contact me on 07956 334987 as Peter has asked his whereabouts. As soon as I have further information on the details of the funeral then I shall pass them on."
Many thanks to Yvonne Tramm and our very own Simon for forwarding us the post-FIA European Finals standings in the UK National Drag Racing Championships and Santa Pod Racers Club Championships, which you can check out on our Speedflow-sponsored Points Standings page by clicking here or by clicking on the Points Standings link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
UK blown-alcohol altered team Bennett Racing are urgently seeking twenty four NGK R5671A-9 spark plugs. If you have any plugs which you can sell the team then please drop Luke Bennett a line at email@example.com.
UK Fuel Altered racer Jon Best has had to withdraw from this weekend's UK National Finals due to damage to his crank and subsequently his wallet. This has however given Jon time to update his web site at www.fuelaltered.co.uk with pictures and videos of his runs this year.
The latest offering from Eurodragster.com News sponsor Tireshake.com is a new T-Shirt for Funny Car fans. The shirt comes in sizes from children's to XXL and can be ordered via the New link at www.tireshake.com. Benny Edvardsson reminds readers that if you order before 15th October you will get a free gift.
This year's Bug Jam, which took place at Santa Pod Raceway in July, is to be screened on satellite and cable channel Motors TV tomorrow at 7:05 pm and will be repeated again later in the evening.
B&H Automotive/LA Racing Parts Street Eliminator racer Ian Hook would be grateful to hear from anyone with a picture of the Street Eliminator Cruise driving up the strip at the FIA European Finals. It is important that the picture is taken from pitside with the spectator bank in the background. If you can help then please drop Fatty a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the second of three consecutive birthdays on Santa Pod Raceway's timing crew, we would like to wish a very Happy Birthday to timekeeper Sharon Norris. Have a lovely day Sharon.
UK Event Safety, the organisation responsible for public safety at Santa Pod Raceway, are pleased to announce a new partnership. This Saturday Glenn and Mandy are to tie the knot, marrying at a small civil ceremony in Hull. The soon to be Mr and Mrs Ramsden would like to thank everyone for the good wishes and support which they enjoyed from friends and well-wishers at the European Finals. They also wish the very best of luck to all of those running at the UK National Finals which they will be unable to attend because of the nuptials.
Can UK Jet Dragster pilot Julian Webb please get in touch with us at email@example.com.
You can help with fund raiser...
22nd September: If you are attending this weekend's UK National Finals at Santa Pod Raceway, and even if you are not, then there is a charity fund raiser taking place near the track on Saturday evening, to which all are invited. The fund raiser is taking place at JJ's (formerly the Old Swan) in Higham Ferrers where Ian 'Tink' Hart from the Fairhurst Racing Super Comp team will be performing in his other role as lead singer for the band Empire.
"This is to raise a bit of cash for the family of our friend Adam", says Tink. "Adam is fourteen and has leukaemia, and his family have to pay for travel and parking etc, whilst having time off work to care for him and take him back and forth to hospitals. Reduced pay and increased costs are just adding stress to an already stressful situation. Empire were asked if we'd play an event to raise them some much-needed funds, and even though it coincides with my crew responsibilities for the National Finals, I was more than happy to help out - I might as well sing for someone else's supper for once!"
If anyone wants to attend, then the gig starts at 8:00 pm on Saturday. Entry is £5 all funds going to the family. "If you do go off track on Saturday evening then you could drop in on this event and change someone's situation for the better. If you would like to donate any funds or raffle prizes to the cause, you can contact Tink on firstname.lastname@example.org or come and see me in the Paul Marston Racing pit at Santa Pod Raceway this weekend."
...and thanks for Sunday.
22nd September: If you were tuned in on 16th September you will recall an urgent appeal for racers to attend a charity day in Folkestone. The show took place on Sunday and Clive Kirkham tells us that following his appeal a number of racers arrived with race cars and made the day and that he is very grateful to them for stepping in at short notice to give the show's visitors a taste of what drag racing is all about.
"Thanks to Carla and Rick with their Heaven & Hell Camaro, even donating some goodies for the raffle!", says Clive. "Mark Newman and family with Mexico Mark. Andrew Gibb and Andrew Herron, both arriving with Junior Dragsters and lastly 'Chubb' with his newly-built Reliant Fox with its thundering 7.8 litre Caddy lump, which both amazed and frightened people at the same time! Fantastic.
"Despite nearly three hours of rain in the morning, which at first kept many away, the live bands played on and the people already there stayed and enjoyed themselves. However, after three months' organising this charity day and spending hours doing all the Health and Safety / incident / risk assessments etc, I tried to cover everything I could think of that could go wrong. I completely failed to think of the possibility of a day van reversing into the big feature fish pond which had a large white fence around it. Oh, and the guy that decided to bring his own barbecue and light it below the live band curtain-sided trailer, which meant that instead of singing, they were now coughing and choking. As they say, expect the unexpected and of course I now realise I should have also included "Risk of Van fish pond" and "BBQ under stage"! Still, no one hurt and nothing insurance can't sort out.
"I would also like to thank Doug Forrest of Kent Car Craft and the Mad Rs team, who were sadly unable to attend due to their blown engine, but did a fantastic job in helping to find us cars at short notice. Cheers guys. The two charities whom we were supporting also appreciated all of you that were able to help and although the rain vastly reduced the visitor numbers I'm certain they will be pleased with the final cheques which will be presented once all the monies are in.
"Carla and Chubb were victims of a recorded radio interview which went on air this morning and included the sound of Carla's car being fired up. Fame at last! Once again a big thanks for your support, much appreciated."
"Despite the heavy rain there still was a lot of interest in drag racing", says Carla Pittau. "I even managed to convert a Formula 1 fan who started the conversation with "I can't see the point of drag racing..." (Red rag/bull - Ed). I took my laptop with me and showed a few film clips, Rick's wheelie at the European Finals, a few of mine, a couple of Funny Car runs and people were really enthusiastic and wanted to know all about dates and events. A Santa Pod display wouldn't have gone amiss".
Whilst talking about Carla Pittau we would like to wish her a very Happy Birthday for yesterday (Monday). Hope that you had a lovely day Carla and that you enjoyed the lobster.
Web site updates.
22nd September: Mark Evans has updated the Shakespeare County Racers web site with a large number of pictures from the weekend's NSRA Hot Rod Drags. You can check out Tubby's work at www.shakespearecountyracers.com.
Also updating from the weekend's NSRA Hot Rod Drags is Dick Bodily whose shots you can find at dicksphotos.fotopic.net.
If you were tuned in to Eurodragster.com News over the weekend then you will realise that News Editor Tog didn't spend much time away from his laptop in Race Control but you can check out Tog's few NSRA Hot Rod Drags pictures at eurodragster.fotopic.net or www.togsdragracing.com.
The official web site of UK race car builder Fester Race Cars has been updated with pictures of the latest vehicles to emerge from the Skunk Works. You can take a look at www.festerracecars.co.uk.
Introducing the TVR Power PSB.
21st September: Following a strong UEM début at the European Finals, including setting a new European Pro Stock Bike ET record of 7.078, Dave Beck Racing is proud to announce a major new sponsorship deal. The team will become the TVR Power Pro Stock Bike team with immediate effect.
TVR Power owner Dom Trickett explained "Our customers are passionate about high-performance naturally-aspirated petrol motors and the Pro Stock Bike class represents the pinnacle of this motor configuration. I have had an association with the class for many years and it is great to be involved once again, especially with the new European record holder Dave Beck."
The team will contest this year's UK National Finals and Extreme Bike Weekend before spending the winter further refining their 7.0-second tune-up with the help of Ward Performance and MTC. Next year the TVR Power Pro Stock Bike team will contest the full ACU UK Championship, plus at least four UEM European Championship events.
"We are very proud to be associated with TVR Power", commented Dave Beck. "I think the bike has genuine six-second potential and we will be chasing that goal for sure, in addition to seeking UEM wins. We will do at least the two UK rounds, Mantorp Park and Gardermoen, but we hope to fund the full series. I look forward to doing battle with the UEM guys in 2010 and enjoying more of the close racing we had at the European Finals. We have the bike, we have the set-up, and we have the team - and now with the backing of TVR Power, we can compete at the highest level."
You can find the TVR Power web site at www.tvrpower.co.uk.
In addition to the major backing from TVR Power, the team will continue to enjoy the support of MTC Engineering, Ward Performance, Fast by Gast, PR Factory Store, Nimbus Motorsports, Motorshack, Steve Howe & Sons, and Stephen Moon Consulting.
Contest: Win PBM Racing goodies!
21st September: As reported here on Eurodragster.com on 7th August, UK 9.50 Bike racer Phil Pratt celebrates his tenth anniversary in drag racing at the end of this season. To celebrate this landmark, and the forming of PBM Racing complete with new bike livery, logo and team colours, Phil is giving Eurodragster.com readers the chance to win a PBM Racing goodie bag containing a T-Shirt, mug, Mike The Elephant fluffy keyring, car sticker, button badges and signed photograph.
All you need to do to win is answer this simple question:
In which class does Phil Pratt run?
a. Top Fuel Bike
b. Super Street Bike
c. 9.50 Bike
Simply send your answer, together with your name, address and a contact number to email@example.com before midnight UK this Wednesday, 23rd September. The winner will be notified by telephone and will be able to collect their prize from the PBM Racing pit at this weekend's UK National Finals, or it can be sent to them in the mail. The winner will also be announced here on Eurodragster.com.
Phil and the team would like to add a huge Thank You to everyone for the overwhelming support they have received since the relaunch of the bike. "It's been absolutely amazing, and this is just the start for PBM Racing!", says Phil.
21st September: As revealed on Eurodragster.com News on 11th August, UK Top Methanol Dragster racer Derek Flynn of Eurodragster.com sponsor Gold RV is fulfilling his dream of racing in the USA as he will be driving Larry Miersch's injected-nitro Top Alcohol Dragster at Las Vegas and Pomona on the Gold RV/Miersch Industries Battery Pack Tour:
This all started about a year ago after I bought Larry's old car and he and Jim came to the UK to help us run the Gold RV A/Fueller. I am pleased to say that this is where the business relationship quickly turned to friendship, then later that year I visited the US again to watch Larry début his new car. Whilst at Pomona last year I mentioned to Larry that I would love to race in the US one day but the costs of getting our car out there and back would be quite expensive. He said "You can drive my car if you like!".
After a couple more discussions during the year when Larry has been out to help us I checked again to see if he was serious. Sure enough he was and gave me a great deal to race his car that I just could not pass up. So the Gold RV/Miersch Industries Battery Pack Tour was on, providing that I could get a NHRA Licence. Whilst in Germany Jim and I were going to the drivers' meeting when all of sudden and American voice chirps up "Hey Jim, what the hell you doing here?". It was Mike Rice, the NHRA Division 7 Director, who was out helping the Hockenheim team. Jim explained that he was helping us with Larry's old car, introduced me and mentioned that I was wanting to race in the US. Mike said there should be no problem, drop him an E-Mail and he would help sort things out. So after a few E-Mails, a medical and a couple of forms filled out I am pleased to say I now have an NHRA licence and I am now the proud owner of the US race number TAD 800.
I would especially like to thank Larry Miersch, Jim Rizzoli and also Mike Rice for all their help and assistance to make the dream come true, and I would also like to thank my wife Fiona for being so supportive of my racing adventures. Thank you to my sponsors Gold RV Sales and Service Ltd, in particular my Business Partner and Crew Chief Gary Jenkins and of course all our customers for their support. Thanks to all the Go Gold Crew, who have really put in the hours for the cause this year, and a very special thanks to John and Sarah Foster who are paying their own way to the US to help crew with Larry's team.
So why "The Battery Pack Tour"? Miersch Racing Industries have designed and manufactured a great range of lightweight but heavy duty 48-volt battery packs perfectly suited to the RCD style of starters which most of the professional teams use. These battery packs have proved very popular amongst quite a few of the top teams in the USA and of course Gold RV Racing use one as well. If you would like more information on these excellent, value for money battery packs which punch far above their weight and way above its competitors then contact Larry Miersch direct by E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Gold RV Racing via our web site at www.goldrvracing.co.uk and we would be happy to help also.
Larry's new Spitzer race car is absolutely stunning and is a 300-inch wheelbase version of what we have. It has only attended a handful of meetings since its début at the end of last year at Pomona where it won a Wally for Best Engineered Car. The car is still very much in the R&D stage and all being well I will be racing it at the Vegas Nationals, Larry at the Vegas Divisional, and then I will take over again for Pomona. We hope that over the three meetings we can continue moving the car forward and fulfil its full potential.
Jim Rizzoli of Rizzoli's Automotive, is going to be very busy man again as not only is he tuning the Miersch Racing car, consulting with the Nivers and running son Kyle, but thanks to me he now has a pitful of Brits as he will also be running Spencer Tramm in the Rizzoli Automotive Stock Eliminator Camaro. Thanks Jim, Kay, Kyle and Karen - you Rizzolis are just great!
How to race in the USA.
21st September: Not-unconnected with the above, if you were tuned in to Eurodragster.com News on 4th September you will have read that UK Sportsman ET racer Spencer Tramm will be racing in Stock Eliminator at the NHRA National and Divisional events in Las Vegas and Pomona in Jim Rizzoli's 1967 Camaro. Spencer got in touch to tell us how it came about.
"I was in Hockenheim where as well as marshalling Pro Mod I ended up marshalling Top Methanol Dragster", Spencer told Eurodragster.com. "Whilst we were waiting for a qualifying session to start I got talking to Derek Flynn about how he came to be racing in the USA. I mentioned in passing that I would love to race out there one day. Later that day he introduced me to his tuner Jim Rizzoli who showed me pictures of his son Kyle's new Stock Eliminator car and told me that he still had the old car sat at home doing nothing. I cheekily replied "If you ever feel like letting it out then let me know!" and he replied "Go on then!".
"I then met Mike Rice, Director of NHRA Division 7, who was working on track prep at Hockenheim. He helped me with advice about grade points and event entries because you can't just turn up to NHRA events. You have to prove such things as how many UK National events you have contested, event wins and so on. After that there were the formalities such as filling out the paperwork including quite a hefty fee for someone witnessing my signature.
"I would like to say a huge Thank You to Derek Flynn and to Jim Rizzoli for making it all possible, and to tell Jim that any time he fancies a go at my Polo he is very welcome!"
21st September: John Hackney of Copyprint Depot is auctioning for charity an autographed A2 print of 2009 FIA European Pro Modified Champion Mats Eriksson on his historic five-second pass. If you would like to bid for the autographed print then check out item 140346603654 on EBay.
Charlie Chivers tells us that the Pro ET #1 qualifier trophy and bonus at this weekend's UK National Finals is to be supplied by Apsley Transmissions of Hemel Hempstead, engine and gearbox reconditioning, whom you can contact on 01442 259982. Hauser Race Cars are as ever supplying a £60 voucher. Pro ET is also supported by Motorshack, Toxico, Brize Norton Hot Rod and American Specialist (01993 844144), Real Steel, LA Racing Parts, Performance Unlimited, Cometic Gasket, Total Seal, Engine Data Analysis, Hauser Race Cars, A1 Motor Stores, Inkwell Printing, Penn Autos/Andy Frost Race Transmissions, CP Pistons and South Coast Customs.
Charlie Chivers adds that tickets are still available for The Pro ET End of Season Bash at the Oliver Cromwell Hotel in March on Saturday 21st November. Tickets are £18 apiece and include comedian, live band, buffet and Charlie's raffle. Tickets can either be purchased at the UK National Finals or E-Mail Charlie on email@example.com.
A very Happy Birthday to Santa Pod Raceway's Chief Timekeeper and all-round good guy Steve Horn of TSI Timers Europe. Would you believe that this is the first of three TSI Timers birthdays on consecutive days. Have a great day Steve.
Lizz McCarthy writes to ask us to wish a very Happy Birthday for yesterday (Sunday) to Ken Cooper. No sooner said than done Lizz, hope you had a good day Ken.
A Rush into Top Fuel Bike.
21st September: UK Top Fuel Bike racer Ian 'Rush' Carruthers has been in touch with a review of the Fast and Loose team's progress so far:
Firstly the bike is owned, built and tuned by Dave Newbury; I am the lucky little chap that gets to thrash it down the strip...I mean, try out his great tuning ideas!
The first turn of the wheels was at the Easter Snowball last year. We all know how that meet turned out? Just a burnout and a launch was all that time allowed. Still both runs were successful considering it was all new and untested. We next ventured to Shakespeare County Raceway with a view to doing a burnout and launch followed by a half pass. This was to shake down the bike and the rider. All went to plan so we headed for the Fast Ford Fest where we were offered a few exhibition runs. We hoped we would be able to gain my fuel bike licence by putting in a full or respectable run.
The first attempt went pretty much as expected with the tyre going up in smoke at the hit twice before hooking up and blackstriping for the rest of the pass. Back to the pits to reset the clutch. Then with some extra prep and grip from the ever helpful and excellent Santa Pod crew, we hoped to make a full pass. This one turned out OK and when my good friend Dave Witts came to collect me from the top end and brought me the timing ticket, I thought it must be someone else's as the run numbers read 60 feet 1.05, 330 feet 2.68, eighth mile 4.14, 1000 feet 5.3, quarter mile 6.4 at a slowing 188 mph. Although I had been racing since 1993 and in NAST Supertwin Top Fuel all but one of those years, this was two seconds quicker than I had ever gone. And I liked it (a lot). Dave was quite pleased also although Karen, my young lady, was not so sure! As the drive belt broke at around 900 feet I was not sure it would count as a full pass. There was no need to worry though as Ian Marshall seemed happy to sign off my Fuel licence. All was well. The motor looked completely unharmed so the following day we wanted to back up our previous pass and felt that as the bike was still pulling very hard when the belt broke, a full quarter would be interesting. Well we now know what a stock XS1100 crankshaft will take...time to save up and rebuild!
I will admit that I was in doubt that Dave or for that matter anyone would be able to rebuild this motor and return it in exactly the same state of tune as before. You very often see that a racer will do their best ever run then change nothing and never repeat it. Surely after a new modified crank, new rods, new head and new cams, all of which where slightly different, things had to be different?
Roll on one year and Darren our top crew man had invested in not only a brand new gazebo, but also a rather nice race transporter to get us to the meetings. The bike was rebuilt better and stronger and shod with a new rear slick. The plan was to run all ACU rounds in 2009, but after the late arrival of much needed parts and the problems that brings, there was no time to run or even test before the Main Event. The whole team were looking forward to getting back on the track and blowing away a few cobwebs, but whilst Main Event was a valuable experience it did not give us the runs we were hoping for. The engine felt as powerful as before but we were unable to translate this to the timing tickets. Pulling strongly to the left on both qualifying runs and even crossing lanes meant we were out. This was a problem which was to follow us to the European Finals.
We had not fired the bike up since the Main Event as Dave had made a few mods and re-ringed it etc. This time as before I had total faith in Dave's abilities and knew that the bike was safe and ready to go. Friday morning was all about running up the bike and remembering what to do after the long break. The motor fired straight up at the hit of the button and needed no adjustments. This never ceases to amaze me. We got to the start line and I was reminded which direction to go and what all the levers and switches did. Short burnout as ever then go. Almost straight away the bike started to drift left. I did my best at hanging off and pulling it back but I am not the biggest of racers and whilst under power this had little effect. A quick feather of the throttle did the trick only to drive straight back to the left under power. This would not do at all and knowing we had the power to qualify something had to be done.
After the Main Event we thought of all the possible causes and felt that after a few alterations to the blower drive which had changed the balance of the bike, rebalancing it would do the trick. Adjustments where made for the afternoon session, Frank Brachtvogel helped pick a good spot (thanks Frank).We paired up against Rikard Gustafsson one of the world's quickest Funny Bikes so this was going to be fun. This time we managed to go straighter, not straight but straighter. Rikard was on a flyer and we were next to him all the way until around the 800-900 foot mark when I clicked it. We sat out Saturday morning's session which gave us a chance to see our competitors run. But the in the afternoon we wanted to put in our first full pass and see what it could do. This time we had the already European champion Ian King who had been running his quickest times. If we could go straight it would be good. Darn it, we didn't but we matched Ian's times for the first 400 feet whilst drifting towards the centre line. Remembering that Dave said "Treat the centre line as a wall" I pulled it back as best as I could but in the end had to back it off to keep it in our lane. Despite this we had qualified in one of the quickest and largest Fuel bike fields of all time.
In eliminations we had Sverre Dahl, someone both Dave and myself have admired for a long time. We adjusted the back wheel a little more to try to give us a fighting chance. It is not ideal wanting to give it everything and not knowing if it will go straight (ask Steve Carey). I was asleep on the line 0.47 to 0.22, my excuse was that this was the first actual race on this bike. Again the bike left well enough, 1.06 at 60 feet and 2.7 to 330 feet, but shortly thereafter the drive belt let go followed by the blower drive. Here endeth the race.
Looking back we gained some good experience, made some new friends, and had some fun along the way. To date, including our first launches and observed runs, we have made around ten passes. We have yet to put in a full pass but we know that every time the throttle is open we are competitive. I cannot end with out saying a massive Thank You to Team Principal Dave Newbery. I for one have been more than impressed with how well this bike has been thought out, engineered and tuned. I used to think these numbers were only possible with years of experience, fancy clutch and fuel timers, and a massive budget. Team Fast and Loose have none of these luxuries. Another massive Thank You to Darren for the unbelievable support with the transport and gazebo, and to Marie, Karen and Dave Witts.
2009 Top Gas Serie Finals.
21st September: Herman Jolink writes that the final 2009 round of Euro Serie Super Twin Top Gas took place over the quarter mile at Drachten in August:
The Top Gas Final was very exciting as the #1 and #2 qualifiers met in the final. Gert Jan Laseur was #1 with a 7.465 and Jesper Thiel #2 with a 7.560. Laseur ran a 7.393 in the semi-final so it whas not necessary to be sharp at the lights but he wanted to go for it and was 0.004 seconds too fast, and the win went to Jesper Thiel 7.515/284 kmh against Laseur's 7.398/269 reaction.
Jesper Thiel (DK) is the 2009 Euro Serie Super Twin Top Gas Champion, Gert-Jan Laseur is second and the new Euro Serie Super Twin Top Gas record hoder is Gert Jan Laseur at 7.393 seconds.
We were very lucky with the weather. On Friday there were some raindrops during qualifying but for the rest of the weekend we had nice sunny weather and there was a lot for the public to look at in the pits.
The riders had nine qualifying runs. Final qualifying:
Eliminations round 1: Laseur 7.393 beat Geytenbeek 8.991; Albers 9.516 beat Niessen who had clutch problems; Thiel 7.499 beat Heitmann 8.495; van Schie 8.779 beat van de Werken 13.193 red light. Semi finals: Laseur 7.410 beat Albers 8.193, the 8.193 whas the best time from Albers this season but he broke his gearbox; Thiel 7.924 beat van Schie 8.439. Final: Jesper Thiel 7.515/284 beat Gert Jan Laseur 7.398/269 -0.004 red light.
2009 Euro Serie Super Twin Top Gas Championship:
21st September: Despite being low on parts, cash and morale, ex-pat UK Top Fuel Dragster racer Smax Smith and the Leverich family decided to go to the IHRA National event at Epping, New Hampshire, to try to qualify and earn some much-needed funds:
By the time we hit Albany it was raining. By the time we got to the track the car was mostly back together and we met up with crew for a pie and a pint. It rained all all day on Saturday so we were wondering whether the outcome would be a cancelled race, qualify on points, or a simple draw Luckily for us it was points so we were qualfied seventh putting us in the field against Del Cox Jr.
The car was awesome, sounded great on the warm-up and we felt prepared. Alas more gremlins, we did a fine burnout but then couldn't get reverse. Did the usual stuff, high siding etc, the crew were fighting to lower the rpm but I knew it was a bit more. It turned out that an adjustable clutch stand broke, probably because recent clutch explosions beat the crap out of them. So we were done, but actually it was the easiest $10k we ever made just for doing a burnout.
We can now realise the dream of doing all twelve IHRA races as the car was ready and Dad Leverich already dropped the car and trailer in Maryland for the Budds Creek race next weekend. I want to welcome new crew guy John Walker into the team, pumping fresh blood and ideas to lift the team effort. He was a good help to Aidee on clutch and Gary generally. Maybe he can find sponsorship! All in all a great weekend and let's hope we get that elusive four-second pass soon.
Congrats to Jon Webster and crew on a well-deserved win. The FIA Finals generally was a great race.
Web site updates.
21st September: Nigel Holland has updated his photographic site with pictures from the FIA European Finals. You can check out Nigel's pictures at www.nigelholland.co.uk.
NSRA Hot Rod Drags coverage.
19th September: Eurodragster.com are enjoying the fine weather at this weekend's NSRA Hot Rod Drags at Shakespeare County Raceway to bring you end-day photo galleries in association with American Car Imports.
The Webster Race Engineering/Lex Joon Racing US Tour 2009 webcam is on-line and is scheduled to broadcast a picture every sixty seconds as long as the track is open.
Pictured is Georgina Swinchatt, the face of the 2009 NSRA Hot Rod Drags, with her brother Callum's Tot Rod, one of a huge number of beautiful-looking cars attending this weekend's event and taking advantage of the perfect weather, great track and relaxed atmosphere.
You can check out our end-day galleries and webcam by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the NSRA Hot Rod Drags.
19th September: FIA European Finals Top Fuel Dragster winner and Eurodragster.com sponsor Jon Webster and the McDonald brothers weren't expecting the event title, considering Andy Carter the odds-on favourite:
We had been suffering with tyre shake on both previous outings in the car and the results for the car around the European tour hadn't been any better. Going into the meeting the McDonald team met to assemble the pit the previous weekend and were determined to find the problems . A strategy was formulated to go through all the fundamental systems on the car. Stuart McDonald would lead and co-ordinate whilst I enlisted the very capable skills of Dave Rowe From EPS, a specialist in supply, installation, and tuning of engine managements and data gathering systems. I had removed the MOTEC ADL dash from my MGSV which performs all the datalogging for the car, a system which would more than cope with the requirements of the Top Fuel car. Dave made a custom loom and we used most of the Racepak sensors.
By Friday morning Stuart was confident that all systems were at least operating correctly, subject to having the parameters set, the guys and Sarah had assembled the car and Dave had configured the logger to read in a format we would all understand. Due to a few glitches we missed the first session but comfortably made the second. It wasn't a perfect pass, an extended period on the high side seemed to drop the cylinder temperatures and it shook a bit, but not as much as previously. The data was good and continued to be really good on the following passes, allowing Stuart and Rune Fjeld to understand what was required. The last qualifier was outstanding from the hit - it buried the rear and all the way down I was anticipating it raising the rear ready to shake. But once past 660 feet I started to believe it was on one, then it started to pull hard to the left, I did all I could to keep it off the wall and lifted about 100 feet short of the finish line.
The reaction of the crew approaching me at the top end suggested it was something special but I never expected 4.82. Unfortunately we spun a main bearing which meant that we had long night ahead. We got a block and crank from Rune, but the block needed the deck repairing. Steve, Robin and I went back to my workshop where the block and other bits were repaired. Stuart, Richard, Mark, Steve S, Sarah, Kirsty and Ray, stayed and prepped the car while Jeanette gave moral support and sustenance. At 4.20 am we were done - well and truly!
Sunday had highs and lows. The win against Risto Poutiainen was sweet with a pedalling 5.3, but unfortunately a low followed: a broken rod, burnt pistons and liner. Unfazed, Stuart got everyone dancing to the same tune, Rune sorted us the parts, and Risto's guys even chipped in - many thanks, true sportsmen. Needless to say we got done with a stellar effort from everyone. Micke Kågered was our next opponent and a formidable one too. It was a really good race straight from the tree, I think Micke had a problem and again I hung on to a 4.90 pulling to the left. The car survived relatively well on that one. The following phases were all highs, our trusty sponsor Jöran Persåker, a perfect photo opportunity. Winning the final was an obvious high, even though it was with some mixed feelings when the bottom pulley sheared at our quickest 330 of the weekend and I was coasting listening to Jöran pedalling like a man possessed, the nose of my dragster just braking the beams moments before Jöran's.
Thank you for the overwhelming support shown to us by the fans, to Rune Fjeld and RF Motorsport, Stuart and Richard McDonald and the above-mentioned crew, Persåkers Speed Shop, Lucas Oil, Dave Rowe (EPS), Kawasaki UK, and of course my family Jeanette and Shelby. A truly amazing weekend made possible by Santa Pod, and the hard work and dedication of Santa Pod Racers Club and the whole of their crew.
Turned out nice again!
19th September: UK Super Comp and Super Gas racer Jon Morton and his Firecrest-sponsored team left home for the FIA European Finals in plenty of time to make scrutineering and set up their pit in the light, but that's when things started to go wrong although it turned out nice in the end as Mort took the event win:
On the A43 we have a blow out on the camper so Dan and I change the spare at the side of the road. Bottle jack and tight nuts and a busy road, not ideal. We finally get to the Pod two hours late, it's dark, and all the pit spaces in Super Gas and Comp are taken. Then I get puncture number two on the trailer. They say it comes in threes, can't wait for the next one.
Next morning all going to plan, get scrutineered and we go out and do a couple of qualifying runs, all seems well. Next pass the car comes off the throttle stop with a big bang and lots of vibration so I pull over and get towed off the track. Back in the pits all becomes evident when on inspection I find the block cracked and a hole in the sump - a rod had let go on number three. Game over I think, and I was supposed to be best man at a wedding on Saturday but I told my mate I could not go as I was leading the National Championship, looks like I will be able to make it after all.
I was just resigning myself to a weekend of weddings, beer and watching the racing when my good friend Jonny Giles comes over and offers me the engine out of his and Donna's Willys. I consider their very generous offer, but I tell him I can't accept as I don't want to ruin his weekend's racing and worse still risk breaking his engine. So once again can't wait to have a beer and drown my sorrows. Ten minutes later Jon comes back again and says he's thinking of buying a spare engine from Andy Raw, a Jeff Bull 555 ci ex-Spencer Tramm engine which was sitting in Andy's race car back at Newmarket, and if I wanted they would go and get it that night and I could be out racing again on Friday. After lots of thinking and persuading by all the Mortsport crew it's decided that I couldn't turn down the wonderful offer.
So Jon and Donna do the deal and at eight o'clock on Friday morning the engine is in my pit. Once again I am humbled by all the offers of help from my fellow racers and friends to get the engine in, and up and running. So Dan and I with the help from the Morrice boys and the Giles crew set about changing the engines. Before you know it the motor was in, it took more time swapping ancillaries and pump drives etc than the heavy stuff. We fired up about 3:00 pm and after some tuning we were ready for the last two qualifiers on Friday, the only problem being that Dan had no data for the motor so he had to guess the throttle stop settings. On the first pass in Gas we ran 10.0, then in Comp went 8.94, not bad for guesswork!
Saturday saw us improve our qualifying positions and give us a chance for racing on Sunday. The motor still wanted some fine tuning but luckily Jeff and Belinda Bull were on hand and Jeff waved his magic wand and had the motor running sweet. Sunday saw us drawn against Steve Dunn and Jon Evans who were number two in the National Championship, not too far behind, they are a great team and real sportsmen and this was the best or worst draw for both of us, depending on the outcome. After a very close race and double breakout I was lucky to get the win thanks to a slight holeshot. Round two saw us up against Dutchman Cas Van De Mosselaar, we were ahead a tenth on the tree and ran a 9.90, Dan well on top of the delay box now. Semi final time and a race against with my friend for twenty years Mark 'Chalky' White who was having a good weekend in his Chevy Vega. This turned out to be another very close race and I lifted to a 9.92 thanks to another holeshot. In the other semi final my engine godfather Jon Giles was up against the old master Al O'Connor, another double breakout and Al got the win. The final was all over on the Tree when Al redlit, I had a 0.03 light and another 9.90 all thanks to Dan's calculations.
This has all been a bit of a fairy tale weekend for us and I owe most of it to Jon and Donna, the biggest thanks in the world to them. Also to the Morrice boys and all the other racers who offered their help, to Jeff Bull and Andy Robinson who keep me racing, and my super crew Dan, Heidi, Marci, Landi and Ray. A big thanks also to Keith Bartlett for putting on a fantastic meeting and to Ian Marshall, Darren Prentice and all the crew, what a great race track. Finally thanks to my sponsors Firecrest Services, The Three Horseshoes Benson - probably the best pub in the world - and SK Passey MOTs, Hagbourne Garage, Didcot.
Eight more runs than planned.
19th September: UK Super Pro ET racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Pete Walters and dad Richard were expecting one qualifier and one run in eliminations at the FIA European Finals but found themselves packing up to go home no less than ten runs later:
I think that we have broken something at every meeting since we débuted the car, but finally it all came together at the European Finals. The first run on Thursday didn't go as planned though: once fired up in the pairing lanes, we knew the engine wasn't running as it usually does and as I pulled around to the start line, it was hunting really bad. I launched and it was mis-firing really badly and eventually killed itself at about 100 feet. We got back to the pits and found that the mag had moved which sent the timing all over the place! The second run was much better, an easy 8.61. From then on things went uphill! Finishing qualifying in a respectable twelfth place 0.020 off my dial-in, all the runs in the 8.4s and 8.3s.
Getting back to the pits on Saturday night, Kirstie told me that I was racing John Bradshaw, but unfortunately John suffered problems earlier in the day, so it was a bye in the first round! A nice run resulting in a 8.43/155 with a -0.004 red light. Back to the pits, quick turn-around and ready for the second round against Jack Brewster. We knew it would be a good race, with Jack running 8.5s and me 8.3s and 8.4s. I was confident going into the race, as I knew my reactions had been good all weekend, all 0.0s. A strong burnout and ready to go into stage, Jack's lights went first and then mine straight after, I hit the loud pedal and the race was on. I didn't see Jack for the whole run, so I backed off just before the finish line. We got to the end of the track and neither of us knew who won, but Nigel Turner came along and told me I had won! A double breakout. We got back to the pits and looked at the timing ticket, and it showed an awesome 1.091 sixty foot time, which we were really happy about!
A quick turnround and back down for the quarter finals where I would face Nick Good in his six-second dragster, the first time I have been chased in eliminations. This is where it all went wrong, a -0.057 red light and it was all over. But all in all a fantastic weekend, and we are really looking forward to the National Finals now that we have a package that works.
Don't forget to visit www.pwrd.co.uk for all your design needs.
A Mini news update.
19th September: UK Pro ET racer Andrew Gibb failed to qualify in last weekend's Pro ET field with the Stripteaser Minivan, but he says that it was not for the want of trying:
Having chased a misfire since the start of the season, we finally found the answer to our problems at Mini in the Park, although the answer came from our American tuning adviser at the FIA Main Event. Who is this fine person? None other than Bob Jarrett! I really can't thank Bob enough for his input and solid advice and support. Let's face it, it's not as if he just sits in his trailer at the track looking pretty so any time Bob has to talk is quite valuable. Whilst talking about Bob, I would also like to thank him for the new parachute pack for which he flatly refused to accept any payment. Thanks Bob, you're a star.
After our outing at Mini in the Park, my super crew man Daniel Giles went home and had some lengthy discussions with another successful ex Jaguar drag racer, his dad Barry Giles, and with some good pointers we set about resetting the clutch. Off we went to do a qualifying run which resulted in a good launch but no second or third gear, argh! After a call into Derek Flynn's pit and a replenished air bottle we were ready to go again. With an 11.00 on the board I ran an 11.3 so I was way off this time! Anyway, after playing a guessing game with the dial-in all weekend I was unable to get into the field but going home with a new PB of 11.06 was more than enough for me!
All this would not have been possible without the help of the following people, whom I would like to thank now. In no particular order they are Bob Jarrett, Barry Giles, Derek Flynn, and my long suffering crew who endure my many mad rants when things get tough: Sandie Gibb, Daniel Giles, Kirsty Gibb and Assistant Crew Chief Thaliah Gibb. Last but not least Annalieze Gibb who ran her last event in Junior Dragster last weekend. Finally a big Thank You to all the team at Santa Pod for the excellent track and smooth running of the event even when there were the unfortunate accidents. You are a credit to the sport! A stirling job done by Eurodragster as usual (Thanks - Ed) and Nitro FM. Sorry if this has turned into a PMR epic production but without acknowledgement these people become unsung heros in my eyes.
That's it for racing Stripteaser this year, but all being well we will be out again next Easter with the gas turned on.
Every run a best.
19th September: B&H Automotive/LA Racing Parts Street Eliminator racer Ron Haslett's FIA European Finals started with a test at VW Action the weekend before:
We arrived on Friday afternoon to find that the Parade of Power was on in Wellingbough. Having never done this before we were amazed at the turnout and how well the cars were received. On Saturday my first and only run was a 12.4 on five cylinders, two broken rocker studs and a broken plug. My neighbour who came with me for the first time then drove back to Portsmouth to get a new set. On Sunday the first run was a new best without gas of 10.1, on the second run I had a broken rocker stud and a 10.3 on gas and seven cylinders, and on the third run I had massive wheelspin and the car tried to kiss the barrier, and another stud broke.
After talking to Dave Powell and Pete Knight before the European Finals I changed the studs again, moved the stud girdle and rechecked the geometry. Everything looked good. We missed the first three sessions then got out and ran a mild pass. No broken studs. Thanks to Pete Knight for bringing a new set of rocker nuts to the track on Friday. The gas was then turned on and we ran 9.5/147, another new best.
I'm not going to list every run we did but we made eight runs over the weekend and managed eight new bests in either ET or speed with a best of 9.0 and 153 mph and we got the front wheels off the ground for the first time. I can't thank enough the people who have helped me over this year as although we haven't raced we haven't been idle either. So a big thanks to the lads who helped me in the workshop and at the track: Graham, Russ, Andy, Nick, Mark and Darren, and Trev, Dave, Alan and Pete.
Murdoch runs an eight.
19th September: Fellow B&H Automotive/LA Racing Parts Street Eliminator racer David Murdoch was very pleased with his first eight-second pass which he recorded at the FIA European Finals although he says that in all honesty it wasn't expected:
I always said I wanted to run a nine-second car and when we got down to the nines at the Summernationals we couldn't believe it, so you can imagine how we felt last weekend. I would like to thank all my crew for all the hard work they put in when we ran into problems on Friday as we found the distributor gear had failed. Thanks for well-timed (get it) advice from big Ron Haslett, cheers big man. Then we found that the oil pump drive shaft was also knackered. Thanks to Jason Weir for the offer of his dizzy. It was a mad race for myself and Keith Hunt to get to Real Steel first thing on Saturday morning to pick up the parts we needed and get back to the track in time, which I have to say wasn't easy with the crowds that fell upon Santa Pod last weekend. But we made it and I have to say it was well worth it - we went out and ran an 8.91 on the Saturday and then topped that with the 8.89 in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.
Unfortunately we then suffered a major oil leak and just weren't willing to take the risk, along with the fact that our parachute had decided to part company with the car. Sad, because we think we could have given John Sleath a run for his money - not. Anyway, again, a big thanks to all for a successful weekend. See you all at the National Finals.
FIA European Finals FIM/UEM review.
19th September: The FIA European Finals was one of the best racing weekends which FIM/UEM European Drag Bike Championship Co-ordinator Lars Andersson has ever attended:
We arrived on Wednesday and did the safety inspection in perfect weather. Then having three days of qualifying in the sun made it very good. On race day there were some cold winds from the north and some clouds but nothing that stopped us from racing. There was a huge crowd in the grandstand and the bank on the other side was full for both Saturday and Sunday. I never ever saw so many on Friday. The preparation of the track was excellent. Darren Prentice has fixed some of the holes at the end of the track. The only negative point is that the track is getting old and is not as flat as it could be. I am hoping that Keith Bartlett now will take the step and install a new surface after this exciting weekend. He had the crowd, the racers and the records.
In Top Fuel bike everyone was waiting for Peter Svensson after he had run a 5.93 in Norway, could he do it here? Could any other rider be as quick? In the first qualifying session on Friday Peter showed us that he was the man to count on. 5.978 on a run which was not perfect and then he ran 6.0 and then 5.91 in qualifying. Second was Ian King with a Personal Best of 6.1 and then all the others followed. We had seven Top Fuel Bikes and Rikard Gustavsson on his Funny Bike in the field. Outside were Rene van den Berg and Eric Teboul, both riders I was expecting to see qualified, so it was tough. In eliminations it was Peter and Steve Woollatt in the semi and Peter went to final against Sverre Dahl who showed that he can also run fast. He should have raced Ian King but Ian's bike was broken so it was a bye run for Sverre in the semi. In the final Peter was fastest and won the event. After this win he finished second after Ian King in the Championship. Rikard Gustavsson was third with the same points as Rene van der Berg but the win in Finland placed Rikard before Rene. So it was an exciting event and a exciting Championship this year. Next year can only be better and will be since Rikard will come out on a Top Fuel Bike. Rene will have a strong new bike and there is one more new bike coming from Norway which Ronny Aasen will ride next year. How many more will run five seconds next year? Peter Svensson also set a new speed record and if Keith puts in a new surface at Santa Pod will we see a new record next year, maybe the race will be for the first 400 km/h speed.
In Pro Stock Bike we were all expectant because for the first time in the UEM Dave Beck turned up. He was very welcome. And after the first qualifying round he ran 7.169 round, close to the record, and everyone was excited. In the next round both Anders Abrahamsson and Ulf Ögge ran under the record and Fredrik Fredlund also ran a Personal Best. After the qualifying Ulf Ögge was fastest and had the record and then Anders and Dave before Fredlund. In the semi it was Fredlund against Ögge and when Ögge won that round he was the Championship winner ahead of Fredlund. In the other semi it was Dave against Anders and Dave ran a new record 7.07 but lost to Anders on a 7.11 but with better reaction time. After both fuel and the size of the engine were checked and found OK Dave's record was ratified. No problem with Dave's bike even if there were some rumours in the pit (It always happens if you are too good - Ed), everything was OK. In the final Anders won over, both running fast in a side-by-side race but Anders was the first to the finish.
In Supertwin it was a question of whether Per Bengtsson or Lorenz Stäuble would win the Championship. After very exciting qualifying Lorenz was first and Per second. But in eliminations Lorenz' bike did not start so Per was winner in the Championship after he had run his race. Per raced Job Heezen in the final as he did in Hungary but this time Job was the winner. There is a lot more to say about Supertwin such as Hans Olav Olstad does not have any thing to cook spaghetti in now because his pan is now a cover for his clutch. The clutch broke in qualifying and the cover did its job. Per Bengtsson had some spare parts and after a lot of work they fixed the bike. The two KTM bikes from Finland also had problems but I am sure that Jaska will solve them and maybe next year come back faster than ever.
Thank you also to Keith Bartlett and Darren Prentice for all the work they have done this year. Santa Pod is one of the best tracks in the world and when weather and people are like this then the racing is very good. The Championship for 2009 is now finished. This has been a great year, not like 2008 with a lot of rain. Now is it winter and I hope that I will have the chance to come back next year and do my job. But you never know. There are some problems coming and I hope that they can be solved.
18th September: Thanks to Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Paula Marshall for forwarding us Version 4 of the official entry list for the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend, which takes place at Santa Pod Raceway on 10th-11th October. You can check out the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend entry list by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend. Today is the closing date for entry; for more see Wednesday's Event entry update.
19th September: UK Super Pro ET racer Paul Harvey initially had a good return to the track back in May but things quickly started to go a bit wrong:
Don't forget that we run an original 1968 Ford Cleveland Alloy block motor, Ford trans and 1974 Rear Engine Dragster. We have had two outings this year with the 410 ci Cleveland, the first real test of the engine since 2005, both at the Pod and both resulting in damage. We were invited to the Classic Ford Show at the Pod in May, which was a great event. We ran a PB of 8.67 and PB of 153 mph on our final demo run of the weekend, came to stop at the top end and found very little in the braking department. On inspection in the pits, one of the rear axle hubs had completely snapped off, and only the brake disc and caliper were holding on the 33" Goodyear...lucky?
On inspection back at home, we also found that we had eighth bent exhaust valves after a fault in the rotating assembly. So a quick rebuild, a thousand dollar's worth of parts, and out for a last test of the year at the VW Action/Peak Performance Day. Arrived Friday to get some valuable running-in time and to set up in the pits, only to find we had a faulty new oil pump which broke while idling on the third test fire. The new oil pump arrived Saturday morning, and off we went.
All I can say is that the burnout felt awesome, really picked up the tyres, a lot different from the past. A little misjudgement by the crew (bit rusty) not putting the tyres in tracks when staging the car on the start line, and we promptly spun the tyres for at least a hundred feet, two gear shifts etc, and then shook loose the parachute at about the eighth, so nothing much to report about that run. The second run later that day, again an awesome burnout and then a PB of 8.58 at a slow 143 mph.
Our aim has always been to better the original fastest ET of the Turbo Saxon ran, which was an 8.56, so almost there. Later in the pits after a number of attempts to start the motor and change settings, we found that there was a major problem. That sinking feeling when a spark plug won't come out of the head, and when you do get it out the end is completely missing...
The inquest discovered a damaged timing gear bolt which allowed the new roller cam to walk no more than a few millimetres backwards in the block, causing two roller lifters to jam, one hanging open number seven exhaust valve, which promptly destroyed the piston and cylinder head, cam lifters etc as you can see.
Not as bad as first thought: the head is salvagable, but a lot of repairs and money again. One thing which keeps us positive, our dyno software and the track time results which indicate some good things to come.
Kirk's new direction.
19th September: Further to our news item of 9th September, former Super Modified racer Andy Kirk has been in touch about the new new direction for Kirk Motorsport:
It has always been my ambition to run a nitro-powered car, and with the advent of the new Classic Funny Car Series it's the ideal opportunity for the team and I to realise that ambition in the form of a '73 Cuda Funny Car. You will read, over the coming months, all about the new class and its possible participants so I won't spoil the party now (party spoilt 9th September - Ed) but I would like to thank all of the well-wishers who stopped by over the weekend and to the fellow racers who are stepping into the unknown with me. I must mention a few people who are helping to make this transition possible. My wife Barb for putting up with yet another project; Bob Jarrett; the guys at Good Vibrations Motorsport; Chris at Alan Johnson Performance; Johnny Nilsson in Sweden for all the help and advice; Andy and Kate Robinson for help, supplies and a first rate service; and my current boss at the track, Graham Ellis; who is helping more than he knows. In particular I would like to thank Al Smith who is turning his quite considerable bike building skills to four wheels. Al's workmanship is first class and I would urge anyone who requires welding or fabrication of any kind to consider a call to Al.
Whilst I'm on I would like to add my congratulations to a few people, so in no particular order: all the staff at Santa Pod for all the hard work and an awesome track; Matts Eriksson 5.98/241, outstanding; Jimmy Ålund 6.64, unbelievable; John Sleath 7.68/192, amazing; Colin Lazenby 7.70, I knew it would come mate; Kev Slyfield, massive Personal Best; Dave Wilson 279, fastest class speed outside of North America, 'nuff said; and finally Graham Ellis, what a battle all weekend and to qualify in the top half of an awesome Pro Mod field and take out the reigning European champion in the first round, a great achievement, but they haven't seen anything yet have they Graham?
Begley blows Ireland away.
19th September: Mick Begley went back to his roots last weekend when he visited Ireland to compete in the Irish Open Drag Racing Championship. Not only that, he returned in true Mick-fashion. An exceptionally talented driver who has broken several records and owns one of the quickest Nissan Skylines around, Mick knows his stuff and when he competed in the Irish Championship he pulled out all the stops to impress his dedicated Irish fan base.
Driving the powerhouse 'Gaijin' (Japanese for outcast), Mick made three runs on Sunday. His first run down the drag strip was a sighting run, during which he gets a feel for the track and how the car is performing on the day. However, despite Mick "Backing off halfway" and being in third gear, he still achieved a time that others can only dream of. Mick, in the Nissan Skyline R33, which hosts twin Turbo Dynamics modified and blueprinted GT3542R one-off turbochargers under its bonnet, got a time of 9.5 seconds. Then came the second run, in which Mick backed off again, but this time two-thirds of the way down the strip and having just changed into fifth gear. Mick was over the line in 8.8 seconds. Now, thoroughly warmed up and with no holds barred, Mick prepared himself for the third and final run.
Running on a slippery track with no traction control, on just 1.5 bar of boost and with no nitrous, Mick put his foot down...and didn't lift it back up again until he'd gone through the finish line. His time was an astounding 8.3 seconds at 167 mph.
"It was a brilliant weekend and I'm really pleased with my result", said Mick. When questioned about the car he explained, "Rob of TR Racing made some changes to the mapping for me, which has made a massive difference in the car's power and times. The car has the makings of big things and I am going to give it 100%". Turbo Dynamics Senior Technical Advisor, Matt Waterman, said of Mick's achievement "It is a fantastic result! My congratulations to Mick. We are always excited when Mick takes to the strip; he never disappoints and we know there's more to come."
Spirit of Fuel Altereds nomination open.
19th September: The advent calendars are in at Tesco so it must be getting near to that time again, say Glenn Ramsden and Mandy May of UK Event Safety.
This year the date of the Nostalgia Fuel Altered Association Dinner Dance has been brought forward to late October, so we need your nominations for the Spirit of Fuel Altereds Award as soon as possible please. The Spirit of Fuel Altereds Award is for that person or that team that goes the extra mile; not necessarily the fastest, quickest or the new Champion but the person in the class who is there for that little something special, loaning parts, brewing up for the crew, raising spirits or a whole load of other things.
The first year it was awarded to Lawrie Gatehouse and Luke Bennett was the last well-earned winner, clearly both for very different reasons. All we need now is your nominations for the next Award. We have had to put a deadline on receiving your thoughts which is 1st October; please send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
19th September: The UK's Mike Kason writes to thank Stu Bradbury, Brian Taylor and Santa Pod Raceway for inviting him and the other guests to the European Finals for the Crazy Horses book signing:
It was fantastic to meet so many heroes from the past, people who were involved in laying the foundations for the sport as we see it today. My team Kerbdozer Racing were pioneers in our own way running the first of the current modern Powerglide transmissions with reverse shift and built in line locks. We were also the first to fit and use nitrous and the first team to have a matching race car, tow car and crew with the Kerbdozer series of cars and we loved doing the champagne burnouts just for show.
I have not been to the Pod for a number of years but have been involved in professional motorsport all over Europe including Touring Cars. I would like to congratulate SPR and the race teams for the massive improvements and professionalism both on the track and in the pits. The facilities are much improved and it's a fantastic show both visually and in performance. Having been to NHRA events in the US, the UK is getting very close.
The only problem I have now is to keep my hands in my pocket because it is so tempting to do it again.
Web site updates.
19th September: We have two exclusive Racer Blog updates for you today. First up is Top Methanol Dragster racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Derek Flynn who tells the story of his FIA European Finals weekend. The second update is from Luke Bennett of the Bennett Racing blown-alcohol altered team who have already started their off-season work. As ever you can check out the latest Blog updates by clicking here or by clicking on the Racer Blogs link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
Eurodragster.com Photo Editor Roger Gorringe has finally found the time to update his Nitro Exposure web site with winners and a few other shots from the stunning FIA European Finals. There are also a couple of vintage shots on the Home and News pages for those who can remember just a few years back. Check it out at www.nitroexposure.co.uk.
18th September: The latest spy picture to arrive at the offices of Eurodragster.com came with the words "Postcard from Wales, see you at the weekend". Looking closely at the full-sized picture led us to believe we were seeing double, but if you know any more, or if you would like to send your own spy picture, then drop us a line at email@example.com.
Thanks to Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Paula Marshall for forwarding us Version 3 of the official entry list for the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend, which takes place at Santa Pod Raceway on 10th-11th October. You can check out the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend entry list by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend. Today is the closing date for entry; for more see Wednesday's Event entry update.
Thanks also to Andy Marrs of TSI Timers Europe for forwarding us an updated table of UK records to take account of the records set at the FIA European Finals. You can check out the new UK records sheet by clicking here or by clicking on the European Bests link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
UK Sportsman ET racer Spencer Tramm is getting some pretty good customer service from the US' Jim Rizzoli who as well as managing cars for Larry Miersch, Mark Niver and his son Kyle at Bakersfield this weekend is also finding the time to have a run out in his Stock Eliminator car, which Spencer will be racing at the NHRA National Event at Las Vegas and Pomona under the Gold RV/Rizzoli Racing banner. Good luck to you Jim and please remember to take the odd breather if you can.
Good luck also to ex-pat UK Top Alcohol Dragster racer Michael Manners of Eurodragster.com sponsor Cosmo Residences who is competing in this weekend's NHRA Divisional race at No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, Louisiana. As ever you will be able to stay in touch with Mike's progress on the Drag Race Central web site at www.dragracecentral.com. Mike will then go on to next week's NHRA National event in Dallas at which Swiss Top Fuel Dragster racer and fellow Eurodragster.com sponsor Urs Erbacher and Swedish Fuel FC racer Leif Helander will also be racing.
If you were tuned in to our American Car Imports-sponsored FIA European Finals FIA European Finals coverage you will have read about the shirt swap between TMFC finalists Ulf Leanders and Dan Larsen. Phil Brown asks "So who really won - the best team or the best-dressed team?". You can decide below.
Mike and Sandra Jones write to thank all the riders and drivers for putting on a brilliant show at the FIA European Finals. "Thanks also for the excellent commentary, to all the track staff who worked tirelessly to keep the track in tip top condition, and all the behind the scenes workers", they add. "Only one small moan - why can't the so-called race fans clear up their mess when they leave the track (e.g. beer cans). It's not as if there aren't any bins around."
Rob Dobbie tells us that Tony Wynne-Jones, who has been racing since the 1970s, is sixty today. "Tony has built and raced a large variety of bikes and cars during this time, most recently with the Wild Bunch in his home-built Corvette Welsh Raider II", says Rob. "He also has a long history of crewing for various drivers and riders especially now as his car is mothballed due to family commitments. I am sure you will join me in wishing him a very Happy Birthday, which he also shares with his eldest son Jody, and he will be back not only in the Corvette but in his leathers as one of his many projects is nearing completion!". Have a great day Tony.
NSRA Hot Rod Drags coverage.
18th September: Eurodragster.com will be attending this weekend's NSRA Hot Rod Drags at Shakespeare County Raceway to bring you end-day photo galleries in association with American Car Imports.
The Webster Race Engineering/Lex Joon Racing US Tour 2009 webcam will be on-line and scheduled to broadcast a picture every sixty seconds as long as the track is open.
We will post a direct Home Page link as soon as the webcam starts to broadcast but you can get to the NSRA Hot Rod Drags coverage index by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the NSRA Hot Rod Drags.
Web site updates.
18th September: Our good buddy Patrik Jacobsson has updated his Racebilder gallery with pictures from the FIA European Finals. You can check out Patrik's excellent shots at www.racebilder.nu.
Also posting from the FIA European Finals is Jamie Dyks whose superb spectator-side shots you can find in his Fotopic gallery at topnitro.fotopic.net.
Another good buddy, Alan Currans, writes to let us know that he has updated the official web site of the UK's Chaos Fuel Altered team with a report from the FIA European Finals. You can check out the report via Latest News at www.chaos-fuel-altered.com.
Editor's note: Your News Editor's day job is getting seriously in the way of today's news update. We have sneaked on all the quick pieces we can and hopefully things will calm down long enough to allow more to be posted. If not then it's an epic late night tonight and an epic news update for tomorrow. Please keep those news items coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When it all came together...
17th September: The European Finals at Santa Pod Raceway turned out to be one of the most exciting races in a long time with several records in different classes over the weekend. In Supertwin Per Bengtsson and the Beast went into the race five Championship points ahead of Lorenz Stäuble.
"The first round of qualifying resulted in tyre smoke as we overpowered the track caused by a new clutch set-up", says Per. "In the third round we had a fuel system failure which unfortunately damaged the crank and that's why we only ran 6.70 seconds, enough for the number two spot. We had to change the crankshaft and to put in our old crank which we used for fifteen seasons. The engine was restarted early Saturday evening after very hard work by my crew."
In the first elimination round on Sunday Lorenz Stäuble couldn't get his bike to move after firing the engine and had to leave Per to run a bye. "We were sorry for Lorenz' problems during the first round of eliminations since we were looking forward to racing him in the final", says Per. "On the other hand we had our share of problems at the Main Event when we broke in the burnout in the first round. We put out the reigning champion Svein Olaf Rolfstad in the first round with a 6.64 run and went through the semis where Trond Jostein Holberget was our opponent. That resulted in a new Personal Best ET as we ran 6.56 seconds and 209 mph taking the win over Trond."
The final was the second in a row against Job Heezen and this time it was Job's turn to take the win as he ran 6.69 seconds against Per's 6.93 seconds. "We lost the timing belt at half track and still ran 6.93 over the finish line", said a frustrated Per right after the final. "But it was a well deserved win for Job and his team who have been working real hard during the season.
"The summary of this season is that we started last year with a lot of new equipment and an expanded team which are now starting to deliver. Everything has fallen into place really well and the crew members enjoy working together in a good way. This and the fact that we all have very high ambitions when it comes to the racing operation has resulted in the following:
Swedcut, Quaker State, Autoexperten Växjö, Gates/Lönne, Ulvsgården AB, Fanhultstvätten Älmhult, Bentec Engineering and Flexoart.
"We also want to thank the Eurodragster.com staff for excellent service during the season (Oh I say, thanks - Ed)"
The Beast Drag Bike Team will now analyse the season and work real hard on securing sponsorship for next yer. A team meeting and a Bentec Racing Banquet will take place at our home base in about four weeks' time. "We will of course let you know when decisions have been made for next year", says Team PR L-O Jonsson.
Best weekend ever!
17th September: The FIA European Finals was one of the most enjoyable weekends ever for B&H Automotive/LA Racing Parts Street Eliminator UK team FB Racing, says driver Ian Hook:
With only two full no-gas passes and no dyno time on the new 598 we used the first three qualifiers to extract a little all-motor performance from the '34 and improved from our Round 6 best of 8.95 to a new Personal Best of 8.66. Then it was time to open the bottle and on our third gas run with the new engine gave us an overall Personal Best of 8.16. What's more my 0.000 reaction time was also a PB and won me the Eurodragster.com/Speedflow Perfect Light award. Thanks guys, the £100 will pay for the National Finals gas! We couldn't get any more out of the car through the rest of qualifying but were happy to be consistently running low eights. The Cruise was very enjoyable and I must say a big thanks to the crowd for the fantastic send-off they gave the SE racers as we made our way up the strip and out of the track and also for the welcome we had on our safe return.
Due to some on-track delays it was well into the afternoon of Sunday before we had our first round race against our fellow Cheltenham-based racer Mats Andersson. After a hard burnout the car launched really well but at about mid track started to pull to the right and wasn't keen to straighten up - so much so that I almost came off it. At about a thousand feet the car sorted itself out and felt great across the line. Driving back to our pit I hoped but didn't dare believe. As I got out of the car two of my crew were there and just hearing the magic word "Seven" was enough for me to start celebrating. 7.97/173, new Personal Bests and the first European street rod to run the quarter in under eight seconds! Anything after that was a bonus. And what a bonus it was! We made it right through to the final where John Sleath - always a pleasure to race against - used his awesome Audi to take the win.
Whilst I hate to come over all Hollywood I'd really like to pass on some thanks. Firstly my crew, especially Brain, Brief and Nubi who spent many evenings in my garage fabricating parts and nailing together our awesome 598 Ford and of course not forgetting Spud, Wires, Kitchen Matt, Squeak and new-boy Dave. A big thank you to my sponsors, the FB Associates, A&E Fire Equipment, RS Autos, hotrodtees.co.uk, Power Pour (it works just fine Jon), The Everest Balti Restaurant and Messier-Dowty . Thanks to Clive Bond for his help, support and patience and to Trev Langfield for his support and the supply not only of our superb WoN nitrous system and controller but also of a lot of advice.
I must also express my thanks to Santa Pod Raceway both for the hard working crew and for inviting B&H Automotive/LA Racing Parts Street Eliminator to take part in the European Finals event and to the Eurodragster.com crew for providing such excellent coverage (Thanks, you're welcome - Ed). Appreciation too is deserved by Colin and Ann-Marie Lazenby who both work tirelessly in support of our class, and a big Well Done to all the SE racers who put on such a fantastic show last weekend.
To finish, having received many congratulations ourselves, I'd like to pass on our own to John Sleath for having produced the quickest and fastest runs ever seen in Street Eliminator and to Jon Webster for his victory in Top Fuel. Well done both.
We're looking forward to seeing everyone at the UK National Finals.
Sleath's clean sweep.
17th September: FIA European Finals B&H Automotive?LA Racing Parts Street Eliminator winner John Sleath says that it was great to be back in the class after a three-year absence:
I was amazed at the warm welcome from racers and fans alike. I'd only done limited testing this year at the Mopar Euronats and I was not totally sure I was ready to take on the might of the higher Street Eliminator order with their 600ci / 706ci / 814ci etc Procharged and nitrous motors. After all, my engine is the same one we had in the Saab, the block, crank and rods now being ten years old and only displacing 508ci. There have been some engine updates but only small stuff.
I should have been more confident! We left late Sunday night with the event win, #1 qualifier and the quickest and fastest run ever by a Street Eliminator car, 7.68 at 192.99 mph This was possible with FAST fuel injection, Millers oil and additives and a little bit of luck.
Thanks must also go to my crew Michelle, Nigel and Speedy but for the life of me I don't know why as all they seemed to do was give me a hard time for lifting a little on most runs, and of course Colin and Ann-Marie for working so hard for all Street Eliminator competitors: without them I feel we would not have been at the European Finals.
For more information and a great video of the record run please visit www.john-sleath.com.
17th September: Many thanks to Yvonne Tramm and our very own Simon for forwarding us the post-Open Sport Nationals standings in the UK National Drag Racing Championships, which you can check out on our Speedflow-sponsored Points Standings page by clicking here or by clicking on the Points Standings link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
The latest spy picture to arrive at the offices of Eurodragster.com came with the words "Whose body kit is this?". We think we recognise the photographer's silhouette but if you know any more, or if you would like to send your own spy picture, then drop us a line at email@example.com.
Many thanks to Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Paula Marshall for forwarding us Version 5 of the official entry list for the UK National Finals, which takes place at Santa Pod Raceway on 26th-27th September. You can check out the UK National Finals entry list by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the UK National Finals.
Thanks also to Paula Marshall for forwarding us Version 2 of the official entry list for the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend, which takes place at Santa Pod Raceway on 10th-11th October. You can check out the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend entry list by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend. Tomorrow (Friday) is the closing date for entry; for more see yesterday's Event entry update.
Many thanks to Andy Marrs of TSI Timers Europe for forwarding us the official FIA European Finals timing data, which you can check out by clicking here or by clicking on the Timing Data link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
Thanks also to Andy for forwarding us an updated table of European Bests to take account of all the records set at the FIA European Finals. You can check out the new European Bests sheet by clicking here or by clicking on the European Bests link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
Helen Smythe of Belle Designs is pleased to announce her new range of bags for the feminine racer or rodder. Supplementing her range of original designs embroidered onto strappy tops, T-Shirts and blouses, Helen has created a range of totes, clutch bags and handbags. The new bags are all hand made by Helen to classic designs and feature retro fabrics, including a range of Alexander Henry fabrics imported from the US. If you fancy something a little different to what's available on the high street, then visit the web site at www.belle-designs.co.uk, or better still go to this weekend's Hot Rod Drags. The bags start at £22 so they won't break the bank, and a strappy top is only £12 embroiderd with a range of pinstripe inspired designs. Bags and tops will be available from Colin's Hot Rod T's stand and Helen will also be there to take custom orders, so if you don't find the design, colour or size combination you're after then she can make it for you at no extra charge.
British Drag Racing Hall Of Fame Chair Stu Bradbury would like to congratulate the race organisers, racers, Caroline Day and everybody at Santa Pod Raceway for the hospitality and the great time all the veterans had at the Crazy Horses book signing on Sunday. "I have received all the thanks and praise, but this is not down to me", says Stu. "This accolade should be given to the people who put the whole deal together. All the veterans, without exception, could not have been more appreciative of the reception they received from the fans and staff. Most had not been back to Santa Pod for many years, some as far back as 1968/9. The quality of cars, bikes, and the total professional operation that drag racing has now become swept some of these guys off their feet. They all feel that the early days spent trying to put drag racing on the map have been more than worthwhile. The dream they all had for drag racing in those early pioneering days has in their opinion been attained."
With the colder weather slowly approaching, Benny Edvardsson of Eurodragster.com News sponsor Tireshake.com tells us of a great deal on offer on his web site between now and 31st October. "Buy anything from the web shop at www.tireshake.com and you will get a free Tireshake.com knit cap", says Benny.
Santa Pod Raceway hosts the BMW Show this Sunday, 20th September, and Rick Cuthbert tells us that there is room for a couple of demo vehicles at the show. "They do not have to be BMWs", says Rick, "but any doorslammers capable of nines or quicker are welcome to come forward. There will be free entry and sign-on for the right sort of vehicle, and it will be a great opportunity to get out on track before the National Finals. If you are interested then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. General event info is available at www.bmwshow.co.uk. Other racers looking for a chance to test before the National Finals should note that there is a normal Run What You Brung on Saturday open to all cars and bikes (not just BMW)."
The whole Dave Beck Racing Pro Stock Bike team team would like to thank all of their fellow racers and fans for their enthusiasm and support over the weekend. "The support we received spurred us on to our record-breaking performance", says Charlotte Beck. "We have had a number of E-Mails from fans and racers alike congratulating us, and we have replied to each and every one, but some E-Mails have bounced back - so if you haven't had a response, this is why. It was a fantastic weekend and the support and encouragement we received came as a very pleaseant surprise. Thank you all."
Outlaws hit the Hot Rod Drags...
17th September: It's the final round of the Supercharged Outlaw series at this weekend's NSRA Hot Rod Drags at Shakespeare County Raceway and it's promising to be the best yet, writes series co-ordinator Dave McKenzie.
"We will be seeing the best of sixteen to eighteen teams at the weekend with most trying to make Saturday evening's Cacklefest", says Fuzzie. "From the promised entry we will have at least one Fuel Altered in the form of Clive Mechaell's awesome Hot Rod from Hell looking to put down some serious rubber with the Outlaws. Also returning to the track after sustaining engine damage at the UK Truck Show in July will be Alec Coe in his Shy Talker SBC slingshot dragster plus the 1933 Plymouth five-window altered The Thing 5 in the hands of driver Dave McKenzie and tuner Mark Windridge.
"In the nostalgia marquee Nick Osgathorpe will be displaying his gorgeous slingshot fueler Excalibur as well as a planned start-up for the Cacklefest in readiness for some serious action with the Outlaws in 2010. Also making plans to appear at the Hot Rod Drags are show organiser Mark Needham in the Chain Reaction Topolino and Wild Willie Fadster with his eight-second Model T, back following its extensive drivetrain blow up at York Dragway last month. Chris Pattison, the proud owner in the sixties of an Allard Dragon Dragster won in a competition at a Blackbushe Drag Fest, is also working hard to complete his altered for its début event."
The Supercharged Outlaws web site at www.supercharged-outlaws.co.uk has been updated with news, driver and team line ups as well as a gallery of photos from their last appearance at Shakespeare County Raceway, August's Bulldog Bash.
...and plenty more to see and do.
17th September: As well as the Supercharged Outlaws there will be plenty more to enjoy on and off track at this weekend's NSRA Hot Rod Drags at Shakespeare County Raceway, says Jerry Cookson:
We have a match race between Wendy Baker in the Time Warp Nostalgia Funny Car and Neil Townson in the Northern Spirit Fuel Altered. There will be Outlaw Anglias, Outlaw Flat Fours, some Street Eliminator representatives, Old Skool Fords, Gasser Circus and Flathead Meltdown.
Ten drag racing legends will be coming along on Sunday for a Crazy Horses book signing put together by Brian Taylor and Stu Bradbury, including Ken Cooper, Barry Sheavills and Liz Burn. This will take place at Graham Rennie's American Automags stand at 12:00. Golden oldies in the Nostalgia Marquee include Vicious Trait and Rouge et Noir.
There are two bands as well as a drive in movie on Friday night showing old sixties drag racing promo films from the golden days of the Nationals.
The track opens at 10.00 am Saturday and 10.30 am Sunday. Please note that there is a pre '73 cut-off for hot rods etc and that this weekend is not a general Public Track Day. More information at www.shakespearecountyraceway.com.
Eurodragster.com will be attending the NSRA Hot Rod Drags to bring you end-day photo galleries in association with American Car Imports, and the Webster Race Engineering/Lex Joon Racing US Tour 2009 webcam will be on-line and scheduled to broadcast a picture every sixty seconds as long as the track is open.
Allard Chrysler update.
17th September: Those of you visiting the Goodwood Revival Meet this coming weekend should make sure you visit the Revival Market opposite the Bonham Marquee, says Brian Taylor, as on the Hagerty Insurance stand you will find the part-restored 1961 Allard Chrysler dragster:
Brian Taylor will be manning the stand for the ACAG on Friday and Saturday and Peter Crane takes over for the Sunday. You might have trouble spotting them because they will be in sports jacket and ties don't you know (no choice). Brian will be at another Crazy Horses book signing on the Sunday at the NSRA Hot Rod Drags at Shakespeare County Raceway where he will be back in T-shirts.
By the way, the Allard Chrysler Action Group has found the original SEMA Trophy. Brian had picked up a story about its whereabouts whilst researching the book and ACAG Regional Officer Peter Crane along with Nick Pettitt went down to the Brighton & Hove Motor Club to investigate. There it was behind the club entrance door - a bit rusty and damaged. After hearing about the restoration project, the Club committee donated the trophy to the ACAG. Since then it has been restored by the Beaulieu workshops and now reside next to the car that first won it in 1963 when driven by Sydney Allard. Europe's oldest drag racing trophy is now next to Europe's oldest dragster. There will be an official presentation event at Beaulieu in the near future when more details will be available.
Another snippet is that the original paintings of the Allard Chrysler have been bought by Nick Davies. Nick paid £1000 for the two and this represents a big chunk of money for the restoration fund so many thanks to Nick. Again an official handover event will be held when it is hoped that Nick Mason will present the paintings that have been on display at Beaulieu for the last few weeks. We'll let you know about that closer to the day.
Finally ACAG now has a Regional Officer in Australia. Murray Roberts works part time at the Fox Classic Car Museum in Melbourne and is involved at several levels with the Corvette movement in Victoria and Nationally. Welcome aboard Murray and I'm sorting out your shirts right now. He joins Clive Skilton in the USA and John Long in Southern Ireland as Overseas Regional Officers.
What's on this weekend.
17th September: Apart from the events mentioned above, there are other chances to go drag racing around Europe this weekend:
The D.A.S. Drag Day #7 is taking place at Bitburg Airport, Germany, on Saturday and Sunday. Car and bike racing will take place and further details are at www.1on1-motorsports.de.
York Raceway holds its penultimate race of the year with the Gti Hot Hatch Spectacular on Sunday. The race organised by the Pennine Drag Racing Club includes Modders/Tuners Shootout Round 7, 0-60 Championship Round 3, GTi club day for both Veedubs and Pugs, a Veedub Gti and Pug GTi Club Shootout, RWYB for GTis, Hot Hatches and Modifieds, GTis special demos, Show and Shine, a Cruise Parade and RWYB. More details are at www.york-raceway.co.uk.
The 5th Annual American Car Show is taking place at Tuš Centre in in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on Saturday and Sunday.
An Auto Moto Klub race is scheduled to be taking place on Sunday at Gradiška in Bosnia but this is to be confirmed. For more details on Central European drag racing visit www.cedrag.com.
Web site updates.
17th September: We have more FIA European Finals photo updates for you today. First up is our good buddy Markus Münch has updated his Smugmug gallery with a large number of excellent shots from the weekend. Take a look at Markus' pictures at dragstripper.smugmug.com/Dragster/European-Finals-Santa-Pod-09 or click on the picture below left and see if you agree with us that this guy is one of the best drag racing photographers in Europe.
Next up with an FIA European Finals update is Dom Romney whose shots you can find at archive.modernpics.co.uk or click on the picture above right.
Sue Whyte has updated her Photoparazzi gallery with FIA European Finals pictures. As ever Sue's shots are a great mixture of on- and off-track and are well worth a look at suewhyte.fotopic.net.
Finally for today's FIA European Finals updates Eurodragster.com News Editor Tog has updated his Fotopic gallery with a few shots from the event. You can check out Tog's shots at eurodragster.fotopic.net or www.togsdragracing.com.
Editor's note: We again just ran out of lunch break today so we still have a small backlog of news to get through. One more news update should do it so tune in tomorrow for the latest from Jon Webster, Ron Haslett, Mick Begley and more, and please keep those news items coming to email@example.com..
Race cars sought for Sunday show.
16th September: Clive Kirkham has been in touch urgently seeking race cars to attend a charity event in Folkestone, Kent, this Sunday (20th).
"I have spent months organising a car show and family day at Folkestone Race Course and the all the media, including the papers (full page coverage) and local radio have already gone out", says Clive. "A number of race cars were promised, I was even provided with pictures to use to promote the day, but I have now just been informed that they cannot attend.
"I'm in a panic as we are expecting several thousand people here on Sunday, expecting to see race cars - not racing, but fired up now and then. Most people down here have never even seen a real race car, so are pretty excited!
"Can anyone help with any rails, Funny Cars etc to show. It's all for charity, so no one's making money from this, but we can pay travel costs if required. Apart from cars and bikes, there are helicopter rides, fun fair, live bands, dog racing, local radio, remote control cars and many other attractions going on, so it should be a really good day.
"If you can help with any cars and genuinely attend with them, it would be really appreciated and good for the sport of drag racing. I will buy you a beer and perhaps even a free helicopter ride too."
We are sure that there is someone out there who can help to redeem drag racing's reputation with the show organisers; if so then please contact Clive on 07977 820923 or 01303 240845, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Event entry update.
16th September: Many thanks to Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Paula Marshall for forwarding us Version 4 of the official entry list for the UK National Finals, which takes place at Santa Pod Raceway on 26th-27th September. You can check out the UK National Finals entry list by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the UK National Finals.
Thanks also to Paula Marshall for forwarding us Version 1 of the official entry list for the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend, which takes place at Santa Pod Raceway on 10th-11th October and which is the final round of the 2009 ACU UK Drag Bike Championships (not Top Fuel Bike) and the 2009 UK National 9.50 Bike Championship as well as Championship rounds for the National Association of Supertwins and Straightliners round. You can check out the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend entry list by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend.
This Friday (18th) is the official closing date for the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend. Entry after Friday, if accepted, will be subject to a 100% late entry penalty. You can download the entry form from the Santa Pod Racers Club web site at www.eurodragster.com/sprc.
If you have any queries about Extreme Performance Bike Weekend entry or UK National Finals entry then please contact Paula Marshall on 01933 313625 (outside the UK +44 1933 313625) or E-Mail email@example.com.
13:30 The official entry form is now available for the final points round of the Insane Creations Junior Drag Bike Championship which takes place at Shakespeare County Raceway on 3rd-4th October. The PDF file can be downloaded from the SCR web site at www.shakespearecountyraceway.com.
Beck's weekend of bests...
16th September: The UK's Dave Beck was the first European Pro Stock Bike rider to run a 7.0-second pass at the weekend's FIA European Finals at Santa Pod, resetting his personal best three times during the event on the Ward-engined Suzuki. While a win eluded Beck, the new benchmark was a major achievement for the team.
In Friday qualifying, Beck stunned the field with a 7.16 at 185 mph off the trailer, his first run on the UEM-mandated unleaded fuel. Saturday saw a poor first qualifier as bike spun through the early gears, but the afternoon session saw a personal best of 7.15 at 185mph. "We were very pleased with a 7.15 in the heat of the day, while the rest of the field went slower", Dave smiled. "I felt that was the run that gave us the confidence we were getting on top of the setup and into contention for the eliminations. The Ward motor is certainly more than a match for the Buell and VHR combos."
Sunday saw the weather cooler and overcast and the team felt that even quicker times were possible in the eliminations. And so it proved in round one, with Dave taking the record by improving on the 7.13 benchmark set by Ulf Ögge's Buell on Saturday, nailing a 7.12 at 185 mph defeating Gert-Jan Laseur on the Buell.
The semi-final proved to be a bittersweet affair for Beck. With Ulf Ögge predicting his Buell would break into the 7.0 bracket for the first time, Dave faced the consistent and improving Anders Abrahamsson on the VHR Suzuki. After being held in stage for an extended time, Beck lost ground on the line, but stormed on to a 7.07 run at 186 mph, losing by 0.02 on the line, but smashing the record. "Put the loss down to the rider", said Dave. "We knew we had the tune-up in the bike and felt the record was on. I'm delighted to be the first Pro Stock rider in the zeros, it's great payback for my hard-working team and sponsors."
On his UEM début, Beck had the following comments: "It was an honour and a pleasure to race with the guys at this level and I couldn't have asked for a warmer welcome from Ulf, Fredrik, Anders, Gert-Jan, Martin and the rest of the guys. The qualifying and racing, especially amongst the top four, was the closest I have ever been involved in, with records falling and some very close racing. Congratulations to Ulf on taking the title and well done to Anders for taking the win against me. I was overwhelmed by the support and the number of messages from around the country, so thanks to all. I want to contest the full Championship in 2010 and hope to make an announcement shortly. Finally, thanks to my super team of Charlotte, Ric, Tom and Stephen - records are set by teams, not individuals."
Dave Beck Racing is proud to be supported by MTC Engineering, Ward Performance, Fast by Gast, PR Factory Store, Nimbus Motorsports, Motorshack, Steve Howe & Sons (Traditional Joiners and Builders) and Stephen Moon Consulting.
16th September: UK Fuel Funny Car racer Gordon Smith asked us to congratulate John Spuffard, Bob Jarrett and the Showtime team for their win at the FIA European Finals. "Well done to all involved", says Gordon.
"I would also like to thank Dave Bryant (Crew Chief and co-owner - Ed) for the excellent job he did all weekend with the Shockwave tune-up. What a job he did with no computer on the car. He has really got his head around what it takes to run fast. Thanks Dave! Thanks also to Jason Phelps of FGR Motorsports for all the long hours spent fitting the new Mustang body in a very short space of time, and a special thanks to my crew who did a fantastic job all weekend - thanks guys. Finally thanks to all the crew involved in running the event, they all do a fantastic job with little thanks.
"As for the way the car ran this weekend we are obviously over the moon about running 5.21 and 5.22 on consecutive runs. Although disappointed not to make the final we came away from the event with a massive Personal Best and we feel that with the right conditions we can go quicker next year. This performance has been coming for some time now. With the aid of the new Mustang body the car travels through the air better and is much more stable, but most of the gained performance is down to Dave who has been creeping up on it over the last year. I am so happy for him that he could show what he could do without hurting the motor all weekend.
"Last of all I would like to thank all those who have supported us at race meetings. Finally we have given them something to cheer about."
16th September: UK Wild Bunch racer Dick Sharp is urgently seeking a 428+030" Probe 14474 piston complete with rings in order to race at the UK National Finals. "Probe themselves haven't got any for a month or so", says Dick. If you can help then please drop Dick a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UK Comp Bike racer Bob Brooks writes to thank to all the staff at Santa Pod for a fabulous and really well-run weekend. "Congratulations to all the record breakers, truly breathtaking stuff", says Bob. "Also, a huge thanks to my mate Kevin, fellow Comp Biker Phil Crossley and niece Victoria who crewed for me on Friday. Top guys, you're stars. All did a great job in making me feel safe and relaxed in their capable hands. It's the first time since 1983 that my brother Stig hasn't been at the startline when I've been racing - he couldn't take the Friday off. Unfortunately we didn't qualify, but we have cured a lot of problems and the bike is now very consistent. But it's consistently slow! We've now taken a running bike home on three consecutive meetings.
Shakespeare County Raceway is looking for Ford-based UK National Championship racers to make demo runs at the Ford Weekend on 4th October. "The track has one confirmed entry in the form of Liz Malcolm's Jus 4 Fun Pro ET dragster", says Jerry Cookson. "As long as it's Ford-based, either in body shape, motive power or both, then that's what the track is looking for as entertainment for the many Blue Oval enthusiasts who attend this annual event. Interested racers and teams should contact Shakespeare County Raceway on 01789 720180 or e-mail email@example.com.
We didn't have a news update yesterday so this one being a day late is our fault, but Marc Fossey asked us to say a big Happy Birthday for yesterday from himself and Nikki to 2009 FIM/UEM European Top Fuel Bike Champion Ian King, or "The real King of Europe" as Marc put it. No sooner said than done, hope you had a good day Ian.
Marc also asked us to say a big Thank You to all of his and Nikki's friends for their kind wishes on their retirement over to France to run a fishing business. "I hope we got to see everyone, but if we did miss you it wasn't through trying as it was a very busy weekend for everybody", says Marc. "We will be back over for the big meetings, so you haven't got rid of us that easily!". We should hope not, all the best for the future guys.
Brian Taylor tells us that his book Crazy Horses shot back up to number three in the Amazon.co.uk Motorsports Best Sellers list after the FIA European Finals. "That shows the effect of a book signing at Santa Pod, because this does not include all the books that were sold at the track - almost a sell-out again", says Brian. "Not only that, but it is now twelfth on Amazon.com new releases in the USA. This is not of course down to the book signing but due the American drag racing enthusiasts discovering the title. It is early days, but if the book is a success in the USA then the effect on European drag racing could be huge as the American corporate world gets to know more about what's happening over here."
Paul Jackson has asked us to say a big Thank You to whoever handed his wallet (complete with cash) in to Race Control at the FIA European Finals. "I'd dropped the wallet in the pits, so I presume it was handed in by a racer or crew", says Paul.
This is probably going to make us sound like miserable sods, but please note that Eurodragster.com E-Mail addresses are for drag racing-related E-Mails only. Please do not use these addresses for anything not relevant to drag racing such as jokes, allegedly funny video clips, slide shows or pictures, chain letters, urban legends, warnings about viruses or scams (i.e. urban legends again), and so on. Please use our non-Eurodragster.com personal addresses if you wish to send such E-Mails to the Eurodragster.com staff.
On the up-side of receiving E-Mails we would like to thank everyone who has taken the trouble to write with kind comments about our American Car Imports-sponsored FIA European Finals event coverage. As did Kirstie's similar shots at Hockenheim, Ed's people shots at the end of the shutdown area have drawn particular comment, mainly "More please". If we have the people to do them, then we'll do them. We are very grateful to everyone who has been in touch; it makes all the hard work worthwhile.
16th September: UK Fuel Altered racer Tony Betts asked us to say a massive Thank You to all the safety crews at Santa Pod Raceway.
"After our small glance off the wall they were there as soon as I came to a stop", says Tony. "I was glad that I at least finished the quarter mile even though not the way I wanted. 12.2/23, not so bad! I've always wondered what my pulse and blood pressure were in the car and the nurse checked and found them normal. Glad she never checked for brain cells. I would also like to apologise to John the Thug for the attitude of one of my crew trying to get to me. But that just shows the love of a father for his son after an accident.
"A big well done to the track crew for turning out an awesome track for us to race on. I apologise for the down time due to our accident and hope it didn't spoil anyone's day. A big thank you goes out to Brian a seventy year old spectator who has become part of our family along with his son. I came back to the pits and Brian came up crying, I think with joy that I was OK but really I think he was after the drive in the car. A big thank you to all my crew who turn out what must be one of the best racing operations out there. Without my trust in them it would not be so much fun racing. Thank you to Super Pro ET for the collection, what a great bunch of guys and gals.
"The penultimate thank you goes to what must be the best bunch of spectators in any motorsport, we collected £600 in the collection bucket which is going straight back into the car for the rebuild. Finally, what can I say, who else would stick by me for thirty years but my wife Elaine. It is an awesome sport but an expensive one and she has given up a lot for me to do what I love second best so thanks Elaine, I love you.
"At first after the accident I decided enough was enough but then Elaine slapped me a few times and I came to my senses. We will be back next year so anybody who is able to assist Venom Racing please call me on 07768 106795."
16th September: Former Santa Pod Raceway track annoucner John Price writes with a short word of thanks. "I never realized what a great and professional medical team we have at the track", says Pricey.
"If you want to imagine a level of embarrassment far, far in excess of anything I have enjoyed before - and I've had my moments - then just think about walking head first through the solid plate glass door in the mid-track VIP unit. I was on my way to do something, not realising that as the temperature dropped at the track the sensible ladies who look after us had closed the door to keep in the warmth. So on I went and the ensuing crash of Price's head meeting glass sounded like a bomb going off!
"I turned around to find all the VIPs etc stood still, staring silently at a retired commentator who was now leaking blood form a few places. Off we went to be greeted by Roy and his team who sorted out my "tiny" cuts and abrasions and sent me back to VIP book signing and lunch with one bandaged finger stuck up in the air in a very rude fashion. I was really lucky both to suffer so few cuts and to have the Humans look after me. Many thanks from Debs, Laura and of course me.
"However, when talking the next day to my mate Steve Parrish who commentates on MotoGP for the Beeb, he said he would listen to my embarrassment story but reckoned he had a much more embarrassing story than mine. Being an ex-GP rider and Barry Sheene team-mate he is considered to be of a high quality when dealing with racing machinery. He was at Snetterton at the weekend riding one of Kenny Roberts' GP museum bikes. He was only pootling round when, in front of the assembled crowd, the bike high-sided him and he woke up in the ambulance with a broken collarbone. OK! He wins!
"Well done to everybody at the Pod for this weekend's event. It was fabulous and I'm sure the sport has acquired a lot of new fans from the spectators who attended. Sorry about the door Keith!"
Beating cancer: you can help.
16th September: Over the years several racers have fallen victim to the wicked disease of cancer. Whilst the rest of us are enjoying ourselves at the NSRA Hot Rod Drags this weekend, Geoff Stilwell and his twelve-year-old son will be trying to raise some money for charity by walking twelve kilometres around Richmond Park in London.
Geoff and son will be raising money for the Colorectal Research Fund Charity which specialises in research into Colon Cancer and Ulceratative Collitis. "I know it's tough out there but we need to beat these horrible diseases", says Geoff. "If anyone can help me raise serious loads of money for this great charity it would be greatly appreciated. As many older racers know my wife died from Cancer of the Colon in 2005 at the age of 43, and so many people seem to suffer from Ulcerative Collitis which is another wicked disease."
If you would like to donate and help Geoff and his son get round Richmond Park in a good cause then please check out www.justgiving.com/Geoff-Stilwell.
Web site updates.
16th September: If you were listening carefully to the commentary at Santa Pod on Sunday then you will have heard that Martin Hill was carrying a video camera on a run with his Fireforce 3 Jet Funny Car. Nick Haywood has been in touch to let us know that the rear-view on-board footage is now available on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=IElZqKdgL0E. Nick very kindly gave us a sneak preview of the footage on Sunday and it is well worth a look.
We have received a number of photo updates from the FIA European Finals. In the interests of fairness we will post them in the order in which they were received. First up is Gwynn Clark whose Friday pictures you can find at www.pbase.com/slimboyfat/euro_finals_09.
Colin Donisthorpe has updated his Fotopic gallery with FIA European Finals shots which you can check out at colindonisthorpe.fotopic.net.
Tim Lockyer has posted his FIA European Finals pictures at www.dragster-photography.com.
Paul Lister's FIA European Finals pictures can be found at www.dragcaranon.co.uk.
Finally Mathias Wienand has posted three hundred FIA European Finals shots at www.sideview-inn.ifp3.com. High-resolution versions of Mathias' pictures can be purchased via the web site with funds raised going towards Mathias' travels.
FIA European Finals results, Champions.
14th September: Congratulations to the winners at this weekend's FIA European Finals at Santa Pod Raceway:
FIA Top Fuel Dragster: Jon Webster 6.9816/117.16 def. Jöran Persåker 7.5920/152.07
FIA Top Methanol Dragster: Peter Schöfer 5.3606/264.21 def. Krister Johansson 5.3660/266.69
FIA Top Methanol Funny Car: Ulf Leanders 6.0396/196.30 def. Dan Larsen 6.0399/239.32
FIA Pro Modified: Mats Eriksson 6.0289/238.91 def. Micke Gullqvist 6.1415/231.42
FIA Pro Stock: Richard Sundblom 6.7337/205.33 def. Jimmy Ålund 11.1700/75.70
Fuel Funny Car: John Spuffard 5.1099/295.28 def. Thomas Nataas 5.7560/171.08 DQ
FIM/UEM Top Fuel Bike: Peter Svensson 6.0890/224.39 def. Sverre Dahl 6.3124/230.48
FIM/UEM Supertwin: Job Heezen 6.6960/207.22 def. Per Bengtsson 6.9363/155.25
FIM/UEM Pro Stock Bike: Anders Abrahamsson 7.1720/184.25 def. Ulf Ögge 7.1956/185.13
Super Pro ET: Bob Doyle (8.85) 8.8906/152.11 def. Nick Good (6.95) 7.0205/173.67
Pro ET: Mark Bailey (9.34) 9.366/146.21 def. Matt Attwood (11.71) no time
Super Comp: Norbert Schneider 8.8997/157.43 def. Paul Marston 8.8851/155.22
Super Gas: Jon Morton 9.9036/143.95 def. Al O'Connor 11.9627/71.01 DQ
Super Street: John Grant 10.8721/137.81 breakout def. Mark Watkins 10.8290/132.83
Junior Dragster: Rosie Hunt (7.90) 7.9935/81.96 def. Becky Evans (8.16) 8.1258/80.09
Comp Eliminator: Adele Woodbridge (10.35) 11.4104/116.79 bye, Russ Fellows no show
B&H Automotive/LA Racing Parts Street Eliminator: John Sleath 7.9428/190.50 def. Ian Hook 8.1745/170.46
Nostalgia Fuel Altered Association: Jim Usher 8.9463/92.18 bye, Bob Glassup shut off
Congratulations also to the 2009 European Champions:
FIA Top Fuel Dragster: Andy Carter
FIA Top Methanol Dragster: Timo Habermann
FIA Top Methanol Funny Car: Ulf Leanders
FIA Pro Modified: Mats Eriksson
FIA Pro Stock: Jimmy Ålund
FIM/UEM Top Fuel Bike: Ian King
FIM/UEM Supertwin: Per Bengtsson
FIM/UEM Pro Stock Bike: Ulf Ögge
Many thanks to FIA European Drag Racing Championship Coo-ordinator Kjell Pettersson and FIM/UEM European Drag Bike Championship Co-ordinator Lars Andersson for sending us the final points standings in the 2009 European Championships, which you can check out on our Speedflow-sponsored Points Standings page which you can view by clicking here or by clicking on the Points Standings link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
Subject to official ratification the following records were set:
Top Methanol Funny Car ET: 5.687 seconds, Ulf Leanders
Pro Modified ET: 5.988 seconds, Mats Eriksson
Pro Modified speed: 241.59 mph, Mats Eriksson
Pro Stock ET: 6.649 seconds, Jimmy Ålund
Pro Stock speed: 207.07 mph, Jimmy Ålund
Top Fuel Bike ET: 5.978 seconds, Peter Svensson
Top Fuel Bike speed: 232.34 mph, Peter Svensson
Pro Stock Bike ET: 7.078 seconds, Dave Beck
Congratulations also to B&H Automotive/LA Racing Parts Street Eliminator racer Ian Hook and Super Comp racer Paul Marston who won the Eurodragster.com/Speedflow Perfect Light Award and the Eurodragster.com/Gold RV Perfect ET Award respectively.
The 2009 FIA European Finals will go down in history as one of the best races in European drag racing history. You can read all about it and check out pictures and pit notes on our American Car Imports-sponsored Event Coverage by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the FIA European Finals.
14th September: Gary Kay has been in touch to ask us to wish a very Happy Birthday to his daughter, former Junior Dragster racer and Super Pro ET racer-in-waiting Jayne Kay, "One weekend too late to run her Pink Lady Funny Car at the FIA European Finals!". Have a lovely day Jayne.
Editor's note: The next news update will be on Wednesday. Please keep the news items, European Finals reviews etc coming to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll publish them then.
13th September: The guys of TSI Timers Europe have asked us to say a big Happy Birthday to Oscar Lindgren of Mantorp Park's timing crew. No sooner said than done, have a great day Oscar.
12th September: Our very best wishes to Guy Robinson and Rachel Spencer who are to be married today at St James' church in Louth, Lincolnshire. "Guy will be missing his first big Finals meeting since 1991 when he was nine years old!", says Howard Robinson. "During the reception Guy and his dad are sure to be tuning in to Eurodragster.com for updates!". Have a wonderful day Guy and Rachel, and a long and happy life together.
Photographer Neal Reed publishes his first book, Retro, this month. "Retro features 120 pages of my black and white work from the last three years of hot rod events, shows, photo shoots and musicians", says Neal. "Thanks to those of you who have put up with me shoving a camera in your face, I really appreciate it. The next book is already in the planning stage, just don't expect it too soon!". You can buy Retro at www.blurb.com for £25 plus delivery.
Carter welcomes new sponsors.
11th September: Four-time FIA European Top Fuel Champion Andy Carter is delighted to announce a new marketing partnership with karting giants Zip Kart. Zip Kart branding will appear on the Lucas Oil Championship-winning dragster as from the FIA European Finals at Santa Pod and throughout the 2010 FIA season. The deal will also include branding on the Carter Motorsport / Lucas Oil show car and on Albert Carter's Zip Karts. Albert is a rising star in the karting world so this deal represents an exciting partnership for both Carter Motorsport and Zip Kart.
"Any parents considering their children for Junior Dragster competition at eight years old should look no further than Zip Kart where they can buy a Bambino Kart and give their child motorsport expericence from as young as four!", said Andy Carter. "After their experience in a Kart, they will definitely hit the ground running when they step into Junior Dragster." Zip has been building championship winning karts for over forty years and this unmatched experience is instilled in every kart they make. When you buy a Zip Kart, you're not just buying the best - you're buying into forty years of championship winning experience on every level of competition!
Andy is more than happy for people to call into his pit to discuss helping your child to get going, or either check Zip Kart's web site at www.zipkart.com or call Zip on 01992 463371 for more information. A sample Zip Kart will be on full display in Ansy's pit during the 2010 season.
Carter Motorsport are also delighted to welcome Grand Prix Racewear on board for the remainder of the 2009 and the 2010 seasons. GPR was originally opened in 1987 based in a small 500 square foot shop in Acton, West London. They quickly established themselves as a serious player in the world of motorsport protective clothing and driver accessories and built a solid reputation for being the racewear specialists in the UK market. After many years of being a London-based business the mail order, trade sales operations and warehouse were moved to much larger premises in Milton Keynes in 2000 and retail store at Silverstone Circuit the home of British motorsport.
"We're delighted to welcome GPR on board with us", said Carter Motorsport PR Dan Welberry. "It's exciting to think that the company are prepared to push themselves within the world of drag racing, having recognised the sport's massive potential. GPR are a household name to racers in most forms of motorsport, so for them to choose to partner with us, we see as a great honour and we'll be doing everything possible to help promote their brand in the drag racing world and beyond."
The team hope to have sample range catalogues in time for the FIA European Finals and will carry the company's new catalogue throughout the 2010 season. You can also view their great range of products at www.gprdirect.com.
11th September: Due to a late cancellation, a ride is avaialable in Santa Pod Raceway's Two Seat Dragster tomorrow (Saturday). If you are interested then pop in to the Signing In office at Santa Pod and ask for Darren Prentice.
Ex-pat UK Top Fuel racer Smax Smith is contesting Top Fuel Dragster in the Leverich family's car at this weekend's Amalie Oil North American Nationals at New England Dragway. You will be able to stay in touch with Smax's progress on the Drag Race Central web site at www.dragracecentral.com.
FIA European Finals snippets.
10th September: Steve Warner took BBC Breakfast sport presenter Mike Bushell for a 7.883/170.43 passenger ride in Santa Pod Raceway's two-seat dragster yesterday (Wednesday). Mike took a couple of cameras along for the ride which you should be able to see on BBC Breakfast on Saturday at 06:40, 07:40, 08:40 and 09:40. Martin Hill also put on a good show for the cameras with a 5.860/274.70 pass in the Fireforce 3 Jet FC - if you watch the TV coverage then keep an eye out for the Chief Starter on that run.
Norwegian Top Fuel Dragster racer Linda Thun Tønseth is looking forward to the event. "It will be so much fun to get in the dragster again, and to see all my friends and fans at the track for the last time this season", says Linda. "The plan this year was no driving at all, but things changed and this is now my third FIA round and fourth race this season. At the moment I am tenth in the Championship, but I have a chance to finish seventh, and I will! My sponsors for this weekend are Shell and Sande Gĺåd. I would also like to thank Rune Fjeld for believing in me and the Islanders team for all the help during the season, and of course my crew! I have a new web site up and running, not quite done yet, but you are welcome to visit it at www.lindaracing.com. My Blog at www.lindaracing.blogg.no will be updated during the weekend."
Czech Funny Bike racer Otto Knebl, who is racing in FIM/UEM Top Fuel Bike this weekend, says he has had a good season. "I started this year with the old Kawasaki ZX12R NX", says Otto. "I improved my Personal Best to 8.052 and I have had no problems with the bike. After the race at Kunmadaras I only had to repair a clutch problem. I am Czech Champion and I am currently seventh in the European Championship. Next season I will have a new bike, the Green Chameleon II Kawasaki ZZR14 turbo which is almost finished, I am working on the body and design. I would like to thank my main sponsor Pure Solve and all the other sponsors who help me. Thanks also to the mechanics and especially my "manager" - my wife Yvona."
Eurodragster.com News sponsor Tireshake.com will be selling some of their range of T-Shirts, sweatshirts, hoods and caps at Santa Pod Raceway this weekend. Benni Edvardsson tells us that not all of the Tireshake range will be available but that there will be plenty to interest race fans. You will be able to find the Tireshake.com stand in the Leanders Brothers' Top Methanol FC pit.
Are you a Eurodragsterholic? If so then don't be shy, drop us an E-Mail at email@example.com telling us your name and where you are and we will give you a name check during the weekend.
Testing times for Wikström.
10th September: Two time FIA European Pro Mod Champion Patrick Wikström and Team Thriller OFAB/Boss Blowers are on their way to the FIA European Finals at Santa Pod Raceway where Patrick holds the Pro Mod track speed record at 235.92 mph.
Patrick is not in the fight for the Championship this year. "This year has been more about testing and evaluation of the Boss blower and things other than racing", says Patrick. "We are testing new things all the time, but it's a short season and we can only do the practical tests at Championship races.
"That's why we stayed home from Hockenheim - I thought it was better to re-design some things on the engine and the car, to have a chance to see what that will do at the European Finals. You know how it is with new things, it takes time to get them developed. After the first run on Friday we will have a data log and from there we must tune to the new circumstances again. Of course this hurts our racing but our team are so excited about what we've found out in our work.
"We love testing our own things instead of just ordering new things from the USA all the time. It has sparked the whole team. On the other hand, when in testing mode, you never know in what direction you'll go next, will you qualify at all, or will you work in the pits all the time? For now we just love to come back to Santa Pod and the European Finals again! To do some tests..."
Team Thriller will try to get time to report from the European Finals in their own Blog at wikstromracing.blogspot.com.
Thanks to Anders Envall for help with this news item
Two to tango...
10th September: UK Pro ET racer Carla Pittau says that running a two-car his-and-hers race team takes a lot of effort and that keeping them in race-ready condition is a never-ending quest, but that she and husband Rick McCann and the Heaven & Hell team have a lot of fun at the track:
Rick and I have enjoyed finally running one car each immensely, and the sacrifices that allowed to do this are well worth it. After the 2008 season in which we were never paired against each other 2009 was less kind, by pairing us in the first round at the SPRC Summernationals and in the semi-finals at the Open Sport Nationals. It makes it interesting, I guess, to watch husband and wife compete against each other, and the obvious outcome is that the girls root for me and the boys for Rick, and it generates an endless supply of jokes about motivation and manipulation. For the time being I lead our personal league by 2-0 (Not that you're counting - Ed), but I must admit that there has been some luck in determining the outcome of the two races, although I must refute the rumour that blackmail played any part - cynics stating that I've threatened Rick with no dinners for a month are totally wrong since Rick cooks. It would have been nice to meet in the final; it wasn't to be, but I hope it will happen one day.
We have suffered no major damage this year, which is always a bonus - the fun of overnight engine swaps is vastly overrated - and hopefully we'll finish the season this way. The upgraded Small Block in the '84 has proved a good little one, taking the 3050 lbs car to 10.01 best at the Open Sport Nationals and launching it in style, with eighty foot plus wheelies, way to go, and the TH350 gearbox is holding on just fine.
We are lucky to have a dedicated team which really gets things done, so thank you to team regulars Dave and Christine Buckland, Jemma Harrison and Colin and Grace Roaf for their hard work, not forgetting ex-team member Mike Lacey who has occasionally lent a very useful hand (he had a lot of practice in swapping gearboxes in years past) and rookie Karen Stevens, who shows very promising Crew Chief potential when Mike goes back to racing in his own car.
We are at the moment nearly ready to tango at the European Finals, full of hope and anticipation, adrenaline already pumping. We just saw that the Pro ET entry, which got to forty seven, is now already down to forty three. Not sure who the unfortunates are except for Vic Amato with the broken gearbox (hope you fix it for the National Finals, mate) but this still means that eleven teams will not make it to eliminations, enough to make it very challenging in true Pro ET fashion. Well, whoever has lots of luck, could they please bring a few buckets of it to Santa Pod, it can always come in useful!
Thanks to all of our supporters too, it was great to see our Facebook Fan Club grow, your enthusiasm is a great encouragement for all of us of Team Heaven & Hell, and to the ineffable and indomitable Eurodragster.com team, without which we would still be in the dark ages of drag racing popularisation (Oh I say, thanks - Ed). Thank you also to the class sponsors Motorshack, Toxico, Brize Norton Hot Rod and American Specialist (01993 844144), Real Steel, LA Racing Parts, Performance Unlimited, Cometic Gasket, Total Seal, Engine Data Analysis (thanks Kenny!), Hauser Race Cars, A1 Motor Stores, Inkwell Printing, Penn Autos/Andy Frost Race Transmissions, CP Pistons and South Coast Customs, to Charlie Chivers for his hard work in continuing the Sponsorship Scheme and to Bob Regis for creating and webmastering the Pro ET site.
...Three to go!
10th September: Hailing from Haarlem in The Netherlands is Rybo Dragracing, a new team unique in that there are three sisters on the same team:
First we have Danique Stevens who rides a Suzuki GSXR 1100 in Street Bike ET. Her best run this year is 12.1 seconds and she finished second in the Explosion Dragracing Dutch Championship. The second sister is Cyrilla Stevens who rides a Junior Drag Bike. Her best time this year was 9.1 seconds for the eighth mile. The third sister is Shanice Stevens who Junior Dragster. Her best ET this year was 10.60 seconds for the eighth mile at her first race at Drachten.
Rybo Dragracing's sponsors are AA van Dijk Autoservice in Haarlem, Black Jack Market in Aalsmeer, Bikersworld in Beverwijk, Rybo Autorestyling in Haarlem, and Henk Roest Gereedschappen in Haarlem.
A balancing act for PMR.
10th September: Paul Marston Racing can now come clean regarding the disappearance of Paul Marston for the past week:
Eagle-eyed fans may have noticed a puff of black smoke from the PiranaZ-backed Ugly Stick dragster and an unusually low ET in Dave Catton's last pass in Super Pro ET at the Open Sport Nationals. This incident was caused by the crankshaft failing and the resulting wobbly bit at the front taking out the crank trigger and instantaneously killing the ignition, which probably saved the motor from completely and comprehensively destroying itself. Once back in the pits, it became clear to Paul Marston that he had seen this kind of breakage before, at a Super Chevy event at Gainesville whilst crewing for Vic Fera, Tony Morris and Tim Hutcherson who at the time was Tony Morris' racing partner in the BLP Team. "Tim Hutcherson suffered the exact same breakage on the crankshaft in his BLP four-link dragster", says Paul. "That was incidentally the trip when I got my NHRA license after being up all night replacing the motor in Tims dragster at Vic's shop Brevard Cylinder Head and being eaten to death by mosquitos, but that is an entirely different story for another time (Yes - Ed).
So with a busted crankshaft, I called Gary Springford at Drag Race Engineering to make sure that he had space and time to take the dragster in, after all both the ol' Wing Commander, 2008 Super Comp Champion, and I are scheduled to race Ugly at the FIA European Finals. Gary had space so once Crew Chief Mick Howling and I had packed up we drove straight to DRE from Shakespeare County Raceway. By that evening we had the crankshaft out, checked it all over, luckily just the crankshaft to replace and we had found a suitable replacement in stock from the vast collection of spares that PMR has at its disposal. There were actually three options, depending on how bad the dragster's motor was. 1: fit the 509 ci motor, 2: fit the 461 ci motor (Grumpys Dodge spare), or 3: repair the 477 ci in the dragster. The repair looked the favourite as the combination would then remain the same and the data from SCR would remain relevant for the European Finals. This however incur a risk as the motor was maybe out of balance with the new crankshaft, but as it was steel rodded and a factory crankshaft, both Gary and I thought it was worth a shot. On Tuesday the motor was reassembled and refitted into the PiranaZ Ugly Stick dragster, with a big thank you to Customville for supplying the bearings off the shelf. On Wednesday the motor was fired up, but when taken up on RPM the motor was way out of balance, in fact when Gary tried it at my suggestion it gave him a headache for six hours! Flexplates were swapped but no joy.
Before the morning was out I had rung Jeff Bull at Jeff Bull Racing Engines to find out the timescale involved in getting the rotating assembly balanced. Jeff Bull said "The sooner it's here the sooner it gets done". Thursday morning and I was on my way to Jeff's shop with the whole assembly. Although our quick fix had not worked it did however give us the chance to check all the bearings in the motor prior to running it, they were all perfect so we knew that once back from Jeff Bull's balancing job all should be good to go. Jeff rang me at 8:30 am the following day to say that it was all ready to collect. Gary and I finished the reassembly and fitted the motor Saturday and had it fired up and running by 4:00 pm. We may not have set any records but, it was a job that everyone involved can be proud of. Thanks to Andy Gibb, owner of Striptreaser at Romford Self Storage, for letting me drop the trailer there at very short notice, Jeff Bull Racing Engines for providing a fast and efficient service, Gary at Drag Race Engineering for his expertise and dedication, and my family and work collegues at Black Box London Limited for being so understanding. Sometimes it's a tough job this drag racing and it requires sacrifice and the help of people. I count myself very lucky to be blessed with all I need to get the job done. Thank you everyone, you know who you are.
Everyone at Paul Marston Racing is looking forward to the European Finals, the PiranaZ backed dragster tested perfectly, even better than before last weekend. It looks like the PT Bruiser will make it too. With the dragster needing fixing the Bruiser once again had to wait its turn, but by hook or by crook the Bruiser will be there, there are too many fans who want to see her again and we simply could not let them down. Good luck to everyone, this event is going to be a corker!
Enter the Classic Funny Cars.
9th September: The first gathering of all the current teams involved in the forthcoming UK Classic Funny Car venture took place last Saturday, writes Mark Gredzinski:
There has been much behind the scenes discussion about these cars and it was the first time that all the entrants had finally come together to meet up. The venue was Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire and four teams proudly displayed their cars both in completed form and as body shells with various chassis under construction. Each team was lined up outside the workshop of ICE Automotive Racing Engines which is responsible for the chassis work on two of the cars, including the 1972 Vega of ICE supremo Rob Loaring.
The teams are as follows from left to right, with the drivers mentioned first:
Wendy Baker and Paul Stubbings: Time Warp circa 1976 Mustang II with modified John Buttera chassis. This car has already recorded a 7.30 shakedown pass with Keith Black power.
Rob Loaring and Nigel King (plus Nick Davies, not pictured): Circa 1972 Chevy Vega with Chevrolet power and ICE chassis.
Andy and Lee Kirk: 1973 Plymouth Barracuda with late Hemi and chassis under construction at their Nottingham base.
Tim Garlick and Perry Antoniou: 1977 Pontiac Firebird. Late Hemi and ICE chassis.
The colour scheme identity of the last three teams is being kept quiet for the time being but each car has a definite name and image. Mark Gredzinski Design is designing all three paint jobs and the idea is to keep each car period correct in looks.
Also in attendance was Mark Norton of the drag racing Technical Crew who has been sorting out the rules for present and potential racers. The rules are fairly strict to encompass both safety considerations and to maintain parity between the teams. All were in agreement about the proposals for the Classic Funny Car Association, as it was loosely termed. There is no governing body as such. The rules follow those already used in the States with minor differences.
Many of the rules involve the look of the car which is to ensure that they mirror the image of cars that ran up to the 1979 year body cut-off. This will include a number of features not permitted such as side windows, dropped skirts, decklid wings, front overhangs etc. Even the paintwork must be sympathetic to the era so as to avoid checkers, airbrushed skulls and other non-period adornments.
Mechanically, the requirements are for a single 20gpm pump to be of specified manufacture, a single points magneto, 6/71 maximum supercharger size, two-speed Lenco trans and a minimum of 65% nitro to be used. This is not a comprehensive list; the rules have already been printed out by Mark Norton and are readily available.
One of the problems has been obtaining authentic body shells and there is a multi thousand pound investment in just the hollow raw bodies on show. Getting the cars to look right is paramount and there will be no exceptions if the bodies to not conform to the rules, so no bubble top Trans Ams or '85 Firebirds etc will be allowed, to give but two examples.
Wendy Baker will be competing at the Hot Rod Drags in September and the remaining new cars will be ready to test at various points in 2010 to race in earnest the following year. Ultimately, the idea is to provide an exciting heads up field of fabulous looking Funny Cars with close racing and a great deal of fun besides. Looking at the pedigree of the teams already involved, there is no reason why this will not be a reality.
Raisvuo's take on 2009.
9th September: Finnish Top Methanol Dragster racer Esko Raisvuo says that the car's performance and his Championship position suck, but that there are extenuating circumstances:
This is all new to us, we have never been on nitro before - none of us has ever even crewed with nitro. So we have done pretty well given that fact. Of course we are the Knights of Bad Luck and we missed out on success on Hockenheim and therefore we are late on our progress and learning curve. After the first round loss and tyre smoke at Mantorp due to the massive amount of power everything was left the same for Hockenheim because of the better track conditions. Somehow we lost more than one thousand horses between those races, which was and still is some kind of a mystery. But I am extremely happy that we we have a crew who seem to have doing it forever with this car and tech. We have lost rounds and experience with rounds, but we have broken absolutely nothing serious. We honestly expected, that we would be out of parts and spare engines straight after Alastaro.
Our expected performance is missing for whatever reason. Unfortunately this is an acceleration sport and losing half a second in the first 330 feet does not result in crazy performance after that. We cannot hire professional consultants from our private salary. That means that we just have to learn it ourselves. Trial and error, getting our own experience and getting the facts inside our own heads. I try to give the crew all the reaction and driving job they deserve for their hard work's sake. Being practically a sitting duck instead of fast moving target does not suit us. But you can be sure that we will find the set-up sooner or later and a topping of consistency over that sweet cake. We just have to make it happen. Everything fitted to car has been opened, evaluated and serviced for this weekend's race. We will have a fresh ignition with some updates and an all-new fuel curve. I have been a fuel set-up scientist 24/7 for the last three weeks.
We never thought that we would be sucessful in this year's Championship, but we expected to shock others during at least one race this season. There is only one race left with whatever weather, so we don't have many shots left to hit, a maximum of seven runs. But we do have all the tools to kick ass. We will try all we can to disturb the others' peace, as usual. We have all we need to win any race anywhere on this planet, when the pieces drop into place on this messy jigsaw puzzle. As all the other teams do also, we will come to Santa Pod to win the event and at least set a new Personal Best. Time has run out to set a new European record, we are too far away and on way too rough a set-up. A bit like a "Rich and poor" game.
Like I said, my crew is unbelievable. I love them! Jouni 'DalaiLlama' Merikanto as Crew Chief from his clutch position, Mika Gulin and Petri Liimatainen s wimming in hot oil, Jari Hansalahti, Pekka Lukka and Ari-Pekka Forsberg doing cylinderheads. Every guy can do about every job. Of course Petri's better half Leena Nyyssönen has been taking care that the guys have something to eat and drink whenever necessary. Of course our financial back-up must be considered. All the people who have ever worked at EE-Speed Motorcycles & Toys shop, Motoring Finland speedparts and of course Amberian Dawn fantasy metal band. I am sure we have to thank the Finnish Hot Rod Association and all active crew there over the years for their passion. Next year will be the twenty fifth anniversary of official Finnish drag racing!
Also I want to compliment all the teams we have in this unbelievable class. How can every person in every team to be so nice? That's almost unreal. Despite everything - prizes, glory, greed for success etc - this must be fun. And we have fun and will have fun. We are spending quality time and really enjoy the atmosphere, tracks, people including spectators, the different organisers do fine, everyone in their own way, but fine. We just love this and having been out for so long it's like a homecoming. Unbelievable moments and feelings.
Our motorcycle operation also gets better and better. Now Lone Wolf Jani Kumpulainen on Pro Street Bike has been doing fine with a normally-aspirated 2008 Hayabusa against all the others who have turbos and nitrous. Jani is placed second in the Finnish Championship and won one race on season. We plan to prepare something for Junior Bike and Street Bike. The bikes are there, they need just riders, work and very limited amount of funds for modifications and travelling etc. We will see. Last but not least our juniors Marco Raisvuo, Joni and Nico Hansalahti and Petteri Liimatainen. They have been quite patient when their dads have been building and servicing the big car all day. We will try to sort out a permanent crew to make sure that the kids fly fast and stable and of course get better reactions. In a few years those boys will be seen on big car points lists.
Next season we will naturally win every race, set new European records and world's fastest ET on each run and will win the 2010 EuropeanCchampionships. Of course we will beat especially Timo, Dennis and Fred on holeshots during the season. We will also get fresh drivers, parts and funds to make a comeback with our other racecars: A-Fuel, TMD and Super Stock. A few bikes too, of course. That's a Hollywood and Texas-sized fairy tale. Truth will be whatever and however, but we will for sure be there and have fun!
Saw the Five? Now wear the T-Shirt.
9th September: Sweden's Team Kendall Top Fuel Bike team have loaded their five-second bike and equipment and Peter and Sören Svensson and the guys are on their way to Santa Pod.
"The team will meet up at the track on Thursday and we are really looking forward to the race where we will try to improve our amazing ETs from Gardemoen in August", say Peter and Sören. "We ran an outstanding series of 5.93, 6.06, 6.10 and finally 6.05 to take the Top Eliminator title. All of our runs were quicker than the existing European record of 6.11 seconds held by our good friend Roel Koedam.
"After the race at Gardemoen we checked all the engine components carefully and everything was found to be OK, which means most certainly that we can add additional power to the engine without risking any damage, and we can promise you all that this will be the case if we get the right track conditions. Depending on the overall conditions we will have to tune the bike for colder weather than in Norway and hopefully get a bit closer to the European record.
"We are proud to announce that we have a new T-shirt available at the European Finals. It celebrates the first five-second pass and has been designed from a photo by Stefan Boman. The art work has been done by Classic Graphix in Downey, California, who also will the supply the T-shirts."
Carey drops the corkscrew.
9th September: UK Top Fuel Bike racer Steve Carey and his team are looking forward to coming out to play at Santa Pod Raceway this weekend:
The bike is all ready, and following the Bulldog Bash we have changed the rear tyre and altered the wheel alignment slightly. At the Bulldog it had a tendency to go right each time, which for us was in a way a step forward, because for once the bike was doing the same thing each time, so we can work from that and go forwards. As with a lot of things, sometimes it's one step forwards, and then a few back.There have been a lot of changes since we brought the bike back in December 2002, and each time it makes it like a different bike to ride so now hopefully the changes are all done and it's down to getting some consistent runs in. At least now the bike doesn't go down the track like an out of control corkscrew!
Our aim is to qualify, and hopefully run quicker and faster than before, along with also having an enjoyable, and safe weekend.
The other news is that I have now got engaged to my little nurse, Annette (Congratulations guys - Ed), so there might well be a bit of a party in a couple of years' time to look forward to. We wish all the other racers and track crew a good weekend, and see you on Thursday. I would just like to also say thanks again to Bob, Ken and Annette for all their help, Colin Wells for the paintwork this year, and thanks for their support to Tim at NGK Spark Plugs, Fred Furlong of Furlong Tyres, Bexhill Bearings, Phoenix Motorcycles, Andrew at G&S Valves, Rick at Cypher Solutions for the stickers, Steve Bennett and Steve Hewgil at Weruwise, Rossetts Commercials, G Max Fuels, and Rother Triumph Owners Club.
FIA European Finals snippets.
9th September: Many thanks to Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Paula Marshall for passing on the provisional running orders for the FIA European Finals. Please note that as ever these running orders are subject to change due to weather or track conditions or for any other reason deemed necessary by race officials. You can check out the Finals running orders by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the FIA European Finals.
Paul Ingar Udtian and Frøya's Islanders Dragracing Team are headed for Santa Pod from Germany with a big Thank You to Werner Habermann Racing for storing the rig after the NitrOlympX. The crew is flying in from Norway today to get the pit and dragster ready for the important final race. "This season has been the all time most thrilling Top Methanol Dragster season, with the toughest starting fields ever in European drag racing", says Helga Myrseth. "Paul Ingar and the Islanders have reset their PB three times this season - we feel that we pretty mutch have driven through the whole 5.5s now! It has been an exciting racing season and the Islanders are really hungry to pick some Championship points at the final race. The Team is looking forward to meeting all the other racers and their friends at this year's last race weekend."
07:30 B&H Automotive/LA Racing Parts Street Eliminator racer Ron Haslett is urgently seeking anyone building a Big Block Ford with TFS A-460 heads who would lend him the rocker studs, or who has a spare set of rocker studs which they could bring to Santa Pod for tomorrow or Friday. "I will be ordering a new set after the weekend so rather than give the used ones back you would have the new ones", says Ron. If you can help then please call Ron on 07710 403378 or E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org. "I'd also like to say a big thanks to everyone who offered help and advice with my problem and a very big thank you to my neighbour Russ whose first time at the track with me ended with him going back to Portsmouth to get my spare studs so that we could carry on on Sunday", adds Ron. "Our only run with all eight cylinders gave me a 10.1, a new Personal Best by 0.6 seconds. The rest of the runs were with six or seven cylinders."
Tim Read writes from America to congratulate all the racers in Top Methanol Dragster for their performances this year. "Although watching from our new home in Brooklyn I have watched every run via Eurodragster.com", says Tim. "Derek with his up and down season, Peter with his gradual improvement and win at Hockenheim, Dave with his really fast runs, new boy Fred with much hard work to do, Rob and Steve with their toughest season so far, Timo and Dennis with their consistency and great lights, the other guys whose season could come alive at any time and most of all Krister, who, with a little luck, would have been challenging for the title this year. I may be biased but for me Top Methanol Dragster has been the stellar class this year closely followed by Pro Mod, great performances there also! I will of course be watching from Thursday on and would like to wish all competitors fast and safe runs and to thank Eurodragster.com for giving all of us a medium with which to read, watch and write about the sport we love". Thanks very much Tim.
Donna and Franki Giles have asked us to wish teams Roar Willys, Mortsport (including Chalky, Dan and Heide), Morrice Boys Racing, Salt Lake Racers, all the Super Gassers, and everyone else who knows them all the very best for the European Finals. "Francesca and I hope to make it up to the Finals by Sunday", says Donna. "Belated 50th Birthday wishes to Tim Adam from the Super Compers and Super Gassers! Does that make him a Veteran Racer now or allow him a handicap on the line! I understand that Tim's birthday was in August and that everyone was sworn to secrecy, but no-one told me it was a secret."
UK Pro ET racer Vic Amato says that he won't be competing this year due to a broken gearbox - "The Chevy part of the car!", he says. "I would like to say good luck and safe passes to all my good friends in the Sportsman classes, plus all other racers even the Chevy ones. If one of you could be generous enough to spare me a ticket I would be forever in your debt. I can be contacted at 07802 320414 or at email@example.com."
Going in with the lead.
8th September: After a succesful season so far Swedish Supertwin racer Per Bengtsson and the Beast team are preparing to go in to the final race of the season at Santa Pod Raceway. With one round left in the UEM Championship Per is number one in the points standings, just five points ahead of Lorenz Stäuble.
"It will be a tough battle but this is just as it should be both for us as competitors and for all the race fans when the Championship will be decided at the last race", says Per. "We have been real busy after the race in Hungary with a big workload in our business as well as repairing both our cylinder heads and going through everything on the bike. We want to be as well-prepared as possible before going to the Finals.
"Our main goal is of course to be the Champion in Supertwin for 2009 but also to improve our performance as we see a big potential in the combination we're running. In May we were number one qualifier with a 6.68-second run and with some decent weather we should definitely be able to go faster, as the Santa Pod track can take a lot of power. It's also good to see such a good entry list with fifteen bikes entering the Finals and I think this season really shows that the Supertwin class is on the move for the future.
The team leaves Sweden tomorrow lunchtime and goes via Denmark to Harwich and will arrive at the track Thursday afternoon.
"We will have our sponsor Autoexperten Växjö, at the track all weekend and also four new guests from Sweden who are attending their first ever drag race", says Per. "We hope to give our guests an experience that they will remember for a long time and to put up a good show for all our race fans", adds Per.
The Beast team would like to all their sponsors for making this season possible: Swedcut, Quaker State, Autoexperten Växjö, Gates/Lönne, Ulvsgården AB, Fanhultstvätten Älmhult, Bentec Engineering and Flexoart.
Change something else, we dare you!
8th September: UK Pro Modified racer Graham Ellis says that he hasn't had the best season but that he is proud to have qualified at every round entered.
"We are gradually learning that the 6.2s we ran at the Summernationals were good at the time, but it was not the right way to get the car down the track and we couldn't add any more power to that clutch tune-up without it all going wrong", says Graham. "We have gradually found some stuff. All the guys in the class are good guys and while not actively helping they sometimes make comments which if you're quick you can take on board. It's just a case of chipping away at it - we can run easy and safe 6.4s without trying, it's just a case of making laps.
"We changed to a set of fuel tires as we didn't have the trans ratio we wanted and it has helped calm the car down during first gear and made the car easier to drive. We lost an engine against Bruno Bader in the first round at Hockenheim, but until that point it was close and these days if you're close to Bruno you're quick. Luckily we have a first rate spare motor so we can compete at the Finals and hopefully going a round - it would be nice as that has not happened yet. Rome wasn't built in a day, right?
"The crew have worked hard, it's played havoc with their home lives. The heat at hockenheim was outrageous to work in and to prepare the car for Santa Pod, to be honest it was a real grind but its testament to the crew that no fights broke out. I think we all felt like it at times with the heat and the amount of work to be done.
"Hopefully we will qualify well at the Finals but whatever the outcome we are gaining experience with every lap and one day we will get there.
"We are changing to a Leanders Brothers clutch for next year just to keep the crew guessing. It's a standing joke how many times a year I change stuff but hopefully this will be the last change for a while.
"I would thank my sponsors if I had any, so instead I'll just thank my crew for putting up with me."
An end to the disappointment.
8th September: After a 6.36 at Mantorp Park, German Pro Mod racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Marco Maurischat was disappointed with a best of 6.56 at Hockenheim.
"For some reason we lost speed and power all over that weekend", says Marco. "Everything is checked now, we found and changed some bad stuff and put a complete new datalogger system in the car after we had trouble with the old one all season. All in all we have to say that we are very happy how our first FIA PM proper has run so far. Our main goal like everyone else is to qualify and hopefully run a new Personal Best.
"At the Finals we will be carrying the name of the Kess-Tech company on our Corvette. Kess-Tech GmbH is one of the European leading builders of legal but loud exhaust systems for Harley Davidson. Kess-Tech company is a longtime and very loyal customer, as all of the black exhaust systems they offer are Cerakote Ceramic coated by my company, so it's an honour to display this company on our car. For more information about the full line of legal loud exhaust systems for your Harley Davidson please check www.kess-tech.de or come and talk to us in the pits."
Abrahamsson's year of testing.
8th September: Swedish Pro Stock Bike racer Anders Abrahamsson has had an up and down season. But Crew Chief Roger Lyrén says that with lots of new stuff on the bike and almost a complete rebuild things are starting to go in the right direction:
The bike has gone through lots of changes: new wheels, new body, rewired, moved around a lot of weight, so we have started from zero again. We decided that in 2009 we will just get the bike to work and not focus on the Championship. We have gone through lots of small problems, we would cure one problem and get another, but that is racing. Every win you have is closer to your next defeat, and the opposite.
We did not go to Kunmadaras because it was not planned from the beginning, but it was a superb step forward. We need to expand the racing further south.
The plan for the finals is the same as at all races: the first goal is to qualify, hopefully as high as possible, then to win rounds. Qualifying and racing will be very interesting, since the Championship is still open and will probably not be decided until the final round. We will do all we can to perform as well as possible and I think if the weather conditions are good it will probably be the quickest ever qualifying and lots of good racing.
As always big thanks to all at Team MotoSpeed Racing, Anders for good riding, Putte for great work on the bike and Lasse L, Kalle, Lasse E and all the other crew who have been superb supporters and help to make this possible.
Next year's plan is to do the full Championship with Anders, and there will probably be another bike on the track mid-season. We are very much looking forward to next year.
Hanna seeks redemption for Hanssen.
8th September: The US' Will Hanna, who tunes Fred Hanssen's Top Methanol Dragster, says that the Islanders team are looking forward to some redemption at Santa Pod Raceway this weekend after some unfortunate incidents on this year's Tour:
We started the year off with a bang at Santa Pod, but it went downhill from there. In Finland we had the blue line deal. In Sweden we had the shutdown area incident. Out of those two races we had a grand total of three runs. Finally in Germany we got just enough runs to figure out something was wrong in the engine department. I have over two years of run data for that car, so I have a good feel of what it should do given certain air conditions and certain track conditions. That car should go 260 mph every run even if it was going down the return road, so I knew something was up because Fred has done a fine job of leaving at the right rpm and hitting his shift points. With that behind us and the motor with which we did so well in Santa Pod back in the car with a new , we look forward to a little redemption in England.
There was no damage to the crank in the 'Snata Pod' motor, just time to cycle it out. I did not assemble the spare engine which was purchased with the car, which after inspection was found to have some pretty serious 'problems', without getting specific. Regardless, both motors should be up to snuff for the Finals. We also débuted the new Bohr Composites injector in Germany. I was so busy while I was there getting the car ready for England, I never really got a chance to do a hard comparison on boost numbers, but the car made as much boost in Germany as it did in Finland and Sweden, which were a good bit better air. We also put a Spitzer Composites wing on the car, and we are already enjoying the results. Ultimately, the scoreboard will tell the tale in Santa Pod.
Dave Wilson beat us to the punch on the 270 mph mark, but we'd still like to reach that milestone ourselves, and maybe get the speed record back. As far as the speed record goes, well, that and a few pounds will buy us a beer at the bar, but we'd still like to have it back. I don't know that we'll see conditions to warrant a 5.20 out of a blown car, but anything's possible with those A/Fuel cars at 97% in the European air. Those A/FDs have been in the teens with less nitro over here in the States, and Grumpy is no dummy. He's showing us how quick he's getting that thing figured out. You can't forget about Derek Flynn, either. That car has been in the 5.20s before with less nitro. Ultimately, we want to be on the podium Sunday evening, regardless of the numbers. It would be a big boost to the team to get the car back in the 5.30s and see if we can get close to the 270 mph mark.
Fred has done a phenomenal job learning how to drive one of these cars. He's taken to it like a duck to water. He rarely makes the same mistake twice. I really have to thank him for giving me the opportunity and the tools to succeed as a tuner that he has. My dad Rick will be back on board with us at Santa Pod along with Joe Ficca. Howie and Dan Main won't be able to make the trip, but they have done a great job for us. Our clutch guy Per has done a fantastic job jumping in and learning behind the motor plate. He's a hard worker and everything you could ask for out of a first year crewmember. I asked him if he still wanted to be the clutch guy after he had ground floaters all day. We'd also be remiss if we didn't thank Brad Hadman for jumping through some major hoops and coming over to Jan Arve Nygård's shop and fixing the car after Mantorp. We don't really have any sponsors to speak of at the moment, but we hope to change that for 2010.
Fred and I haven't finalised our plans for 2010, but I'd say that at this point it's just a matter of dotting a few Is and crossing the Ts. We really have a lot to do over the off-season to get ready for next year. I'm going to try to make about three trips to Frøya between now and the Main Event next year. Fred really didn't have a chance to organise his trailer and pit properly before the season, so that's a priority. We're going to add some toolboxes, cabinets, drawers, etc. We also plan to add a shower to the trailer so we don't have to fight the cold water at Santa Pod. Other than that, we'll be freshening everything and loading the arsenal for 2010.
Time for a change of luck I.
8th September: Norwegian Supertwin racer Hans Olav Olstad says that he has not had a lot of luck this season:
We started to crack the belt in the semi-final at Santa Pod, then the throttle shaft got jammed in the semi-final in Finland. In Sweden we discovered the reason for the jammed shaft and when we solved that problem we flooded the engine in the quarter final because the barrel valve opened properly. In Hungary, we went out in the semi-final again cause big difference in the condition of the lanes. I very much enjoyed Kunmadaras, especially the drinks at the end of the shutdown area although that only happened once.
The good news is that we were #1 qualifier at two races on a row. So we pretty much know where we are, and we are really going to drive Lightning to its limit when we come to back to Santa Pod. The big fight is going to be between Bengtsson and Stäuble, Heezen and me.
I would very much like to thank Kim Johansen Transport, Jessheim Bilskade and GB-Tech for their support which resulted in racing in Hockenheim, Kunmadaras, Mosten and Santa Pod. And thank you Per who behaved nicely in our tent.
Next season, we would like to go further with the clutch. At the moment the clutch is the heart of the bike, so we have to put focus on that part. Time will tell.
Time for a change of luck II.
8th September: Belgian Top Methanol Funny Car racer Danny Bellio says that he can't wait to get to Santa Pod this week to get some good numbers after a season of ups and downs:
At the last race at Hockenheim we had big problems with the steering wheel shaking and after the third qualifying run we thought we had to stop because it wasn't going to go anywhere. We tried different things and at the last moment we put on a strong steering damper and in the last qualifying run we could more or les handle the car. I hope we can run the car at Santa Pod without too many steering problems because we need to be focused on the rest to run well.
I would like to thank a few people. First is my wife Michaela because she's just as crazy as me and this month we will be married for thirty years - and still together! - my sons Sandro and Christiano, Sandro's girlfriend Nikka, and team members and good friends Ann, Gino, Jaap and Henriette. We hope they've enjoyed it as much as we do and they are coming back next year with us to kick some ass. I also must say big thanks to Willem Visser from Lucas Oil Belgium, Speedshop Belgium and my best friend Erwin Raets.
Big thanks also to the Leanders team for helping us at Mantorp Park and Hockenheim,we had and have parts on our car from them at Hockenheim otherwise we couldn't run the final, and big thanks to Dan Larsen and the guys for waiting for us after we were short on time to get the car ready for the final. We still have the Leanders' front wheels on our car since the crash at Mantorp and they are the quickest wheels in Europe with a 5.666, but they don't go as fast on our car!?
Our plans for next year are as always bigger and more than the money allows. We will run the car next year if we find sponsors or win the lottery, but that's a problem for this winter.
When hard work pays off.
8th September: German Top Methanol Dragster team Peter Schöfer Racing are looking for new Personal Bests at the FIA European Finals after some mid-season work paid off with the event win at Hockenheim.
"After the Main Event, where we saw that our car is not doing what he is supposed to do - i.e. running faster than the others - we decided to stay home from Finland", says team member Gittli Koller. "We made several changes on the car and our plan was to test those changes in Sweden. The car ran well and we ran a new Personal Best of 5.42/263. We did not expect that.
"So we were very optimistic for Hockenheim. This is always a special race for us because it is our home track and we have so many friends and fans coming. The car ran well, we qualified #1, and we won the race. What more can you expect? We are still very happy about that.
"The interesting thing is that we are fourth in a tough and close Championship even though we missed an event and our fellow competitors have run every race. Also interesting is that TMD had its quickest ever bump spot at Hockenheim at 5.527 and three cars ran in the 5.52s. I think all the teams do an incredible job and every car can be #1 qualifier, or not qualify.
"Our aim for the Finals is a new Personal Best. It's the fastest track in Europe.
"We would like to thank all of our sponsors, friends and supporters for what they do for us. Our sponsors are Normstahl - garage doors; JE Pistons - high performance forged pistons; Sunoco - racing oil and fuel; Norfolkline - ferry company; MIPA - paint and coating; UVEX - protection clothes and helmets; Reindel - heating systems; KÜS - motor vehicle expert; Armin Schneider - Motorcycle parts; and US Parts Weindel.
"A big thank you also to our team, who spend all their vacations and a lot more time racing with us. Thank you Kirsten Krause, Christl Sulz, Heike Schäfer, Ralf Rowold and Alfred Widmann."
FIA European Finals snippets.
8th September: The 2009 FIA European Pro Stock Championship was won at Hockenheim, but Lars Rodeblad says that Jimmy Ålund and the team will be doing their very best to better their own European records and to win this weekend's race. "If the weather gods are nice it's a record-breaking track", says Lars. "All of the crew are highly motivated for that. We want to thank Bob Ingles from whom we get reliable power to win Championships, along with our long-term main sponsor Klintberg & Way. At the Finals we are going to try a new set of carburettors from Dale at Cubic Flow Modifications, which will hopefully improve our ET and speed. We are already looking forward to next season which will include some news that will be revealed within a short while. Stay tuned to Eurodragster!"
Danish Top Methanol Funny Car racer Dan Larsen is very happy with his third position in the FIA Championship given that he did not attend the second round in Finland. "We changed to a Leanders clutch at Mantorp and we were pleased to get out of the 6.0s!" says Joan Larsen. "If everything goes very wrong for Ulf Leanders in the first round at Santa Pod, we could have a possibility of the Championshpi but we are not counting on it. We are very pleased to have the same sponsors this year, not many, but we appreciate them very much. Also we are very happy to have the same team members, who again this year have done a great job, and again this year they have offered almost all their vacation time on our race car, mechanic days and race events. They are fantastic, and we are very lucky to have them. Our plans for next year very much depend upon what happens over the winter, but we will be there as much as we can."
UK Fuel Altered racer Jon Best is offering T-Shirts at £10 for Chevy nuts out there who also enjoy their nitro kicks. "Come and see us in the Fuel Altered pits this weekend at the FIA European Finals", says Jon. "All proceeds go into the Chevy on Fuel fund, to keep Big Block Chevys running on the good stuff and help keep up with the Hemi boys. Full details on the car, as always, are available at www.fuelaltered.co.uk. A quick thank you to Dave and Helen at Quartermilehigh.com for putting together the video footage of the last licensing run, and a huge thank you to Daniel Price of the Go Hard Go Home team for sorting the shirts and stickers for us at very short notice.
UK Supertwin racer Ian Turburville is competing at this weekend's race so so will only bring with him minimum stocks of Simpson crew and driver shoes, racing gloves, T-shirts, hoodies etc. "If there is anything specific you want bringing such as helmets, bags etc then E-Mail me today or early tomorrow at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see what I can do", says Turbo. "Everything will be at end-of-season bargain price, I don't want to take it home! I will have ACF 50 spray to stop your chassis going rusty this winter, Innotec Easy Gasket (nitro proof), Sure Shot sprayers and spares, Simpson visors and pivots. I still have two very nice Impact helmets. As usual we will be pitted behind the Pit Stop Café. usual. Safe racing and quick times everyone."
A roll-call of legends.
8th September: Dave Stone and Gerry Andrews will be among the drag racing legends visiting the Crazy Horse Clubhouse in the pits during the Sunday of this weekend's FIA European Finals so take your copy of Crazy Horses up for signature, writes author Brian Taylor.
Likewise Peter Crane (the man who laid down Europe's first five), who after nearly thirty years is meeting up with his old drag racing partner Ray Edmondson at this event. These pioneers will be joined by 1970s commentator and the author of Crazy Horses, Brian Taylor, along with the long serving Chief Starter at Santa Pod and Chairman of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame, Stuart Bradbury.
Other legends who plan to be there are Barry Sheavills, the first to run a four and 300 mph at Santa Pod. And of course there are all those racers of today competing in the European Finals. Some of them like Al O'Connor, Gary Page and Krister Johansson have been regulars since the early 1970s and earlier. Andy Carter started in the 1980s.
Both Roz Prior and Liz Burn will be there, the two ladies who were in the first side-by-side Top Fuel Dragster final anywhere in the world. Tim Claxton is flying in from Spain to join his old partner Norm Wheeldon. In 1979 these two took their rear-engined blown small block Chevy rail sponsored by Wrangler Jeans through to win one of the greatest Pro Comp eliminations held at Santa Pod. And there's Mike Treutlin, who worked for John Woolfe and drove a wheelie-pulling injected Chevrolet Topolino coupe called Crescent Coupe.
From the saloon car ranks we have Kevin Pilling, one of the early 1970 Pro Stock drivers with his Satan's Toy 1967 Camaro, and Sam Connell, famous for his Red Devil Camaro and Nova. Kevin also drove a big Dodge powered altered called Pure Seven. Dave and Sue Coles will be there. They campaigned a series of Chevy engined altereds in the 1970s and 1980s under the Helzapoppin' name. Mike Kason drove an altered named Kerbdozer and a nostalgia dragster in the 1970s and 1990s.
On the bike side we have Brian Chapman who will be remembered for his superb blown eight-second 500 cc Vincent, Ray Baskerville who rode a blown BSA competition bike, but who also developed the UK's first successful slider clutch for bikes along with Peter Miller. And Dennis 'Stormin' Norman with his blown double engine Triumph spans the bridge from the early 1960s bike sprinters to the late 1960s and early 1970s two-wheeled drag racers. Also racing from the late 1960s and through to the 1980s was Ian Messenger of Pegasus fame.
Not to be forgotten are those that organised the sport in the early days. Two of the senior marshals of the late 1960s will be at the meeting. They are Dave Owen and Bob Farrer. Along with the late Captain Tom Hales, Dave wrote the first drag racing rule book to be ratified in the RAC Blue Book. Peter Billinton joined Harry Worrall and Tony Densham in building one of the UK's earliest dragsters - the 1962 blown 1500 cc Ford powered WorDen dragster. Then, using Mickey Thompson's Harvey Aluminum Special as a base, Peter, Tony and Fibre Glass Repairs created the Commuter dragster. As a spin-off from this Peter formed G-Max, a company which today still supplies fuels to drag racers and others. Along the way he also found time to build Santa Pod's first Christmas Tree lights. Keith Lee was a competitor, Santa Pod commentator, Drag Racing News reporter and photographer from the late 1960s through to the 1980s. Along with Roger Gorringe he supplied many photos for Crazy Horses.
Stop press: The latest news is that 85-year-old Harold Bull, the man who picked up the first timing ticket at Santa Pod, and Ken 'Mr Flathead' Cooper, one of the UK's real pioneers going back to the late 1950s, hope to be there.
8th September: Congratulations to ex-pat UK Top Alcohol Dragster racer Michael Manners of Eurodragster.com sponsor Cosmo Residences on another final round appearance, this time at the NHRA US Nationals at Indianapolis yesterday. Michael lost on a holeshot to Ken Perry but tells us that the car was slow off the line, dropping a cylinder for half a second at the hit, but that it was "Not a bad showing overall". Not bad indeed: runner-up at the biggest race of the NHRA season, you could have done a lot worse Mike.
B&H Automotive/LA Racing Parts Street Eliminator racer Colin Lazenby is urgently seeking sixteen stainless nitrous/fuel jets, size 30. If you can help then please call Colin on 07880 780690.
The UK's Martin Holgate would like to thank his hardworking crew for their help so far this season. "As you know we are running a Top Gas Harley as well as the Paranoia altered", says Martin. "Last weekend was going rather well for us with a string of very low nine-second runs at the Jaguar Wildcat day until we upped the power a little to try to achieve the eoght-second run we want. The result was a con rod through both sides of the sump and a big mess on the start line - sorry about that track crew. The motor is now stripped and damage is not too bad, we will be back out at the Hot Rod Drags using the same block and head. Our best time was 9.08/140 which the previous owner Brian Thomas witnessed as he was running his Jaguar street car on the track."
Get kitted out for 2010.
8th September: Ed Yates aka Pete Yates of Eurodragster.com News sponsor DS Racewear has been in touch to tell us that following the recent recovery of the good old British Pound against the Dollar, prices of RJS custom race suits and all other race and safety equipment are falling across the board.
Pete will be in the Pro ET pits at the European Finals running the DS Racewear-sponsored methanol slingshot Ramraider so feel free to come and have a chat if you have suits or safety equipment that need updating for next year. "We are taking orders for next year's suits early this year", says Ed. "A ten per cent deposit secures a custom-made suit guaranteed at this year's prices and dated and delivered in 2010."
DS Racewear would also like to wish every success to Brian Taylor and the Chrysler Allard Action Group, whom they were honoured to be able to support in a small way in their project to restore the historic 1961 Allard Chrysler Dragster. Check out their web site at www.theaccelerationarchive.co.uk/acag and get yourself the T-Shirt.
The DS Racewear-sponsored pair of slingshot dragsters is still down to one, with Sarah and Darryl Howells' Chemical Reaction still in mothballs as the DASH Racing team continue their epic trip around Australia. "We have kept in regular contact with Sarah and Darryl and probably speak to them almost as much as when they were in the UK - the internet is a wonderful thing!", says Ed. Give them a shout at email@example.com they are always pleased to catch up with from friends in the UK."
The remaining slingshot, the Dogs Bollocks Racing Ramraider, is having a storming year running with the Wild Bunch and Pro ET and is currently leading all of the Wild Bunch points tables save one. Unfortunately it is the most important table, but they will be putting up a tough fight to regain the top spot against tough competition at the UK National Finals in a few weeks' time.
Web site updates.
8th September: In the latest entry in his exclusive Racer Blog, Dutch Top Fuel Dragster racer and joint Eurodragster.com webcam sponsor Lex Joon looks forward to his trip to race in the USA. As ever you can stay in tune with the latest Blog updates by clicking here or by clicking on the Racer Blogs link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page.
Back where they should be!
7th September: Making a very welcome return to the track at Santa Pod Raceway yesterday were Phil and Frank Brachtvogel with a beautiful blown Supertwin which was originally built for Adam Hewitt but which was never raced in anger. No less a person than the legendary Pete Davis, who originally built the bike and the motor, was in attendance at Santa Pod with Phil and Frank (Left to right Frank, Pete, Phil; click on picture for large version).
"Pete built the chassis and built the billet blown two-litre engine", Frank Brachtvogel told Eurodragster.com. "We just did odd jobs really!"
"The bike is ten or eleven years old but incorporates some new ideas", said Pete Davis. "It has never really run so this is pretty well its first run. I have never really stopped working on the bike, it has been a labour of love. It was well advanced for its day and should be competitive now. It's a race bike and wants to be raced, and Frank and Phil are just the crew to do that."
Pete added that since selling Puma Engineering he has found plenty to do. "There's always something going on", he said. "I'm involved with bikes and boats - I do artwork for narrow boats."
Phil Brachtvogel's first run on the bike was a very easy 9.114/114.50 and his second pass an equally easy-sounding 9.258/126.29 shut off early.
FIA European Finals snippets.
7th September: Multiple ACU UK Pro Stock Bike Champion Dave Beck has confirmed our reported assumption that he was happy with his 7.481 test run at Santa Pod Raceway yesterday. "We had great numbers on the pass", says Dave. "The track was not really there at all so we clicked off very early into the run. The numbers were better than the 7.23 pass at Shakespeare County Raceway last month, all in UEM trim so we are very pleased with where we are right now. We had four issues we wanted to get right and all four came together as we wanted. Thanks to Nimbus Motorsports, MTC, Motorshack, PR Factory Store, Ward Performance and Steve Howe plus my super crew Rick, Tom and Charlotte."
Swedish Top Methanol Dragster racer Krister Johansson has made four semi-finals and some accurate predictions this season. "At Hockenheim I predicted a 5.52 bump and it turned out to be 5.52. Timo heard my prediction and he had the same bump. This weekend I think the bump will be 5.48. That sounds terrifying but there are so many fast cars. We have to try to calm our car down, going up in smoke is not funny any more. We have to try to keep Peter Schöfer behind us in the Championship. My team has been great as usual, thanks guys. I need some sponsors for next year."
Sweden's Jöran Persåker is contesting both Top Fuel Dragster (for the first time this season) and Pro Modified at this weekend's race. "With the Pro Mod twin turbo Trans Am I will firstly try to beat my best ET of 6.86, then I will try to beat the quickest run in Europe with a turbo, 6.59, then try to qualify for eliminations, then try to win", says Jöran. "With the Top Fueller, I will try to win. Thanks to my sponsor Persåkers Speed Shop and to Stig Neergard for his help so that I can run one event this year. Thanks to Erik and Per for all the work with my Trans Am. No rain please."
Swedish Pro Modified racer Roger Johansson says that the MSS team are coming to Santa Pod in a good mood. "We have been fighting a lot of small problems for the whole season and we hope that we have sorted most of them out by now", says Roger. "If everything goes our way this weekend then the team hope to run quicker than 6.20. That should be a good end for this season, and give us something to work with next year."
Magnus Lindahl of Sweden's Team Kendall Pro Modified team says that it was great to take the win at Hockenheim after qualifying fourth. "In the final against Andy Robinson we ran 6.20 and that was with bad air and a very hot track so we are pleased with the ET", says Magnus. "Before Q3 a strange thing happened when the car before us lost the brakes in the burnout and he got panicky when he couldn't stop the car in the reverse and hit us, as if that was enough he pushed us into Marc Meihuizen's new car.We got the car repaired thanks to Andy (welding) and Urban Johansson (wheelie bar wheels). If the weather is good at Santa Pod it will be very exciting, you will se many fast runs and probably a new European record from any of eight different cars.You can see our Hockenheim weekend on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQepX_oyjJQ."
UK Pro Mod racer Wayne Nicholson has had to withdraw from this weekend's event. "Testing yesterday was going fine making some part throttle passes", says Wayne. "When Steve Neimantas drove the car we had a breather hose blow some oil out, no problem at all. However during our usual checks we found some damaged bearings, again not a problem. The crank is damaged though and that will put us out of competition this year. Nothing at all to do with Steve driving, it would have done it if I was in the seat. We have had a series of poor luck this year, it's all stuff we can overcome but when one thing after another happens such as blowouts on the camper it's time to sit back a while and look forward to 2010."
Charlie Chivers tells us that the Pro ET #1 qualifier trophy and bonus at this weekend's race is to be supplied by English Rose Tattoo of Peterborough whom you can call on 01733 894568. Pro ET is also supported by Motorshack, Toxico, Brize Norton Hot Rod and American Specialist (01993 844144), Real Steel, LA Racing Parts, Performance Unlimited, Cometic Gasket, Total Seal, Engine Data Analysis, Hauser Race Cars, A1 Motor Stores, Inkwell Printing, Penn Autos/Andy Frost Race Transmissions, CP Pistons and South Coast Customs.
The UK's Yellow Metal Comp Bike team have really enjoyed their first full season with the new bike, but rider Bob Brooks admits to being disappointed with the slow progress. "We're making a few changes for the Finals and hope to better our times a little", says Bob. "I'd like to say thanks to all the track staff at the Pod, Shakespeare County and Hockenheim without whom we couldn't have had such a blast of a year. Our aim for the European Finals is to qualify!"
It looks like UK Junior Dragster racer Jacob Kopasz could be out of this weekend's race after suffering engine damage at Santa Pod on Saturday. "We had a broken crank, damaged cam and damaged con rod", say Bruce, Joanne and Jacob Kopasz. "We would like to thanks to Mathew Seamarks and John Hunt for giving up a chunk of their Saturday afternoon to help with the stripping and assesment of the engine. Although we couldn't get back out with car their help was very much appreciated."
Nitro FM is auctioning a package of goods with the proceeds going towards restoring the 1961 Allard Chrysler. The star item is a mounted print made from a painting by Paul Whitehouse showing the Allard Chrysler and Mooneyes in 1963, signed by Allard Chrysler Action Group Patron Nick Mason of Pink Floyd and Alan Allard. Also included will be a copy of Crazy Horses, and both the painting mounting and the book will be signed by some of the drag racing legends attending during the weekend. The final part of the package is a complete set of Taylor Startup drag race meeting and show programmes from the 1970s. Listen out to Nitro FM for details of the current winning bid. E-Mail bids to firstname.lastname@example.org or text Pod and your bid to 88222.
Nigel of Nitro FM also tells us that we can expect all the regular features this race weekend including On-line with Eurodragster.com, Top Fuel and Funny Car chat With Gary Page, Supertwins with Les Harris, Text and Win competition, spot prizes sponsored by Mapei and Eurodragster.com, and of course give-aways. "We also have Gary Page doing a one-hour slot with his tunes on Friday and Saturday nights, along with the 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm session with Nettie and a posh new lady co-presenting with me!", says Nigel. "Finally we have a new Tog End Tales and Ed O'Connell's Top Ed Tales. Stand by for a fantastic European Finals on 96.2 FM or via Audiorealm.com."
7th September: A surprise 85th birthday party was held yesterday for UK legend Harold Bull, writes British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Chair Stu Bradbury. "Harold arrived thinking that he was having a celebration dinner with his family", says Stu. "As he entered the pub to the strains of Happy Birthday, he was clearly overcome by the occasion. Some of Harold's old sparring partners and race officials were there to help mark his 85th. He also received over twenty E-Mails of congratulation from all over the world including Harlan Thompson, Clive Skilton, Lawrie Gatehouse, Brian Taylor, Rod and Ann Pallant, Eurodragster.com and many more. All being well, Harold is determined to be at Santa Pod on Sunday to autograph copies of Crazy Horses."
Power up in Wellingborough.
7th September: Iain Burns writes that Friday's Parade of Power in Wellingborough Town Centre, organised by Santa Pod Raceway to promote the FIA European Finals, presented a mix of race cars and bikes, rods and customs, and the two-seat dragster:
Engines started and everyone assembled and a mad dash to the arena and with my late arrival, and a heaving crowd, can I find a half decent space to get pictures? I don't think so! A camera held over head randomly snapping away results in lots of pictures of people's heads but none of the cars! First lap done and I'm feeling the pressure...I can't let Tog and Eurodragster.com down! In an all or nothing attempt I manage to jostle my way in front of the crowds and get snapping.
Lap three and a steady stream of Street Eliminator and UKSRS cars have been laying down some serious rubber, along with some very sideways action from a supercharged P100. The drifters of Belinda, Lex and Steve 'The Tyreman' put on a great show for the crowd, even if they did go ever so slightly past the barriers - the crowd down the bottom end certainly enjoyed it! Notable mention also needs to go to Phil Pratt and Julian Harris for the two-wheeled action, along with a very nice Streetfighter.
By now the road had started to resemble Santa Pod's startline! And on that note, Burnout of the Evening has to go to Jon Webster. I'm sure that the tyre marks will confuse a few people driving through.
As dusk settled and everyone made the final lap it was time to venture up to the Square with the Santa Pod stand, Top Fuel car and the Junior Dragsters (to be met with "Can I have one?"). The evening was rounded off by a local band and a look around the cars everyone had previously been watching.
All in all a great evening, opening up the drag racing and hot rodding scene to those who may not normally see these cars and who may now venture forth. No rain, hopefully an omen for the coming event?
Sharkman hangs up the Canons.
7th September: Former Eurodragster.com Photo Editor Sharkman has announced that he is to retire from trackside photography:
As many of you will know for the last three years I have been battling Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or ME as most people know it). Whilst I have made good progress I have found that I can only be trackside with the cameras for an hour or two before having to rest for the rest of the day. For someone who has been used to being there from the first pair down the track to the last pair this is horribly frustrating. The hours spent in front of the PC processing files hasn't helped me either.
I have been very fortunate to spend some time crewing with my good friends Pat and Stephen Talbot during the 2009 season and have found that lets me stay involved with the sport, but without making myself ill. So with all that in mind I have decided to retire from trackside photography following the FIA European Finals.
It wouldn't be right to leave without acknowledging some of the people who have made the last ten years possible, so in no particular order a big Thank You out to Caroline, Kelly and Jo at Santa Pod, Sue from the SPR Media Centre, Jerry and Julie at Shakespeare County Raceway, Roger Gorringe, the marshals at all the tracks at which I have photographed, Ian and Paula Marshall and of course the racers out there. Particular thanks go to my good buddy Tog, to Helen and Dean Smythe, and of course to Pat and Stephen Talbot.
European Finals Perfect Awards.
7th September: This weekend's FIA European Finals is the the latest event in the 2009 Eurodragster.com Perfect Awards scheme. £175 is on offer for perfect performance.
The Eurodragster.com/Speedflow Perfect Light Award has been increased to £100 after it went unclaimed at the Open Sport Nationals. The money will be awarded to the first racer this weekend to record a Reaction Time of 0.000 seconds. The Perfect Light Award is available all to racers in all classes during qualifying and eliminations, but will only be awarded for the first perfect light of the event. If not won this weekend then the Award will be increased to £125 for the UK National Finals; if it is won then it will be reset to £50 for the UK National Finals. The Perfect Light Award is presented in association with performance hose and fitting manufacturer Speedflow whose web site you can find at www.speedflow.co.uk.
Although the Perfect Light Award goes to three places, we will not pay out for red lights with zeroes in the first three decimals since a foul is a foul however far in the first non-zero digit may be. So a reaction time of 0.0001 will win you the money (if you're first to do it), but a reaction time of -0.0001 will not.
Decals are not formally required for the Perfect Light Award but of course we appreciate it: you can get Eurodragster.com decals at the track from any member of the Eurodragster.com staff.
The Eurodragster.com/Gold RV Perfect ET Award has been reset to £50 after it was won by Super Gas racer Jon Morton at the Open Sport Nationals. In addition former Santa Pod Raceway Race Director and Eurodragster.com supporter Syd McDonald has donated £25 bringing the total Award to £75. The money will be paid in cash to the first racer this weekend to run to the thousandth on their dial-in or index during qualifying or eliminations. The Perfect ET Award is available this weekend in Super Pro ET, Pro ET, Super Comp, Super Gas, Super Street and Junior Dragster (eliminations only), but will only be awarded for the first Perfect Run of the event. If not won this weekend then the Award will be increased to £100 for the UK National Finals; if it is won then it will be reset to £50 for the UK National Finals. The Perfect ET Award is presented in association with RV sales and service specialists Gold RV whose web site you can find at www.goldrv.co.uk.
To be eligible to collect the Perfect ET Award, racers are required to carry Eurodragster.com/Gold RV Perfect ET decals, one on each side of the bike. If you pull this weekend's first Perfect ET but are not carrying decals then there will be no discussion; we will not pay out and the next person to pull a Perfect ET will get the money assuming that they are carrying decals. The decals will be available from the Signing On office as soon as it opens; please note that, as is usual with contingency schemes, racers are responsible for requesting or picking up decals when signing on. A list of required decals per class is always on display in the Signing On office.
Web site updates.
7th September: Johan van de Sande has posted a set of excellent NitrOlympX shots on his Flickr site at www.flickr.com/photos/johanvandesande. Johan's pictures cover both on- and off-track and are well worth a look.
Eurodragster.com News Editor Tog spent a rare weekend behind the camera at the Run What You Brung and Peak Performance Day at Santa Pod Raceway and you can check out his pictures at eurodragster.fotopic.net or www.togsdragracing.com.
Santa Pod Raceway's web site has been updated with a report and pictures from Friday's Parade of Power in Wellingborough Town Centre. You can take a look at www.santapod.co.uk/e_paradeofpower.php.
Pre-European Finals test coverage.
6th September: We are at Santa Pod Raceway this weekend covering the pre-FIA European Finals testing in association with American Car Imports.
Subject to the number of racers attending each day, the plan is for lunchtime and end-day reports from both today's Run What You Brung and tomorrow's Peak Performance Day. A photo gallery will be posted at the end of each day including representative shots from VW Action which is also taking place at Santa Pod this weekend. The Webster Race Engineering/Lex Joon Racing USA Tour 2009 webcam is on-line and is scheduled to post a picture every sixty seconds until the track closes on Sunday.
You can check out our pre-FIA European Finals testing coverage by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the FIA European Finals.
Injection of support for Red Victor 2.
5th September: Red Victor 2, the fastest pump gas radial-tyred car on the planet, will soon be converted to a Pro Mod car with help from Injector Dynamics and Shane Tecklenburg of ST Consulting.
"Andy Frost's accomplishments with Red Victor 2 make him the perfect competitor to display our new ID2000 Injector", says Paul Yaw of Injector Dynamics. "His results speak loudly, and we are proud to be involved with his racing program. "As an added benefit, we have world renowned tuner Shane Tecklenburg of ST Consulting to dial in the Motec engine management system. We are always proud to work with Shane because his abilities as a tuner showcase the best qualities of our injectors". With an emphasis on accuracy and control they are a perfect fit for Shane's tuning philosophy which gives equal priority to power and consistency under varying atmospheric and track conditions."
Tony Palo, head of sales and marketing for Injector Dynamics adds "This is a great opportunity to showcase our product, and to introduce our precision high flow fuel injectors to a new market. Our goal is to put an end to reliance on thirty year old injector technology, and Andy and Shane will help us to accomplish that."
"I am excited to have the opportunity to assist Andy Frost with his Red Victor Pro Mod project" says Shane Tecklenburg."The opportunity to break into the European market, and be able to do it with a top-notch team like Andy's is very encouraging. When Andy contacted me looking for the best equipment possible for his new project, I recommended that we use the new Injector Dynamics ID2000 injector, and Motec Engine management."
Typically straight to the point, Tecklenburg adds "I use Injector Dynamics and Motec products exclusively for my projects because they are the best - period!"
"This is great news for the team", says Andy Frost." The process of going from a petrol turbo engine to a methanol turbo engine was going to be difficult for me. With Paul and Shane on board that process has become a lot easier. I'm very confident that their technical ability will get the team up to speed from the word go. The whole team is excited about the new challenges we face, and the opportunity to work with these two who are at the top of their field."
5th September: Swedish Pro Modified racer Adam Flamholc, ex-pat UK Top Alcohol Dragster racer Michael Manners of Eurodragster.com sponsor Cosmo Residences, and Swedish Super Comp racer Micke Nilsson are competing at this weekend's NHRA US Nationals at Indianapolis. As ever you will be able to stay in touch with their progress on the Drag Race Central web site at www.dragracecentral.com.
Many thanks to Santa Pod Racers Club Secretary Paula Marshall for forwarding Version 3 of the official entry list for the UK National Finals, which you can view by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page. Normal entry closed yesterday (Friday); entry form now on, if accepted, is subject to a late entry fee. You can download entry forms from the Santa Pod Racers Club web site at www.eurodragster.com/sprc. If you have any queries about UK National Finals entry then please contact Paula Marshall on 01933 313625 (outside the UK +44 1933 313625) or E-Mail email@example.com.
A big Happy Birthday to UK Pro Modified racer Wayne Nicholson who is at Santa Pod Raceway today testing the Lucky Devil Corvette before next weekend's FIA European Finals. Wayne has asked us to say a big Thank You to his wife Belinda. "Knowing me as well as she does, I am spending this weekend testing at the track and all out of Belinda's pocket", says Wayne.
UK Pro ET racer Marius Blackburn would be pleased to hear from any Eurodragster.com reader who can help with photographs of the class for use on the class' official web site at www.pro-et.co.uk. If you can help then please drop Marius a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Web site updates.
5th September: The official web site of the UK's Showtime Racing Fuel Funny Car team has been updated with a report and pictures from the NitrOlympX at Hockenheim. Check it out at www.showtimeracinguk.com.
Tim Fountain spotted on MSN Cars a feature about John Bradshaw's Project Zed Nissan 350Z which you can find at cars.uk.msn.com.
Thumbs-up for LC6.
5th September: IHRA President Aaron Polburn, at the recommendation of his track prep staff, has endorsed Eurodragster.com Home and News sponsor VP Racing Fuels' Lane Choice 6 Traction Compound for use at all IHRA member tracks.
"Our crew tested LC6 on back to back weekends", said Polburn, "and came away with an ecstatic thumbs-up for the product."
The IHRA track prep staff reported a key benefit of LC6 is more consistent performance from daytime to nighttime temperatures. "This stuff is really good - the track got to 148 degrees and it never gave a hint of getting greasy or gooey", said Polburn. "We've had all sorts of cars on the LC6 in the last two weeks from three-second Pro Mods and 200 mph drag radial cars to twelve-second bracket cars. All the drivers gave the track rave reviews."
The staff was also impressed with Starting Line Resin, VP's spray-on adhesive for track touch-ups, finding it to be much easier to apply and more effective than powder-based products. "They also pointed out that ready-to-spray LC6 is more cost effective as it requires far less compound than we had been using", added Polburn. "That's significant since we're all about controlling costs."
"Tracks like Atco, Maple Grove and Palm Beach International Raceway saw our success last Winter and Spring at tracks in Florida and the South, gave LC6 a try, and haven't looked back", said Jason Rueckert, VP's Technical Consultant for Traction Compound. "In addition to the favorable economics IHRA tracks will see with LC6, they'll find we have a lot of race fuel programs available as well."
Tracks seeking more information can contact members of the IHRA Track Prep Staff at +1 419-663-6666 or Jason Rueckert at +1 812-878-2026.
Happy Birthday King Harold!
4th September: It gives us great pleasure to wish a very Happy 85th Birthday to UK legend Harold Bull of Stripduster fame, or "King Harold" as he is affectionately known. Harold's daughter Jane Maloney writes:
For those that don't remember so many years back, Harold was the first to run a timed pass at Santa Pod Raceway on 11th April 1966. He still holds three world records with Stripduster, the Morris Minor-powered slingshot dragster, running a standing quarter mile in nine seconds!
Harold's exceptional engineering skills have motivated so many people past and present to have a go at building and running their own dragsters. Those engineering skills are still being used today to build working quarter-scale model engines. Harold still drives his own car, but not quite as fast!
Harold has been married to Ethel for sixty years. They have six sons, a daughter, several grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren! Harold has certainly been a very busy man!
Congratulations King Harold - 85 years young!
We are sure that all of our readers will join Kirstie, Simon, Roger and Tog in wishing Harold the very happiest of birthdays and many more of them. You can read all about Harold's life and career on his excellent web site, created and maintained by Jane, at www.stripduster.co.uk.
Carter drops US campaign.
4th September: FIA European Top Fuel Dragster Champion Andy Carter has officially called time on his campaign to race in the USA at the end of this season:
Despite huge take-up on the draw tickets and the individual pledge scheme, we were not quite able to reach the targets required to achieve the goal. Once more, Andy's fans rose to the challenge and supported the dream in their droves. However, there is no point in trying to race in America unless you do it right and with the required budget. This time, we didn't want to hire a car from a US owner, we wanted to do it with our car, our team and our fans backing us all the way! This is obviously a more expensive way to go racing.
We're gutted that Andy won't be there but delighted that Per and Karsten Andersen will get to realise their own dream and race with Thomas Nataas who we know will do a great job. We wish you all the very best for the trip and know you'll do an awesome job of representing Europe in the premier class.
We would like to thank all of our fans who backed the scheme, but we would now like to offer you all the chance to get their money back. If you purchased a draw ticket from us, please come and see us at the European Finals where we will happily give you your money back. You will need to provide your ticket stub as proof of purchase; no money will be returned without it. Personal and business backers may also wish to claim their money back and can do so by speaking to Andy in person. However, if you wish to, you can leave your money in the team which of course helps us to go racing!
We are once more looking forward to catching up with all our fans at Santa Pod and we will be doing all we can to achieve the goal of an entire season unbeaten, as well as celebrating Andy's fourth FIA title together.
4th September: From Steph and Dave Milam comes the great news that the UK's She Devil Racing Top Methanol Funny Car team will have backing from NGK Spark Plugs for the FIA European Finals and UK National Finals, and that they hope to have NGK on board in 2010. "We hope to pick up where we left off at the FIA Main Event", says Steph of next week's race.
UK Tech Commitee Chair and FIA Commission member Phil Evans got in touch with a picture from the Veidec Festival which he says shows the dedication of the Eurodragster.com staff, "To the extent of being squished by a rampant Barracuda!". Kirstie's colleagues here at Eurodragster.com know full well the outcome of Kirstie v a Barracuda, and indeed Kirstie v anything. Thanks for the picture Phil.
Staying with The Family Tramm, we were surprised but very pleased to spot UK Sportsman ET racer and Honorary Eurodragster.com staff member Spencer Tramm on the Stock Eliminator entry lists for the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip At Las Vegas at the end of October and the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona in November. Spencer is entered under the Gold RV/Rizzolis Automotive banner so we can draw some conclusions from that, but we will be seeing Spencer at Santa Pod Raceway this weekend so we will keep him out of view of the drag strip until he tells us what it is all about.
Nigel Rathbone asked us to wish a big Happy Birthday for yesterday to The Mob Fuel Altered Crew Chief Ollie Burn. "That's beer o'clock then", says Nigel. Hope you had a great day Ollie.
Gay gets a good shafting!
4th September: It was a great weekend for all in the Sportsman ET pits at the Open Sport Nationals at Shakespeare County Raceway, writes UK Sportsman ET racer Nick Gay:
The weekend started on the Friday night when it was Ian Petrie's birthday and the girls got together to organise a BBQ and Sponge Bob Square Pants birthday cake, all washed down with mineral water of course (Naturally - Ed).
Saturday dawned sunny and Sportsman ET were first out. Both runs on Friday had given poor sixty foot times as I had underestimated the traction so I was going to give it the full berry's on this run in the hope of impressing any potential purchaser - as you have probably seen the car is for sale on the Jeff Bull Swap Meet. It wasn't to be, as a loud clattering noise came from the car at the dump of the clutch. D'oh!
After a long push back to the pits - thanks Kevin Long and various Jacksons - a broken driveshaft was diagnosed. By the time I had my race suit off Ian Jackson had it stripped and Geoff Cowley had a phone number for a local scrap yard. An hour or so later Kevin had driven us to get the replacement for the offending part and within a few minutes it was fitted and ready to rock! In the mean time Brian Huxley had had his unfortunate outing and so we were ready in time for our next session (in fact we had to wait some time).
When we did get out I launched far more gingerly due to the new part but still ran a breakout 13.38, only 0.02 off my Personal Best with this set-up. So a great big Thank You to all the Sportsman ET crew who helped out!
Sunday went far better as a couple of zero lights with 0.003 best got me to the final were I lost to Ralph Young. This was a re-run of the incomplete Springspeed Nationals final and so makes Ralph APIRA Champion and me runner-up. Well done Ralph.
Once again a big Thank You to all in Sportsman ET and see you all at the Finals. A full race report can be found at www.sportsman-et.co.uk.
Greek Championship rescheduled.
3rd September: Elias Vathias has been in touch with an update about the Greek Championship, which is underway again:
After the track surface problems which were detected during the 3rd Championship Drag Race at Messini, the next two races which were supposed to take place there were postponed. The rest of 2009's races have been rescheduled. For now, the 4th Championship Drag Race 2009 will take place at Polykastro, with LEMAK and LENOE as organisers.
You can read all the details about the preparations for this event at www.greekdragster.com/events/events090913_Polykastro.shtml, and the current Greek Drag Racing Championship schedule, which may change in the near future, at www.greekdragster.com/events.php.
Exhaust Coating PM Challenge update.
3rd September: Eurodragster.com News sponsor Marco Maurischat has been in touch with the top eight and two alternates who will be contesting the 2009 Exhaust Coating.de Pro Mod Challenge during qualifying at next week's FIA European Finals at Santa Pod Raceway:
1. Micke Gullquist (735 points) v 8. Roger Johannson (545 points)
2. Urban Johansson (720 points) v 7. Patrik Wikström (565 points)
3. Mats Eriksson (715 points) v 6. Andy Robinson (640 points)
4. Bruno Bader (665 points) v 5. Micke Lindahl (645 points)
9. Norbert Kuno (415 points)
10.Graham Ellis (415 points)
The first prize is €2000 Euros with €500 for the runner-up. The points system and other information is available at www.exhaust-coating.de.
3rd September: UK Top Methanol Dragster racer and Eurodragster.com sponsor Derek Flynn is urgently seeking the loan of an MSD 44 mag for the FIA European Finals. "Apart from the engine damage which occurred in Germany, we also had mag issues", says Derek. "I sent both mags back to the USA for repair, one dead the other weak spark, but it looks like they may not be back in time for the Finals. We do have one spare but obviously our combination requires two, so is there anyone out there that would be willing to lend us an MSD 44 for the race? The other engine parts which we have ordered look like they will all arrive just in time and the team will be very busy on the Thursday getting everything installed and ready for qualifying". If you can help then please E-Mail Derek at email@example.com or call 01420 544482.
It would seem that Swedish Pro Modified racer Adam Flamholc has quickly got to grips with his ex-Taylor Lastor Camaro. Adam tells us that he clocked a best of 6.019 seconds in pre-Indy testing yesterday, with a 0.972 sixty foot time and 3.922 eighth. You will be able to stay in touch with Adam's progress at Indy, as well as Mike Manners' progress in Top Alcohol Dragster, on the Drag Race Central web site at www.dragracecentral.com.
UK Pro Mod racer Kev Slyfield has announced the support of Rock Racing Batteries. "These lightweight batteries are used by many racers in the States, and deliver similar performance to red tops but are ten pounds lighter", says Kev. "I will have limited stock of Rock1236 at the European Finals. For more information visit www.rockbatteries.com or call me on 01425 489945."
King Racing press release.
3rd September: Under new management for 2009, the 23rd running of the NitrOlympX at the spectacular Hockenheimring in Germany is one of the jewels in the European drag racing crown impressing over 50,000 visitors at what is the best equipped facility in Europe. In the absence of a European Drag Bike Championship round here this year the organisers once again held their crowd-pleasing Nitro Bike Thunder competition which pits four in-line Top Fuel Bikes against the Super Twins with the finalists being decided on the basis of times accumulated over three qualifying runs during the weekend.
The previous two seasons saw Ian King represent the inline-fours, and 2009 would prove to be a repeat with King firmly in the low sixes with a 6.296/225.93 best in the first session followed by 6.348/225.98 and a show pass in the Night Show of 6.321/225.01 to please the boisterous crowd.
A final qualifying day saw King run a 6.451/219.77 which saw him comfortably through to meet last year's opponent Lorenz Stäuble of Switzerland's Erbacher Racing team. King gained a second NitrOlympX title in a row with in the final when opponent Stäuble broke during the burnout, which was fortunate as King chose to click off early knowing he was unopposed on a far from smooth 7.657 second pass.
The team rely on only the best parts and services from leading companies in their chosen markets:
Image Design Custom The UK's leading custom paint shop
Kibblewhite Precision Machining, Inc The highest quality valves and components for motorsport
Gates The world's most trusted name in drive belts, hoses and hydraulics
JE Pistons The world's premier manufacturer of high performance forged pistons
Mickey Thompson Tyres The best drag race tyres in the world bar none
Goedhals Precision specialist gear cutting and engineering
Performance Machine The leader in aftermarket custom wheels, brakes and components
Goodridge UK The original and the best in fluid transfer systems
PsycleWorkz The UK's most innovative custom and race fabricators
Pro Alloy UK's leader in fabrication of alloy racing tanks, intercoolers and radiators
Torco Oils The only oil recommended by engine manufacturers Puma Engineering
Craft Safety Helmets The ultimate in safety and unique in design
Del West Engineering Inc Pioneers in valve train design
Straightline Racing The UK's leading Performance Parts and Tuning Store
Vanson Leathers Thirty years producing the best quality track tested motorcycle apparel
Kent Cams Specialists in motor sport camshaft manufacture, short runs and one-offs
House of Kolor Manufacturers of the world's most stunning specialist paints
Sprint Dampers the UK's leading manufacturer of steering dampers
Kershaw & Co The UK's leading manufacturer of turned parts
Cannon Engineering Gear cutting and precision engineering services
Zodiac Europe's largest supplier of performance and aftermarket HD parts
Pixeleye Innovative graphic and web site design
MRE Leaders in trackside support for drag race components and air shifting systems
Portable Shade The world's premier awning and modular exhibition Product Company
Customize Premier sign makers and vinyl sign and design services
Turboville Your one stop drag racing resource
NitroShutter The combined efforts of ace photo-journalists Ivan Sansom and Rose Hughes
The King Racing Top Fuel Bike can be seen competing at the following events in 2009:
4th–5th September: Mosten Race Day, Denmark
11th–13th September: Santa Pod, England
The new Freddy?
2nd September: After a long winter working on the famous Bowtie Bullet '73 Chevy Stepside pick-up, The Netherlands' Jan Scheppers and the Velocity Racing team were ready to break into the sevens:
The season started with the Drachten Nationals. The result was a disappointing performance and a completely fried clutch. With a best of 8.2/252 km/h and fourteenth place the team was not amused. Thanks to the team's sponsors they were able to fix the damage and order a custom-built billet race clutch from Molinari Racing in San, Diego USA. With two weeks to spare they had to change a lot of things to make the Bowtie ready for the next race, and that's what they did!
The second race, the Drachten Internationals, was like a lightning strike! The Bowtie made great 500-foot burnouts and set the fastest Super Pro ET Doorslammer time of the event with a cracking 7.88/277. And if that was not enough they qualified first only 0.0003 over index. Unfortunately it started to rain on Saturday night and the event was called off.
Meanwhile the team had enough time to figure out why the datalogger said that the pick-up started to smoke its tyres from 1000 feet, in fourth gear at around 250 kmh, guessing that it had something to do with a lack of aerodynamics. Between races they applied some carbon fibre aerodynamics to the trunk, changed the downforce a bit, and improved lots of other things to push the big truck through the wind!
The third race, the Drachten Goodridge Dutch Finals, was like a dream came true! Jan set his own Dutch Super Pro record with a blistering 7.79/282 and big wild burnouts up to 1000 feet! Some say it's "Freddy style" and we were grateful for such a compliment! You can see 1000-foot burnout movies at www.velocityracing.nl.
We made a total of nine runs that weekend, seven runs in the sevens, and went out in the semi-final with 0.034 breakout, but who cares - the Velocity Racing team was back in business!
Jan like to thank his wife Monique for everything, and his friends and team mates - the best team in the world! - Maurice Giovannini, Peter Sprangers, Kees Sprangers, Pieter van de Wal, Richard de Jong and Debbie de Jong. Girls and guys you did the right thing – make us go fast! Jan would especially like to thank Albert Hermans and Maarten von Baluseck from Track Engineering, Dickman from Force of Habit and Jan Selles from Pro Dutch Racing.
Velocity Racing team is sponsored by Schijf Groep Uithoorn, Track Engineering/Parts International, Bleekemolens Race Planet, Dubbel AA Reklame, RedBull Nederland, Bottelier Sjon Pappot, and Scheppers Bouwadvies.
Moholmsstrippen's two-day success.
2nd September: Eurodragsterholic Ulf 'Totte' Lindqvist has been in touch with a report of the weekend's Skaraborgs Street Finals at Moholmsstrippen:
Despite the name, it is a pure drag racing event and all seventy five licenced drivers were there fighting for the glory in six different classes. Altereds and pure race cars to standard and stock cars where found in the pit area. Fastest of them all was Stefan 'Towerhill' Tornberger from Kvänum in his BB Chevy powerd Ford T-23. Stefan took it all the way and won the finals against Alexandra Jeppsson in her turbo-powered Ford Capri. Stefan was pleased with the weekend and a new Personal Best. Despite the struggle for traction he showed that he could control the horsepower of his nitrous car.
Light rain showers fell during Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's finals, but the audience of over 2000 spectators caught up with the sunshine in between. It was a very successful first two-day event which will certainly be repeated next year. To take the step from a single-day event to two days and national status has long been a goal for the hosting club MK 402m.se and President Robert Holm would like to thank everyone involved for a brilliant effort and all the racers for their efforts. Without officials and racers there is no event, and we want to continue with what we find is the best thing to do in the short Swedish summer.
Thank you all and see you again next year!
2nd September: UK Pro Mod racer Ray White has withdrawn his wild blown-alcohol Zephyr from the FIA European Finals. "I have not got the finances to run the car as hard as I would like and that's not the way to race, or certainly not in Pro Mod", says Ray. "The car's in the best shape it's ever been, oil problem sorted, gearbox repaired, we were all ready for testing but funds are at a minimum at the moment so I will lick my wounds, sit back and take stock, and see what 2010 brings. Good luck to all at the Finals."
UK Fuel Altered racer Adam Gleadow tells us that he urgently needs, we quote, "A 26" or 28" inch driveshaft, Greek coupler - male to female, also coupler from output shaft to driveshaft. All course spline". If you can help then please either call Bob Gleadow on 07722 405 204 or E-Mail Adam on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to everyone who volunteered their services for a Parade of Power report after our recent appeals. As mentioned on the appeal we will be accepting the first offer we received and we will be in touch with all who volunteered later on today.
Hungary's first Supertwin six.
2nd September: Norwegian Supertwin racer Hans Olav Olstad has been in touch with a report of his recent trips to the NitrOlympX at Hockenheim and the Extreme Weekend at Kunmadaras, where he ran the first six-second Supertwin pass in Hungary:
In Hockenheim we tried out our new clutch floaters and ran a nice 6.88, 6.84, 6.97 and 6.83. This gave us a lead of 0.15 second in front of Lorenz Stäble. We were fighting for a place in the final as only one bike from Supertwin and Top Fuel would go to the final. In a terrible long wait in the pairing lanes the air changed from 2300 feet to 3200 feet, our set-up was too rich and the engine drowned after 1.2 seconds. Congratulations to Lorenz who went to the final against Ian King. But Lorenz seemed to use his part of the luck this year, and over revved the engine in the burnout, so it stopped on the ignition rpm limit. Ian got a solo run, went too rich and got a lazy eight-second run. We were very happy to get a run in the night show in front of 70,000 spectators, showing some nice big flames from Lightning, this time from the exhaust pipe.
Kunmadaras presented us with the longest, widest and flat track in Europe. And it was hot, during the day we had up to 37C in the shade. I can promise you that that is hot when we put on all our safety equipment. We got an opportunity to make a test run on Thursday evening, but in the burnout I discovered something was wrong with the bike. Lightning didn't run properly and the data logging screen went on and off several times. I just shut off and went back to the pit, and found that the battery was gone. I was happy to save the bike, but disappointed not to be the first Supertwin along the track when we had the chance.
In the first session on Friday, we ran a 7.11 and were #1 qualifier. Second run 7.03, very close to a six second run, and still #1 qualifier. Per Bengtsson ran a 7.04, Lorenz 7.18. On Saturday, we ran the first ever six-second Supertwin run in Hungary, and the speaker went crazy. 6.936/334 km/h. For the second time this year we were #1 qualifier going into eliminations.
In the first round we got a solo run when Roman Sixta had to shut off after his burnout. I got a bit near to the centre line and got off the throttle for about two seconds, but still did a nice 7.14/322. Job Heezen was outside the ladder after some big problems and a blown head, but got in to Matti Vahasaari's place when Matti didn't show because of an engine problem. Job solved his engine problem and showed everybody the potential of his driving skills. 6.935 and beat my previous track record by 0.001 of a second. Congratulations Job, you did a great job during the night with the bike, and I'm happy to see you solve your problems but hey, it wasn't necessary to beat my record! Per Bengtsson took out Ismo Mäenpä and Lorenz took out Martijn De Haas who also lifted a head and cylinder.
Job got lane choice and I tried to run with the same set-up as my last run in the left lane. There was some difference between the lanes, and everybody went up in smoke in that lane during the finals. I also went up in smoke and Job was far away, crossing the finish line first. So to be the first man back, I drove Lightning straight back to the pit with the nitro burning engine running. I maybe scared some people, but that was fun. The next pair was Lorenz and Per, the most interesting run this season. Per had to take out Lorenz to level their points standings. Per had lane choice, and went in the right line. Lorenz was quick on the start line, and Per was behind. Lorenz went up in smoke in same spot as I did. Per was quickly ahead, and took out Lorenz with a 7.007 to 7.34.
In the final Per had line choice again, and went in the right lane again. Job was as quick as a rocket on the start line and was well in front of Per. Job went up in smoke on the same spot as Lorenz and I, but Per also started to smoke his tyre. It was like the time stood still, the riders fought their bikes to the end and Per was first over the line 7.05 to Job's 7.18. We would like to congratulate Per as the winner of the fourth round of the UEM Championship. He is now leading, six point in front of Lorenz. I have to fight for third place and Job is eleven points ahead of me. The Finals at Santa Pod are going to be more interesting that ever. See you all there.
The track was much better than expected. Thank you very much to the track crew from Santa Pod, you did a fantastic job with the track. Also another big thanks to the organizer Josef and his wife, their work for this paid off in a good and safe event.
Olstad Racing Team wants to give a special thanks to our sponsors Jessheim Bilskade, Kim Johansen and GB-Tech, who made this trip possible.
What's on this weekend.
2nd September: Ex-pat UK Top Alcohol Dragster racer Michael Manners of Eurodragster.com sponsor Cosmo Residences is competing at the NHRA US Nationals at Indianapolis, which starts today although TAD qualifying commences tomorrow. As ever you will be able to stay in touch with Mike's progress on the Drag Race Central web site at www.dragracecentral.com.
Malmö's Meca Raceway hosts the Winternationals on Friday to Sunday organised by SRIF Dragracing. The event is the final of the Toyo Tires Scandinavian Dragracing Series High Five points Championship. All Sportsman classes will be competing with the finale of the Top Doorslammer series. Included in the TD field are former FIA Champions Michael Malmgren, Niclas Andersson and Hakan Nilsson. Details of the event are at www.srif.se and you can keep an eye on the entry list and points standings at www.tsds.se.
The sixth Mosten Race Days takes place at Mosten, Denmark, from tomorrow to Sunday. The event, organised by the Mosten MC, includes cars as well as bikes. Top Fuel Dragster racers Stig Neergaard and Rene Hersland will be running match races and there is a seven-car Top Doorslammer shootout. Top Fuel Bike is an eight-bike field including Ian King and Tim Blakemore from the UK. The entry in Supertwin is a healthy fifteen and there are good entries in ten other classes making for a great weekend's racing, with bike shows and seven live groups for evening entertainment. Registration takes place tomorrow with qualifying on Friday from 10:00 to 20:00 and qualifying and eliminations on Saturday from 09:00 to 20:00. More details at www.mosten-mc.dk.
From Friday to Sunday at Kiskunlacháza airport, Hungary there will be National Championship drag racing plus the King of Europe final shoot-out. A new class of diesel vehicles will be introduced at this event to the standard King of Europe classes of front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, four wheel drive and stock street (twelve seconds and slower). Cars from each of these classes will run in a combined eliminator. Kiskunlacháza is 50 km south of Budapest. More details on the King of Europe including an entry list are available at www.kingofeurope.net. Details of the Hungarian National Championship can be found at www.dragracing.hu.
The sixth American Motors Pavia - Hills Race will take place at Italy's Rivanazzano Dragway on Saturday and Sunday. Gates open at 9:00 on both days with racing from 13:30 to 19:30 on Saturday and 10:30 to 18:30 on Sunday. There will be dragster demonstrations at 16:30 Saturday and 15:00 Sunday. Other attractions include custom cycle show and live bands on Saturday. The Rivanazzano track is at the LM Resta Airport which is about 60 km south of Milan and about 30 km southwest of Pavia. More details at www.hillsrace.it.
If you fancy a spot of last-minute testing before the FIA European Finals then Shakespeare County Raceway is hosting a Public Test Weekend on Saturday and Sunday; details at www.shakespearecountyraceway.com. Santa Pod Raceway is hosting VW Action this weekend but the event incorporates a Run What You Brung on Saturday and a Peak Performance Day on Sunday, both of which are open to all; details at www.rwyb.com.
Web site updates.
2nd September: The Central European drag racing web site at www.cedrag.com has been updated with news of the last race in the Czech drag bike series as well as a pictures of a spectacular ride for a Supertwin racer.
1st September: Norway's Thomas Nataas has entered Fuel Funny Car at next week's FIA European Finals at Santa Pod Raceway, bringing the total number of Fuel FCs at the event to four. The entry list will be updated shortly but you can check it out by clicking here or by clicking on the Event Coverage link on the left-hand side of any Eurodragster.com page and selecting the FIA European Finals.
King of Europe West winner Andy Frost has confirmed that he will not be attending this weekend's East v West final. "The car is up for sale and I've sold a lot of stuff off it", says Andy. "Everything is now going to the construction of the new car."
Joe Williams of the UK's Team Van With No Name Pro ET team has asked us to thank everybody who helped himself, Dave and Yorkie at Shakespeare County Raceway last week. "We had allsorts of trouble over the weekend with oil leaks on the Van and everybody rallied round to help or take the Mick", says Joe. "We thought we had it fixed,but after finally getting a run it toasted a couple of piston rings. Luckily we have a spare engine we can use - no blower, boo-hoo! - for the European Finals and UK National Finals. Once again thanks for all the help from everybody."
Eurodragster.com is still seeking a volunteer to send us a report and pictures from this Friday evening's Parade of Power in Wellingborough. We would require the report and pictures (from a camera rather than a camera phone) as soon as possible after the event, preferably on Saturday, and we can't offer any immediate remuneration apart from your name in lights here on Eurodragster.com and of course our gratitude. If you would like to help then please drop us a line at email@example.com. If you are under 16 then please make sure that your parents know that you are volunteering. If we have more than one volunteer then we will choose the first.
Web site updates.
1st September: Thanks to our good friend Gittli Koller of German Top Methanol Dragster team Peter Schöfer Racing for letting us know that a very good documentary video featuring PSR at Hockenheim is now showing on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3I6VMiSeSc.
Paul Castle has posted a number of pictures from the Goodridge Dutch Finals on his Photobucket gallery at s864.photobucket.com/albums/ab202/grandpastoyracing_photos.
Editor's note: Only a very brief news update today due to pressure of work in your News Editor's day job. Tune back tomorrow for Hans Olav Olstad's report from Kunmadaras, the new Freddy Fagerström, and a report on the weekend's events at Moholmsstrippen, and please keep those news items coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.