Friday, 21 October 2016

ACU Funnybike Number 1

With the last ACU event of 2016 out of the way we are now officially the winners of ACU Funnybike championship. And to make it a hat trick, we also took the Shakespeare County Raceway championship and the Santa Pod Racers club championship.
A pretty successful year then, and not just because of the various race wins, but because - at nearly every single event we entered the bikes gone quicker and faster. An unbelievable start for the bike, which only made it's debut a little over 12 months ago.

I've already forgotten about the hundreds of hours spent in the cellar creating it, the hours on the PC looking for tube, blocks of Aluminium, toilet roll tubes and double sided sticky tape. Then designing all the parts, the swarf in my hair, pockets and socks and sometimes -even in the fur of our Dogs!
The Bopchop team are: Me, my partner Sam Kenny and her brother Stuart kenny, with special guest appearances from Tom Kenny, Benji Crossley, Peej, Justas and Jason. Without them all i'd not even be able to get the bike out of the van.
And we owe a lot Vik and Arge for being the hosts of bopchop HQ, to Roger Upperton for endless advice and help with broken engine stuff, Stu Crane for sending me 1.05 second 60ft Clutch parts and setup info and the whole of drag racing for being so awesome. 

Monday, 10 October 2016

Extreme bike weekend 2016

Since the last meeting just two weeks ago it's been quite busy in the bopchop HQ/cellar. It all began when i went to check the clutch as usual but discovered the clutch 'hat' was really loose, and half the tiny little blots that hold it on were snapped or bent, or very loose, and had made a bit of a mess of the hat as they'd worked their way out.
So i started to take the clutch apart to see what else was going on and found the input shaft had a small amount of play in it, which i reasoned - correctly or not, that was probably why the bolts were loose.

In 6 years of running a slider clutch, and having taken it apart probably 100 times it's never once come loose, snapped a bolt, damaged a thread or anything else. So, the only option was to replace the bearing, necessitating removal of the engine and stripping the bottom end down. Luckily i was able to source a heavy duty bearing kit thanks to Roger Upperton, the heavy duty kit uses a race with 2 extra balls in it, the failed one was a standard Suzuki one.
It also meant it was time to fit the new Warpspeed Racing slider hat that Stu Crane had been kind enough to supply free of charge! Many thanks to Stuart for that, it looks great and was timed perfectly for when we needed it! I decided not to try removing the snapped bolts from the clutch basket, but to mount the basket on the rotary table and just drill and tap a new set of holes, it means the threads will be a lot tighter too and less chance of it working loose again.
It's all back together now and almost ready to go, it may just need some tweaks to get the stall speed right again and that's it.

Only a 2 day event this one - Qualifying on Saturday and another on Sunday morning, then into eliminations on Sunday afternoon. With the championship decided we can relax a little and just go and have fun - which actually is the only objective i ever set anyway!
The really nice folks at will be covering the event as usual with live reports and galleries etc. the various links can be found here ....

I've also added a couple more onboard Gopro videos to youtube, including this - the first eliminations round at the National finals against Bob brooks, where we nearly went out!

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 ......