Monday, 26 September 2016

Not really 4 in a row

It's fair to say that we dipped into our reserve fund of luck at the weekend. Twice we were lucky to go through elimination rounds that probably we shouldn't. But the end result was we made it to the final and secured another event win - and unofficially the ACU Funnybike championship too.

Qualifying also went really well, with the opening run a new personal best and the first dip into the 7.1's - a 7.1837 @ 181mph. And in the second qualifier a further improvement a 7.1394 @ 181mph, so getting really close to the 7.0's and those runs into a strong headwind too.

Take a ride with us on a 7.18 sec run ...

We qualified 2nd behind ACU newcomer- Kars Van Den Belt, who ran 3 thousands quicker on his turbo Honda blackbird. In the first elimination round we raced our good friend Bob Brooks, he ran his best time of the weekend and i headed for the centerline and had to roll the throttle slightly. I only just managed to stay ahead before the finish line.

In the second round i raced the number 3 qualifier Dale leeks who was on good form running - i think a personal best in qualifying a 7.26. Just before that race we were informed that due to strong wind and gusts the decision had been made to run the bikes over the 1/8th mile only for the duration of the event. It didn't really make much difference to us but meant we weren't going to get the chance to improve on our 7.13 ET. What happened on the line was a first for me - I'm usually pretty quick off the line but somewhere in my head something went wrong and i sat there staring at the tree thinking why haven't the stage lights come on when they were on already and now there's a green showing, Dale Leeks has gone and I'm still sat there.....
I really thought that was the end as I'd never catch him over the 1/8mile, but unfortunately for dale he couldn't shift gear and i managed to get going and catch him just before the line. Lucky! the time was a 4.543 @ 144mph
I had the final to myself too as Kars had injured his engine in the previous round.  We ran a an almost identical time to the previous round a 4.541 @144mph to take the win.

The result of that is we are 800points ahead in the ACU championship and cannot be caught with only one event remaining. FB1 next year.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

National Finals 2016

Tomorrow morning Team bopchop head off back to Santa Pod again for the 5th round in the ACU championship - The national finals. Friday is a test day which we aren't doing, and qualifying takes place on Saturday with eliminations on Sunday.
The bike is still set up as it was at the Euro Finals as the track and weather are usually pretty similar, and we are hoping to get 3 runs on Saturday to try and get the bike set up nicely.

There's a healthy looking entry list at this event too, with 12 bikes entered:
1     Dave Peters         Suzuki GSX         1327cc
3     Robert Brooks         YMR          1700cc
8     Dale Leeks         Suzuki GSX         1640cc
11     Nick Daniels          Suzuki GSX         1428cc
14     Lorcan Parnell         Storm Yamaha    
21     Pete Le Gros          Nitro Harley         120ci
22     Phil Crossley          Suzuki GSX         1500cc
26     Shaun Branch         Suzuki GSX 1100EF         1500cc
34     Eric Richard          Suzuki Hayabusa          1300cc
42     Allan Davies          Suzuki GSX          1500cc
749    Stefan Hagenstein     Suzuki Hayabusa         1540cc
??     Kars van den Belt        unknown

Coverage of the event including live audio and webcam, live reports, end of day galleries and pit notes can be found on here:

Thursday, 15 September 2016


The European finals last weekend was a great event to be at, but the weather played a big part in it and we only got 2 runs on the Friday before the rain came and it rained pretty much all day on Saturday. The first run was ok, a 7.4 with slightly off pace 60ft and a lot of wheelspin, which was odd as the track was very good. I changed the setup to hit a lot harder and try and keep the weight transferred to the back wheel. The result on the next run was far from the 6 second ET we needed but was still a personal best by 3 thousandths of a second! a 7.261 at 175mph, into a stiff headwind.
And that's all we got chance to do, the time was good enough to qualify us in 6th out of 12 bikes entered, but without the 6 we wouldn't be in the show.
It was still a good meeting and we had a great time, catching up with people I've not seen for years and talking to an endless stream of people wandering round the pits in the rain bored. We invited anyone in who was interested to take a look at the bike and ask questions. We had stand in noob crew too which made things a little harder but they got the job done admirably and I'm very grateful for their help. So thanks to Peej, Benji, Justas, and Jason for helping set up, get me down the track and packing away again.

3 meetings all separated by just 2 weeks makes up for the race drought in the middle of the summer, but makes for a pretty hectic time. Particularly as other things add to the list of things to do like MOT on the van and my road bike - which I've had to SORN as i just didn't have time to do it.
And in just 1 weeks time we are off to Santa Pod yet again for the National Finals - not the last event of the year for the bikes, that's 3 weeks later in October -the Extreme bike weekend. But it could be a crucial meeting for us as we are currently ahead in the ACU points by a fair chunk. If we can extend or maintain that lead we should be pretty much uncatchable. We have already won the Shakespeare county raceway championship, and would like to secure the Santa Pod one too, but the ACU championship is the big one.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The big one

Just  a couple of days to go now till the start of the FIM European Finals at Santa Pod, the biggest drag racing event of the year, and the first 'euro' event we have entered. Bike classes running at this event are:
Top Fuel Bike
Supertwin Bike
Pro Stock Bike
Superstreet Bike

We are entered in Top fuel bike as funnybike doesn't have it's own class but are allowed into top fuel. The catch as it were - is to make it onto the eliminations ladder the funnybikes must have run a 6.99 second ET or better. that gives us potentially 4 runs to improve our 7.2 into something a hell of a lot faster. The step from 7.2 to 6's is not a small one, but as ever we are going with our usual goal - to have fun and go quicker than we have gone before.  Anything else is a bonus.

The entry list looks like this:
TFB 1     Ian King         Litlington UK        1585cc
TFB 2     Rikard Gustafsson     Nethertlands         1550cc
TFB 3     Filippos Papafilippou     Greece              1570cc
TFB 4     Steve Woollatt         Garston UK         1327cc
TFB 7     Otto Knebl         Czech             1313cc
TFB 17     Lorcan Parnell         Kings Lynn UK        1500cc
TFB 18     Chris Reed         Essex     UK        1640cc
TFB 25     Phil Crossley         Lancaster UK        1500cc
TFB 31     Glenn Borg          Malta              1327cc
TFB 36     Rene v d Berg          Netherlands          1343cc
TFB 39     Stuart Crane         Sheringham UK        1640cc
TFB 40     Robert Brooks         Hellesdon UK        1700cc
TFB 43     Dale Leeks          Bury St Edmunds UK     1640cc
That's 5 actual top fuel bikes, 5 nitrous bikes, 2 turbo bikes and one supercharged methanol bike.

Coverage of this weekends event is better than usual too, and from midday friday can be watched via web TV as well as the usual coverage by the team. All the links to webcams etc, can be found here:
the event starts on Thursday but the pro classes don't begin till Friday, with further qualifying on Saturday and eliminations on Sunday.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

3 in a row

Just got back from the Open sport Nationals at Shakespeare county raceway, it turned out to be really good event with predominantly hot and sunny weather and just one fairly impressive thunderstorm.

Qualifying didn't get off to a great start, we had a couple of iffy runs trying to find a setting that worked, but the track improved each day and eventually we found a setup that proved to be very consistent.
On the first run we used the setting from the last event at Shakey where we ran a 7.28, it really didn't work and the bike nearly crossed the centerline. So, we tried again in the other lane and it was better but still spinning the tyre. So, we went for a lower start % and much longer build time on the nitrous, this helped a lot but still not great, however the right hand lane was not as good as the left and the same setting on the next run in that lane produced a really great 7.28 at an incredible 186.64mph - a whole 5mph faster than we had been previously.
The time was enough to put us in the number 1 qualifier spot in the unusually small 5 bike field.
Allan Davies seemed to be running ok with a string of 7.6's, Dave buttery found himself at the end of the track regularly and ran a 7.7, and well done to Pete Le Gros who finally got into the 7's with a 7.8 on his Nitro twin. Dave peters had a terrible weekend and in an attempt to find a way down the track he ended up taking the teeth of the primary gears and was out of the show.
Race day was a bit silly - ran as an 8 bike field but with Dave out that left 4 bikes - so a lot of bye runs! I had a bye in the first round as did Allan, but i didn't want to run the right hand lane so ran for lane choice. It was Dave buttery that won in his matchup with Pete, both had good runs - Pete with another 7 and Dave Buttery with an impressive 7.3 but Dave blew the turbo in the process and so was out anyway. It left Allan and me to have bye runs into the final, and again we ran to try and get lane choice - which we did.
In the final Allan got away first which is pretty unusual and took me a little by surprise and i spent half the track chasing him down. I crossed the line first but what i didn't know was Allan had pulled a redlight and handed me the win regardless.

That leaves us in a good position in the points so far, and we are also winners of the Shakey Championship. It also makes it 3 event wins in a row and gives the new bike an unbroken winning streak - every event it's entered it's won! I'll say that now because in less than 2 weeks time we are running in the European finals, and the chances of winning that ......

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Second Half

Just a few days to go until the second half of the drag racing season kicks off again with the Open sport Nationals at Shakespeare county raceway. This will be round 4 of the 6 races in the championship and it should be a great event, with 2 days of qualifying (Saturday & Sunday) and eliminations on Monday.
The entry list isn't great in terms of numbers so far but there are usually one or two last minute entries. The Funnybike class looks like this:
Dave Buttery
Allan Davies
Dave Peters
Pete Le Gros
And Me

We are hoping to get a few runs in over the weekend as we have a few things to try out, mostly to do with the nitrous system, and I've recently added a nitrous pressure sensor to help interpret the data better.

It's going to be quite busy after this meeting too, as just 2 weeks later it's the Euro Finals at Santa pod, and 2 or 3 weeks after that the National finals too.

Finally finished my angled milling table, and in the process of making it i discovered my mills column was miles out of alignment, basically the column has been bolted and pinned/doweled at the factory in the wrong position, so when the head is tilted over it doesn't line up with the table. I've had to do a lot of work to get it straight again, and it really didn't help that it was doweled into that position.
I'd still like a nice quality mill, mine is good but it's little things like that that make you want a mill made by someone that cared.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

9 years ago

9 Years since i started this blog. I did it because i found it hard to find information on the net about how to get into drag racing and what all the technical mumbo jumbo meant. 9 years later and i'm pretty conversant with most of it, but as with most things - the more you know the more you know you don't know! So i'm far from being an expert.
Anyway ...... the blogs had a steady following, 100,000+ visitors and i get many people come up to me at race meetings to say they like it, so i hope it continues.

Lots happening at the minute, I've had the top end off the engine to replace some loose epoxy in one of the ports, and ended up replacing most of it anyway, it's quite easy to do - preparation is most of the work.
Been some progress on the new cylinder head too, valves are cut and I've started on the final version of the retainers which I'm making on the lathe out of titanium bar. getting the taper spot on and a good finish is key, but I'm happy with the ones I've tried so far.

I've also been researching and experimenting on ways to keep nitrous bottle pressure up during a run. There are a few tricks and various ways of achieving this apparently, so i've come up with my own particular version and will do some tests at the next event at shakey.

On a different note - i first went to Santa Pod as a spectator aged about 21, back in 1993ish, we went to the the Main event and the European finals for many years afterwards and still go to them now. I never imagined i might one day be racing there, never mind at one of the big Euro events. But, i've passed my medical and got my international/one event license.....and so for the first time i'll be entering my bike in the Top Fuel bike class at the Euro Finals in September! So it's pretty real now!