Festival of Power 2023

After thoroughly checking the bike over we declared ourselves ready and “cautiously optimistic” for FoP 2023. We should have known better!

Opening the batting with a 6.87 @ 205mph drew applause from the commentators, and qualified us #2 behind Eric Richard, but a quick glance at the datalog showed we still had just 4psi (out of 63psi overall) from the big turbo, meaning the small one was doing all the work, same as at the Easter meeting. Due to the way compound turbos multiply boost, we were looking for 18-20psi from the big one (to make 63psi overall), but we could see that the big wastegate was wide open right from the launch, hence the low boost and lacklustre 60′ time.

We tried again with higher settings in the controller for the big wastegate (to hold it more closed), but it made no difference: 6.84 @ 204.

Then bingo! We spotted a broken wire from the boost controller. This HAD to to be it, right? RIGHT? We reconnected it, put in the original numbers and went 6.9 @ 200. You idiots! Of course that wasn’t it. Still 4psi from the big turbo.

With our 3 Saturday runs done we set about testing everything on Sunday morning. Boost controller working. Solenoids working. Sensors working. CO2 system working. Small crack in the wastegate diaphragm, but not enough to cause this problem. But wait. On the small turbo the controller is set to 32psi and gives 32psi out of the solenoid, measured on a gauge. The big turbo is set to 45psi but only gives 22psi out of the solenoid – not enough to hold the big wastegate shut against exhaust pressure. We put 60psi in – and got 22psi out. 10psi in – 22 out. What? This makes no sense.

We swapped both sensors separately with a new one – no difference. Brad O’Connor, Sean Mills and Dave Smith all tried to help (thanks lads!), but by now it’s 4pm and we’re out of ideas. The options were to race Monday and risk destroying the small turbo by overspeeding it, or go home. With a bunch of other sensors not working, we chose home. The bike needs some professional help so will go on holiday to Mark Harrison at Horsepower Factory UK to be sorted. Congrats to the tenacious Dave Peters on the win and Eric for putting up some stout numbers. Until next time!

Thanks to all our crew Mike Hand, Simon Campbell, Mick Bisson, Sarah White and to all our sponsors:

AC Schnitzer UK – the premier aftermarket tuner for BMW & MINI

AS Transport – HIAB crane services. Need a lathe moved? These are your guys.

Auto Electrical Parts (AEP)

Mobihose – hydraulic hose and service

Leeks Landscapes – class sponsor

Suffolk Pool Company – design to completion

Owen Developments – suppliers of our turbos and wastegates for many years

Horsepower Factory UK – support with our electronics

Sarah’s pics:

Easter 2023

Due to an unusual amount of rain leading up to the traditional Easter season-opener the grass areas at Santa Pod were waterlogged, so the family-oriented Festival of Power was swapped with the race-focused Springspeed Nationals, usually scheduled at the end of April, to prevent spectators damaging the grass and having to be towed out. To avoid confusion, I’m simply referring to this weekend as the Easter meeting, as in programmes and online both titles are being used for the same event.

Over the winter Storm got its first ever full stripdown and rebuild with new primary gears, a repaired gearcase (damaged at the last meeting of 2022), a repaired and repainted fairing and, most importantly, a new steering neck to reduce the rake angle from over 45 degrees to a more manageable 42.

We also picked up some new sponsors in the form of Dale Leeks’ Suffolk Pool Company, hydraulic hose company Mobihose, and my employers, BMW tuners AC Schnitzer UK. Great to have them all aboard and joining our existing sponsors listed at the end of this post. We hope to reward them all with increased exposure for their brands during the year.

Our first qualifying session had some new figures in the controller aimed at speeding up the small turbo and slowing down the big one. 60psi manifold pressure needs around 22psi from the big one, but we had nearer 30 at the end of last year. Getting the small one to do more would speed up boost increase off the line too.

Our first pass was a rather disappointing 7.15 @ 183 with a 1.2 to 60′. Returning to the pits we found that the boost hose from the intercooler had come off the big turbo inlet. We tried again – 6.94 @ 199. Better, but still in the 1.2s to 60′ and still not matching the programming. Only 4psi from the big turbo wasn’t going to win us any races. Still, we were qualified #1 and had time on our side.

Saturday morning we had a couple more tries but the engine switched off in the burnout, traced to a loose ignition fuse in its holder (yes, we’ve been here before). In the afternoon a very flat 7.9 @ 138 warranted further investigation, where we found that the exhaust manifold had cracked three quarters of the way around the collector. No exhaust pressure – no boost pressure. Stripping the turbos, intercooler, wastegates and the related sensors isn’t a 5 minute job, but with the help of fellow racer Jake Mechaell from nearby JKE Race Works we got the manifold TIG-welded and reassembled by 11pm.

An early call Sunday morning gave us a the chance of an extra qualifier to gather some meaningful data, but a chance flick of the ignition switch by Simon gave nothing. Panic mode ensued, and a broken wire was quickly twisted together. A feeble burnout was followed by the bike idling down the track with no boost at all. Back in the pits a “leave it to me, I know what I’m doing” pressure line was found to have been left unconnected.

Nothing for it then but to try our best in the eliminations! A holeshot on Roger Moore wasn’t enough to save another low boost launch, followed by our old friend, the accidental 3rd to 1st gear shift. This doesn’t do any damage, except for losing all drive on the run. Roger sailed past and took the win.

Back home it looks like a split diaphragm in the small wastegate was responsible for the low boost all weekend. Without the other issues, we almost certainly would have traced this earlier, but it is what it is, as Simon likes to say!

Congrats to Roger for beating us and class winner by attrition Dave Peters. We’ll be back! Due to the steering changes the bike now handles far better than it ever did, with no tendency to flop towards full lock like it always had. The steering is lighter and more confidence-inspiring, so when all the other issues are sorted we know we can run quicker than our PB of 6.54.

Thanks to our tenacious team Mike Hand, Dave Woodard, Simon Campbell and Mick Bisson for sticking with it, and to all our sponsors listed below. There is still room on the fairing for a couple more if you would like to join them! Sponsoring us for a YEAR can cost as little as what you’d pay for a single ad in a magazine. Contact us if you’d like to be a part of our efforts.

AC Schnitzer UK – the premier aftermarket tuner for BMW & MINI

AS Transport – HIAB crane services. Need a lathe moved? These are your guys.

Auto Electrical Parts (AEP)

Mobihose – hydraulic hose and service

Leeks Landscapes – class sponsor

Suffolk Pool Company – design to completion

Owen Developments – suppliers of our turbos and wastegates for many years

Horsepower Factory UK – support with our electronics

Green Light Nationals 2022

The GLNs have been kind to us in the past – winning both days and setting records in 2018 was a major factor in us winning the championship that year – and it’s a relatively low key event which means plenty of runs. Following our PB 6.549 at the Summernationals we were cautiously optimistic with more power loaded in for the next runs. As usual though, nothing comes easy…

Regular crew man Simon couldn’t make the event so long time friends Dave Woodard and Kermit (Graham) stepped in to deliver the bike to the track, crew and handle the startline duties. Thanks chaps! A nice surprise was seeing a pic of Storm in the event programme too.

Q1 the bike conked out on antilag. We tried again but it stalled on the launch. Back in the pits we eventually found that the ignition fuse which blew at the last even had not been refitted properly. A last minute thrash meant we just made it for Q2. With the bike putting up a bit of a wrestling match when the front wheel touched down (more on this soon) we ran a 6.94 shutoff to qualify #1 for eliminations. With some attrition in the other bikes, we got a bye run into the semi-final.

The bye run gave us PB 60′ (1.07) and 330′ (2.78) times but then wheelspin and a shut off 7.9 at 115mph.

In the semis we pulled a huge and totally unnecessary cherry red against Box of Frogs Roger Moore, followed by tyre shake mid track. Cracked under the pressure obvs! Well done to Roger and game over for us for the day. Congrats also to Louis Davies who went on to win day 1.

Q1 on day 2 saw another PB to 60′ of 1.061, then wheelspin, hit the rev limiter which killed the ignition with the front wheel in the air, slamming it down hard enough for the front mudguard to hit the fairing and skew the front wheel sideways. Then it came back with such force (10,000 rpm and 50psi boost) it threw me back, opening the throttle to hang on. Luckily I got it shut and avoided the right wall.

We decided on calming it down a bit for the next qualifier to get one in the bank, ran another 1.06 to 60′ but then our CO2 bottle ran out and we coasted to a 14 sec run with no drive from the air clutch. At least we had qualified.

With only 3 bikes remaining (poor old Tony Clark had detonated Phil Crossley’s freshly rebuilt motor and Dave Peters was also out) some rather confusing pairings put us against Roger Moore again. A cautious 0.33 reaction time against his 0.27 didn’t really hurt, but I once again mistakenly shifted from 3rd back to 1st gear at half track and had to hurriedly shift 2-3 and give it a squirt before Roger caught me up. Our 7.0 @ 191 beat 7.5 comfortably though.

Into the final against quick-reacting and consistent Louis and we decided to take no chances. We’d taken 5psi out of the big turbo on each of the previous runs, but still the bike was breaking traction at the 60′ so we took another 5psi out.

Watch the result here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXCr_Q8QTm0&t=36084s

6.544 beat our previous best by just 0.005s and gave us our first event win in 4 years. Hooray! We’d also run 1.06 to 60′ three times, which is encouraging for the future.

More pics to follow.

Thanks to the whole team and to our sponsors for making it happen:

AS Transport – HIAB crane services

Auto Electrical Parts

ARP bolts #1 in fasteners

Leeks Landscapes – class sponsor

Owen Developments – turbos and wastegates

Mr Sticker – signwriting and decals

Horsepower Factory UK – support with our electronics.

Festival of Power 2022

The winter break was not uneventful. Kermit got married. We mourned the loss of our racer friend Tina Hambidge. US racer Bill Vose shocked us all with a string of 6.0s on his Busa-based funnybike, destroying rear tyres in the process. Our friend Fast Fil retired, for now, striking a deal for his bike with the Cannon Racing team.

Mick, Dave and Simon got to work repairing and remaking some parts to make us more reliable in 2022. A rear facing, as opposed to side facing, exhaust should help the bike go straighter. New injector mounts, ice tank, clutch plates and gearbox hubs. Work was still in progress when the traditional Easter meeting sprung.

We had already tested the weekend before, which revealed that the “unchanged” clutch had, in fact, changed significantly. We checked the bottles, lines, solenoids and controller, all of which were in perfect working order, which left the clutch itself. It seems new flat plates and a new drive plate mounting method meant new settings would be required, and the only way to arrive at them would be trial and error.

The first runs saw the engine bog badly, barely getting away from the startline, and acting jerkily driving forward to the burnout area. Patiently altering the settings with educated guesses, we progressed to a 9 second run, then a 8.0, but then a pop at the end of that run bent the single throttle butterfly 45 degrees, revving the engine with the throttle closed. Mick hammered it flat on the towbar of the van and we were good to go again, but the next day the bike was misfiring and popping in the burnout and launch, and a number of sensors had given up the ghost too, so we packed up and came home.

Later examination of the remaining datalogged sensors showed a ref/sync error, which means the cam and crank sensors are not in agreement about position. We’ll look at these with our tame ECU man Mark Harrison at Horsepower Factory soon. In the meantime, we’ve pulled out of the Springspeed Nationals as we don’t have time to fix the bike by then.

Congrats go to the Warpspeed Racing team for the event went and a STORMING 6.32 @ 213mph European record by Stu Crane in the final. Very well done sir!!

A huge THANK YOU to our new sponsor, Keith at Auto Electrical Parts UK, who has paid for our fuel for the year. Be sure to check them out here:


Thanks also to Michael Lines and Per @ Bentec for their help and support with parts over the winter.

Pics from Fredy, Sarah, Simon and Mick.

Euro Finals Shootout 2021

With travel to the UK for most European competitors out of the question (although some incredibly determined racers did actually make it), the Euro Finals was downgraded to a national event, albeit with a good turnout of fuel cars and bikes. For us this meant running in the Funnybike class as usual, and not in Top Fuel bike as we usually do at European rounds.

After the unsettled year we have had we chose to run the Thursday test day immediately prior to the event to make sure everything, including the rider, was working as it should. The first test run gave a promising 1.08 to 60′ with a little tyre shake and 2.88 to 330′, but the front wheel bobbled then washed out on landing. We decided to try lowering the wheelie bars a little and adjusting the handlebars for the next run.

After a break for some rain we went to the start but the bike would not shift gear – wires to the gearchange button had broken off.

Around 4pm we tested again with a PB 60′ of 1.079, but I extra shifted from 3rd back to first gear (a software protection we had to prevent this has got lost along the way), which doesn’t do any damage to the engine but does ruin any chance of a decent run. Also the small turbo oil drain line came off, giving me shiny legs and making quite a mess. No damage was done but we retired for the day to clean up and take stock.

Friday was the first qualifying day for the event, but after the first session burnout the engine refused to idle. Back in the pits we adjusted the idle screw and all seemed well. After a good amount of rain the second qualifying session happened at 5.45pm. Again the engine tried to die after the burnout. Simon and Santa Pod chief starter Ian Marshall pulled the bike back to the start line while I tried to keep the throttle partially open but the bike was pointing heavily to the right. Setting off with a brisk 1.09 to 60′ we just about missed the right wall with a shutoff 7.6 to qualify 5th, but a small fire occurred in the shutdown area when the cam cover breather hose and some wires got close to the hot exhaust. On top of that, a sprung bolt used in the clutch pressure plate had snapped off, leaving Mick with an overnight repair job!

By Saturday morning Mick had fixed the clutch, but by then Fredy had found a loose injector while cleaning. Inspection revealed that an injector pocket welded into the inlet manifold had broken off inside, which almost certainly was the cause of the idling problem. Mick went back home again to fix the manifold, and Simon collected it from him later. The team then worked til 11pm to rebuild the manifold and surrounding parts, with no chance of any further qualifying runs. Thanks to Kermit who came to watch, but ended up getting his hands dirty! We couldn’t have got it all done without you.

Sunday then, we met #3 qualifier Dave Peters in round 1 of eliminations. Dave and his team had faced their own challenges over the weekend, piecing together one good engine out of three overnight and almost beating his PB in the process. Our burnout and staging procedure went fine, but 0.5 seconds into the run we lost all boost and Dave took the win.

We’ll be looking into the loss of boost, and the fuel fumes which have been getting worse all year, before the next event at the end of September, the National Finals.

Congratulations to Mark Smith for the event win and his first six second run. Now you know what arm-stretching turbo power feels like! Nice dance moves too!

Commiserations to Tony Clark and others who suffered engine damage after some great performances.

Thanks to our hard working team who all pulled together to get us to the eliminations; Mick H, Simon, Dave, Mik B, Fredy and Sarah, and to the Santa Pod crew who let us do what we do and keep us as safe as possible.


Pics from Sarah White, Santa Pod, Pudgey’s Pics and Blackett Photography.

Green Light Nationals 2021

We were in optimistic mood heading for this event, but a test day immediately prior to the first day soon dampened our spirits. A test launch netted a very lazy 1.16 to 60′ and 3 seconds to 330′. The data log revealed low boost. After checking all the pipes, clamps, and the exhaust for leaks, Mike found that the wastegate housing had gone slightly out of round and wasn’t sealing properly. He took it home for machining that evening, but the next morning a quick test on anti-lag showed the problem persisted.

Further checks for leaks turned up a loose exhaust clamp in a rather inaccessible position. By the time this was fixed, we had missed the first round of qualifying, and subsequent rounds were rained off so we didn’t qualify at all!

With rain also forecast for eliminations day we hung around for a while hoping to make at least a demo pass but by lunchtime decided to pack up and go home. That’s drag racing (or not)!

Summernationals 2021

The Summernats is an event we always look forward to and occasionally do well at. This year brought challenges, but was not without its rewards.

We elected to run the RWYB Friday test day before the event, to test the new clutch spigot and make sure there were no other problems before Saturday qualifying. We anticipated putting in 3 test passes, weather was hot and sunny with a slight tailwind.

Test 1: Bike drifted left so backed off to 40% throttle at 330′ then a squirt of power before the finish. 1.13′ to 60′ and 7.04 @ 192.

Test 2: shutoff for no boost (programmer error) and we also had an oil leak from a pump fitting, both easily fixed.

Test 3: 1.10 to 60′ and 6.67 @ 210mph. We put in a little more clutch for this run, which improved the 60′, and a little more boost brought us close to our “normal” run pace, but after the finish line the bike turned scarily hard left (from the right lane) and almost hit the left wall with the bike flopping from right to left, damaging the ancillary drive pulley.

Investigation revealed that the front tyre had contacted the inner fairing, wearing a hole in it and causing the front wheel to lock up on the brakes. Over the winter we’d reduced the steering rake and now there wasn’t enough clearance for the suspension to move fully. Mick H tidied up the pulley Friday night and Saturday morning the team cut the centre of the fairing piece away. The two remaining outer pieces were then bonded to the rest of the fairing. We checked clearance by pulling the forks down with a ratchet strap. More on this later…

Saturday morning dawned hot and sunny and we elected to make a banker pass to make sure we qualified.

Q1: 1.11 to 60′, 4.36 at the eighth and 7.65 @ 123mph at the finish, shut off at 500′. Straight and easy, no dramas.

Q2: Match up with UK Funnybike record holder Stu Crane. Craney slightly ahead all the way until Lorcan went for 4th gear at the eighth (we only have 3 gears) which put the bike back into 1st gear. Unlike most bikes this doesn’t do any damage due to our planetary transmission, but it was a shame not to finish the run under power as it would have been close with Stu. Until fairly recently we had a software protection built in which ignores any attempted gearshifts after 3rd is selected, but somehow we’ve lost this along the way. 1.10 to 60′, 4.31 @ 165mph eighth and 7.22 at the stripe made us #2 qualifier.

Q3: with more boost and more clutch we saw our hardest launch yet, 1.085 to 60′ and our quickest 330′ ever, 2.78, with the bike carrying the front wheel through the first two gears but again heading left. On landing the front wheel tucked under, slid and the bike hit the wall side on. Lorcan kept the bike upright but banged his arm against the wall. There was no damage to the bike, but although a quick check at the Santa Pod medical centre showed nothing was broken Lorcan was unable to continue to eliminations the next day.

We’re still looking into what happened on this run but a photo by Sarah shows the front wheel locked up on landing from the wheelie, so we suspect it could have contacted the fairing edge with the handlebars turned and the forks compressed. For the next meeting we’ll be cutting the fairing edges back further, replacing the 3 year old rear tyre and also replacing the ancient and ineffective Kawasaki-style steering dampers that are fitted.

Needless to say we were disappointed with the end result, but encouraged by the short times which would have put the bike comfortably in the 6.4 second zone. Stu who went on to win with a string of 6.4s and 6.5s – maybe next time we’ll be able to make him work a bit harder for it.

Thanks go to our sponsors Owen Developments, Horsepower Factory UK and ARP Fasteners, to the many well wishers who visited our pit over the weekend, and of course to the Santa Pod medical team and track crew who looked after us so well.

Until next time, keep storming!

Festival of Power 2021

After the Springspeed Nationals in May we looked closely for the source of the misfire and found that the fuel pump was severely worn and unable to supply the pressure we run. With a good used spare in place we looked forward to putting in a decent performance at the three day Festival of Power meeting, postponed from its usual Easter date, but it was not to be.

A water leak from the ice tank, fuel leak, and an unintentional lane change in front of Jiri Lukes (sorry Jiri!) took care of three of our six qualifying chances. We missed one due to working on the bike, and pulled a red light when hot methanol fumes from the earlier fuel leak forced Lorcan to leave early. Which left us with one chance, at the final qualifying session of Saturday evening.

A decent burnout, wait for the green and get to the end of the track would see us in the eliminations, right? Wrong. On the launch a clutch component came loose (actually stripped the bolts holding it in place) depriving the clutch of CO2 pressure which holds the clutch pack together. Lorcan eventually limped the bike slowly over the finish line, but the Santa Pod timing gear had already timed out at 30 seconds and the run didn’t count.

It wasn’t all bad though, despite not making the eliminations. The red light run was something in the 6.7-6.9 range at 200+mph with turbo speeds encouragingly well under control and on only 45psi boost (compared to 60psi on our PB 6.56 run). Clutch slip was evident at the end of each gear too, due to the loose/leaking clutch component, so it would have been even quicker if everything had been functioning correctly.

Stu Crane was fast and consistent all weekend, a winning combination and a worthy winner! Congrats to Stu and Team Warpspeed! We know the Warpspeed team supported by Dan Wagner in the USA will be tough to beat in the Funnybike class this year, but we also know what we need to do for next time and look forward to it. Until then, keep storming!

Springspeed Nationals 2021

Over the winter and during lockdown Mick and Dave tackled many jobs on Storm including replacing a damaged sprag in the gearbox, making a new flat undertray for the fairing and also making a distinctive front mudguard to further improve the aerodynamics based on recommendations from our friends at UWTSD. New recruit Simon Campbell joined us as soon as virus restrictions allowed, and the bike paid a visit to Mark Harrison at Horsepower Factory UK to check a few things over. Finally ARP Bolts stepped up as sponsor for our fasteners for the new engine which Mick is building. Thanks to Nigel Atkinson from ARP UK for arranging this.

A test day quickly revealed that one of the sprags was in back to front (oops, hard to tell apparently) so our first proper outing of 2021 was the Springspeed Nationals, which usually takes place in April but had been postponed until May due to the obvious. Dale Leeks of Warpspeed Racing and Leeks Landscapes had put up £200 contingency to the funnybike class winner at the event in lieu of entering the meeting as his bike was not ready, so we were doubly enthusiastic to win and take his money!

A few days before the event, Race Engine Technology magazine published an article by renowned American Tuner Shane Tecklenburg about a 4 cylinder compound turbo, EFI, methanol drag car he had been tuning. In the article Shane describes how he had been struggling to control the turbo speeds on the dyno (sound familiar) until he realised that the low pressure wastegate should be linked not to the inlet manifold, but to the pipe exiting the low pressure turbo. According to Shane, this simple change made the compound system much easier to control, so Mick immediately copied it, as we had been struggling with this same issue for some time.

We opted to try the test day immediately prior to the event on Friday 21st May, but it rained and no runs were made. Saturday was forecast by the Met Office to be dry all day, but it wasn’t to be. Between the showers and with “educated guess” settings in the boost controller we did get one test launch. The Pod crew sprayed the start area of the track for us with traction compound and the bike launched surprisingly hard, close to our best ever 60′ according to our datalog and making 45psi boost at the hit. Unfortunately we received a red light and no time, possibly due to full staging before Stu Crane in the other lane (who went on to knock a whopping 3 tenths off his PB, congrats Stu!) had pre-staged.

Encouraged by the limited data gathered we elected to make no changes at all overnight, but due to yet more rain it was not until the following afternoon that we could try again. Releasing the anti-lag button for the burnout the bike engine coughed back, but seemed to be ok apart from a very low idle. On the launch though a misfire was immediately apparent, so the bike was nursed to a 7.9 quarter. Soon after it rained again and the meeting was brought to a close.

3 days of effort for one and a bit runs doesn’t sound like much, but you have to accept some rainy days to enjoy the sunshine. Mick and Dave are now looking at the cause of the engine cough ans subsequent misfire, but a leakdown and compression test showed no damage to the engine so we are looking forward to the Festival of Power Unlocked on 25th-27th June. If the new wastegate strategy works as well as we hope, it could be a game changer for us.

Storm crew member wanted

If you live the West London / Surrey area, have a passion for motorsport and want to become more involved in a hands-on and practical way we’d like to hear from you.

Following the passing of Barry Eastman in 2019 and with the rest of the team not getting any younger, we need someone for the 2021 season and beyond to help run the UK’s quickest Funnybike deep into the 6s at over 220mph. This is a voluntary role.

Duties will include helping to build and prepare the bike at our workshop in Chertsey, Surrey (approx 1 day or 1 evening per week to suit you). Loading and unloading the bike and equipment into/from our van before and after meetings (6 or 7 times a year). Helping at National and European meetings at Santa Pod, race bike pushing/towing and maintenance between rounds.

You’ll get to learn all about operating one of the quickest and fastest turbo bikes on the planet and, if you want to, the boost, fuel and clutch control systems we use including AMS1000, AMS2000 and Motec M800.

You’ll need energy, some mechanical aptitude, a good sense of humour and endless patience. Maybe you already know one of us and want to help? Or maybe you’re studying motorsport and just need some practical experience. We only race at Santa Pod so this usually means camping overnight during race meetings.

Contact Mick Hand on 07947 802309 or handbell@btinternet.com or

Lorcan Parnell on 07947 569920 or lorcanparnell@gmail.com