event: 2015 ACU Championships Round 5 National Finals
where: Santa Pod Raceway, UK
ACU National Finals at Santa Pod
story and photos by Steven Moxley
"Smoke 'em if you got 'em." Nick Milburn won anyway
This was the final round of the 2015 ACU Top Fuel Bike Championships. Ian King was initially entered for the event at Santa Pod Raceway, but in the end he did not compete after deciding he really didn’t need to test any further.
Then three bikes qualified, but only two ran eliminations.
Reigning ACU Top Fuel Bike Champion Steve Woollatt led the small field with a 6.307 at 193.02. Woollatt hurt his rib cage during qualifying, but he was ok to continue the event.
Nick Milburn suffered traction problems off the start line and ran a best of 7.023 at 191.28. Rene Van Den Berg qualified with a 7.757 at 126.61, but at the expense of a broken crankshaft, which put him out of the show.
Milburn was due to race Berg in the semis and ran a personal best of 6.819 (his first 6-second pass) on the bye run.
In the final, Woollatt put a holeshot on Milburn at the start, but his rear tyre stepped out. Woollatt managed to control the bike and not cross the centreline, but could only watch Milburn go past and win his first ACU event in his first year of Top Fuel Bike.
The win puts Milburn in second place of the championship behind Berg, who won his second ACU Top Fuel Bike championship. Berg’s first was on the bike that Milburn is riding now.
Lorcan Parnell's "Storm"
Funnybike was the class to watch at the National Finals, with a few riders running personal bests and a speed record set.
Lorcan Parnell sent a warning shot of what to expect during the National Finals when he ran 7.05 and 6.89 (his first six-second pass) in testing the day before the event. Parnell qualified in number one spot with a 6.892 at 203.49 (his first 200 plus mph speed) and later set an ACU Championship speed record of 200.50mph.
Filippos Papafilippou used his new Funnybike in the first two sessions, but suffered transmission issues and hopped on his other bike and managed to get in the show with a 6.973 at 161.94 with a gear shift problem on that bike as well. So the team worked till 6.00 am Sunday on both bikes.
Stuart Crane ran a teeth-clenching 7.006 off the trailer. With some help from teammate Dale Leeks on the nitrous system, Crane ran his first six-second pass—6.996 at 185.12.
Points leader Dave Peters ran a personal best of 7.137 at 185.13 for third spot. Bob Brooks’ engine sump cracked, covering Brooks and the bike in oil on his 7.330-180.64 pass. Allan Davies damaged a clutch and ran 7.587-177.82. Last year’s winner of the National Finals, Stefan Hagenstein, was in seventh spot with a 7.625-172.39 with clutch and wheel spin issues. Phil Crossley was on the bump spot with a personal best on the new bike of 7.697-156.28.
Thomas Joswig was another rider having clutch problems, running a best of 7.946-163.68 and looking in from the outside on raceday.
Dale Leeks broke a tooth off the crankshaft. A couple of crewmembers went back to the shop in Norfolk and brought a spare crankshaft, and along with Stuart Crane rebuilt the motor. Leeks finished building the bike at 5.00 am Sunday morning, then ran 8.240-160.20 and was second alternate.
Pete Le Gros is creeping up on the tune up and ran 8.288-159.59. Nick Daniels had his small motor but suffered with launching off the start line, then the motor would pick up at 150ft out to the finishline. He ran 9.771-150.63.
Dave Peters (far lane) and Thomas Joswig
Joswig was first alternate for the stricken Brooks. Joswig made his debut in 1995 World Finals here at Santa Pod and his first race was against Dave Peters. As fate would have it, Joswig faced Peters in round one at this event also. This time Peters took the win with a 7.256 at 182.11 to Joswig’s 8.033-170.45.
Papafilippou broke after the burnout (fluid leak), so Hagenstein had a bye run.
Parnell staged with a fairing bolted onto the bike for the first time (Barry Eastman finished painting it on Thursday). Crossley put a huge .115 to .541 holeshot over Parnell, but Parnell blasted down the track and at 1200 ft drifted to the wall, hitting the side of the bike against the wall. He kept the power on and ran a personal best of 6.845 at 194.50. Crossley took the win with a p/b 7.549-171.75.
Davies won his opening round when Crane broke at 150ft (electrical fault).
Peters had both burst panels blow just after the 1/8 mile mark against Crossley in the semis. Davies was next and wasted a 7.604 when he pulled a redlight against Hagenstein.
So could Hagenstein win the event again? The answer was no as he broke just off the start line and Crossley powered down the track to win his first ACU event.
Pro Stock Bike
The National Finals is the first time that Pro Stock Bikes have competed in the ACU Championships this season.
Reigning Champion Alex Hope ran a personal best 7.210 to top the small field and suffered traction problems during qualifying. A new rear tyre was fitted for the eliminations.
Len Paget hurt his 1640cc four-valve motor in the opening qualifying session and had to fit his two-valve motor into the frame and qualified 7.537-170.46. Mark Smith missed the first session but ran a best of 7.971-171.75.
Hope had a bye to the final, while Paget led from start to finish with a 7.743-166 to Smith’s 7.922-163.
The final was decided on the start line when Paget redlit and Hope won the first event of Pro Stock Bike.
Points leader Kevin Osman sent a warning shot in testing with personal best figures of 7.645 at 191.39, then qualified with a 7.769 at 186.58 for number one spot. Paul Hambridge also ran a personal best in testing of 7.7 seconds and ran 7.848-179.92. Just behind Hambridge was Eddy Smiley’s p/b 7.943-174.38. Then came Dave Smart, who suffered wheelie problems during qualifying due to a hybrid Hays and MTC clutch combination. Smart’s best was 7.961-179.25.
Mick Winyard had a boost leak and sorted it out for an 8.244-174.37. Dave Batcheler ran his best to date on his combo with an 8.420-156.33. Sean Mills was on the bump spot with a 9.257-96 due to a gear shift problem.
Osman had a bye in round 1 of eliminations and stormed down the track 7.649-189.70. Smart got very close to the centreline and held on to beat Winyard with a 7.973-175.76 to 8.236-175.08. Mills almost crossed the centreline at the 300 ft mark against Hambridge, who took the winlight with a p/b 7.814 at 180.62. Another rider to record a p/b was Smiley with a 7.926 at 171.10 to beat Batcheler’s 8.876-151.60.
Smart had a big wheelie at 200 feet in the semi and Osman was on his way to the final with a 7.945. The other semi-final was a close race, with Smiley winning on a holeshot and an 8.005 over Hambridge’s quicker but losing 7.904.
Smiley had another close race but this time Osman powered around Smiley to take the win 7.950 to 8.099 and increase his points lead.
Super Street Bike
Tall man Garry Bowe
Richard Stubbins set a new ACU Championship ET record of 7.092 in qualifying, only for 2015 European FIM Cup winner Garry Bowe to reset it at 7.073. Pete Field ran 7.199 at 204.20 for third spot. Steve Venables was next with a 7.211-195.47, followed by Chris Reed’s 7.373-193.86 and Daniel Lencses’ 7.516-188.21.
Rudulfo Maduro has new bodywork and made small changes to his motor. He damaged his MTC Gen2 clutch in testing but got a handle on the clutch in qualifying and ran personal best figures of 7.577-183.63, making his the fastest GX1000cc in Europe.
Stephen Mead suffered handling problems and ran 7.597-161.31. Mark Wells lost sixth gear and competed the remainder of the event using five gears only, qualifying with a 7.607-192.22.
Richard Hann had a weekend to forget. First he had bent butterflies and ran 7.664-193.87, then while warming up the motor a valve bent and he was out of the show.
Jemma Venables damaged all the shells and was out of the show after running a 7.678-148.12. Charly Anasagasti was riding his new self-built bike and motor, but had a fuel pressure issue in the second 1/8 of the track and ran 7.853-156.33. Sam Sykes had ECU and clutch problems, running 8.389-166.08. Steve Wood was the last rider with an 8.485-166.67.
Steve Venables and Reed had byes to start eliminations. Bowe eased past Wood, 7.579 to 8.338. Stubbins beat Sykes, who drifted close to the centreline at mid-track, 7.449 to 9.730. Both riders in the next race ran personal bests, with Mead taking the win 7.332-194.53 to Maduro’s 7.539 at 175.76.
There was a shock in the next pairing when Anasagasti beat Field, who pulled a wheelie at 150 feet. Anasagasti ran a 7.541-182.14 p/b to Field’s 7.634-195.39.
Wells smoked the rear tyre off the start line and watched Lencses blast down the track to a personal best 7.223-196.39.
Daniel Lencses ran a personal best 7.223-196.39
Round 2 and Bowe had a bye to the semis. Venables led from start to finish against Reed, and Stubbins did the same against Mead—7.146 to 7.337. Anasagasti put a .077-.177 holeshot over Lencses, who powered around to take the win with a 7.287at 192.22 to a personal best for Anasagasti, 7.487-182.84.
Best race of the day saw Bowe win a close 7.128 to 7.130 semifinal race against Venables. Stubbins ended Lencses’ weekend 7.145 to 7.319.
The final was decided at 40 feet when Bowe pulled a wheelie and watched Stubbins take the winlight with a 7.101.
Super Street Bike winner Rick Stubbins
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