The 2017 opening round of the ACU Drag Racing Championships kicks off at the Festival of Power at Santa Pod, during the Easter weekend from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th April.
Top Fuel Bike.
Reigning Champion Steve Woollatt will be trying to continue his performance he ran at last years National Finals were he recorded 6.192, which was under the ACU et record 6.208. Former Champion Rene Van Den Berg set the ACU speed record last year of 226.74mph. He ran personal best figures of 6.153-232.83mph last year, so we may see new records set in 2017. Neil Midgley got his fuel bike licence at last years Extreme Performance Bike Weekend riding Chris Hannam blown V Twin. Midgley has been Hannam’s crew-chief for a few years.
Pro Stock Bike.
Alex Hope will be going for his four straight title, having bought the ex championship winning chassis from Dave Beck over the winter break. This bike has run 7.06 and Hope will be having a busy season competing in three championships. Two-time ACU Champion Len Paget will be Hope’s main challenger in the ACU Championship in 2017. Making a welcome return to drag racing is Ian Burns who last competed in 2003 in the ACU Championship. Burns has done some pre season testing.
With six bikes having run 7.3sec or quicker this will be one of the classes to watch. Phil Crossley starts his defence of his title and faces the likes of ACU speed record holder Lorcan Parnell, former champion Dave Peters, Eric Richard who has run 7.18 and Shaun Branch and Dave Buttery who have recorded 7.3secs. Former ACU Comp Bike Champion Allan Davies is another rider to look out for. Jiri lukes and Thomas Joswig complete the entry list.
13 bikes have entered the opening round of the championship. Eddy Smiley will face some tough challengers for his title at this event. Sean Mills recorded personal bests last year 7.660-192.05mph, which is close to the ACU speed record held by Jemma Venables. Paul Hambridge 7.734-179.97mph and Martin Walker 8.036-183.46mph and Mick Winyard 7.98-182.92mph all ran personal bests in 2016 and will once again be knocking on the door of the winners circle. There will be three newcomers to the class at the event. Tonnie Van Den Berg, Bobby Frazier and Scott Collier.
Super Street Bike.
ACU et record holder and reigning ACU Champion Steve Venables will start the season developing some new parts, like wise the reigning European FIM Champion Garry Bowe. That could give the limelight to some other riders, for example Graham Balchin who has run 7.106, Rick Stubbins 7.06, Pete Field 7.15 and Daniel Lencses 7.13. Peter Granica from Germany and Rudolfo Maduro also entered the event.
Report by Steven Moxley.