Race Report UEM Drag Bike Championship round #1 Kunmadaras Hungary
April 28th - May 1st 

Darren Prentice and Keith Bartlett - two of the key persons from the UK based organizer and promoter Trakbak, who co-operated with the Hungarian organizers S-Riders Club.
About the event

The warm temperatures and sun was present in large doses during round #1 of the European Drag Bike Championship in Kunmadaras, Hungary. We saw some rain during the weekend, but the track dried fast and the weather did not interfere with the completion of the event.

The Kunmadaras track is a former airfield located ca 2.5 hours from Budapest in a nice countryside setting. The concrete track provide challenges for both the track crew and teams, which mainly have a base of know how and skills to run at asphalt tracks. The performance level for the UEM bikes was higher than last year and in Pro Stock Bike even close to European record standard.

Trakbak Racing/Santa Pod Raceway crew from the UK worked alongside local organizer S-riders club staff all weekend. They had prepared the track weeks in advance and although traction was less than desired to start with, it built up quickly during the weekend as more runs were put down on the track and the UK/Hungarian crew did a great job overall to make sure the event ran smoothly.

With an all enthusiastic crowd of spectators that cheered as well the UEM bike teams as the FIA Car teams on site for exhibitions, the atmosphere was cheerful and positive. The organizers had arranged for a show Friday evening including folk dance performance to show the teams some of the Hungarian traditions. The event was visited by national and local celebrities including a minister from the government as well as the Kunmadaras mayor who handed over the trophies to the winners on sunday. The tv-production shot on site by the british tv-crew is planned to be included as part of the overall joint UEM/FIA championship tv-production 2011.

If funding from the Hungarian government can be secured UEM championship promoter Keith Bartlett explains the plan is to grind the concrete track over the winter. A start to what could take this track to the next level.

Fredlund vs Bishop Pro Stock Bike

Pro Stock Bike 13 teams on site in Kunmadaras for a 16-bike elimination ladder. Two ladies among the drivers, Andrea Matusik from Hungary and youngest driver by far (will be 16 this year) Elvira Carlsson from Sweden. She was in Kunmadaras to complete her license. Elvira looked very confident already at her first event and plans are to run the full championship and take one step at a time performance wise.

Winner in Pro Stock Bike Jesper Thiel and runner-up Kalle Lyrén are two other young riders, both are well under thirty. Worth noting is that Thiel was not far behind the new European record set by Dave Beck at Santa Pod Raceway in april. And that with so many competitive contenders this is possibly going to be the best season ever for Pro Stock Bike performancewise

Low ET of the event: Jesper Thiel 7.0871 sec at 300.03 km/h which was also Jesper´s personal best.

New personal best also for Kalle Lyrén 7.2136 at 296.63 km/h

Please see the elimination ladder for full information

Young Elvira Karlsson from Sweden is new in Pro Stock Bike

Pro Stock Bike lined up - Len Paget, UK (far) and Karl-Heinz Weikum, Germany (near)

Hungarian event manager Joseph Hadnagy and Åsa Kinnemar co-ordinator Speedgroup

Roel Koedam - Super Twin Bike

Super Twin Bike
12 super twin teams on site to compete for 8 spots in the elimination ladder. One new team in the class with well experienced rider Christian Jäger, who was in the UEM Funny Bike class last year. Jäger qualified convincingly 4th quickest although still on a learning curve and said he felt very comfortable with the bike.

2010 European champion Lorenz Stäuble qualified 5th quickest but was taken out by Jäger already in the 1st round of eliminations, not the best start for Lorenz and he was joined by more riders who could have wished for a better season start. For instance Per Bengtsson Sweden the 2009 champion who found himself just outside the ladder in the 9th position after the completed qualifications.

The two teams that did manage to adjust the bikes best after the track was no. 1 and 2 qualifiers Hans Olav Olstad and Jan Sturla Hegré both from Norway. They looked confident all through the eliminations and faced each other in a final which was hard to predict the outcome of. Lane choice for Olstad, but it was Hegré who did the job and while doing it set the low ET of the class for the weekend. Awesome and consistent performance all the way for team Hegré. Rider Jan Sturla was the rookie of the class 2010 and has been on a steep learning curve stepping up performance of the bike and his drivers skills enough to earn him a win in Kunmadaras and points lead after round #1. Impressive!

Low ET of the event: Jan Sturla Hegré 6.821 sec at 314.48 km/h

Top Fuel Bike

Ian King - winner Top Fuel Bike

Although the Top Fuel Bike field at this event consisted of only two bikes, the teams on site were two top of the line teams. Several times European champion Ian King presented his new state-of-the-art bike and stunned many with a 6.57 second run at over 200 mph on only its 3rd ever run on track and despite very conservative power settings.

Nate Gagnon from Vancouver in Canada is in co-operation with Super Twin rider Samu Kemppainen and plans to ride Samu´s 2010 bike at the Gardermoen and Hockenheim events as well (check the calendar for the dates). Gagnon´s season 2011 will include more than 10 events, mixing the European visits with the Canadian Series participation. Also on site to assist team Kemppainen/Gagnon was well-known engine builder Ron Houniet from the US.

We know the interaction between US/Canadian and European teams will continue and increase this season. A development which is exciting and we will have reason to come back to in our forthcoming editions of the Speedgroup Club Europe Newsletters.

Low ET of the event: Ian King 6.573 sec at 354.23 km/h

Top Fuel Bike - Nate Gagnon, Canada

FIA Car Exhibition

The organizer had brought some of the FIA Car teams to Kunmadaras to perform crowd pleasing exhibition runs and show the audience some of what the FIA championship consist of. The sslected teams all top of the line and the general opinion among them seemed to be that the Kunmadaras track with proper adjustments has potential. The event provided a nice opportunity for the FIA teams to test and prepare for their championship season opening event at Santa Pod Raceway, UK May 27th-30th

FIA championship teams on site:

FIA Top Fuel Dragster
– Rune Fjeld Motorsport with drivers Jari Halinen and Risto Poutiainen both from Finland. Both are potential candidates for European champions title this season, Poutianinen was 2nd in the championship 2010.

FIA Top Methanol Dragster – Dennis and Timo Habermann (the no 1 and 2 in the 2010 championship)

Dennis Habermann

FIA Pro Mod – Mats Eriksson Sweden, Andy Robinson, UK and Marco Maurischat from Germany. They are among top 12 in the biggest FIA championship class that consisted of more than 40 teams last season. Awesome cars, crowd pleasing burnouts and spectacular to watch run down the ½ mile track

Pro Mod - Mats Eriksson Sweden

Pro Mod - Marco Maurischat Germany

Pro Stock Bike - Kalle Lyrén made it to the final and set at new personal best

The Kunmadaras track

Text by Åsa Kinnemar
Photos: Lena Perés, Ivan Sansom and Speedgroup

This article is part of the Speedgroup Club Europe Newsletter #4/2011

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