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 email@example.com or
Lorcan Parnell on 07947 569920 or firstname.lastname@example.org
will go to the British Heart Foundation and Lymphoma Research Trust,
in memory of Barry.
donations by cheque can be sent to: In memory of Barry Eastman, Lodge
Brothers, 7 Green Lane, Shepperton, TW17 8DP, and there will be a
collection box on the day should anyone prefer to donate then.
With the Festival of Power at Easter being rained off the Main Event was the first chance for many teams, including us, to try their machines and dial in any changes made over the off season. It would also be our first runs on the all-new concrete surface laid by Santa pod over the winter.
Changes for us included the longtail seat (suggested by UWTSD as an interim measure while they work on the scans they took of the bike in the winter) and new high-friction clutch plates. A Thursday test run showed we weren’t too far off:
A 60′ test later on Thursday gave a better 1.17, but Friday was rained out, giving us a chance to test the new parachute system on Storm, the results of which were inconclusive 😉
Saturday qualifying gave us a 10.4 and a 7.4, only good enough for 9th spot. Meanwhile, Fast Fil stunned everyone with his first passes on what was Ian King’s bike – 6.0 and 5.7 @ 236mph! This was on a “soft” setup with less nitro and ignition to let Fil get a grip on his new ride. He certainly did that, congrats Fil!!
For reasons I can’t remember we didn’t make first session on Sunday, which left the final session at 6.30pm. As Eurodragster put it “Lorcan in the Last Chance Saloon stood up and started shooting the glasses behind the bar”, as we ran 6.85 @ 205mph to qualify 5th. We were back in the game!
Round 1 and Glenn Borg didn’t make it to the line with an engine issue, which was lucky for us as he had run 6.57 in qualifying. Storm moved towards the centre line for a poor 8.02 but was through to the next round against #1 qualifier Fil.
Fil left late, 0.37 to 0.14 but by 330′ he was past us and there would be no doubt about the winner from then on. We put on a good show though, running a PB 6.74 @218mph. Fil went on to win the event against Rikard in an epic battle, 6.01 to 6.02.
After missing the National finals the team worked hard to make new primary drive gears and get us to the Straightliners event in mid-October 2017. The effort was rewarded with a PB 6.74 @ 210mph, and then the bike immediately torched the head on the next run when one of the power rings let go. Even so, it was a good note to end the year on and we had 5 months or so to come up with a new plan.
After repairing the boost hose and the broken chain we’re good to go at the last meeting of the year, the Extreme Bike Weekend at Santa Pod. A bikes-only event with around 80 entered, but late in the year so no chance of a warm track.
Q3 6.89 rolled off at 1000′ as moving towards the centre line, with this run keeping us at #1 qualifier, 0.6 seconds ahead of second place with the rest of the field struggling for grip.
Julian Hunt pics:
In Q4 the bike clutch didn’t disengage after the burnout, stalling the engine. The team stripped the clutch and gearbox overnight, and re-seated a bearing in the gearbox that could have been the problem, but in the first elimination round Sunday morning the bike did the same thing, putting us out. Despite the cold weather though the bike took 6 men to unstick it from the track after the burnout!
The Storm team thrashed to get the engine and turbo repaired in time for the National Finals, including skulling the damaged head:
But it was not to be. On the first qualifying run the big turbo again popped its connector hose off. And on the second run the launch was very aggressive, snapping the drive chain.
Sarah White photo.
Fans of Barry’s “Tokyo Express” CBX funnybike might remember a similar incident where the chain broke and almost sawed the frame (and Barry’s leg) in half. Thanks to Barry’s experience Storm has the chainguard integrated with the frame which is very strong and minimises the chance of the chain hitting the rider’s leg.
We had another drive chain but unfortunately the broken one went through the alternator and we didn’t have another one of those, so once again we were out! The overboost was later traced to the fire which had melted the braided hose to the wastegate on the inside, blocking it and preventing the boost controller from working.
Set up, scrutineered, everything good to go, right? Nearly…
On the first run the large turbo came off its exhaust connector on the launch. The turbo dropped about an inch and touched a wire, which caught fire. 7.39 with a PB 60′ of 1.087 though qualified us 5th after the first round even though most of the run was on minimal boost. The small fire was extinguished in the waiting area at the finish after a brief “FIRE…FIRE” moment.
It was a tad busy on the banking…
Unfortunately on our second run just edging forward to the burnout box there were some unpleasant noises from the motor before it stalled and locked up. Three valve heads in cylinder number 2 had come off, one lodging itself in its port and the other two damaging the piston and head so we were out of the competition.
One theory is that a valve was slightly bent at the previous meeting when we popped the manifold. Valve spring pressure can mean that a slightly bent valve will straighten up and seal properly when it closes, only to return to being bent again when it opens, This repeated flexing ultimately causes the valve to fail some time later.
We’ll need to get the head skulled or welded and fit all new valves but hope to be out again either at the National Finals or the Extreme bike weekend. In the meantime good luck to our fellow competitors in Top Fuel Bike, see you next time!
PS congrats to Rene van den Berg on a storming 6.15 @ 229mph!
July and August 2016 were a bit difficult for us. We went to the Summernationals with the turbo repaired and some new EGT sensors in the hope of gathering some more accurate data but a loud pop on the burnout of the first run again killed the small turbo. The carbon seal hadn’t worked.
With the seal replaced with a stronger version we went to a RWYB at the Japshow but the same thing happened again, only this time on the first run and it blew the inlet manifold apart for good measure. The team decided to bit the bullet and move the throttle body from in between the large and small turbos to after the small turbo. Lots of time and fabrication, but it would mean the turbo wouldn’t need a carbon seal.
The Main Event 2016 was our first ever venture with Storm into European competition and the FIM Top Fuel Bike class. As no Funnybike class exists under FIM rules turbo bikes (and any other non-nitro bikes) are allowed to enter but can only qualify if they have previously run in the sixes.
We left the bike largely unchanged from the Festival of Power with the exception of asking sponsors Owen Developments to fit a carbon seal to the small turbo to prevent oil getting sucked through it. A more complex procedure than it sounds as it required a new turbine shaft! Lorcan had a bit of running around to do to obtain his FIM European licence but it all got done in plenty of time.
The first day of the four day event was set aside for the Sportsman classes so we spent the day setting up our pit and getting scrutineered.
We got a nice mention in the event programme too.
Main Event programme
Saturday dawned cloudy but dry with a tailwind. Scheduled to run around 11.30am a big Pro Mod crash at the top end delayed proceedings for everyone and we ran at around 3pm. After a strong burnout the engine revs weren’t steady at idle and tried to pull the bike forward as Graham was pushing back. David Warren signalled a bye-run but after a solid 1.10 sixty foot the engine went flat and once again popped a cam cover bung out.
Santa Pod photo
Julian Hunt photo
Holding on to get a qualifier in the bag a rather mild 7.2 @ 177mph was the result which qualified us around 4th after the first session. With the bung glued in place and the oil mess cleaned up we went out for session two a couple of hours later but the bike wouldn’t burn out.
Investigation showed the plug on cylinder 3 had lost its electrode and there were burns into the head and sealing rings on 1 & 3. We were out of the event.
Yvona Kneblova photo
We finished up qualifying 6th, pleased to qualify but so disappointed not to have done better. Ian King dominated the class with 6 out of 7 runs in the fives and the event win. Well done Ian! Rikard Gustaffson also ran an excellent 6.0 on only his fourth ever quarter mile pass on his new Top Fuel bike, shutting off at 1000′ and only using first gear!
We now have to get the head repaired and correct whatever caused the damage. See you at the Summer Nationals.