King’s Jubilee Weekend
Litlington, Cambridgeshire, UK, 10th June 2012
British rider Ian King and his Gulf Oil Dragracing – Grand Prix Originals Top Fuel Bike team celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend in style at the opening round of the UEM European Dragracing Championship at Santa Pod, England.
The team arrived early at the venue to take advantage of the Professional test session scheduled to gain much needed on track experience as they continue the development of their advanced Puma machine. However, the weather thwarted this plan, and a practice launch on the morning was all they had to show when rain ended the day early.
The long range weather forecast was unusually (and unfortunately) accurate for the next few days with rain and cold conditions casting gloom over the assembled riders from across Europe and Canada.
However, the two qualifying sessions scheduled for the first day were run as planned, and despite a rapidly dampening track and fading light the team assumed their number one qualifying position with a tricky 4.00 @ 186.49 mph at the eighth and a 6.41 @ 173.06mph quarter, the low mph testament to an early shut off before the finish line.
King retained his number one position going into eliminations on Monday after persistent rain led to the cancellation of day two of qualifying.
Round one saw King paired with Czech Republic rookie Otto Knebl on the former Brian Johnson Puma Yamaha as the final run of the round. However, loss of fire caused Knebl to be held at the line, and when King approached stage drops of rain started falling. Following hasty discussion with Chief Starter Ian Marshall, King took the green light and left the line for a short distance under power (as required by the rules) to take the win light and finish off the round.
Round two would see King on a bye run to the final, but the rain closed in and it looked as if the event would be called. However, after many hours of delay the weather brightened and the extra hardworking track crew’s efforts to dry the track paid off with the semi’s run at 20.00, just one hour before the track curfew. Despite the bye King was eager to get as much track time as possible, and carded his best time of the weekend, a 6.27 @ 196.40, again clicking early as he drifted towards the centreline on the slick and cold track surface.
Once the bike was back in the team pit there was some doubt that the hot bike could be turned around in time for the final, but King’s superlative and experienced crew achieved the amazing feat of preparing the bike and getting it to the line in less than 30 minutes, an astonishing achievement.
However, King’s opponent for the final, Sweden’s Rikard Gustafsson on the Pro 1 Puma Suzuki Funnybike was struggling to make the line in time, but a hasty agreement was made with the track crew to change the running order to ensure Rikard was given enough time to make the final.
Five minutes before track close time Gustafsson joined King on the line. However a classic it was not, and despite King pulling a huge holeshot on the usually lightning quick Swede a pedalfest ensued with King fighting to keep the powerful Puma on the straight and narrow. King prevailed, however, to follow up his championship lead in the British Championship with an early lead in the European.
The team next travel to the great new facility at Tierp, Sweden for the second round, home track of the current European Top Fuel Bike Champion Peter Svensson and round one opponent Rikard Gustafsson for an all new challenge.
The team are to contest all rounds of the premier international championship in motorcycle dragracing, the UEM Dragracing Championship:-
2-4 June – Main Event, Santa Pod, England
14-17 June – Sweden Internationals, Tierp Arena, Sweden
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
Photo’s courtesy of Ivan Sansom, Rose Hughes and Stefan Boman.
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 information on King Racing, visit www.kingracing.com
Category: Team Reports