FIA/UEM European Finals 2004 Report
FIA European Drag Racing Championships Inc UEM Drag Bike
The European Finals 2004 Event Report
FIA Top Fuel.
In winning the 2004 European Top Fuel Championship, Andy Carter became the first person to win the prestigious title twice, having won before in 2001. It was a huge game of strategy for Carter who lay in third points place entering the event. "We are trying to work out all permutations to up my position in the points and spoil Micke Kågered's lead", said Carter after the first qualifier. A 4.98 at 295 mph took him to pole position figures that remained the events best of the eight-car field then the hard work began as he hauled himself up to claim the Championship. Outgoing Champion Smax Smith was Carter's first victim by way of the worst red light of a double red, the 5.14/226 being a lucky win for Carter as the lesser red as Smith's disqualified time slip read 4.99/227. Jöran Persåker's 5.21/274 fell to the better 5.00/288 from Holland's Lex Joon and in a close call of a finish line five ten thousandths of a second Jon Webster lost to Norway's Thomas Nataas, 5.007/289 to losing 5.057/271. Tommy Möller banged the engine at three quarter track slowing to a 6.70/135 as fellow Swede Micke Kågered blew a tyre in the lights on a winning 5.07/264 to the round.
A pedaling 5.33/211 gave Carter his semi final win, as Holland's Lex Joon overpowered the track. Points leader Micke Kågered saw his Championship hopes go away when he lost parts up track and was soundly beaten by Nataas, 5.00/292 win to the slowed 7.01/119.
"To win the Championship I have to take the win in the final to beat Micke" stated a cool Andy Carter and battling strong head winds the 5.23/296 from the Go Talk backed machine did just that, netting him his second FIA Top Fuel title as surprise finalist Thomas Nataas followed through with a 5.53/264.
FIA Top Methanol Dragster.
With the 2004 Championship already safely in the bag Dave Wilson's approach to this event was to try something different. "We can relax and do some new things to the car" he said as the qualifying got under way. It was a weekend that added icing to his cake as he not only took top qualifier with a 5.47/254 but went on to dominate the class once more, a first round bye of 5.436 turned out to be a European best, whilst German, Peter Schöfer managed a holeshot win of 5.57/253 to Rob Turner's 5.53/244 lose.
The final saw the old adversaries Wilson and Schöfer face off but a red light in Schöfers lane gave to win to Dave Wilson's American Car Imports machine a 5.45/255 win to a 5.59/245.
FIA Top Methanol Funny Car.
The Championship went right the way down to the wire in the final with Swiss entry and top qualifier Urs Erbacher notching up another Championship title despite losing the event win. Erbacher started with a 5.71/248 defeat of a shaking and bouncing Leif Andréasson, 7.40/120. Sweden's Ulf Leanders came in a mere seventeen points behind Erbacher and continued the pursuit with a 5.76//238 defeat of Norwegian Arvid Grødem who suffered tyre shake. An all Swedish match had Niclas Andersson use a holeshot 5.97/238 in downing Denmark's Dan Larsen's 5.90/240.
Round two saw Erbacher run a lucky bye as he chattered the tyres and slalomed to a 7.77/133 win. A better leave by Leanders had him hang on to a 5.80/243 win to oust Andersson's 5.86/242.
The final was a nail biter as Switzerland faced Sweden and despite a holeshot Urs Erbacher's 5.82/247 was chased down by Ulf Leanders Ironcad backed Ford Mondeo who won the event with a 5.75/246.
FIA Pro Stock.
Another class that had the title sewn up before this event, Sweden's Jimmy Ålund came in as Champion then went on to add the event win to the honours, his 7.02/196 was top qualifier and he never looked back. A 7.01/196 bye saw him into the semi final. Tommy Leindahl's 7.16/189 lost to the 7.12/194 from Magnus Hansson, then last years Champion Michael Malmgren was surprisingly beaten by Ulf Jonsson, a holeshot 7.10/193 beat the better 7.05/196. The only non Swede, Denmark's Jackie Hansen left way too late and wasted a fine 7.09/195 letting Kenneth Söderström's 7.11/192 take the win.
All hell broke loose in round two as Söderström shook hard then turned violently left head on into the wall at half track, a flash fire ensued before he was flung across track to end up in the opposite guard wall as Jonsson drove through it to win with an 8.15/137. After the clear up Ålund cut a good light and won his bout with Hansson, 7.01/196 to 7.33/157 to end the round.
The only six of the weekend came as Champion Jimmy Ålund ran the winning numbers with a fine leave 6.97/196 to down the 7.12/191 from Ulf Jonsson.
The Funny Car win and British Championship went to Gordon Smith in his 'Shockwave' Firebird, a personal best of 5.49 at just 243 mph gave him the win over usual winner and past Champion John Spuffard.
Pro Modified's massive entry was whittled down to a run off between newly crowned NDRS Swedish Champion Patrick Wikström and points leader Håken Nilsson. Nilsson held on to the points to take the NDRS Bilsport Pro Mod Series Championship but lost the event win with a tyre shaking 7.19/205 as Wikström won with a stunning 6.33/221.
The massive entry in the UEM Top Fuel Bike class gave a season dominating Roel Koedam from Holland the Championship but his luck went in the semis as he lost to number two in the points chase Italian Antonio Ferretti. The final though had Ferretti dealt out by England's Steve Woollatt as the Italian's 7.12/198 was no match for the bracket racer like time of 6.65/200 from Woollatt's bike.
In the UEM Super Twin Top Fuel Bike number two in the points, Sweden's Anders 'Charlie' Karling suffered a fractured ankle after a scrape with the top end guard wall that put him out of contention. Point leader, Holland's Ton Pels capitalized on the fact by going to the final and winning the Championship plus the event win. A great 6.63/203 got the trophy for Pels as Norwegian rider Ronny Aasen had to contend with runner up and a slowed up 9.78/89 lose.
UEM Pro Stock Bike was a Championship that was already wrapped up with multi time winner Roger Pettersson from Sweden taking the title after dominating the series. From top qualifier to event win was how the Champion played it, going through the eight bike eliminator like a dose of salts and meeting Britain's Chris Hope in the money run. It was all over with a holeshot and a 7.45/177 as Pettersson won leaving Hope with no such luck on a slowed up 9.39/88.
Roger Gorringe © September 2004.
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