The opening round of the 2023 ACU Championships was to be the Festival of Power event at Santa Pod Raceway. But due to the bad weather (rain) leading up to the Easter weekend, Santa Pod made a decision to change the event to the Springspeed Nationals—a smaller event. The fields around the track were very wet and muddy and not suitable for camping. The Festival of Power will now take place on the May Day Bank holiday weekend.
As for the Springspeed Nationals, there were many personal bests due to the good weather over the three day event.
Top Fuel Bike
Reigning ACU Top Fuel Bike champion Neil Midgley has a new exhaust system, which should give more horsepower. Midgley was on top of the Springspeed qualifying pile with a 6.216 at 184.32 mph.
Steve Woollatt had been in the number one spot after the first day with a 6.280-214.96. Woollatt has a new control box and the crew were looking for a baseline.
Rene Van Den Berg was next at 6.739-217.00. Al Smith had new magnetos and the team were tuning the motor and ran a best of 8.214-108.83.
First semifinal and Midgley got out the gate first, but had a traction issue at mid-track. Smith powered past and then drifted to the centreline, taking out the timing block at the finishline. Smith was disqualified after his best run of the weekend—6.709.
In the other semi, Woollatt ran a 6.080-232.59 personal best speed. Berg had a breather pipe come loose and oil sprayed out just off the start line and ran 6.848-201.57.
Midgley led from start to finish in the final, 6.313-177.85 against Woollatt, who slowed at mid-track to a 7.007-136.
Lorcan Parnell has altered the angle of The Storm’s forks over the winter to help cure the handling problem of last season, and qualified with a 6.949-198.99.
Dutchman Mike Olie has self-built a new bike, and it is now Kawasaki-powered and has electronic fuel injection—a big learning curve. Olie did some testing before this event and ran career personal best figures during qualifying of 7.044-194.70.
Dave Peters had oil leak on test day, but ran 7.364-171.09 for third spot. Roger Moore (featured photo above) has changed the fuel delivery and ran two personal bests 7.42 and 7.376 and speeds of 185 and 183.
Jordan Kenway has moved from Comp Bike to Funnybike and had a new motor built. He damaged a con rod and piston on the first test pass in the burnout box.
Maarten Zijlstra has bought the ex-Neil Midgley, championship winning bike chassis. He had a lot of problems over the weekend (electrical/fuel) and did not qualify.
In the semifinals, Parnell put a holeshot over Moore, but slowed at ¾ track to 8.750. Moore took the win with a 7.514-174.40, but cracked the cases and was out of the show.
Olie started his burnout but the motor cut out and would not start, leaving Peters a solo to the final.
Peters wanted data, but had a troubled run on a solo in the final with a 9.750.
Mark Dainty has moved from Super Street Bike to Comp Bike, with a new frame by JKE, carbon fibre body, using Methanol and a single throttle turbo. Dainty had some handling issues, but qualified number one with a 7.163-185.06.
Sean Mills’ weekend did not start well. Control box failed and Sean had to go back home on Friday for a spare box, and on Saturday ran 7.280 at a personal best speed 200.77.
Graham Dance was in third spot with a 7.324-197.26, but broke the crankshaft and was out of the show. Danny Cockerill ran 8.16 in 8.50 bike and changed to Comp Bike, and just edged Paul Hambridge 7.3352 to 7.3358. Hambridge ran his first 200mph with a 200.64.
Sigmaro Profas returned to the track after five years and ran personal best figures of 7.529-193.02. In seventh position was Reigning ACU Champion Chris Neary at 7.611-190.61. He was having handling issues at mid-track with a different rear slick.
John McLean Sr. ran a personal best 7.639 at 176.44.
Andrew Christophi has moved from 8.50 bike to Comp Bike and modified the frame of his bike, swingarm and suspension. He was finding a clutch setting, resulting in personal best figures 7.868-179.24, but split the plenum and was out of competition.
Mick Winyard had his spare motor and ran 7.937-179.98. Another rider to change classes was Garry Bowe, with a longer wheelbase. Bowe ran 8.166-182 but damaged the transmission (stripping the teeth off the gear) and was out of the show.
Newcomer Jasmine Cordelle is riding the ex-Mark Smith Pro Stocker and ran 8.288-159.62. Len Paget broke a chain in Q3 and ran 8.658-147.60. Anna “The Rider from Rents” ran personal best 8.770-162.27 on her new bike. Aswin Le Noble broke a crankshaft in the opening qualifier and ran 9.024-147.18 with the spare motor. Adam Burns is another newcomer and tried to get his licence, but had gear shift issues and then the motor played up 10.684.
There was high attrition after qualifying, leaving bye runs for McLean—who won the high altitude award with a huge wheelie at the 60 foot. There were p/bs for Dainty 7.093 and Anna S 8.658. Cockerill beat Paget and Hambridge won a close race against Cordelle 8.238 to 8.326.
Le Noble ran his best of the weekend with an 8.736 against Mills, who had the rear sprocket break at 100 feet. Another close race saw Neary fishtailing at mid-track, but still beat Winyard 7.759 to 8.032.
Dainty had another bye when McLean was a no-show and ran another p/b 7.071-198.87. Anna had a bye, and Hambridge powered around Cockerill 7.389-193.05 to 7.415-171.74. Le Noble redlit against Neary.
First semi-final and Hambridge put a holeshot (rt .133 to .213) on Dainty at mid-track. Dainty started to drift to the centreline and the turbo touched the ground and Dainty parted company with the bike. He was ok.
Anna broke off the start line against Neary in the other semi.
Hambridge led from start to finish in the final with a 7.312-197.26 to a slowing Neary’s 9.816-115.
Super Street Bike
Reigning ACU Super Street Bike champion Steve Venables became the first UK street tire rider to run 6.6 seconds at over 225mph, qualifying in number one spot with a 6.661-225.90.
Alan Morrison Jr. also ran personal best figures of 6.767-223.30 during qualifying. Daniel Lencses is running a stock frame and had to change motors during qualifying, and a best of ran 6.812-224.37. Jake Mechaell was fourth 6.835-216.85. Ross Morrison was next running his first six-second pass with personal best figures of 6.988- 212.89. Newcomer Alan Morrison bought Steve Howe’s bike and ran a p/b 7.682-185.13.
Margot Schmidt has had a lot of work done by Lencses—new turbo, methanol fuel pump and a DME swingarm. They had to change the motor after the test day, and then was looking for a baseline in qualifying and got down to a best of 9.646-114.
Venables had a bye run in round one. Ross Morrison put a holeshot (rt. 099 to .149) on Mechaell, but could not get fifth gear. Mechaell had a big mid-track wheelie at the 330 and managed to beat Morrison 7.039 to 7.176.
Morrison Jr. eased past Schmidt, who ran her best of the weekend 8.291-153.74. Lencses ran his quickest 6.718-226.76.
Mechaell could not get sixth gear against Venables in the first semifinal, losing with a 6.982 to Venables’ winning 6.908. Best race of the day saw Morrison Jr. put a huge holeshot (.066 to .408) over Lencses, and held on to a holeshot win with a 6.836-216 to Lencses’ quicker-but-losing 6.766-222.31.
Only Morrison Jr. came to the start line in the final, as Venables reported low oil pressure and was a no show. Morrison Jr eased at the 1/8 mile to 9.084.
Martin Hallett’s 8.508 just edged Craig Wright’s 8.509 for number one spot of the thirteen bike 8.50 field.
It was just as tight for third, with Joe Elliott’s 8.5127 pipping Ian Chrichlow’s 8.5129. Jay Roe rounded the top five with an 8.526. Reigning champion Dan De’ath struggled in qualifying and kept breaking out, and finally qualified in tenth spot.
Roe broke out against Ken Wright, and Chrichlow lost on a holeshot to De’ath in round one.
Hallett beat Elliott in the semis and De’ath won the event when Hallett broke out with an 8.489 in the final.
Reigning and multi-time 9.50 champion Richard Sawatzki led the small field in qualifying with a 9.507. Dave Hall was next at 9.514 followed by Rob Stanley’s 9.531, and newcomer Zoe Hallett making her racing debut with a 9.570. Carl Thomas broke out with a 9.489.
Hall had a problem in the burnout box, leaving Hallett a bye to the final. Stanley redlit against Thomas, and Sawatzki beat Thomas—who broke out again 8.452.
Sawatzki led from start to finish in the final with a 9.754 while Hallett broke out at 9.284.
Scott Collier topped the ET field with a 9.552 on a 9.550 dial-in. Gary Hester was second 8.708 (8.70) ahead of Robbie Dobbie’s 9.921 (9.91). Justin Malton ran 10.013 (10.0) and reigning champion Phil Pratt just edged 9.061 (9.04) and Jake Boden 11.771 (11.75) for fifth spot.
Dobbie, Malton, Boden and Pratt all went out in round one. Both Collier and Gary Hester redlit against their opponents John McGill and Peter Harrison in the next round.
Blade King had a sprocket fail in round three on his new Frank Bros racing chassis, but Holgate redlit. Back in the pits there were other teams who helped King repair the bike for the semis. Dad Ollie said “I thank all the people who came to help Blade.”
Michael Gooding bogged off the start line and McGill took the winlight.
In the final King had a better light against Harrison and took the winlight.
Jon Webster had handling issues at mid-track and his prop-shaft twisted at the U-joint, qualifying with a 7.511-152.08.
Reigning SPRC Champion Rob Stone finished fitting his transmission at the track and his first run was in session five. He ran personal best 8.299-159.60.
Mick Taylor ran an 8.461 at 166.04—top speed of the meet, but later in qualifying broke after his burnout. The team found bits of metal from the engine and he was out of the show.
Ben Kennedy has had a lot of work done over the winter. Jedd Guy has worked on the rear end and four link, and Kennedy has also fitted a TH400 transmission. He suffered boost problem (control valve) over the weekend and ran 10.722-131.77.
Doug McClure has a new front end and flexi-plate, and ran a personal best of 10.317-129.89.
Wayne Power had Webster alter his four link set up for 2023. A new radiator and ECU have been fitted and Power was looking for a baseline and ran 10.383-127.26.
Webster was a no-show (rear tyres), leaving Power two byes to the final. Kennedy also had a bye (Taylor no-show) and dipped into the nines 9.875. Stone beat McClure, who ran a personal best speed of 131.01.
Stone led from start to finish 8.419 to trailer Kennedy’s best of the weekend 9.807-133.37.
Stone got off the start line first (.135 to .217) in the final, but slowed at mid-track with nitrous problem and watched Power win his first Outlaw Anglia event with a 10.620.
story and photos by Steven Moxley