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European FIM Championships Round 1 report

Monday June 6, 2022 at 4:27pm
European FIM Championships Round 1 report

The track had been grinded for the event, from the start line to just before the 1/8mile. After the first day of qualifying in the pro classes the track came around and records and many personal bests were set on day two of qualifying, to the large appreciative crowd attending.

Top Fuel Bike.

Rikard Gustafsson sent a warning shot of things to come with an out of the trailer run of 5.834-243.75. But then things went wrong. In the third qualifying session the engine blew at 100ft mark. The team burnt the mid-night oil to fit a new motor for the eliminations. Rene Van Den Berg is back on form after a few years and ran 6.237 with a personal best speed of 228.18. Reigning ACU Funny Bike Champion Stuart Crane ran 6.331-211.09 to be the quickest Funny Bike in a FIM Championship. But at the expense of a broken head stud, which meant an engine change finishing 2.00am Saturday morning. Neil Midgley fitted a new tyre during qualifying and ran 6.633-148.68. Mark Smith had a new billet six-speed transmission and ran personal best figures of 6.805-198.91. Another rider Reigning ACU Comp Bike Champion Louis Davies ran a p/b, recording his first six-second pass with his small motor (1640cc motor had camshaft issue) 6.874 at 188.21. Al Smith had new magnetos for this event, but did some minor damage to the crankshaft, so spare bottom end was fitted and also the spare cylinder head. One of the two magnetos broke, so Phil Baimbridge went to Steve Woollatt house and borrowed his magneto. Smith did run 6.51 but caught one of the timing blocks, next best run 7.080-117.92. Dale Leeks had the new cylinder head of Warpspeed team and also new bodywork and were finishing building the bike at the track and ran 8.283-182.86. Damaged to the transmission selector forks, working till 2.30am Sunday morning (waiting for parts).

The form book went out the window come round one. Gustafsson left on Leeks who broke off the start line only to see Gustafsson blow the new motor (fuel/ignition problem?) at the150ft mark. Next up Midgley and Mark Smith, Midgley had changed his clutch set up and had traction problem at mid-track, Smith stormed pass and ran a p/b 6.785. Al Smith broke off the start line against Berg who ran a best of the w/end 6.199-223.32. There was another shock Crane red lit against Davies who ran another 6.925. Mark Smith broke the beam in the semis to reach his first FIM Championship final. In the other semi-final Davies had shift issues at mid-track against Berg who took the win light 6.377-210.81. Mark Smith put a holeshot over Berg (rt173 to 192) but Berg powered around to take the win light 6.419 to 6.880.

SuperTwin Top Fuel.

There was a small field in SuperTwin. Martijn De Haas debut his new bike in 2019, so he is still tuning the bike. Was the number one qualifier 6.671-206.27. Newcomer Chris Van Nimmen who has raced in European SuperTwin Top Gas, has bought the ex Soren Hartvig bike and was doing his licence runs and qualify 7.255-173.63 career best, but had low oil pressure at the end of the run. One of the big end bearing was scorched but the crankshaft was ok, so new shell and when then warmed the motor on race day in the pits, oil pressure was low, so he was out of the competition. Samu Kemppainen was asked by Vesa Lipponen if he would ride his bike. It is the Jaska Salakari built bike that Lipponen  recorded the first V Twin powered bike into the five-second 5.920. This is the first time this bike has run at Santa Pod and the team struggled to find a baseline 9.925. Reigning European FIM SuperTwin Top Fuel Champion Marcus Christiansen did not have a good start to the championship. During qualifying the rear cylinder hydraulic splitting the cylinder head at the 60ft mark. Christinsen was ok and was out of the show.

De Haas had a bye run 6.716-208.87. Kemppainen also had a bye and the team had made a lot of changes hoping to put a good number on the board. Well that turned out to be an understatement, Kemppainen ran the first five-second V Twin to be run in the FIM Championship 5.999 at 202.42 and blew the motor at 1000ft  (fuel went lean, hole in rear cylinder head and cables melted) to set a new Championship ET record.

De Haas did a solo pass in the final 6.668-210.89 best of the w/end.

Pro Stock Bike.

There was also a small field in Pro Stock bike. Martin Newbury led the field 7.091-187.43 followed by Martin Bishop who damaged his no 1 motor (1755cc) in the first qualify session and changed motors (1655cc) had more issues and one crewman had to go and get a part (four hour trip) which turned into a last night for the team. Best run 7.463-177.75.  Bertrand Maurice hurt a piston ring and had to fit his spare motor and then had a head gasket blow, qualified 9.030. Aswin Le Noble was making his debut in Pro Stock bike and ran a p/b of 9.076-144.37. His 1640cc motor broke and had to use his smaller 1325cc motor. Simon David had a weekend to forget.  With a new Vance and Hines two valve cylinder head he missed first day of qualifying due to  cam timing problem. Then the next day a valve dropped (9.981) and he was out of the show.

Just like Top Fuel there were shocks in the eliminations. Newbury red lit against Noble who reach his first

FIM final. Maurice broke off the start line against Bishop who had his hands full off the line trying to control   the bike till the 60ft 9.059. There was big disappointment for Noble in the final when he came in pre stage and was shutdown due to a fluid leak. So Bishop took a bye to win his first FIM event, his last one was at this event in 2005.

Super Street Bike.

Originally it was going to be an eight bike eliminator, but that changed after a meeting on Saturday night. During qualifying Daniel Lencses set new ET and Speed FIM Championship records 6.765-225.52. Lencses nearest challenger was Jake Mechaell who also ran a p/b 6.813 at only 207.23. Reigning FIM Champion Steve Venables ran 6.881-221.46 and ran a p/b speed 223.41 on a later run. Ross Morrison was another rider running career best figures 7.015-199.88. But then ran 7.064 with his first 200plus mph at 201.46. He found bits of metal when he changed his oil (gear damaged in the transmission) and was out of the competition. Mark Hope ran a jaw dropping 7.020 p/b. Garry Bowe debut a new bike frame, subframe and bodywork, also ecu and water system and after some teething trouble qualify 7.188-201.58. Alan Morrison Jr modified the turbo to suit the chassis but a cam follower broke. Changed motor 7.345-197.30.  Mark Dainty has altered the gearing (extra speed) and got in the show 7.553-198.88.  Margot Schmidt is improving with her new fuel setup and ran 7.848-184.36 and recorded her best ever 60ft time.  Steve Wood ran 8.083-182.40. Both Stephen Mead 8.424 and Mogens Lund 11.43 had a troubled meeting. Lund changed his motor and transmission (fitting a manual gearbox) for the eliminations.

Lencses, Mechaell and Venables who ran 6.793 p/b had bye runs in round one. Lund slowed at mid-track against Hope 7.114. Dainty beat Schmidt 7.244 to 8.315. Mead was a no show giving Bowe a bye run 7.014-204.15. Wood broke off the start line against Morrison Jr.  In round two Hope motor sounded noisy just before he did a burnout and switched off, leaving Lencses a bye, who reset the ET record 6.741 at 224.74. Dainty also had a bye and ran 7.142. Bowe red lit against Mechaell. Venables powered around Morrison Jr 7.036 to 7.153.

Semi-finals and Lencses put a holeshot 107 to 169 over Dainty and held on to take a holeshot win 7.249 to quicker but losing 7.214. The best race of the day was in the other semi. Venables put a holeshot 059 to 131 over Mechaell and held on to win 6.800-220.37 to a quicker and p/b 6.798 by Mechaell.  Lencses led from start to finish, just held on for the win when his chain broke nearing the finish 7.088 to 7.210 against Venables in the final.

Report by Steven Moxley

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