Santa Pod Raceway
Drag Racing

FIA/UEM European Finals 2006 Report

Thursday 7th - Sunday 10th September

FIA European Drag Racing Championships Inc UEM Drag Bike

A stunningly successful event that saw the biggest spectator attendance in memory, couple that with performances that gave new FIA European records in Top Fuel, Pro Stock and Pro Modified and many personal bests in all classes both Pro and Sportsman all set in very warm early autumn sunshine that gave the event added sparkle. Funniest story of the weekend was that the consignment of Redline Oil due to lubricate the internals of the Rune Fjeld stable of Top Fuel cars arrived only to be discovered it was a box of Wellington boots - hardly appropriate or helpful considering the hot and dry conditions! The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight consisting of a Lancaster Bomber with a Hurricane and Spitfire fighters gave a fitting salute to the war heroes that were based here during World War II and to recognise Santa Pod Raceways fortieth successful anniversary year. It also included flypasts by a Dakota and several wonderful low straight down the length of the track passes by a P51 Mustang on Saturday and Sunday.

There is a winners photo gallery at the bottom of this page and a general Photo Gallery of the weekend here.

Statement release from Santa Pod Raceway: Weds 13th Sept
Following the death of a spectator during the FIA European Finals at Santa Pod Raceway on Sunday 10th September, the event organisers would like to express their sincere condolences. A spokesperson for the racetrack has said, "Whilst a full police investigation is currently taking place we are unable to comment on the cause of this tragic incident. We are, of course, deeply upset by it and our thoughts are with all of his family and friends at this very sad time."

FIA Top Fuel: Swiss giant and Top Fuel rookie Urs Erbacher along with US tuner Glen Mikres finally got the combination together in Norway then continued to dominate with big numbers that got him pole position on a 4.747/318.95, the ET becoming the new European record. The Championship was to be decided in round one as Finn Tommi Haapanen rode out a fireball that oiled the track from halfway whilst still taking a 7.179/108 win as Sweden's Tommy Möller shook and tossed a belt off losing with a 7.661/102, this made the next pair change lanes and it all paid off as Håkan Nilsson's Veidec backed machine ran a winning 4.864/296 that wrapped up the FIA Top Fuel Championship as opponent and nearest contender Norway's Thomas Nataas suffered severe tyre shake and hurled the blower belt high losing with a 7.271/109. Denmark's Stig Neergaard had trouble selecting reverse after his burnout then forward to stage but managed in time only to see Urs Erbacher zoom to a 4.912/244 win to the losing 6.199/145. Last pair in the round was the 2005 Champion, Holland 's Lex Joon who took the long way up his lane but still recorded the winning 5.115/244 as Sweden 's Micke Kågered slowed with problems to a 5.946/142.

Urs Erbacher
Urs Erbacher - Top Fuel Dragster

Tommi Haapanen's fire had depleted the teams parts to the extent of not being able to make round two allowing Urs Erbacher to take a non-too tardy solo 4.795/304 to enter the final. Lex Joon left first but his off par 5.285/238 was run down and beaten by the new champ Håkan Nilsson with a 5.015/267.

It was an all rookie final as both Urs Erbacher and Håkan Nilsson from Switzerland and Sweden respectively faced off in a repeat of the Main Event first round final but this time it was a reverse decision as Erbacher stormed off with Nilsson in hot pursuit. At around the eleven hundred foot mark Nilsson lost the blower belt slowing to a 5.196/214 as Erbacher's Midland Oil car took the event win with a 4.79/312.

FIA Top Methanol Dragster: Once again it was the American Car Import/PlayStation2 machine of current Champion Dave Wilson that dominated the class with a 5.453/253 top qualifier but his last qualifier banged the number one motor to smithereens meaning the use of the older KB power-plant was called for. A nice 5.453/258 bye run proved the combination worked giving Wilson a place in the semis. Britain 's Rob Turner suffered huge shake and despite pedalling to a 5.923/238 could not catch the 5.809/251 from Krister Johansson's A/Fuel car. Germany 's Peter Schöfer trounced the try from Swedish rookie Rickard Persson, a 5.637/255 told the tale on the 6.924/191 try.

Just when Krister Johansson was getting a handle back on the fuel problems with his car it all kicked in again with a troubled 6.68/189 lose as Dave Wilson surged ahead with a fine 5.515/253 win. Wilson 's main adversary has always been Peter Schöfer who got to the final on an easy bye run of 7.069/121.

It has been a familiar scene during this season with Dave Wilson and Peter Schöfer facing each other and this was no exception but the result was. The Championship was all in favour of Wilson, Schöfer had to beat him and card a European record and with a great leave Schöfer in the Bavarian Thunder car left and Wilson blazed the slicks at two hundred feet out slowing to a losing 5.702/244 as Schöfer wrapped up the event win with a 5.559/256. Dave Wilson though held on to the points to win a fourth Championship.

Urs Erbacher
Dave Wilson - Top Methanol Dragster

FIA Top Methanol Funny Car: Sweden 's Leif Andréasson showed the way with a top qualifier of 5.723/247 over a tenth ahead of the pack. This led to a round one bye for Andréasson who ran a 5.765/245 to get to the semis. In a round one close race Sweden 's Ulf Leanders just got the nod with a 5.836/240 as he caught and passed the Norwegian Arvid Grødem whose 5.900/240 lost. A great leave coupled with a 5.84/244 got Denmark 's Dan Larsen the win over the 6.148/233 from Sweden 's Kjell Sjöblom.

The Championship was all up for grabs in round two as fellow Swedes Ulf Leanders and Leif Andréasson faced off, it all went wrong for Andréasson as he not only red lit big time but he destroyed the engine on his way up track on a 6.43/150, Leanders saw the cherry and win light and ran an engine saving 8.31/107 to take the win and Championship. Dan Larsen ran the rounds bye run to get to the final, a 5.87/245 was the ticket.

Despite a holeshot the new Champion Ulf Leanders in the IronCad Pontiac Firebird slowed with problems to a 6.900/134 that allowed Dan Larsen to power the Boxter Dodge Avenger to an event win of 5.874/244.

FIA Pro Stock: A new European record was laid down by the still battle scarred (after his Main Event crash) Lahega backed Pontiac Grand Am of Michael Malmgren, a 6.850/202.58 was the record and top qualifier. Round one started with a 6.979/198 win from Sweden's Tommy Leindahl as opponent Magnus Hansson failed to catch up with his close 6.967/197 loser. Kenneth Söderström tried the deep stage tactic only to gain a red light 7.112/196 in his battle with Finland 's Eero Knihtilä's 6.911/200. Jimmy Ålund took his third Championship with a 6.907/199 win as Richard Sundblom was shut off on the line with a leak. Michael Malmgren and Peter Dahlin had a small staging duel before Malmgren clicked the lights on and ran the winning 6.882/200 to the losing 7.204/190 to end round one.

Michael Malmgren was on a roll all weekend, he knew he could not take the championship but concentrated on gaining wins and records, a 6.928/200 put away the 7.049/197 try of Tommy Leindahl in round two. A battle royal went on between Eero Knihtilä and repeat Champion Jimmy Ålund with the former wasting a 6.988/199 to a red light leave allowing Ålund a victory with the 6.957/199.

It's great to end the season the Champion but even better when it comes with the event win as well and that's what Jimmy Ålund in the and GM Performance parts backed Firebird did. A holeshot leave coupled with a 6.921/198 got the win light as Malmgren came in second with a 6.903/198.

FIA Pro Modified: Another European ET record was laid down when Sweden's Urban Johansson ran a first in the teens 6.174/229 in his '63 Corvette closely followed by Britain's Andy Robinson with a 6.195/228 in his '53 Studebaker to get numbers one and two in qualifying. Urban Johansson tied up the first FIA Pro Modified Championship in round one. A surprise exit in the first stanza was Jan Arve Nygård who was number three in the points chase. Into round two and Andy Robinson's world crashed around him as he could not start the car giving Finn Seppo Saapola an easy 6.721/179 win. Roger Johansson's nitrous Mustang shook violently and got crossed up just off the startline slowing him to a losing 13.102/75 only to watch as Urban Johansson won with the 6.236/222. Britain 's Danny Cockerill suffered an all over his lane route to win with a 6.880/205 as Finland 's Marko Lantto took an on/off losing 7.314/205 pass. Sweden 's Mats Eriksson made sure of his semi final place with a 6.297/224 defeat of Switzerland 's Bruno Bader, 6.522/217 to finish the round.

In round three there were a lot of surprises as Danny Cockerill carded an easy 7.569/131 win as the new Champion Urban Johansson was shut off with a leak. Also an eye opener was the blatant red light from Mats Eriksson that wasted a 6.340/219 allowing Seppo Saapola through with a 6.596/199.

In the final Seppo Saapola's big '57 Chrysler 300 left first and ran a 6.619/206 as Danny Cockerill in his '57 Chevy Bel Air chased and nipped past in the lights to record a winning 6.507/215.

UEM Super Twin Bike: The class was in mourning for the recent loss in a demonstration racing accident of Norwegian racer Svein Gottenberg and a fitting minutes silence was held just before the eliminations. Switzerland 's Lorenz Stauble ran to pole position with a fine 6.61/210 almost a tenth ahead of the field. In round one Stauble could not fire up and allowed Holland's Job Heezen in as alternate against the might of Sweden's Per Bengtsson, all Bengtsson had to do was a 7.333/180 to pass the valiant 8.981/154 from the gasser among nitro burners. Current Champion, Norwegian Ronny Aasen ran a winning 6.973/179 to oust the try from fellow countryman Hans Olav Olstad's 7.198/205. A wobble slowed the losing pass of Finn Jaska Salakari as Sweden 's Anders Karling's 6.793/158 beat the 8.442/112. Joachim Reimer lost power at half track and the 8.543/108 was beaten by the 7.305/198 from fellow German Gunther Sohn to end round one.

Round two kicked off with a duel between Per Bengtsson and Ronny Aasen but it was Aasen's 6.852/209 that succeeded against the 7.119/193. A red light was glaring in Gunther Sohn's lane negating his 7.335/190 as Anders Karling realised his win light was on and slowed to a 6.891/157.

The final pitted the number one and number three in the points chase but it all went wrong for Anders Karling as he red lit away a 7.571/115 and Ronny Aasen clinched the Championship and event win even though he got no further than the Christmas Tree due to a broken drive belt.

Urs Erbacher
Per Bengtsson - Super Twin

UEM Top Fuel Bike: In his swan-song event in the class before moving to ride Ton Pels Super Twin Bike next year Holland's Roel Koedam made good clinching everything bar the Championship, top qualifier at 6.272/212 then going on for the event win. In round one Koedam dealt out Neil Midgley's Funny Bike with a 6.710/210 to an off pace 9.441/94. Sweden's Rickard Gustavsson became the class Champion even though he lost to last years Champion Ian King, a 6.432/197 beat the 6.558/205, the latter being the first 6.5 from a Funny Bike in Europe. The next pairing was an all alternate meeting, Dave Bailey in for a broken Steve Woollatt and Shaun Branch in for and equally damaged and gone home Eric Teboul, Branch had to shut down with a strained clutch allowing Bailey's 7.181/186 the win. A 6.925/219 from Norwegian Sverre Dahl took out the 7.319/177 from Steve Carey in an all fuel bike ending to round one.

Roel Koedam caught and passed the leave from Ian King's machine, a 6.342/210 to the 6.519/197 lose. Sverre Dahl was shut down after his burnout allowing Dave Bailey's Funny Bike to get a close to the wall 8.521/118 win.

A David and Goliath final pitted the Funny Bike of Bailey against the Top Fuel Bike power of Roel Koedam, it was too much for Bailey's nerve as he red lit to a 7.391/185 lose allowing Koedam to power to a 6.324/195 event win

UEM Pro Stock Bike: Denmark 's Tom Tinndahn on his Buell ran some great numbers to end up number one qualifier with a 7.228/181 over a tenth ahead of the pack. The Championship was decided before eliminations and was awarded to Anders Abrahamsson who has led all year.

Tom Tinndahn lost his way in round one giving a surprised Brit Martin Newbury a win 7.887/166 win to the off par 8.663/133. Sweden 's Örjan Gustavsson put down a 7.653/170 that beat the 7.870/159 from Britain 's Len Paget. The Italian Luigi Chinarella' bike seemed to strain and he slowed to a losing 30.591/27 as Sweden 's Anders Jakobsson powered to a 7.4/175 win. Last pair in the first round eliminations was the new Champion Anders Abrahamsson against number three in the points chase Martin Bishop and in a close call Abrahamsson took it with a 7.515/172 to the 7.652/172 lose.

Martin Newbury's great weekend was ended when his 7.810/165 was soundly beaten by Örjan Gustavsson's better leaving 7.603/170. Anders Abrahamsson then dealt out Anders Jakobsson, a 7.535/177 win to the 7.722/171 lose.

The final was all Swedish as Anders Abrahamsson MotoSpeed Suzuki left first and held onto the lead to take the event win on top of the Championship, a 7.47/174 beat the 7.696/166 from Örjan Gustavsson's valiant try.

The Funny Cars seem to be finally back on track after some years in the nitro wilderness as John Spuffard carded the best figures in Europe with a stunning and pedalled 5.281/267.99. Gordon Smith suffered mechanically on a couple of passes but managed a best of 5.935/197 on Sunday and Swede Leif Helander showed he meant business with a great 5.350/243. The final runoff for the class had to be put off as the track was closed due to the sad off-track occurrence.

Onto the Sportsman classes each of whom made the most of all the track time since Thursday, some fields managed nine qualifying passes! The Competition Eliminator event was taken by Spencer Tramm in his 466ci powered VW Corrado with a 9.204/145 win as Andy Frost in the 572ci Vauxhall FX4/90 FD failed to catch up, losing with a fine 7.967/178 from the street legal machine.

Peter Creswell headed the Super Comp class with an 8.902/150 in his 533ci vintage Mustang and managed to stay ahead with a round one bye, seeing off Belinda Bull in two and Phil Bennett in three and another 8.930/148 bye into the final. Usual heavy hitter Brian Pateman also made his way through with defeats of Paul Letchford, Paul Knight, a bye in three and a under index 8.878/153 win over a disqualified Chris Isaacs in the semis. The final had Pateman leave on a great light but his 8.950/152 was passed in the lights as Peter Creswell went on to win with an 8.902/154.

Malcolm Francis put his Air Sea Logistics Pontiac Grand Am into pole position with a near perfect Super Gas 9.901/162 time but suffered a broken lifter and damaged cam putting him out of contention for eliminations. Jon Morton sat in fourteenth place but made his way past Stuart Doignie in one, Matt Gatland in two, Mike Bentley in three and a 9.948/141 got the better of Tim Adam's 9.992/145 in the semi final. Stuart Morrice managed to push his Camaro from number thirteen up past Brendan Clancy, Jon Evans and Conrad Stanley's new Firebird to get a semi final bye of 9.926/140 into the final. Jon Morton left first and powered to a 9.967/145 win as Stuart Morrice chased to a 10.022/140 runner up.

The final qualifier of Super Street was topped by Martyn Sanger in his Mustang with a 10.916/107 and he held on to the wins in round two over Nick Griffin after a round one bye, then a win over a breakout Mark Watkins in the semi. On the other ladder was Bob Lees in his big blue Mustang who triumphed over Michael Howling in one, John Grant in two then Dutch racer, Ful Lievaart in the Bel Air, 10.957/118 win to the 11.114/112 lose. A two Mustang final and a better leave on the part of Bob Lees gave him the victory with an 11.092/111 as Martyn Sanger followed with an 11.160/103 runner up.

Super Pro ET had Derek Flynn in the Gold RV Racing dragster get to a great 6.540/204 clocking that sat him on top of the thirty-two car field but a red light in round one put him back on the trailer. Usual top runner Barry Giles made his way to the final with wins over Mick Payne, John Everitt, Nick Spence and a 7.676/154 put away a now regular six second Pat Talbot's 7.004/187. Meeting Giles in the final was Nigel Payne who stamped his authority with wins over Lee Darby, Paula Atkin, and Martyn Jones before an 8.047/156 whipping of Nigel Turner's 8.455/155 in the semi. It was a doorslammer versus dragster final and the Barry Giles rail recorded the 7.648/161 win that put the Corvette of Nigel Payne into runner up spot.

A massive international field made up the forty-five contestants in Pro ET and at the end of qualifying the '55 Chevy of Antony Wilkins sat on the top with an 11.050/118 but problems meant he did not make eliminations. It all came down to a England Holland battle with Ian Atkinson's Belvedere getting past Roel van den Hout then Wayne Hiscock and Ron Bartlett before the clash with Carla Pittau's Camaro in the semi final, Atkinson cut a stunning light and his 10.921/114 got the better of Pittau's 10.378/130 try. Paul Vrind in his 427ci powered Chevette waded his way past Mo Blackburn, Aiden Kenny and Lee Huxley to then see off Peter Chivers Ford Capri in the semis with a 10.402/103 to the 10.963/97 lose. It was the number thirteen and number, twenty-two qualifiers that faced off with the Dutch owned Chevette of Paul Vrind seeing red, wasting his under index as well 10.011/132, leaving Ian Atkinson to motor to the trophy with a 10.998/116.

Sportsman ET had sixteen contenders with Paul Herbert and his chopped VW Beetle sitting on pole with a 14.650/88 but a first round clash with Nick Gay put him out. It would turn out a battle between another VW an some American iron in the final as Geoff Cowley in his Camaro made his way through with wins over Michael Smith, Sandie Gibb then a bye in round three before sending Nick Gay home with a 15.805/84 win to the 14.291/90 lose in the semi final. Graham Fairhead's VW Type 3 Fastback meanwhile was trailering the likes of Martin Lewis, David Nelson and Brian Huxley before a bye run of 15.580/83 put him into the final. Geoff Cowley managed the better light and stayed ahead to record a 15.770/83 win as Graham Fairhead followed with a close 15.570/83.

Jayne Kay got the best reaction time in Junior Dragster qualifying with numbers of 0.004 R.T. coupled with a 7.904/82 to head the class of twenty three runners but her luck ran out in round two as she lost to Rebecca Evans. It would be an all female final with a classic Sweden versus England battle as Sweden's Jenny Gustafsson put away Zak Johnson, Michael Herron, Charlotte Watts before a 9.058/70 bye into the final. Holly Mitchell was getting the better of Tom Watts, Matthew Seamarks and Rebecca Evans before taking out Ross Norris in the semis with a better light 9.466/69 win to the 9.226/72. Jenny Gustafsson managed the better leave in the final and ran the winning 9.132/68 as Holly runner upped with a 9.485/68.

In the 9.50 Bike class it was good to see Fred Furlong make a welcome return after his crash earlier this year, his luck lasted until round two though, going out to Andy Haley who led the twenty-five strong qualifier list with a perfect 9.500/145. It was Andy Bird on his 1216cc Suzuki GSXR that powered his way to the event win with defeats that included Paul Hambridge, Eddy Smiley, and a bye in round three before putting out the top qualifier Andy Haley with a 9.553/130 win to the 9.598/142 lose. Meeting Bird on the money run was Phil Pratt on his 1186cc Suzuki GSXR who put away the likes of Phil Surridge, a bye in round two, Sweden's Christer Holmberg in three then seeing off Dave Burfitt with a 9.640/139 better R.T. to the 9.541/146 in the semi final. Both bikes left fairly evenly in the final with Andy Bird adding to his points total with a 9.641/136 win just nipping in through the lights as Phil Pratt followed with a 9.729/140 runner up.

Roger Gorringe - NITRO exposure. © September 2006.

European Drag Racing Championships Round 5 Winners:

Urs Erbacher Urs Erbacher FIA Top Fuel Dragster:
Urs Erbacher 4.790/312.22 def. Håkan Nilsson 5.196/214.37
Peter Schöfer   Peter Schöfer   Top Methanol Dragster:
Peter Schöfer 5.559/256.03 def. Dave Wilson 5.702/244.35
Dan Larsen   Dan Larsen   Top Methanol Funny Car:
Dan Larsen 5.874/244.71 def. Ulf Leanders 6.900/134.74
Jimmy Ålund   Jimmy Ålund   Pro Stock:
Jimmy Ålund 6.921/198.29 def. Michael Malmgren 6.903/198.07
Danny Cockerill   Pro Modified:
Danny Cockerill 6.507/215.37 def. Seppo Saapola 6.619/206.37
Roel Koedam   Roel Koedam   Top Fuel Bike:
Roel Koedam 6.324/195.38 def. Dave Bailey 7.391/185.27 red light
Ronny Aasen   Ronny Aasen   Supertwin:
Ronny Aasen no time def. Anders Karling 7.571/115.95 red light
Anders Abrahamsson   Anders Abrahamsson   Pro Stock Bike:
Anders Abrahamsson 7.470/174.48 def. Orjan Gustavsson 7.696/166.83
Spencer Tramm   Spencer Tramm   Comp Eliminator:
Spencer Tramm (8.12) 9.204/145.16 def. Andy Frost (7.80) 7.967/178.58
Barry Giles   Barry Giles   Super Pro ET:
Barry Giles (7.63) 7.648/161.22 def. Nigel Payne (7.98) 7.988/171.22
Ian Atkinson   Ian Atkinson   Pro ET:
Ian Atkinson (10.91) 10.998/116.92 def. Paul Vrind (10.05) 10.011/132.72 red
Geoff Cowley   Geoff Cowley   Sportsman ET:
Geoff Cowley (15.70) 15.770/83.80 def. Graham Fairhead (15.50) 15.570/83.83
Pete Creswell   Pete Creswell   Super Comp:
Pete Creswell 8.902/154.55 def. Brian Pateman 8.950/152.64
Jon Morton   Jon Morton   Super Gas:
Jon Morton 9.967/145.25 def. Stuart Morrice 10.022/140.55
Bob Lees   Bob Lees   Super Street:
Bob Lees 11.092/111.89 def. Martyn Sanger 11.160/103.65
Jenny Gustafsson   Jenny Gustafsson   Junior Dragster:
Jenny Gustafsson (9.05) 9.132/68.28 def. Holly Mitchell (9.40) 9.485/68.90
Andy Bird   Andy Bird  
9.50 Bike:
Andy Bird 9.641/136.30 def. Phil Pratt 9.729/140.11

2006 European Drag Racing Championships Season Winners:

FIA Top Fuel Dragster: Håkan Nilsson
FIA Top Methanol Dragster: Dave Wilson
FIA Top Methanol Funny Car: Ulf Leanders
FIA Pro Stock: Jimmy Ålund
FIA Pro Modified: Urban Johansson
FIM/UEM Top Fuel Bike: Rikard Gustafsson
FIM/UEM Supertwin: Ronny Aasen
FIM/UEM Pro Stock Bike: Anders Abrahamsson

More coverage of the European Finals and the European 2006 Championships can be found at

European Finals Menu:

European Finals 2016: Preview / Photo Entry List / Running Order / Live Web Broadcast
European Finals 2015: Report / Photo Entry List / Photo Gallery / Live Web Broadcast
European Finals 2014: Report / Photo Entry List / Photo Gallery / Live Web Broadcast
European Finals 2013: Report / Photo Entry List / Photo Gallery
European Finals 2012: Report / Photo Entry List / Photo Gallery / Photo Competition
European Finals 2011: Report / Photo Entry List / Photo Gallery / Photo Competition
European Finals 2010: Report / Photo Entry List / Daily Galleries Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
European Finals 2009: Report / Photo Entry List / Daily Galleries Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
European Finals 2008: Report / Photo Entry List / Daily Galleries Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
European Finals 2007: Report / Photo Entry List / Daily Galleries
European Finals 2006: Report / Entry List / Gallery
European Finals 2005: Report / Gallery
European Finals 2004: Report

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