2019 EUROPEAN FINALS AT SANTA POD RACEWAY IN ENGLAND

Story and photos by: Roger Gorringe

With the hot topic these days of female involvement in especially motorsports it was nothing new to drag racing. Male and female have been competing equally for many years. In Top Fuel it was an equal split of four men and four women with the championship being retained by Finland’s very popular throughout the European racing fraternity, Anita Mäkelä. All racers and fans struggled through cold, blustery qualifying days ending up with eliminations run under warm sunshine to end a great year.

FIA Top Fuel Qualifying was initially disappointing as several teams were still awaiting parts and did not make all qualifying rounds. Q3 – the unpopular with most drivers’ night time session pretty saw much all go up in smoke as it was cold and had inadequate lighting for photographs. However, the European ET record was broken by Norwegian driver Maja Udtian, qualifying on pole with a 5.8068 at 315mph that boosted the whole energy level of everyone.

Round one confirmed Finland’s Anita Mäkelä the champion for the second year running as she ran a 3.900/296 as opponent, Denmark’s Stig Neergaard fireballed his motor at three quarter track. Udtian shook and got crossed up off the line allowing Britain’s Liam Jones to limp to the win with a 6.730/90. Jndia Erbacher the Swiss lady and European speed record holder at 318.96mph put down a 4.104/236 as Swedish racer, Susanne Callin fireballed her motor around the one hundred and fifty feet mark. The last pairing had two part-time participants, Britain’s Tethys threw off his blower belt slowing him to a losing 5.866/113 as Swede, Patrik Pers managed a 5.185/151 win.

Pers failed to make round two as he had broken after the first outing allowing Jones to an easy 9.32/75 pass to the final. Erbacher shook out her ‘chute slowing to a 5.987/97 as Mäkelä put down a fine 3.821/313 to get a finals place.

Adding icing to her FIA Championship cake, Anita Mäkelä then took the trophy with a holeshot then fireballing 3.850/297 in her Auto Haapenen/Levin Iglut/Jettaset backed fueller as Liam Jones in the CBD Asylum machine managed a slowed up 4.979/159 runner-up place for a third placing in the championship.

FIA Top Methanol saw Belgium’s Sandro Bellio leading the point chase in the families Chevy Monte Carlo, ending up top qualifier with a 5.492/263 ahead of the four car field. It was in round one that Bellio wrapped-up the championship with a win over Germany’s Silvio Strauch who managed a return after repairing a damaged front end after a big wheelie, a 5.712/261 from Bellio as Strauch shook hard and shut-off. Malta’s Monty Bugeja managed a 5.616/264 to see off an up in smoke from the line Swedish contender Jonny Lagg in his A/Fueller.

The final started with a competitive burn-down at the tree but it was the blown dragster of Monty Bugeja that caught up and passed the flopper of Sandro Bellio, 5.303/268 win to the 5.630/261 lose.

FIA Pro Stock had an all Swedish five car field led by Jimmy Älund with a 6.551/211 clocking and it was Ålund that took the Championship. The rounds started with Michael Malmgren suffering shake off the line and handing the win to Bengt Ljungdahl. Simon Gustafsson broke on the burnout allowing Robin Norén the win and Älund took a solo to the semis. Round two and Ålund took out the reigning champion, Ljungdahl with a 6.553/211 to the close 6.582/210, won on a holeshot. Norén soloed to a 6.565/209 for a finals place.

A holeshot by Robin Norén coupled with a 6.586/209 got him the event win as Jimmy Älund chased for a runner-up place with a 6.550/210.

FIA Pro Modified was a massive twenty cars all vying for a place in the sixteen car ladder. Qualifying was led by Jimmy Älund driving the Old 51 Chevy Business Coupe on a 5.780/246. Älund despatched Dutch driver Michel Tooren in round one then Britain’s John Tebenham in the second before carding a surprise red light in the third allowing French driver Jean Dulamon a win with a 6.255/230. Dulamon in his turn had seen off a burnout rod breaking Roger Johansson then, running his first five upset Sweden’s Mats Eriksson, 5.995/242 to a losing 5.956/241. Sweden’s Jan Ericsson became the new champion in round two after seeing off Brit Nick Davies then Russian driver Dmitry Samorukov, 5.804/249 to a losing 5.846/246. A red light took out Dutch driver David Vegter in the semis.

The final had Frenchman Jean Dulamon in his nitrous oxide powered ’68 Camaro Bad Apple put a cherry on the tree then get a little loose kicking out the 330 foot blocks as Jan Ericsson in his Sundholm Welding blown ’68 Camaro ran an easy winning 8.178/114 to the 8.260/116.

Funny Car witnessed Kevin Kent take the European Nitro Funny Car Series with a pedalling win over top qualifier Steve Ashdown, 5.550/188 to a shaking 6.018/112 in round one then a solo 4.963/173 as Kevin Chapman was unable to make the final.

Photo of Funny car Champion & Event winner Kevin Kent.

FIM Europe Top Fuel Bike was an incredible experience for everyone as defending champion, Greek rider Filippos Papafilippou aboard the Gulf Oil/King Racing Puma almost bettered the world ET record with a 5.6629/246 to qualify leagues ahead of the class. Papafilippou went on to wrap up the championship and take the event win to end a near perfect weekend for the team. A first round win over a red lighting Brit Dale Leeks put Papafilippou against multi ACU British champion Steve Woollatt, it was all over for Woollatt as his 6.454/206 was not enough to cope with the 5.701/244 which put Papafilippou into the final. Britain’s newest Top Fuel Bike contender is Al Smith whose debut this weekend got him to the final having beaten Swede, Thomas Pettersson in round one then a below par 7.118/138 solo as Sweden’s Rikard Gustafsson had broken. It was Smith’s turn to break in the final as Papafilippou overpowered the track going up in smoke off the line.

FIM Europe Super Twin Bike had defending champion, Marcus Christiansen from Denmark lead the seven bike class with a new European ET record of 6.299 at 218mph. Christiansen went on to secure the championship with a round one bye, then taking out Germany’s Christian Jager with a 6.233/218 to enter the final. Meeting Christiansen for the money run would be Britain’s Neil Midgley whose 6.855/153 took out Dutchman Gert-Jan Laseur in round one before a stage and launch only in two as Allan Davies had broken.

The final saw Marcus Christiansen run a winning 6.338/218 to score the event win as well as the championship as Neil Midgley slowed to an 8.447/97.

FIM Europe Pro Stock Bike had past champion Fredrik Fredlund from Finland take control of qualifying with a 7.045/189 he then had a solo in round one in which he wrapped up the championship before a round two solo as Britain’s Martin Bishop broke on the burnout, 7.085/187. Martin Newberry from England was the opponent for Fredlund in the final having despatched Frenchman Simone David in round one then a solo as the other Frenchman, Bertrand Maurice broke on the burnout.

A holeshot from Newberry coupled with a 7.053/189 beat the new champion Fredlund’s 7.047/186.

Photo of Event winner Martin Newberry

FIM Europe Super Street Bike had seventeen bikes try for the sixteen bike field and was led by England’s Steve Venables almost in a class of his own, a 6.806/216.99, a new European speed record on pole. Venables went on to clinch the championship and take the event win, decimating the opposition. Round one saw fellow Brit Dave Thomas go out then Venables saw off Mark Hope and another Brit, Stephen Mead who was number three in the points chase, all with 6.8 clockings. Venables would meet number four in the point table, Denmark’s Mogens Lund in the final; he had beaten number two in the points Alex Hope then Garry Bowe before despatching Frenchman Yannick Richard in the semis.

Steve Venables saved the best till last aboard his D.M.E. Racing.com Hayabusa as he faced Mogens Lund on his HB Racing Hayabusa; a good light from Lund together with a 7.029/208 was chased down and beaten with a new European ET record of 6.804 at 216mph.

FIM Europe Cup Junior Drag Bike had Netherland’s based Meg Talbot the defending champion sat on pole with a 9.606/68. Her luck got her a bye in round one, then the 8.453/79 from eventual new champion and event winner England’s Blade Dummer saw Talbot go out with a 9.605/68. Number two in the points was Germany’s Marie Madleen Rosen who made a late entry to try and wrestle away the championship, her luck ended in round one against England’s Liam Holgate.

Liam Holgate faced Blade Dummer for the final; it was Dummer’s 8.733/75 that took the win against the 8.564/78 from Holgate.