story and photos by Steven Moxley
There were some new faces in the winners circle of the Stripe 21 Open Sports Nationals at Shakespeare County Raceway. Saturday’s qualifying was delayed for a couple of hours due to rain, and after that the weather was warm and sunny for the rest of the bank holiday weekend.
Funnybiker Dave Peters still had clutch issues at the start of the meeting and made a decision to fit old clutch plates and drop the boost pressure, with a resulting 7.471 at 181.16 mph (low ET and top speed of the meet). Mike Vickers sent up some uprated clutch plates to Peters on Sunday.
Stuart Crane was looking for a set-up for his bike to suit the track and ran a personal best to date on the new bike with a 7.565 at 168.98.
Reigning champion Maarten Zijlstra from Holland (one of three Dutch riders entered) broke a crankshaft at Hockenheim. Mike Olie gave him a new crank to fit for this meeting, which resulted in back to back p/b 7.842 (at a p/b speed of 169.17) and 7.828 at 166.91.
Stefan Schmidt suffered handling problems and nitrous issues during qualifying and ran a best of 8.908 at 130.68. Dale Leeks missed Saturday’s session, finishing off the repairs to the electrical problem that has plagued him all season, then qualified with a 9.397 at 150.41. Viep Bloemen damaged the teeth on first gear in the opening qualifying session and that put him out of the competition with a 11.910 at 111.29.
In eliminations, Crane got out the blocks first against teammate Leeks and took the winlight 7.598 at 173.97 to Leeks losing 8.219/171.72 (his best figures to date). Zijlstra ran another personal best to trailer Schmidt with a 7.805 to a losing 10.475.
Peters had two byes to the final (7.678 and 7.762) to meet Crane, who beat Zijlstra in the other semi. On paper it was going to be a close race, but Peters did his burnout and the bike was stuck in third gear, leaving Crane a 7.891 at 174.67 mph solo pass to the winners circle. The win gave Crane the APIRA Funnybike Championship.
Comp championship points leader Lizz McCarthy had been doing some testing to cure a power problem since the last round at the SummerNationals. With a new fuel pump and ignition parts fitted, she qualified in number one spot with a 7.713 at 171.55 mph, only to have an electrical problem on Sunday.
Another rider who has been testing is Alan Davies, and the weekend previous to the Open Sports Nationals ran his first seven second pass (7.87). So coming into this race he ran 7.813 on the opening day of qualifying and then ran quicker the following day with a 7.788 at 167.74.
Phil Crossley couldn’t get C16 fuel for this meeting and was having to use C23, which he has never used before. But by the end of qualifying he had got the bike running well and ran 7.960 at 163.89.
Tony Clark qualified with 8.071 at 168.14 at the cost of a damaged clutch basket assembly, which Stuart Crane welded up for Clark on Sunday night and Clark and his crew worked till midnight on Sunday. Clark and his crew are very grateful to Crane for doing the welding.
Harold Wolfenden was another rider testing during the nine weeks break since the SummerNationals. But clutch issues came back to haunt Wolfenden and it wasn’t till the final run that he had a baseline for the track of 8.328 at171.50.
Newcomer to the class Kevin Osman (this was his second race) had tested before this meeting with a street tyre fitted and felt comfortable with a set up for the bike. On his last qualifier he ran 8.421 at a top speed of the meet 175.66mph.
Dave Batcheler was making his first appearance of the year and had a few problems 10.254.
Osman was late leaving the line in eliminations, and Crossley was never headed and won with 7.935. Batcheler had a problem during staging and couldn’t get the bike to start up again, so Davies soloed to the semis. Clark got a good launched off the line chasing after Wolfenden, only to go into a huge wheelie at the 300ft mark .Both bike and rider were ok. Wolfenden took the win 8.013 at 174.46 to 9.193/159.30. McCarthy had a bye and ran 7.720 at 164.17.
Both semifinals were close races. First up—Davies against Crossley. Davies got out first and Crossley was right there until mid-track, when he drifted towards the centreline and was fighting to keep the bike in his lane to the finishline. Davies ran another personal best 7.740 at 168.77 to beat Crossley 7.959/159.07. Best race of the day was the other semi, where McCarthy just edged Wolfenden’s top end performance with a 7.798 at 161.28 to 8.044/174.37.
McCarthy put a big holeshot on Davies in the final and was ahead at the 60ft mark, only for the motor to drop down to three cylinders at mid-track. Davies powered past to record his first ACU win in his first ever final—7.768 at 167.85 to McCarthy’s 8.258/156.40. McCarthy did have something to celebrate, as she won the APIRA Comp Championship.
Super Street Bike
There was a small four bike field entered in Super Street Bike at the Open Sports Nationals, which saw reigning champion Steve Venables top the qualifying table in the final qualifying session with 7.523 at 184.53 mph over teammate Graham Balchin’s 7.542 at 190.62. Chris Reed was next with 7.697 at 186.54 and the final competitor was Martin Wilson 8.104/182.86. All the riders suffered from their rear tyres spinning on the back half in qualifying.
In round 1 of eliminations, Reed edged Balchin off the start line, and at the 1/8 mile mark Balchin was fighting to keep the bike in his lane all the way to the finish. Reed just took the holeshot win light 7.712 at 182.74 to a quicker but losing 7.708-183.05.
In the other semifinal, Wilson put a holeshot (.112 to .250) on Venables, only to drift out the groove at the 60ft mark and head to the Armco. Venables ran a winning 7.413 at 189.24 to Wilson’s 9.294/172.77.
The final was the best race of the day. Reed put a huge holeshot on (sleeping) Venables (.009 to .255) and held on to take his second holeshot win with a 7.580 at 193.08 (top speed) to a quicker 7.343 (low ET) at 192.15 (.009 MOV). The win also gave Reed the APIRA Super Street Bike Championship.
NAST Round 5
NAST Round 5 was held at the Ladies that Launch meeting at Shakespeare County Raceway in July.
Reigning Gas champion Joe Elliott led the field with a 9.52 and Terry Green not far behind at 9.57. Green knocked out Robbie Dobbie in the semifinals, then faced Elliott in the final, which Elliott won.
Eight bikes entered this meeting, which saw newcomer Matthew King get his competition license in qualifying. Giselle Moor was the number one qualifier. In the semifinals, Carey Wadey broke out against Moor. In the other semi, Tim Boutle broke out against reigning champion Peter Harrison. Harrison picked up his third win of the season with a better reaction off the start line against Moor in the final.
NAST Round 6
Elliott continued his dominating form at the Open Sports Nationals He topped the field with 9.324 at 142.68. Chris Mott almost ran a nine second pass (10.006) on Nigel Batsford Buell. In the semis, Mott beat Dobbie to meet Elliott in the final. The champ led wire to wire, 9.387 to Mott’s 10.358.
Wadey was a jaw dropping 0.004 off his dial in (10.90) in qualifying with a 10.904. Reigning champ Harrison, at 11.17 on a 11.15 dial, just pipped Brett Cordelle’s 11.70 on an11.68 for second spot. Not far behind was Simon Clamp 10.93 (10.90), and in fifth spot was Moor’s 15.46 on a 15.40. Kiernan Govender is starting to improve on every run and ran 14.23 on a dial in of 14.15. Mike Nelthorpe was the last competitor with a 13.20 (12.70).
Clamp broke out in the opening round of the eliminations against Moor. Harrison had a better reaction on the start line and knocked out Nelthorpe. Newcomer Govender beat Cordelle by M.O.V. of 0.006, which was the best race of the day. After having a bye in the first round, Wadey was knocked out in the semis by Moor. In the other semifinal, Harrison just beat Govender in a close race. The final was decided at the start when Harrison pulled a redlight, giving Moor her first NAST win.
Congratulations to the following APIRA Champions:
Funnybike Stuart Crane.
Comp Bike Lizz McCarthy.
Super Street Bike Chris Reed.
SuperTwin Gas Joe Elliott.
SuperTwin ET Peter Harrison.