event: 2016 ACU Championships Round 1, Festival of Power
where: Santa Pod Raceway, UK

Festival of Power at Santa Pod

story and photos by Steven Moxley


Rain and strong winds on Saturday and Sunday disrupted the running of the three-day Festival of Power at Santa Pod Raceway—the opening round of the 2016 ACU Championships.

Top Fuel Bike

Rene Van Den Berg

Reigning ACU Top Fuel Bike Champion Rene Van Den Berg has fitted a strong crankshaft for 2016 and has also done some wiring changes.  Berg ran back-to-back 6.5 second runs—a 6.597 at 219.30 mph and then a personal best of 6.516 at 217.99. 

Steve Woollatt

Steve Woollatt has gone back to his 2014 clutch settings and has also changed his fuel set up for this year, resulting in two 1000 foot click-off runs on Friday with a best of 6.518 at 182.88. 

Nick Milburn

Nick Milburn had a blower belt break (tooth) in the opening qualifying session, and in the next session ran a 7.157 at 153.17.

There was a stiff crosswind on Saturday when the Top Fuel bikes came to the line. Van Den Berg ran 6.516 on a bye run. 


Nick Milburn's crash

Then Woollatt and Milburn came to the line. Woollatt got out the gate first (.206 to .636!) over Milburn and as Woollatt got to 300 feet, the bike was drifting to the centreline and he clicked off. Milburn powered passed on the wheelie bars with the front wheel off the ground and as he was entering the speed traps, his bike also drifted to the centreline.  Milburn was leaning over to straighten the bike, but parted company from the bike. The bike went into Woollatt’s lane and hit the wall in front of Woollatt, who had bits of carbon fibre hitting his helmet and bits on the track. Milburn was rolling in his lane, but was OK and had dislocated his shoulder. He went to hospital and later returned to the track. The front off the frame broke off the bike when it hit the wall. 

Following that incident the riders in Funny Bike, Comp Bike and Super Street Bike decided not to run that day.


Funny Bike

Lorcan Parnell

Over the winter the clutch has been modified on Lorcan Parnell’s bike. He had an oil leak on his first pass. Then Parnell came to the line Friday night and ran 7.072, clicking off early at 160.74 mph for number 1 spot. 

Funny Bike Champ Dave Peters

Reigning ACU Funny Bike Champion Dave Peters still had the old tyre on to test the mods he had done to the clutch, and ran an out-of-the-trailer 7.301 at 181.36 (top speed). 

Eric Richard

Phil Crossley

Phil Crossley was next with a 7.535-173.07, just ahead of Eric Richard’s 7.546-171.10. Eric has new bodywork for his bike. 

Allan Davies is working on his nitrous system and ran a best of 7.918 at 170.45. Thomas Joswig  has fitted a bigger rear sprocket to the bike to improve his 60 foot times and ran 8.254-168.55. 

Andre Bartak

Newcomer to the class Andre Bartak has had a bike built by Filippos Papafilippou—the same set up as Papafilippou’s bikes. The 2015 Czech Comp Bike Championship runner-up was competing the first time at Santa Pod and had help from Super Twin rider Petr Ceska. The bike had handling issue on the first pass, so after altering the rear wheel, Bartak ran straight and qualified with a 9.602-139.08. 

Dave Buttery missed the opening session because of an ignition problem (new ignition system) and fuel leak. In the second session, Buttery ran 11.037 at 125.14 for the bump spot. 

Filippos Papafilippou

Outside the show looking in was Papafilippou, who has a stunning new paintjob on the bike. The front sprocket was damaged after a 12.866 first run. 

Glenn Borg was riding Papafilippou’s grey Funny Bike, but hit the 330 foot timing block and the motor dropped a valve.

Rain on Saturday and Sunday prevented the Funny Bikes racing on both days.


Comp Bike

Eddy Smiley

Last year’s number 2 plateholder Eddy Smiley ran 7.888 at 175.08 out of the trailer straight to number 1 spot in Comp Bike. 

Mick Winyard tested here two weeks before this event and ran 7.98—then. But now Winyard ran 8.271 at 177.15 in the first session and then 8.046-175.75 for number 2 spot. 

Mark Hope

Next up was Mark Hope, who has done a lot of work over the winter fitting a new camshaft and plenum to the same spec as his brother Alex’s Super Street Bike. After a check out pass, Hope qualified 8.142 at 177.85 (top speed). 

Reigning ACU Comp Bike Champion Kevin Osman has rebuilt his motor that broke at the final round last year and fitted a standard gearbox for this event. With a soft set-up he ran 8.382-177.10. 

Martin Walker

Martin Walker has moved up from 8.50 bike after three years. This is the bike he started racing in 9.50 bike, then 8.50. The 2014 SPRC 8.50 Champion has fitted an AMS 1000 boost controller for the first time and ran a best of 8.529 at 138.67. 

Phil Leamon had ignition and battery issues and ran 9.303-138.12. Dave Thomas suffered fuel problems and ran 15.317. 

Comp Bike didn’t run their eliminations due to rain.


Super Street Bike

Steve Venables

Steve Venables led the 14-bike field with 7.183 at 200.66. For 2016, Venables has fitted a new exhaust from DME and now has a CO 2 cooler instead of water cooler. 

Reigning ACU and FIM Super Street Bike Champion Garry Bowe has done some engine mods and fitted a McIntosh swingarm, running a best of 7.384-200.55. 

Richard Hann

Mark Wells

Richard Hann was in number 3 spot with 7.507 at 190.52, just ahead of Mark Wells who ran a personal best 7.527 at 194.61, and Richard Stubbins’ 7.562-161.32. Chris Reed has fitted an air clutch for 2016 and qualified with a 7.707-188.97. Alex Hope has fitted a Motec system to his bike and was just behind Reed with a 7.808-182.13. Dave Smith was helping Daniel Lencses, who ran 7.865-176.44. 

Making a welcome return was Graham Balchin, who has altered the front end of his bike and fitted a DME swingarm. He ran 7.919 at 187.35. 

Graham Dance has fitted new crankshaft and camshafts and ran 8.004-181.41.

Nigel Barker went BIG with his intercoolers

Nigel Barker has been very busy over the winter break, rebuilding his motor himself fitting a new sump, GT35 turbocharger, AMS 2000 system and intercoolers. He has also repainted the bike and had a soft set-up in qualifying, running 8.041-180.63. 

Sandro Haldimann

Sandro Haldimann sorted out his handling problems of 2015, which was due to bearings in the swingarm. He ran 8.391 at 179.96. 

Krisztian Jasz

Making his first appearance at Santa Pod was Hungarian rider Krisztian Jasz, the two-time Hungary 900+Top Bike Champion. With help from Dave Smith, Jasz’s self-built bike has a lock up clutch and a GT35 turbocharger bolted on. This was the first time the bike had turned a wheel and did a check-out pass of 19 seconds. The next run the bike  ran 8.805-156.29. 

Steve Wood is another who has been busy with chassis mods, which include a McIntosh swingarm and altering the front end. He also has a new crankshaft and plenum, but suffered from launch problems off the start line and ran 18.566.

Super Street Bike was the only bike class to run any eliminations. Venables ran a 7.215-203.25 (top speed) bye run, Wood no-showed, and Bowe and Hope also had bye runs. Haldimann had problems mid-track against Hann, and Balchin spun his rear tyre off the start line and lost to Reed. Dance broke at 40 foot against Stubbins, and the best race of the round was between Wells and Barker. Wells put a holeshot (.119 to .145) on Barker, who then powered around Wells to take the winlight 8.014 at 180.68 to 8.322 at 172.38.


European Nitro Funny Car Series

Gordon Smith's "Shockwave"

Gordon Smith was the number 1 qualifier with 5.334 at 142.14, but had tyre shake at mid-track.

MSA Pro Modified

Andy Robinson's '69 Camaro RS

Andy Robinson qualified in number 1 spot with a 6.375-225.88 after a rebuild of his motor from Friday’s qualifying session. 

Pro Modified only managed to complete round 1 of their eliminations before the rain came down.  Robinson had a bye run 6.315 (low ET) and both Frenchman Jean Dulamon and Bert Englefield progressed to round 2.