The Main Event
Santa Pod Raceway
Fri. 26 – Mon. 29 May 2017
Female drag racing royalty will be the focus of attention as the European season begins at Santa Pod Raceway’s The Main Event. Over 250 entries from 18 countries, including Kuwait and USA, will compete when the first round of FIA and FIM European Drag Racing Championships, for cars and motorcycles, takes place over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend.
Finland’s 300mph queen of the Top Fuel Dragsters, Anita Mäkelä, opens her defence of the FIA European championship crown she claimed for the second time last year. Europe’s fastest-ever woman driver, Mäkelä will find a budding young Swiss princess among the international cast of opponents ranged against her
The Swiss don’t do royalty as such, but 20-year-old Jndia Erbacher could be the start of a new drag racing dynasty. Jndia’s father, Urs Erbacher, has three FIA European Top Fuel championships under his belt, plus three more from the Top Methanol Funny Car division. Jndia herself licensed and competed in Top Methanol Dragster at Las Vegas in 2015 and raced there and at Hockenheim and Santa Pod last year. Now she steps up to the sport’s senior rank for the first time at The Main Event.
Britain’s premier league challenger is Liam Jones. The Yorkshireman’s former life as a military bomb disposal expert seems ideal training to handle the barely controlled explosion on wheels that is a 10,000-horsepower Top Fuel Dragster. Jones finished fourth in the FIA points in his two previous Top Fuel seasons and dipped for the first time into the 3sec/300mph zone to snatch pole position here at Santa Pod’s European Finals last September. The packed crowds will be willing him on to win his maiden Top Fuel victory.
The Main Event’s other big story comes from the full-bodied, fast and furious Pro Modified eliminator, which this weekend combines the FIA opener with round two of the MSA British Drag Racing Championship. Sweden’s six-time European Pro Mod champion and record-holder, Michael Gullqvist, will for once be overshadowed by a yet more garlanded champion stepping across from another class. With ten FIA Pro Stock titles to his name, fellow Swede Jimmy Ålund now seeks new worlds to conquer and takes the wheel of the fabled Old 51 Chevrolet Business Coupe, one of Europe’s quickest and most characterful cars with a 5.9sec/240mph pedigree. Could Ålund actually snatch victory at his first Pro Mod attempt?
Britain’s reigning MSA champion, Andy Robinson, leads the home-based challenge to this Swedish duo. Robinson scored a scintillating MSA round one victory at Easter and looks in perfect form to advance his cause. A darkhorse could be Kuwait’s Hussain Al Shammari, who ran here a year ago in a rented German car but now arrives with his own, monster-motored Camaro (903 cubic inches/14.8 litres, with nitrous oxide injection) which has clocked low-6sec quarter-mile passes at home in the Arabian Drag Racing League. With 23 Pro Mods bidding to enter Monday’s 16-car elimination field, the qualifying sessions look to be a spectacle in their own right.
The Main Event takes place over four days from Friday 26th to Monday 29th May, at Santa Pod Raceway, near Wellingborough (NN29 7XA). Alongside the daily programme of European and national championship racing, there is a full schedule of family-style entertainments on, off and even over the track. Access to the pits and to the Live Action Arena is free. For full event information and to book tickets, please visit www.santapod.com or telephone 01234 782828. Tickets may be booked online and printed at home, and as ever, KIDS GO FREE – under-16, three per paying adult