event: 2015 European FIM Championships Round 3—European Finals
where: Santa Pod Raceway, UK
Bikes Blister Santa Pod!
story and photos by Steven Moxley
Ian King, the Champ!
History was made at the final round of the 2015 European FIM Championships when DME Racing’s Steve Venables became the first Super Street Bike rider to record a 6-second pass in Europe, on E85 fule no less!
There were also new records set and many personal bests. Friday was overcast but the weather improved as the weekend went on.
Top Fuel Bike
Ian King struggled with traction in the first three qualifying sessions before the team found a tune up. King blasted down the track and ran 5.900 at 242.77mph to become the first European Top Fuel Bike rider to run 240 plus mph.
Steve Woollatt had his crankshaft repaired after Hockenheim and ran a personal best ET of 6.230 at 200.67. He clicked off early when the ceramic broke off the spark plug.
Rikard Gustafsson going Balls Deep as usual
Points leader Rikard Gustafsson was running well and was close to overpowering the track with a 6.548-207.27.
Rene Van Den Berg repaired his clutch bearing and two valves on the motor. He qualified with 6.652 and a personal best speed of 222.26.
Filippos Papafilippou was having traction problems at half -track and recorded p/b 60ft of 1.024 on a 6.696-194.59, but he went into a tank slapper at mid-track (hence the low speed).
Nick Milburn ran his first 200 plus mph lap with a 206.19. Milburn suffered wheel spin at the start line and traction problem further down the track, qualifying with a 7.343-188.94.
Glenn Borg, channeling Mac McAdams
Glenn Borg from Malta was attending his first FIM event at Santa Pod. He was riding the ex-Papafilippou General Lee Funny Bike, which ran 6.89-199mph in Malta in March. Borg had a fuel injection problem and were tuning the bike, running a best of 7.623-179.96.
Bob Brooks (near lane) and Glenn Borg
For a Funny Bike to compete in Top Fuel Bike eliminator, the bike must run quicker than 6.99 seconds. Three riders were entered and tried to run in the sixes. Stuart Crane was the closest with an off-the-trailer, personal best ever of 7.060-185. Bob Brooks also ran a p/b of 7.174 at 186.64 and ran a p/b 60ft of 1.08. Dale Leeks had some issues and ran 8.009-174.33.
Otto Knebl had a weekend to forget. In the opening qualifying session the clutch locked up after the burnout. He repaired it and the clutch locked again on the following day and he didn’t qualify.
Rene Van Den Berg
Van Den Berg beat Papafilippou in a close first round race, 6.987-189 to 7.122-184. Milburn smoked the tyre off the start line and Gustafsson took the win light 6.634 to 7.409 in their match-up. Borg broke in staging, leaving Woollatt a bye run. King also had a bye and ran 5.944 at 236.21 to set a European speed record (242mph backs up the 236mph).
In the first semi-final, Woollatt had a drive belt break just before the 1/8th and Gustafsson ran 6.477-212.08 for a place in the final. In the other semi, King led Van Den Berg to the 1/8th when his tyre smoked, but Ian managed to get to the finish first 6.477 to 6.574.
The top two points leaders were in the final and the winner of the race would become the 2015 Europe FIM Top Fuel Bike Champion. Gustafsson was out the gate first .032 to .192 but King powered around to take the winlight and his ninth FIM Championship with a 6.058 at 231.57 to Rikard’s slowing 7.364-163.12.
2015 European FIM SuperTwins Champion Martijn De Haas
Title challenger Job Heezen was unable to attend, so Martijn De Haas was crowned 2015 European FIM SuperTwins Champion. But his joy was short lived when he broke a shaft in the transmission in the opening qualifying session on a 7.934 at 149.07 mph lap and was out of the show.
Ronny Aasen and the Zodiac team have been trying different liners (cast iron) and modified the pistons in an effort to cure the problem they’ve had damaging pistons and rings for the last two years. After successful outings at Gardermoen and Hockenheim, Aasen was shut down in the first session due to a fluid leak and then he ran a career personal best of 6.374 at 202.57.
Roman Sixta ran his first six-second pass (6.752) a couple of weeks before this event at Tierp. But Sixta had handling problems on both runs on the first day of qualifying at Santa Pod. The next day he ran 6.989-184.23.
Petr Ceska had bought Sixta’s old bike and fitted an MSD ignition system and a new gearbox for this event after damaging the bearing sprocket at Tierp. In the opening session, Ceska hit the timing block and then had problems in the other sessions and didn’t qualify.
Both Aasen and Sixta had byes to the final. Aasen ran 7.160 at the expense of a broken throttle shaft on the blower, which put him out of the final.
Roman Sixta snagged the win
Sixta ran 6.910 with a personal best speed of 198.78 in the semi, then had a troubled run in the final but took the winlight for his very first FIM win.
Pro Stock Bike
Reigning Champion Fredrik Fredlund set a European speed record over weekend of 190.45mph and qualified in the number one spot with 7.013.
Robert Karlsson was riding his daughter Elvira’s bike (the one she rode bike in the States in 2014) for this meeting. Karlsson recorded his first six-second pass (6.982) at Tierp two weeks before this event, but at Santa Pod had an ignition problem when it cut out in fifth gear. He qualified with a 7.091 at 188.16 mph.
Anders Larsson made a welcoming return to the FIM Championship after not competing for a long time. He has a new Vance&Hines motor bolted into the frame for this season’s racing. Larsson did have some traction issues during qualifying and managed to reach third spot 7.140-186.59.
Hockenheim winner (his first FIM event win) Gert-Jan Laseur had a new motor that he built and ran a 7.142-183.48. Alex Hope ran personal best figures of 7.224-185.89, followed by Martin Newbury with a p/b of 7.247 at 171.75. Karl- Heinz Weikum was next 7.272-182.85. Len Paget has been quietly tuning the 1640cc four-valve motor he built and ran a p/b of 7.326 at 176.43, and there is more to come.
Ellsa Karlsson is the younger daughter of Robert Karlsson and is riding the bike her sister Elvira first rode. At Tierp, Ellsa Karlsson ran the quickest ET in Europe with a 6.959. During qualifying on Friday she suffered handling issues on both runs. First run she drifted to the centre line, and on the next run she crossed lanes in the shutdown area (7.336) and glanced the wall. She was OK but a bolt was damaged on the crankshaft. The decision was not to ride it again and for the bike to be checked over back in Sweden.
Kenneth Holmberg was tenth with a 7.364 at 180.62. Martin Bishop had a clutch bearing break and qualified with a 7.395-180.65. Allan Davies broke a valve and piston on the #1 cylinder (7.784-170.46). Martin Smith had a new motor built in house by Warpspeed and ran 7.884-163.65. Ray Debben was on the bump spot 8.056-162.49.
A bizarre incident happened when both Bishop and Laseur left before the tree lights ran down for round 1, so both were disqualified. Hope had a problem and lost to Holmberg. Smith had a problem at 100 feet and R. Karlsson took the win with a 7.059.
Len Paget sporting a GSXR body
Paget had a gear shift issue at mid-track. Weikum’s motor misfired off the start line but managed to pass Paget before the finish. Both Larsson and Newbury had bye runs, with Newbury running a p/b speed of 177.11. Fredlund beat Debben with a 7.006 to become the 2015 European FIM Pro Stock Bike Champion.
Round 2 saw Fredlund and Holmberg had byes to the semifinals. Weikum broke just before staging and Karlsson was on his way to the semifinals. Newbury left before the light, handing the win to Larsson in their pairing.
Race of the day saw Larsson put a .010 to .036 holeshot over Karlsson and hang on to take the winlight 7.208 at 185.11 to Karlsson’s quicker but losing 7.189-188.99. In the other semi, Fredlund beat Holmberg 7.122 to 7.177.
Anders Larsson returns as a winner
The question in the pits was—could Larsson win the event on his return to the FIM Championship? The answer was yes when Fredlund’s motor broke at mid-track and Larsson took the win with a 7.186 at 181.40.
Super Street Bike Cup Round 4
Garry Bowe got the Super Street Bike ball rolling—could he finish?
Garry Bowe got the Super Street Bike ball rolling on Friday on what would be an historic event, with a personal best and an unofficial ET record of 7.036. In the third session of qualifying, Dave Holland ran 7.014 at 209.16.
Then on the final session Steve Venables—who had a new motor (same spec as Joey Gladstone grey DME bike with a full auto trans)—ran Europe’s first 6-second pass street tire pass with a 6.950 at a jaw dropping 212.84mph. All the riders congratulated him in the shutdown area and on his return to his pit, car drivers and riders clapped as he went pass them.
The next rider to follow Venables was Holland who ran 7.026 at 208 to set both ET and speed records. Points leader Richard Stubbins qualified with a personal best of 7.066. Shawn Buttigieg suffered from tyre spin at mid-track and ran 7.123. Steve’s daughter Jemma Venables was pulling wheelies during qualifying and ran back-to-back personal bests of 7.420 and 7.335.
Daniel Lencses had some new parts fitted for this event and ran a p/b of 7.355. Stephen Mead had his spare motor in the frame and ran 7.365. Hungary winner Mogens Lund was next with a 7.441, and runner-up at that meeting Thomas Granica ran a 7.496, just ahead of Graham Dance’s 7.502 at 195.48.
Mark Wells was another rider to record a p/b with a 7.559. Pete Field had some issues and ran a best of 7.569. Danny Cockerill suffered a lot of wheelies during qualifying and ran 7.624. Richard Hann was another rider having some issues and ran 7.630.
Mark Hope qualified on the bump
Newcomer to the European FIM, Mark Hope ran personal best figures of 7.841-185.84 to be on the bump spot. Outside the show looking in was Clemens Walleit with a 7.853 and a p/b speed of 182.89. Leif Larsson had a different rear shock and was looking for a set-up, with tyre spin from mid-track to the finishline, and ran 7.868. Sandro Haldimann has repaired his motor that got destroyed at the Main Event and ran 7.920 with a p/b speed of 188.22.
Erich Gruber before separating from his ZX12
Erich Gruber had a coolant leak from his charger and it got under the rear tyre at mid-track. Gruber came off the bike and injured his collarbone. Knut Moller ran 8.069 and finally was Peter Adorjan with an 8.364.
Hungary winner Mogens Lund
Lund ran a jaw dropping 7.300 to beat Mead in round 1 of eliminations. Jemma V. knocked out Dance 7.408 to 7.552. Granica ran a p/b 7.424 to beat Lencses’ 7.472. Then a shock—Field ran 7.239 to knock out Stubbins, who felt some thing wasn’t right with the bike at mid-track and eased off. Buttigieg recorded a p/b speed of 199.00 against Wells. Bowe beat Cockerill and knew he had to reach the final to win the Cup. Holland was off his pace but still beat Hann, and S.Venables ran 7.025-208.01 against Hope’s 7.851.
Round 2 and Holland was back on form with a 7.201 at 208.08 against Granica’s 8.019. Buttigieg beat Field, and Bowe ran 7.072 to edge J. Venables’ 7.382. S. Venables stormed down the track and the figures on the board lit up 7.002-209.95 to set the European ET record of 6.950 and speed record of 209.95mph. Lund managed a 7.469.
In the semi-finals, Buttigieg had a problem and slowed to 10.239 as S. Venables ran 7.024-207. In the other semi, Holland redlit against Bowe, making Bowe the 2015 European FIM Super Street Bike Cup winner.
S. Venables ran another 7.046 to take the win in the final over Bowe’s 7.130.
DME's Steve Venables
Eric Teboul recorded a European ET record of 5.191 at a speed of 266.61mph.
Congratulations to the following Champions
Top Fuel Bike—Ian King
SuperTwins—Martijn De Haas
Pro Stock Bike—Fredrik Fredlund
Super Street Bike—Garry Bowe
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