Litlington, Cambridgeshire, UK, 26th June 2012
British rider Ian King and his Gulf Oil Dragracing – Grand Prix Originals Top Fuel Bike team followed their win at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend with another strong showing at the second round of the European Dragracing Championship at the impressive Tierp facility in Sweden.
However, in what is becoming a familiar situation this year, the team were thwarted in their quest for much needed on track experience as they continue the development of their advanced Puma machine. Miserable weather conditions forced the cancellation of day two of qualifying and the team had to settle for number two qualifying position going into eliminations day achieved with a slowing 6.62 @ 201.19mph on the second run of day one after the powerful machine got somewhat wayward mid track and King sensibly rolled off the throttle.
Eliminations day dawned grey and wet. It looked as if the event was going to be cancelled as persistent rain continued until mid afternoon when the hard working track staff’s work paid off with breaking sunshine and a dry track. King’s first round saw him line up against his final round opponent from the previous event, Sweden’s Rikard Gustafsson on the impressive Pro1 Puma Suzuki. However, it was not to be for the young Swede when a problem saw him dragged through the lights in stage and a resultant redlight. King took a lazy green and progressed through to the semi-finals with another slowing 6.66 @ 206.11 mph and the benefit of a bye run due to the vagaries of the progressive ladder system.
King chose what seemed to be the favourable right hand lane for his semi final bye run, and had agreed with Crew Chief Michael Beaumont to make a test launch and shut off at mid track. However, when King launched he sensed the track was up to more than he had previously been able to throw at it and nailed it almost all the way down the track to a crowd pleasing and personal best ever run of 6.10 @ 223.99mph to set up an exciting final against local hero Peter Svensson who was on his own record breaking weekend.
Beaumont arrived at the top end all smiles to collect his bike and rider with what seemed a comfortable position going into the finals. However, disaster struck on the tow back when the chain broke and jammed in the chassis, delaying their return to the pits and the looming finals.
And matters got worse when the team discovered the tyre had chunked and was missing rubber with no time to change that and the chain.
A frantic turnaround of the bike in the pits saw Zodiac Racing’s Job Heezen, Ton Pels and Vincent Pels helping to remove and replace the chain whilst the team went about their regular servicing duties. But, with no time to replace the ailing tyre the team went to the line with some trepidation.
However, despite one great pass in qualifying that assumed his number one position in the ladder (and one half of a potential new European record) Svensson had failed to reproduce in his two rounds of eliminations, and was the beneficiary of a no show from Nils Lagerlöf in the semis that saw him shut off when his machine veered towards the centreline in what could have been an upset for the current record holder.
King’s 6.10secs in the semis saw him with lane choice and the chance to run in the favourable right hand lane. He had it all to do against the home favourite who was in with a chance of establishing a new record if his form could return for the final and it was a tense affair as King took both prestage and stage lights first and waited for Svensson to follow. The tree ran and King was off and ahead with a substantial hole shot and what seemed could be an unassailable lead for the first 100 metres or so. However, King’s machine seemed to be suffering from lack of grip and got into a violent mid track wobble that saw King get off the throttle as Svensson powered past to take the event win (and reset the European record).
The team next travel to Alastaro, Finland for the third round of the championship intent on improving their points lead.
The team are to contest all rounds of the premier international championship in motorcycle dragracing, the UEM Dragracing Championship:
- 5-8 July - FHRA Nitro Nationals, Alastaro, Finland
- 10-12 August - NitrOlympx, HockenheimRing, Germany
- 23-26 August - Scandinavian Internationals, Tierp Arena, Sweden
- 6-9 September - European Finals, Santa Pod, England
For more information on the European Championship visit www.speedgroup.eu
The 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 leading source for action sports cameras
- COMETIC GASKETS - The Premier Manufacturer of racing gaskets
- BELL HELMETS - The ultimate iconic helmet brand
- 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
- HYPERPRO - The leading producer of progressive suspension products for motor bikes
- 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 available
- KING RACING – The most successful Top Fuel Bike team in European Dragracing history
- MICKEY THOMPSON - Simply the best drag race tyres in the world
- MRE - Leaders in trackside support for drag race components nand 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 torque sensors for motorsport
- 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 available
- PRO ALLOY MOTORSPORT - The UK’s leading fabricator of alloy tanks, intercoolers and radiators
- PUMA ENGINEERING - Manufacturer of the world’s most powerful motorcycle engines
- RSG CUSTOMIZE - The UK’s most creative website designers and vinyl artists
- VANSON LEATHERS - The most iconic brand in motorsport leather goods
- WORLDWIDE BEARINGS - The world’s leading supplier of ceramic bearings for racing
- ZODIAC - Europe’s largest supplier of performance and aftermarket HD parts
For more on King Racing, visit www.kingracing.com