Straightliners scooter sprinting finale at Santa Pod | FEATURE
Hot on the heels of Col’s mint write up about the Oliver’s Mount Hill Climb, those SLUKers amongst you that enjoy fast scooters get a second helping of high speed frolics. Over the weekend of 14th and 15th October, Santa Pod played host to the final round of the Straightliner’s championship.
The Straightliners are an organisation that caters for all classes of motorbike sprinting, from full blown 190mph 1/4 mile drag bikes to 77cc tiddlers. Not to mention the entertaining Wheelie Class, where the winner crossed the line in 10.7 seconds @ 133mph, with his front wheel pointing skyward!
A different class
Straightliners have welcomed scooters with open arms over the years, with top scooter classes for full bodied (Silhouette), specials (Modified) as well as Autos. They also run ‘Time’ classes where you aim to be as close to the selected class time without “breaking out”, (going too fast). Realistically it’s head down, arse up & ring its neck!
A great turnout of scooters were in the paddock, patiently waiting in the queue to take their turn sprinting. Just like the BSSO racing paddock, the atmosphere and banter was as you’d expect from a bunch of scooterists, lighthearted, helpful and lots of piss taking!
The scooters were running some impressive timed speeds, despite a strong head wind on the old airfield strip. Having sprinted at the “Pod” myself in the 90s I always found it to be one of the slower strips, being slightly uphill, usually racing in to a head wind and also the surface is ultra sticky. So sticky it’s easy to bog down or point skywards on the start line as you try to launch!
It really just goes to show how well the scooters were running to achieve great times and speeds.
For those that have taken an interest in scooter sprinting, or top speed events over recent years you will have witnessed the development that’s gone in to making the current top “Silhouette” scooters some of the fastest full bodied Lambrettas out there. Previously Charlie Edmonds and Jimmy Winters raised the bar. With Eric Cope pushing further, breaking the 100mph up the 1/4 mile on a full bodied road scooter. Gav Watson has pushed Eric all season in this class on his full bodied GP. Gav & Eric were both at the meeting sprinting their Darrell Taylor tuned road going GPs. They look as good as they go!
To the wire
This promised to be a great event with both Eric and Gav battling to the wire for the Top Scooter (Silhouette) Championship. For this final round it was great to see BSSO scooter racer Mikey Bonett out for his first ever sprint meeting. Also the legendary racer/sprinter Keith Terry, fresh from his top speed beach exploits, was returning to the 1/4 mile after a “short” (20-year) break. SLUK recently featured Keith’s top speed shenanigans here.
These four riders were pushing each other all day. It finished with only one hundredth of a second separating Gav in 1st (13.56 @ 94mph) and Mikey in 2nd (13.57 @ 96mph) and Eric a further hundredth behind them in third place (13.58 & 93mph).
Gav takes the biscuit
Well done to Gav who pipped Eric to secure the crown and the ceremonial biscuits! Keith achieved the best time of the day on a geared scooter at 13.49, but just missed out to Gav again in the modified class in the head-to-head final, after both did their best to miss gears and run their slowest time of the day.
The Gilera Runner engined autos were flying and with very close battles between the top scooters. Eventually Tom Cooper ran a 12.5 second run, pipped by Connor Eastilow who ran a 12.38, but Adam Chaplin took the win with a 12.37 @ 101mph.
Hitting the wall
Shortly after crossing the line Connor suffered a speed wobble that saw him hit the track and the wall at 96mph! Thankfully he walked away from it with minor damage to himself and the scooter, however it was a timely reminder that even riding at speed in a straight line can be dangerous.
Only one entry in the 13.1 class meant that James Scott on his 172 Runner engined scooter was battling the clock and ran a 13.76 @ 87mph.
Geared versus auto
The 15.1 Class was hotly contested with a geared versus auto final. Sprint veteran Pete Newbold on his full bodied GP ran 15.5 second and was narrowly beaten by Joe Elliott who ran a 15.38 on his Italjet 172 Dragster.
Exciting end to the season
With hundredths of a second separating the top scooters in all classes it certainly was an exciting end to the season. Who knows where scooter tuning and development will take us over the coming years? One things for certain SLUK will continue to keep you up to speed.
Words and pics: Shaun Hodgkin
Rallery by Shaun
New SLUK t-shirts available to order now