Monday March 26, 2018 at 2:28pm
Over the winter break Santa Pod Raceway has been very busy ripping up the tarmac surface and laying new drainage and concrete track surface over the quarter mile. So with a new track it will be a test for the riders at the opening round of the new season. Which starts over the Easter weekend March 30th till April 1st. Top Fuel Bike. Multi-time and Reigning ACU Top Fuel Bike Champion Steve Woollatt will start his defence of his title with no major changes to the bike, only a nose fairing being fitted to help stabilise the bike at the top end of the run. Woollatt set a new ACU et record of 6.200 last year. Neil Midgley will be continuing his progress from last season in which he ran personal best figures of 6.477-179.25mph. He still hasn’t run a pass on full throttle. So there is still some performance to look forward to in 2018. There are two new riders to the Top Fuel Bike class in 2018. Reigning ACU Funny Bike Champion and former ACU Comp Bike Champion Allan Davies will debut the first V Twin powered Puma motor. The bike was built in 1997 by Allan’s dad Pete Davies for then SuperTwin Champion Adam Hewitt and was never raced. This will be the first time the bike has entered a championship event. The other rider is Filippos Papafilippou who will be riding the fuel bike that Ian King rode, winning many European FIM Championship titles. Pro Stock Bike. Reigning ACU Pro Stock Bike Champion Len Paget will face Ian Burns at the Festival of Power, they are the only two riders to have entered the event. Funny Bike. With Allan Davies moving into Top Fuel Bike class, this means there will be a new champion in 2018. Former ACU Funny Bike Champion Phil Crossley heads the line up at this event. Last season Crossley suffered handling issues for most of the season. Eric Richard ran personal best et and speed figures, he also suffered an accident at the European Finals, with minor damaged to the bike. With all rounds at Santa Pod he could be one of the favourites for the title. Lorcan Parnell is another who could win the title having run in the six-second zone and over 200mph. Holland’s Kars Van Der Belt has run 7.12 on his Honda Blackbird and may cause an upset. Comp Bike. A superb entry of seventeen bikes entered for this event. Reigning ACU Comp Bike Champion Eddy Smiley has not entered. So who will be the riders to look out for. Last years runner up Sean Mills set a new ACU speed record. Both Tony Clark and Scott Collier have run mid-sevens. Martin Walker and Dave Batcheler ran personal bests in 2017 in the seven-second zone. Mick Winyard has won events in the past and Paul Hambridge is another rider who could win the event. There are five Dutch riders with top rider Sigmaro Profas (7.6sec). Daniel Bergelin will be riding the Championship winning bike that Allan Davies rode to the Funny Bike title. Super Street Bike. Richard Stubbins had a fantastic year in 2017 winning both ACU and FIM Championships can he repeat it again in 2018. Former ACU Champions Garry Bowe and Steve Venables have stepped up for this season. Pete Field is a top five finisher. Top European is Daniel Lencses and he could win if the top riders have problems. Both Stephen Mead and Rudolfo Maduro were running well at the last two events from 2017. Report by Steven Moxley.