event: 2016 ACU Championships Round 3—the Summernationals
where: Santa Pod Raceway, UK

Santa Pod's ACU Summernats

story and photos by Steven Moxley

The opening two rounds of the ACU Championships have been rained off, so coming to the Summernationals riders were hoping for dry weather and they got their wishes. There results were world ET and  championship speed records set at the event.

There was a minute silence before bike eliminations to remember Funny Bike rider Sarah Jane Head, who passed away.

Top Fuel Bike

Steve Woollatt

It’s been a few years since a round of the ACU Top Fuel Bike class has raced at the Summernationals. 

Steve Woollatt had a new fuel set-up for the event and is still tuning his air clutch. He ran two qualifying runs and clicked off early on both, 6.368 at 179.92 mph being the best—but at the expense of a damaged piston. 


Reigning ACU Top Fuel Bike Champion Rene Van Den Berg qualified with a 6.572 at 224.75—faster than the ACU record of 221.06. He had hopes of backing it up on raceday.


Chris “Cannon” Hannam was out on his V Twin and was having a handling issue—keeping in the groove—and ran a best of 7.622-167.31.

Hannam got out the gate first against Van Den Berg but Rene stormed pass Cannon to run a personal best 6.367 at 226.74 to set an ACU speed record of 226.74. Cannon slowed at ¾ track to 7.710 at 153.63. 

Rene Van Den Berg

Woollatt had a bye run to the final, where he got a slight holeshot over Van Den Berg, who chased after Woollatt. At the speed traps, Van Den Berg hit the block and crossed lanes. Woollatt was ahead and took the winlight 6.240 at 217.19.


Filippos Papafilippou!

Filippos Papafilippou ran a superb 6.716 at 200.63 mph (the ACU Funnybike speed record is 200.53) and was eyeing up to take both Funnybike ET and speed records on raceday. 

Championship leader Phil Crossley

Championship points leader Phil Crossley had a handling issue (the bike going to the left), but ran a close personal best of 7.297 at 164.25. 

With stronger bolts and dowels fitted to his rear wheel, reigning ACU Funnybike champion Dave Peters ran 7.624 at 176.45. 


Eric Richard had a transmission problem and ran a best of 7.695 at 158.00. 

Shaun Branch

Making a welcome return to racing in the ACU Championship after an absence of seven years, Shaun Branch didn’t start too well. He burnt up the clutch on his first pass and then ran 7.809-173.06 for fifth spot. 

Allan Davies damaged a piston during qualifying and ran 7.861-167.91. 

Dale Leeks was using the Summernationals as a test weekend to get ready for his trip to Hockenheim. Leeks suffered gear-shift problem and qualified with an 8.127-156.29. He worked till 3:00 am Sunday morning to get the bike repaired. 


Dave Buttery was on the bump spot with an 8.376 at 162.49. Pete Le Gros was first alternate with an 8.665-164.25. 

Like Leeks, Stuart Crane also tested at the event and found the intermittent electrical fault which troubled him at the Main Event.. He had a best of 9.947. 

Lorcan Parnell had a turbo issue and was out of the show.

Dave Buttery

In eliminations, Papafilippou broke at mid-track with a backfire against Buttery. Richard led from start to finish against Branch, 7.415 to 7.668. Crossley ran a personal best of 7.278 to beat Leeks, who had a gearshift problem at mid-track. And Peters’ turbo broke on the start line against Davies. 

In the first semi, Buttery broke off the start line against Richard, who ran 7.400 at 173. In the other semi, Crossley beat Davies 7.295 to 7.783.

Eric Richard

The final saw both riders trying to keep their bikes in the lane. Richard drifted to the wall and eased off with a 7.495-158.48. Crossley was trying to keep his bike from crossing the centreline but took the winlight 7.290 at 173.07 to increase his points lead in the championship.

Pro Stock Bike

Reigning ACU Pro Stock Bike Champion Alex Hope

This was the first round of the 2016 ACU Pro Stock Bike Championship. 

Reigning ACU Pro Stock Bike Champion Alex Hope was doing some chassis tuning at the event and just edged Len Paget for number one spot with a 7.411 at 179.95. 


Paget was also doing some testing on set-ups, qualifying with a 7.417- 175.06.

Patrik Kras—waving to photog Moxley?

Patrik Kras ran 8.134-161.92, then survived some excitement in eliminations. Kra’s left hand lost grip on the handlebar when he launched off the start line, and he drifted towards the tree. Kras managed to recover and control the bike, but Paget was long gone with a 7.428.

Len Paget

Hope had a bye run to the final, where he gave up the tree to Paget .056 to .130. But Hope powered around to take the winlight 7.341 at 179.97 to Paget’s 7.443-170.44.

Comp Bike

Sean Mills

Sean Mills made his first appearance of the season in the ACU Championships. After Brad O’Connor had done some testing on the bike (O’Connor ran a career personal best of 7.36), Mills ran 7.687-189.81 to top the Comp Bike field in qualifying. 


Reigning ACU Comp Bike Champion Kevin Osman was back on form with his new motor in the frame and ran 7.822-189.00. Championship points leader Eddy Smiley was next with a 7.834 at 177.12. Mark Hope had a fuel issue and missed the first session, but eventually qualified in fourth spot with an 8.237-179.24. Mick Winyard was just behind with 8.241-177.11. Martin Walker ran 8.278-170.46. 

Phil Leamon had both clutch and nitrous problems and re-timed the engine to cure the nitrous issue, running 8.522 at 152.15.

Dave Batcheler

Dave Batcheler finally got the bugs out of his new bike (handling and electrical issues) and ran a best to date of 8.601 at 137.81, which got him into the show.  Dave Thomas was first alternate at 9.456-156.83 and Paul Hambridge had a weekend to forget with mechanical issues.


Mills got close to the wall and beat Batcheler 8.214-180.65 to 8.575-144.76 to open eliminations. Winyard had a bye and ran 8.339. Osman red lit against Leamon, and Smiley ran a personal best 7.767 to trailer Walker 8.482.

Mills wheel spun at mid-track in the semi, but still managed to beat Winyard 7.903-185.82 to 8.110-178.55. In the other semifinal Leamon broke off the start line against Smiley.

Eddy Smiley was indeed smiling at the Summernationals

In the final Mills got close to the centreline at the eighth mile mark, meanwhile Smiley powered down the track and took the win 7.884 at 173 to 8.331-152 to increase his points lead.

Super Street Bike

Garry Bowe!

Reigning ACU Super Street Bike Champion Garry Bowe got a handle of the track conditions and was the number one qualifier in the class with a 7.193-203.48. 

Graham Balchin's ZX12 is now the world's quickest Kawasaki streetbike

Graham Balchin was the nearest challenger with a best to date (on his new bike) 7.214 at 198.06. Richard Hann was running consist 7.3s and ran a best of 7.338-197.22.

Steve Venables and his DME bike

Championship points leader Steve Venables was next struggling to find a set-up for the track and ran 7.395-184.40. Mark Wells qualified 7.657-189.80 but at the expense of damaged shells and was out of competition. Graham Dance was suffering wheelies (clutch issue) and ran 7.691-187.36. 

Rundolfo Maduro has fitted a homemade turbo system (with a Garrett GT35) and AMS 2000 boost controller. He did some chassis tuning during test day and in qualifying, resulting in a best of 7.707-185.06. 

On the bump stop was Rudi Zordi’s 7.769-183.54 and first alternate was Nigel Barker with a 7.827-184.97. Chris Reed was another rider trying to find a set-up for the track, running 8.193-179.16. Stephen Mead was making his first appearance of the weekend and struggled to an 8.573-157.95, as did Steve Wood 11.181.


Pete Field had entered for the event, but damaged the number one motor while warming up in pits (cases and starter motor). He fitted a brand new motor but it wouldn’t start and Pete was out of competition.

In eliminations, Bowe wheelied off the start line up to 200 feet, but Zordi also pulled wheelies at 300 feet. Zardi held on the beat Bowe 8.389 to 10.560. 

Venables found a set up on his DME bike for eliminations and ran 7.217 at 202.43 to knock out points challenger Barker (in for Wells), who wheelied at 300 feet and ran 8.495-166.06.

Dance still had a wheelie issue at 200 feet against Hann, who took the win 7.331-193.88. Balchin ran another personal best for the new bike (7.206) to beat Muduro’s 7.976. 

Rudi Zordi

Zordi wheelied off the start line in the semi and watched as Venables stormed down the track 7.213-200.62 to Zordi’s 8.243-167.91. In the other semifinal, a rare redlight from Balchin wasted a career personal best of 7.135. (now the world’s quickest Kawasaki pass, previously held by Jeremy Teasley’s 7.195 riding Roger Starette’s Coby Adams-built ZX14). 

Richard Hann

Hann faced Venables in the final. Venables got a slight .021to .023 lead off the line before water from Hann’s radiator leaked onto the rear tyre at mid-track and the bike started to fishtail down the track. Hann eased off and Venables took the winlight with his best run of the weekend, a 7.177 at 198 mph.
8.50 Bike

Rick Stubbins (near lane) and Jay Roe in the 8.50 final

Last year’s 8.50 number two plateholder Jay Roe was the number one qualifier with an 8.512. Augy Harrison has done some work on his bike and ran 8.523. Rick Stubbins was on his son Josh’s bike (Stubbins’ Super Street Bike was in Sweden) and ran 8.595. Margot Schmidt has fitted a turbocharger and ran a p/b of 8.676.

Stubbins and Roe were the finalists, with Stubbins taking the win 8.766 to Roe’s 8.949.

9.50 Bike

Richard Sawatzki (near lane) and David Bowe in the 9.50 final

Reigning 9.50 Bike Champion Richard Sawatzki was the number one qualifier this weekend with a 9.503. Brett Cordelle was the nearest challenger at 9.531. 

Swatzki reached the final and faced newcomer David Bowe—son of Garry Bowe.  Swatzki won on a holeshot—9.654 to Bowe’s quicker-but-losing 9.613.
Pro Modified

Michel Troon

Andy Robinson led the nine-car Pro Modified field in qualifying with a 6.088 at 237.87 mph. Newcomer Michel Troon ran 6.286-219.04 for the number two spot. Steve Rawlings debuted his new Andy Robinson-built chassis 63 Corvette with a 9.733. Mick Payne had engine problems (valve). 

In the final Robinson led from start to finish against Troon—6.092-232.87 to 6.143-233.74.

Nostalgia Fuel Car Cup

Check out the sparks and clutch dust beneath "Havoc"

Rod Loaring and driver Nick Davies have fitted the motor and transmission out of the Chaos fuel altered that Davies drove last year for owner Laurie Gatehouse, and put it in the Havoc fuel altered of King, Loaring and Davies. This was the first meeting with the new set-up and the car ran 7.025-152 in qualifying. 


Bob Glassup is tuning his new car, the Ford Capri Mark 1 Funny Car, and ran a best of 8.752-105.

Glassup was a no show for the final, so Davies ran a best of the weekend 6.599 early click off with a speed of 174.37. The car is now getting ready to take on the two American fuel altereds at Dragstalgia.

The Shark Attack race team

ET No 1 qualifier Craig Boulton

Dave Smart