Ian Turboville                         

What can I say, a dream ending to our first season of top-fuel Supertwin with a surprise win at the national Finals. Although not as hard fought as we would have liked, the class here in the UK should be better subscribed next year and we will be ready for them. Comiserations to the teams of Bernie Hepworth and Chris Stebbings, who both suffered catastrophic engine failures at the weekend but we know they will both be back bigger and stronger in 2004. The season was a frantic one for us as we started at the speedfreaks ball with our own mechanical meyhem which put us out of the first round of the championship. We then proceeded to get as much track time as possible to learn the black art of racing with Nitromethane and it was indeed a steep curve, but great fun never the less. A lot of advice was given by guru's like Rob Geffen, Bernie, Tony Ruggerio, Dale Nungesser, Willem Been, Krusi, Ronny Aasen, Svein Gottenberg, Al Smith, Frank Brachtvogel, Vincent Pels etc. and we heeded it all, then applied the relevant parts to our set-up. The goal was simple, like Steve Clutterbuck's, to race a nitro Harley on the cheap and survive to race next season.

We took it all very cautiously in small steps and aimed for consistency while resisting the overwhelming urge to tip the can in search of power. The 'S&S Sure-Shot' is a small capacity, single cam, street motor, in a heavy mild steel chassis with a small back tire so we were going to have to work out our own settings to make this bike work.A lot of people couldn't understand what we were doing and just presumed that any Nitro Harley would instantly run into the low sevens and I spent a lot of time trying to explain the reality of the game. The rule for us was 66% nitro max if the cast engine cases were to survive so we kept to that and chiseled away at the tune-up bit by bit until we had a 9.9 bracket bike. By that time we had a better understanding of what was doing what and why with a good database of runs to refer to. It was this consistency that saw us through the finals at Santa Pod this fall as each run gained us a tenth improvement on the last finishig up with an arrow straight 9.36 @ 146mph in our final ride into the sunset that Sunday.

It was a great event for the sportsman racers and a fitting end to one of the best years of drag racing I have ever seen in the UK. The tracks and facilities were superb all year and we were blessed with great weather all season. I don't think I have ever seen the Santa Pod track so well prepped all year, even at test and tunes. Kjell just worked his magic and the staff were incredibly helpful at all times, as were the Shakespeare County staff. It just made it so much easier for a rookie like me so big thanks to all! Massive thanks must go to Ian 'RUSH' Carruthers who supported me all year, made all the parts for the bike, crewed for me, advised me, kept me safe and sane, all for the price of an occasional cup of tea, the man is a star and no way could I have done this without him. Also big thanks to Dave Witts, Leo, Gareth, Ben, Mark, Paul, Jos, and Barry Sheavills, and all the others that got roped into helping all year, I owe you. Thanks also to my fellow papperazzi for some great shots, it felt strange being on the receiving end of the lens. Must say a special thanks to Sharkman and Tog who work so hard for the case of European Drag Racing, we all owe you two a lot!

I can honestly say I have never enjoyed myself so much as I have this year racing top-fuel and will endeavour to improve next year, funds permitting. The bike would never have existed without the continuing support of my fantastic sponsors:- S&S Cycle, Red Line Oil, Rivera Engineering, Pro-Mod Engineering, Custom Chrome Europe, Zodiac, Milwaukee Sprayer, Jims Machining, Jim McClure, Aasen Racing, Sprint Dampers, Braided Steel Aerotek, King Racing and Rune Fjeld Motorsports.

photo of final sunset run courtesy Sharkman. www.eurodragster.com