Extreme Performance Bike Weekend at Santa Pod

story and photos by Steven Moxley

Lorcan Parnell loses a belt in the burnout

The ACU Championships Round 6 Extreme Performance Bike Weekend at Santa Pod Raceway has in the past produced some stunning performances and records. There was a new speed record set over the weekend and many riders recorded personal bests.

There were no Pro Stock Bikes present due to riders having breakages from the National Finals meeting, so Mark Smith—who won the National Finals event—is the 2013 ACU champion for Pro Stock Bike.


Lorcan Parnell made his debut on The Storm Funnybike, which has been designed and constructed for the last few years by Barry Eastman and Mick Hand. A couple of weeks before this event, Parnell ran his personal best to date of 7.4 and 7.3. So the team entered the event and on the first session of qualifying, a belt came off. The second session, Parnell powered down the track with oil coming out the catch can (breather) and ran 7.205 at 182.07 mph—low ET and top speed of the meet, then decided not to run again due to a piston ring problem.

Nick Daniels

2013 champion Stuart Crane was the nearest challenger to Parnell with a 7.527 at 175.06. Dale Leeks qualified with a personal best of 7.590-168.56. Nick Daniels had a nitrous set up problem but ran 7.861-174.40. Stefan Schmidt had a clutch issue and ran 8.050-163.05. Dave Peters launched hard and at ¾ track broke a shaft in the transmission, which put him out of competition. Viep Bloemen suffered an electrical problem (fuse blew) and repaired it to qualify in seventh with 10.666-116.40. 2012 ACU Champion Maarten Zijlstra had clutch, gear-shift and electrical problems and qualified on the bump spot with 12.413.

Zijlstra broke the beam to go into the semis when Parnell was a no show. Schmidt put a holeshot on Daniels, who once again had nitrous problem at the 30ft mark. Then the power kicked in and Daniels charged after Schmidt, who slowed at ¾ track due to a dropped cylinder. Daniels caught and passed Schmidt to take the win 8.686 to 10.554.

Crane stunned the crowd with a 7.245 p/b to Bloemen’s best of the season, 9.732-153.63. Leeks had a bye to the semifinal when Peters no-showed.

Dale Leeks

Zijlstra ran his best of the weekend to knock out Daniels, 8.005 to 8.668. The other semi it was an all Team Warpspeed. Both riders put on a show with Crane running another p/b of 7.225-175.05 to beat Leeks’ p/b of 7.570-170.44.

Maarten Zijlstra

What a great way to end the season, with the outgoing champion against the new champion in the final. Crane had a handling problem off the start line, and the bike headed to the centreline and he had to ease off the get the bike straight. Zijlstra got to the finishline first with a 8.565 to Crane’s losing 15.379. Crane won the SPRC Funnybike Championship

Comp Bike

Jemma Venables and crew, including dad Steve (second from left)

This time last year I mentioned that the two ladies—Lizz McCarthy and Jemma Venables—who had made their debut in Comp Bike at the end of 2012 would be contenders for this year’s championships. Coming through the gates of Santa Pod, McCarthy held a small lead over Allan Davies and Venables, and Davies title hopes ended in the opening qualifying session when a piston broke.

2012 champion Phil Leamon also broke during the second session when the alternator belt came off at ¾ track. The engine seized and the crankshaft broke. This was the first time his engine had failed in 12 years. During that period the bike has made 365 passes without a problem.

So all eyes turned to the two ladies. McCarthy just edged Venables in the opening session with a 7.635 to Jemma’s 7.644 at 191.25. In the second session McCarthy, ran a jaw dropping 7.433-175.08 personal best, which was good enough for number one qualifier.

As for Venables, she set another new ACU speed record in the third session of 192.89 and ran an ET of 7.539, but had damaged her engine. The team changed the engine for eliminations.

Tony Clark was one of three riders to record a personal best in the final session when he ran 7.666-173.74 on his Outlaw bike. Phil Crossley also ran a p/b of 7.687 at 166.68. Kevin Parnell Parnell ran back-to-back p/b’s of 8.117 and 7.930 at a p/b speed of 180.66. Davies was next with a 7.939-140.83 and then Leamon’s 8.232-157.38. Harold Wolfenden had a misfire and fuel supply issue, after having changed the injectors and spark plugs for this event and qualified with 8.250-172.41. Dave Batcheler was first alternate, having to find a clutch set–up, and ran a best of 9.040-152.08.

Lizz McCarthy and crew

McCarthy faced Wolfenden in the opening round and led from start to finish to win the race and become the second female bike rider (first was Helen Curran in 2001 when she was the ACU Comp bike champion) to win an ACU Championship with a 7.464 to Wolfenden’s best of the weekend 7.974. Crossley beat Parnell Parnell 7.729 to 8.627, and Venables beat first alternate Batcheler, who came in for Leamon. Clark had a bye into the semis.

Phil Crossley

In their semifinal pairing, Crossley put a holeshot on McCarthy, who charged after him only for the engine to let go at the 1000ft mark. That put Crossley in this first final of an ACU event.

Best race of the day saw Clark pit a huge .097 to .329 holeshot on Venables, who just beat Clark to the finishline 7.568-190 to 7.823-169.

The final was a close race, with Crossley getting a slight lead off the start line and Venables once again coming from behind to take her second win of the season 7.607 to 7.716, and won the 2013 SPRC Comp Bike Championship (club championship).

Super Street Bike

Graham Balchin and crew

The Super Street Bike title race was between the Ven Racing teammates of Graham Balchin and Steve Venables. It was those two who led the field in qualifying, and at the end of the sessions it was Venables’ 7.270 at 198.05 mph that just pipped Balchin’s 7.272 at 199.73 for the number one spot.

After sorting out a clutch issue, Danny Cockerill ran a personal best of 7.339-196.39 for third. Garry Bowe headed a close group with 7.445-190.62, followed by Richard Hann with a p/b of 7.459-189.02 and Chris Reed’s 7.468-188.95.

Richard Hann

Maltese racer Luke Farrugia was riding the ex-Richard Stubbins championship-winning bike, which he has run 7.30 at 198.8mph in Malta. This was his first time at Santa Pod and ran 7.474-167.29.

Dave Holland had his spare motor in for this meeting and ran 7.492 at 200.76. Pete Field was tenth with 7.527-192.23. Yet again, Peter Grancia ran another personal best of 7.650-186.57. Dave Smith is starting to improve and qualified with 7.666-193.05. Mogens Lund had handling problems with the bike going to the left, but a valve guide broke and put him out of the show despite a 7.689 at 182.88. Mark Wells was next with a 7.854-182.07, followed by Martin Wilson’s 7.998-185.90. Bernard Dorgan had a new paint job and a few problems, and qualified 8.836-150.67.

Christian Beger debuted his new bike, which was designed and constructed by Beger for five years(!) and has been on the dyno a lot of the time. With help from Richard Stubbins, he ran a best of 10.444-142.16.

Beger broke during his burnout leaving, Venables a solo to the next round. Field wasted a personal best run of 7.345-196.39 when he was late off the start line against Holland (.087 to .313), who won on a holeshot with a 7.541-198.87.

Wells had oil from the breather of the catch tank fall onto his rear tyre, and he smoked away from the start line and headed to the wall. Bowe took the win in the other lane, but at the expense of a broken camshaft.

Richard and Lesley Hann

Hann had a bye and Balchin also had a bye when Dorgan had an oil leak during his burnout. Farrugia won a close race against Grancia, 7.656 to 7.707. Wilson redlit against Cockerill, who ran another p/b 7.335. Reed put a big holeshot against Smith and held on to win 8.231 to Smith’s quicker but losing 8.151.

Best race of the day saw Holland put another holeshot, this time .093 to .159 on Venables. Holland held on to take the win 7.310 at 201.67 to a quicker but losing 7.267-197.94 from Venables. Steve’s title challenge was done.

With the 2013 ACU Super Street Bike Championship in the bag, Balchin could relax and he beat Farrugia. Cockerill pulled three wheelies between the 100ft mark to mid-track and lost to Reed. Hann had another bye (7.472) due to Bowe’s no show.

Holland was a no show in the first semifinal, so Hann had another bye run to his first ever ACU final. In the other semi, Balchin came from behind to beat Reed 7.318 to 7.796.

In the final, Hann got a slight holeshot on Balchin, who still powered pass to take the winlight with a 7.337 at 193.75 to Hann’s 7.503-182.14. Balchin also became the 2013 SPRC Super Street Bike champion.

Field tested after being knocked out of the Super Street Bike eliminations and ran a personal best ever of 7.297 at 196mph, which bought big smiles to his brothers Frank and Carl.

Bob Brookes (above) was also testing his beautiful bike after damaging his motor last year. But he had a lost power after half throttle and Brookes suspected the power rings may be the problem. The magneto is going to be uprated for next season and hopefully we’ll see the bike in the low sevens.

NAST Round 8

So to the final round of the NAST series. Joe Elliott made his mark by qualifying number one in Gas with 9.265-143.91—top speed of the meet). With Chris Mott helping, points leader Terry Green ran a personal best of 9.337 at 138.16. Mike Nelthorpe was riding Les Harris’ bike and qualified 10.350-131.81.

Dawn Watson (above) made her debut at the Extreme Performance Bike Weekend meeting riding her husband Andy’s bike.  Having got her license the previous weekend, Dawn qualified with a p/b of 10.652-129.04.

Joe Elliott and crew

Elliott eased into the final 9.272 when Watson bogged off the start line and ran 11.817-128.67. Elliott then met Green in the final to decide the Gas championship. Elliott led from wire to wire to become the NAST 2013 Gas champion with a 9.270 to Green’s 9.392.

ET Bracket

Peter Harrison and Bev Batsford

Tim Boutle ran a great 12.742 on a dial in of 12.70 to claim ET Bracket number one qualifier. 2013 NAST ET Bracket champion Peter Harrison was next with 11.175 (11.05) and Brett Cordelle was close with 11.688 (11.55).

Boutle had a bye to the final, were he met Cordelle, who beat Harrison in the semis. The final was decided on the start when Cordelle had a better reaction time (.086 to Boutle’s .272) and took the winlight 11.733 to Boutle’s 12.677.

Was Tim Boutle inspired by Jay Upton’s “World’s Quickest Bathtub” when modifying his Honda?

Congratulations to the following ACU Champions
Funnybike—Stuart Crane
Pro Stock Bike—Mark Smith
Comp Bike—Lizz McCarthy
Super Street Bike—Graham Balchin

Congratulations to the following NAST Champions
Gas—Joe Elliott
ET Bracket—Peter Harrison

Congratulations to the following SPRC Champions
Funnybike—Stuart Crane.
Pro Stock Bike—Mark Smith
Comp Bike—Jemma Venables
Super Street Bike—Graham Balchin