Neil Midgley’s progress in taming his Puma Engineering bike paid off at the final round of the FIM European Drag Bike Championship at Santa Pod Raceway, England, after he fought his way through eliminations to reach the final of the most prestigious event on the European calendar.

However, the event had a tinge of great sadness as the crowds of spectators not only paid their respects to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II following her death on the first day of the event, but also to a great friend of the team and former FIM Top Fuel Bike Championship winner John Morton who, on sadly died shortly after returning to the pits from a qualifying run in his Super Gas car. On the day of the race, around the same time, a flawless 2 minute silence was announced in honor of the Queen and John.

The King Racing / Cannon Motorsports team kept a low-key mood for the event, but Midgley still finished 2nd with 5-second passes, including a crowd-pleasing 5-second run against Gustafson, with Midgley’s best early shutout of 5.976s @ 204.30 mph pass. He then steadily progressed through eliminations, beating Rene van Den Berg with another early 5-second pass to end the Dutch riders’ hopes of a European Championship crown, followed by fellow British rider Al Smith in Phil Beimbridge’s innovative machine designed for meeting with the current new European champion and European speed record holder Rikard Gustafsson in the final.

The final between the two 5-second competitors took place as night fell and the track began to cool. Midgley was very sharp at the lights with a reaction time of 0.09 seconds and was ahead of the Swedish rider all the way until around the 1000ft mark when Midgley let off the throttle in the dark to allow Gustafsson to take the lane.

Despite competing in only half of the FIM championship events this season, Midgley finished third in the championship behind Rene van den Bergh and Rikard Gustafsson, both of whom competed in all rounds.

The team is looking forward to the final race of the season, the ACU UK Drag Race Championship Final at Santa Pod on the weekend of 24/25thousand September Live news and free streaming of this event can be found on Eurodragster’s excellent event coverage page here:

Photos courtesy of Ivan Sansom and Rose Hughes.

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