Whilst Team GB competitors were winning Gold
Medals in British rider Ian King’s home town of London his own Gulf Oil
Dragracing – Grand Prix Originals Top Fuel Bike team won Gold at Dragracing’s
NitrOlympx in Hockenheim, Germany, increasing their lead in the European
Hot, sunny and most importantly, rain free conditions were forecast for the weekend
and it looked as if the exuberant fans of over 60,000 were in for a thrilling
FIA and UEM race event.
However, rumours of a track problem initiated from the previous weekend’s Test and Tune
event were confirmed upon arrival at the track.For those who may be unaware, Hockenheim boasts both the F1 circuit and the
standalone permanent dragstrip. As can be seen the F1 Circuit does not share
any part of the dragstrip, but the run off area from the famous Sachs Curve indeed
According to the organisers there is a requirement from the FIA that `excessive rubber’
be cleaned from the track in this area. Although not a new ruling, it is
claimed the requirement was reinforced after a bad accident last year during a
GT Series race when a car ran over the edge coming out of the Sachs curve, hit
the wet from rain on the drag strip and then slid at a very high speed into the
wall, seriously injuring the driver.
The organisers claim the FIA said they would no longer sanction an FIA event of
any kind as long as the Drag Strip at the Hockenheimring was covered with
rubber and track bite and so they were `forced’ to clean the entire drag strip
from start area to past the finish line. This was completed in October last
year but unfortunately those responsible had high pressure cleaned the track
with 800 bar equipment that not only removed the rubber but also the bitumen
leaving the stone aggregate proud of the surface.
Disappointingly, this was seemingly only realised a few days before this event and despite
efforts by the track crew to sled and glue the surface it was to little effect.
After a number of incidents in qualifying the majority of the FIA Car
competitors held a meeting and it was decided that they would not race this
weekend. Conversely the UEM motorcycle competitors voted unanimously to race.
Final qualifying would prove that the track was very difficult for the +1000HP
machines, with King at `only’ fourth and current European record holder Peter
Svensson qualified in last position.
However, the team was quickly getting a hand on what was required to win here, judicious
use of the clutch, fuel and ignition settings coupled with careful and
responsive use of the throttle to keep the back tyre on the edge of breaking
Proof of this approach was seen when King made a demonstration pass at the start of
the Night Show, recording a 7.09 second pass that was to remain the quickest
time of all the bike classes that day.
For the first round King was in the favoured right hand lane to face Finland’s Kai Selkaama but it
was a holeshot that proved the difference between the two riders, King away first 0.179s to 0.237s
and with a better sixty foot time of 1.165s to 1.230s. Selkaama’s tyre was up
in smoke by sixty feet as King maintained traction before starting to smoke
about 400 feet out and the bike started to move to the right. King feathered
the throttle and got back on it and stayed just far enough ahead to take the
win with a 7.118s @ 201.34mph to the Finn’s quicker 7.092s @ 204.76mph.
The semi final was to pair King against current European record holder Peter Svensson of Sweden, who had proceeded
through what should have been a tricky first round against number one qualifier
Rene van den Berg after the Dutch rider was shut down on the line with a fuel
leak, affording Svensson an unopposed bye run.
Svensson was away first 0.147s to 0.192s with only a hint of tyre smoke. However, King had the better
sixty foot of 1.171s to 1.260s and King pulled ahead by the eighth 4.494s @ 169.85mph
to Svensson’s 4.749s @ 167.49mph. Svensson drifted towards the centreline and
took out the reflectors as King took the win with what was to remain the
quickest run of any motorcycle over the weekend, 6.857s @ 209.56mph to a
slowing 7.227s @ 177.12mph.
The final paired King against his fellow countryman Steve Woollatt, whose `Dealer’ team (including
former TFB rider Phil Baimbridge) were also using all of their experience of
running on variable tracks over the years to good effect this weekend.
King’s prior run gave him choice of his favoured right hand lane but Woollatt was away first 0.204s to
0.287s but with a gentler launch, 1.387s to King’s 1.224s.
The Dealer team started to celebrate as King’s tyre went up in smoke passing the Tree but he stayed with
it as Woollatt’s tyre hooked up and they ran side-by-side going towards the
eighth, a 4.827s @ 163.18mph for Woollatt to King’s quicker 4.809s @ 162.65mph.
King carefully feathered the throttle and his tyre stopped hazing past the
eighth and the bike started to pick up again to take this thrilling race by
only 0.0333s. with a 7.188s @ 189.76mph to Woollatt’s 7.304s @ 200.09mph.
The team next travel next to Tierp, Sweden for the penultimate round of the Championship leading both the
European and UK Championships and looking to defend their points lead.
The team are to contest all remaining rounds of the premier international championship in motorcycle
dragracing, the UEM Dragracing Championship:-
23-26 August – Scandinavian
Internationals, Tierp Arena, Sweden
6-9 September – European
Finals, Santa Pod, England
Photos courtesy of Ivan Sansom & Rose Hughes.
For more information on the
European Championship visit www.speedgroup.eu
team is extremely proud to be supported by many leaders in their chosen markets
in their challenge for the 2012 European Championship:-
APE – The
world’s most innovative manufacturer of aftermarket parts for race bikes
ACTION CAMERAS – Europe’s
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COMETIC GASKETS – The
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BELL HELMETS – The ultimate iconic helmet brand
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GOODRIDGE – The most innovative and the best in fluid transfer systems
PRIX ORIGINALS – The brand for drive and lifestyle, past and
GULF OIL INTERNATIONAL – The
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HYPERPRO – The leading producer of
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JE PISTONS – The world’s premier manufacturer of high performance forged pistons
KENT CAMS – Specialists in motor sport camshaft
manufacture, short runs and one -off’s
KIBBLEWHITE PRECISION MACHINING – The highest quality valve train components
KING RACING – The most successful Top Fuel Bike team in European Dragracing history
THOMPSON – Simply the best drag
race tyres in the world
MRE – Leaders in trackside support for drag race components nand air shifting
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
PAR WILLEN – Master webmeister and proprietor of HarleyDrags.com
PORTABLE SHADE – The best custom branded collapsible canopies
PRO ALLOY MOTORSPORT – The
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PUMA ENGINEERING – Manufacturer
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RSG CUSTOMIZE – The UK’s most creative website designers and
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WORLDWIDE BEARINGS – The
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ZODIAC – Europe’s largest supplier of performance and
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For more on information on King Racing,