event: 2017 ACU Championships Round 3, Race Rock ‘N’ Ride
where: Santa Pod Raceway, UK
Santa Pod's Race Rock 'N Ride
story and photos by Steven Moxley
This is the first time an ACU Championship round has been run at this event— Race Rock ‘N’ Ride at Santa Pod Raceway. Rain on Saturday reduced the qualifying to two sessions instead of the scheduled four, and rain overnight delayed the start on race day. There were some personal bests set over the weekend.
Allan Davies ran 7.280 at 177.85 mph out of the trailer to be the number one Funny Bike qualifier. Dave Peters was next with a 7.378-177.15 followed by Eric Richard’s 7.407-175.08.
Reigning ACU Funny Bike Champion Phil Crossley was still having handling issues and ran 7.958-171.10. Pete Le Gros was making his first appearance and only made one pass due to a fuel timing problem and was out of the show with an 8.522-125.
Dave Buttery had launch problems over the weekend and qualified with 11.540. Thomas Joswig had a new clutch set-up and ran 11.850.
Lorcan Parnell had an oil leak and didn’t qualify, but ran a test pass on Sunday recording a 7.003 while clicking off early. The team was happy with the data for the new air clutch system they have fitted for 2017.
Both Davies (7.283 at a new personal best speed of 179.95) and Crossley had bye runs to the semis. Buttery broke again off the start line against Richard and Peters trailered Joswig.
Davies’ motor was hurt and he broke the beam for the semi when Crossley was a no-show. Peters was late on the gate and Richard took the other semi winlight with a 7.360-178.50.
Davies gated Richard but his engine started to smoke at ¾ track. Richard powered around to take the win with a 7.433-177.83.
Pro Stock Bike
Len Paget had his four-valve motor back in the frame and qualified in number one spot in Pro Stock Bike with a 7.478 at 173.08 mph. Reigning ACU Pro Stock Bike champion Alex Hope still had handling issues with the new bike and ran a best of 9.798.
Ian Burns had an electrical issue with his two-step and fitted a new switch, but with the rain he did not get a qualifying run and was out of the competition.
Alex Hope (near lane) and Len Paget
So it was a straight final and Paget turned the wick up and ran a superb 7.380-177.13 to take his second win of the season. Hope drifted towards the centreline at the 1000 foot mark and eased off.
This was one of the best qualifying sessions in the history of Comp Bike.
Newcomer Scott Collier ran a career personal best 7.7718 at 161.92 on the ex-Stephen French bike to lead the field. But a few moments later Tony Clark ,with a new clutch and gearbox, ran 7.7713-177.13 to take number one spot.
It was even tighter for third and fourth with Sean Mills edging Paul Hambridge. Both riders recorded the same time 7.8859, but Mills’ top speed was higher—182.88 to Hambridge’s 175.76.
Mick Winyard was next with an 8.114-177.14. Then came reigning ACU Comp Bike champion Eddy Smiley with an 8.189-173.07, just ahead of Martin Walker’s 8.193-175.11. Margot Schmidt was on the bump spot with an 8.475-161.88.
Outside the show was Dave Batcheler with an 8.850-137. Batcheler found his engine jammed on Sunday morning when he tried to warm up the engine.
Phil Leamon also had engine issues, running 9.371-119.
Clark got out the gate first in round 1 of eliminations but had a problem and Schmidt powered past to take the win with an 8.381. Winyard red lit against Hambridge.
Chris Reed put in a big tune up for Walker on race day. Collier broke at 150 feet against Walker, who ran his first seven-second pass—7.998-180.65. Best race of the day saw Smiley win on a holeshot with a personal best of 7.657 to Mills’ quicker but losing 7.652 at a top speed of the meet 185.14.
Paul Hambridge vs Margot Schmidt (far lane)
In the first semi, Hambridge ran a jaw dropping 7.592-183.62 (personal best figures) for the win against Schmidt. In the other semi, Smiley edged Walker 7.893 to 8.092.
Smiley knew he would have to attack the tree in the final and he did with a .164 to .294 holeshot and took his second win of the season with a 7.682 at 183.55 to Hambridge’s 7.721-179.97. (Hmmm....seems as if he didn’t have to “attack (.164?)” the tree after all—Tim)
Super Street Bike
Rick Stubbins continued his good start to the season with a number one Super Street Bike qualifying run of 7.245 at 196.41, but at the expense of cases cracked on his second run and he had to fit his spare motor.
Sweden’s Robert Nilsson entered the event to test for next weekend’s European FIM event. Having fitted a charger cooler over the winter and modified he cylinder head, Nilsson and ran 7.492-191.40.
Next was reigning European FIM champion Garry Bowe with a 7.495 despite an alternator fault, followed by Daniel Lencses’ 7.497.
Mathias Bohlin has been doing a lot of changes lowering the front end and fitting new yokes, rear suspension, and an AMS 2000 boost controller. He qualified with a 7.573-191.32.
Down in sixth was reigning ACU Super Street Champion Steve Venables with a 7.607. Rounding out the field were Graham Balchin with a 7.885 and Graham Dance with a 7.953.
Not in the show was Easter winner Pete Field, who overpowered the track and ran 8.087. Jemma Venables made her first appearance and ran 8.234. Stephen Mead had a two-step issue and ran 8.608. Last rider was Steve Wood, dialing in a new turbo at 9.114.
Stubbins beat Dance to open eliminations 7.217 at 198.12 to 7.746-188.93. Bohlin redlit against Lencses and Balchin won on a holeshot with a 7.425 to Nilsson’s 7.326.
Garry Bowe (near lane) vs DME's Steve Venables
Then came the big two—Bowe against Venables. And it was Bowe taking the win light with low ET and top speed of 7.104 at 205.33. Venables ran his best of the weekend with a 7.285-198.01 on his DME bike.
Graham Balchin's amazing ZX12
Stubbins ran another 7.215 in the semi to knock out Lencses’ 7.684. In the other semi, Balchin beat Bowe 7.479 to 7.617.
Stubbins was in his third final in three races and this time he turned the winlight on when Balchin spun his rear tyre off the start line.
Augy Harrison (near lane) and Ian Chrichlow
8.50 Bike was won by Augy Harrison, a former ACU champion many years ago. He beat Ian Chrichlow 8.706 to 9.215.
Mark Dainty (near lane) vs Brett Cordelle
Mark Dainty took the 9.50 Bike winlight on a holeshot over Brett Cordelle with a 9.811 to Cordelle’s quicker 9.723.
Phil Pratt (near lane) vs Gary Hester
ET Bike had the same finalists as the Easter meeting, only this time the result was different with Gary Hester turning the winlight on with a 10.687 (10.65 dial in) to Phil Pratt’s 9.396 (9.04).
A few racers were testing. Shaun Branch has been hammering the dyno and ran a best of 7.709-168. Dave Smith was making his comeback after a couple years and ran a best of 8.551-171 on his Super Street Bike. Mick Winyard tested his spare bike with an 8.139-178.54. Neil Midgley had belt issues on the blown V Twin and ran 8 second passes.
There was a special treat for the fans when Steve Ashdown ran his nitro Funnycar at 6.485. Rumours had it that a conrod exited out the block.
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