Good things happen to those who wait goes the saying and boy did they finally happen, continuous, warm, sunny autumn weather, a huge cheering flag waving army of fans and stunning racing, a great difference to virtually every previous event in four different countries so far this year, all suffering wash-outs, rain effected finals or the unfortunate non event in Germany. “Our tired old track still delivers” said Keith Bartlett, CEO of Santa Pod Raceway & Trakbak Racing Ltd., referring to the numerous near record numbers that were being notched up in most classes. A small number of racers blamed a ‘bad track’ for early poor qualifiers but then managed to dial in their machines to gain wins and even Championships. The ever spiraling running costs and travel kept most fields just below the full mark but it did not detract from a unanimously declared brilliant event.
The FIA European Top Fuel Champion was crowned in the first round of eliminations as Finnish driver Risto Poutiainen beat England’s Chris Andrews 4.059/295 to a 4.378/285 and main points rival and fellow countryman, Jari Halinen lost to another Finn, Antti Horto, 4.102/295 to a 4.156/277. Poutiainen went on to see off top qualifier, Norway’s Thomas Nataas driving Denmark’s Per and Karsten Andersen’s car on its only outing of this year, a 4.150/287 beat the losing 4.136/279. In the final Risto Poutiainen in his Multilotto backed machine was ordered to shut off by team owner Rune Fjeld and it allowed yet another Finn, Anita Mäkelä to take an easy solo for the event win and her first for a long time.
It became an almost all Maltese battle for the FIA Top Methanol Dragster crown as top qualifier Monty Bugeja saw off number four points man, Germany’s Timo Habermann in round one, 5.363/265 to a fire-balling 7.231/138, younger brother Dennis Habermann who was second in the points chase was surprising beaten by retiring after forty years, Swede Krister Johansson, 5.501/253 to a losing 5.464/254, whilst third in the points table, Dave Wilson hit instant smoke and was beaten by Malta’s Chris Polidano 5.416/268 to a 6.745/174. Johansson fell victim to Polidano in round two and Bugeja took a bye to meet his fellow islander for the final. Having Dennis Habermann lose in round one gave Monty Bugeja the Championship and he then put the icing on the cake by taking the event win in the all Maltese final overcoming a holeshot by Chris Polidano in the Kalanc A/Fueller to take the Mr. Whippy blown machine to a 5.364/263 win over the losing 5.540/264. It was almost declared a Maltese holiday when the news reached the small Mediterranean island.
The FIA Top Methanol Funny Car class saw Sweden’s Leif Andréasson that led the points over Belgium’s Danny Bellio and despite a spectacular top end slick explosion during qualifying, Andréasson held number two behind Ulf Leanders in the qualifying tables. Leanders suffered a pop in his first round, losing to England’s Rob Turner whose 5.874/244 got the nod. A repaired wheel and bodywork returned Andréasson to face Bellio who unfortunately broke before the burnout handing an easy route to the final. Leif Andréasson in his DISAB Vacuum Technology backed Monte Carlo faced Rob Turner’s self financed Monte Carlo, despite a great leave by Turner, Andréasson chased him down getting the light with a 5.686/250 to a slightly off par 6.010/234.
An almost full field of FIA Pro Mods saw Sweden’s Bert-Ove Olofsson take his blown ’61 Chevy Impala to a 6.027/226 that sat him on pole, the only driver in the 6.0s but he hurt parts on a first round bye run that left him out of the picture from then on. It was left to Micke Gullqvist, point leader who sat in thirteenth place to overcome his traction problems to make his way, most times using every inch of his lane to get there to gain the Championship in the semis where he took on and beat England’s Roger Moore 6.506/173 to a 6.730/206. Switzerland’s Bruno Bader who had vied with Gullqvist for the point lead fell in the semis to Holland’s David Vegter 6.174/230 win to a 6.212/225 lose handing the crown to Gullqvist. The final saw Micke Gullqvist in his Stavdal/Persåkers backed blown Camaro net the event win as well when his 6.152/230 beat the 6.337/227 from David Vegter’s MPM Oils Camaro.
A good lead in the points and a number one qualifier gave Sweden’s Thomas Lindström more of a lead and a win of 6.683/205 against a broken Conrad Stanley in round one clinched the FIA Pro Stock Championship for the Ernryd Cars backed Dodge Stratus. A bye run then got Lindström to the final to face his nemesis and fellow countryman Jimmy Ålund driving his new KW Parts.com 2012 Camaro. Ålund had also initially taken a little time to dial-in his machine but beat Swede’s Ulf Wagnhester in one then Micke Callin in two. The final saw Jimmy Ålund away first and it stayed that way with Thomas Lindström chasing, Ålund’s 6.697/206 beat the new champs 6.717/205.
Funny Car is said to be making come back next year but in this non FIA class this year it was Sweden’s Leif Helander that sat on pole with a 5.475/280 over the full quarter-mile. It came down to a battle of Helander versus England’s John Spuffard, both veteran fuel-coupe pilots. Helander had earlier seen off Jason Phelps and Spuffard his old rival Gordon Smith. John Spuffard took the final round win with an up in smoke 12.313/72 as Helander clipped the wall on his 7.100/151 disqualified pass.
The UEM Super Twin Bike class got its Champion in round one as Canadian Nate Gagnon tied it up despite going out to Norway’s Trond Hoiberget. Hoiberget managed to defeat a broken Martyn de Haas in round two to face Germany’s Christian Jäger for the money run. Jäger meanwhile has seen off the likes of Norway’s Hans Olav Olstad in round one then Holland’s Job Heezen in two. It was all over on the statline for Trond Hoiberget as he came off the power at one hundred feet leaving Christian Jäger to run a winning 6.578/200.
Sweden’s Peter Svensson continued his stunning performances in UEM Top Fuel Bike qualifying top with a 5.725/227, leagues ahead of anyone else, he then saw off Rikard Gustafsson in two after a round one bye to face Ian King in the final. King meanwhile was made UEM TFB Champion in round one with a defeat of Otto Knebl then a bye to the final. England’s Ian King’s Gulf Oil/Grand Prix Originals backed machine was up against it in the final as Peter Svensson’s STARTA sponsored bike was the opponent but it all went away as Svensson clicked a cherry on the tree and realizing it slowed to a 6.329/166 allowing King the event win on top of the Championship with a 6.296/206.
There was not a great deal between EUM Pro Stock Bike point leaders as Sweden’s Ulf Ögge was just ten above Finland’s Fredrik Fredlund who managed a 7.102/185 pole position to up his stakes. Fredlund made his way through the ranks by taking out England Kev Charman then Holland’s Gert-Jan Laseur as Ögge similarly dismissed the like of England’s Len Paget then a broken Swede Kalle Lyrén. The final was how we like it, a down to the wire race for the Championship and Fredrik Fredlund’s PAF/MotoSpeed Suzuki was out of the gate first and never looked back clinching the win and the Championship with a 7.123/185 as Ulf Ögge on his Bike Line Buell chased, losing with a 7.222/182.
The UEM Super Street Bike Cup has seen four rounds at various tracks across Europe attracting a large interest in the machines. England’s Richard Stubbins lead the point chase but sat behind number one qualifier Dave Holland with a 7.343/193 to the quicker and faster 7.259/199. It all however came down to a run-off between the new SSB Champion Graham Balchin and Steve Venables in a Kawasaki – Suzuki battle, it was Venables Suzuki that took the event win with a 7.345/194 as Balchin slowed to an 8.864/105 lose.
All articles and photography published in CompetitionPlus.com are protected by United States of America and International copyright laws unless mentioned otherwise. The content on this website is intended for the private use of the reader and may not be published or reposted in any form without the prior written consent of CompetitionPlus.com.