- Strong comeback by NitrOlympX after a two-year break
- Sold-out night show on Saturday evening
- Records and personal best times
Europe’s biggest drag racing event, NitrOlympX, took place for the 35th time at the Hockenheimring last weekend – this year in front of more than 45,000 visitors. From 26 to 28 August 2022, about 200 teams competed for the FIA and FIM European Championship crown as well as the top-notch Sportsman classes on the Rico Anthes Quarter Mile. This year’s NitrOlympX was characterised above all by top racing performances and exuberant spectators. The many fans who had held on to their already purchased tickets during the two-year coronavirus break eagerly awaited the racing weekend.
“We are very pleased with the way things went last weekend. The weather was perfect, the racing was top-class and the atmosphere among teams and fans was excellent. Although the NitrOlympX has always been something special at the Hockenheimring, this year it was even more evident how much participants and visitors love this event. We expressly thank all participants for coming. Despite the fact that the last two years have been anything but easy for them, they once again succeeded in delivering a spectacular mix of extreme racing and show. We are also pleased that the varied programme of supporting events in the paddock was very popular among visitors. This motivates us for the coming events. We are already looking forward to next year,” was the joint statement of the Managing Directors of Hockenheim-Ring GmbH, Jorn Teske and Jochen Nerpel.
The big comeback of the dragsters at the Hockenheimring was celebrated in customary fashion on Saturday evening with a rousing night show. The fans used their mobile phones to transform the sold-out Motodrom into a billowing sea of lights. In front of this grandiose backdrop, the protagonists unleashed a veritable fireworks display of motorsport highlights: from breath-taking motorbike stunts by the Red Bull FMX Show to Top Fuel cars and Jet Dragsters that lit up the night with their flames, blazing across the stage with the force of an Apollo rocket. Things got emotional during the farewell run of drag racing legend Eric Teboul. The Frenchman ended his decade-long career in a wide variety of motorbike classes with a run on his unique Rocket bike to a standing ovation. With an incredible time of 5.123 seconds and a speed of 421.37 km/h, he set a two-wheel track record on the Hockenheim Quarter Mile in his last run.
Spectators as well as drivers and their teams were desperate to see adrenaline-charged drag racing. To ensure that the latter would find the Rico Anthes Quarter Mile in top condition for their quarter-mile duels, the team from Hockenheim-Ring GmbH were busy preparing the asphalt weeks in advance. And it was well worth the effort, even though the temperatures on Friday proved to be a little too high for top results. As evening approached, a short drizzle cooled down the track while boosting the amount of performance-enhancing oxygen in the air. The refreshing wetness had a positive effect on the conditions, which held for the rest of the weekend and set the stage for a record-breaking event.
Besides many personal best times and new course records, there was also a new German record to report. Team Cleber from Berlin set the Super Street Bike class record in both speed and time categories with Clemens “Wally” Walleit on a turbo Kawasaki, reaching 322.15 km/h in 7.339 seconds. His team-mate and son Ricardo Grauer also managed to significantly exceed his personal bests.
In the ‘Sportsman’ class Super Twin Top Gas, German Gerhard Caspari upped the European record to 7.275 seconds and 298.43 km/h.
In the biggest FIM Pro Stock Bike field of the season, Germany’s Karl-Heinz Weikum clocked 7.323 seconds to beat his finals opponent Pavlos Sidiropoulos (7.683 seconds) from Greece and take home the coveted NitrOlympX trophy.
Top Fuel driver Antti Horto won against Jndia Erbacher in the semi-final and met Susanne Callin, who had a solo heat in the semi-final, in the final. The Swedish native had similar luck in the final, as Horto had irreparably damaged his dragster in his semi-final. Despite Callin’s victory in Hockenheim, the weekend was a resounding success for Antti Horto, who left Hockenheim as the clear leader in the championship.
Andres Arnover, who had a bit of trouble keeping his Twin Turbo Mustang straight on the track in Pro Modified qualifying, beat British veteran Andy Robinson in the first elimination round. With identical reaction times and two extremely fast runs, the two racers crossed the finish line in a photo finish. In the end, Arnover’s margin of victory measured less than two centimetres! The final then crowned the entire spectacle, with Michel Tooren emerging victorious over Andres Arnover. Tooren minimally topped Arnover’s time of 6.024 seconds with a time of 6.020 seconds, even though Arnover clocked the higher speed.
Despite needing a replacement engine, Jimmy Alund prevailed over his opponents in the Pro Stock Cars category. With his victory in Hockenheim, he continues to keep the championship very exciting in the build-up to the grand finale in Santa Pod/England.
The next NitrOlympX will take place from 25 to 27 August 2023.