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NitrOlympX, Hockenheimring, Germany 2016

The 2016 edition of the NitrOlymp’X came a mere three weeks after the German F1 Grand Prix, which in the past has proved to be a bit of a challenge given the hitherto overzealous scrubbing of the Rico Anthes Quartermile that sits alongside the circuit track. Thanks to the lessons learnt over recent years, there can be no doubt that the all asphalt track had been groomed almost to a state of perfection in the short period that the track crew had got their hands on it with some very impressive numbers put down during the course of what was a weather abbreviated weekend (Saturday’s qualifying being just about a total wipe out for the FIM-E professional classes).

FIM-E Top Fuel Bike

Top Fuel Bike had the top four qualifiers firmly in the six second zone, headed by Ian King with a skaty 6.125 and Rene van den Berg in at number two with a new PB (something of a theme for all pro classes over the weekend) of 6.270/228.15, Rikard Gustafsson at three with a 6.503 and Fil Papafilippou breaking the fuel bike hegemony with a 6.921 from his PXM nitrous Suzuki. Raceday was far from straightforward (the first round of eliminations finally being completed at 3.20pm due to a head scratching schedule and some olidown and soggy stuff delays), but the first round had Gustafsson improve to a 6.024 (a mighty fine PB halfway through his first season with a fuel bike) and King similarly in a six zeroes but illegitimately thanks to collecting the finishline blocks. The semis had King more conservative with a 6.306 to defeat Stuart Crane whilst the van den Berg v Gustafsson match up saw a very long tree set by error (van den Berg taking the ‘non-win’ with new PBs at 6.16/232.83) which resulted in a protest, re-run which only van den Berg showed for and a fair amount of confusion ensuing. The final would result in another solo for the Dutch rider as King’s ride dropped oil pressure during the burnout and shut-off before staging.

Top Fuel Bike Top Fuel Bike Top Fuel Bike

FIM-E Super Twin Bike

The Super Twin category was seemingly more straightforward with six entries and Samu Kemppainen leading the list with a 6.602 second pass. The field bunched up a bit in eliminations with Kemppainen (6.560), Martijn de Haas (6.834) and Ronny Aasen (6.826 over Roman Sixta’s 6.936) progressing to the semifinals. From the trio Kemppainen belted out a 6.499/212.93 (which we are pretty sure is a new Hockenheim track record) on a solo onboard his Victory backed injected V60, whilst de Haas carded a 6.815/208.58 to defeat Aasen; the Zodiac blower bike succumbing to valve train issues yet again. De Haas got the leap off the line in the final and rumbled to a 6.742/211.99, but the Finn in the other lane rode past with a 6.512/209.13 to remain undefeated in his chase for at least three championship titles in 2016. The de Haas brothers were also upbeat after the event as they appear to have left some of their early season troubles behind them.

Super Twin Super Twin Super Twin

FIM-E Pro Stock Bike

If Super Twin was comparatively straightforward, Pro Stock Bike had a few curves along the way, starting with qualifying where a number of the entries appeared to be caught out by the bite on the startline and a number bogging down just after launch (the limited number of sessions reducing the qualified field to an eight bike rather than sixteen bike ladder that the number of entries merited). One of the biggest upsets happened in the first round of eliminations as incoming points leader Alex Hope’s Suzuki quit before the burnout, putting a big dent to the Brit’s championship aspirations and more curious as the bike fired up immediately on return to the pits with Hope having the solace of it not being a camchain failure. The ladder boiled down to a match-up between Gert-Jan Laseur (the Eurol/Zodiac G2 Buell recording a 7.252 to head qualification) and Fredrick Fredlund on his PAF Suzuki (a 7.285 giving him second spot on the qualifying sheet). Both had improved into the 7.1s at the semifinal stage, Laseur’s 7.155 defeating a 7.290 from Martin Newbury and Fredlund’s 7.102 taking out Len Paget’s 7.388. Despite getting the startline advantage, Fredlund picked the wrong time to fall back from his final four pace, carding a 7.197 with the Dutch rider in the opposite lane riding around him to post a 7.067/187.85 (a new PB) and push ahead in the title chase with one round remaining.

Pro Stock Pro Stock Pro Stock

FIM-E Super Street Bike

If things got a little weird in Top Fuel Bike they went haywire in the Super Street Bike class. Qualifying seemed to go reasonably to script with Shawn Buttigieg low with a 7.148/207.40 and Steve Venables following in close order with a 7.163/203.31. although the reduced qualification sessions left a few on the outside and no seven second bump to the sixteen bike ladder. Eliminations had Buttigieg depart in the opening round and Venables at the quarter final stage, with Allan Quist Jensen (in his first appearance in the class) converting his defeat of Buttigieg to a semifinal finish (taken out by Rick Stubbins with a 7.122) and Venables’s vanquisher Sotiris Tsakiris falling to Garry Bowe at the final four stage, Bowe pulling out a 7.068 (the Brit having previously set class low ET with a 7.048/210.34 in the quarters, the speed serving as a back up for the 211.69mph on a 7.052 in the opening round for a new European record). The final was definitely in the weird category as neither bike red lit but the win light came on in Bowe’s lane before either rider had reached half track, a timing block fell over at some point possibly when Stubbins started to hug the centreline and despite Bowe crossing the finishline clearly ahead, no time was recorded and, as it stands, the final was declared invalid with no opportunity to re-run due to the curfew.

Super Street Super Street Super Street

Remaining FIA/FIM-E Championship rounds
September 8-11: FIA / FIM Finals, Santa Pod Raceway, England FIA & FIM-E

View points standings on the Points page.

Words and bike pictures Ivan Sansom and Rose Hughes. Thanks to TSI Timers (Europe) for access to the timing data.

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