event: 2015 ACU Championships Round 3—Summernationals
where: Santa Pod Raceway, UK

Summernationals at Santa Pod

ACU Championships Round 3

story and photos by Steven Moxley


Bob Brooks

The 2015 ACU Championships reached its halfway point at the Summernationals. The racers and crowd were greeted with hot and sunny weather on Saturday during qualifying sessions. However, rain on Sunday morning delayed the start of eliminations. Things got going in the afternoon and, with a couple of oil downs, the track crew did a superb job to clean up the mess in quick time and the event was completed just before the curfew. Many riders set new personal bests and a new ACU ET record was set in Super Street bike.



"Footloose" Filippos Papafilippou!

Former champ Stuart Crane ran a personal best of 7.198 to lead the 12 bike Funnybike field. 

Filippos Papafilippou debuted his new Funnybike and ran 8.1s with a 1.10 60ft in testing the day before the event. The team put a soft set-up in the bike and qualified with a 7.409 at 185.80 mph (top speed of the meet). 

Eric Richard

Bob Brooks fitted a bigger fuel pump for this event and ran 7.464-169.80 to edge Eric Richard’s 7.468-177.80 for third spot.


Points leader Dave Peters was next with a 7.507-176.42, followed by his nearest challenger in the championship—Allan Davies—who was hoping to have his big motor (1500cc) in the frame for this meeting.  But days before the event, there was an issue with the motor. So the team decided to fit the smaller motor (1428cc) back in the frame and qualified with a 7.660 at 173.06. 

Dale Leeks

Dale Leeks had a fuel solenoid problem in the first session then had a bent shift fork, before he finally got in a full pass of 7.988-169.81. Harold Wolfenden had a gear shift issue during qualifying and qualified on the bump spot with 8.203-160.20. 

Looking in from the outside, Thomas Joswig suffered clutch set-up problems, replaced the MTC steel plates and ran a best of 8.255-163.67.

Pete Le Gros fitted a BDK valve for the event (he is still awaiting some parts). But the motor is losing power at around the 1000ft mark and he ran an 8.412 at140.38. 

Nick Daniels had his spare motor in the bike (he’s also waiting for parts) and ran 8.511-157.93. Dave Buttery hurt his gearbox and ran 9.090-100.38.

Harold Wolfenden

Crane ran 7.607 to put Wolfenden’s 8.227 back on the trailer in round 1 of eliminations. Peters had a problem at the 300ft mark and watched Richard take the winlight with a 7.616.

Filipapappou was ahead of Leeks when he drifted very close to the centreline at ¾ track and had to ease of the throttle. This gave Leeks the chance to take the winlight 8.940 to 9.505. 

The beest race of the round saw Brooks just beating Davies to the finishline with a  7.486 at 175 to 7.754-171. 

Stuart Crane

Leeks red lit against Brooks in the first semifinal. Then Richard broke at mid-track against Crane.  


Brooks turned the wick up for the final and stayed in the groove to win the event with a 7.356. Crane was close to Brooks until he drifted to the centreline and eased off to a 7.694. It’s been a few years since his last win, and this on moves Brooks into second place in the championship behind Peters.

Comp Bikes

Kevin Osman (near lane) and Eddy Smiley

Comp Bike had one of the closest qualifying fields with the top six riders separated by only 3/10ths between them. The field only got set when the last two riders in the final qualifying session went down the track. 

Mick Winyard

Paul Hambridge just edged Kevin Osman with a 7.847 at179.25 to a 7.853 at 189.63—Osman’s personal best and top speed of the meet.  The next four spots were very close with Eddy Smiley’s 8.110-169.18, Mick Winyard’s 8.115-177.80, Dave Smart’s 8.120 p/b –173.08, and newcomer Sam Sykes’ 8.148 p/b at 169.16 lining up in that order. 

Sam Sykes

Newcomer Tanya Hardy was on Nick Milburn’s Comp Bike and qualified with an 8.920 at 149.62 after finding a set up for launching off the start line. Dave Batcheler was finding a nitrous set-up and ran a best of 9.186-140.39. Phil Leamon damaged a gearbox at the last round of the championship at Shakespeare County, and he damaged his spare gearbox at the Summernationals and was out of competition after running 9.817. 

Tanya Hardy

Dave Thomas was entered for Super Street Bike, but on test day he pulled a big wheelie and damaged the bodywork and moved over to Comp Bike due to the rulebook on bodywork in Super Street Bike. He still had some issues and ran 10.580 at 158.48.

Dave Batcheler

Batcheler ran a best to date 8.837 on his current set-up, but it wasn’t enough to beat Hambridge who ran 7.939-175.74 to open round 1 of eliminations. There was a shock in the next race when Smart ran a p/b 8.019-177.85 to beat Winyard’s 8.431-175.04. Osman’s 8.691 beat Hardy’s 8.808.  There was also a shock in the last pair when Sykes beat Smiley 8.211 at 166 to 8.277-166.

Dave Smart

Smart was looking for his first seven-second pass at this meeting and turned the wick up when he took on Hambridge in the semis. It was a close race, and Hambridge took the light with a 7.835 at 179.93 (p/b speed) to Smart’s 7.929. 


In the other semifinal, Sykes broke at mid-track while Osman ran a p/b of 7.746 at 188. 

Paul Hambridge

The final was just as close as the two had raced the day before in qualifying. This time Osman took the winlight with a 7.913 to Hambridge’s 7.935. It was Osman’s first win at an ACU national event and moves him into the lead in the championship.

Super Street Bike

Garry Bowe

Garry Bowe sent a warning shot in qualifying when he ran under the ACU ET record (7.142) with a 7.139 at 196.26. 

Shawn Buttigieg had a Rock Solid clutch fitted for this event and Walter Sprout from the States was helping with the tune-up. Buttigieg ran 7.150 at 198.03. 

Pete Field

Pete Field ran a p/b of 7.181 at 201.54. Richard Stubbins was next with a 7.212-192.11. Steve Venables was having some issues and ran a best of 7.320-189.80. 

Stephen Mead

Stephen Mead debuted his new bike and is using a Rock Solid clutch, Owens turbocharger, and an RCC charge plenum. Sprout was also tuning Mead’s bike over the weekend and ran on a 7.8 soft set-up, then qualified with a 7.560 at 185.77. 

The tutu is back! Chris Reed

Chris Reed was next with a 7.606-195.57. Mark Wells had another good qualifying session and ran 7.640-192.10. Richard Hann was a little off his form with a 7.652-194.53.


Jemma Venables had a lucky escape during testing the day before the event, when a con rod let go. Oil went over her legs and the bike caught fire, but she safely stopped the bike and the track crew dealt with the fire. A spare motor was fitted and Venables ran 7.654-185.81. 

Alex Hope

Peter Granica qualified with a 7.790-184.29. Alex Hope had an electrical problem during qualifying and ran 7.850-166.67.  Steve Wood ran 9.007-158.54. Dave Ward redistributed the weight around his bike, but had no datalogger in the first session and a fuel pump issue in the next session, settling with a 9.397 at 155.74.

Jemma Venables (near lane) taking on dad Steve

Ward broke off the start line against Bowe in round 1 of eliminations.  Granica ran a p/b to beat Stubbins with a 7.598-187.42. It was an all-Venables race—first time the father against his daughter—with dad taking the win 7.321 to 7.653. Both Buttigieg and Reed had byes into the next round. Field redlit against Hope, and Mead ran a career p/b of 7.375 at 190.50 to trailer Hann 7.705-179.98.

Shawn Buttigieg

Bowe had a bye to the semis, as did Granica when the winning Venables was a no-show. 

The other results were not expected. Buttigieg redlit against Reed and Hope won on a holeshot (.149 to .291) over Mead, who ran another p/b 7.372 at 192.22 but lost to Hope’s winning time of 7.499-195.59. 

Peter Granica

Granica’s day came to an end in the semis with a troubled run of 8.164 to Bowe’s 7.713. Hope then wasted a 7.477-197.29 when he redlit against Reed. 

Bowe had been trying to set the ET record all day and in the final he ran a p/b of 7.129 to set a new record in the ACU Championship. His opponent Reed pulled a redlight. Bowe now leads the championship.

Phil Pratt

Bowe had another Super Street Bike at the event, one he has been building over the winter. 9.50 bike rider Phil Pratt did some testing over the w/end for Bowe and ran a career personal best of 7.91 at 172.38mph on a soft set-up. The bike is for sale.