Chilly SummerNationals at Santa Pod

story and photos by Steven Moxley

Those Big Hoosiers like to rollover, and this one’s sending Gary Jones for a ride

SummerNationals at Santa Pod is the halfway point of the ACU Championships (and if the garb worn by the spectators in these photos is any indication, there was very little Summer in these Nationals—Tim). The racers faced a strong headwind during Saturday’s qualifying sessions and then had a crosswind for eliminations on Sunday, when rain brought the meeting to a close after the first round. A few riders set their personal bests during the weekend and there was a championship speed record set at the meeting.


There was an international flavour to Funnybike, with riders from Holland and France competing. Ten riders came to qualify and Gary Jones, who was making his first appearance of 2013 and was looking for a set-up, by the end of the day led the field with 7.548 at 170.48 mph.

Sporting a yellow Spiderman helmet, Eric Richard hikes the wheel high off the line

In number two spot was Frenchman Eric Richard on his self-built chassis. This was his first race in the ACU Championship following a win in France, and Richard qualified 7.686 at 175.73 (top speed of the meet).

Next up was Stuart Crane, who had gearbox trouble on Friday’s test day, but ran a best of 8.086 at 161.90 on Saturday.

Richard Stubbins on Al Young’s beautiful candy apple red ‘Busa

Richard Stubbins was another rider having his first meeting of the year, and was on Al Young’s Pro Mod bike. Stubbins ran back to back 8.2’s with best figures of 8.285 at 157.45.

Reigning champion Maarten Zijlstra struggled with the strong headwind and ran a best of 8.307 at 154.72. Stefan Schmidt hit the nitrous for the first time and used a safe approach, but had carb problems, which later put him out of the show (8.750 at 149.06). Thomas Joswig from Holland had a mapping problem. The team checked the sensors and ECU and only did one pass on Saturday and ran 8.976-144. Dale Leeks had mechanical issues and got in the show late on Saturday with a troubled 13.032. Holland’s Viep Bloemen fitted an MTC slider clutch with a mod of his own and struggled to find a clutch set up and ran 17.190 (walking?—Tim).

Last year’s number two plate Dave Peters had a weekend to forget. He destroyed his clutch on test day and did another when the clutch pulled him through the lights in qualifying. In the last qualifier, the power of the motor was low and the team found a broken cam chain tensioner and a blown head gasket.

Jones nearly came off in the opening round of the eliminations, when the bike fishtailed violently off the start line one way then the other up to the 50ft mark on his bye run (Leeks was a no show). Crane also had a bye when Bloemen couldn’t get his bike to fire up (ah, Funnybike…—Tim). Stubbins redlit against Zijlstra, and Joswig drifted towards the wall in his race against Richard, who took the winlight with a 7.750 at 175.12.

Then came the rain.

Pro Stock Bike

Reigning champion Len Paget led the small field with 7.783 at 163.11. Just behind came Mark Smith, who had his big 1755cc Vance&Hines motor with new crank, pistons, block and cylinder head fitted, and ran 7.798 at 166.07. Ray Debben had launch problems and didn’t qualify. The class didn’t run on Sunday due to the rain.

Comp Bike

Is Jemma Venables the world’s quickest streetbike chick?

Jemma Venables did some rear suspension testing a few weeks before this event and ran personal best figures of 7.535 at 193mph, making her the fastest lady in Europe and maybe the quickest female on a street based bike rider in the world, at least according to proud father Steve. Jemma ran 7.726 at 188.92 out of the trailer at Santa Pod and then got quicker as the day went on—7.692 and then 7.639 at 188.21 to set a new ACU speed record against a strong headwind.

Championship points leader Lizz McCarthy didn’t start very well in the opening qualifier, when she crossed the centreline against Venables. After that she got a handle on the set up and ran 7.827 and 7.728 at 160 81.

Phil Crossley arrived at the track with a new paint job on his bike and qualified with a 7.993 at 157.41, but had a valve issue and worked late Saturday to be ready for eliminations.

Harold Wolfenden fitted a new MTC slider clutch and clutch hat and tested on Friday, running 8.2s with a soft set up. The first 1/8 times were his best ever during qualifying and he ran 7.995 at 177.05.

Alan Davies

Alan Davies has fitted a five-speed autobox on his bike and ran back-to-back personal bests in qualifying—8.095 and 8.057 at 161.91. Newcomer Kevin Osman has moved from 8.50 bike and has a p/b of 8.2. He had a few little issues during qualifying and ran 8.353 at 177.16. Springspeed Nationals winner Tony Clark was next with a 8.193 at 158.51. Reigning champion Phil Leamon was on the bump spot with 8.386 at 154.69.

Leamon put a small holeshot (.010 to .013) on Venables, who charged after Leamon. But at the 1/8 mile mark Venables did a big wheelie. She took her feet off the pegs, the bike came down and she got back on the throttle and pipped Leamon at the lights with 7.903 at 179.24 to 8.410 at 153.16 (obviously Jemma inherited her old man’s balls—Tim).

Osman got out of the gate first and McCarthy powered around to take the win 7.748 at 161.90 to 9.574 at 101.74. There was a shock in the next race when Davies put a big holeshot (.087 to .233) over Wolfenden and held on to take a victory—8.060 at 163.05 to a quicker but losing 7.949 at 177.71.

There was a great race between Crossley and Clark. Crossley got a good reaction time (.118) over Clark’s late (.522—enough time to apply the defibrillator and bring him back to life—Tim). Crossley was ahead but then drifted close to the centreline and had to ease off the throttle to straighten up. Clark saw this and powered past to take the win 8.128 at 157.94 to Crossley’s 8.743 at 138.26.

Super Street Bike

Graham Balchin has got a good handle on his clutch set-up and qualified in number the one Super Street Bike spot with 7.387 at 192.95. Teammate and reigning champion Steve Venables was next with 7.495 at 188.15. Graham Dance ran 7.605 at 185.07 at the expense of a broken inlet cam and was out of competition. Danny Cockerill ran a personal best speed 195.03 (top speed of the meet) with a time of 7.605. Garry Bowe was next with a 7.662 at 179.25.

Sebastian Domingo has a knack for selling bikes worldwide. This one’s in Danny Cockerill’s hands

After breaking three engines at the Main Event meeting, Thomas Grancia was back having built one engine out of three. After a fluid leak stopped his first pass, he later ran a best of 7.700 at 186.67.

Can’t tell which I like better—Nigel Barker’s silver and gold ‘Busa or that Japfest 2 poster

Chris Reed was next with a 7.748 at 192.13. Nigel Barker had oil pressure problems in qualifying and ran 7.857 at 179.94. Pete Field had fourth to fifth gear shift problems in qualifying and ran 7.862 at 184.37. Dave Smith is still having clutch issues and ran a best of 7.972 at 153.16. Making his first appearance of the season, Pete Bellenie has done some chassis mods over the winter and qualified with an 8.031 at 174.37. Martin Wilson ran his first seven second pass in testing a few weeks earlier (7.994), but at the SummerNationals he had first to second gear shift problem and ran a best of 8.056 at 179.97. Mark Wells had a clutch issue, but by the last qualifier he had found a set-up and ran 8.096 at 177.79. Peter Grancia was next with an 8.207, just ahead of fellow German and 2012 Super Street bike champion Michael Merse, another rider who had clutch issues and ran a best of 8.249 with a personal best speed of 178.51. Steve Wood was on the bump spot with an 8.383. Outside the show was Michael Kaupat, who struggled in qualifying with launches off the start line and ran a best of 9.405.

Hippie chicks love Pete Bellenie’s paint job

Balchin was ahead of Wood in their E1 match-up, but then started to drift towards the centreline near the finish and just kept his bike in the lane to take the win 7.431 over Wood’s troubled 9.649. Wells put a holeshot on Cockerill, who powered around to take the win. Barker was leading Field at mid-track but then his battery lost power and Field took the win. Smith had a problem at the start against Reed, who progressed into the rained-out round two. Bellenie had a problem down track as Thomas Grancia powered for the win with a 7.682. Peter Grancia pulled a redlight against alternate Kaupat. Venables came from behind to beat Merse 7.549 to 8.264. Bowe slowed at the finish, but just held on to beat Wilson 7.747 at 154 to 8.049 at 184.26.

NAST Rounds 2 and 3


Terry Green hikes his Sportser’s wheel pretty good as well

Terry Green missed the opening round of the NAST Series, but started his season by winning Comp at both rounds 2 and 3, which were held at Shakespeare County Raceway. Round 2 also marked the celebration of 20 years of NAST.

Nigel Batsford took a tumble after a big wheelie and was injured, but is recovering. Reigning Gas champion Joe Elliott broke his motor in qualifying. Green qualified with a personal best of 9.350 and went on to beat Chris Mott in the Round 2 final.

Round 3 saw an upset in eliminations with former Gas champion Dave Smart knocked out by Robbie Dobbie on a holeshot with a p/b of 10.229 to a losing 10.033. Green had too much for Dobbie in the final, with a 9.470 to Dobbie’s 10.348.

ET Bracket

Reigning champion Peter Harrison topped the field in round 2, getting his revenge on losing the final of the Springspeed Nationals by knocking out Carey Wadey in the quarterfinals. He beat newcomer Brett Cordelle in this final when Cordelle redlit.

Round 3 saw Harrison once again top the field, and had Wadey a close second. Harrison beat Tim Boutle, who broke out of his dial-in, and Harrison had a bye to the final in the semi. There he met Wadey, who eliminated Simon Clamp in the best race of the day by 0.009 at the finishline in E1 and then beat Cordelle in the semi. Harrison put a holeshot on Wadey (.074 to .211) and was never headed, winning his second event of 2013.

Round 4

Giselle Moor’s is not exactly what a 15.85 second bike generally looks like, but then again where is the engine?

The SummerNationals saw only ET Bracket run at the event, which proved to be a nail biting finish in qualifying. Peter Harrison led the field going into the last qualifier. Chris Mott and Giselle Moor were the last two riders in the session, and Mott got to the finish first and got the number one spot, which lasted five seconds, as Moor ran 15.909 on a 15.85 dial-in to take the number one qualifier!

Mott ran 10.286 (10.19) on Nigel Batsford’s orange Buell. Harrison was next 11.387 (11.25), just ahead of Brett Cordelle’s 12.116 (11.95). In fifth spot was Simon Clamp’s 11.123 (10.90) and on the bump was Tim Boutle 13.019 (12.50).

Cordelle knocked out number 1 qualifier Moor and had a bye to the final. Mott broke out against Clamp and series points leader Harrison redlit against Boutle when rain stopped play.