- Five FIM/E classes at the starting line
- Super Twin Top Fuel record holder Tak Shigematsu from Japan poised to compete
The 33rd NitrOlympX is set for action at the Hockenheimring from 17 to 19 August 2018. Around 260 international teams will vie against each other there in several hundred drag racing runs on the Rico Anthes Quartermile in the Motodrom. Divided into four car classes and five motorbike classes each, riders will compete for valuable points in the FIA and FIM/E Drag Racing European Championships. They will be joined by a host of ambitious amateur classes battling it out in exciting duals.
The Hockenheim quarter mile has always been an excellent strip for records, especially for motorbike racers. The expectations of all bike teams are just as high for this year’s event. For the Top Fuel, Super Twin Top Fuel and Pro Stock Bike classes, the NitrOlympX is the second out of a total of three stations towards the title. Having begun in Santa Pod (GB) in May, their season will continue in August on the Hockenheimring followed by a culmination at the Finals in September, again in Santa Pod. The FIM classes Super Street Bike and the new FIM class Junior Drag Bike also got off to a flying start in Kunmadaras (HUN), an opportunity to gain valuable points.
Top Fuel Bike
The Top Fuel Bikes enjoy an almost royal status among drag bikes. The four-cylinder engines deliver a power of around 1500 hp thanks to a compressor and turbocharger. These “HP monsters” can reach speeds of over 400 km/h and times of about 5.7 seconds on the quarter mile.
After the first round of the championship, Filippos Papafilippou from Greece leads the peloton with his Suzuki Pro Extreme – his score 88 points. “Lurking” behind with 70 points is Richard Gustafsson (SWE), who is racing his Puma Suzuki. Having bagged 44 points, the Brit Lorcan Parnell (Yamaha Puma) is also in the running against his competitors on the Rico Anthes Quartermile. With only three season races, the European Championship is still wide open at the NitrOlympX.
Super Twin Top Fuel
When riders get ready at the starting lights with their Super Twin Top Fuel bikes, bristling with 900 hp V2 engines, the distinctively powerful roars are enough to make anyone’s hairs stand on end – not just those of “Harley fans”. Per Bengtsson from Sweden holds the European record with 363.88 km/h, the Norwegian Svein Olav Rolfstad the best scope of 6.409 seconds on the quarter mile.
After the first “round” of the European Championships, Hans Olav Olstad (NOR) is in first place, having earned 86 points with his Puma. He is trailed by Marcus Christiansen from Denmark with 68 points, followed by the Brit Niel Midgley, emerging from Santa Pod with 47 points.
Although the German Christian Jäger, who entered with a completely new SSTF bike in 2017, was not able to gain any “race points” in Santa Pod, every race he successfully completed was extremely important to “break in” his new machine. The “Nitro Hunter” is already looking forward to his home race and those who know him are fully aware that he has used the time between the championship runs well to optimise his bike in a camouflage look. It looks like we’re in for no end of excitement. You can read an interview with the NitrOlympX local matador at www.nitrolympx.de/news.
Super Twin star guest Tak Shigematsu
Tak Shigematsu from Japan will be coming to the Rico Anthes Quartermile with probably the farthest journey a drag racer has ever travelled to the NitrOlympX. Tak is currently the fastest man in the world on a Harley Nitro Bike, with a time of 6.021 seconds. He will compete against an STTF bike ridden by Juha Hintukainen from Finland. Shigematsu – also known as “Crazy Tak” – has already made a name for himself with his outstanding performance in the American drag racing scene.
Pro Stock Bike
Like the Super Street Bikes, the Pro Stock Bikes are a counterpart to the “dreadnaughts” of the Top Fuel class. The look of the bodywork is reminiscent of a standard street bike. Any performance boost using nitrous oxide, compressors, turbochargers or similar is strictly forbidden. Yet the tuners of the best teams still get up to 600 hp out of their engines. The engines are usually four-cylinder models, but V-twin versions are also ridden. Both configurations enable times of nearly seven seconds and top speeds up to 308 km/h.
Frenchman Maurice Bertrand will be entering with 63 points from England with his Suzuki 1000 TLR. British racer Alex Hope came second place (41 points) on his home track, the Swede Kenneth Holmberg vying in third place for more crucial points at the NitrOlympX 2018.
Super Street Bike
“No Slicks, no Wheeliebar” is the motto of the Super Street Bikes. Turbochargers, compressors or nitrous oxide can be used to enhance performance. But only petrol may be used as a fuel, while no tyres other than normal road ones are allowed to be fitted.
Whoever thinks this bike class might not be as spectacular as the other classes is very much mistaken. In 2017, racers battled it out to “storm” across the Rico Anthes Quartermile with the first 6-second time. A number of very low 7-second times were scored side-by-side on the quarter mile, leaving spectators gasping for breath. But who said success comes easy? The first “6” second record is up for grabs this year – that’s something all riders agree on and a target they’ll do almost anything to beat.
After two races in Hungary and Santa Pod, British racer Richard “Rick” Stubbins is currently top of the ranking table with 186 points. Hot on his heels is Mogens Lund (DEN) with 171 points, while Steve Venables (GBR) is the third member of the pack heading to Hockenheim with 153 points. German entrants Clemens Walleit and Thomas Granica are in 7th and 8th place, while Knut Möller is in 21st place.
Junior Drag Bike – Youngsters on two wheels
2018 marks the introduction of a new class in the FIM/E racing calendar. The prize here is the Junior Drag Bike Cup. Teenagers and children aged between 8 and 18 can take part. Racers cover the eighth of a mile based on a specified time (ET).
As with the adult riders in the ET classes, the rule here is to achieve a defined time (according to age) as precisely as possible. Here the bikes reach top speeds of up to 160 km/h.
After the Junior Dragsters, the Junior Drag Bikes provide an opportunity for youngsters to enter the fascinating world of drag racing early on. Many of today’s champions, like brothers Dennis and Timo Habermann, gained their first experienced in the Junior Dragster.
FIM classes are not the only category of drag bikes – there are also Sportsman Funny Bikes, which can reach speeds of over 340 km/h, as well as the Super Twin Top Gas Bikes, these guaranteed to get any “Harley heart” racing. Although not FIM-certified, these riders are mad keen to succeed in bringing their Winners Cup home.
Friday tickets are available from €25.00 and a weekend ticket for three days of action starts at €69.00. All tickets include entry to the paddock and are available through the Hockenheim Ring ticket hotline on +49 (0)6205 950 222, in the online ticket shop or from the box office (subject to availability).