event: 2017 ACU Championships Round 4—Summernationals
where: Santa Pod Raceway, UK
Summernationals at Santa Pod
story and photos by Steven Moxley
Three qualifying sessions for the 2017 Summernationals at Santa Pod Raceway were completed on Saturday. There was a minute silence on Sunday for former Santa Pod track crew member Ben Butler who passed away recently. Rain fell at midday and then there was an incident in a car class, which involved a big clean-up and the race was called. We had reached the semifinals. There were a few personal bests set over the weekend.
Top Fuel Bike
Three Top Fuel bikes were entered for the event. Phil Baimbridge’s new fuel bike was entered but his rider Al Smith had hurt his back.
Reigning ACU Top Fuel Bike Champion Steve Woollatt used the event to test his clutch and fuel set-up and ran 6.531 at 189.63 mph.
Neil Midgley ran his best to date on the ex-Cannon blown V-Twin with a 7.026 at 141.66 but had an issue with belts breaking.
Both riders had bye runs—Woollatt with a 6.958 and Midgley’s 7.301. The final didn’t take place due to the car incident.
Eric Richard continued his good form and was the number one Funny Bike qualifier with a 7.143 at 184.37.
Allan Davies was back on form and ran 7.279-179.28. Dave Peters damaged a clutch in qualifying and ran 7.645-169.18.
Pete Le Gros
Pete Le Gros was fourth with 7.943-166.68. Reigning ACU Funny Bike Champion Phil Crossley is still having issues and ran a best of 8.579-156.94. Thomas Joswig had clutch problems during qualifying and ran 8.936-151.06.
Lorcan Parnell had a problem, which knocked the set-up of the bike. Parnell managed to qualify in the last session with a 9.085-105.55. Dave Buttery still had launch problems and didn’t get down the track.
When eliminations started, Richard had a bye run to the semis, running 7.216 at a personal best speed of 187.36. Le Gros beat Crossley 7.995 to 9.459. Davies beat a troubled Parnell 7.271 to 12.023, while Joswig broke against Peters, who had a burst panel blow at ¾ track.
It has been a few years since we have had a sixteen-bike Comp Bike eliminator.
Sean Mills ran a jaw-dropping personal best of 7.522-189.80 to top qualifying. Tony Clark also ran a p/b 7.615 at 179.24. Scott Collier ran 7.810-141.29 but had problems at the finishline.
Newcomer Sigmaro Profas from Holland ran back-to-back p/b 8.15 and 7.930 at 182.82 for fourth spot. Reigning ACU Comp Bike Champion Eddy Smiley had some issues and ran a best of 7.980-170.45. Mick Winyard was next with a 7.993-175.77.
Dave Batcheler ran a career personal best of 8.056 at 153.74. Martin Walker had a vacuum pipe come off and ran 8.106-172.39.
Newcomer Daniel Bergelin was riding one of Richard Gipp’s bikes and ran a p/b of 8.211-157.93. Paul Hambridge found bits of metal in the sump during qualifying and was out of the competition after running 8.227-160.74.
Pro Stock Bike rider Ian Burns was competing in Comp Bike due to no other riders in PSB. Burns fitted new piston rings and was tuning the clutch and carbs for this event and ran 8.270-153.66.
Margot Schmidt had a new air shifter and new clutch plates were fitted for this event, running 8.734-155.75 while looking for a baseline. The last rider was newcomer Thurtny Martina from Holland. He had ignition issues and ran a best of 8.959-152.08.
Mills, Schmidt and Smiley all had first round byes in eliminations. Profas broke in the burnout box and Burns launched off the start line only to break second gear selector. Winyard beat Bergelin 8.037 to a losing 8.947. Walker led from start to finish against Batcheler 7.972 to 8.061.
Martina won the high altitude award with a huge wheelie from 50 feet up to 100 feet against Clark who took the winlight with a 7.799 at 182.03.
Sean Mills vs Martin Walker
Round 2 and Smiley and Clark had byes to the semis. Mills broke on the start line and could only watch Walker take the winlight with a 7.971-177.83. Schmidt put a .168 to .219 holeshot over Winyard, but Winyard powered around to go into the semifinals with an 8.255 to Schmidt’s best time of the weekend, 8.600.
Super Street Bike
Pete Field just edged Garry Bowe for the number one Super Street Bike spot with a 7.182 to Bowe’s 7.189. Richard Stubbins was next with a 7.217-194.71, just ahead of Steve Venables’ 7.238-198.15 on his DME bike. Rudolfo Maduro ran personal best figures of 7.278 at 191.43.
Franklyn Borg had gear shift issues during qualifying on Simon Giordmaina's ‘Busa with the spare motor, running 7.292-199.82. Saturday the team fitted the gearbox from their number one motor onto the spare motor for eliminations. Graham Balchin had repaired his clutch assembly (making it stronger) and ran 7.362-197.14.
Graham Dance finally sorted his clutch and fuel issues and ran 7.456-195.44. Making his first appearance of the year, Richard Hann ran 7.500-188.99, just ahead of Daniel Lencses—7.507-188.22. Stephen Mead was next with a 7.556-187.33, and Alex Hope was looking for a baseline for his air clutch system, running 7.620-192.21.
Charly Anasagasti has fitted a charge cooler and was looking for a tune-up for the new set-up of the bike, and ran a best of 7.664-186.67.
Dave Smith last raced the ACU Championship in 2013 and has rebuilt his bike, fitting new bodywork. Smith made small adjustments and went quicker with every run in qualifying, finishing with a best of 7.763-183.61.
Chris Reed had a new gearbox for this event and was getting dialled in with it running 7.786-182.14. Dave Thomas damaged a clutch, but got in the show with a 7.813-179.95.
Steven Wood missed out with an 8.634 and Mark Wells broke the number one con rod and was also out of the show.
Round one of eliminations and Thomas gated Field, who powered around to take the win 7.231 to Thoma’s 7.891. Dance ran a personal best for this combination with a 7.358 to beat Hann’s 7.510. Venables improved his time with a 7.187 against Anasagasti, who had trouble at ¾ track and slowed to the finish.
Maduro wasted a 7.322 when he redlit against Hope. Reed wheelied at 50 feet and watched as Bowe ran low ET with a 7.078 at 204.27. Balchin was another rider who got quicker with a 7.215 against Lencses’ 7.566. Stubbins eased past Smith 7.214 to 7.860. Borg ran 7.182 to beat Mead 7.523.
Round two and Dance ran another p/b 7.330 with a career p/b speed of 198.05, but he could not stop Field taking the winlight with a 7.211-198.03. Hope pulled a couple of wheelies at mid-track as Venables powered to the finish line with a winning 7.396 to 7.847. Balchin spun his rear tyre off the start line against Bowe, and Borg went even quicker with a 7.172 to beat Stubbins’ 7.291.
Ian Chrichlow was the number one qualifier in 8.50 Bike with an 8.515 just ahead of Josh Stubbins’ 8.524.
Jake Mechaell joined both Chrichlow and Stubbins in the semifinals.
David Bowe ran the perfect 9.50 Bike dial-in with a 9.500 for number one qualifier. Brett Cordelle’s 9.507 and Lewis Burgess’ 9.509 were close behind.
Both Bowe and Burgess made to the semis, with Richard Sawatzki knocking out Cordelle and Dave Hall beating Craig Brocklebank.
Joe Elliott was another rider to run a perfect dial-in—9.050 on a 9.050—for number one spot. Craig Boulton ran 9.605 (9.600) for number two.
Elliott reached the semis on a bye run while Boulton lost to Duncan Barron. Phil Pratt beat Leo Lester and Dave Grundy redlit against Gary Hester.
MSA Pro Modified
Marck Harteveld qualified in the number one Pro Modified spot with a 6.179-231.66, just ahead of Reigning MSA Pro Modified Andy Robinson’s 6.185-237.45. Marco Maurischat was third 6.272-230.09 in his ‘53 Vette.
Harteveld had no oil pressure when he warmed up the motor for eliminations and was out of the show, leaving Mick Payne with a bye run into the semifinals.
Robinson beat Andy Wright’s ‘38 Ford and Kev Slyfield ran 6.178 to beat Bobby Wallace’s 6.350. Maurischat knocked out Jean Dulamon.
Best race of the day saw Slyfield just take the winlight against Payne, 7.103 to 7.130. In the other semi, Robinson redlit against Maurischat.
Nostalgia Funny Car
Tim Garlick ran a 6.188-230.22 in Nostalgia Funny Car with Tony Betts running a personal best of 6.555-215.12 in his Camaro.
Rob Elsom debuted his Funny Car. He fired it up in the staging lane, but then the car wouldn’t drive and was towed back to the pits. The final didn’t take place.
Jndia Erbacher did some licence runs over the weekend in her father’s car to get ready for Hockenheim. She ran 4.273-229 on Saturday. Sunday she stepped it up and recorded a 4.094 at 272.
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