|FIA/UEM European Finals 2009
Thursday 10th to Sunday 13th September
FIA European Drag Racing Championships Inc UEM Drag Bike
FIA/UEM Finals ‘Best To Date’ As Record Book Takes A Beating
Santa Pod Raceway, the home of European Drag Racing, certainly lived up to its title last weekend as it provided the stage for a simply stunning display of high-horsepower heroics, culminating in the breaking of no less than 7 European records and 58 driver’s personal bests!
Aided and abetted by the weather, a capacity crowd of 30,000 plus thronged to the venue, unaware that what was about to follow would re-write the standard in terms of driver skill and car preparation.
Despite a couple of thankfully rare spills during the relentless action, the majority of teams were simply ‘on it’ from the very first run on the Thursday. Being a truly international event, all nations scored strongly, but it was great to see the Brits doing well with Andy Carter taking Top Fuel Dragster Championship honours and Ian King achieving the same on 2 wheels in Top Fuel Bikes.
Nails were well and truly bitten as Mat Eriksson stormed through to record Europe’s first 5 second run in his Pro Modified car, whilst Europhiles will be delighted to note that Peter Svensson on his Top Fuel Bike clicked off the first 5 second run in the UK, setting a new European record.
Throughout the spectrum of quarter mile endeavour, drivers were either re-writing history for the sport - or themselves - as times continued to fall on what many of the sport’s finest exponents described as ‘a perfect track with perfect conditions.’
Keith Bartlett (Santa Pod CEO and FIA Championship Promoter) hailed the weekend as one of the best events Santa Pod has ever held - “With over 58 personal bests and 7 new records set in just one weekend, a feat never previously achieved, this is probably Drag Racing’s most successful FIA Championship event in history,” he noted.
As a fitting season finale, the 2009 event will certainly go down as a memorable final, but with the teams getting quicker all the time, don’t bank on things being any less impressive for the 2010 season. Thankfully, horsepower junkies only have to wait until the weekend of the 26th and 27th of September for the National Finals to get their next fix of Santa Pod’s unique brand of rapid quarter mile entertainment.
View photos from the weekend on the Daily Galleries pages.
FIA Top Fuel Dragster: Winner Jon Webster, runner-up Jöran Persåker
FIA Top Methanol Dragster: Winner Peter Schöfer, runner-up Krister Johansson
FIA Top Methanol Funny Car: Winner Ulf Leanders, runner-up Dan Larsen
FIA Pro Modified: Winner Mats Eriksson, runner-up Micke Gullqvist
FIA Pro Stock: Winner Richard Sundblom, runner-up Jimmy Ålund
Fuel Funny Car: Winner John Spuffard, runner-up Thomas Nataas
FIM/UEM Top Fuel Bike: Winner Peter Svensson, runner-up Sverre Dahl
FIM/UEM Supertwin: Winner Job Heezen, runner-up Per Bengtsson
FIM/UEM Pro Stock Bike: Winner Anders Abrahamsson, runner-up Ulf Ögge
Super Pro ET: Winner Bob Doyle, runner-up Nick Good
Pro ET: Winner Mark Bailey, runner-up Matt Attwood
Super Comp: Winner Norbert Schneider, runner-up Paul Marston
Super Gas: Winner Jon Morton, runner-up Al O'Connor
Super Street: Winner John Grant, runner-up Mark Watkins
Junior Dragster: Winner Rosie Hunt, runner-up Becky Evans
Comp Eliminator: Winner Adele Woodbridge, runner-up Russ Fellows
B&H Automotive/LA Racing Parts Street Eliminator: Winner John Sleath, runner-up Ian Hook
Nostalgia Fuel Altered Association: Winner Jim Usher, runner-up Bob Glassup
View the final FIA/UEM championship tables on the 2009 Standings page.
Winners Trophy Presentations
2009 European Champions
FIA Top Fuel Dragster: Andy Carter
FIA Top Methanol Dragster: Timo Habermann
FIA Top Methanol Funny Car: Ulf Leanders
FIA Pro Modified: Mats Eriksson
FIA Pro Stock: Jimmy Ålund
FIM/UEM Top Fuel Bike: Ian King
FIM/UEM Supertwin: Per Bengtsson
FIM/UEM Pro Stock Bike: Ulf Ögge
Subject to official ratification the following European records were set at The 2009 European Finals:
Top Methanol Funny Car ET: 5.687 seconds, Ulf Leanders
Pro Modified ET: 5.988 seconds, Mats Eriksson
Pro Modified speed: 241.59 mph, Mats Eriksson
Pro Stock ET: 6.649 seconds, Jimmy Ålund
Pro Stock speed: 207.07 mph, Jimmy Ålund
Top Fuel Bike ET: 5.978 seconds, Peter Svensson
Top Fuel Bike speed: 232.34 mph, Peter Svensson
Pro Stock Bike ET: 7.078 seconds, Dave Beck
2009 European Finals Race Report
It had all the ingredients for a stunning event and it did not fail to deliver as records fell in almost every class and personal bests were written and rewritten. The spectators packed every vantage point and the racers enjoyed three glorious days of warm sunshine with the finals on Sunday being run under an overcast but dry sky. After a successful four country tour over the summer for the FIA and a five country showing for the UEM bike classes it opened up the stage for an even bigger and better 2010. Every class was running the complete quarter-mile at Santa Pod and despite three somewhat bizarre accidents, one in Top Fuel, a two car collision in Pro Mod and the destruction of a nostalgia AA/FA it was all deemed probably the best overall event in years.
Top Fuel had already got its FIA European Champion as England’s Andy Carter entered the event with the title wrapped up for a fourth time and the second in succession. He hoped to keep his event wins intact as well but went out in round two to event runner up Jöran Persåker as both went up in smoke and Persåker pedalling it past Carter with a non pretty 7.854/149 win to an 8.659/94. Carter had earlier dealt out Norway’s tyre smoking Linda Thun Tønseth. Persåker who was driving a car hired from Denmark’s Stig Neergaard had a solo in round one as Finland’s Anita Mäkelä failed to make a pass, then the throttle stabbing win over Carter had him in the final – not bad for his first outing this year. Stig Neergaard provided a round one spectacle when his left wheel snapped off sending him into a wild series of spins behind Sweden’s Micke Kågered who went through with a winning 4.926/256. A surprise second only outing in FIA competition this year had England’s Jon Webster come from number three qualifier all the way to the event win with a cylinder loosing 5.450/221 win over an in smoke 8.620/103 from Finn Risto Poutiainen, then a 4.902/294 win over a shaking Micke Kågered in round two. The final came to a run-off between two unexpected competitors, Jon Webster and Jöran Persåker, Webster left first but started to slow from just after half track as Persåker realised and did a repeat stabbing of the throttle but his 7.592/152 just failed to make it past the 6.981/117 from Jon Webster.
Top Methanol Dragster had Germany’s Timo Habermann deservedly take the FIA TMD Championship on entering the race and from number one qualifier (5.331/262) going on to defeat England’s Rob Turner in round one before succumbing to event winner, outgoing Champion and fellow German Peter Schöfer in two, Habermann’s somnolent leave and 5.380/260 was not enough as Schöfer took the win with a 5.420/264. Peter Schöfer meanwhile had made his way past Norway’s Fred Hanssen who blew a slick in the lights in round one. Coming up the other side of the ladder was Sweden’s veteran A/Fuel driver Krister Johansson who ran a 5.357/262 winner as Norway’s Paul Ingar Udtian’s 5.558/255 failed to stay ahead. An A/Fuel duel pitted England’s Dave Wilson against Johansson who chased hard and overcame the Wilson holeshot, 5.397/242 to a losing 5.503/267. The blown ‘Bavarian Thunder’ car of Peter Schöfer had a slight lead in the final and hung on to record the event win with a 5.360/264 as Krister Johansson managed a 5.366/266 runner up.
Top Methanol Funny Car had a smaller than usual field of just six machines but was led by the current champion, Sweden’s Ulf Leanders who not only qualified number one with a European record ET of 5.687 at 245mph but took the event win as well as the FIA TMFC Championship for the second time in succession. Belgium’s Danny Bellio was Leanders first victim courtesy of a red light to the winning 5.986/248, a round two 5.731/246 bye put Leanders into the final. Denmark’s Dan Larsen made his way through against Finland’s Jarmo Kuutniemi 5.843/242 to a chasing but losing 5.894/245, then, a 6.017/239 beat a late leaving and slowing Stephanie Milam in two. Ulf Leanders took his Firebird to a winning 6.039/196 despite popping the burst panel near the finish as Dan Larsen’s Stratus chased hard to notch up an identical but losing 6.039 at 239mph.
Pro Stock was unsurprisingly led by the multi championship winning and once again FIA Pro Stock Champion Jimmy Ålund who had it all tied up after the last event held in Hockenheim, Germany, a new European record ET of 6.649 with a 207mph put him atop the pile. Ålund began his eliminations with an easy 6.668/206 solo as fellow Swede Jonas Dantanus was shut off with a leak. A close to the centreline 6.670 with a new European speed record of 207.07mph had him seemingly leave Jan Palmqvist in the dust. Meeting Ålund in the final was the only non Swede in the field, Finland’s Richard Sundblom who had dispatched Tommy Leindahl with a 6.737/203 to a 6.982/199 lose in round one then a 6.696/206 win over Micke Callin’s non tardy 6.770/203. All the money was on the unbeatable Jimmy Ålund in the final but the Klintberg & Way backed Pontiac GTO inexplicably lost power around one hundred feet out allowing Richard Sundblom’s Cavalier the event win with a 6.733/205.
Pro Modified was just magical despite an early loss of Germany’s Ingo Rolla who lost control at the finish line and rear ended Holland’s David Vegter both emerged unhurt. Just four weeks earlier we had witnessed Europe’s first 6.0 as Sweden’s Mats Eriksson recorded a 6.09 at the Hockenheim, Germany event and had the T shirts printed, now he ran an off the trailer 5.988/241.59 top qualifier setting both ends of the European record. Point leader, England’s Andy Robinson went out in round due to a blower belt coming off the snout allowing Brit, Roger Moore through. Other shocks followed as Sweden’s Micke Lindahl lost to England’s Graham Ellis and Norbert Kuno lost to Kev Slyfield all in round one. In round two Graham Ellis ran a great 6.238/229 but saw Mats Eriksson’s 6.044/238 in front, Roger Johansson took the troubled win against a loose Kev Slyfield, 6.897/164 to a losing 7.251/171. Roger Moore took another shot at mowing the Christmas Tree down on his burnout then seemed to misfire and hop on his lose to Sweden’s Micke Gullqvist 6.202/223 to the lowly 19.979/38. The final pair in this round was an all Corvette race as Switzerland’s Bruno Bader ran the winning 6.118/228 as Swede Urban Johansson shook to an 8.683/105 lose.
The Pro Mod Championship was still open as both contenders won in their bouts, Mats Eriksson managed a 6.016/239 win as the nitrous Mustang of Roger Johansson put down a superb but losing 6.144/227, whilst Micke Gullqvist managed to hold off Bruno Bader with a better leave and winning combination of 6.191/229 as Bader slowed after a burst panel pop around the two hundred foot mark. The final was the decider for the championship and it was an all Swedish affair with Mats Eriksson in his Crown Victoria against the Bel Air of Micke Gullqvist, Mats left first and held on to take the championship and event win with a 6.028/238 as Micke followed with a runner up 6.141/231.
Funny Car had Norway’s Thomas Nataas lead the small field with a 5.136/268 but it was England’s John Spuffard who took the event win. Not yet an FIA class but knocking on the four-second-three-hundred mph door Spuffard took a win over Gordon Smith before a 5.109/295 got him the title as Nataas kissed the wall on a wild 5.756/171 charge in the final.
Super Twin Bike saw Switzerland’s fearless and wild riding Lorenz Stäuble lead the pack with a 6.555/216 almost a tenth and a half ahead of everyone. But a shock no fire in round one left him on the startline watching Finn Samu Kemppainen solo to an easy 9.077/113 win. Holland’s nice guy Job Heezen found himself up against teammate Roel Koedam in round one and promptly ran a great 6.681/212 defeating Koedam’s 6.798/205 no more ‘Mr Nice Guy’ there then! Sweden’s Per Bengtsson riding the stunning looking and probably the worlds loudest bike saw off current champion Svein Olav Rolfstad from Norway with a 6.649/204 to the parts pitching 14.230/55 lose. Bengtsson met Norway’s Trond Hoiberget who had seen off Hans Olav Olstad in round one but the 7.588/171 was not man enough for Bengtsson’s 6.565/208. Job Heezen caught and passed the leave from Samu Kemppainen, 6.745/208 to the 7.288/185 in his second round contest. The final was Holland against Sweden; Job Heezen stole a march on Per Bengtsson and held on for the event win, 6.696/207 as the new Champion Per Bengtsson runner-upped with a 6.936/155.
Top Fuel Bike had history in the making as Sweden’s Peter Svensson fish-tailed his huge bike to a stunning 5.917/236 that was pole position for the eight bike eliminator it was also the basis of new European records. Again there were big shocks as Rikard Gustafsson didn’t appear to have the revs up and he chased Steve Woollatt whose 6.452/214 beat the 6.581/210 in round one. England’s Ian King took another UEM Championship but he oiled the lane on a 7.617/147 win against Finland’s Kai Selkamaa’s crossed up and losing 9.042/182. Both Peter Svensson and Norway’s Sverre Dahl gained second round places winning against a broken Gary Jones and Ian Curruthers respectively. Ian King no showed due to damage in round two giving the win to Sverre Dahl’s easy 11.925/68 and Steve Woollatt slowed to a losing 8.071/113 as Peter Svensson zoomed ahead to take the light with a 6.071/215. In the final Sverre Dahl left first but his very respectable 6.312/230 was just left floundering as Peter Svensson flew past with the bikes distinctive rear end sway getting the win with a 6.089/224 that left the UEM with new records – 5.978 and 232.34mph.
Pro Stock Bike was led by Sweden’s Ulf Ögge with a neat 7.139/182 in front of the eight bike eliminator. It was Ögge’s weekend as he charged through the pack dominating most of the way through until the final but taking the UEM Pro Stock Bike Championship. A round one 7.235/182 well and truly beat the 8.025/141 from England’s Ray Debben then the second round had Ögge face the current Champion Fredrik Fredlund from Finland, it was all too much for Fredlund who left early, his red light time of 7.223/183 all for nothing as Ulf Ögge clinched the 7.165/185 win. On the opposing side of the ladder, England’s Dave Beck who usually misses the UEM tour in favour of running in the US was disposing of the likes of a red lighting Gert-Jan Laseur from Holland, 7.123/185 to the useless 7.449/179 however, it all ended in tears as Beck got too eager in round two unpredictably pulling a cherry and wasting his European record ET of 7.078 at 186mph to the winning 7.119/186 from Sweden’s Anders Abrahamsson who had earlier beaten Martin Bishop. The final was a match between two Swedes with Ulf Ögge on a Buell and Anders Abrahamsson on a Suzuki and the latter had the better leave coupling that with a 7.172/184 Abrahamsson took the win with the 7.195/185 from Ulf Ögge coming second.
© Roger Gorringe. Sep 2009. www.eurodragster.com & www.nitroexposure.co.uk.
For further coverage of the European Finals visit www.eurodragster.com.
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