September sees race teams from all over Europe heading to Santa Pod Raceway for the final round of the Fia and Fim European Championships, The Euro Finals. With over 230 teams entered for the five day meeting, the fans, not wanting to miss out on any of the action, flooded in and filled the facility to capacity.
The track crew at Santa Pod are well known for their track preparation expertise and at the Euro Finals the all concrete surface was prepared so well that some of the teams struggled to get a handle on it. But, those that got it really got it, and records were smashed in a number of classes.
Wednesday’s test day, limited to race entrants only, gave the teams a chance to test if they wanted to. Thursday is Sportsman day and saw five full rounds of qualifying. Friday, Saturday and Sunday saw the Pro classes out on track and on Friday featured an evening session with the fuel cars running as the light faded, always a winner with the spectators.
The ET record in Top Fuel changed three times during two meetings. During the last round, held at Sweden’s Tierp Arena, Jndia Erbacher claimed the numbers from Anita Mäkelä with a stunning 3.817/318.96 MPH pass, giving her both the European ET and speed records. The ET glory for Jndia was however short-lived when Norway’s Maja Udtian ran even quicker the very next day, netting 3.816. On to qualifying at the Santa Pod Finals and Maja bettered her own ET record with 3.806. The event win, though, went to Anita who defeated number eight qualifier Liam Jones in the final, Anita also taking the Fia championship.
Fia Top Methanol racer Sandro Bellio secured the Fia championship during qualifying and progressed to the final where he met Maltese racer Manty Bugeja, who was making a welcome return to the track after a long absence. Manty took the win with a 5.30 at 268 mph to Sandro’s 5.63 at 261 mph. Fia Pro Stock racer Jimmy Ålund had plenty to keep him busy as he not only contested Pro Stock but also Pro Modified. Ålund managed to qualify number one and set low ET in both classes — a European first! He then fought his way to the final where he lost out to Robin Norén who ran a 6.58 at 209 mph to Jimmy’s faster 6.55 at 210. The championship had already been sewn up by Ålund at the previous round in Sweden.
As usual, there was plenty of action in Fia Pro Modified. Coming into the meeting the championship was wide open with both Micke Gullqvist and Jan Ericsson in the running. That all changed when Jan defeated Russian Dmitry Samorukov in round two, securing the championship, and in the process running the quickest side-by-side race ever in Europe: Jan’s 5.80 to Dmitry’s 5.84. Another European first went to Jimmy Ålund when he ran the first-ever 5.70s pass by a supercharged car in his ’51 Chevy. It would be Jean Dulamon who would find himself in the final against Jan Ericsson, a red light handing Jan the win.
On to two wheels and it was all happening in Fim-Europe Top Fuel Bike, with more records not just broken but absolutely obliterated. The capacity crowd erupted during Saturday’s first qualifying session when Filippos Papafilippou took the Gulf Oil TFB into the European record books with an outstanding 5.66-second, 233 mph pass and then did the same again in the very next session with a 5.66 at 246. Fil secured the championship in round two of eliminations when Rikard Gustafsson failed to show and then won the event when Al Smith also failed to show for the final.
Fim-e Supertwin racer Marcus Christiansen came into the event leading the championship, with Gert-Jan Laseur chasing at his heels. Marcus qualified in the number one spot with a 6.299 at 218 mph — the first half of an ET record. Marcus then made it to the final where he met and defeated Neil Midgley to win the event and the championship. Fim-e Pro Stock Bike saw Fredrik Fredlund take the number one spot in the final qualifying session with a 7.04 at 189 and a bye in the first round of eliminations. He then progressed to the final, where he met Martin Newbury. Martin won the race and the event by running a 7.05 at 189 mph to Fredrik’s quicker 7.04 at 186, but it was Fredrik with the championship honors.
In Fim-e Super Street Bike, it was all eyes on number one qualifier Steve Venables, who was doing his absolute best to get in the 6.70’s but missed out by a whisker with a best of 6.804 in the final, where he defeated Mogens Lund. Steve’s win in the first round against Dave Thomas also bagged him the championship. A great weekend for SSB with Steve, Yannick Richard, Daniel Donat Lencses and Graham Balchin all running personal bests. Fim-e Junior Drag Bike racer Meg Talbot was leading the championship to Marie Madleen Rosen coming into the meeting, but that was all about to change. Number one qualifier Meg took a bye through round one and then lost to Blade Dummer. Blade then defeated Liam Holgate in the final to take the event win and the championship.
Many thanks to Eurodragster.com for access to race data and pit notes.