Following their success in securing an outstanding 11th FIM European Top Fuel Bike Championship with new rider Filippos Papafilippou from Greece, the team rounded off their season with a successful return to the US with former rider and continuing Team Principal Ian King in the seat for the MFC World Finals.
Long time team supporters John and Dea Morgan Racing from Palm Desert California joined Gulf Oil with support from Joe Koenig of Trim Tex, Jay Regan from MRE and Wayne and Donna Pingel from Pingel Enterprises to ensure the team made the most of the opportunity to race at the World Finals at South Georgia Motorsport Park in South Georgia, the final leg of the Manufacturers Cup season. The event saw more than 800 drag bikes competing from over the world, from Aruba, Norway, Finland, Sweden, the UK, Greece, India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Puerto Rico, and Canada, and many contestants, as well as fans, from the USA.
The team was eager to continue their successful season and set about tackling the tune for the all concrete surface. However, it proved to be a tough task for all racers running slick tires as the seemingly excessive use of track compound to aid the performances for the well supported Pro Street class proved a huge challenge for those with wide and flat tires. Pushing back after the burnout and staging issues arose for most of the slick and bar classes and caught out the Gulf Oil team more than most who were used to the more general application used at the combined car and motorcycle events at which they compete in Europe.
Despite the challenge the team ended up qualifying in the top half of the elimination ladder, but with the most challenging route to the final of Pingel Top Fuel.
In the first round of eliminations King overcame Top Fuel veteran and US number 2 Sam Wills with a fine 5.89 at 232 MPH
In the semi finals King ran yet another fi
However, the Gulf Oil team’s consistent five second performance was halted abruptly in the final round. After the team made a quick turn-around to make the final run in warm conditions they then waited patiently for the Brown & Bradley team to finalize their preparations. Further delay was encountered in the staging area before the track officials gave the belated signal to run but strangely without the usual track sweeping and dragging and with dew starting to form on the track. Once again the team struggled to push back from the burnout and when King `bunny hopped’ into pre-stage (as he was unable to push the bike with his feet in the normal method) he was unaware that his rear tire had `wound up’ as he tried to keep out of full stage (tire contact patch stuck to track, but wall wrinkling up like a spring). As he looked down and released the brake to enact the idle up valve the bike inadvertently `sprung’ forward into full stage and the tree immediately run whilst King was still preparing.
In any case the track conditions by then were marginal and he lost traction almost immediately whilst Mitch Brown made a great full pass of 6.20 seconds to take the win.
After an almost fairy tale ending a philosophical King said:
“What a great year! After Fil (Filippos Papafilippou) exceed
The Gulf Oil Drag Racing team uses and endorses exclusively Gulf Oil greases and lubricants in their history making machine. The team is extremely proud to be supported by many leaders in their chosen markets in winning the 2018 FIM European Top Fuel Bike Championship: –
APE – The world’s most innovative manufacturer of aftermarket parts for race bikes
BARNSDALE LEISURE – The UK’s Premier Knaus Caravan dealer
COMETIC GASKETS – The Premier Manufacturer of racing gaskets
DOMETIC – Mobile living made easy
GATES – The world’s most trusted name in drive belts, hoses and hydraulics
GOODRIDGE – The most innovative and the best in fluid transfer systems
GRAND PRIX ORIGINALS – The brand for drive and lifestyle, past and present
GULF OIL INTERNATIONAL – The world’s most iconic brand in automotive fuels and lubricants
GRAPHITE ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING – A leader in 3D printed technologies and rapid prototyping
H CRAFT CUSTOMS –- Race car preparation, roll cages, fabrication and custom projects
HOTROD HANGAR – Home of the world renowned custom artist Knud Tiroch
HYPERPRO – The leading producer of progressive suspension products for motor bikes
JE PISTONS – The world’s premier manufacturer of high performance forged pistons
JOHN AND DEA MORGAN RACING – The creators of the world’s most advanced New Age Funnybike
KIBBLEWHITE PRECISION MACHINING – The highest quality valve train components available
MICKEY THOMPSON – Simply the best drag race tyres in the world
MOTO-TREK – The fun of the open road, the luxury of home life
MRE – Leaders in trackside support for drag race components and air shifting systems
MTC ENGINEERING – Manufacturer of clutches for the fastest motorcycles in the world
NITROSHUTTER – Europe’s leading dragracing photojournalists
NCTENGINEERING – Manufacturer of the world’s leading non-contact motorsport torque sensors
NGK SPARKPLUGS UK – The world’s number one spark plug manufacturer
PORTABLE SHADE – The best custom branded collapsible canopies available
PRO ALLOY MOTORSPORT – The UK’s leading fabricator of alloy tanks, intercoolers and radiators
ROSE AND COMPANY – The UK’s largest importer and stockist of Thule RV products
SCOTT PERRI TRUCKING – Logistics solutions par excellence
TRIM TEX – The premier manufacturer of vinyl drywall beads & accessories
TRYKA LED – the UK’s cutting-edge LED lighting manufacturer.
VAN ES MOBILITY – The leading manufacturer of telematic products for management of moving objects
VANSON LEATHERS – The most iconic brand in motorsport leather goods
WEB CAMSHAFTS INC – Simply THE company for Top Fuel Bike camshafts
WORLDWIDE BEARINGS – The world’s leading supplier of ceramic bearings for racing
ZODIAC – Europe’s largest supplier of performance and aftermarket HD parts