FIM-E Euro Finals, Santa Pod Raceway, England
A tight track and superb air gave a huge boost to the Euro Finals with European records being reset in three out of the four heads-up FIM-E classes and personal bests set during the course of the weekend to bring down the curtain on another championship season.
FIM-E Top Fuel Bike
All the bike classes were sensational throughout the course of the Euro Finals and the most sensational among the whole bunch was Fast Fil Papafilippou and the Gulf Oils team. Cool conditions for the delayed second qualifier that were pushed from the Friday evening to early on Saturday morning were met with some degree of skepticism but in 5.663 seconds Papafilippou did quite a few things: second quickest fuel bike pass in history; first European into the 5.6s; first 5.6 outside of North America (indeed outside of one Larry McBride esq.). The terminal speed was only 233.94 mph suggesting more to come. Some adjustments for Q3 and a 5.662/246.74mph was the result. Q4 avoided the brief tire spin on the previous run at about 150 feet and would have been very adjacent to McBride’s 5.611 world best had one of the mags decided to not play ball and pushed the head gasket out on a 5.869/195.45 (by adjacent, Fil may well have been ahead with a 0.976s 60 foot and a 3.708s eighth mile clocking in comparison with McBride’s 1.007s and 3.749 at the same splits).
Second on the ladder was Rikard Gustafsson with a 5.966/223.64 that came at the expense of a crank which was replaced via some international collaboration to get a replacement from Holland in time for eliminations, whilst in third sat Al Smith in his FIM debut on Phil Baimbridge’s latest “thinking very much outside the box” inline triple Rocket 3 ride with a very impressive 6.275 on an early shutoff. Steve Woollatt returned to action after major motor damage at the Main Event back in May with a 6.332 from the PBR Dealer. Eric Richard produced a jaw dropping 6.485/209.92 from his Hayabusa powered “sit up and beg” funny bike that had those in the know wondering just what the French racer will achieve with a new Pete Browne chassis and the remaining boost.
Eliminations had Fil focusing on taking his second championship with both he and Gustafsson progressing to the semi-finals where their fortunes diverged, the Greek rider carding a significantly de-tuned 5.701/244.22 (ridiculously this being the fourth quickest pass in history) to defeat Woollatt and Gustafsson being a no show after the ignition timing went awry on the warm-up. The final was due to be a match-up between Smith and Papafilippou but the Rocket remained in the pits after discovering unacceptably high leak down. The wick was turned back up on the Gulf Oils machine to see if it could propel Fil into the five fifties, but alas it was too much for the track to hold, but, maybe, maybe, it is just around the corner.
FIM-E Super Twin Bike
Having clinched his second championship in a row, Marcus Christiansen and the Danish Speedy Racing team went hunting big numbers with their unique Super Twin combo and duly ripped off the first 6.2 from an injected V-Twin in Europe with a 6.299/218.98 to head qualifying. The top half of the field was a low land affair with Dutch duo of Martijn de Haas (6.613/213.08) and Gert-jan Laseur (6.856/194.71) ahead of a great 6.912/193.03 from the small capacity injected bike of Belgian Marc van den Boer.
Eliminations had the top four apart from Christiansen defeated in the opening round, with the Dane running a fast 6.368/220.13 on his solo. Christian Jager ran his best of the season with a 6.937 to knock out van den Boer’s 7.072, Allan Davies managed to recover from some major issues with the Surprise Attack blower bike in qualifying to defeat an ailing de Haas and Neil Midgley and the Cannon Engineering Lucas Oils team found the right time to get back into the sixes with a 6.855 to easily cover Laseur. Christiansen uncorked a 6.233/218.04 in the semi-finals to back up his qualifying number as a new class record and take his spot in the final over Jager’s 7.077. With Davies absent due to more engine damage, Midgley staged for his spot in the final, wary of belt shredding and fuel pump issues that had beset his weekend. In the trophy run off the Dane carded another low six with a 6.338/218.97 that secured the event win over Midgley.
FIM-E Pro Stock Bike
Ålander Fredrik Fredlund led the all-Suzuki Pro Stock Bike field with a 7.045/189.65, trashing another transmission on another qualifying attempt, and secured his seventh title when Sweet Cheeks team mate Janne Koskinen was defeated by out-going champion Bertrand Maurice in the first round of eliminations. Fredlund carded a series of 7.0s in eliminations including a best of 7.028 on his low qualifier bye and a 7.085/187.37 when scheduled opponent Martin Bishop was a no-show. The 2020 Number One plate holder remained consistent with a 7.047/186.61 in the final, but was holeshot by Martin Newbury who took the event win with a 7.053/189.81 and reset his PB ET mark for the second event in a row.
FIM-E Super Street Bike
The top four in Super Street Bike were firmly in the six second zone with Steve Venables some way ahead of the rest with a new European record at 6.806/216.99 from the D.M.E. Hayabusa. Hungary’s Daniel Donat Lencses was on PB form with a 6.941/204.21, followed by Garry Bowe at 6.973/207.07 and Graham Balchin, fresh from digging holes in the track after a few stratospheric launches from the ZX12, with his first six second ticket (6.977/205.15). Eliminations saw Venables secure his second FIM title and run a series of 6.928/215.86, 6.825/214.92 and a 6.832/210.83 to book his spot in the event final where he would face Mogens Lund who had been on an impressive series of 6.9s on race day. Lund’s spot in the final was secured when he defeated Yannick Richard who was on his best finish in FIM-E Super Street Bike competition, it being quite the weekend for the French Richard brothers. Venables was looking for the first 6.7 in Europe but came up slightly short with a very impressive 6.804/216.85 to set the class ET record, back up his qualifying speed and take the event trophy after riding around Lund’s hole shot and a 7.029/208.17.
FIM-E Junior Dragbike Cup
Unlike the other categories, the destination of the Junior Dragbike Cup went right down to the wire with Nitrolympx winner Marie Rosen departing in the first round of eliminations and incoming points leader Meg Talbot losing out to Blade Dummer at the semi-final stage. This opened the door for Dummer to take the Cup series title which he duly did with victory over Liam Holgate in the event final.
View points standings on the Points page.
Words and bike pictures Ivan Sansom and Rose Hughes. Thanks to TSI Timers (Europe) for access to the timing data.