FIM-E Nitrolympx 2018
NitrOlympX – 33rd edition
August 17-19, 2018
Words and photos Ivan Sansom & Rose Hughes
Top Fuel Bike
Super Twin Bike
Pro Stock Bike
Super Street Bike
Junior Drag Bike Cup
Final qualifying – Only change major change from Friday is Rikard Gustafsson taking over top spot in Top Fuel with a 5.918. However, in the unfortunate news, he had to bail off in the shutdown area and was sent to the hospital with a broken arm, ribs and a bruised liver. This was not how we wanted to see the first side-by-side five-second pairing to end.
Watch the LIVE Stream at 9am on Saturday at www.nitrolympx.de <- Scroll to the bottom of the page.
Top Fuel Bike
Super Twin Bike
Pro Stock Bike
Super Street Bike
Junior Drag Bike Cup
After a two month pause, the FIM-E drag bike championships resume at the always spectacular Hockenheimring in the upper Rhine valley with the Nitrolympx now entering its fourth decade and will no doubt attract the huge crowds that have been a feature of the premier straight line event in Germany since the mid-1980s. The Nitrolympx has been pivotal in deciding the destiny of the European titles in recent years and a good performance on the Rico Anthes Quartermile will place a team into title contention.
FIM-E Top Fuel Bike points
1. Filippos Papafilippou (Gr) 88
2. Rikard Gustafsson (Swe) 70
3. Lorcan Parnell (UK) 44
4. Eric Richard (Fr) 43
5. Steve Woollatt (UK) 26
The Top Fuel Bike category will have a number of subplots at the Nitrolympx as Rikard Gustafsson has been whittling away at his ET performance (now at 5.816) on the Nordic scene and a battle royale with Filippos Papafilippou is anticipated (with the possibility of the first side-by-side five-second pass in Europe also on the cards. There is also the probability of some substantial shuffling of the pack as neither Lorcan Parnell or Steve Woollatt will be in Hockenheim, so a decent run in eliminations from the nine entries is likely to reshape the top five.
Glenn Borg’s team manager Gabriel Briffa is hoping that new performance levels from the General Lee Funnybike will see the Maltese team climbing in the points: “The Main Event was our first official race this year. We did some testing in 2017 back in Malta and the bike showed great potential running consistently in the 6.7-6.80 range. On our second pass in Santa Pod, we did a huge PB of 6.57 at 206mph, the new track is awesome and can’t wait for the Euro Finals to be back there again. From high to mid sixes is a whole different ball game now and we are working hard to get back our consistency again, and maybe win a round or two! Special thanks to Glenn’s Highway Auto, Racetech by Tzanidakis, BB by Togias, Gabriel Briffa and Joe Briffa.”
Two of the Warpspeed Racing trio will be looking to repeat the success they had at the 2017 Nitrolympx where Dale Leeks recorded his first six-second pass and Stuart Crane racing to a runner-up finish. “Dale Leeks is confident that if the conditions are right another personal best will be possible on the Warpspeed Racing/MPM Funnybike.
Dale had electrical issues at the Main Event season opener, so entered the Summer Nationals at Santa Pod to test before heading to Germany. Not only did we improve on our previous best the bike ran consistently into the 7.0’s all weekend and in the eliminations ran a PB ET of 6.94. This was not without a few glitches so if we can sort these and the track is good to go in Germany Dale will be pushing for a 6.8 pass.
Stuart Crane has had his fair share of bad luck this season with parts failure causing damage in 2 engines. Both engines are rebuilt with differently sourced parts and are hoping to get back down to where he left off end of last season. Stuart has run a 6.81 with the cam snapped at 1000 foot and the bike bursting into flames [at the Euro Finals last year] so if it all comes together we could see a 6.7 from the bike in Germany. If the stars line up for the Warpspeed duo a side by side pair of 6’s is something that they have dreamed of for a long time and the Nitrolympx is where we hope to have the opportunity to do it!”
FIM-E Super Twin Bike points
1. Hans Olav Olstad (Nor) 86
2. Marcus Christiansen (Den) 68
3. Neil Midgley (UK) 47
4. Ronny Aasen (Nor) 44
5. Martijn de Haas (Ned) 25
The championship shuffling in Super Twin will be for the major places as early season leader Hans Olav Olstad is taking time out for a rethink after demolishing his personal best with a 6.319 and then doing something similar to a motor in Nordic action back in June. Marcus Christiansen has been consistently quick in Scandinavia so looks a likely favorite for the points lead although the other seven entries for the Nitrolympx might have something to say about that.
After a horrendous Main Event Martijn de Haas is looking to bounce back after managing to split a rod into a small pile of bits: “We found the cause of the bang as we broke a piece in the rear wheel, which caused a sudden peek in the rpm. We are still working to not only fix it but make it stronger.
Big thanks to Vincent from Zodiac for helping us out, getting the engine back together again. Shows how much he and Zodiac are dedicated to the sport we love so much! See you in Hockenheim!!”
The Nitrolympx also sees the European debut of the World’s quickest Harley rider Tak Shigematsu (seen here holding that legendary 6.02 timing ticket at the Man Cup last November) to shake things up a bit onboard Juha Hintukainen’s TFH with at least a couple of stops on a mini-European tour for Crazy Tak.
FIM-E Pro Stock Bike points
1. Bertrand Maurice (Fr) 63
2. Alex Hope (UK) 41
3. Kenneth Holmberg (Swe) 24
4. Martin Bishop (UK) 22
5. Mark Smith (UK) 10
Pro Stock Bike is bouncing back as a class at the Nitrolympx with a doubling of the entry seen at the Main Event. Bertrand Maurice holds the top spot and has a tendency to go rounds at Hockenheim but there are a number of seasoned racers biting at his heels.
Alex Hope “I’m taking the stocker to Hockenheim but we’ve had no time to test and resolve the issues we need to work out following the dismal display at the Main Event [where Hope finished as runner-up]. Been busy since then flying and going quick and fast in the EDRS on the Super Street Bike. I decided to go pro stock for Hockers as the bike really does have potential. So we want to repeat the event win from back at the Main Event in 2016. Then we will take the SSB to Tierp [Sweden] to try and land a top 3 finish in the EDRS Championship. We’ve got some additional help in Germany from the late Paul Willis’s right-hand man Marc Fossey. Take Fossey, Ian Dales (ex-Dave Beck crewchief) and Chris Hope from the late 1990s and early 2000s and you have the dream team! Let’s see if we can make the team proud and take the win.”
The Swecomposite team led by Kenneth Holmberg are also taking aim “After some engine failures at Santa Pod we ended in third place. We did some testing during EDRS competition in Tierp with our spare engine. We’ve refreshed the primary engine and hopefully the results like we use to have and we will be looking to better our personal best numbers (7.11 306 km/h) and are really looking forward to the next two FIM races at Hockenheim and the UK. I have to thank my team members Kenta Carlsson and Gabbi Nikolovska and our sponsors Swecomposite, Boliden Fastigheter, Texstar, Birka Motorrenovering, Karling Racing.”
Dale Leeks also sent some news over about fellow Warpspeed Racing teammate Mark Smith: “Mark is geared up with 2 new engines to try to improve on his European performance. Both engines have had to be fully rebuilt, and due to part delivery are still being built as we pack to head to the boat. Hopefully, we can all improve our personal best times and we look forward to the event as always. Thanks to our sponsors Draper Tools, Warpspeed Racing, MPM Oils and of course not forgetting Smithy’s Mum!”
FIM-E Super Street Bike points
1. Rick Stubbins (UK) 186
2. Mogens Lund (Den) 171
3. Steve Venables (UK) 153
4. Franklyn Borg (Mal) 127
5. Rudi Zorzi (ITA) 122
Twenty-four entries for Super Street Bike will mean a 16 bike ladder and a lot of scope for the current leaders to trip up or stretch their points haul. Denmark’s Mogens Lund is definitely looking to fall into the latter group: “After Main Event we went to Tierp for the first round of the Nordic Championship with the SSB competition there getting tighter and tighter every year.
The performance of the Sunoco/HMC backed bike was good and we managed to get our first 6-second ticket. We made some changes for the next round at Alastaro in Finland as we had some things that we wanted to improve at the last race at that track. We had to deal with traction problems in qualifying and after sleeping on the tree, we did not get the rounds in to improve our setup. Our next stop was in Norway in record-breaking heat, we again had traction problems on Friday but got it under control Saturday. On Sunday the bike went back to its normal self, running low 7.0s. We hope that the track and weather at Hockenheim will be back to “normal” for the time of the year instead of the record-breaking temperatures we have had this year in northern and central Europe and also looking forward to meeting with the FIM family again!”
Fresh off the back of lowering the ET record at the Main Event Steve Venables is looking forward to the Nitrolympx with his daughter Jemma. “After using 2017 as a development year we decided to remove the charge cooler over the winter period but at the first round in Hungary we suffered badly from detonation resulting in damaging 2 motors. For the Main Event, we went back to what we knew which put it straight back into the low 7s then into the 6s, winning the meeting and reset the European record at 6.92. At the UK Summer Nationals, I reset both ACU records with 6.92 and 211mph, but I did run 215 which was my goal to run this year. Hopefully, we can go to Hockenheim which has never been a lucky place for me and be the first to run a 6 there. Over the winter we changed Jemma’s bike over to the new MoTeC M1 ECU, it’s given us some challenges getting it set up for Jem which resulted in some hairy rides at the Main Event which she handled brilliantly. We now believe we have got a good understanding of the setup and are confident that Hockenheim will be a good meeting for her.”
A lot of the 50,000+ crowd will be cheering for Thomas Granica over the weekend although he will be looking to get back on form at a race with heavy involvement from his sponsors: “The season was not all the way as planned as we were struggling with our engines.
At the Main Event, we ran a 7.4 in the second round of qualifying which was good for the top ten. So far so good but on the second day of qualifying it didn’t start. After we pulled the engine it was horrible what we saw when Dani opened it as, apart from the cases, everything was destroyed. As we had no spare we were spectating for the rest of the weekend. Fortunately, we are 8th in the points standings at the moment. I’m really looking forward to Hockenheim as I feel we are well prepared for the race. We have two brand new engines with the help from Mogens Lund and my sponsors turbo-total and Straßenreinigung Oberheiden. They are both well presented in Hockenheim as one is lane sponsor and the other one is cleaning the track. The goal is clear as we want to go fast and do some rounds. This weekend we are testing in Hockenheim as we want to sort out some cooling problems.”
FIM-E Junior Drag Bike Cup points
=1. Liam Holmgate (UK) 84
=1. Meggie Talbot (UK) 84
=1. Blade Dummer (UK) 84
The Nitrolympx should see an eight bike ladder for the Junior Drag Bikers which should go some way to breaking up the current tie in the points after the first two rounds.
More event information at www.nitrolympx.de
FIM-E Drag Bike Championship dates:
29th April-1st May Kunmadaras, Hungary (SSB & Jr Drag Bike)
25th-28th May Main Event, Santa Pod Raceway, UK (all classes)
17th-19th August NitrOlympX, Hockenheim, Germany (all classes)
6th-9th September European Finals, Santa Pod Raceway, UK (all classes)