Roger Gorringe Wed, 2015-05-27 13:36
The month of May in England can go two ways, hot and sunny or cool and showery and it was the latter that racers and the many fans had to contend with over the May Bank Holiday. The wet stuff only hampered Sunday morning qualifying but all sessions were finally run including a bevy of European records and many personal bests set in many classes.
FIA Top Fuel saw Finnish lady, Anita Mäkelä rule the roost with her TradeParts/Auto Haapanen/Jettaset backed fueller a 3.960/301 put her on top of the eight car field, the only machine in the threes. England’s Tethys was her first victim, the European ET record setting 3.912 at 295 beat the burst panel popping and ‘chutes out at 400 feet 6.673/76. An all Finland semi final had Jari Halinen record a 4.139/298 only to see Mäkelä storm past on a 3.922 and top speed of the meet 305mph to take the light. The final was a solo as Danish driver Stig Neergaard was shut off after the burnout with a leak from the blower snout seal, Mäkelä never bothered to take it easy and ran the event winning 3.989/300 to the delight of the entire crowd.
FIA Top Methanol Dragster had Germany’s Timo Habermann at the helm in qualifying; a 5.332/262 was ahead of the other four runners. It was however, England’s Dave Wilson in his For Sale A/Fueller that beat all comers to take the trophy. Wilson ran a 5.545/252 to beat a cylinder losing Swede, Stefan Gunnarsson’s 6.315/221 in round one, then a stage and roll through bye for round two before a disappointing solo in the final as Germany’s Dennis Habermann was suffering clutch problems and was timed-out in staging. Wilson ran a 5.455/259 for the event check.
FIA Top Methanol Funny Car was supposed to have a four car field but it ended up a three car event as Belgium’s Danny Bellio wrecked his motor in the pre-event test courtesy of some faulty lifters. The win went to Sweden’s Leif Andréasson who notched up top qualifier with a 5.698/246, then ran a bye in round one to face Germany’s Jürgen Nagel in the final. A 5.701/246 from Andréasson’s DISAB Vacuum Technology/Turtle Wax sponsored Monte Carlo beat the badly shaking Camaro of Nagel.
FIA Pro Stock had Jimmy Ålund in his European campaigned Camaro sit on top in qualifying with a 6.527/212, his U.S. experience keenly showing in the small five car event. A round one bye produced a European double record, a 6.499/215 clocking. “I’m not sure the 215mph was genuine” Ålund later announced “but I’ll take it”. A 6.500/213 then beat fellow countryman Michael Malmgren’s 6.701/203 before a stormer of a final, the 6.515/212 from Jimmy Ålund catching and beating the quicker leave by fellow Swede Thomas Lindström’s 6.794/197.
FIA Pro Mod was initially a twenty-one car field but a couple of late withdrawals and a breakage pulled it down to an eighteen car event led by Sweden’s Micke Gullqvist on a 5.882/245. However it would not be the heavy-hitter and US trophy holder Gullqvist that made the final, he was beaten in the semi by eventual finalist Finn Tero Laukkanen in his indecently rapid turbo Mustang. Laukkanen got through with wins over England’s Rick Garrett then another Brit, Kev Slyfield Coming up the other side of the frame was Sweden’s Mats Eriksson in his still battle scarred Crown Victoria who beat England’s Andy Wright then a great side by side race with Holland’s David Vegter before downing Switzerland’s Bruno Bader. It would turn out another solo final as Tero Laukkanen was suffering problems and only staged his car. Mats Eriksson though was not deterred running the event winning 5.994/230.
Funny Car was a three car all English event and was led by John Spuffard with an ET record setting 4.403 at 282mph. Round one was not pretty as both Spuffard and Gordon Smith suffered detonations and oil-downs with Smith losing to Kevin Kent. The final saw Spuffard stutter on the start leaving Kevin Kent in the West Ten Motorsports Mustang to record the winning numbers, a 4.551/241 beating the troubled 12.906/62.
FIM Super Twin Bike is suffering a political divide between Scandinavia and middle Europe so it was a low three bike entry that saw Holland’s Martijn de Haas lead with a 6.735/208. Holland’s other rider; Job Heezen ran the winning 7.365/197 as Norway’s Ronny Aasen aboard the mighty Zodiac Harley of Holland’s Team Pels suffered new pistons problems. The final was all Dutch with Martijn de Haas taking the win with a 6.605/212 as Job Heezen runner-upped with a 7.353/205.
FIM Top Fuel Bike was led by defending FIM Champion, England’s Ian King on a phenomenal 5.830 at 232mph clocking. King suffered shake and over-powering the track that lost him his race with Greek, Filippos Papafilippou who got to the final to face fellow Funny Bike racer, Sweden’s Rikard Gustafsson. It was a might dramatic as both riders seemed to suffer problems staging, Papafilippou stuttered of the line and stopped and Gustafsson finally managed to leave to record a lowly but winning 21.331/113.
FIM Super Street Bike had a full sixteen bike entry that was led by England’s Dave Holland with a 7.068 at a great 205mph speed. The money run however came down to a bout between Brits Rick Stubbins and FIM Champion Steve Venables. Both riders had beaten some big names, Venables took out Richard Hann and Garry Bowe whilst Stubbins notched up wins over Austria’s Erich Gruber, then Brits Pete Field and Danny Cockerill. A shocking red light was given to Steve Venables, his 7.606/175 putting him runner as Rick Stubbins slowed to a winning 8.024/139.